Outside on Post Street and in the Japantown Peace Plaza, pastel-colored babydoll dresses flounce past homemade space-samauri hoods. Everyone's wearing really long turquoise wigs (they're clones of the Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku, try to stay with us here), gaudy plastic baubles glued to their fingernails. A judge at the Baby The Stars Shine Bright runway contest is pleased with one contestant's canny use of a plush llama as accessory. "I like how you incorporated alpaca -- that's really 'in' in Japan these days."
Whimsy was a central characteristic at the heart of this year's J-Pop Summit Festival. But it wasn't all eye-popping plastic and the gluing of themed objects to your pigtail hairpiece. Inside the welcome cool of the New People mall's top-floor Superfrog Gallery, a more sober form of fashion was being explored. Sou Sou's Takeshi Wakabayashi was explaining his brand's commitment to blending traditional forms of Japanese clothing with modern textiles. Read more »
Turn one direction and witness a costumed young woman performing a choreographed dance to popular Japanese vocaloid songs. Spin another and see a crowd of stack-heeled revelers, mimicking her dance moves while wearing poofy black tutus, striped tights,spidery false eyelashes dipped in inky color and glitter, and sporting tiny top hats above teased blue cotton candy wigs.Read more »
Mega mega fire S.O.S.O.S.! The Japanariffic J-Pop Summit is this weekend and SFBG editors Emily Savage and Caitlin Donohue will be tweeting (@tofuandwhiskey and @caitlindonohue, respectively), Facebooking, and posting here about the wild music, films, culture, and - yes! -- amazing outfits. Get ready to anime-te. Read more »
We still had five blocks to walk, but we could already smell the medley of exotic flavors wafting up the street. Sam Love and I were headed to the third annual SF Street Food Festival, which took over blocks and blocks of Folsom Street this past Saturday, bringing together street food vendors from La Cocina, San Francisco, and even a few from across the country to share edible wares with local foodies. Read more »
I'm just going to go ahead and say it because I've had a few days to think about it: that was the best year of Outside Lands yet. Not just because of the weather -- even though my singed epidermis is ample proof that the sun was out and about in Speedway Meadows this weekend -- but because after four years of hype, the sold-out festival is finally justified in its claim that it's among the top five biggest and best in the country. Read more »
Ah, Golden Gate Park on a crisp, sunny Sunday morning. Well, afternoon. There's nothing else like it. When I finally made my way out to Outside Lands, the highly recognizable vocal stylings of tUnE-yArDs were piping through the brush and bramble. Sweaty, shirtless men – fried to a near-crisp – rain danced far back from the Sutro Stage. And those free-jazzing saxophonists that I mentioned in the pre-festival rundown were indeed beside Merrill Garbus.
Next up, I high-tailed it to foodlands, where I shared gourmet tator tots from Q and later, a falafel snow cone – not as odd as it sounds – from Straw. As we munched, I caught a few songs by the legendary Mavis Staples, but apparently missed it when Arcade Fire singer Winn Butler came out to join Staples in a cover of “The Weight.”
Consider the camping festival. A chance for music, art, and recreational drug use fans to slough off the shackles of outrageous office jobs in the summertime and head out for the hills, to engage in traditional Mardi Gras mode where playing is your job, three concurrent stages of live music is the norm, and everyone -- everyone! -- has the residue of somebody's glitter in their facial hair (and they all have facial hair).
Keyboard and organ player Dave Faulkner didn't have to think too hard about the most golden moments of this year's High Sierra music festival (although he did say that the Black Crowes “nailed it” at their Saturday evening main stage performance). “I love it when you're just walking around, and you see a random jam that's totally rocking. I think High Sierra attracts a lot of musicians - it's like a sample platter of bands.” Read more »