Such Freedoms
7:00 PM19:00

Such Freedoms

Join PEN Oakland at the The Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland, CA on 8/12/17 at 7pm for readings by Lisa Gray, Sara Campos, Dee Allen, Nanette Deetz and Erika M. Martinez -- plus music by ELVTD, Modern Kicks and Lawson Navarro. Come get your free PEN Oakland t-shirt while supplies last.

Moderated by Tony R. Rodriguez.

View Event →
Oakland Book Festival
10:00 AM10:00

Oakland Book Festival

The Oakland Book Festival is a one-day, annual literary event. Dedicated to books, ideas, and the pleasures of literacy, it aims to serve the reading public, to encourage debate, and to celebrate the City of Oakland. It will host more than ninety writers in 2017 and is free and open to the public.

View Event →
Events Archive 1990-2016
5:00 PM17:00

Events Archive 1990-2016

Oakland Book Festival
“East Bay Poetics: Love & Duty”
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Oakland City Hall

Many poets are consumed by the heavy demands of their daily professions— some becoming cyclic grunts of an all too brutal workforce that eats away at the time they need to write. Nonetheless, they find time to compose their intricate verses. Poetry writing is their trade. It is both their love and their duty.

Readers:  Elmaz Abinader, Sharon Coleman, Sharon Doubiago, Claire Ortalda, Floyd Salas, and Al Young

Moderator:  Tony R. Rodriguez

Oakland Book Festival
“The Manhattanization of Oakland’s Literary Scene”
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Oakland City Hall

Oakland's long and illustrious literary tradition includes Ina Coolbrith, Jack London, Gertrude Stein, Floyd Salas, and many others. But is Oakland’s current literary scene truly a mirror reflection of Oakland, or is there a growing push by a conglomerate of literary moguls to “Manhattanize” Oakland’s literary culture?­ And is the result diversity—or tokenism?

Panelists:  Judy Juanita, Tennessee Reed, Floyd Salas, and Al Young
Moderator:  Tony R. Rodriguez


Fightin’ Words Celebration
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Berkeley City College

Book reading co-sponsored by Poetry Flash celebrating the release of “Fighin’ Words”.

Readers:  Sharon Doubiago, Floyd Salas, Mary Mackey, Jack & Adelle Foley, Lucille Lang Day, Claire Ortalda, Kirk Lumpkin, Tony R. Rodriguez, Richard Silberg, devorah major, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez

Moderator:  Sharon Coleman

"Short Plays,"      September 13, 17 & 18, 2009

In September of 2009, the second part of PEN Oakland’s Playwright series took place at the Live Oak Theater in Berkeley. “We have the Northern California Book Awards through PEN Oakland,” said Kim McMillon in The Berkeley Daily Planet, “with these two series, we’ve wanted to give local playwrights a chance, too. When Ishmael Reed and others set up PEN Oakland, it was to give voice to those not often heard, those marginalized, who represent a whole audience.” The Boy, The Girl and the Piece of Chocolate was written by Jack Foley and directed by Lewis Campbell. The play examines how one piece of chocolate can portray an entire relationship as its two characters battle over who gets to eat the last piece of chocolate. Firing Blanks and Moving Targets was written by Doug Howerton and directed by Michael Lange. This play follows the group MOVE in its opposition to the technological age and to the cruelty of animals by our inhuman procedures. The Remember Woman of Una was written and directed by Tennessee Reed. This one-woman show is a supernatural, science fiction myth. The Trial of Christopher Columbus was written by John Curl and directed by Kim McMillon. Set in Columbus’ dungeon cell, this drama examines the explorer’s misdeeds towards the Native American population. 

"4 x 4 Plays, Staged Readings,"      March 14 & 15, 2009

In March of 2009, PEN Oakland and California College of the Arts presented four play performances at Live Oak Theatre in Berkeley, California.  Under the Burning White Sky, written by Boadiba and directed by Carla Blank, is a poetic rendering of the history and magic of Haiti. The Murder of Mother Mike, written by Claire Ortalda and directed by Carla Blank, is an intense psychological drama where words have the power to bully, distance, heal, and perhaps kill. In Jack in Ghost-Town, written by Gerald Nicosia and directed by Hal Gelb, Beat novelist Jack Kerouac is haunted by the colorful personages from his past. Bathroom Graffiti Queen, written by Opal Palmer Adisa and directed by Carla Blank, is the story of a homeless woman who becomes the “Dear Abby” of a public restroom.

