Oakland Art Murmur is a giant, free street party slash gallery walk that takes place around Koreatown, Oak every first Friday of the month. Why did it take me so long to get out to this fabulous event? Oh, that’s right, because it’s all the way across a massive body of water, on the “sunny side of the bay.” BARTing to and from Oakland is a fucking ODYSSEY in and of itself. And while I’m not a total East-Bay-convert just yet, I will say: the odyssey is worth it. As someone who attends a shit-ton of these outside-community-arts events in the city, let me assure you, Oakland Art Murmur is a whole different kind of experience than what you typically get in SF.
I went to OAM for the gallery experience. From what I understood, there are that 20 galleries who open up their spaces and invite the community to check out their exhibits for free. It turned out that the “gallery” aspect of the art walk was by far the worst part- largely due to the extreme overcrowding of the buildings. How can anyone enjoy (or criticize) a work of art when stuffed into a tiny room with hundreds of sweaty, drunk hipsters? Navigating my way OUT of the galleries was even worse- not unlike being in the very front row at a Refused reunion concert, then realizing you have to pee. You can try as hard as you want. You can tell people, “No, seriously, I’m trying to leave. Please just move your ass.” but pushing past people is still a ridiculous struggle. One that I’ll gladly take at a punk show, and I’d prefer to skip at a gallery event. I’m gonna just come out and say it: most of what I saw in the galleries was also seen-it-a-billion-times college-art-student type material. No gracias.
If, however, you are fine with ditching the gallery stuff, OAM is LOADS of awesome. Food trucks galore (I had delicious Mexican + organic Berkeley ice cream), outdoor vendors, street art, live band performances, bars, emcees, jewelry, etc. From what I saw going on, the newness and non-fineness of the Oakland art scene seemed better suited to a dynamic, outside atmosphere. Interaction and energy definitely contributed to the best work I saw there.
So yeah. Go. Bring a flask. And yr friends. The next one is Friday, September 7th, from 6-9pm.