We have a busy schedule ahead of us in the next few weeks, oh yes, yes we do!  The summer is off and crackin’ and this weekend finds us beautifully overwhelmed with wonderful things to do.  Get out your best ‘fits so you can look fly at any or all these events.  It is time for flirty fun.  I am so grateful to have had a chance to speak with the indomitable Sonya Renee Taylor this week about her crowd funding #WhenWeSayYes project,  you can read more about her and the campaign in my interview with her.  I review Centouno, a new Italian joint in the Jack London area (hint it is beyond delish).  Finally, Ursula Rucker is coming to Oakland for the first time EVER next week.  YES that Ursula Rucker, one of the premier spoken word recording artist in the music industry.    She has five solo albums as well as collaboration on over 50 songs with producers and artists from around the world  such as King Brit, Bahamadia, The Roots, 4 Hero, Jazzanova, Louie Vega and Inconito and we got her at a new spot in Oakland called Leo’s Music Club.  So you see what I mean when I tell you that you are going to be beautifully overwhelmed.  Let’s Go!

Miz Chris [MC]:  Where are you from? 

Sonya Renee Taylor [SRT]:  I was born in Delaware, most of my family is from Pittsburgh, PA but my dad was in the military so we moved tons.  I consider myself from a “little bit of everywhere”

tbinaa logo[MC]:  How did the Body Is Not An Apology get its start?

[SRT]:  On February 9, 2011,I posted a selfie of myself in a saucy black corset. I was clear that my big brown body was not supposed to be seen or sexy but I posted it anyway. This terribly frightening act was birthed from the outlandishly simple idea that I and no other humans should be ashamed of their bodies.  Less than 24 hours after posting that picture a movement was born.  People across the country began posting their own pictures and stories.  Folks began sharing photos of empowered, perfectly imperfect bodies, shaped by differences in, size, race, ability, gender, age, sexual orientation  etc. Even still they were willing to exist unapologetically for just that moment.

Since that profile picture in February, The Body Is Not An Apology has been a refuge for hundreds of thousands of people who have joined this movement of unapologetic radical self love and body empowerment.  Refusing to be held hostage by the Body Terrorism of the media, Unapologetic Posse members as far away as New Zealand, Thailand, India and more have committed to dismantling personal shame and developing a new relationship with their bodies and spirits that is absent of apology.

[MC]:  You are currently doing a crowd funding campaign for a global online hub for the Body Is Not An Apology, tell us a little more about your plans and goals for Raise the Roof: Cal Shakes 40th Anniversary Galathis online hub.

[SRT]:  Our goal with this campaign is to build the world’s most comprehensive information, education, and community-building website for radical self-love! This site will include:

•    A Radical Self-Love International News Source. (Think HuffPo for Radical Self-Love!)
•    A Radical Self-Love Social Network and Forum. (Think Facebook for Radical Self-Love!)
•    An Online Course Platform. (Think Harvard.edu for Radical Self-Love!)
•    A Site-Based Webinar System. (Think Oprah’s Life Class online for Radical Self-Love!)
•    Coaching, Curriculum, and Community Support for you to live your most amazing radically unapologetic life

We envision this site as a place where people can connect, discuss, and build on the work of radical self-love. a resource that gives you online courses, coaching, and webinars from the convenience of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and a platform that expands and bridges the way we talk about self love and justice, illuminating and connecting issues of race, sexuality, disability, aging, gender, size, mental health etc.
We want to take this grassroots movement and transform it into the Number One online location for worldwide radical self-love!

[MC]:  Why do you think the global community needs an online space like the one you are trying to create?

yes[SRT]:  We need this space because we believe that discrimination, social inequality, and injustice are manifestations of our inability to make peace with our own bodies and those of others. Through information dissemination, transformational education, coaching, and community building, The Body is Not An Apology fosters global, radical, unapologetic self-love that translates to radical human love and action toward a more just, equitable, and compassionate world. Creating this space is about saying YES to the possibility of truly impacting the world by starting with radically shifting how we treat ourselves!

When We Say YES! to Radical Self Love, we own our beauty, love our scars, and heal our shame, knowing that when we do, we give others permission to do the same.

When We Say YES! to Radical Self-Love, we ensure that no/body is invisible and that every/body is welcome in a world of inclusion, mutual support, and justice.

When We Say YES! to Radical Self-Love, we create an intersectional, global, difference-celebrating movement in which age, race, size, gender identity, dis/ability, mental health status, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, culture, and all other ways of being are assets toward unapologetic living.

