Oakland in Popular Memory: Interviews with twelve cutting-edge artists from Oakland and beyond

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Thought Publishing, May 15, 2012 - Music - 130 pages
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The image of Oakland, California has been tainted in the mainstream media with news reports focusing on violence in Oakland. Matt Werner explores a different narrative in Oakland in Popular Memory, interviewing young artists from Oakland, and established artists who've influenced Oakland musicians.

Matt Werner, in the spirit of Studs Terkel, conducted long-form interviews from 2008-2012 which cover the 2008 election of President Obama, the shooting of Oscar Grant, and the Occupy Oakland protests. Werner spoke with these artists at length, discussing topics like race relations in Oakland in the post-Oscar Grant era, postmodern literary theory, and the changing landscape of the music industry during the digital revolution.

Through these interviews, Oakland is seen as an engine of cultural innovation, as a city bustling with lively avant-garde art and music scenes, spanning from indie rock to spoken word to hip-hop. Oakland in Popular Memory captures those artists putting a new "there" in Oakland.


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About the Author

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About the author (2012)

Matt Werner was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He got his BA in English from UC Berkeley, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with Highest Honors. He worked at UC Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies transcribing and editing the complete UC Berkeley lectures of Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000-2006) with Korin McGinty.

He interned and volunteered at McSweeney’s Publishing for five years where he worked on the oral narrative collections Surviving Justice and Out of Exile, among other titles. He used these publications as the focal point for his master’s thesis, titled “‘In Their Own Words’: A Critical Analysis of How McSweeney’s Voice of Witness Series Editors Assemble and Present Oral Histories.”

While earning his Master’s in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, he DJed on Fresh Air: The Alternative, University of Edinburgh Student radio, winning two radio awards for his artist interview show.

Since March, 2010, Matt has worked as a technical writer at Google, writing help center articles on Google Apps, mobile, and Chromebooks. His writing for Google has been translated into 40 languages and quoted in dozens of publications, including The Wall Street Journal. Matt also volunteers with the Talks at Google program, hosting leading authors, musicians, and filmmakers at Google.

Outside of Google, Matt writes on music, culture, and local history for a variety of Oakland blogs and writes and edits books for Thought Publishing at http://thoughtpublishing.org.

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