New to the ‘Rightnowish’ Podcast? Start Here

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'Rightnowish' podcast host Pendarvis Harshaw (or, Pen, for short) as pictured by former guest, community photographer Lara Kaur.
'Rightnowish' podcast host Pendarvis Harshaw (or, Pen, for short) as pictured by former guest, community photographer Lara Kaur. (Lara Kaur / Community Portrait Pop-Up)

Rightnowish is an arts and culture show about what people are experiencing in the Bay Area right now… ish. We see artists at the frontline of history. Our role is to raise them up and introduce them to their neighbors.

If you’re new to the podcast, here are a few episodes that we hope will give you an idea of what we’re about:

For those looking for a turbo-shot of inspiration…

Room 302: Home of Oakland’s Own ‘Tiny Desk’

The Oakland School of The Arts has had so many talented students, including Kehlani and Zendaya. At this student-run talent showcase, you might catch a glimpse of the next big name. In this episode, we sit in on performances from their live-music series Off The Table and glean some wisdom from the talented teacher and her skilled students.

For those looking for local wisdom…

This Librarian Holds the Keys to Oakland’s History

Who raised Jack London? What was the story behind the “Black Consciousness Movement?” How did a Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame get started in Oakland? The woman with these answers and more is Dorothy Lazard. She’s the keeper of Oakland’s history and a cornerstone of her community, making her the embodiment of the quintessential Rightnowish guest.

For those with a sweet-tooth…

The East Bay Poet Bringing Cheesecake to Your Door

Sometimes you need a little sugar rush. Poet Victor Harris hand makes and hand delivers cheesecakes in the East Bay. And these cheesecakes are good — so good that his maple peach bourbon cake once got him slapped. This episode is guaranteed to make you hungry (and happy)!

For those who love love (and revolution)…

Fredrika Newton + Huey P. = Revolutionary Love

What’s it like to love one of America’s most notable activists? How do you have a healthy relationship while combating oppression? How do you make time for joy and the tunes of Isaac Hayes? Fredrika Newton talks about what it was like to love Huey, the man behind the symbol.

For Oakland kids, born and raised…

From D-Boys to Dope Art

Timothy B. has been throwing up big beautiful murals for some time now, but his story goes way deeper than fresh paint on a wall. His life story parallels so many lives of Oakland kids whose childhoods were shaped by the war on drugs. He was born into d-boy royalty as the son of Timothy Bluitt Senior of the legendary “6-9 Mob.”

But when his father was locked up for two decades, it was up to Dana Bluitt, Tim Jr.’s mom, to hold the family together.

For those who want to slow down…

‘Sometimes, It Takes Time’: Erina Alejo, the Third-Generation Renter

Photographer Erina Alejo has a massive archive that they release in a slow but thoughtful trickle. “How do we take time and put grace and care into how we tell stories?”

Much of Alejo’s collection of photography has focused on housing issues. They take photos of people waiting to speak at City Hall and revisit the same public trash can to document the changing world around it. They’ve also published a book titled, A Hxstory of Renting.

For those fighting for social change…

Abolitionist Fighting Sex Trafficking with Words and Altars

Regina Y. Evans is a costume designer, playwright and abolitionist working to end the sex trafficking of minors. Part of her work includes assembling altars on Oakland’s International Boulevard, a hub for adult sex workers as well as the sex trafficking of minors.

With the help of a growing community, the altars are decorated with art, flowers, letters and fabric—and since the start of the pandemic—she’s been adding hand sanitizer, condoms and PPE. Regina says her team builds these altars as an offering, and that she doesn’t directly approach the women. Instead, she allows the altars to be an opening for interactions.

For those following stories of Bay Area displacement…

Oakland’s Street Sofas and the Bay Area Housing Crisis

When you see abandoned furniture on the side of the street, ever wonder how it got there? Who it belonged to? What’s gonna happen to it now? “There’s so many stories in the furniture. I think it can tell us a lot about who is coming and who is going. It definitely shows turnover of some kind,” says Oakland’s Jamie Facciola.

For those who care about the past, present and future of the Town… 

Hennessy Pound Cake, Long Commutes and Filmmaking

A few years ago, filmmaker Danielle Thompson and her family were evicted from their home in Oakland and moved to Pittsburg, a city 40 miles away. Using that experience as fuel, Danielle produced her first documentary film, Displaced.

She hopes to one day be successful enough to afford to move back to the hometown where she has so many great memories.

Rightnowish is an arts and culture podcast produced at KQED. Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts or click the play button at the top of this page and subscribe to the show on NPR One, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.