What started, as chasing a store on wheels all around San Francisco has now become a simple muni ride downtown to The Crocker Galleria, which is the permanent home for Christina Ruiz’s mobile boutique.
The TopShelf Style boutique’s pop-up shop opened in February because at the time Ruiz, said there were not a lot of “fashion truck friendly events.” It was a slow season for the truck so she figured she had nothing to lose.
The pop-up which was only supposed to be open for a month turned into 2 and a half months. Meanwhile Ruiz was approached with the opportunity of owning her store which is now located on the second floor of The Crocker Galleria. Now just about a year after starting the fashion truck Ruiz’s dream of finally owning both a “brick and mortar” shop has become a reality.
Ruiz and her team had been working day in and day out to prepare for the launching of the store. She had gone on numerous buying trips for merchandise, furniture, and even purchasing small detailed items like doorknobs. Ruiz said, “Getting the store ready had been a collaborative process and a true labor of love.”
Ruiz remained located in the pop-up shop up until the official opening of her boutique which was May 6th. She said having been in the pop-up up until the opening of her store helped a lot, because she was able to talk to frequent customers about the launch.
The May 9th launch party for TopShelf Boutique was an utter success. Ruiz said, “I was overwhelmed by the amount of love.” There was a lot of support for TopShelf Boutique from frequent shoppers to Ruiz team which also included her brother David Ruiz, who mixed free drinks for guest the night of.
Ruiz said, “I want the TopShelf brand to turn into more than just a local business.” She hopes to expand in years to come and she is motivated to grow her online business. Ruiz wants her presence to be known in a wider range.
While her fashion truck will still be in motion around SF, shoppers now have easier access when shopping for the one of kind affordable merchandise TopShelf Boutique offers in store. Ruiz said, “We will have more space to carry a wider variety, some limited at first, more well known brand names, and eventually some shoes!”
Ruiz will continue to hit the streets of San Francisco in her truck but primarily on weekends and the TopShelf Boutique will be open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm.
The lights dim down in the Depot. The current band, which just performed, left the stage and the workers are setting up the equipment on the stage as they prepare for the next band to take the stage.
While the stage is being set, Vinnie Hecht, drummer and bartender at the SF State Pub, taps his sticks on the drums and practices his part while he looks at his laptop screen for the music notes. His long time friend, Bobby Carroll, is fixing his guitar and playing a couple of notes on his guitar.
“I have to warm up my voice right now” as Scott Wagner, vocalist, tells Darby Keith, guitarist, before the stage is completely set up. Max Coley, the bass player, is sitting down and talking to a few people and selling the bands t-shirts.
People are standing in front of the stage and chatting amongst themselves with beers in their hand. The crowd grows bigger and start gathering in The Depot as eagerly awaiting Raiju to come out and take the stage.
It’s Raiju’s first performance on stage together since earlier this year. “Scott and I know each other since 2006” says Nick. Scott and Nick moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. They were looking forward to create a new band. “We put on an ad on Craigslist,” says Nick about looking for musicians.
Bobby and Vinnie have been friends since the third grade. They have been playing together from middle school throughout high school.
They responded to Nick and Scott’s ad and got hold of them. To complete the entire group, they needed a bass player. Later on, Max responded to the ad and completed the band.
“We’re focusing on mystical creatures,” says Vinnie when it came to picking a name for the band. They went through a list of names. Finally, they pick “Raiju”. It pronounces “rye-joo” and it stands for a “Japanese thunder beast” according to the band. Raiju practices at a rehearsal room in the Oakland Music Complex.
“We really wanted heavy metal music that was strange and odd” as Bobby describes Raiju’s music. All together, they wanted a sound that would be “applying to us and to make it fun for listeners”, says Bobby.
Prior to the performance, there were minor technical problems with sound. Once everything is fixing, Raiju is ready to take the stage. The guys were more excited than nervous since it’s the first show.
Raiju goes on stage. Scott thanks the crowd for their patience. He assures them “It usually doesn’t take us this long to set up considering it’s our first show.”
Bobby takes the mic and says “I’m so sorry, but let’s fucking rock!”
The anticipation was over and the show begins. As Raiju plays their first song “Pride and Gluttony +Sanitation by Fire”, begins with aggressive heavy metal sound. Scott jumps off the stage. He screams from top of lungs as his voice echoes through the room. The tempo of the music is faster and faster and slow down and fast again.
While the music is playing, a man jumps out of the crowd and begins the mosh pit. Finally He bumps into the crowd and Scott as he’s singing the song. The man bash into someone and made the person spewing his beer all over the crowded floor.
The guys of Raiju created music for anyone who enjoys the sounds of explosive heavy metal rock coming from the fires of hell and leave your ears will be ringing for days.
Raiju played other songs to the audience. The show ended. Raiju thanks the crowd for the support especially Vinnie, who takes the mic and says “thank you all for showing and I see a lot of regulars from the Pub.”
Eunice Nuval sits hovered over the projector. She’s making edits to a monologue written by Jackie, her seventeen-year-old student at San Francisco’s Downtown High School. Far from the typical high school experience, Mrs. Nuval—as she’s known in the classroom—spends much of her time with students reviewing their monologues and plays for their final exhibition at the end of the semester.
Downtown High, or DHS, is unlike traditional comprehensive high schools in the Bay Area. It is a continuation school for students who have fallen off track in the standard-curriculum high school setting and are referred by the city’s School District to more personalized programs offered by DHS.
Ben, an eighteen-year-old student who was transferred to DHS from Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School says, “I like Downtown better than Wallenberg because I get more support and one-on-one help.”
Unlike Ben, seventeen-year-old Jose, wishes he was still at his previous high school, Galileo Academy of Science and Technology. “I miss being there because my mom wanted to see me graduate from there.”
With a project-based curriculum that connects their hands-on experiences to the “real world,” DHS allows the students to pick a project they are most interested in for the semester.
“Ideally, every subject is integrated around the project theme,” says Robert Ayala, a teacher at DHS. While he has been able to integrate most subjects around the project he is co-teaching, he is still working on integrating mathematics, which at the moment, he teaches as a separate course.
Projects at DHS range from topics like Physics Reflected In Social Movements also known as PRISM, which studies how ideas in social history and physics can be comparable, to Acting For Critical Thought, also known as ACT, which, this semester, focuses on the diasporas in migrant communities through playwriting and stage performance.
Nuval and Ayala run ACT, the theater project she established two years ago in partnership with Elizabeth Brodersen, the first Director of Education at the American Conservatory Theater. Brodersen recalls that only two months after being appointed director, “Eunice called me and said I’m a teacher at Downtown High School, we want to establish a theater project and would you be our partner, and I said sure!”
With the help of Brodersen, Nuval is able to take her students to the Conservatory, located at 415 Geary St., every week for acting workshops with company member and teaching artist, Nick Gabriel.
In the workshops, the students attempt to perfect their stage performance for plays and monologues. Through direction and much repetition, Gabriel works alongside the students to help them out of their shell to create a memorable performance at the exhibition.
“We’re gonna keep doing this if it kills me and you,” says Gabriel jokingly to the class. Over and over again he demonstrates exaggerated performance movements and voice projection that the students need to copy. While this results in giggles from the students, he provides great examples for them to imitate, so as to captivate their audience at the show.
In addition to the weekly acting workshops, Nuval has also generated a partnership with 826 Valencia, a literacy initiative located in San Francisco’s Mission District. Each week, tutors from 826 Valencia work with students to develop their writing skills and answer any questions they may have about the monologues or plays they have created.
