Interview

Life after the fall: John Felix Arnold's post-apocalyptic musical comic book art

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Artist, illustrator, and graphic designer John Felix Arnold III lived his childhood in movement. His parents were both professional dancers and they kept the family mobile, relocating back and forth from Durham, North Caroline to Brooklyn, New York. While Arnold did not inherit a passion for dance, he was inspired by his mother and father's kinesthetic sensibilities and he grew into a visual artist.

The February 4 opening of “The Love of All Above,” his new solo show, featured musical performances by Daylight Curfew, Kool Kid Kreyola, and Him Downstairs -- a prime example of Arnold’s mixing of media and his obvious passion for the values inculcated by a deeply creative family. The musical performances took place on a funky altar composed of found objects built by Arnold, which will be on view as part of the exhibit. Read more »

Making history: Joanne Griffith's 'Redefining Black Power' project comes to the Bay

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"Joanne [Griffith]'s work is centered on one theme: not to offer information as a point of journalistic fact, but to act as a conduit for debate and conversation, especially around issues relating to the African diaspora experience." So writes Brian Shazor, director of the Pacifica Radio Archives, in the foreward to Griffith's new book Redefining Black Power: Reflections on the State of Black America (City Lights Books, 206pp, $16.95). Griffith will be presenting her work, part of an interactive project to archive the state of African Americans in the United States in the Bay Area this week -- starting tonight (Wed/8) at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Read more »

Downtown action: Sex shop Feelmore510 celebrates one year of community pleasure

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The sex shop Feelmore510 is located on the corner of Oakland's Telegraph and 17th streets, across from an Obama campaign office, in between a pawn shop and the oldest African-American owned shoe store in town. The neighborhood is in transition, a place with old roots and a lot of new blooms – most businesses on this stretch of Telegraph opened within the last five years. Feelmore510 will celebrate its one-year anniversary Sun/12 when owner Nenna Joiner helps host Town Love, a new party at Hibiscus' Rock Steady. Read more »

This is our country, too: Fred Korematsu's daughter on her father's civil rights legacy

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“One never knows after someone dies what happens to their legacy. Sometimes it becomes a part of history and sometimes it grows,” Karen Korematsu -remarked in a phone interview with the Guardian this week. Her father, civil rights activist Fred Korematsu, will be honored statewide with his own official day on Mon/30. You can celebrate his legacy locally at the Oakland Museum of California’s Lunar New Year event on Sun/29, where Karen will be speaking about her dad’s contribution to our cultural heritage. Read more »

The bad kind of pain: Kitty Stryker talks sexual abuse in the BDSM community

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In a culture where pain equates to pleasure and sexual power is deliberately manipulated for ecstatic highs, how far is too far? Kitty Stryker and Maggie Mayhem are two local activists who are confronting rape and abuse within the BDSM community. The two are gearing up to take a workshop they've prepared on the subject called "Safe/Ward" on the road. You can support their educational tour at a Center for Sex and Culture fundraising event on Tue/24. Read more »

"In the big butt category, there's four awards": What's it like to vote in the AVN Awards?

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Guardian culture editor Caitlin Donohue will be live Tweeting the AVNs this year. For the latest in Lycra and non-judgemental observations, follow her @caitlindonohue

Once a year, the porn industry gathers to honor its own. Cash is dropped on sparkly stripper gowns, breasts are wedged into places that are too small for them, too-little or too-much time is spent on crafting acceptance speeches and: Viagra. Sometimes Flo Rida is there (this year Coolio will captain the official after-party) – but like an enthusiastic blow job, the Adult Video News Awards are always a triumphant good time. This weekend the ceremony and attendant fan expo are at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas. The Guardian's going to be there on the red carpet, obviously – but we thought we'd get you all hot-and-bothered with some sage words from two industry insiders – who happen to be members of the academy to boot.

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A Bay Area kind of stand-up: Frankie Quinones of For the People Comedy

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Common knowledge states that if you're serious about becoming a stand-up comedian on the West Coast, you move to Los Angeles. But Frankie Quinones created the diversity of For the People Comedy here in San Francisco and despite his rising star on the stand-up scene, he's sticking around for the moment.

Maybe that's because Carmelita lives here. “She's taken on a whole thing of her own, her own career,” says the Ventura County native of his sassed-up, club-going Latina sexpot. “Carmelita's got her own list of things to do in 2012.” You can check out Quinones -- and possibly Carmelita or his popular "Cholo Whisperer" skit -- at the next For the People event at Cobb's on Thu/19. 

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"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore": Good Vibrations' company leaders on getting big

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What will be the San Francisco-in-the-aughtteens equivalent of the creation of Good Vibrations in the Mission District in 1977? Let's hope some fresh new sexuality invention is fomenting that will be rocking our beds in three decades with the robustness that Good Vibes has shown. From that initial single location, the well-lit place for women to shop for vibrators has expanded to encompass not only six brick-and-mortar shops (five in the Bay Area, one in Massachusetts) -- but also a robust online business that has taken the original founders' dreams of teaching America how to have safer, better sex and made it a reality. In 2007, the one-time worker-owned co-op turned corporation was sold to GVA-TWN, a Cleveland, Ohio sex toy company. 

But the engineers behind the Good Vibes brand say it hasn't stopped growing. Last week, on the occasion of the brand's new branch opening (on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland Jan. 28, details below) the Guardian conducted email interviews with the company's chief operating officer Jackie Strano and staff sexologist Carol Queen. The woman waxed pleasurably -- dammit, now everything is sounding dirty -- on the company's possible digital education programs of the future, Carol Queen shared her views on a future with a Good Vibes location in every American city, plus we reveal what the hell a SESA is, and how it can help improve your orgasms. Read more »

In brief: 5 things you did not know about Coral Reefer

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In my Herbwise marijuana column in this week's Guardian, I wrote about my epic meeting with a one Coral Reefer, 23-year old Twitter queen and self-styled cannabis activist (whose infamous shots of herself smoking a bejeweled bong in the nude may or may not have contributed to her popularity). When the deadline smoke had cleared, however, much remained to be said about this living, thriving Reefer. Below, some dense nuggets of well-crystalled wisdom about the smoking savant.

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Gifted: The Poor Bastard's SF Almanac

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Hey, Slingshot Organizer gang. Yeah youse, the well-planned anarchists in the corner. Stephen Kovacic would like you folks to know you are no longer the only alt-dayplanner game in town. 

Kovacic -- inspired, he says, by his experience working the front desk at the LGBT Community Center -- has pulled off the impressive feat of assembling a one-stop guide to sustainable brokeness in this fair city of ours. Not only is The Poor Bastard's SF Almanac a calendar, but it is also is packed with supervisoral district maps, last-BART-of-the-night times, guides to where to find fair trade coffee, free museum and zoo visits, eight (!) $1 oyster happy hours, and San Francisco pools. The result is delightfully scrappy, delightfully useful package of wisdom. In an email interview with the Guardian, Kovacic admitted to ordering far, far too many of the things from the print shop, so in addition to being able to cop the planners for $12 in local bookstores (we even spotted them at Scarlet Sage Herb Company), you can order them from his website at prices as low as five for $35. Read more »