In Japantown yesterday, pet owners walked small dogs dressed in mini kimonos to the beat of taiko drums. The festivities were on account of the 43rd annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the state's largest celebrations of Japanese culture. The Sapporo beer gardens lubricated sale of T shirts and bento boxes, and Safeway had erected a pop up grocery store near the main stage.
But in the basement of the Kabuki hotel, one could follow makeshift signs to a cultural display without brand names and ID checks. Small meeting rooms held samurai swords and their aficionados, traditional paper doll creations and creators. The Cherry Blossom Festival had created this peaceful forum for an array of Japanophile collecters and crafters.
“Poetry’s made a big difference in my life. It’s allowed me to express myself in ways that I never would have been able to,” says Erica McMath Sheppard, 17, one the winners of Sat/3’s Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam at the Warfield Theater.Read more »
Since writing my article in this week’s Guardian on the state of street art in San Francisco, the definition of the term has been… not rankling me, but sitting in my head like things that can’t be resolved tend to do. But a recent conversation I had with the owner of White Walls and Shooting galleries, Justin Giarla gave me a good look at why street artists go indoors. He took me through his current exhibition of works by the legendary stencilist Blek Le Rat, Hush, and Above -- “street” artists all, who are finding brave new worlds through work on canvas. Read more »
The answer is yes, yes it will be. And how did the madness begin? “I was in the neighborhood and I saw this wall. And me being me, I got really excited and wanted to paint it.” And so it started, Brian Barneclo’s latest SOMA mural project, whose launch will be celebrated alongside "Systematics," his solo (indoor art) show at fabric8 on Sat/10. Read more »
Foodies filled Omnivore Books in Noe Valley on Thursday night, some to compete and some to eat, for the first Edible Art Contest. The competitors were judged on taste and creativity and the mix of entries were quite impressive.
“Here’s my Jaguar Warrior.” Jesse Hernandez pulls out his toy, and sets it on our café table with a broad smile. Two women at the next table over are immediately intrigued. “Oh, that’s beautiful! What is that?” they coo. Hernandez seems flattered by the compliments, and patiently explains that it’s a vinyl toy and that he designed the elaborate yellow cat figurine with the sweeping blue plumes and fierce, fanged skull peering out of its face. And yes, it’s pretty cool.
One gets the impression that, as host of MYX TV’s new show “Vinyl Addiction,” (who celebrates its launch party and the release of an exclusive Hernandez toy Sat/3 at New People) Hernandez is used to explaining to people just what these cute/creepy little dolls are. He certainly got me to understand their appeal.
There’s a mural by my work I pass everyday that is visually astounding. It’s a super burner- a big, looping maze of letters, or maybe just design, that must represent in its whorls every color of the rainbow. It takes up the street side of a long building on a background of black-on-black fluer de lis design at Turk and Mason. Not to trivialize the sweet and sour roughness of ‘Loin life, but it gives the dope heads, the police cruisers and the general down-and-outery of the ‘hood an air of artistry.
You don’t see color like that just anywhere.
Which was why it was so nice to put a face to the piece during my trip down to Project One gallery to check out their current show “Four Squared,” a collaborative project between Chor Boogie, Apex One, Jet Martinez, and David Chong Lee. Apex One (who spray painted the mural in the Tenderloin) was there putting up a fresh new entryway sign for the gallery, and we got the chance to chat on how the group partnership came to be.
Keith Boadwee is a fascinating artist. Known for his outrageous self-portraits -- which combine media that include but are not limited to photography, performance art, painting, self-administered enemas, and pornography -- his work is unorthodox to say the least. Boadwee has photographed himself in situations that 99.999% of the world would probably rather die (like for real die) than experience for themselves, and he kills himself fearlessly (see NSFW -- I repeat NSFW -- images on his Web site). Viewing Boadwee's work in a gallery setting, such as that of Steven Wolf Fine Arts, is like experiencing the collision of someone's private world with your own public forehead.
Steampunk has been described as a “step sideways in time.” It’s certainly not a regressive subculture- one peek at the kinds of clockwork corsetry and hydraulics operated moving machines that steampunk tinkerers fashion will convince you of that- but rather, a rethinking of where technology could have led us. It’s a topic that’s figuring prominently in the minds of many these days, which means this year’s New Albion Steampunk Exhibition (begins Fri/12) promises to be more whiz-bang than ever.
Picture, if you will, a mass of punks and nonconventional individuals in Victorian garb and laboriously created wings, monocles, wrist weaponry and whatnot, all milling about to waltz music in a very conventional hotel convention space. Surely, unsuspecting squares of Emeryville will be freaked.
“Like a wild garden full of it’s own offerings” says Mission Muralismo editor Annice Jacoby of the neighborhood that gave birth to Balmy Alley, Carlos Santana and countless rolls in Dolores Park’s grassy knolls. The Mission’s street art really does bear fruit, and this Friday will be an excellent chance to check out the women behind all the flowering at the de Young’s “Muralistas: the Mission and the World,” a continuation of the museum's tribute to the neighborhood's art that began last year.
In a recent KQED interview, Jacoby told the story of a mural of a motorcycle riding “chiquita” mural that was painted off of 16th Street and Mission. With her “derriere” in the air, the skimply clad painting had offended some of the neighbors that lived by the display. The artist’s solution? Merely to plump up those panties “with a few strokes of the brush.” Chiquita covered, community’s calm restored.