When the students are not at the Conservatory, or with the tutors, they are diligently working with Nuval and Ayala grinding away at their work in preparation for the exhibition. Through prompts and daily classroom exercises, Nuval is constantly pushing her students to reach their potential.
Nuval’s ultimate goal for her students—which she feels is being accomplished—is “for their voices to be heard, their stories to be told and to take their experiential learning outside of the school.”
While the exhibition is currently not open to the public because of auditorium space limitations, Brodersen hopes a larger space will soon be available for public attendance.
By Melissa Landeros
Photos by Samantha Benedict and Kenny Redublo
More than 20 designers, over 120 models, a production team of about 80, 1 runway and 1 night that brought all types of people together to support SF State’s Apparel Design and Merchandising (ADM) students at the San Francisco Design Center May 2nd.
Every spring semester the graduating seniors from the ADM department create their own line or individual looks to showcase to fellow onlookers, as a stepping stone into their future of making it big in the fashion industry.
While the senior ADM merchandising students help backstage during the production. Working backstage includes numerous tasks from constant model changes, checking the line up, and making sure each individual look is put together as the designer wants it to be.
As guests were checking in and getting a grasp of the venue committee leaders were hard at work behind the scenes getting models ready to strut down the runway. Backstage manager Brittany Poon expressed how she and her team had pre-show jitters but once the show began everything ran smoothly. Poon, said, “Anytime you have a large event, there are bound to be a few hiccups, but my team was well prepared and on top of it.”
The Fashion Network Association is a student run organization open to anyone interested in promoting/producing fashion events and publications. The FNA is the bridge that connects students and alumni in order to gain industry knowledge and opportunities to network.
The student run association is broken up into committees that have their individual duties when it comes to producing the spring fashion show. The public relations committee reached out to vendors, bloggers, and designers for donations for the raffle, which took place during the show. Raffle prizes consisted of gift cards from JewelMint, Weston Wear, Freda Salvador, and a grand prize of a dress form donated by Menswear Designer Justin Jamison.
Public Relations officer Faviola Vega, said, “I think the FNA team enjoyed the process of seeing the show come together.” Vega said while at times the process was difficult because not everyone was available when needed she was very pleased with the FNA and their contribution to the show.
The FNA model committee recruited models for those designers who did not already have their own, created spreadsheets pairing the two, hosted model fittings, and runway walking workshops. Model committee was also in charge of recruiting a hair and makeup team, which consisted of Fremont Beauty College students and freelance makeup artists who volunteered their services.
Runway model coach Charleston Pierce offered his expertise in helping the student models perfect their walk up until the day of the show. Pierce said, “I saw lots of potential in the models and would love to work with the FNA in the future.” He also said the show was great, there was a lot of excitement and he saw the energy in everyone’s faces.
FNA member Peyton Howell director for the model committee also served as a model to many designers during the show. Howell said, “I was given the chance to work with and wear clothing from multiple talented artists and it was just an exhilarating experience.”
All FNA members promoted the show by posting flyers throughout the SF State campus and promoting through social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The students from the BECA department also created video advertisements for Runway 2013: Ignite, via YouTube and Vimeo.
The BECA students also created short videos about the student designers, which were broadcasted before their looks went down the runway. The production team also recorded the show live but due to technical difficulties the video did not stream on the projector overhead as the show was in motion. Although, the audience was able to relive the show and its highlights once the production concluded.
The ADM student designers showcased a variety of individual looks from exaggerated pieces to upcycled looks from garments donated by Goodwill. Some lines were simple yet very detailed like Genevieve Sixbey-Spring’s scarf collection entitled ISRE. While Allison Brackeen’s Lady V. Lingerie collection was intricate and feminine. Along with individual looks there were 19 collections ranging from 5 to 7 looks each.
SF State design student Kiana Loo created three individual looks one, being an exaggerated piece, another inspired by nature, and an upcycled look. Loo also featured her collection entitled Lotus of short skirts and dresses. Loo was inspired by silk periwinkle colored fabrics that she utilized in her collection. She said, “I wanted my line to be fresh, fun, and flirty, and I also believe it to be very wearable.” Loo future goals include moving to Los Angeles and opening up her own store.
Student designer Van Tran created an individual look and a collection that embodied lots of hard wear in the form of chains and beading. While it took some designers up to 4 months to create their lines, Tran said her line was complete after 1 month. Her collection is called A Royal Battle, and with that Tran said, “I want to move to New York and hope to move up in the design world.”
Vice President of the FNA Jessie Couberly who was also the front stage manager during the show thought the show was a success. Couberly said, “All the talented people at the show were amazing and they would not be who they are without the support of those around them.” With it being Couberly last semester as the FNA Vice President she hopes that someone will continue to carry on the amazing organization for many years to come.
The entire show lasted about 3 hours and the runway was about half the time. The moment ADM design students are in the program they know what is to expect their last semester at SF State. The designers put in many hours, weeks, even months into creating their garments. The time mounting up until they showcase their line is long awaited but the time all their hard work is shown on the runway only lasts but a few moments.
SF State Student Annmarie Bustamante will be showcasing her line at next year’s annual fashion show. Bustamante already knowing that her work will only be featured for a few moments said it is still worth the strenuous effort. She said, “Seeing your looks in motion with the fast paced strut of the models excites and entertains the crowd and that is more powerful than a still photograph.”
Designer Elena Corona’s line Kawaii Yakuza was inspired by Harajuku street wear, which is a casual look consisting of bright and pastel colors. Corona said, “I wanted my line to be a reflection of my personal style and interests.” Her designs are simple but added touches like studs on collars and intricate headbands make her looks stand out.
Lee Hi, a Korean pop singer who wears toy like “crowns,” inspires Corona’s elaborate headbands. Corona’s headbands each had a theme; one was made of roses while another was made of candy wrappers.
As the looks came down the runway the audience was captivated and one could hear how some ooed and awed at the designs. Attendee Heather Marcy said, “I was literally standing next to my friend pointing out pieces I loved and wanted to wear myself.” She thought the show was a good production overall and had a fun experience.
FNA president Kayla Odwald stressed how the entire show production would not have been possible without the help of several people. Runway 2013: Ignite was established due to the hard work of the ADM department, the FNA, the BECA department, the production/media committees and the generosity of those who donated items to the show.
While this spring show is a wrap there will be a whole new set of designs, designers, and production team next year. Also stay tuned for the upcoming fall semester in which the FNA will produce another fashion show leading up to the spring show.
Crystals, specifically quartz, are a hot trend in fashion, dominating the runways of designer labels such as Chanel and Prada, trickling down to more affordable fashion outlets like Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.
Ranging from rounded, crystal-clear stones to a colorful, multi-faceted stones, crystals are versatile, abundant and, based on the type, affordable fashion accessory. While crystals are shiny, eye-catching accessory for some designers, to others, crystals hold a deeper significance.
Jewelry makers, like Josh Sisler–a Santa Cruz native living in San Fracisco–use crystals for a variety of reasons, including stabilizing energy fields, clearing Chakra zones, staying grounded and to heighten spiritual sensitivity.
“I keep crystals on me at all times, because they work with the energetic field of the body, the auric system and the chakras,” says Sisler. “If you have crystals on you that resonate with you it aligns the crystal chakras.”
