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Sights and Sounds: Ashley Smiley

Playwright Ashely Smiley
Photo Provided by Ashley Smiley
Playwright Ashely Smiley

“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 playwright Ashley Smiley. She wrote the play “Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad.” It’s about the gentrification of San Francisco and the displacement of the city’s Black residents. Watch it at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco from February 28 to March 17.

“Black History Parade”
Southeast Community Center
February 24
The parade is part of a block party happening in San Francisco’s Bayview district, but there’s a lot more going on. Buy from local vendors, taste dishes from a gumbo cook-off, and listen to live music. There’s also an area for kids to ride horses.

“Sound of (Black) Music”
San Francisco State University
February 29
This musical brings an Afrofuturistic twist to the beloved classic “The Sound of Music.” The cast sings such as “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” but with an Afrobeat. Music is also remixed with gospel, funk, and soul to celebrate Black joy.

“Technoculture Symposium and Dance Performance”
Ruth Williams Opera House
March 16
It’s a two-part event to amplify Black voices in the fields of technology and art. First, hear how Black tech leaders use robotics and AI in dance performances. Afterwards, choreographer Raissa Simpson demonstrates this collaboration in an original dance number.

Catch Ashley’s play “Dirty White Teslas Make Me Sad” at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco. It’s running from February 28 to March 17. Tickets are on sale now.

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