"Oakland Literature Expo,"      September 3-5, 2005

Kim McMillon, playwright, producer, and PEN Oakland publicist, produced the three-day 5th annual Oakland Literature Expo, which PEN Oakland helped sponsor.  Events included “Poetry, Prose & Spoken Word”; Avotcja & Modupue, Jazz, Blues, and Poetry; an Oakland Author panel; a Publishing Panel; reading and talk by Bryan Au, author of the best selling book Raw in Ten Minutes; “Red Bird Giving,” Native American music and poetry; the American Book Awards, established and presented by the Beore Columbus Foundation; and “Literature Without Borders.” 

"In Conversation with Political Authors,"      December 4, 2004

“In Conversation with Political Authors,” sponsored by PEN Oakland in conjunction with, the LEF Foundation, and KTOP & Worldlink, included a dinner at Twist Restaurant in Oakland, California, followed by a panel of nine political authors. The speakers were Kim McMillon, playwright and producer; Vice Mayor Nancy J. Nadel, elected in 1996 and then again in 2000, to the Oakland City Council; Floyd Salas, president of PEN Oakland and critically acclaimed author of six books; Norman Solomon, executive director at the Institute for Public Accuracy, a nationwide consortium of public-policy researches; Dori Maynard, daughter of the late Bob Maynard and the first African American to own a major metropolitan newspaper, the Oakland Tribune; Ishmael Reed, playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist; Iris Chang, author of Thread of the Silkwormand the New York Times best-seller The Rape of Nanking; Daniel Ellsberg, who, in 1971, gave the New York Times access to a secret history of the Vietnam War which revealed that the government had repeatedly misled the American people about the escalation of war; and Gerald Nicosia, lifelong peace activist and author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac and Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans’ Movement. The program was produced by Kim McMillon and moderated by Norman Solomon. 

"Oakland Literature Expo,"     September 4-6, 2004

Again in 2004, Kim McMillon, playwright, producer, and PEN Oakland publicist, produced the three-day Oakland Literature Expo which PEN Oakland helped sponsor. Events included a Self Publishing Panel; a 1st Amendment Panel; “Domestic Crusaders,” an excerpt from the Muslim Pakistani play written by Wajahat Ali and directed by Carla Blank; the American Book Awards, established and presented by the Before Columbus Foundation; “Literature Without Borders,” poetry, literature, and the spoken word; and an excerpt from “Oaktown Blue: a Historical/Musical Poetic Drama” by Avotcja.

"Oakland Literature Expo,"      August 30 - September 1, 2003

The city of Oakland’s 3rd Annual Art & Soul event included The Oakland Literature Expo, sponsored in part by PEN Oakland and produced by Kim McMillon, playwright, producer, and PEN Oakland publicist.  The Literature Expo consisted of three days of poetry, spoken word, storytellers, authors, poet laureates, and the American Book Awards. Events included an Open Mic, hosted by Jack and Adelle Foley with special guests Ijeoma and Oluyemi Thomas; “The State of American Publishing Today,” a panel discussion moderated by Gerry Nicosia, with panelists John Schultz, Susan Reich, Bridget Kinsella, Beverly Greene, and Elaine Katzenberger; a Poet Laureate Panel, moderated by Joyce Jenkins and Reginald Lockett with poet panelists Susan Hildreth, Devorah Major, Ray Tatar, Janice Mirikitani, and Jose Montoya; and “Literature Without Borders,” featuring poets Luisa Teish, Drea Brown, Alison “Chokwadi” Fletcher, Melissa Lozano, Adam David Miller, Tomás Riley, Nicki Love MC, Al Young, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Colm O’Riain, Avotcja, Elmaz Abinader, Mark States, Leticia Hernández-Linares, Dmian Williams (AKA) Lyrikenesis, Paul S. Flores, Opal Palmer Adisa, Neal Cronin, Joyce E. Young, Lucille Lang Day, Paradise, Stephanie JT Russll, Marvin X, Daphne Muse, Annalee Walker, Ava Maria Square-Miller, Howard D., Kira Lynne Allen, and Shailja Patel. 

"War and Peace,"      December 7, 2001

On the sixtieth anniversary of the day that our nation was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, PEN Oakland presented its “War and Peace” event which consisted of readings by authors who were at Pearl Harbor during the attack; have lived in war-torn countries; or have documented the energy of war and peace, doing what writers do, conveying the horrors of war and our salvation through peace. PEN Oakland president Floyd Salas gave the keynote address.  Readers included Yuri Kochiyama, Jennifer Stone, Elmaz Abinader, Carl Clark, Robert L. Smith, Devorah Major, Reginald Lockett, Brian Auerbach, Jack and Adelle Foley, Diem Jones, Jesse Beagle, Evelio Grillo, John Curl, Avotcja, and Pirenni Sundaraligam. 

"Our Right to Know: Local and Global Perspectives"     October 18, 2000

Panel discussion and question-and-answer period on citizen access to information.