The idea that crystals hold healing or energetic property has been around for ages, but little to no scientific evidence supports these claims. According to Power Treasures, an online mecca for crystal-related inquiries, crystals were used by the Egyptians for protective power. Tibetan Buddhists and Chinese healers sought crystals for their healing powers. The Mayans used crystals for spiritual healing and to diagnose diseases.
However, despite a strong historical use and lacking scientific backing, crystal fans, like Sisler, wholeheartedly believe in their benefits and powers. Read about crystals from three different perspectives.
In the middle of the San Francisco’s Union Street Festival, a young man lays down a blanket, and lovingly places several crystals–collected by hand in Arkansas– on display for passersby. Each crystal has a unique appearance, and equally unique story.
Josh Sisler, a local resident intrigued by the juxtaposition of a mystic-looking jewelry maker at a mainstream city event, stops walking through the festival and asks the young man for the most powerful crystal he has. The man carefully places a smokey quartz crystal in Sisler’s hands, unknowingly sparking a spiritual awakening.
Sisler returns home to his flat, sets up an altar to showcase the crystal, and immediately begins to notice he is being guided by the crystal itself through different levels of awakening. He takes a small dose of psilocybin, a psychedelic compound produced by certain species of mushrooms, and through the energetic properties of the smoky quartz, finds himself in uncharted territory.
“I had an out -of-body experience,” says Sisler, his youthful blue eyes wide open. “My third, fourth and fifth dimensional consciousness all merged and it was a very powerful awakening. I was able to directly connect to the earth again.”
A year later, Sisler, now considered a crystal expert by many of his friends, is dedicated to understanding crystals, their powers and how we can use them to make the world a better place. According to Sisler, crystals were used thousands of years ago by the Atlantians to create renewable energy sources, store information about Earth and keep the body in energetic alignment.
Crystals located at vortex points (identified using sacred geometric mapping) hold concentrated energy that could be used to tap into the Akashic records–the database of every action or thought that exists. In essence, the earth documents itself.
“Direct guidance from the stones is how I learned all of this information,” says Sisler. “ All the information is available on the modern day akashic record–the internet. We can tap into these fields with the crystal pineal gland in our brains.”
While Akashic information has long been inaccessible to the masses, Sisler believes that crystals are our answer to retrieving ancient information and getting back in touch with the Earth.
Sisler is currently perfecting his wire wrapping craft to make crystals more user friendly. After having a vision that he would find crystals in the Santa Cruz Mountains, he travelled there and discovered a large cluster of Merkabite Calcite–his favorite crystal. He makes necklaces and other jewelry pieces using a wire wrapping technique and various metals, such as brass, silver and gold.
Crystals are becoming popular in mainstream fashion trends, but Sisler sees that as a positive opportunity to educate people about the properties of crystals. “Urban outfitters is trying to work with it, but it’s all a trend,” Sisler said. “I think it’s good that they are working with crystals because hopefully people will start to notice that energy and not just use it as a fashion statement.”
Sisler plans to continue following the path the crystals present him, and teach people along the way. Sisler finds ceremonies and workshops are the best way to share his passion for crystals.
“Its the best way for me to communicate with people who are accepting this new way of thinking, says Sisler. “I also like to set up anywhere I can, the side of the street as well, because its a way of getting out to the collective consciousness.”
In a warmly lit apartment above a corner market in Bernal Heights, about eight young women crowd around a table of dried apricot slices wrapped in prosciutto, Brie and crackers. Between laughs and stories about old times, the women peruse a table near the window intricately decorated with earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces.
The jewelry has a unique look. Several pieces of crystal and other colorful stones meld with a range of metals to produce a flashy, yet vintage look. Some stones are wrapped around the circumference with chain, while others hang simply from a small hook at the top of the crystal.
A slender woman with sharp features and slicked back black hair stands in the center of the room after several minutes of socializing and a few group sing-alongs to the Bee Gees. She quietly introduces herself as Fatima Fleming, the owner and jewelry designer of Sea Pony Couture–a San Francisco-based jewelry company.
“My life has gone in many different directions since I started to do jewelry,” says Fleming during a party featuring her latest work. “I made belly-dancing clothing and had a hat company at one time. At one point I was in Hawaii selling wristbands. I got back into jewelry because of my fascination with vintage.”
Fleming, who has been making jewelry since she was a freshman in high school in 1984, enjoys working with a variety of materials, including crystals and other stones like peacock pyrite, smoky quartz, faceted agate and titanium quartz.
Fleming believes crystals and stones are becoming more popular in fashion trends and attributes some of that popularity, at least in California, to KittinHawk.–a Los Angeles-based couture micro label. KittinHawk popularized using crystals, specifically quartz, setting the bar for other designers, according to Fleming.
Fleming says that several of her customers claim to feel good when good when wearing her quartz crystal pieces.
“I think some people would very much laugh at crystals having healing energy or properties and I don’t laugh,” says Fleming, “but I also don’t stand for anything and don’t state that. I do state, however, that when people wear my necklaces, especially crystals over their heart they always talk about how good it feels.”
In Flemings eyes, any energetic property someone experiences is a result of how they interact with the crystal, or anything for that matter. It isn’t necessarily the crystals causing the effect, according to Fleming, it’s the person.
“I do feel that anything you believe to hold power for you does hold power,” says Fleming. “With that said if you are going to use crystals, make them your own. Put your own energy into them and that is what you will get out of it.”
After a long day at work, Drew Shugart hops on his bike and pedals to his apartment in the Piedmont neighborhood of Oakland. Three blocks away from the Claremont Hotel, where he works, a car suddenly cuts Shugart off and he crashes to the street to avoid a collision.
Other than several stitches under his chin, and a broken wrist, he is unscathed. A large circular bruise lies in the center of his chest. It is the only bruise on his body.
Looking back on the accident, Shugart recalls that the phantom amethyst quartz necklace he was wearing moved up towards the top of his chest as he crashed. While the science to measure the power of crystal is insufficient, events such as these spike curiosity about their properties and what they are capable of.
“We are moving away from the whole religion thing and that is opening up this spiritual world that’s completely different than any other place we have ever known. You can think of these things to help guide you through it, or you can think that they don’t do anything,” said Shugart.
Shugart incorporates crystals into his everyday life, by wrapping the stones in metal wire, which he as been doing for close to a year. He choses the stones from a local stone shop, or from friends who purchase them from around the world. Before starting jewelry, he decorated hats with pins and other materials.
One of his most popular pieces, is a mans hat with a large crystal poking through the brim. Soon after he started wearing the hat to local electronic music events, other people began asking about them. Shugart created his first fully commissioned piece about three weeks ago.
“I can tell you the moment I started wearing the hat with the quartz on my forehead that I felt an uplift in my mood and a change in my attitude,” says Shugart. “I have also noticed a change since I stopped wearing it so much.”
Shugart notices more and more stonework popping up in his Oakland and San Francisco circles. People are doing more than just making jewelry. According to Shugart, creating personal at-home altars that showcase the crystals is getting more and more popular.
While crystals may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Shugart reminds us that you get what you give.
“Crystals put out what you put into them,” says Shugart. “If you’re always in a bad mood, your crystals are going to perpetuate that. If you try to think positively, they will keep that energy flowing naturally.”
Dan Tarro neels firmly on a leather couch next to a large window in his impeccably decorated apartment. Perfectly placed potted plants are spread intermittently around the room and the smell of sage hangs in the air.
As the sun sets, light floods into the room, illuminating the crystals he has sitting on his coffee table. Seeing an opportunity he reaches his hand up to his ear, puts his fingers near his lobes, and plops out a nickel-sized Burmese amber gauged earring.
