Rightnowish digs into life in the Bay Area right now… ish. Journalist Pendarvis Harshaw takes us to galleries painted on the sides of liquor stores in West Oakland. We'll dance in warehouses in the Bayview, make smoothies with kids in South Berkeley, and listen to classical music in a 1984 Cutlass Supreme in Richmond. Every week, Pen talks to movers and shakers about how the Bay Area shapes what they create, and how they shape the place we call home.


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Rightnowish digs into life in the Bay Area right now… ish. Journalist Pendarvis Harshaw takes us to galleries painted on the sides of liquor stores in West Oakland. We'll dance in warehouses in the Bayview, make smoothies with kids in South Berkeley, and listen to classical music in a 1984 Cutlass Supreme in Richmond. Every week, Pen talks to movers and shakers about how the Bay Area shapes what they create, and how they shape the place we call home.




'Indigenizing' San Francisco (Yelamu): The Cultural District Honoring Native History

Marisol Medina-Cadena takes a tour of the American Indian Cultural District. It was founded in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood in 2020 to serve as a home base for the Urban Native community. This episode originally aired on July 22, 2022.


The Coolest Place on Earth: The Public Library

This week on Rightnowish, we talk to librarian Mychal Threets about what it's like to be a social media star and how the public library system is a place for all.


Music in the Key of Fatherhood

This week Pendarvis Harshaw talks about how the music he grew up listening to, plays into how he and his daughter bond over music now.


Wives Angelica Medina and Jahaira Fajardo Share Culture Through Dance

Angelica Medina’s first memories of dance are from when she was five years old doing steps to a Selena performance on TV. Her wife, Jahaira Fajardo, remembers being a New York club kid in her late teens, when she thinks of her earliest dance experiences. That’s because dancing felt very heteronormative and exclusionary, and as a lesbian growing up in a Dominican household, dancing seemed just not okay for her. Now as adults, Angelica and Jahaira are co-founders of In Lak’ech, the first queer salsa and bachata dance academy in the U.S. and they are out to create dance spaces that build inclusivity.


Meet the Emo Drag King Who's Bending the Gender Binary

Born and raised in Oakland, Helixir Jynder Byntwell did drag as a hobby until August 2022. That's when they quit their job, won the SF Drag King of the Year competition, and became a professional king, all in the span of a week. Since then, they’ve joined the Rebel Kings of Oakland, a performance troupe based at the White Horse Bar. They’ve also participated in several well-attended performances in New York and in the Bay Area, most recently at the Castro Street Fair. Byntwell’s performances are always fun, always flamboyant, and more often than not, very emo. On this episode of Rightnowish, they describe their perception of queer joy, and how it feels to exist uninhibited.


The Hip-Hop Photojournalist Who Makes Guests Feel At Home

Inside of a classic Queen Anne Victorian in West Oakland, photographer Traci Bartlow displays beautifully framed images of the people who shaped hip-hop culture here in the Bay Area, and across the nation. Photos of Outkast and Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes and ODB, hang alongside images of the Luniz and Shock-G, as well as E-40 and The Click. While the photos tell a story about what life was like in growing up in Oakland, it's her house, which is a photography museum and a boutique hotel, that tells the complex story of multiple generations of Black folks, land ownership and community appreciation. This episode originally aired on October 14, 2022


Hyphy Kids Got Trauma Pt 4, "My Generation's Report Card"

Despite the uptempo party music and the perception of free-spirited fun, it's clear that 2006 was a violent year in my Northern Californian community. But until recently, I hadn't stopped to consider the issues impacting the kids of the Bay Area in the early 2000s, during the hyphy movement: violence, crime, poverty, sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination. These are no different from the issues we're facing today. If you look closely enough, you'll see that all these issues are rooted in capitalism and imperialism. In this episode we talk to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents the East Bay, about her history of dealing with these issues while serving this community for the past 25 years; Rich Iyala, a younger San Francisco based musician who wrote a song that inspired multiple aerosol artists to write tags that read, "hyphy children got trauma(s)" and "hyphy kids got trauma,"; and T'Jon, a senior at Oakland's Fremont High school, who was born in 2006 and views the hyphy movement as a groundswell of art, culture and community.


