Drove into Oakland today, my first venture out of my bubble since March 9, so that’s 3 months. A friend who came over a few nights ago said that since the protests, “Oakland is just one great art gallery.” Downtown Oakland businesses have boarded themselves up, and now the muralists are out painting on the boards. If it was just one or two, that would be interesting, but it’s hundreds. I could not begin to take enough pictures. And this is just along Broadway and Telegraph as you go from about 35th street in towards 12th, and then beyond.
In the meantime, the level of conflict is rising quite fast. There are signature-gathering campaigns in 9 states to recall Democratic governors; Trump appears to have backed off sending in federal troops but there was that amazing thing about his photo-op at St. John’s (the tear gas and flashbangs to wipe away protesters, the army guy who by mistake wore his uniform and apologized, the Bible); but there’s also the continuing spread of peaceful but fierce demonstrations throughout the country with Trump literally hiding in his bunker in the White House.
Talk of police reform is everywhere; Minneapolis is “dismantling” their police. Not sure what that means yet. There are demonstrations to get cops out of schools, demonstrations to “de-fund” police, and it looks as if things like this are actually happening. The movement is ahead of the leaders here, if you can figure out who the leaders are anyway.
The virus continues to spread, both from the lifting of shelter-in-place order in states where they existed to begin with and from states where there are none, and from the demonstrations. Kids are graduating from high school and celebrating with car caravans and fireworks, which puts people who are huddled in their homes on edge.
On the other hand
Spike Lee’s new movie, Da 5 Bloods, was premiered on Netflix last night. It is set in Vietnam. Watching how Vietnam and the Vietnam/American war is depicted was painful and embarrassing. I can’t decide which is worse: the roles played by Asian actors portraying Vietnamese people or the distortions of the landmine (unexploded ordinance) removal effort grabbed to serve as a plot twist. Other important details are also bad. Spike Lee throws in everything from Agent Orange to Crispus Atticus, including some brutal footage that may or may not be genuine but certainly creates a “wow” factor — “How did he get that?” The movie starts out as if it’s a goofy comedy about a bunch of guys on a memory trip together, but then aspires to be a complete “high points of Black experience in the US” laid on top of a set piece Vietnam war movie, only with Black actors. I’ll be curious to see the reviews. Delroy Lindo has a monologue near the end that might win him an Oscar. Watch it, skip the movie.