Oaklandís Waterfront Takes
Center Stage at PortFest 2003
"The World Comes to Oakland"
Saturday, June 7th
Own Diva of Delight Faye Carol
Performing on the PortFest 2003
JazzStage at 1:50 PM
2003, Oakland has its very own diva of delight in the voice
and energy of Faye Carol, who performs on the PortFest 2003
Jazz Stage at 1:50 PM. Bay Crossings recently had the
pleasure of speaking with this magnificent woman by phone.
Like all budding artists,
I wanted to know what constitutes making it, getting to the
top of your game. The thing about making it to me is the
fact that I am still singing after 40 years. I wake up in
the morning, and I still own myself. To me thatís making
it. I have been able to raise my daughter, Kito Gamble, free
of drugs and abuse. Kito opened up Yoshiís. She is
currently working on a gospel CD, and Iím doing some of
the background work. I received a lot of support from my
parents, Vertie and Spencer Gray, and my sister Libby, who
lost her leg and discovered her poetís voice.
Making it is looking into
the faces of young people and being able to tell them who
Sarah Vaughn, Cab Calloway, and Billy Erkstine were. In
growing up, we are discouraged to be entertainers because it
is a tough life.
I had record companies
tell me I was too black. I canít wake up in the morning,
and be anything else. I like the ethnic part of myself. At
first, I solicited and solicited, calling 50 million people,
50 million times. Then, when I couldnít get any play, I
just said, Iíll just do the music of my culture. People
named us bebop, jazz, but we were just singing, dancing,
writing songs, and reflecting on life. In order to sell it,
you got to call it something. I would like to be able to get
with Naz or some of the contemporary artists. What I see
them doing is going towards the heavy metal rock, more so
than the tried and true. People go with the current thing,
whatever is in your face. My husband, James Gamble, who is
now deceased, was responsible for me going towards history.
He taught at UC Berkeley. I thought I was going to be the
next Aretha, and went to Los Angeles, but when I was looking
at the contracts, I could not sign them. He said to me, I
could do the music of my culture. It doesnít depend on a
trend. Our music never goes out of style. When you study
history, you have to know the times.
One of the greatest things
that ever happened was a cabaret show. They were having a
lot of us on the show at the Club Fugazi. Ben Vereen was the
host. It was the end of the show, and we were all just
standing there. My mind kept saying to me that there is a
microphone over there and ainít nobody at it. I ran over
to the microphone. The television cameras had left. I went
over to the mic and started singing. The cameras came back.
Ben Vereen hurried back, and a few more cabaret stars, and
it just started to snowball. Everyone was just singing. It
all just went from the thought of, that microphone was over
there all alone. For all intents, the show was over, but I
just had to sing, and it grew into a great big wonderful
Another great time was
when Nelson Mandela came to town after his incarceration. I
was at the Coliseum singing with Pharaoh Saunders. I wrote
the song that we sang for Mandela. Bobby Hutcherson was
there. It was called Mandela Blues. What a beautiful gentle
soul. I thought the man was going to walk on water. He just
seemed to be walking in love and peace for the world. You
couldnít detect any bitterness in him.
Oaklandís waterfront is
well-known for being the economic engine of the region, moving cargo
to and fro around the world. But itís also taking on a second life
as a hotbed of fun times and good living.
Whatís attracting people is the
stunning natural beauty of the Oakland/Alameda Estuary Itís a work
of art, and when you live next to a work of art itís possible to
take it for granted. Gorgeous vistas, magnificent ships gliding by,
colorful storefronts, enticing restaurants, fancy hotels, and people
from all cultures and backgrounds form a dazzling mosaic.
Once a year, the Port of Oakland
throws a party to remind everyone of just how beautiful the Estuary
waterfront is Ė and how lucky we all are to enjoy it.
This one-day festival began in
1935 when it was first called Port Day, and was held in conjunction
with National Maritime Day. In the 1970s, the festival became an
annual event and now draws upwards of 25,000 people. The event
features fun, food, and music, in addition to offering the public an
opportunity to explore this magnificent port, which occupies 19
miles of waterfront on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay.
PortFest 2003 kicks off Saturday,
June 7th, at Howard Terminal and Jack London Square, right next to
the Alameda/Oakland Ferry landing. This is a free event with
entertainment and activities for the entire family. Working ships
will be on display, and possibly open for tours. There will be an
air show featuring vintage planes. Ever-popular harbor tours aboard
ferryboats will take place.
This is the publicís chance to
learn about the Port and its three lines of businessóMaritime (the
Oakland seaport), Aviation (Oakland International Airport), and
Commercial Real Estate. The Portís commercial real estate holdings
and airport are easily accessible to the public. But for safety and
security reasons, the seaportís operations, industrial activities
involving ships, cranes, trains, and cargo, are not designed to
accommodate visitors. PortFest 2003 offers a rare peek behind the
Harold Jones, the Portís
Director of Communications, is particularly enthused about this yearís
festival. He told us, "PortFest generally takes place in Jack
London Square. This year, we have a one-time opportunity to showcase
a working terminalóHoward Terminalóadjacent to Jack London
Square. By using the terminal, the exhibits and displays can be much
larger than usual," he said.
PortFest 2003 will bring out
crowds teeming with people from all over the Bay Area eager to meet
someone, see the sights, spend the day in the sun, get some
kettlecorn, and let their inner-child play. But more and more, folks
that are in-the-know are finding that there is no better place to
meet and greet than by the water.
Indeed, all around the Bay Area
the waterfront is becoming an exciting entertainment destination,
nowhere more so than Jack London Square. Established in 1989, Jack
London Square is a happening downtown location, and features dining
establishments, retail shops, a cinema, first class hotels, and a
variety of attractions. Waterfront clubs like Yoshiís and Kimballís
give us jazz, bebop, hip-hop, doo wop, and just plain music, that
fills you up in a way that nothing else can.
Playing to this strength, PortFest
2003 has lined up top musical talents like Oleta Adams, Lenny
Williams, the Big Belly Blues Band, Natasha Miller, the Oakland
Interfaith Gospel Choir, Faye Carol, Oaktown Jazz, Joel Dorham, and
Radio Noise to rock the neighborhood, and more.
The flowering of the Oakland
Estuary waterfront points the way to a cutting edge of urban living
that waterfront communities across the nation are watching. But
having a good time is old hat for the people of Oakland, taking
pride in an artistic and cultural history that stretches back to the
Gold Rush. More recently, Oakland was alive with the big band sound
in the 1930s, and in the Ď40s grooviní to the bebop sound
orchestrated by the likes of Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, and
So if you feel like singing,
eating, laughing, and just enjoying life, come on down to PortFest
2003 at Jack London Square and Howard Terminal in Oakland, on
Saturday, June 7th.
For more information on festival
activities, check out the PortFest 2003 entertainment insert in this
issue of Bay Crossings. Also, check out the Port of
Oakland website for further event information at www.portofoakland.com.