When We Say YES! to Radical Self-Love, we create sustainable social change, community, and personal well-being.

I am clear the world NEEDS an Unapologetic Space where we can say YES to radical self love!

[MC]:  What has been the most impactful to you personally about your creation the Body Is Not An Apology?SUN HAT

[SRT]:  Everyday people from all over the globe (literally) share their messages of healing and transformation with me.  Watching how this work changes people’s lives, changes my life.  I am not at some destination perfect of radical self love.  Everyday I have to exercise the muscle of living unapologetically in this black, queer, fat body.  This movement and this community helps me make the choice daily because I know I am not alone!

Help Fund The Body is Not An Apology’s #WhenWeSayYES Crowdfunding Campaign. Click Here.
Let’s Build the World’s Most Comprehensive Radical Self Love Website!
Because what happens #WhenWeSayYES is…We Change the World!
10383545_10152956125378626_6477185823841330670_nMatatu Film Festival
Impact Hub Oakland
2323 Broadway, Oakland
info + tickets
film tickets available at the door
We invite you to come aboard the Matatu Film Festival, exploring some of the world’s most spectacular stories in some of Oakland’s newest spaces. The four day experience presents some of the most highly anticipated films from the most elite festivals around the world.Our opening selection this year is THE GREAT FLOOD – a film about The Great Flood of 1927, forcing the workforce of Africans in America to the west. A talk with PolicyLink CEO/Founder Angela Glover Blackwell and San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell precedes the film.The two will have a candid conversation about the intersection of policy and the arts, and their significance on the economic vitality of communities. Seating is limited for this highly anticipated talk, one of Mr. Blackwell’s first since his departure as Interim City Administrator for the City of Oakland.For more details, and to secure your ticket, please visit www.matatufestival.org
ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL founded PolicyLink in 1999 and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity.

FRED BLACKWELL is a visionary leader working to ensure shared prosperity, innovation, and equity in the Bay Area.
10527539_10101676327887407_2165854846424926172_nWORMHOLE WEDNESDAY
The New Parish
1743 San Pablo, Oakland
9pm-3am $5
Oakland’s Bass Music Weekly
Dedicated to presenting only the best in bass heavy music, intelligent lighting, and psychedelic projection visuals.
Brought to you by Wormhole SF Bay Area, The Likquid Projekt, Forever Endeavor, Synthetic Pulse, and Lost in Sound



BITCH PLZ ( Miss Haze x Corrine)

Shadow Spirit

Tummy Talk


20x20Visual Kaleidoscopics and Projection Mapping by Digital IntrospectLights and lasers by The Likquid Projekt

2181 Shattuck Ave. Berkely
8pm – 11pm sharp

always free always the jam





Every 3rd Thursday at Jupiter, LadyRyan brings you a special selection of her favorite and CHOICE CUTS, plus a dynamic vocal performance magically weaved into her 3 hour set.What makes this event special is that Jupiter has its own brewery, a large and awesome outdoor patio, great food AND of course, great tunes.

Come see for yourself 🙂
♥ music

10257593_10152238040584833_2930251288895363808_oGo Deep: Let’s Wrestle
657 Harrison St, SF
Sign ups & Burlesque 7pm
Wrestling Begins at 8pm

