The main events for the Oakland drag festival Oaklash are scheduled for the weekend after next (May 19-21) with a grand finale at Fairyland, but Oaklash is digging in its heels with early panels and workshops this week.
Drag performance has historically been a glamorous art, but when the Oakland drag and queer performance festival Oaklash was established in 2018, it explored the more punk-rock and shock aspects to modern-day drag. Oaklash was obviously forced to livestream its festival for two years of the pandemic, but returned as a one-day block party in 2022, and this year is a weekend-long festival (May 19-21), with panels and workshops beginning this week.
“Now that we’re at year six, it feels like we are just getting started and hitting our stride of creating the kinds of large-scale, accessible, and diverse events that we deserve to see for drag here in the Bay Area,” Oaklash co-founder Mama Celeste says in a 48 Hills interview. “C’mon, year six! Let’s get sickening!”
Your big Oaklash main events are next weekend, kicking off Friday 5/19 with Backlash, a "badass night of queer and trans music” at Thee Stork Club hosted by Kochina Rude. Saturday 5/20 brings a double-feature of the Oaklash block party in Old Oakland (1-8 p.m.), and the Oaklash Afterkii at the Continental Club. And things will wrap up Sunday 5/21 with the Oaklash Grand Finale at Fairyland (6-10 p.m.). Tickets are $20 for individual events, or $50 for an all-weekend pass.
And as mentioned, there are plenty of workshops and panels in the leadup this week and next. On Wednesday, May 10, the free panel discussion Holla if ya Hear Me: Black Femmes in Music is at Wolfe Pack Studios. The Wednesday, May 17 free panel Black & Brown King Workshop is at Oakstop, and following the festival, the course GOGO 101 (with Cheetah Biscotti) is May 27 at Full Out Studios. All of these panels are free, but RSVP is required.
Image: Oaklash via Eventbrite