I am Oaklandish // 5+6 // The Parked Car with Isa Nakazawa and Talia Taylor

Posted on September 15, 2011

When I first started this series, I mentioned that some of the things I’d be profiling would be ideas. In my (often less than) humble opinion, Oakland is best described as a matrix of inspired, if often competing, ideas. As Oaklanders we believe fiercely in the idea of autonomous, free, thought. We also root for the Warriors, en masse, regardless of wins, losses, or logic. We eat free range eggs and organic chicken in homes that sit squarely beneath highway overpasses. We love growing community. We strongly dislike new transplants to our community. Even if we are transplants ourselves, we fly our flag proudly.

The great urban bard Dante (Smith) , wrote of this phenomenon in his classic ode “Brooklyn” :

It’s real yo but still yo, it’s love here
And it’s felt by anybody that come here
Out of towners take the train, plane and bus here
Must be something that they really want here
One year as a resident, deeper sentiment
Shoutout “Go Brooklyn!”, they representin it

In my head, I often supplant “Brooklyn” with Oakland. Perhaps true of any chocolate city with an influx of new, young gentry — Oakland is a place where people come, stay, take pride and take ownership. As much as I hate on the skinny jean wearing, fixed gear riding new neighbors in West Oakland, I gotta concede that neither my mother nor father is originally from the town. They’ve both lived here for nearly 30 years, and I defy you to find any two people more Oaklandish than they. That is another blog for another day.

All I’m trying to say is — we have a bunch of ideas, many in conflict with each other. And that’s manifesting in today’s blog post. Par ejemplo, I told you yesterday that I’d do 2 of these a day. Well, today I’m doing one post on two phenomenal women. Talia Taylor and Isa Nakazawa are the weekly hosts of their own radio broad cast, The Parked Car on alldayplay.fm

Isa Nakazawa, a poet, journalist, and blogger of Japanese and Uraguan descent, can only be described as the epitome of cool. Isa dabbles in Japanese, Spanish and Standard American English; a Wesleyan alum, and practiced in East Coast mouthpiece, people skills are her strong suit. I like to think of Isa as her very own social media site, personified. She knows what is going on. She knows where the good food is. She already has tickets to the event you’re trying to get into. She’s got concise, cogent language about what the event was since clearly she made it, though you missed it. And she’s got an uncanny sense of style. Perhaps that’s why she worked as a copy writer for Karmaloop while I merely coveted their wares.

Talia Taylor, an emcee, wordsmith, educator (and shouted out as Klassiq on yesterdays blog) is probably the immovable object to Isa’s unstoppable force. She is grace, poise and dignity personified. She spits bars, smiles at geeky nerd ish, and is my personal health and well being guru. If you have couch, she’s the type of person to tell you which nuts, juices, roots and berries will alleviate the phlegm while adding brilliance to your hair. She’s the girl in the center of the dance floor, inventing her own moves.

But here’s my big reveal. Neither of them is from Oakland. I know. I know. More contradiction. But the IDEA of what they do is Town Bidness, through and through. They work in collaboration; they create safe nurturing, female oriented space in a male dominated sector. In 1921, when California took advantage of its first radio frequency, the idea of two women on air, one African and the other of mixed descent, would have been laughable at best and incendiary as a norm. The kicker that makes it all fit together in my head, though: they broadcast from the center of Downtown Oakland, in studios at Youth Radio. The new Youth Radio building exemplifies maximized potential of repurposed space in the heart of the city. It isn’t a condo or a loft space, but is rather a meeting ground for young media makers to hone their skills and receive mentorship from the East Bay’s performance and broadcast legends.

The Parked Car is an amalgam of nuanced talk, rare music, and special guests. I’d qualify their show as a great option for your Thursday afternoon drive, but you gotta have internet radio. So, I suppose, that means you have to pull over your car at 5pm, park it, open your laptop, and knock the show. Or, you could stream from your smartphone, smarty pants.

One way or the other, you really should be listening to their show. This blog is being posted at 5pm on Thursday, September 15th. Which means you can tune in NOW by going to www.alldayplay.fm/shows/theparkedcar If you’re reading this after the fact, there’s a wealth of hotness going on in their archives.

Thickwit salutes the women who arrive in Oakland, improve its cultural landscape, take risks in their art and teach Chinakas how to dress. Talia and Isa are both invited to Oakladish’s October 7th Bash where all “I am Oaklandish” honorees can get their free, limited edition shirt.

This blog is brought to you, in part, by local textile and cultural purveyors, Oaklandish. Oaklandish will be throwing a party on the 1st Friday in October at their new Downtown Oakland store. Everyone I profile is invited to attend as an honored guest and will receive a limited edition “I AM OAKLANDISH” t-shirt. In a city of roughly 500,000 residents, there’s no way I can cover everyone or everything, but I’ll do my best to rep a cross section of folks that reflect our city’s varied perspectives and populations. Also, it is important to note that none of the honorees know that they’re being highlighted until the blog post is up, because surprises are sometimes fun, cuzzo. This means that some folks profiled might not closely align themselves with Oaklandish — and that’s fine by me — I mean no ill intent, nor make any assumptions — just want to shout out some folks who make a real impact on the world, from this pearl of a city on the East Side of the Bay.

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