In their words: Oakland locals from this week's Guardian cover

Matthew Reamer/Mirissa Neff

This week, the Guardian examines the issue of whether San Francisco is experiencing a cultural and economic exodus to the East Bay, especially Oakland. Our cover features creative folks from all over Oakland proper. They were asked the question "Is Oakland cooler than San Francisco?" and in return we got some pretty surprising answers (though, spoiler alert: the general consensus was "Hell Yes!"). Have a listen to their responses...

(Photos by Matthew Reamer)


Ali "Chief Saba" Ar Rasheed, Business Manager Easy Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club
"People often call Oakland 'gritty' compared to San Francisco... what I think they actually mean is more working-class."


Adam Hatch, Owner Hatch Gallery/Co-founder Starline Project
"San Francisco is a visually appealing city but as far as where I'd want to live it's Oakland."



HOTTUB, Disco/Rap band (Clockwise from left: Jaysonik, Ambreezy, Lolipop, Funky Finger Mark, and CoCo Machete)
"Oakland in some ways is overshadowing San Francisco because artists can afford to live here," Jaysonik.

Austin Barber, Guitarist and vocalist for Saviours
"I've always been more attracted to Oakland, mostly because of the music."


Jessica Hobbs, Co-founder Flux Foundation
"I've found more openness to the art that I do... San Francisco is kind of a pain in the butt!"


Tanya Holland, Chef and Owner, Brown Sugar Kitchen/B-Side BBQ
"You actually know your neighbors which is a different experience than I had in San Francisco."


Alfonso Dominguez, Architect/Owner Tamarindo Restaurant and Era Art Bar and Lounge
"It's like comparing apples and pomegranates."


Sam Strand, Artist/Co-founder Starline Project
"It's a little rougher... but the fight is what makes it cooler. It's like Detroit."


Tyranny Allen, CEO of Marketing Kings
"We've got a lot more going on in Oakland. It's the ultimate place to be in the Bay Area."


i thought this article was an onion-style glimpse at the accusation of oakland being hipster. particularly when i saw the disco rap band with their sketchers-esque poses. but no. apparently this is real.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 16, 2012 @ 9:31 am

Oakland. It will be San Francisco's Williamsburg.

Posted by Theo on Jun. 04, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

Oakland is to San Francisco what Brooklyn is to New York. I've been saying that for years and hope it becomes even more like Brooklyn. Oakland's still got a way to go, if you drive down Broadway between 51st and West Grand. It's big sky country, quiet, interesting, real. Grand Ave has only started to change; 5 years ago it was nearly identical to the late '80s.

I hope Oakland continues to attract good local business folk who will create more vibrant areas filled with the kinds of independent businesses locals use (not all art galleries) the places that make for a great place to live. I lurv Oakland.

Posted by Long Time Local on Apr. 15, 2012 @ 9:58 am

I do know a person from Oakland who is an absolute idiot. Mick Gardner.

Posted by Guest Janet on Apr. 13, 2012 @ 10:20 am

I live by Lake Merritt and work in downtown Oakland and there is no place else I would rather live in Northern California.

This is a great city that gets a bad rap.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 9:51 am

Me too! Dontcha love it! That 5 minute commute on your bike during a sunny day...Ahhhhh.....

Posted by A Ellis on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

Not so cutting edge, not so cutting edge, Bay Guardian. The New York Times figured out that Oakland was cooler months ago!

But I'm also glad that it's "big bad Oakland" that now represents the East Bay, rather than little old Berkeley. Berkeley baiting and bashing was getting really old.

Hopefully all this will mean some real dollars flowing into a city that's starving for them.

Next up: Oakland vs. Portland.