After grabbing the earring on the opposite side, he flips back his long brown hair and lifts the earrings towards the light to examine the details of the amber. The rare dark color of the amber glows with the dwindling light.
“For crystal healing you need to tune into what you need,” says Tarro. “I always smoke weed so I am attracted to heavy, grounding stones.”
Tarro, a restaurant server at Fisherman’s Wharf, uses grounding stones, like amber and jasper, to align to a more stable energy. His passion for crystals formed when he moved to Coachella Valley, says Tarro.
At first Tarro like crystals just for their asthetic, but his curiosity about the world left him wanting to know more. He started taking clases at PKOK, an alternative clothing store in San Francisco’s Haight district. Classes, taught by David Tiger in the back of the shop, ranged from drum circles to crystal wrapping, according to Tarro.
While Tarro continues to learn more about crystals, he also takes issue with the hippie-counter culture that supports it.
“I don’t fully subscribe to the overly-airy vibe that a lot of crystal people and new age people do,” says Tarro. “ I don’t think it’s grounded enough.“
I listen to old soul cuts of Sam Cooke and The Nat King Cole Trio religiously. I drink old fashioneds when I go to the bar (a good measure of a good bartender). And I’m still searching for the thief who’s been snagging my weekday subscription to The New York Times.
Maybe the last one’s just me getting old. Regardless, I’d say my peers are right.
Even when it comes to finding love, I’ve always relied on chance or meeting people through friends. But living in a “get-it-or-get-out” kind of city like San Francisco, where I’m attending class four days a week, interning for a social media startup and waiting tables on the weekends — I find myself too busy to find love. Having been single for almost a year while trying to keep up with a to-do list that just never seems to end, the idea of creating an online dating profile has only sounded sweeter as the gap between me and my last girlfriend has grown.
I was timid about putting myself out into the digital spectrum of finding love —and sometimes lust— over the internet because I didn’t think I knew anyone involved in a successful relationship that began online. I thought wrong. One of my aunts met her husband in an online chatroom. My current roommate met his girlfriend on Match.com. My old construction boss met his fiancee online too, with plans to marry in the spring.
Hindu astrologers would pick mates based on the stars back in a time when matchmakers were once a staple in all cultures. But in today’s fidgety gadget-grasping age, the internet is the way 40 million out of 54 million singles in the United States are trying to date. A 2010 study by Match.com reveals that one in five committed relationships have begun online. There are websites that help users find a compatible partner based on personality tests. Phone apps like Tinder that use the GPS in your phone to meet people nearby, NOW. Today, matchmaking websites are tailored to everything from women looking for a sugar daddy to sea captains seeking a first mate.
Bay Area dating coach Jessica Engel is in the business of helping people find successful relationships in person and online. Most of her clients are males in the tech industry who don’t have the skills to put themselves out in an attractive way and busy professional women who aren’t satisfied with the men that they’re meeting. Engel promotes to her clients that online dating is one of many avenues for people to connect. Engel says that the negative stigma of online dating mostly lies with older generations while younger ones that grew up with social media seem to be more accepting.
“A lot of people have this inculturated view of love that says we have to wait for fate for it to happen, but we don’t have the same structures we were used to. We’re no longer being matched by our parents or through church groups,” Engel says.
Matchmaking in the 90s
Robby Robbins has worked in the advertising department for alternative weekly publications for more than 20 years. In the glory days of personal ads and the classified section, weeklies like the Indy Week in Durham, North Carolina, capitalized on $40,000 in revenue each month. Following Craigslist’s spread to cities across the nation in 2000— and its widely accepted use— advertising revenues in the personal and classified sections immediately shrunk.
“Still to this day, this was the ugliest web fight. We went from $40,000 to $5,000 overnight,” Robbins says.
Each day, Robbins would assist people in placing personal ads in the newspaper who were in search of anything from a fling to a full-fledged relationship.
“It was a phenomena going on across the country, and in Durham we had a massive audience of busy professionals approaching 30 who weren’t married yet,” Robbins says. “It was a ripe opportunity for this system to work.”
The system catered to mostly single men, who Robbins says were not in tuned and did not have the social meeting skills to introduce themselves and say “hi.”
“I used to tell folks that the answer is going to be ‘no’ until you put yourself out there,” Robbins says. “If you’re direct about what you want, you may be surprised about what you’ll find.”
Robbins managed what were called Blind Boxes, where customers could establish pen pal relationships by paying $10 a week to have mail forwarded to them. Robbins was also in charge of promoting the 900-number services, where people created a voicemail for others to leave a message on at $1.99 per minute.
“We promoted it as a safe way to meet people,” Robbins says.
In order to know what he was promoting, he created a voicemail for himself.
“I did, because as a gay man in the south, meeting a real person was difficult. In the south, you’d get your ass beat if you hit on the wrong guy,” Robbins says.
Having just left a serious relationship, Robbins wasn’t looking for anything serious. Neither was caller No. 4, Bryan O’Quinn.
“He just sounded nice. You can tell a good bit from someone’s voice,” Robbins says.
Four months later, Robby and Bryan moved in together. In 2000, the couple drove to Vermont during a massive snowstorm to engage in a civil union. In 2006, they moved to California and were legally married in 2008.
“All the hoops that we jumped through—14 years and we’re finally legal,” Robbins says.
Dating in the online era
Kathy Sepulveda and her boyfriend Phil Van Stockum have become online dating evangelists.
The couple, who have been dating for two and a half years, take every opportunity they can to tell friends about how online dating is THE way to date.
“Online is really like a large bar where the options are endless,” Sepulveda says. “You already know going in that you’re seeing someone you’re already compatible with.”
Sepulveda was able to convince her high school friend to try online dating. He’s now expecting a child with his computer love. Whenever and wherever they can, the couple is trying to remove the negative stigma against online dating.
“People ask me how we met, and after I tell them we met on OkCupid, they say ‘that’s okay,’” Sepulveda says. “Like I need reassurance that it’s okay. I know it’s okay.”
Sepulveda says that she knows of couples who have met online, but are ashamed to admit they did. Instead, they say that they met elsewhere.
“Some think people who use online dating need it to meet people,” Sepulveda says. “I feel like it’s a smart way to meet people.”
What started out as an obsession of taking online personality quizzes, turned into a way of making friends while attending college in San Diego. It wasn’t until Sepulveda moved to San Francisco in 2009 when she used OkCupid to find dates. Kathy and Phil began chatting with each other a year before dating. At the time, Kathy had started to date another guy exclusively and backed out of a date with Phil last minute.
“A year later when that didn’t work out, I messaged him again and we’ve been dating ever since,” Sepulveda says.
For their one-year anniversary, Sepulveda put together a book that pieces together their earliest online conversations.
Before meeting his girlfriend on campus in September, SF State BECA major Ryan Johnston used online dating for four years to find one-night stands, friends with benefits and casual dates. For Johnston, this was an extra avenue aside from meeting people at parties or shows. His roommates swore by it. Soon after, so did he.
“I liked it for the fling aspect,” Johnston says.
Nightmares in online dating
Deborah Berk, whose real name was kept on the condition of anonymity, is a personal trainer in San Francisco who struck a cold streak of bad luck when she used dating sites like Fitness Singles, Match.com, OKCupid, Let’s Date and Tinder.
Berk admits she’s a freak and former online serial dater who went on more than 40 dates, sometimes as many as four per week.