Panelists included: Karleen Lloyd, organizer, People United for a Better Oakland (PUEBLO), on the impact of the High Street medical waster incinerator in East Oakland; Nicole Sawaya, journalist with Pacific News Service on the dangers of media monopolization and the crisis at Pacifica/KPFA radio; and Andrea Buffa, executive director, Media Alliance on global issues relating to the public's right to know. Moderator: Floyd Salas, author.

Oakland Public Library, Melrose Branch, Oakland, CA

"An Evening of Dangerous Plays"      May 8, 2000

Featuring four short plays or portions of plays, the evening included dramatic works by Floyd Salas (Steve Nash), Cecil Brown (King Kong's Revenge), Kim McMillon (Confessions of a Thespian) and Marvin X (One Day in the Life). Each work used humor, song and/or dance to lighten extremely serious sides of American society, while examining the role of victim and victimizer, and our ability to transcend circumstances. The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session between audience and the playwrights, moderated by author and activist Ishmael Reed.

Berkeley Repertory Theater, Berkeley, CA

"The Kerouac Legacy: Who Owns a Writer's Work?"      June 27, 1998

A panel discussion on the writer's right to determine his or her literary legacy, the public's right to access to writers' manuscripts and papers, and the writer as commodity, with specific focus on the literary legacy of both Jack Kerouac and his daughter Jan Kerouac.

Panelists included: Gerald Nicosia, author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac and Jan Kerouac's literary executor; Jerome Field, San Francisco attorney specializing in intellectual property rights; Alberto Huerta, SJ, professor of literature at University of San Francisco; John Allen Cassady, son of Beat legend Neal Cassady; and Carol Ross Shank, Kerouac family friend. Moderator: Floyd Salas, author.

First Unitarian Church, San Francisco, CA

"Did the CIA Dump Crack in Oakland?"      January 25, 1997

A town hall meeting and panel discussion.

Panelists included: Ishmael Reed, author and activist; Peter Dale Scott, author of Cocaine Politics, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK; Dennis Bernstein, associate editor for Pacific News Service; Norman Solomon, author and media critic; Makani Themba, director of the Praxis Project, a media and policy activism group; and Phyllis Zorrick, SF Weekly columnist. Moderator: Emil Guillermo, independent journalist and former host of NPR's All Things Considered.

Lakeside Garden Center, Oakland, CA

"Women in the Media: Included or Excluded?"      April 28, 1996

A panel discussion presented in conjunction with the Center for the Visual Arts.

Panelists included: Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Examiner; Kim Benita Furumoto, Managing Editor of Crossroads Magazine; Candice Francis, KRON-Bay TV producer; Noemi Sohn, activist filmmaker in the area of gender, race and disability; Elena Featherston, award-winning writer and filmmaker; Cathy Chapman, KPFA Producer for Native American programming,; and Cristina Azocar, researcher for the Native American portion of News Watch, a critical look at coverage of people of color.

Center for the Visual Arts, Oakland, CA.

"School Colors or Media Colors?"      May 18, 1995

A public hearing and open mike on PBS-TV's Frontline portrayal of Berkeley High School in the documentary "School Colors."

Panelists included: Jim Henderson, Berkeley High School principal; "School Colors" executive producer Sharon Tiller; Pedro Noguera, UC Berkeley Professor. Moderator was Jerri Lange, author.

Berkeley Store Gallery, Berkeley, CA.

"Is Media Coverage Making Minorities Sick?"      October 25, 1994

A panel discussion presented in conjunction with Before Columbus Foundation, UC Berkeley's African-American Studies Department, and the African-American Law and Policy Report.

Panelists included: Dr. Michael LeNoir, Oakland physician; Ishmael Reed, Oakland activist and writer; Jerri Lange, author of The Power, Magic and Imagination of Media; Dr. Benjamin Tong, psychologist; Normon Solomon, author and media critic; Dr. Nathan Hare, chairman of the Black Think-Tank. Presentation included video presentation by award-winning filmmaker Allen Willis on "Violence in the Media."

Booth Auditorium, Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.

"Mumia and the Death Penalty"      September 24, 1994

Panel discussion and open mike on how the case of death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal have highlighted injustices and social consequences of the death penalty.

Panelists included: Ishamel Reed, author; Bruce Cain, UC Berkeley political science professor; Rory Little, Hasting Law School professor; Jeff Mackler, social activist; Melody Ermachild Chavis, author; Kiilu Nyasha, radio journalist. Moderator: Emil Guillermo.

St. Joseph the Worker Church, Berkeley, CA.

"People and Poets Examine the Media"      December 10, 1993

A multicultural media awareness forum examining the following question: Are the mass media exacerbating tensions between racial, ethnic and sexual communities? Is network television news media stereotyping and scapegoating coverage of minorities? Are the mass media censoring minority perspectives?

