Tag: Oakland

‘Fruitvale Station’ Bows Strong Amid Trayvon Martin Reaction

‘Fruitvale Station’ Bows Strong Amid Trayvon Martin Reaction
The opening of Fruitvale Station on the same weekend as the Trayvon Martin trial concluded was certainly not planned on purpose. But the similarity of the two high-profile shootings was a potent reminder for the Weinstein Co. pickup, which scored the weekend’s highest per-screen average of nearly $54,000 from seven locations, including the sold-out Grand Lake theater in Oakland, Calif.

“Obviously, we had no idea of what would be going on at the time we dated the movie, but it’s very topical,” said Weinstein distribution topper Erik Lomis, referring to Saturday’s acquittal of Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watchman,  in Sanford, Fla.  “It’s hard to watch this film and not be moved,” Lomis added.

Fruitvale Station is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young African-American man in Oakland, who was shot and killed by a BART police officer in 2009.  The film, which stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer, sold out Friday night and Saturday evening screenings at the Oakland location, as well as at the Arclight Hollywood and the Angelika in New York.

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Director Ryan Coogler Brings Heart, Talent to ‘Fruitvale’

director Ryan Coogler poses for photographers during a photo call for the film "Fruitvale Station" at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France. Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” _ his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 _ won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and attended the Cannes Film Festival. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, file)
Director Ryan Coogler poses for photographers during a photo call for the film “Fruitvale Station” at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France. Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” _ his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 _ won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and attended the Cannes Film Festival. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Coogler is back on the University of Southern California campus for the first time since becoming one of the country’s most promising young filmmakers, and he heads straight to the camera-rental center where he worked as a student. He runs into a former classmate, who high-fives and congratulates him, then asks for a photo. Coogler sheepishly obliges.

“This is inspiring, right here!” the younger man says as he snaps an iPhone shot of himself and Coogler. “Thank you, bro!”  Coogler gives the student his email address, then looks for his old boss, the equipment manager, who tells the 27-year-old filmmaker that he’s set a new standard for success at USC’s film school, which counts Ron Howard and George Lucas as alumni.

There’s no doubt he has. Coogler’s ”Fruitvale Station” — his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 — won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, where the Weinstein Co. outbid a dozen studios to distribute it. Originally called simply “Fruitvale,” the film opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and around the nation later this month. Oscar buzz has already begun.

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Berkeley’s First Woman Firefighter Debra Pryor Retires as First Woman Chief

Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor is retiring Dec. 28, 2012 after 27 years in the Berkeley fire department. She was the city’s first woman firefighter, the first woman chief and the second black woman to head a fire department in the nation. (Doug Oakley/Staff)

BERKELEY, CA — It’s a drizzly cold Tuesday evening and Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor is outside the city’s public safety building talking to a homeless man with two shopping carts piled high with possessions.  The man loops in and out of lucidity, but Pryor doesn’t appear annoyed, pressed for time or afraid. She listens and talks to him, then politely wraps it up and approaches a second man to ask if he needs help deciphering the front desk hours of the police station.

Pryor, 51, is retiring Friday after 27 years in the fire department and 27 years of smashing race and gender barriers: she was the city’s first female firefighter, its first female fire chief and the second black female fire chief in the country behind Rosemary Cloud of East Point, Ga. (Earlier this year Oakland named Teresa Deloach Reed as its fire chief, making her the first black woman fire chief of a major metropolitan city.)

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Pan African Designs Adorn Leatherworker Shaka Camera’s Hand-Tooled Bags at the KPFA Crafts Fair

Shaka Camera of Oakland has been a leather worker for over 43 years, specializing in hand stitched and hand tooled leather bags. His designs are earthy with a sophisticated touch – his bags practical yet unusual. Shaka’s pouches, purses, bags, even computer cases are embellished with beads, shells, silver and bronze acquired from his multiple trips to Africa.

Radiating from Burkina Faso in West Africa, where he has family, he collects beautiful objects for his finished work from the Baoule, Tuareg and Dogon people. The Tuareg of the Saharan interior of North Africa are well known for their fine silver jewelry.

Shaka may incorporate Tuareg crosses and cowry shells with other adornments in what he calls a “mixed Pan-African” esthetic. The Tuareg cross translates into a protective symbol and cowry shells, which were used for centuries as a currency in Africa, represent wealth, new growth and abundance. Carrying a bag with such adornments may have value beyond its beauty!

Shaka, whose company is Bogolani Designs, will show his work at the 42nd annual KPFA Crafts Fair on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9, at the Concourse in San Francisco. His wife of 12 years, Amatula, will share his booth with her original clothing designs made with hand-woven fibers.

Read more at: Pan African designs adorn leatherworker Shaka Camera’s hand tooled bags at the KPFA Crafts Fair | San Francisco Bay View.

100 Black Men Community School in Oakland Aims To Help Black Boys

  • Curtis Dright III, 5, lines up with the rest of his kindergarten class on the first day of school at The 100 Black Men Community School on Tuesday Sept. 04 2012 in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle / SFCurtis Dright III, 5, lines up with the rest of his kindergarten class on the first day of school at The 100 Black Men Community School on Tuesday Sept. 04 2012 in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle / SF

In the first hour of the first day of school Tuesday, the sixth-grade Oakland boy was sure he was in trouble for goofing off.  His teacher, Peter Wilson, had stopped his lesson in mid-sentence and turned his attention to the African American preteen, who now wore an uh-oh expression as he braced for a rebuke.  “Did you eat breakfast this morning?” Wilson asked quietly as the confused boy shook his head no. “Your actions are telling me you’re hungry.”  The teacher, also African American, then promised to bring fruit and granola bars the next day and returned to teaching. The boy’s behavior immediately improved. Continue reading “100 Black Men Community School in Oakland Aims To Help Black Boys”

NFL Star Nnamdi Asomugha Gives Homeless Teens Hope

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Oakland Raiders All-Star defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha helps at-risk and homeless teens from Oakland and Los Angeles, takes them on tour of Washington D.C. and colleges.  Please click below to see this CNN piece — it’s a Good Black News must-watch!

Video – Breaking News Videos from CNN.com