A Celebration of Some of the East Bay’s Cool Subcultures

This year's Best of the East Bay party will feature a confederation of subcultures.

Roughly two years have passed since the East Bay Express
untethered itself from Village Voice Media, and since then, we’ve found
plenty of ways to assert our independence. Namely, we’ve reformatted
the paper, beefed up the arts coverage, and moved to a swanky new
office in Jack London Square, right next to the Oakland Metro
Operahouse. Best of all, we’ve really stepped up our party game.
Alt-weekly parties used to be a forum where grizzled old columnists
clinked glasses and danced the humpty-hump. But all of that changed in
the last couple of years. In fact, Best of the East Bay 2008 marked a
180-degree shift in the alt-weekly party template. More of a street
fair than a party, it featured hot local bands like Hottub, Flipper,
and the Kev Choice Ensemble, plus Savage Dance Company, skateboards, a
kids zone, live graffiti, a huge artisan bazaar that spanned the length
of Oakland Museum’s courtyard, cheap eats from local restaurateurs, and
some amazing DJs. And you couldn’t beat the people-watching. No one in
Oakland can resist a free party, so we saw people from all walks of
life: moms pushing strollers, uptown fashionistas, little kids, college
students, graffiti artists, gallery dwellers, ‘hood nerds, strivers,
slackers, and everyone in between. Perhaps there’s some correlation
between going independent and learning how to fete your readership.
Whatever the case, we got bragging rights.

And now a year has passed, and you may be wondering, Are those
staffers at the Express ever gonna stop touting their
independence? Well, frankly, no. In fact, we’ve ramped up the
saturnalia. This year’s Best of Party will highlight all the
different subcultures in the East Bay, from punks to backpackers to
motorcycle enthusiasts to tattoo lovers to fans of extreme sports. This
year’s expanded event will include the Gearhead Garage (a parking
structure decked out with classic cars, performance bike expos,
courtesy of Godspeed and East Bay Rats), a tattoo
showcase, and a pinup art exhibit. An electronica stage will feature
Dresden & Johnston, Dyloot, Mephisto Odyssey,
and special guests. The Illuminated Corridor will provide live art,
music, and films. A Kids Zone sponsored by Chabot Space &
Science Center
will feature magic shows, crafts, and live music
from Bandworks. Add to that a pro-wrestling ring, international
dance stage, a DAI Style Lounge, green room, and outdoor
village with vendors, food, and nonprofit resources. And all of that
pales in comparison to the main-stage lineup, which features
Maldroid, CU Next Weekend, Mystic Rage, Dizzy
Balloon
, the Heavenly States, Swann Danger,
Fracas, Superfinos VTO, 7th St. Band,
Social Unrest, Souls of Mischief, and Goapele, the
Bay Area’s high priestess of R&B. On Friday, Aug. 7, at the
Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak St.). 5 p.m.-midnight,
free. EastBayExpress.wordpress.com

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