Berk used the speedier dating sites like OKCupid, Let’s Date and Tinder for quick hookups and/or adventures where she’d do anything from dinner, hiking and camping. But after ringing in the New Year, Berk decided to start searching for a serious relationship on Match.com. The first couple of dates were dreamy. But once she gave into having sex, Berk said that the guys she thought would be her next boyfriend would disappear for good.
“They led me on to the point where you think you’re going to be included in someone’s life, then you’re not,” Berk says.
Berk says that some guys who sign up for determined matchmaking websites can’t handle the weight of a serious relationship.
“There’s so much pressure to commit and get into something serious that they freak out once they find someone who wants that,” Berk says. “It hurt me enough to say ‘I hate online dating’. It’s because of the ones who went into it seriously initially.”
Apps like Tinder and Grindr use the GPS in your phone to find other users who may be looking to chat and meet up. Users can quickly flip through small profiles with short one-liners where people can either be liked or discarded. Messaging between two people on Tinder is only possible after both users like each others profiles. On Grindr, an app targeted toward gay men, users can be tracked within feet of you. And anyone can message another user anything unless they are blocked. According to the company website, Grindr’s mission is to get you “0 feet away.” Michael Villanueva, a 26-year old San Francisco native, has used Grindr as a way to pass time or hook up on late nights when “in heat.” He’s also met one of his best friends through the app.
“How fast do you wanna go?” Villanueva says. “It’s another way to help you with whatever you’re looking for.”
But on one late night meet-up, Villanueva visited a man who was a completely different person than his profile had shown. After bolting, Villanueva has taken a more cautious approach to using the app. He now asks for a phone number, to see more pictures and whether or not they have a Skype account so that he can confirm their identity before actually meeting up.
“As far as I can go, I’ll play Colombo,” Villanueva says.
He says that there were even a few instances when people lied about their age. Villanueva says that the speedy hook-ups that quick-firing apps like Grindr and Tinder can lead to, could be risky to underage people who can access these conversations.
“Technology is moving so fast, I’m scared for the youth to have physical contact. It’s so easy for the youth to have this access—it can be dangerous,” Villanueva says.
What better way to pass the time on Muni than to sweep through random women’s profiles, x’ing them out or giving them the green light? After a few weeks of chatting on OkCupid and Tinder, I was able to line up a date for a few drinks in the Tenderloin.
Waiting at the end of the bar at the Owl Tree my palms were sweaty, my pulse uneasy as if I was interrupting life’s flow and forcing fate. I waited 20 minutes, gulping away at a pint of Lagunitas faster than usual, my buzz not coming quick enough.
Would her profile look anything like her? What if I choke up and can’t find anything to say? Am I about to find the girl that I’m going to spend my whole life with right now?
Then there she was, standing at the doorway, black hair and back facing me. I stepped up from my barstool and made my way toward her. As if my move had cued hers, she turned around. She looked nothing like she did in her profile pic. One word: sideburns. My sources warned me about this.
But that was okay.
Although I wasn’t physically attracted, we chatted over a couple beers during happy hour and made our way to another joint for a farewell cocktail. We laughed. Related. I walked her to BART and said goodbye.
Phew. What a relief. Online dating might be right for some, but a little much for me. Who knows? Maybe we’ll all look back 50 years from now and find that online methods of matchmaking lead to the most successful relationships.
But what’s a good journalist without a good story?
I think I’ll stop looking so hard for love and let it find me.
I’d like to hold on the romantic idea that I’ll find someone doing what I love, lost on my travels, coming around a street corner the same time as she. We’ll bump into each other and she’ll drop a copy of Hemingway’s “Old Man and The Sea.” We’ll agree that it’s our favorite book and spend the rest of the evening on a blanket near the ocean talking about the trials and triumph of the old man’s noble catch. Or something along those lines.
It’s a cloudy morning in San Francisco. Crowds of people gather towards China Basin. The World Champs, San Francisco Giants, have come back to AT&T ballpark.
The blue, red, and white Major League Baseball banners, annually displayed on every Opening Day, line the entrance to the ballpark. The smell of garlic fries and hot dogs cooking intoxicate the ballpark air. Enthusiastic Giants fans prepare themselves as they wait outside for the gates to open.
Out the four main gates, a couple of Giants fans anxiously wait outside of the Marina gate. The Miranda family, Marc, Jeanne and their son Marc Jr. along with fellow “Bleacher Bums” Alex Patino and Easley Wong, stand in line as they wait for the gates to open. Marc opens his bag and takes his glove out. Easley, also known as Eaz, already has his on. The security guards open the gates.
Marc Jr. and Eaz dash to the bleachers. They’re on a mission to catch as many fly balls as possible during batting practice. Marc stands on top of the bleachers and Eaz is close by.
While they’re trying to catch fly balls, the ballpark ushers greet them. They’re laughing and high-fiving each other like they’re friends.
Marc Jr. and Eaz, along with Marc Jr. parents, Jeanne and Marc Sr., and Alex are all part of an infamous group known as the Bleacher Bums. The Bleacher Bums are a group of twenty Giants fans that live and breathe black and orange all day.
They’re not your typical Giants fans. They’re loud and heckle the visiting team.They have their own Facebook page. On the page, their motto is “FUCK THE DODGERS AND EVERY OTHER TEAM EXCEPT THE GIANTS! LET’SS GOOOO”. Their religious views are bleachers. Their occupation is catching homerun baseballs. They shared some camera time on television when they catch home-run balls. But underneath the black and orange, the Bleacher Bums has grown as a family throughout the years at the ballpark.
From the Stick to China Basin
Before they formed the Bleacher Bums and took over section 139 at AT&T Park, they supported the Giants during the good old days back at Candlestick Park (referred to by locals as “The Stick”).
“I’ll be freezing my butt off at the Stick,” says Eaz describing what it was like sitting at the Stick. The old park is known as a wind tunnel. Before the game, most of them would bundle up with layers of jackets to keep themselves warm during the games.
When Marc Jr. was a child, his parents, Marc and Jeanne would take him to games at the Stick. They weren’t season ticket holders at the time.
“You don’t need season tickets at the Stick!” jokes Marc about attending games over there, commenting on how low ticket prices used to be.
They didn’t know each other until the Giants made the move to China Basin in 2000. The group began to form over at AT&T Park.
“Some of us met at the ballpark,” says Marc Jr. “As the season went on we gradually met and sat around each other in the bleachers.”
They sat in section 138 and 139 located in the left field. After getting to know each other and bonding together over their shared love for the two-time World Champs, they decided to come together and agreed to call themselves the Bleacher Bums.
“We all came up with the name,” say Marc Jr. about coming up with the game for the group.
They go to almost every game in the season. Some of the members, Marc Jr. has even skip school to go to the ballpark.
They travel from other parts of the Bay Area, like the East Bay, to come see the Giants games.
High up in the air and it is…GONE!!!
The sun is out and the clouds drifts away to make a clear blue sky. The Giants are done with batting practice, so it the visiting team comes out on to the field to practice. Marc Sr. stands on the bleachers as he looks up for any fly balls coming towards his direction. He raises his arm and covers his eye from the glare of the sunlight. He’s wearing sunglasses. Someone from the crowd yells “Here it comes” a group of people looks up at the sky. They hurdle into a pile. Marc jumps in the crowd. He stares up and lifts up his glove in the air. SMACK! The ball lands inside in his glove. The crowd cheers and gives him high-fives for his astonishing catch.
