[Professional publicists ceaselessly implore writers to preview shows, but often the most worthy events lack such luxuries. The Bay Area is both actively producing and attracting experimentalists, multimedia performance spectacles, cult punk rituals and innovative anti-socials with no capacity for self-promotion (those interest me especially.) Hidden Agenda is a new column to let you know about their performances. ]
Oakland's sprawling open gallery event each month on First Friday has become a sort of barometer to gauge an individual's perspective on the East Bay arts scene. Many recall its calmer incarnation on just a couple blocks with a lamenting sigh, some deride it as a drunken bacchanal in the guise of an art walk, and other self-styled kunst aficionados sneer at the simple philistines' hapless stumble amongst the glut of insubstantial galleries with their quixotic “curators.” The tension is healthy, the discussion is positive, the walking is good for the heart, and I personally adore most any event that shuts down thoroughfares otherwise bustling with automobiles. The streets are for strolls, no matter your style or blood-alcohol content.
And on Dec. 6, Oakland's newest record store, Econo Jam, adds another destination for the First Friday mad dash or graceful saunter: an exhibit of local musician and visual artist Erin Allen's poster work.