Arts and CultureBoozeReviewsSan Francisco

Locals vs. Gentrifiers : East Bay Fight Party

Put em' up!

Put em’ up!

As housing prices soar upwards and neighborhoods seemingly transform overnight, conversations can get pretty zesty pretty quickly surrounding the topic of gentrification. I don’t know about you, but my Facebook feed is a regular bullshit fest of people defending their right to move here and others defending their right to still afford to be here.

Fireworks & Fights!

Fireworks & Fights!

Before we get into it any further, I’m going to come clean here and now. I am not a Bay Area native. I was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to Oakland in 2000 and haven’t left. While I lack the pure bred local pedigree, I do possess all of the zealotry that comes with being a born-again Bay Area Californian.

Apocalypse Right Now

Apocalypse Right Now

Needless to say, the topic of outsiders pouring into the Bay Area their presence and effects that it has on our cities is both timely and tumultuous. In a creative attempt to address the roiling boil topic of gentrification, the East Bay Rats opted to cut the shit and take the dialog straight into the boxing ring. Thus as a community we all piled into the Rat’s club house on San Pablo Avenue this past Saturday and watched as our friends worked out our collective issues and aggressions surrounding this current influx of people via the time honored method of fisticuffs. That’s right, motherfucking fisticuffs baby.

crowd rats

The East Bay Rat’s fight parties take place at the Rat’s clubhouse on San Pablo and are wild free-for-alls featuring punk bands, bottle rockets, and booze, not to mention fights. People start packing in early, and by the time the party is in full swing, the backyard area that hosts a regulation size boxing ring and nothing else is crammed with people, with people crawling up onto the roof for a better view of the fights.

fight night

fight night

Thanks to films like Fight Club, and the popularity of the East Bay Rats, fight parties are a familiar concept. Someone gets in the ring and whoever feels like fighting the dude or chick volunteers and strap on a pair of regulation boxing gloves. The fights are refereed by a member of the Rats who makes sure that things don’t get too gnarly. The criteria for this particular party was to qualify as being a local you needed to be a resident of the Bay for at least 10 years, anything less being considered a gentrifier. The fights are done in good fun, they usually end in a hug or a handshake. Punches were thrown, blood was spilled, and everyone who entered the ring was a champion. Who won? Well, locals of course. But we will have to see how things pan out in real life.

hot bike 3

Photo: James Cheadle via www.hotbikeweb.com (different night, same event)

hot bike 4

Photo: James Cheadle via a rad article written by Martin Pashley for www.hotbikeweb.com on the East Bay Rats. click on the picture to see it.

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Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

I am a writer, DJ, musician, vandal and I travel a lot.

  • 503F

    Lol at the white people talking about who was there first in the east bay.

  • patrick fry

    10 years is not close to long enough for me to consider someone a local. Like, you have to have been born here or spent a majority of your youth here for me to consider you a local. If you came here 10 years ago, you are a gentrifier, especially if you came here, lived in a lower income neighborhood and helped with pricing out residents who had to move to antioch or hayward or something. But if I moved to China, and lived there for ten years, I wouldn’t consider myself a local of China. I would be guy from the US who has lived in China for 10 years.