Before the game, the pre-game ritual is trying to catch baseballs during batting practice. The Bleacher Bums love to catch the fly balls during batting practice. In way it’s like a game, where they stand in the bleachers and their goal is to catch as many authentic baseballs. They usually stand up on top of the bleachers waiting for a fly ball to come toward them. As they wait for a ball to come to their direction, some of them socialize with each other and other Giants fans. Marc talks to random people and shakes hands with one the ballpark employees. They don’t like to talk much during the batting practice as they focus all their attention is on grabbing a souvenir.
“Its competition with other fans.” say Marc Jr. about the batting practice.
The Bleacher Bums main competition is the Giants fans in section 138. However, they don’t see it as competition.
Fellow Bleacher Bum Jeanne is the only female with baseball glove during the batting practice. She says they other fans in section 138 try to make it in contest but it’s all for fun.
When it comes to catching fly ball, some like Marc Jr and Eaz, use baseball gloves to get hold of a baseball.
“My glove is my contraption,” says Eaz when it comes to catching fly balls.
However, some, like Alex, are creative ways seize a baseball. Alex create “ball catchers”, instead of using the traditional glove. Alex made his with a helmet-shaped medal with orange jump straps. He has a glove but he uses his ball catcher to grasp balls lying on the “warning track”. He chases after a fly ball outside their bleacher, in section 140. He dashes to the area where a ball crashed. Sadly, he didn’t get a hold of it. It’s a trill activity, but a dangerous one.
“I got hit on the mouth with a ball,” says Jeanne. She has a small scar on her upper lip. She still participates, despite being smacked by the ball. She had to get thirty stitches on her mouth.
Batting practice isn’t the only time the Bleacher Bums go after fly balls. They also collect home-run baseballs. When someone hits one out of the ballpark, the balls either fly over the right field and hit the water, or go to the left field toward the bleachers, where they can be caught.
Between the fly balls and home-runs, it’s hard for them to keep track on how many baseballs they’ve collected over the years.
“I have a ton of shoe boxes filled with the baseballs,” says Eaz about his collection. Between home-runs balls and fly balls, it’s hard to keep track of how many baseballs that they’ve collected over the years.
There so many they can’t remember the total of baseballs.
No Bandwagon Fans Allowed!!
The Bleacher Bums are welcoming to fellow Giants fans. During the batting practice, they’re friendly and joke around, as long as you’re not a bandwagoner.
According to the Urban dictionary, a bandwagoner is someone “who claims to be a fan of a particular sports team even though they had no prior support/ interest in the team until the team starting winning.” So, if someone who claims to be a Giants fan and they followed them since 2010, they’re a band wagoner.
“I hate bandwagoners,” says Marc Jr. about bandwagoners, he goes on and says you tell who is a bandwagoner by the way they dress and expressions during the game. According to Marc Jr., a perfect example of bandwagoner is the games, like Opening Day and Dodgers, are the only ones.
“They don’t know anything about the Giants,” says Eaz, “They act like Giants fans but they’re not.”
The Bleacher Bums have stuck by the Giants through the ups and downs.
Time to hit the road with the Giants
When the Giants are on the road, the Bleacher Bums will follow them. Last year, the Bleacher Bums travel to the Windy City, Chicago, when the Giants played against the Chicago Cubs in the summer.
“It was great experience, says Marc Jr, “It was a nice stadium.”
They shared a few moments on the television when they’re spotted by the Giants broadcasters.
Besides Chicago, they took a trip to Anaheim when the Giants were up against the other LA team, the Angels.
Most of the time, they travel to southern California when the Giants play against the San Diego Padres and their rivals the Dodgers.
At Petco ballpark, there are more Giants fans than Padres fans as you watch on TV when the Giants are there, the seats are fill with people dress in orange and black. You may spot a group of Giants fans and about three Padres sitting next to each other.
“Petco pack is a poor man’s AT&T ballpark,” says Eaz as he describes the Padres ballpark. When they go to the games in San Diego, they tried to find seats so they can sit together.
The next huge trip for the Bleacher Bums is hitting the Big Apple. In September, they’re planning to go see the Giants as they face against the Mets and the most-anticipation game of the season, the Yankees.
Don’t diss the Home-Run King
Despite being accused of steroid use and battling in the courts, Barry Bonds is still the most beloved player who ever wore the black and orange uniform…to the Bleacher Bums.
“I love Barry Bonds,” says Marc Jr, who still wears his white jersey with the number 25 on the back. Marc Jr. loves the home-run slugger and follows him throughout his career. He has Bonds posses 746 home-run ball.
“I’ve been following him since I was a kid” Marc Jr. goes on about his favorite baseball of all time, “He use to sign autographs for me all the time.”
Despite Barry Bonds setbacks after he broke the record, including Bonds legal woes about the use of steroids, they still believe Bonds is one of the greatest players of all times.
“He’s one of the best players,” expresses Eaz about the home-run king who didn’t voted in this year’s Hall-Of-Fame ballots.
It’s been about five years since Barry Bonds broke the homerun record and was crowned the Home-Run King, Marc and the rest of the group still support the slugger.
Baseball bring people together
Since the Bleacher Bums have occupiedok section 139, it’s no surprise the ballpark employees know them. As the years pass, The Bleacher Bums has developed relationships with a few of the ballpark employees. As they talk to the Bleacher Bums before, during and after the game. The Bleacher Bums and ballpark employees are on a first name basis. During the batting practice, a few ballpark employees have come up to them and chat for while.
One former Giants employee says he meet the Bleacher Bums for a few years. The former employees “I saw them often at games,” says the former usher about meeting the group. He goes on and says, “along with the rest of the Bleacher Bums.”
While, there of the Bleacher Bums get along with the employees, some of the Bleacher Bums have got in trouble in the past. According to some of the Bleacher Bums, Alex was suspended for a few months after an altercation with an usher. But Alex says, in his defense, he kicked out for “being buff.”
What happens during the off season?
Hall-of-Famer Rodgers Hornsby said, “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
However for the Bleacher Bums when it comes to the offseason, they stare at the TV and watch ESPN or MLB Network.
During thelong winter season, they keep track of what happen to their beloved Giants.
“We’ll post stuff on Facebook and talk about it,” say Eaz about the Giants made a huge trades or signs from a popular free agent.
As for the other teams, including the Dodgers, they could care less about “those bums” (referring to the Dodgers money making deals during the offseason) .
When baseball season ends, most of them hang out, but not as often. Most of the members live in different parts of the Bay Area. Sometimes the younger Bleacher Bums, like Marc and Alex go to Forty-Niners and Warriors games. Sometimes they play basketball together.
Some like Jeanne and Marc Sr. stay busy with their jobs during the off season. They work in a real estate business in the Bay Area.
Since the Giants open the new stadium in 2000, the Bleacher Bums have become more than a group, they become more like fun. Their love baseball and Giants has brought them together. They poke fun of each other.
The Bleacher Bums aren’t like other Giants fans. They’re passion for the Giants runs deep in their core. They take games serious like the Giants do. They stand by and support the Giants.
“We’ve been there so long as a group we just became great friends I think that’s what seperates us from other fans were a group of true fans” explains Marc Jr.
As times has change, players come and go, but the Bleacher Bums are here to stay.
It’s a beautiful Wednesday morning. The skies are crystal clear. The sun rays shine over the empty Oakland Coliseum.
There are still a few hours until the first pitch and only a few cars in the parking lot. A large group of people dressed in green and yellow shirts with “Galleo” written on the back gather around a table, laughing and engaging in casual chit-chat. The table is set with salad, chips and other snacks. Coolers overflow with ice-cold beverages, under the table. The majority of them is wearing green and yellow shirts. The Galleo Winery is having a company party, getting pumped up for the big game.
