(a historical Musical/Poetic/Dance Drama)
WHEN HEAVEN LIVED ON 7th STREET
Behind The Writing of Oaktown Blue
Oaktown Blue is more than just a Poem. More than just another choreographed Play full of fantastic hundred dollar clichés about Oakland. Even before the overwhelming flamboyant drama of the live stage. Even without all the flash of show stopping Dancers & Singers & Musicians, I could feel it waiting to be born.
Oaktown Blue is a poetic dance. A musical theater piece (with or without the theater), about the beauty of Oakland. The amazing, remarkable, unsung history of a forgotten West Oakland.
Oaktown Blue is a Hymn, a modern day Praise Song of a not so long ago time. A time when West Oakland was economically & culturally “the only place to be”. Days when 7th Street was a montage of Superstars, rising Stars, fallen Stars & armies of wide-eyed Wannabe’s. Just waiting for their day to be recognized as one of the major Stars. Strutting their stuff! … Lookin’ good!! … Clean!!! Making sure they were gonna be seen. Strolling ‘round, up & down. Up & down “the Street” … 7th Street! 7th Street was our heartbeat, the royal highway of our Stars. 7th Street was Heaven!
Oaktown Blue is also a story of days when the California Hotel was “Swank City”. Our regal cross town playground. Our very own Hilton & was rocking every night with Dancehalls full of all kinds of Jazz & Blues Concerts & Mambo Sessions. It’s a theatrical tale about the coming together of disoriented Black Share Croppers, lonely imported Filipino men, Black entrepreneurs, Latin dancers, Masons, intellectuals & slicksters.
Oaktown Blue is a love Poem. Full of all the joy & sadness & the indescribable pain of naively unexpected inescapable racist degradation. And Dancehall battles & Musical wars & the courage to do better that went into making Oakland a West Coast Blues Mecca.
This is my way of saying thank you to all those Spirits still roaming all over every inch of 7th Street. I have not forgotten! And if you are not afraid of listening to the many loud & restless Blue Souls that are still out there trying to give you back your history. They’re waiting! They’ve been waiting a terribly long, long time to meet you. And if you really listen, you’re gonna hear them singing wildly & moaning like a homesick whisper in the night wind.
Are you brave enough to hear what they have to say? Don’t be afraid to feel the feelings. ‘Cause they won’t leave you alone until you give them all the credit they’re due.
They’ve been calling. Calling & calling & they’re still calling. Can you hear them singing? Singing songs of a time when Heaven lived on 7th Street & the Blues proudly swaggered out of every door & every open window. They’re still out there. They’re trying to slow dance you into a corner. Pour Blue fire all over your soul & creep into the deepest, most secret part of your heart.
Can you feel them??? I dare you to feel their message & heal. Their Story is your Story.
And even though the power brokers who write the reference books have never considered West Oakland worthy of being written about in his-Story … It is our Story.
Oaktown Blue is all about you!
Copyright © Avotcja