Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    ‘North Pole’ web series tackles gentrification, global warming

    Nina, played by Reyna Amaya conducts a mock safari through Oakland, pointing out the species of Oaklanders to her friend Marcus, played by Donte Clark. (Courtesy of Youtube)

    New Oakland-based comedy web series strikes a balance between serious and hilarious

    By Sarah Carpenter

    The opening scene of “The North Pole” is a perfect introduction to the webseries. It reveals the meaning of its title, it sets up a metaphor that carries through the entire series, and it touches on two of the major issues that will be explored: gentrification and climate change.

    Oh, and it’s hilarious.

    Nina is driving her friends Marcus and Benny through Oakland, describing the Town in an Aussie accent, pointing out species of Oaklanders and identifying them as animal types. Benny and Marcus excitedly look through binoculars as she drives, and they hop out to get a picture with the pack of “hyenas” (hipsters outside of a restaurant).

    Nina and her friends are polar bears, and they struggle to stay in their homeland.

    Then, the rarest creature of all is spotted. She is Black, wearing a headscarf and funky earrings, and the trio takes note of her beauty. She is an Oakland native, and Nina identifies her as a “polar bear.”

    Nina and her friends are also polar bears by this metric, and they struggle to stay in their homeland.

    The series premiered at Grand Lake Theatre on Sept. 7 in two showings — both sold out. All seven episodes were shown, and the first premiere received a standing ovation. The premiere was followed by a Q&A with almost the entire cast and crew.

    “Most crews don’t look like this,” writer and producer Josh Healey said. The crew is gender/racially diverse, and Healey attributes much of their creative and innovative success to this diversity.

    One of the goals of this series was to expose the violence of gentrification.

    The series was produced by Movement Generation, a local justice and ecology nonprofit. In addition to other contributions, over 282 individuals “who believe in the power of art and culture for social change” donated to the series’ kickstarter campaign, raising $25,648.

    Many members of the cast and crew are from the Bay Area, making them uniquely qualified to tell Oaklander stories. One of the goals of this series was to expose the violence of gentrification as it affects those who are displaced from their homes. Although The North Pole is a comedy web series, it treats this issue seriously.

    Director Yvan Iturriaga said that The North Pole’s first season focuses on the problems in Oakland, but with the final episode comes the pivot toward season two’s focus: the solutions.

    The first season is now available online at TheNorthPoleShow.com.


    Sarah Carpenter is the Editor-in-Chief of the Laney Tower. Email her at SarahisaCarpenter(at)gmail.com.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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