Hyphy Kids Got Trauma Pt 3, "From DVDs to MTV"

In the early 2000s, the underground DVD business was a major conduit of culture. Those documentaries showed the backstory of hip-hop artists and street culture all across the United States. One of the films Hood 2 Hood: The Blockumentary,, also included an early depiction of hyphy culture as I knew it to be-- hyper aggressive. But as the "hyphy movement" spread, the way the culture was shown drastically deviated from the origins of the term. In this episode, filmmaker Aquis "Cash Out Quis" Bryant discusses the era before hyphy went nationwide. Mac Dre's former manager, Chioke "Seaside Stretch" McCoy shares insight on how Dre's murder pushed the culture into the spotlight; and how the industry subsequently took the "hyphy movement" and ran with it. And Rita Forte, a former radio host known as DJ Backside, opens up about the highs of taking the hyphy sound around the world, and the lows of seeing her DJ career come crashing down after bad experience while working for a local radio station.


Hyphy Kids Got Trauma Pt 2, "We Dance Different"

Before the "hyphy movement" and even prior to having its own name, the style of dance now commonly known as Turfin' or Turf Dancing, provided an outlet for young folks in Oakland to party to their favorite music, have fun by physically telling stories and express themselves while taking up room on the floor. In this episode, we talk to Jeriel Bey, the person credited with coining the term, "Turfin'," Jacky Johnson, a founding Youth Uprising staff member, and Jesus El, my longtime friend and a well-known turf dancer.


Hyphy Kids Got Trauma Pt 1, “In the Building”

The Hyphy Movement was often looked at as goofy, but there was a lot of pain behind those big sunglasses and oversized airbrushed t-shirts. Welcome to Hyphy Kids Got Trauma, a four-part series about the Bay Area, and the significance of the year 2006. In part one we land in Oakland and meet host Pendarvis Harshaw, a budding journalist at 18 years old. We see the highs and lows, the songs and scars, of that year through his eyes, and meet a few of the artists behind the music.


Rightnowish Presents 'Hyphy Kids Got Trauma'

Rightnowish Presents 'Hyphy Kids Got Trauma' - A four part exploration of a transformative year in Bay Area music history, 2006, through the eyes and ears of Pendarvis Harshaw. As a college student and burgeoning journalist at the time, Pendarvis navigates the shifting tides of a culture in transition, all set to the seminal sounds of the Bay Area’s “Hyphy Movement.” It was an era fueled by uptempo, bass-heavy songs with a free and fun-loving vibe. But 2006 also marked the second highest homicide total that the city of Oakland has ever seen. The violence was compounded by drugs, over-policing, the onset of gentrification, and the ongoing War On Terror. The wounds that occurred almost twenty years ago still impact the adults of the Bay Area today. Hyphy kids got trauma, and this is why. The 1st episode airs September 21st!


Rightnowish Presents Ritually Podcast: 'A Feminist Call to Prayer'

Hey Rightnowish listeners, today we’ve got a special bonus episode to share with you. It’s from our friends at Ritually, a new podcast, from Brazen Media hosted by London-based journalist Nelufar Hedayat. She’s reported about all sorts of things — human trafficking, the war in Afghanistan (where she was born), the climate crisis and more. Now, she’s looking inward, and trying to answer some big questions that came up for her during the early days of the pandemic. What does spirituality look like, when you think of yourself as a secular person? What role do rituals play in our fast-paced world? And how can we use them to help make our lives feel calmer, richer, and more balanced? In her podcast, Nelufar tries out new spiritual or wellness rituals to find out if practicing them can actually make us feel better. In this episode, she digs into a ritual that’s at the centre of her religion: the daily call to prayer. But as a progressive Muslim woman, she struggles with patriarchal interpretations of Islam, and the constraints of organized religion. So with the help of feminist spiritual practitioner, Nelufar tries following a new version of the call to prayer. And it’s different — radical, actually! — because it’s in a woman’s voice.


Adorned: Host Marisol Medina-Cadena Exits Her Flop Era

What began as a personal quest to get out of this rut (or flop era as the chronically online people say) that I was experiencing, quickly developed into my focal point for work. So, I enlisted the help of my podcast department colleagues to help me figure out how I would translate this self help journey for our Rightnowish podcast. I know this was my idea but still... I was lowkey nervous about stepping into the limelight as the host, airing out personal woes of not feeling my best self, feeling like a ghost of myself (if I'm being totally honest). Turns out, that the dedicated time to focus on this theme of adornment for work was a befitting experiment. It allowed me to bring my full self to work and not have to hide the truth that I was feeling so crummy about myself. With the goal of learning new tools to work myself out of this self loathing pit, I set out to interview Bay Area creatives/business owners who specialized in different forms of adornment: fragrance, flower arrangements, colorful clothing and custom jewelry. Learning to view these forms of decorations as rituals has been a game changer for me. I now realize getting ready doesn't have to be about centering opulence, it can be about taking care of myself and setting intentions for the day or for the experience I want to manifest. I hope this series has been enjoyable for you as much as it has for me. To celebrate the end of this series, we leave you with a conversation between producer Xorje Olivares and I about the journey of making 'Adorned'


