The Flight Deck & Township

a collaborative arts space and performance venue and a contemporary American restaurant respectively, had their joint opening party on Friday night.
The Flight Deck is the dream child of Ragged Wing Ensemble.

Anna Shneiderman and Christina Shonkwiler

Anna Shneiderman and Christina Shonkwiler

Ragged Wing Ensemble is made up of: Anna Shneiderman, Executive & Education Director, Christina Shonkwiler, Production Manager, Amy Sass, Artistic Director, Keith Davis, Core Company Director,  Amanda Bornstein, Flight Deck Manager,Lisa Drostova, Public Engagement Manager and Jericha Senyak, Company Manager.

Kevin Davis set the intention for Flight Deck when he said: “The story of this space is one that must be told by all of us…..with messiness and mischief.”

Anna Shneiderman gave me the lowdown on Ragged Wing Ensemble. Together for ten years, it was two years ago that they started to look for a physical space. In searching, they came across other theater companies that were in the same position, constantly rotating between temporary venues and makeshift spaces. They found 1540 Broadway and signed the lease in May 2013. For the past year, they have been working on the architecture, fundraising and staffing. Ragged Wing Ensemble are the lease holders and managers of the space, but it is a community space that will continue to very much be shaped by the companies, artists, ensembles, and individuals who create, work and support each other in this space.

Township

is next-door at 1545 Broadway and owned by Abeni Ramsey of City Girl Farms. It features a contemporary American cuisine and as SF’s Eater calls it, “uber local sourcing.” Ramsey, partner Ibrahim Baaquee and Chef Brent Johnson are the pillars of Township. As Ramsey said in her address to the crowd Friday, “It’s not about the space. It’s about the people in the space.”

Abeni Ramsey

Abeni Ramsey

Township

Township

All of these hardworking creatives were running around all night- in royal purple garb, barefoot, with food in hand, with smiles and hugs and thanks.

The Flight Deck and Township have a welcoming, strong core of women behind their created space, a part of a bigger movement of women into positions of ownership and pivotal roles in creative entrepreneurship concentrated in Downtown Oakland, and radiating outwards into other neighborhoods.

The Opening Featured

“Just Ripe” a group art exhibition, music in Latham Square, a delicious dinner by Township, Kambucha by Mothers Know Best, pop-up performances throughout the night, and later on, acoustic music and dance in the gallery and a live DJ. Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre, one of The Flight Deck’s resident theatre companies was also performing After Juliet  in Flight Deck’s black box theatre.

Latham Square performers

Latham Square performers

flight deck theater

Serena Morelli, a kick-ass woman and the official photographer for the event, is from Napoli- a gritty, angry city, akin to New York- and we hit it off nicely.

Vera Schwegler of Dana Lawton Dances , The Flight Deck’s resident dance company and the dancer featured on their flyer, came up to me and told me I looked like I needed a drink. She introduced herself and Dana to me, whom I discussed the shifting businesses and ownership of buisinesses in Oakland with. She also resonated with the woman-centered space being nurtured at Flight Deck. Dana Lawton Dances performs at the Flight Deck on Tuesday night at 8:00 PM, Silence of and excerpts of From This Moment.

Performance in the Gallery to Acoustic Guitar

Performance in the Gallery to Acoustic Guitar

I ran into local textile artist, Kevn Tijerina , whom I have been trying to pin down to interview for months now. She introduced me to part of the crew at Naming Gallery. Luke Judd of Roving Projections was responsible for the projection of the footage from Lost Landscapes at the event and Joseph Lucas was filming. Naming Gallery’s upcoming show on June 14th, Spectrum, features artwork by Patricia Meta. Doors at 1 and Music at 5 (smiles, emotional dimples, and dj moll rat).

Kevn Tijerina & Luke Judd

Kevn Tijerina & Luke Judd

Bud Snow, aka Julia Davis,is currently a featured visual artist at Flight Deck. Her exhibition, “Outliers,” is “a study of the edge.” She coined the term “neo primalism” to describe her art. Bud Snow is city hopping, as her art finds homes across the US. She is based out of Vancouver.

Work by Bud Snow

Work by Bud Snow

By Bud Snow

By Bud Snow

Bud Snow

Bud Snow

I saw some performance artists I recognized from Athletic Playground where I take aerial silks classes, including Carolina “coicoi” Duncan, performing an excerpt from her one woman production “Dolores” to be performed at the subterranean art house on Saturday June 21st.

Carolina "Coi Coi" Duncan

Carolina “Coi Coi” Duncan

Later, once After Juliet let out, I ran into local playwright and educator, Cleavon Smith and Amy Sass of The Flight Deck and Playground.

Cleavon Smith and Amy Sass

Cleavon Smith and Amy Sass

Resident groups at The Flight Deck also include: Aluminous Collective, whose focus is on the two person play, Virago Theatre , and the inquiry based performers of Kabinet of Kuriosities.

Check out the complete opening week schedule of events HERE

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