River City Drumbeat: An Urban Heartbeat

By C.J Hirschfield Many fine films tell the story of charismatic teachers who change lives, and they serve to inspire.  The new documentary River City Drumbeat is one of these films. Promoted as “a story of music, love and legacies,” it follows a dynamic African drumming corps for kids founded and taught by the magnetic […]

Last Chance U: Laney Eagles Rising

By C.J. Hirschfield   Throughout the world, the phrase “Oakland football” conjures up images of Raider Nation, fans who glory in looking as terrifying and tough as they can. But while the Raiders are gone, the Laney College Eagles are still flying high.  And thanks to the latest season of a popular Netflix series, a […]

The Fight…Continues

By C.J. Hirschfield They ride all forms of public transit, lug around pounds of paper, eat on the run, stay in modest hotels where they practice alone in front of the mirror, and lament all of the time they have to spend away from their families. They are the unsung human rights superheroes, and the […]

Ai Wei Wei: Yours Truly—A Love Letter

by C. J. Hirschfield The 2014-15 @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz exhibit, held at the now decommissioned and notorious prison, drew nearly 900,000 visitors, generated over 90,000 postcards to political prisoners all over the world, and illustrated the power of art when presented outside of a traditional museum or gallery setting.

JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE

by C.J. Hirschfield At age 79, and after 60 years of activism, John Lewis is still organizing; still mobilizing; still legislating. Oh yes, and he’s definitely still dancing. In the illuminating and luminous new documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble, acclaimed Bay Area director Dawn Porter (Trapped, Gideon’s Army) creatively and conscientiously chronicles the life and […]

OAKTOWN: The Joys of Spicing in Place

by C.J. Hirschfield The experience of walking into Oaktown Spice Shop across from Oakland’s Lake Merritt was unique. You’d stop, inhale deeply, and smile. You’d immediately engage with the staff– and other customers– about what spices they’d suggest for various dishes, and just feel thankful that such a special place exists in the neighborhood.