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Cool Remixed

The Oakland Museum of California goes from retro to metro in its 1950s-era Birth of the Cool and contemporary Cool Remixed exhibitions, opening May 17 through August 17, 2008.

Cool Remixed is the museum’s topical spin on Birth of the Cool, a look at the mid-century music, architecture, fashion, and art of southern California, organized by the Orange County Museum of Art.

Produced by Oakland Museum of California staff, Cool Remixed captures northern California "cool" via graffiti art, film, fashion, dance, skateboard and bike culture, and themed lounges where visitors can chill.
Thoung Van, Float to Freedom Shoe sculpture. Photo Rue Flaherty.

Curators Evelyn Orantes and Christine Lashaw invited local artists and Oakland community organizations-the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), Oakland High’s Visual Arts Academy (VAAMP), Town Park, Visual Element of the EastSide Arts Alliance, Youth Radio, and Youth UpRising-to create art and installations for the exhibition.

"Cool Remixed reflects the relationship youth have with their environment, how they create personal space and define themselves," said Orantes, cultural arts developer at the museum. "What has surfaced from our discussions and their artwork is a real sense of pride in being from O-town."

The Cool Remixed curators and community partners have created a venue-including a central performance area-where visitors can sample and mix the signature aspects of East Bay cool. "The exhibition gives youth a platform to speak and be heard," said Lashaw, head preparator for the education department.

* Local artists KDub, Mike Reyes, Ben Winslow and others will provide a glimpse into the world of skateboarding, or "street surfing" circa the 1960s. They will build a quarter-bowl skate ramp for the exhibition, with a video by Reyes of local skaters projected as a backdrop.

* Local artist Estria Miyashiro and graffiti writers from Visual Element will create murals for the exhibition. City streets have served as canvases for graffitists since the 1960s; once considered vandalism, graffiti have become legitimate art.

* Videos of T.U.R.F. dancing (see glossary) will play in the Youth UpRising lounge. T.U.R.F. dancing followed breakdancing, one of the original forms of freestyle dance that complemented hip-hop.

* DJ Leilani "Leilizzlemac" Hopson from Youth Radio will be on hand to teach basic DJing skills.

* VAAMP artists will host a green lounge to reflect their concern for the environment, using recycled and deconstructed materials to create wearable art, autobiographical sculpture (with sneakers and hubcaps), and a colorful tree constructed of painted plywood and skateboard decks.
* Murals, ‘zines, and youth-produced films will be featured in the EBAYC lounge.

Both Cool Remixed and the Birth of the Cool exhibitions are included with museum admission.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS (see for details)
Saturday, May 31, noon-9 p.m. Art Saves Lives: 2008 Oakland Youth Arts Festival
Oakland youth’s exciting, multimedia response to Cool Remixed. Sponsored by Oakland Unified School District; hosted by Mind Power Collective. Free.

Sunday, June 15, noon-5 p.m. Cool Daddy-O!
Hipsters and flipsters, honor your finger-poppin’ daddies on Father’s Day. Cool cars and hot bikes on view. Customize your ride with the Shorty Fatz bike crew. Included w/admission.

Friday, June 20, 6-9 p.m. Pacific Coast Jazz: Rebirth of the Cool. An intimate evening of jazz and poetry.

Sunday, June 29, 1-4 p.m. Family Explorations! California Cool
Visit the Birth of the Cool exhibition and see how artists, architects, and musicians created a dynamic arts community in LA in the 1950s. Design a modern model home from cardboard or create a geometric abstract painting. Learn turntable basics at the DJ station in the Cool Remixed exhibition. Included w/admission.

Sunday, June 29, 2 p.m. Birth of the Cool curator tour with Chief Curator of Art Philip Linhares. Included w/admission.

Sunday, July 20, 1-4 p.m. Family Explorations! Sample This
Sample what’s currently cool in youth culture: learn beat-boxing basics, create a mini skate ramp and puppets, pick up DJ skills with "Leilizlemac" of Youth Radio. Included w/admission.

Friday, August 1, Curator Tours (First Fridays After Five 5-9 p.m.) 6 p.m. Cool Remixed curator tour with Evelyn Orantes and Christine Lashaw; 7:30 p.m. Birth of the Cool tour with Chief Curator of Art Philip Linhares. Included w/admission.
T.U.R.F. Dancing. Courtesy Youth Uprising. Photo by Yoram Savion.

B-boying, or breakdancing, one of the original forms of freestyle dance that complemented hip-hop

Hella. Originated in the Bay Area and commonly used in place of "really" or "very."

Hyphy. A hyperactive style of behavior and dance associated with Bay Area hip-hop culture in the 1990s. Even though we’re hyphy and loud we aren’t all about violence and drama.

The O, O town, the town, oak town: synonyms for Oakland. I hella love the O.

Remix. A music-industry term for taking samples from existing songs and combining them into new formats.

Scraper bike. An Oakland original, a "scraper" is the two-wheeled equivalent of a scraper car, the iconic Buick or Cadillac from the1980s or 1990s modified with wide rims, two-toned paint jobs, and accessories like suction tips that emit a sound as you drive.

Town Park, Oakland’s only skater-built public park, at DeFremery Park in West Oakland.

T.U.R.F. dancing (Taking Up Room on the Floor) is one of the newest form of hip-hop dance, emerging from a genre of music and culture called hyphy.
Tutting. A style originally practiced by young funk dancers, derived from the positions seen in ancient Egyptian drawings (i.e., King Tut). When a dancer "tuts" he changes the angles of his arms per the beat.