‘The North Pole’ Comedic Web series tackles Gentrification in North Oakland
After a successful Kickstarter campaign and premiere last week at the Grand Lake Theater to a sold out audience, ‘The North Pole’ political comedy made its online debut this week. The seven episode web series follows three best friends born and raised in North Oakland “who struggle to stay rooted as their neighborhood becomes a hostile environment”.
Across seven, ten-minute episodes, Nina (Reyna-Amaya), Marcus (Donte-Clark), and Benny (Santiago Rosas) lament over the loss of the “native species” of Oaklanders drawing a metaphor to polar bears in the arctic being displaced by climate change.
The pilot episode “Endangered” follows the trio on an urban safari equipped with cameras and binoculars as they drive around town making observations of their changing environment. They poke fun at community gardens, the naiveté of transplants and bearded, biking hipsters that they liken to a form of “invasive species.”
The series contains moments of hilarity like the “cultural appropriation” of incorporating twerking into outdoor yoga and comparing acclimation to the neighborhood change like embracing Korean Tacos “At first I was like nahh, but then a threw some kimchi on that al pastor … man, boi!” quips Marcus in one exchange.
It also contains very serious and localized issues like ongoing rent increases, the fear of getting pushed out of ones home to the suburbs and the fight to stay “loyal to the soil”.
The series is filled with familiar sites like Temescal Alley, Homeroom, MacArthur BART and Oakland’s bountiful street murals. The series also has guest appearances by local celebrities Mistah Fab, W. Kamau Bell and Black Panther leader Ericka Huggins (and a fantastic all-Oakland soundtrack!).