Arts | KALW


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Oakland author Mary Monroe has been captivating her readers with juicy storylines and unforgettable characters for decades. Her latest novel “Across the Way” is about two neighboring couples who are both friends and enemies living in 1930s Alabama.

Global events designer Edward Perotti put his glamorous touch on affairs for celebrities and corporations. He talks about how he went from being a shy San Francisco kid to planning luxurious parties in Hollywood, the Great Wall of China, and beyond.

Book tours have been canceled since shelter-in-place began, so we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one is from Oakland author Emily Pilloton reading from her new book, "Girls Garage." 

Jenee Darden

"Hamilton" has found new fans now that it’s streaming on Disney+. Before the pandemic, high school students attended a special matinee of the musical. They performed their own work on stage and told stories of some people left out of history books.

Holly J. McDede

A few weeks ago, University Press Books in Berkeley announced it would shut for good after nearly 50 years in the business. Now, the remaining East Bay independent bookshops  are turning to the community to hold on. 

Book tours have been canceled while we're sheltered-in-place, so we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one is from San Francisco author Jaimal Yogis reading from his new children’s picture book, "Mop Rides the Waves of Life."

Courtesy of Seth Eisen

Seth Eisen’s OUT of Site, is a theater project where audiences follow actors around the streets of San Francisco and watch them perform at locations in LGBTQ+ history. Audiences will have fun on their next history lesson virtually in OUT of Site: SOMA

While we're sheltered in place, we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. This one features San Francisco author Anne Raeff reading from her new book, "Only the River."

Public Domain

Bonnie Pointer, one of the founding members of Oakland's legendary Pointer Sisters, died yesterday, at 69 years old. After years singing choir music in their home town, Bonnie and her sister June started performing in San Francisco in 1969. When their sister Anita joined them soon after, they made music history.

Sarchasm is a Berkeley-based band that’s been together for a decade. They’ve used their music to work through challenges, spread political messages, and support each other.

While we're sheltered in place, we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. Today, we're featuring San Anselmo-based author Kate Milliken reading from her  new novel, "Kept Animals."

While we're sheltered in place, we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. Today, we're featuring Oakland author Melanie Abrams reading from her new book, "Meadowlark."

While we're sheltered in place, we’re bringing Bay Area author readings to you as part of our "New Arrivals" series. Today, we're featuring Oakland author Adrien Aster reading from their new dystopian sci-fi thriller, "Loving R-thur."

Miss Lopez Media

When rapper Call Me Ace isn’t grinding at his YouTube job, he’s on the mic dropping positive lyrics about life and adulthood. His latest EP is ironically titled 'Working From Home.'

Courtesy of Casey Kamali

May is mental health awareness month. It's an issue for people of all ages, including teenagers. According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. And the rate is increasingA Los Gatos teen who experienced challenges of her own started a podcast to give her peers struggling with mental health issues a voice. 

April is National Poetry Month, and for some poetry helps make sense of the world. M.K. Chavez writes poetry that reflects on what’s going on in society and inside of herself.

Chavez is the author of "Mothermorphosis" and "Dear Animal," Her work has been honored by PEN Oakland and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation among others. In this interview she talks about themes in her writing such as nature and her mother’s battle with schizophrenia. 

Click the play button above to listen.

Courtesy of Cecilia Pena-Govea

Cecilia Peña-Govea is La Doña. She is a Chicana artist whose music explores themes of romance, feminism, and identity. In this edition of Bay Area Beats, La Doña talks about finding her sound in San Francisco’s diverse Latinx communities.

Dennis Hearne

Many Bay Area book release parties have been canceled while we're sheltered-in-place, so we’re bringing books to you in a series we’re calling "New Arrivals." Today, we're featuring San Francisco author Alia Voltz. Listen to a documentary on the story behind her new book, "Home Baked," here.

Courtesy of Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones has been electrifying stages around the Bay Area with her music and poetry. She is the lead singer of the soul/funk band No Lovely Thing. Melissa talks about how her Oakland roots and being a black woman influence her work.

Julia M. Cameron/

Schools are closed, and Zoom is the new classroom for thousands of Bay Area students. We'll discuss how local school districts are handling distance learning, get tips from teachers and hear about what we can do to create equitable learning experiences for all. We'll also get a update on the lastest local pandemic developments and hear a specially composed reflection on life in the coronavirus era by Bay Area novelist Vanessa Hua.

San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Anna Hillburg has played in countless bands over the past 20 years. In this edition of Bay Area Beats, Anna shares how her experiences in the city contributed influenced her latest album, "Really Real."

Toni Morrison once said that in chaotic times is when artists must go to work. Theaters, concert halls, and other event venues are shut down. But that isn't stopping Bay Area artists from shining on the virtual stage.

Magic Magic Roses' Meditations On Nature

Mar 25, 2020
Courtesy of Magic Magic Roses

Sarah Simon and Kate Sweeney met over ten years ago through boyfriends at a dinner party. They first began playing Jimmie Rodgers covers in Sarah's living room and eventually made their first album there too, experimenting with at-home recording. Inspired by California's landscape, the duo makes meditative folk music, refencing blades of grass, beaches, canyons and valleys. 

Courtesy of Vanessa Rochelle

Vanessa Rochelle Lewis was bullied for her appearance and sexuality. She redefined ugly to mean Uplift Glorify Love Yourself. Vanessa is the founder of Reclaim UGLY, a movement that helps people heal from “uglification” and celebrate their beauty.

Courtesy of Mary Ellen Donald

When Mary Ellen Donald was eight years old, she fell in love with the piano. Around that same time, she was also diagnosed with macular degeneration, which means she would gradually lose her eyesight. That didn’t stop her ambition. 

Lynn Lane

In 1611, Nur Jahan was 34, widowed, and a single mother when she married the Mughal emperor. She rose to power in India, but years later story faded from people’s memories. Farah Yasmeen Shaikh is telling her legacy in the show "The Forgotten Empress."

Jeremy Fish

Once upon a time in Gold Rush-era San Francisco a businessman amassed a fortune, then lost it all and went insane. His next move? He declared himself Emperor of the United States. 

Fernando Gambaroni


Sara Moore gives people the gift of laughter through the art of clowning. And clowning has been self-empowering for them when it comes to gender. Sara’s character is out of this world in "The Supers: A Science-Fiction Magical Realism Human Cartoon Opera."

Courtesy of Carina Ho

In this edition of Bay Area Beats, we hear from Oakland musician Carina Ho. Carina studied ballet and played in bands for most of her life but never considered a serious career in the arts. A traumatic accident in 2014 changed that and set her on a brand new path. 

Courtesy of Helkina

San Francisco drag queen Heklina is ending “Mother,” the long-running weekly show that she hosts at Oasis.