Panelists included: Jeffrey Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender; Francisco Alarcon, poet; Jesse Greenman, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Ann Park; Korean Community Cultural Center of the East Bay; Ishmael Reed, novelist, poet and essayist; Floyd Salas, novelist, poet and essayist; Al Young, novelist, poet and jazz critic. Moderator: John Curl, poet and member, People's Day Committee.

Berkeley Store Gallery, Berkeley, CA.

"The Fairness Doctrine and Media Bias"      September 15, 1992

A panel discussion centering on PEN Oakland's grassroots nationwide drive for Congressional legislation to restore the Fairness Doctrine requiring broadcasters to air contrasting views on controversial issues and to amend the doctrine to include minorities, gays, lesbians and non-conformist religious groups.

Panelists included: Normon Solomon, author and media critic; Julianne Malveaux, economics writer; Barbara Christian, African-American Studies professor, UC Berkeley; Gerald Vizenor, Native American Studies professor, UC Berkeley; Pedro Noguera, Education professor, UC Berkeley; Ann Park, director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay. Moderator was Wilson Riles, Jr.

"The Media's Coverage of the Rodney King Verdict and Aftermath"  June 12, 1992

A panel discussion and open mike to question whether the television news media was using tactics designed to pit race against race and group against group in order to sensationalize this issue.

Panelists included: Ishmael Reed, author; Floyd Salas, author; Normon Solomon, media critic and author; Pearl Stewart, reporter for the East Bay Express; Ann H. Park, executive director of the Korean Community Center of the East Bay.

Lakeside Garden Center, Oakland, CA.

"What is the Future of Arts in Oakland?"     August 3, 1992

A town meeting presented in conjunction with Before Columbus Foundation and There City Cinema.

Panel included Benny Ambush, Oakland Ensemble Theater; Cecil Brown, writer and UC Berkeley professor; Ed Bullins, director of BMT Theater; Marijo, actress; Sharon Ott, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theater; Representative Wilson Riles, Jr.; Floyd Salas, president of PEN Oakland; Ronnie Stewart, director of Bay Area Blues Society; Glenn Storek of Storek & Storek, Old Oakland.

Lakeside Garden Center, Oakland, CA.

"Voices Silenced by the Media"     April 26, 1991

A benefit reading as part of PEN Oakland's call for a 30 day tune-out (April 1-30, 1991) of Primetime Network News (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN).

Readers included Opal Palmer Adisa, Cecil Brown, Bob Callahan, Jeffrey Chan, John Curl, Chitra Divakaruni, Jack Foley, Nabil Al Hadithy, Jane Hirschfield, Betty Kano, Claire Ortalda, Ishamel Reed, Floyd Salas, Joe Sam.

Berkeley Store Gallery, Berkeley, CA.

"Tune-Out of Primetime Network News" Open Mic,     March 27, 1991

Part of a nationwide call for a thirty-day tune-out of prime time network news (ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN) to protest televised racism, including depiction of minorities and the lack of significant number of minority, women and alternate-voice journalists in the major newsrooms. The Open Mic is part of a nationwide series of lectures and readings given around the country to discuss media abuses of women, people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds and sexual orientations. The media boycott received coverage in the New York Times, ABC-TV's San Francisco affiliate (Channel 7), the Washington Post, Spin Magazine, The Nation and many other nationwide news forums.

Lakeside Garden Center, Oakland, CA.

"Multiculturalism and the Media: A Forum"      June 28, 1990

Authors and journalists from radio, newspapers and the arts come together in a provocative forum to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the media in relation to the demands and imperatives of multiculturalism.

Panel composed of Patricia Holt, book editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Diana Ketcham, Book Editor of the Oakland Tribune, Ishmael Reed and Floyd Salas, both poets and novelists, Susan Stone, Drama and Literature Editor, KPFA-FM, Frank Chin, author and playwright, Rose Romano, poet and editor of La Bella Figura. Jack Foley, poet, editor and executive producer of KPFA-FM, moderated.

San Francisco Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA.


"Oakland Out Loud"      May 26 1990

A reading/symposium on historical Oakland writers, such as Ina Coolbrith and Jack London, by Oakland writers Al Young, Ishamel Reed, Ed Bullins, Floyd Salas, Lee Mun Wah, and Lucha Corpi.

Koncepts Kultural Gallery, Oakland, CA.


"A Celebration of PEN Oakland"     February 3, 1990

A benefit for the first multi-cultural, multi-ethnic USA chapter of the international writers' organization.Featuring readings by Isabel Allende and Maxine Hong Kingston. Also readings by Oakland PEN members Floyd Salas, Reginald Lockett and Jack Foley. Piano by Jesse Beagle.

Koncepts Kultural Gallery, Oakland, CA.

View Event →