Posted by Wanderer on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

I hope that everyone who is commenting here has taken a moment to actually listen to the digital interviews from the people chosen for this cover story. When HOTTUB was asked to do this photo shoot, we were told that it was for a story about how wonderful Oakland is. After the photo shoot we sat down for an interview and were asked this question" Is Oakland cooler than San Francisco?" I think we, as well as the others, were a little taken off guard by the question. The Answers given by everyone are thoughtful and honest, and for the most part, have nothing to do with comparing the two very different city's. Cheer up Charlies :)

Posted by lolipop on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

Yes these look like the lame kids from a freshmen year art class. Yes they're adults. I think photographing a handful of "different" individuals to represent a whole city makes for a lazy, stupid, easily digested view of social politics for turds who read the Guardian. Why not show a bunch of west oakland crackheads and ask the same question? Which city is cooler? Who gives a shit? Obviously it's people who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. Before I throw the baby out with the stinky bath water, I don't know what all these people do. Are they all hipsters? Were some of them born in Oakland? I know I enjoy the food at Brown Sugar. Also, I hate the ENTIRE Bay Area's hip style. Fucking nerds, clowns and fedoras make me sick. One more thing... What "fight" is Sam Strand talking about?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

Ha, no kidding, I'm ready to slap those fedoras off one of those head next time I go out. Tanya is the only one thats really invested into this town, all those others will leave in a minute.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 15, 2012 @ 10:30 am

All these folks are really hard workers who have put a lot of love and commitment into a city that has always struggled while also producing something rich and full of passion.

The fight is just the fight of working hard to make things that realize a city's history and its future. This happens in San Francisco too, but my experience happens to be here in Oakland, and I fight for it every day. I love this city/SF/the bay and feel so grateful to be able to work with everybody else who loves it.

Luckylucky to be able to live here, and collaborate with all who are from here, and end up here.

Posted by sam on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

love it hard, especially now while it is in its own beautiful full bloom. fight to keep it from becoming utterly "upscale"...fight the urge to "friscofy" it...fight to keep it the wonderfully diverse home that it is to rich, middle and poor, worker, entrepreneur and artist alike.

I got to this party 3.5 years ago after 17 years in SF and immediately realized I shoulda been here over 10 years ago. Better late than never!

I love you Oakland....kt

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

Dude......why so serious?

Posted by Guestesther-lila sanchez on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

If you mean "cooler" as in "hairy-sweaty-sour-beer-stench-in-my-jean-jacket" kind of way, then yes, Oakland is cooler.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 11:17 am

So witty, you must be from San Francisco?
Love it!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 10:03 am

I used to live in the city, and now I live in Oakland and work in the city. Oakland, on average, smells WAY better than SF.

there are plenty of things I love about SF, but the overcrowding, the lack of open spaces that aren't full of homeless encampments, and the general smell, are not among them.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

In reply to

You're just jealous.

California (and the rest of the us, for that matter) is basically populated with immigrant artifacts of colonialism. Furthermore, half the people in the article have easily been here for a decade or more. There's nothing trendy about giving over 10 years of love and life to a city.

You want Oakland left alone for real, give it back to the native americans who lived here a millennium ago, dumbass. What I see you protesting is money and class difference. Unfortunately, the planet is full and any area around a highly populated, limited geographic feature (manhattan island or the sf peninsula) is gonna be expensive. And cool. Be happy about the cool part.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 4:16 am


Posted by Guest JON FISTORINO on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 2:07 am

I hereby bestow upon you my award for Favorite Comment Ever.

Posted by caitlin on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 8:50 am

Dear shameless, class-war, yuppie gentrification engine,

Please stay away from the town. The fact this is on the cover of the Guardian is disgusting. I thought SF Weekly was the paper of the ruling class. Why would you go promoting this kind of overt colonialism? Your "hipster" vanity transforms you into financial predators, same as any banker. Have a good time ruining what you admire by publicizing it beyond any capacity to sustain itself.

Sincerely, Oakland

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

Colonialism? You have commented yourself retarded. Try to relax. No reason to be so serious. Take a complement when you read it for what it is.....even if it is not exactly they way you would prefer it worded.

Posted by Guestesther-lila sanchez on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

Please don't speak for Oakland. You might be a rich kid living in a nice Oakland neighborhood? I live in a neighborhood that could use some help and welcome the attention and love. Go Oakland!

Posted by Guest oakland teacher on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 11:56 am


Posted by NORTHERN O'SOUTHERLY on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 12:48 am

The above comment is true. I saw it happen on the barbary coast trail. I got lost trying to find the Burning Man decompression party because my iPad3 wifi/att 32gb ran out of batteries. Anyways it was a sight to behold, I think Adam had a huge advantage though because Pirates of the Caribbean 2 had just come out and it was really easy to shame the Buccaneer.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 8:25 am

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