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Sights and Sounds: Cat Brewer

Film director Cat Brewer
Nightingale Photography
Film director Cat Brewer

“Sights and Sounds” is our weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene through the eyes and ears of local artists. On this episode, host Jenee Darden speaks with director Cat Brewer. Her film Sign the Show is about deaf culture and access to entertainment.

“Remember Them: Champions for Humanity”
Downtown Oakland
19th St. & Rashida Muhammad St.
The sculpture includes 25 inspirational figures who have made contributions toward peace, freedom, and human rights. Some of those included are Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, and Harvey Milk. The piece also honors 14 local figures such as Joaquin Miller and Mary Ann Wright. There’s also a visually impaired wall for folks to identify the figures through touch. Castings of each person are mounted on the wall along with quotes in braille and large imprints.

Cat elaborates on the sculpture’s influence: “I worked for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, who was a big part of getting this monument completed with Mario Chiodo. I got to see a behind-the-scenes of when the sculptures were taking place. I think it’s a beautiful example of people who advocated and helped people. People from all different walks of life, all different times of our history. I love Malcom X and Fredrick Douglass. I think those two human beings had a profound effect on me, especially in school because I taught communications and analyzed speeches.”

Contra Loma Regional Park
There’s a swim lagoon with a sandy beach to enjoy on a hot day, but it’s currently closed due to maintenance. Go fishing in the park’s reservoir and catch catfish, trout, or bluegill. Visitors can also enjoy boating. If water activities aren’t your thing, the park also has hiking trails that connect to the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

Cat reflects on growing up and walking in the area: “I grew up in Antioch until I was 21 before I moved. Contra Loma was always a place to go. A lot of hiking and swimming. Just to be around nature really grounds me. Sometimes it’s literally walking the path around the lake. Kind of a time to center myself. It’s very peaceful. Lots of nature. It’s very green and brown sometimes in the summer.”

Jack London Square
The jazz club started as a small sushi bar in North Berkeley in 1973. Now Yoshi’s is widely recognized and gained a reputation as a Bay Area hot spot for live music and Japanese cuisine. Some past notable performances at the club include Esperanza Spalding, Tito Puente, DJ Quick, and Tony! Toni! Toné! So they’re not just jazz anymore.

Cat describes the venue’s energy: “It’s an amazing intimate venue. I can literally say there’s not a bad seat in the whole room. The sound is amazing. The variety of artists they provide is amazing. You can order food at your table and enjoy that if you like. They got a great bar. It’s just a great vibe and a great scene.”

Cat Brewer’s film Sign the Show will be screening at the Roxy Theatre in San Francisco on Wednesday October 26th at 9pm, as part of the United Nations Association Film Festival.

Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.
Porfirio Rangel is a Producer for Sights & Sounds