If the Oakland Musical Festival and Bay Area Vibes weren’t enough for you last weekend, make sure to spend this whole weekend drinking in Golden Gate Park for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Otherwise, find five other recommended weekend activities below.
Brontez Purnell, frontman of garage rock band the Younger Lovers, is a locally renowned musician, dancer, choreographer, and writer. But perhaps most fascinating of all is that, although mainstream museums and publications have championed his work, Purnell’s approach to his art has been adamantly DIY. Originally from rural Alabama, Purnell came to Oakland in the early Aughts and quickly immersed himself in its punk and queer scenes. His electro-punk band Gravy Train!!!! became well known locally for its uninhibited live shows and, as the band’s singer and hype man, Purnell gained a reputation for his flamboyant stage persona. Though the group dissolved in the late-2000s, Purnell continued to make waves with his other creative ventures. He started the Brontez Purnell Dance Company and published his first book, The Cruising Diaries, an illustrated memoir he adapted from his earlier zines chronicling his sexual exploits. Simply put, Purnell is a force of nature. His current music project, the Younger Lovers, performs at Eli’s Mile High Club with LA rockers Contrafang and Oakland DJ collective Trill Team 6 this Saturday. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., Oct. 3, 8 p.m. $TBA. ElisMileHigh.com
[jump] Eyes on Oakland
You may have seen the Eyes on Oakland project roving around Oakland in a Ford Falcon van retrofitted as a mobile newsroom. Or, it may have seen you. Eyes on Oakland is a hybrid journalism and interactive art project that aims to inform Oakland residents about the various types of surveillance used by police and give them the opportunity to share thoughts and concerns on camera. The project is an ongoing collaboration between Mobile Arts Platform and the Center for Investigative Reporting that was part of the Oakland Museum of California’s Who is Oakland? exhibit — through which many citizens’ reflections were shared, and more were gathered. So far, the project’s leaders have collected hundreds of opinions by popping up around The Town, and have staged many conversations regarding how to maintain balance between privacy and public safety. On October 2, from 5–8 p.m., Eyes on Oakland will be sharing its footage on The Great Wall of Oakland, a huge wall on West Grand Avenue, between Valley Street and Broadway. The screening is public and free, but bring something to sit on if you plan to stay a while. — Sarah Burke
Fri., Oct. 2, 5-10 p.m. Free. GreatWallofOakland.org
63rd Annual Armenian Food Festival and Bazaar
The fact that the East Bay doesn’t have a proper Armenian restaurant makes this food festival — the biggest event that the St. Vartan Armenian Church (650 Spruce St., Oakland) hosts each year — all the more attractive. Where else can a person who has a taste for well-spiced lamb and buttery phyllo dough go to get his or her fix? Specialties to target at the two-day feast include koofta (a kind of stuffed lamb meatball), boereg (meat- or cheese-filled phyllo pastries), and an assortment of breads and pastries, including cigar-shaped boorma, a not-so-distant cousin to Middle Eastern baklava. Most of the food has been prepared by members of the congregation, with a la carte items priced at $3–$6 apiece. Taste something you love? Frozen versions of many dishes will be available for purchase at the popup khanoot, or country store, along with a variety of Armenian pantry staples. — Luke Tsai
Fri., Oct. 2, 5:30 p.m. $1, $3. StVartanOakland.org
Lost in Space
Why would you drink beer at a bar when you could drink beer while on a mission to Mars? Once a month, the Chabot Space and Science Center (10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland) gives guests the opportunity to do the latter — kind of — through its “Lost in Space” simulated space mission. While the center regularly hosts daytime mini missions to Mars that are for astronauts ten years old and up, “Lost in Space” missions take place during more adult hours (from 7–9 p.m.) and are partially fueled by beer and wine. Normally, participants land on the red planet and are tasked with constructing a probe to send to one of the moons of Mars. But for Chabot’s special “Spooky Halloween Lost in Space,” which takes place on October 3, things are likely to go wrong. There’s a good chance that Martians will be involved, but there’s no way of knowing whether they’ll be friendly. — S.B.
Sat., Oct. 3, 7-9 p.m. $30. ChabotSpace.org
Ships in the Night
Ships in the Night is one of the East Bay’s most widely attended, month ly queer parties, so much so that the event’s organizers faced controversy last year for publishing an open letter that suggested that only LGBTQ people — and not straight allies — should attend. While some found this approach alienating, others agreed that a safe space for queer people, especially queer people of color, is paramount in the East Bay as gentrification progresses. With that said, this month’s Ships will be a good one: DJs Durt, Mutie, Minh La, and Rumorosa will spin party jams on the New Parish’s two dance floors. Local rapper Queens D.Light — who recently returned from an extended stay in New York City, where she worked on her forthcoming EP — will perform. While Queens’ last album, California Wildflower, featured down-tempo beats and lyrics that reflected on her Yoruba faith, her recent live shows have foregrounded unreleased tracks with more danceable production. The party’s proceeds will benefit El/La Para Trans Latinas, a nonprofit that provides a community space and Spanish-language health and counseling services to trans Latinas in the Bay Area. — N.V.
First Saturday of every month, 9 p.m. $5. TheNewParish.com
If your pockets are feelin’ light and you’re still yearning for more suggestions, we’ve got a ton, and these ones are all FREE! We’re Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at Sarah.Burke@EastBayExpress.com.