Several feet away is a couple, Fred and Kristin, sitting in the back of a black pickup truck with their friend Melissa, eating street tacos and drinking beer from a small cooler. Another couple, Salvatore and Lindsay, sit on lawn chairs, waiting for hot dogs to finish cooking on a small, portable barbeque.
Tailgating is a common “pre-game” pass-time for sports fans all over the world who are eager to cheer on their favorite team and enjoy some good grub.
“Tailgating with a group of friends is best way to save money,” says Ritchie.
Bay Area sports teams have been getting more attention this year than ever before, with the Giants winning two World Series’ in the past three years. The A’s defeating a drought and winning last year’s AL West division title, and the 49ers stealing a spot in the Super Bowl. The Raider’s roster may be under construction still, but they even have die-hard fans who will always have their back.
As for basketball, the Golden Gate Warriors are leaving their mark on the NBA, with rising young players like Stephen Curry, and by making an appearance in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. In the hockey world, the Sharks still continue to fight for the Stanley Cup.
As the popularity of these teams continues to rise, so do ticket and food prices, and sporting fans end up spending more money at the game than they did on entrance into the stadium. The average price of a beer is $10, nachos are $8 and even a water bottle costs $5. Are you a diehard Bay Area sports fan who refuses to spend extra cash on snacks? Here are a few pre-gaming tips that are sure to help you save some money.
Tailgate with fellow fans
For those who don’t know who don’t know, a tailgate party is when a group of fans gather together behind a truck or SUV and enjoy potluck style food and drinks before the big game.
“You can tell your friends to buy foods,” says Ritchie as he describes about dividing the food and drinks at the tailgate parties. “You don’t have to worry about buying food for a group of 12 people or more. You can ask people to bring their own food or drinks.”
“Tailgating before Raider games, you can bring a twelve pack of beer for $12 bucks instead of buying a one beer in the stadium,” says Jamey, a regular the SF State Pub, referring to when it comes to attending Raider games.
Bring your own food!
Before you go to the game, stop by your local grocery store and buy your own snacks. This is one of the best ways to save money, but what happens if you go to sporting venue and they don’t allow outside food into the stadium? The best solution is grubbing before the game.
Celebrating before the game
A lot of fans meet up at local eateries around the stadium, before the game. It doesn’t matter if its fast food, a cafe, or a sit-down restaurant- the chances of it still being less expensive than buying food at the game are great.
“When I go to Warriors games, I’ll go eat somewhere before” says Bryn, SFSU student, “I usually go to In-N-Out by the stadium.”
What about the booze? Sports venues make a profit on alcohol. It’s how they make the money. But it’s too expensive. The key is simple purchase a case of beer and split among your friends before the game. A great way to save money instead of buying drinks in the stadium.
“I usually buy six packs before I go to the games,” says Jamey about drinking before going to Giants games.
If you still think you might spend more money than you think you want to at the game, the best advice I can give you is to bring a set amount of cash with you. Take $40 with you and leave your credit card behind, that way you can’t just keep spending.
Take the train
It’s no surprise that parking in San Francisco or any other Bay Area city is a bitch. In San Francisco, the streets in the city are small and narrow, and jam-packed with pedestrians and other drivers. Paying for parking is another whole pain in the you-know-what. Before the new season of the Giants, the meters have gone up to $7 per hour and the cut off period went from 6p.m. to 10p.m.
The solution to saving money is to take Bart or Muni. The price for a Muni pass will cost $2 for adults, and Bart varies depending on where you are going, but is rarely over $8.
“I live in the Sunset (district) and I hop on the N line”, say Vinnie, when he goes to the Giants games.
Some Giants fans like, Bryn, take the ferry to the Giants. The ferry boats stop in front of the port walk. Bryn prefer to use the ferry then drive to the city. If you do, however, need to drive to a game, make sure you bring a group of friends with you who can split the parking fee. Ritchie and his friends carpool to Raider’s games and say it is a lot cheaper to split the cost of a spot.
“Carpool and pitch in for parking,” says Ritchie, “it saves us money.”
Go for the Nosebleed Section
It’s always nice to get tickets with a great view, or to have the chance to sit closer to your favorite team when you want to get a closer look at the players, however, these tickets can be very pricey. Most of the good seats, like lower box seats, can cost $60 or more. If you’re just desperate to get to the game, but don’t have a lot of money, try out the nosebleed section! All of the seats are designed for the audience to be able to see the game. Just because you don’t have the “top” seat, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the action.
Li Po Cocktail Lounge
916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
Happy Hour: None
In the heart of the nation’s first Chinatown lies one of San Francisco’s oldest dive bars. Dating back as far as the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge, Li Po Cocktail Lounge remains with the same lantern above its entryway, the same faded murals of bonsai landscapes and the same Buddha shrine behind the bar that serves up their house famous Chinese Mai Tais.
Here, locals slam cups for games of liar’s dice while sipping Chinese whisky and ginger ale backs. Early in the day, you can expect waves of tourists looking to catch an afternoon buzz, followed by an afternoon surge of locals and Financial District workers looking to get sauced after that drag of a board meeting.
Summer Place Cocktail Lounge
801 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Happy Hour: None
Welcome to a smoker’s paradise. Just above the Tenderloin, on the corner of Bush and Jones street is Summer Place’s sign that’s as yellow as a cigar puffer’s teeth. The Summer Place is one of few bars that allows it’s cancer-stick-sucking patrons to light up inside —they even provide the matches. The Asian bartender is nice, but the AC/DC pinball machine is sweeter. Stella and Lagunitas are on draft. So kick back, warm up to the fire, and breathe in a sure dose of second hand.
1232 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Happy Hour: None
This place is so old, I sometimes wonder if the people pouring the drinks are the same people from the bar’s opening some 150 years ago. No fancy red velvet stools, no pretentious wallpaper. Half the light bulbs don’t even work. Just old walls that have seen far too many nights and live Rhythm and Blues daily. This is the best place for live entertainment in North Beach. Try not to order any mixed drinks, or the Pabst that’s sometimes on draft. Stick to beer in bottles. Who knows what kind of sinks they wash their glassware in. If you’re taller than 6’2”, you’ll probably find yourself limbo-ing down the stairs to get to this bathroom. No cover charge except for $5 on Saturdays.
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. $1 off all draft beers
If you find yourself lost in the Excelsior, or are unfortunate enough to live there, this is your watering hole. Covered in black paint and orange Edison light fixtures, the Broken Record has been a neighborhood staple for the past six years. In the last three, owner Jason King was the first in the city to implement a system that allows Jameson, Four Roses Bourbon and Buleit Rye to be poured on tap. If those three aren’t fit to your liking, the bar hosts 300 others that are sure to kick your connoisseur ass. The kitchen serves bar food that’s a notch above most. Try the spicy pork wings with a garlic chili glaze and a shaved papaya salad. Or get at the smoked fried chicken sandwich with celery root, watercress slaw and a maple pecan dressing. The daily happy hour from 4-6 p.m. will get you a buck off all draft beers, but not the draft whiskey. Bartender Nero Caesar said that the joint was named the Broken Record because some of the early patrons that used to frequent the bar used to sound like one, telling the same story over and over again. The other names King had in mind: Buttercup’s Boozery, The Flounder or Jason’s House of Booze and Food. We’re glad King chose The Broken Record.
