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New Web Comedy Series ‘The North Pole’ Sends Up Oakland Gentrifiers

But it’s not Oaklandia yet. 

Read more from the Fall Arts Preview from our September 2017 issue here.

Swisher guts, third-wave coffee, and big, gorgeous murals: By the time the opening credits of the new web series The North Pole flash on-screen, it’s clear this isn’t one of those David Attenborough joints.

Gentrification, climate change, and the Black Panthers all collide in the straight-outta-Oakland series, a comedic-political project that in subject and tone is all about the Town. The series is set in North Oakland—the North Pole, to locals—and follows three characters, Nina (played by Reyna Amaya), Marcus (Donté Clark), and Benny (Santiago Rosas), all fighting for their neighborhood in the face of profound cultural change. 

A rent-increase notice spurs the trio to launch a campaign to save the endangered “polar bear”—themselves—from extinction. Sprouting up all around them are “invasive species”: mommies pushing strollers, bearded hipsters eating brunch, techies talking Game of Thrones. Nina explains that only a few polar bears remain, “living off the land and Mac Dre mixtapes.” Now, in their place, are white ladies practicing “trap yoga” in Mosswood Park, combining downward dog with booty-twerking.

The series is written and produced by Josh Healey, whose recent projects include Brother Earth, starring Boots Riley. “We’re trying to put Oakland on the map—to represent Oakland and Bay Area culture,” Healey says. To that end, the show is filmed entirely in Oakland, with an all-local cast and crew. (A number of shots were even filmed outside the home of director Yvan Iturriaga.) The seven-episode web series can be seen online beginning this month, and a world premiere is being held at the Grand Lake Theater on September 7. 

 

Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco

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