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Favorite local events of 2014

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DECEMBER 15, 2014

From Berkeley to Oakland to the bright lights of San Francisco, the Bay Area housed some of the most inspired and creative events in 2014. Here, in no particular order, are the top picks as selected by the arts & entertainment department at The Daily Californian.

Mayhem Music Festival
2014 marked the second year of Mayhem, Oakland’s juried competition and music festival for local musicians. The public was invited to nominate Oakland bands and solo artists online for best song or music video, and they were then judged by an all-star jury of local music professionals. Prizes included studio time as well as a coveted slot at a listening and screening party at Awaken Cafe. This listening party this year featured Jamming Nachos (Best Song by Under-18 Band), Ted the Block (Best Song by Solo Artist), Billie Gayle (Best Song by SF/Bay Area Band) and Waterstrider (Best Song by Band), as well as screenings for music videos by Kill Freeman (Best Music Video) and the Seshen (Best in Show). This year’s assortment of performers was eclectic and chock-full of musical talent, raising more community awareness for the vast and varied Oakland music scene and all the while connecting musicians with each other and with fans.
Madeline Wells

See the full review here


Bay Area Record Fair
In September, the Bay Area Record Fair — also known as BARF — took to the streets with a farmers’ market-style block party adjacent to Thee Parkside Nightclub in San Francisco. From the spritely animated comics of the Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club to the classic vinyl pressings of legendary Bay Area label’s Fat Wreck Records, BARF was the ultimate melting pot of local music. The scene attracted the Bay Area’s tightly knit DIY community as well as devout record collectors. With performances from a handful of local acts, including the newly dubbed hometown heroes Happy Diving, BARF was far from upchuck-worthy. Attend the event next year, and you’ll be throwing up your hands in disbelief, thrilled that you’ve finally scouted a pressing of that limited edition Cabbage Patch Kids soundtrack you’ve always wanted to spin on your Crosley … because that’s what the cool kids are doing these days, right?
Rosemarie Alejandrino

See the full recap here


Treasure Island Music Festival
For those who haven’t gone to a music festival before, Treasure Island is a good place to start. Usually taking place every October at San Francisco’s Treasure Island — big surprise — the festival is Outside Lands’ chill counterpart. With two stages and staggered performances, the festival caters to its attendees, allowing them to listen to every act and get close to the stage without having to shove through hordes of other concert-goers. This year, Treasure Island Music Festival was headlined by alt-J, Massive Attack, Chet Faker, Outkast and Zedd, with many other awesome acts performing as well. The best part? Different types of art were on display throughout the venue, ranging from graffiti murals to 40-foot-tall sculptures. Oh, and the captivating view of San Francisco’s cityscape didn’t hurt, either.
Joshua Gu

See the full recap here


Ai Weiwei installation art at Alcatraz
Far off in the middle of the bay, Alcatraz Island stands as one of the most thought-provoking tourist sites in San Francisco. Alcatraz offers a window into mid-20th century prison life — and now, into today’s system of incarceration. Contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has installed seven pieces throughout the island for his exhibition, “@Large,” put on by the For-Site Foundation. Weiwei is an internationally renowned art star who produces work situated at the intersection of art and activism.

Always powerful and controversial, Weiwei’s work has brought him face to face with the prison institution. He was imprisoned in China and had his passport taken away by law enforcement. Weiwei has never visited Alcatraz and created his installation remotely in Beijing. Although Weiwei will never get to see “@Large” in its completion, his thoughtful and always critical presence shines potently through what has become the must-see art show of the year.
Anna Carey

See the full review here

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DECEMBER 15, 2014