Conflict between street artists reveals deep tension in a changing city

If you’ve lived in San Francisco in recent years, you know about the honey bear. These cute, stenciled icons are smattered on building exteriors throughout the city. Sometimes, the honey bear wears a cozy beanie. Other times, it’s disguised with 3D goggles and popcorn. Recently, it’s been spotted wearing a Black Lives Matter sweatshirt and mask in response to Covid-19.

For many, the honey bears are a harmless, fun splash of pop art — a symbol of San Francisco’s quirky art scene and the city’s playful appeal. The artist behind the bears, who remains anonymous and is known simply as…


At the same time, we’re needed more than ever

I had never taught Tatiana before. Yet, after a Latinx student meeting in Oakland, the 12th grader unexpectedly embraced me, crying: “You’re the first Mexican teacher I’ve seen at this school; I just wanted to say thank you.”

Translation: I’ve never seen someone like you in a position of academic importance.

I understood Tatiana. In my years as a student in Bay Area schools from kindergarten through high school, I only had one male teacher of color amid a stampede of mostly white women. This isn’t just a Bay Area problem, of course. My nine-year teaching career has allowed me…


Liquified Juicery is making good-for-you drinks in the East Bay

There’s a big difference between San Francisco’s Richmond District, and the city of Richmond, California.

The former is located in a global destination and has abundant access to resources like wealth, healthy eating, and diverse outdoor activities. The other, however, is just north of Oakland — in an industrial section of the East Bay, where a Chevron refinery regularly spews toxic smoke and oil into the atmosphere, in an area known as “The Iron Triangle.”

Walk around here and you’ll see more McDonald’s and Pizza Huts than produce markets or gardens.

For half a decade, I’ve lived on the San…


Revisiting one of the greatest icons in NBA history, and how he has impacted my understanding of survival in America

There’s something inexplicably impossible about Allen Iverson, even in 2021 — 11 years after his retirement from basketball.

There’s no crossover here, just this simple fact: Iverson is someone who shouldn’t exist. But he does.

Undersized, dismissed, overlooked, misunderstood. A star athlete who was caught up in a draconian U.S. legal system as a youth; a troubled Virginia teen who universities revoked offer letters from because they feared he was “a thug”; negative media attention throughout his complicated career as an NBA superstar.

Yet, I believed in Iverson. And he believed in himself, too. He was, after all, unbelievably confident…


The Brooklyn superstar lashes out against his own Nike shoe, yet continues to profit off the things he hates

Kyrie Irving has become one of the most polarizing figures in recent — if not all-time — NBA lore. Although the Australian-born, former №1 draft pick out of Duke University has always been known for his deadly handles on the hardwood (search any highlight clip with his name on YouTube), in recent years he has been blasted for his lack of handling social topics with as much smoothness and grace.

There’s that ever-infamous time when he claimed the world was flat, then later apologized (a theory that was first dispelled by Eratosthenes in 240 BC when he somehow estimated the…


Why Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood is worth a boozy detour

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly missed the art and magic of exploring the world. There’s just something inexplicably satisfying about being caught between your anticipation, your learning, and your discovery of what’s out there by stumbling into the unknown with a group of strangers.

It’s even better when that discovery involves world-famous barbecue, a wide selection of craft beers, and a variety of floral options — all in one place.

If you’ve never been to Charlotte, North Carolina, no one would blame you. Although it’s the 4th-fastest growing city in the United States, it’s located in that…


This Black-owned arts organization creates community and showcases local talent year-round

You can’t talk about the East Bay Area without mentioning the art. And you can’t mention the art without mentioning the rooted community. And if you’re talking about the community, you need to mention this area’s historical commitment to social justice, self-empowerment, and revolutionary ideals—exemplified by individuals like Huey P. Newton and Chinaka Hodge, two of the region’s most brilliant minds who’ve reached audiences worldwide with their messages of truth.

Add to that list Andre Jones. More commonly known by his alias, Natty Rebel, the Richmond-based artist is the founder and director of the Bay Area Mural Program, one of…


What the classic venue is providing in a post-pandemic world, and how to get tickets

“Y’all better party like you were stuck in hell for the past 15 months… this is the new roaring twenties,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed shouted into the microphone at the 2021 Stern Grove Festival — which kicked off on the first day of summer, Sunday, June 20th. “San Francisco is back, Stern Grove is back!”

The crowd didn’t need much coaxing to get moving into this familiar normalcy, either.

Folks stood up, howled, mingled, laughed, and danced — masks off — for the entirety of the three-hour event. In many ways, it was the perfect inauguration of our post-pandemic…


How the №1 Draft Pick epitomizes a lovable, inconsistent, and ultra-talented 19-year-old’s potential to grow up off the court

I love basketball. But I also love working with young people. I mean that literally. For ten years, I was a public high school teacher serving schools in Louisiana, Massachusetts and my home-state, California, as an English Language Arts teacher.

I spent every waking minute for the entirety of my decade as a 20-year-old as a Teach For America graduate working with teens in need across the country. Thousands of them. Kids that were often brilliant and creative and inspiring; others who were loud and dismissive; and even more were simply quiet, uncertain, and still searching for themselves.

Every once…


How J. Cole’s “The Off-Season,” the NBA Play-In, and the return of fans inside arenas mark a historic intersection for modern hoops

On Friday night, J. Cole — the rapper and avid hoop fanatic — released his sixth studio album, The Off-Season, to a raucous internet audience. A highly anticipated drop, the project features an all-star roster of teammates — including Cam’ron, 21 Savage, Lil’ John, 6LACK, Lil’ Baby and Dreamville’s own, Bas — while still carving out plenty of iso space for Cole to go to work and flex his skills across a variety of 90s- and trap-inspired instrumentals.

I admit the album didn’t hook me on my first listen. I was expecting more from the rap veteran at this stage…

Alan Chazaro

Bay Area writer, blogger, teacher. Books: Piñata Theory (2020); This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (2019). Twitter + IG: @alan_chazaro

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