Arts | KALW


Dennis Hearne

San Francisco author Alia Voltz reads from her book "Home Baked." It's about how her mother, Meridy Voltz, became an unexpected caregiver in the 1970s when she opened a bakery called Sticky Fingers Brownies.

You can also listen to a 30-minute audio documentary on the story behind her book on the KALW website. It's called, "How Pot Brownies Brought Some Relief During The AIDS Epidemic." 

courtesy of Bryan Keith Thomas

Artist Bryan Keith Thomas pays homage to Black Southern culture and Black ancestry in his work. In this interview, he talks about the spiritual meaning behind his art.

Teen Drumming Sensation Ayo Jackson

Dec 7, 2020
Sandrine Malary

Ayo Jackson is the youngest member of the band Jax. The Haitian-American sibling trio are all teens from East Oakland. Jackson captivates audiences with her mad drum skills. In this story, she shares what it’s like performing with her family.

Sherri Kauk

Records are popular again. So why are people turning to their turntables for music these days? The documentary Vinyl Nation answers that question while looking at the history of records.

Oakland-based author Meg Elison reads from her book "Find Layla." It's about a girl named Layla who is having a hard time growing up.

San Francisco-based author Shruti Swamy reads from her new short story collection, "A House Is A Body." It's about finding joy and meaning in times of turmoil. 

Peter Rosos

Jazz vocalist Valerie Troutt tells a coming-of-age story in her new album "The Oakland Girl."

Oakland-based author Elwin Cotman reads from his new short story collection "Dance on Saturday." It's about many things, including a zoology conference, people who make their body parts from fruit, and an origin story for Prince.


San Francisco author A.H. Kim reads from her new novel, "A Good Family."

San Francisco author Jaimal Yogis reads from his new children’s picture book, "Mop Rides the Waves of Life." Mop loves to surf and he learns to ride his emotions like he rides the waves in the ocean.

Photo provided by Akashic Books

The short story collection Berkeley Noir shows a dark side to the college town with tales of deceit and murder. In this interview, co-editors Jerry Thompson and Owen Hill talk about the book and why they love the noir genre.

Oakland author Emily Pilloton reads from her new book, "Girls Garage." Its an invitation to girls and women everywhere to join a movement of fearless builders.

Oakland author Yodassa Williams reads from her debut novel "The Goddess Twins." This passage is of one of the main characters remembering a moment from her past when she almost drowned. Williams next book will be a memoir about her experiences as a Black femme burner. 

Oakland author Maggie Tokuda-Hall reads from her young adult fantasy novel, "The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea." This passage from the point of view of the sea.

Ying Liu doesn’t just tell ghost stories, she shows them. Liu is creator of the documentary series "The Haunted Bay," where she and her team investigate haunted places around the Bay Area from gay bars to old ships.

San Francisco author Anne Raeff reads from her new book, "Only the River." It's about displacement, revolution, and love.

Oakland author Melanie Abrams reads from her new book, "Meadowlark." It's about two teenagers who escape a strict spiritual commune.

Oakland author Adrien Aster reads from their new dystopian sci-fi thriller, "Loving R-thur." It's about a woman named X who falls in love with an artificial intelligence.

San Anselmo author Kate Milliken reads from her new novel, "Kept Animals." It's set in a southern California neighborhood of horse ranches and movie stars, and it revolves around the relationships of teenage girls.

Marcus L. Jackson

The pandemic has taken a toll on many people’s mental health. Brian Copeland wants to help those dealing with depression. His one-man show "The Waiting Period" he shares his personal story about contemplating suicide.

San Francisco author Wendy Liu reads from her new book, "Abolish Silicon Valley." It's part memoir about her experience as a startup founder and software engineer, and part cultural criticism.

Lynsay Skiba / Algoquin Books

Berkeley author Bonnie Tsui reads a passage from her new book, "Why We Swim." It's about how she first fell in love with the water.

Photo provided courtesy of Derek Zemrak

Like other businesses, small movie theaters are also fighting to survive in the age of COVID. Derek Zemrak knows first hand. He owns the Orinda Theatre, which turns 80 next year. Derek talks about the future of the film industry and movie theaters.

Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie theater chain, recently announced they were temporarily closing all 536 of their U.S. theaters this week due to the pandemic. Derek is trying to keep the Orinda Theatre afloat with fundraisers and virtual events.

Click the play button above to listen to this interview.

El Cerrito author Tess Taylor reads from one of her two new poetry collections, "Rift Zone." Rift Zone is set around Taylor’s hometown, a California suburb lying along the Hayward fault. Her other new collection is "Last West: Roadsongs for Dorothea Lange."

San Francisco author Marilyn Chase reads from her new book "Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa." The artist Ruth Asawa was imprisoned as a Japanese American during World War II and later revolutionized scultpure and art education. 

Courtesy of Cara Black

San Francisco author Cara Black reads from her new book, "Three Hours in Paris."

San Francisco author C Pam Zhang reads from her new novel, "How Much of These Hills Is Gold."

Lafayette author Claudia Hagadus Long reads from her new murder mystery, "Nine Tenths of the Law."

South Bay author Beth Lisick reads from her new novel, "Edie on the Green Screen."

Oakland Roots SC

The Oakland Roots soccer team are in the semifinals for the National Independent Soccer Association championship. Their home games are about much more than the sport. Fans come to celebrate Oakland. We hear sounds of Oakland Roots games — from the local cumbia bands to Eritrean pop and hip hop.