Adorned: Chelsea Macalino-Calalay Makes the Bling of Your Dreams

Jewelry designer and brand creator of Wyphys, Chelsea Macalino-Calalay exudes fierceness, but also serenity. Rocking bleached brows that match her shag-mullet, a crystal blue gem on her canine tooth, delicate rings, and a thick gold chain, heart pendant choker, that was inherited from her auntie, Macalino-Calalay’s style is all encompassing. If her style and brand aesthetic was personified in a doll, it’d be more akin to Bratz then Barbie, because her custom jewelry pieces are about making statements, not meant to take the backseat to the wardrobe. Macalino-Calalay cites her strong sense of style to her fashion-forward family who migrated from the Philippines to San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood in the 1970s. Maintaining a relationship to the homeland is also a big part of Macalino-Calalay's craft and reflected in her Whyphys jewelry. Take her recent collection, Palengke, named after the wet markets in the Philippines. The beaded earrings and charm necklaces pay tribute to the ingredients and foods she’d see while visiting. One pair of dangly earrings is made up of peach quartz, a green glass bead, and dalmatian jasper to replicate the layered, multi-colored rice cake snack sapin-sapin. Macalino-Calalay’s gold plated Wyphys jewelry is colorful, spunky, and perfectly suited for all the occasions -- stunting at the workplace, hanging with the homies, even hittin’ up the skateparks. Macalino-Calalay actually beta tests the durability of her bling by skating with it, because as she says, she makes accessories for the “sweaty girlies” and “active people” who don't sacrifice comfort for fashion. On this week’s episode of Rightnowish, Chelsea Macalino-Calalay talks about adornment with bling, the historical significance of gold for Pinoy folks, and how her Wyphy creations are a celebration of friendship, queerness and the hyphy state of mind.


Adorned: Florist Jessica Cotrim on Letting Our Intuition Bloom

The dahlia is San Francisco’s official flower and it’s also a favorite for the Excelsior raised floral designer, Jessica Alicia Cotrim. Her love for San Francisco and her neighborhood is on full display when you walk into her cozy shop, Beija Flor Flower Gallery. Between the hanging dried roses, there’s Muni inspired artwork and pieces flaunting the 415 area code. The register table is adorned with hella stickers promoting local businesses and creatives. Besides repping her San Francisco pride, Cotrim’s store honors her Brazilian and Salvadoran roots. When the words “beija” and “flor” are paired together in Brazilian Portuguese, it translates to hummingbird. Cotrim says the symbolism of the hummingbird in Salvadoran and other Latino cultures represents the spirits of loved ones that have passed on. In this way, her business Beija Flor honors her family’s lineage that shaped her craftsmanship and work ethic. When creating custom bouquets Cotrim seeks to match customers' energy and desires with flowers and she does that by tapping into her ancestral intuition to bring forth healing floral experiences. On this episode of Rightnowish, Jessica Alicia Cotrim talks to me about the ways flowers can promote wellness and how we can cultivate our intuition with the help of our flower friends.


Adorned: Sophia Mitty Stitches Her Pride for the 415

When Sophia Mitty first started to sew, she was making it work from her bedroom. She’d place a wooden board on top of her bed as a makeshift table in order to cut out patterns. Nowadays, Mitty has her own work space to really spread out and create. Located in South San Francisco, her studio complete with heavy duty industrial sewing machines, affectionately dubbed “Sew City” (or “The Stu” for short) is a playground of color. In foggy frisco, where gray skies are plentiful, Mitty’s colorful hand-dyed and painted garments pop. Her line of denim jackets and utility pants for femmes offer classic and clean silhouettes with a funky twist. They come in shades like tangerine, cherry red, kiwi green, even earthy pigments like rust. Marbled patterns are options too. “I use clothing as therapy, as a way to set the mood of the day. It's the easiest way to change your everyday life or make some kind of difference.” On this episode of Rightnowish, clothing maker Sophia Mitty talks about stitching her pride for the 415, how color therapy influences her wardrobe, and why leaning into goofiness can help us dress for joy.


