Tag Archives: Lower Bottoms

Why “Licks” was powerful: it’s based on a true story

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by Janaya Andrews

It was no ordinary Friday afternoon at McClymonds, as 25 students and community members talked to the Berkeley director who filmed the award-winning “Licks.”  He was with two of the actors, who both grew up in the Lower Bottoms.

The event was organized by Alternatives in Action and featured a panel on “manhood.”

“The movie shifted between humor and sadness and anger,” said freshman Dazhane Labat, who attended the event. “It had moments of redemption; like when the baby is brought to a family to save him from his drug-addicted mother.”

The movie hit home. It actually shows us  teenagers how  life is  in  Oakland and how  things work out; with the realistic scenes of places you know, and dialogue that rings true, you recognize how the  hood works.

The movie follows guy named “D”, as he moves back  to his hometown Oakland where he was charged with robbing a store and wielding a gun.

The most compelling scenes centered on personal relationships. At home with his girlfriend, she told him,”Promise me you wont hit up no more places. His response: baby, look i’m with you now and  she  expresses her doubts and warns him not to bring back his stolen merchandise.”

In his oustside life, friends become more prominent, asking him, “Are  you ready to go make hit this lick.” He answers, “Yea, man let’s go to their approval, “alright that’s my boy.”

Minutes later, they drove to a meat market and went in the store with a black masks on.  Then they  told  the  store clerk to  get on  the  floor;  they held his  head down  on  the  counter making  sure he couldn’t get  a  good  look  at  their faces.

“Licks” touched us all, because of the real hard times we face and the choices we make: the film shows, with  great compassion, that thugs have problems with money and only rob because they are trying to get money for their families.

For Jonathan Singer-Vine, a 24-year-old writer and director who was born  and  raised in Berkeley, California, “Licks” is  his  first feature film. It opened in Oakland’s Parkway Theater in November and won several awards.

He said the film was aimed at 16-year-olds because they will understand how and why the movie was made and its real message.

One Slice At a Time

By Jowana George

This year’s senior projects ranged from Icebox pies to organic facial cremes.  Jowana George, 19, senior decided to focus her Senior Project, a requirement to graduate high school at McClymonds, on her longtime hobby: creating Icebox pies.

The Icebox pie is a combination of cream cheese and kool-aid pie. It consists of cream cheese, graham cracker, eggs, condensed milk, and on occasion ice cream.  The crust is fashioned out of of graham crackers or wafers, and the cream cheese filling takes about 30-40 minutes to settle.  It’s a southern pie that you do not bake; instead you put into a refrigerator.

“That’s the thing about Icebox.  You can add anything,” said George.

With the help of her great aunt, George made her first Icebox lemon pie just a year ago.

“It was so good I had to make another one,” said George.

Along with the mentoring of her aunt, George watches “Cake Boss” on TLC and admires Paula Dean for inspiration.  George claims that making the pies is easy but making a profit –“the math”– is the most difficult part.  A typical pie costs $20 to make and sells for $3 a slice.

“This is only for the senior project.  It’s too much to run a business.”

George sells out of a stand, equipped with a cooler to keep the pies refrigerated, in West Oakland, Lower Bottoms.  Her goal is to bring another type of flavor to the average traditional pies through Icebox pies.  Bringing southern styles to desserts.