Prior to arriving, I got the impression that Oakland and Berkeley were mere SF suburbs. Little did I know about the bustling cultural life here and the importance of hooking up with the urbanistas in the know. And that happens to be my land lady.

First Fridays at Oakland Museum of California turns the otherwise impressive building into a living organism full of concerts, cuisine, yoga classes(!), performances, presentations and book signings, all in addition to the regular exhibitions.

What did it for me was the live show by Purirak, an ensemble mixing Korean traditional music and jazz (how refreshing for a band not to have a web presence). Performing in the all-wooden James Moore Theatre, which comes straight out of the hotel in Twin Peaks, they stood there, wearing all black, and managed to silence everyone with their über cool style. If I had only brought a camera…

Next thing on the programme was Alvin Ailey at the University. While they have undoubtedly taken body movement to the level of perfection, it is difficult to cheer when you have already had your top blown off.

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