Adorned: Perfumer Mauricio Garcia Puts the Aroma of The Bay in a Bottle

The Bay Area is home to enchanting ecosystems. For starters, we have sand dunes, golden grassland hills, redwood forests, and the pacific coast. Whenever I get a waft of the marine fog or the cool Bay breeze, I feel cleansed. Now imagine being able to take in that smell whenever or wherever you are. That’s precisely what the fragrance, Memoria, by Mauricio Garicia conjures. The perfumer’s fascination with fragrance began in his abuelita’s garden. In foggy South San Francisco, her small backyard was an oasis of potted plants and greenery growing off trellises. “I remember crushing the rosemary with my fingers and the pericón, the grandmother mint, and the jasmine,” reflects Mauricio Garica. “My grandmother really loved flowers, especially fragrant ones. I certainly inherited that love from her.” With this ancestral inheritance and a deep reverence for plants native to Mexico as well as ecology of the Bay Area, Garcia’s boutique perfume line, Herbcraft Perfumery, honors the sacredness of the natural world. It’s why he refers to his perfumes as eau d’esprit, or spirit waters. These spirit waters are intended as offerings — to anoint ones wrist or neck as well as for filling the air in ones living space, especially around altars, mirrors and candles. In this way, Garcia believes his fragrances help facilitate connection with the spirit world and ancestors. On this episode of Rightnowish, Mauricio Garcia poetically breaks down the science of why scent is tied to memory and how the ritual of adorning our bodies with fragrance can empower and enchant.


Pocho Poet Josiah Luis Alderete Speaks Fire In The Mission

In a city that gives the cold shoulder to working class people and creative folks that aren't backed by trust funds or tech money, Medicine for Nightmares Bookstore opens their doors to those who still care about the artistic soul of San Francisco. It's a place where you can walk in and be greeted with a warm "Hey hermano, Hey prima, Hey familia," and strike up a conversation with the booksellers, fellow readers or local writers that frequent the Mission shop. It's a venue where folks can read to a supportive inter generational audience, a gallery space showcasing artists of color, a community sanctuary to just stop in and exhale a deep breath from the chaos of the city. It's a vibe that is tended to and nurtured by co-owner and poet Josiah Luis Alderete. Coming of age in San Francisco in the 90s, he became immersed in the vibrant literary scene bourgeoning in the Mission. "People say North Beach is the heart of a literary scene in San Pancho or in San Francisco, and I'd say, nah, man, it's the Mission," he muses. As bookstores and cafes from that era have shuttered in the neighborhood, Alderete is helping keep the Mission poetry scene alive through organizing and booking local writers to read and share their work at the 24th street bookstore. In our conversation back in March 2022, Josiah shared literary history of the Mission, why Axolotl's show up in his pocho poems, and how his work is a form of memory keeping. Read the transcript


The SOL Affirmations Podcast Talks The Gift of Impermanence

On today's show we're passing the microphone to Dr. Felicia Gangloff- Bailey and Karega Bailey, hosts of the SOL Affirmations podcast. Karega and Felicia are both educators, and members of the R&B-soul-hip-hop band SOL Development. They're also a married couple who’ve navigated the harsh realities of losing loved ones to gun violence, as well as the unfortunate passing of their first child, who was just a newborn, as they've previously discussed on Rightnowish. In this episode, Felicia and Karega talk about taking a recent trip with their two year-old, Kamali, and realizing how much their child has grown. With that growth, there is both beauty and struggle. Through reflecting on the experience, they share how it stands as an ever-important reminder to be present because no matter what you're going through-- good or bad-- this too shall pass.


Liner Notes: Flutist and Vocalist Elena Pinderhughes is Limitless

Elena Pinderhughes has been around the East Bay jazz scene since before she learned how to walk. Since recording her first published work as a kid, she has gone on to share stages with Herbie Hancock and work with Carlos Santana. She's also played NPR's Tiny Desk with Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott) and even rocked onstage with Future at Coachella . But Elena says she wouldn't be where she is today without family support and the musical institutions of the East Bay. Working with her brother, pianist and vocalist Samora Pinderhughes, assisted her growth at home, while organizations like the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra aided her progress in the community. Elena is preparing for the next iteration of her career, relying on the tools given to her by the Bay Area's multi-talented musical community, as she moves into the world of scoring films, making R&B music and more. Read the transcript