GA seats: $15
VIP seats: $50

The moment you’ve all been waiting for, Red Hots Burlesque SF’s Best Bump and Grind is back with a bigger space, sensational sight lines and the most insane ALL GIRL LUBE WRESTLING PARTY. You can come and watch or be a part of the action.
This is a QUEER space and we are offering lots of free tickets to our favorite queers. Get in touch and find out how you can get in on the action!Seating: Due to feedback from the last event we are trying something new! ALL seats GA. If you would prefer a bed please arrive early to request one. They will be given on a 1st come 1st serve basis. EXCEPT! 10 RINGSIDE Seats. These seats will be facing the pool and the audience. You will be inches from the pool!
Ruby Vixen, chanteuse
The Ring Masters: Barbary Doll
Hostesses Dottie Lux
DJ- Ruby White spins bubble gum, garage rock, girl groups and more
10462441_831558576856690_1114384279857834993_nCulture F*ck
Show and Tell
1427 Broadway, Oakland
Cost: Donate what you can- everything goes to the artist and Show & Tell Concept Shop!
Hey Love Bugs, June is over!!!!!!! We made it through that big queer mountain of glitter and pride and to enjoy 11 more months of (for some of us) a slightly toned down, gentle queer hill of glitter and pride (and for others of us, spontaneous poetry cyphers atop gigantic mountains of books). Either way, CULTURE FUCK is back and we’ve got a great season of phenomenal artists lined up for you. Remember, this is an open mic, so bring your new writings, expressions, and sounds to share in a loving, supportive, feminist, queer-centric, anti-opprssive space.First feature up is the phenomenally talented, gorgeous, songstress AhSa-Ti Nu Tyehimba-Ford!!!!Arrive at 7:00pm to meet your host, shop the store, eat/drink, socialize, and sign up for the performance list. Performances will begin at 7:30pm. Heads up: first come, first served!You are welcome to perform spoken word, poetry, music, dance, comedy, theatre, and prose. Please bring your zines, books, chapbooks, or edible merchandise to offer for donation or to freely distribute!
10526046_10154309159940065_4760709304198225189_nMark de Clive-Lowe’s
Album Launch
Oakland Edition
The New Parish
1743 San Pablo, Oakland
$12 – $15
CHURCH is Mark de Clive-Lowe’s LA/NYC clubnight party that he describes as “equal parts jazz club, electronic remix experiment and dance party”. It tells the story of his personal musical trajectory over the course of a night. Featuring a delicious combination of Mark’s favorite musicians, singers, MCs, DJs and surprise guests, CHURCH has made the rounds worldwide and the heads all agree, it’s incredibly special. The new album by the same name has captured the vibe of the live show as well as ears and hearts of our global musichead community. It’s beautiful. Bananas Inc. is trilled to invite you to this very special event at The New Parish. We can’t wait to hear this album performed LIVE!
MARK de CLIVE-LOWE – will be joined on the live stage by guests…
JOSIEL PEREZ HERNANDEZ (Orlando ‘Maraca’ Valle)
JOSH JOHNSON (Thelonious Monk Institute)
BEN SHEPHERD (ScHoolboy Q/Kendrick Lamar)
NIA ANDREWS (Kelis/Janelle Monae)
HARVEY MASON (Herbie Hancock/Mizell Brothers)
+ft. DJs Cali & Cecil (thePeople Oakland)
10504858_790962210936206_8737343045153677814_oQueer Qumbia
La Estrellita Cafe
446 E 12th St, Oakland
Queer Qumbia is political project that brings us together around musica tropical – cumbia, merengue, salsa, nortenas, banda. We aim to create a queer and trans-inclusive, poc-centered dance benefit to raise awareness of issues impacting our communities, proceeds support the work of organizations and groups.
About Street Level Health Project
SLHP is an Oakland based grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of under served immigrant communities in the bay area. Our community center is an entry point to the health care and social services system for those mostly overlooked and neglected, namely the uninsured and recently arrived. Our services include access to a free health screening clinic, food program services and the worker-led collaborative Oakland Worker’s Collective.
40x45010409737_794090677270795_8836932911039050982_nNIA Extravaganza
Oakland Masonic Center
3903 Broadway, Oakland
$40 – Singles
$70 – Couples
$240 – Table
$45 – At Door

A Fundraiser for Members, Friends & Allies“Dress to Impress!”Join us for an elegant night of dinner & dancingEntertainment ~ Raffle Drawings ~ & More!


DeejayLady Ryan Spinning and Live Jazz by Blakwomyn Quartet

Catering by Simply Bliss Catering & Events Owner Chef Yulanda Hendrix

The “purpose” of NIA Collective is to collectively build a network through self-definition, self-acceptance and acceptance of each other as lesbians, as people of African descent and as women.

Proceeds to benefit NIA Collective’s education and scholarship funds

* Event Open to All*

A Queer Milonga
Finnish Brotherhood Hall
1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley
$15 General
$7 Students with ID
$7 Never-been-to-a-milonga Special
Every 3rd Saturday of the month, we dance high and happy, every kindred under the sun, at Abrazo, the queer milonga and July, sweet beautiful July, we will dance to the music of Cristian Sierra our guest DJ, take flight in a pre-mionga lesson with Cristian and Fernanda, AND——-We will have a special, for one night only, performance by the queer tango dancers who are competing in the 2014 Gay Games in Ohio. This will be a beautiful night to see our dancers shine!We welcome all, to come dance with us! Saturday, July 19th. And special thank you to Andrea, Citabria and Auriel our mighty beautiful hosts on this special night!7-8 pm: Beginner’s/Fundamentals lesson with Cristian y Fernanda of http://www.feeltango.com/ These two beautiful, heartfelt dancers and teachers have a magic way of bringing tango back to it’s stunning core while helping all students find their dance! Come take a lesson and FEEL TANGO!
8-11 pm: Guest DJ Cristian—goodness does this man know his music. It’s a joy to listen to him rock the house, oh the way will dance my kindred!
9:30 pm: Gay Games Tango Performance!**No partner required. No experience necessary**Friendly dancers from the queer tango community are available to dance with beginners and newcomers throughout the night.20x20For our guests with chemical sensitivities, please refrain from using perfumes and such. Thank you.Work trade is available.All profits from this event benefits the Queer Tango Teachers Fund.
Come dance into happy with us
811 Washington Ave, Oakland

