5   +   4   =  

Today is the first of December and I’m listening to Christmas music!

Happy Advent! “What a bright time, it’s the right time, to rock the night away…” Okay, I’m one of those people who goes moderately crazy about ~the holidays~. I’m not super religious but I love repetition, so decorations that go up at the same time every year are my jam. Everything smells and feels good. Bring on the jingle bells, baby!

I hope December lives up to the standard set by the last weekend of November. This year my family celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday, because that was when all the menfolk could get off work, and I was glad to dodge the official anniversary of America’s genocidal beginnings. We ate a lot of food, talked about race without anyone being heinously offensive, gooey affection pie gratefulness, yadda yadda yadda. You’re probably sick of this because it’s been 100% of your Facebook feed since Thursday, unless you’re following the travesty of “justice” wrapped up in the word “Ferguson”, in which case Facebook has been a whole different ball of wax. Bad wax. Depressing wax. Wax made out of systematic oppression and police brutality.

The car that ran over Minneapolis protesters moving towards the crowd

Photos by Fibonacci Blue and Debra Sweet.

Whenever there’s a blowup about the national tragedy of the moment, I try to figure out how I can respond positively. It’s pretty difficult. I don’t want to get sucked into feeling ultra-hopeless about the system, because that’s my default setting anyway. Feeling hopeless doesn’t make me any more ethically productive. I think angry activism is REALLY important, but it’s not something that I have the spoons to do.

Instead, I resolve to move forward with more proactive compassion than before. What does that look like? For me, supporting local businesses, trying to limit the amount of money that goes to huge evil corporations. Big-box stores treat their employees like shit, sell goods made by exploited workers overseas, and generally support the heterofascist white-supremacist patriarchal statist system.

It’s hard to opt out entirely, but I hope you abstained from Black Friday. Consumerists orgies are not cute.

Rant aside, on Saturday I swung by Oakland’s convenient unofficial art stroll, just a few blocks from BART: 15th Street. I came for the opening of SideQuest Gallery’s latest show, Daddy Issues, a joint exhibit by “sad girl duo” Stella Bijou and Sara Knight. Perfectly, both of their dads have the same birthday, which is the date they chose for the opening reception. The artists further lived up to show’s name by serving pink wine (misnamed White Zin because hello, it is PINK) and jalapeno cupcakes. I brought mini muffins, a stack of zines, and some friends, to admire the angst.

Daddy Issues at SideQuest Gallery by Stelle Bijou and Sara Knight

In addition to a couple of huge collaborative collage/installation pieces, there were melancholy movie-hero portraits by Sara Knight–think of Tom from (500) Days of Summer and Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; be still my beating heart!–and Stella Bijou presented equally melancholy ghosties, accompanied by short poems. I’m kicking myself because I forgot to take pictures, but here are a few that the artists themselves posted:

Daddy Issues at SideQuest Gallery by Stelle Bijou and Sara Knight
Daddy Issues at SideQuest Gallery by Stelle Bijou and Sara Knight

SideQuest isn’t the only gallery on that block of 15th Street, which is part of why it’s fun to visit. I also ducked into Mary Weather to look at the walls and whisper hello to the owner’s skittish dog. I just want to pet you, buddy! But I don’t because he growls at me.

Mary Weather Gallery on 15th Street in Oakland

If you’re looking for an excuse to check out this cool segment of Oakland, I recommend coming to one of SideQuest’s upcoming events: Cosmic Collisions on Saturday the 13th, or the sure-to-be-fabulous Oakland Drops Beats on Saturday the 20th. I look forward to seeing you there!


Guest blogger Sonya Mann is an erstwhile student and reliable bunny-enthusiast, living with her parents in the East Bay. She writes a bunch of stuff, so check out her website.