We are still high from last month’s pride after party! So many beautiful people were in attendance, thank you for celebrating with us. Just wait until you see the pictures!!!We are keeping the momentum going his month as well. We have special guest DJ DC aka DC is Chillin’ from KMEL rocking the house with our Queen resident DJ DeejayLady Ryan!


Your hostess with the mostess Chaney Turner aka Social Life keeping it lit on the mic!  Cancers represent! If you would like to celebrate your bday, anniversary, any special occasion or order bottle service. Send email to sociallife510@gmail.com


Check out our extended hours, doors now open at 4pm and the party doesn’t end til 10pm! As usual we ask that you arrive early to avoid the lines. This party hits capacity!

101 Broadway
(510) 433-5030
Centouno was a revelation.  I have been looking for my kind of Italian eatery, one that reminds me of New York Italian restaurants with a hint of the Old Country and a West Coast flair.  I have been searching for SIX long years.  It’s been a long time with mediocre Italian food so I have to say I didn’t have high hopes that Centouno would be any different.  I could not have been more wrong.  I have found my Italian nirvana.  But before I continue to wax poetic about the food let me give you a quick review of the ambiance…. it is flawless.  Although we went in the middle of the day, it is beautifully appointed and you can tell that under night lights it has a cozy feel of a tavern.  The booths are big and comfy, which as a girl with a big butt I highly appreciate.  It’s the kinda place that you want to sit and sip wine well into the middle of the night.  The waitstaff is awesome.  Attentive but not pushy and knowledgeable about the menu without being obnoxious.  Even if the food wasn’t spectacular (and it is) the feeling of this place would be great to enjoy in the company of family, friends and lovers.
IMG_7422Now let’s get to the good stuff.  And good stuff it is!  We asked our waiter for his recommendation for a dish we should not miss.  He recommended the we try the newly added Fettuccine Alfredo.  My dinner companion was hesitant as was I since we are not a big fans of the white sauce.  But we were here to try the food so we decided to go for it.  I am so glad we did.  This dish was so incredibly delicious.  The sauce was so delicate, not heavy as I am accustomed to with the perfect blend of flavors from the prosciutto, asparagus and Parmesan.  No matter what else you get at Centouno make sure you get this dish you will not be disappointed.
IMG_7418 copyI am a sucker for good lasagne.  But I have been spoiled by my Italian friends and their mother’s making me homemade lasagne so it is very rare that I find a lasagne in any restaurant that I think is amazing.  I haven’t actually had a good lasagne since I move to the Bay over six years ago.  Well now I have a spot.  When I am craving a really good lasagne I don’t have to look any further than Centouno.  The noodles were not mushy but delicately firm (as they should be).  The Italian sausage had just the right amount of spiciness to give the sauce the perfect punch.  And the cheese, the CHEESE was perfectly gooey and really brought all the flavors together in your mouth.  I give this this lasagne two big thumbs up!
I was so excited about the entrees that I forgot about the appetizer and trust me you don’t want to forget this appetizer.   It is called IMG_7417 copygnocchi on the appetizer section of the menu but it isn’t potato gnocchi (although they have that for an entree).   It was three polenta rounds one topped with prosciutto, the second with mushrooms and the third with marina.  We were so excited to taste it that we forgot to take a picture of the full plate but managed to get a pic of the mushroom polenta round.  This appetizer was the perfect savory start to the meal.  Even if you don’t normally like polenta, like myself, it is really, really delicious and worth the order.
IMG_7423 copyFinally we ended the meal with Crema Catalana a tasty dessert of egg custard with caramelized sugar topped with a homemade whipped cream and strawberries and a HUGE slice of Tiramisu.   I have only one thing to say about these two desserts.  SAVE ROOM FOR THE DESSERT!  It is totally worth it.  Even if you are too full, I suggest you take it home with you.  It is that good!
Centuono opened in December 2013 and I can’t believe it took me seven months to find this place.  But now that I have trust me this is going to be one of my go to places in Oakland for really good Italian food, great atmosphere and great service.  It should be one of yours too.

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