3139 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Happy Hour: ‘Til 7 p.m. $1 off drafts, $1.50 off well drinks, $2.50 Pabst, $2 Tecate
The bathroom in this place looks like the training grounds for graffiti artists. Off 16th and Mission, Delirium, with the dim glow of pendant lights hanging from the ceiling, glass tile windows and it’s fuschia and blue colored laminate tile, is reminiscent of a hospital horror scene. Here, regular divers drink the staple $2 Tecate. The bar is lined with red lights along its corners and an illuminated sign that reads “Service for the Sick” leaves a faint blush over the countertops. A small, steamy and hardly ventilated dance floor with barely any ventilation opens up when the bar is busy. The bar hosts DJs nightly after 10p.m. and 80s dance music on the weekends. Happy hour everyday ‘til 7 gets you a $1 off drafts, $1.50 off well drinks and $2.50 Pabst.
3848 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
This place is either a taxidermist’s heaven or a vegan’s hell. From alligators to ‘coons to Diamond Back rattlers to antelopes to elk to bison to bobcats to antlers of all lengths and curves, Buckshot is sure to satisfy your honky-tonkiest hillbilly desires. During the week, this is the neighborhood hangout to score a $2 Pabst and Tecate. On the weekends, the college bunch pack the place for games of skee ball, pool or one of the few arcade games that works. Do your friend a favor on his birthday and order him the “Ike Turner” which includes a shot of Hennessy and a slap in your face – all for $12. The food here ain’t bad either. Try the house pork sausage corn dog with Blue Moon batter, and if you’re feeling dessert, try the Guinness float with coffee ice cream.
179 W. Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
For a lonely drink, head to Portal’s Tavern, where Randy the bartender will smother you with stories of his glory days of attending UNLV in the 80s. The regulars that do show up have been coming here for years. Their Facebook page shows that the bar has had a huge following—some couple even took their wedding pic in front of it. The wooden half-moon bar that surrounds the well looks as if it’s placed on an old red-brick stove top. The dark wood and fireplace give the bar a woodsy cabin feel. The jukebox here hosts good soul and rock cuts, some that don’t even work. The bartender was nice enough to replace my dollar with a few extra songs.
Embellishments, patterns, colors, collars, and cutouts so many trends, so little time in between the next wave of trends. So before spring is over lets indulge in what is current now.
Just about every article of clothing this season has an added piece of hardware in the form of spikes, studs, sequins and or beading. Spikes and studs and edge to an outfit while sequins and beading take an outfit from drab to fab.
Another huge trend this spring are collars. Take note regular Polo shirts are not making the cut. Some blouses come with collars that have lots of detail, while others are minimal and still chic. There are also collars sold separately, serving as necklaces but managing to look like they are part of a shirt. Store’s like H&M, Forever 21, and Anthropologie sell great collar necklaces that really make an outfit make pop.
Patterns are also a key trend popping up on just about everything from shirts, jackets, and dresses, to pants. Floral print, chevron print and stripes are just a few patterns that work for guys and girls. While camouflage print is a bold trend for guys this season.
Keep in mind mixing patterns is a do any season, but to make it work both patterns need to be within the same color palette. Katie Koho another SFSU student says, “I love floral jumpers they are fun, practical, and comfortable.”
Lace is another huge trend appearing. It is very delicate and offers a hint of sweetness to one’s outfit. However, be advised that too much lace can look bridal, so keep it minimal.
Color blocking is still a do; it has been spilling over from season to season. Clothing can be bought that is already color blocked or one can create the illusion of color blocking. Stick to 2 or 3 complementary colors, include a neutral, and use separates.
This spring it is all about color. Although black and white are classic, there are numerous colors to try. One should incorporate the color emerald with either accessories or key pieces like a blazer or blouse. Emerald is the color of the year, trending alongside it is dusk blue, lemon zest, poppy red, and nectarine. These colors work for both guys and girls.
This season cutouts are also trending, and one can easily add cut outs to almost any garment or buy garments with cutouts. Wardrobe pieces that work best for cutout work are plain shirts and dresses. If wanting to add cutouts take a marker and draw the shape onto the garment, preferably use fabric scissors which can be bought at Joann’s fabric and craft store, to continue the process.
Blazers and jackets are always stylish and trending. One just needs to know how to wear it and combine it with other pieces. By adding a sleek fitted blazer it can take an outfit from daywear to night wear. Either pair the blazer with clean buttoned down shirt to add sophistication or a plain colored t-shirt to keep the outfit casual. As for a jacket it can add edge to an outfit whether it be for a guy or girl.
SFSU student Christ Vito says, “I like to stick to long sleeve collared shirts and a light-weight coat or blazer.”
Sweaters and cardigans with elbow patches are also a do this spring. The simple detail really livens up either of the two. A number of clothing stores sell these type of cardigans/sweaters, and anyone can pull it off. Or consider adding elbow patches to an old sweater or cardigan to create a new piece that is worthy of wearing again.
One of the perks about it being spring is that it is warmer outside, which means dresses and skirts are fair game. The skirts and dresses that are trending are not ordinary garments. The trend features high-low dresses and skirts that are short in the front and long in the back. Even though it is spring that does not mean to disregard using scarves. Lightweight, colorful, and printed scarves are still acceptable for this season.
It is also the time to put away the boots and bring out the wedges, sandals, and slippers better known as smoking slippers. While each style works for guys and girls, it would be best to leave the wedges for just the girls. One of the best places to shop for this type of footwear is Aldo shoes.
That concludes this year’s spring trends. Always keep in mind that a stylish outfit takes a few key pieces and time to put together. Guys remember keep everything simple and stick to one bold item, and girls have fun with your outfits.
James and Evander is a band from Oakland, California. The two members Adam Myatt and Glenn Jackson met in a college that is not to be named, because they feel that the tuition was too expensive for what the curriculum had to offer. There was, however, one positive outcome of the college experience: meeting one another.
The duo has been making music together since 2006. In this interview they talk about aspiring to be on Alicia Keys’ level, drawing inspiration from hip-hop and the difference between their DJ and live band performance experience.
Every Wednesday, Troop 88 meets at the Forest Hill Club House. Same place, same time, the troop’s been gathering since 1920. Before each meeting, Andrew makes sure the scouts are properly uniformed, their neckerchiefs knotted high, baseball caps off, while some ask him questions about what steps they must take to earn their next badge. The lost sheen of Eagle Scout plaques, mounted on the building’s dark wood and red brick walls decorate the building.
The twenty-one-year-old Eagle Scout, who runs the troop alongside his father Michael, has taken on somewhat of a big brother role among its forty-three members. Andrew prefers to be called “Mr. Dotson” by his troop. They call him Andrew anyway.
Though they may butt heads, like any father and son, each has his place as a leader. Michael holds the compass. Andrew, the map.
“I give the sage, old man advice, and Andrew gives the youthful, energetic advice,” says Michael. “They (the troop) would rather listen to someone closer to their age.”
Joining the scouts after moving to San Francisco in 2002, Andrew, an only child, found an early passion in the hiking, camping and the social mix of people in different grades. Being an assistant scout leader is Andrew’s way of continuing the same welcoming attitude he was shown when he first stepped through the door, iffy about the sight of “dorky” tan and olive green uniforms.
“What I still get out of it is the interaction between different age groups, where no one is discriminated,” says Andrew.
On Feb. 6, The Boy Scouts of America tabled the proposal to lift the ban on openly gay members and leaders, a policy that extends to atheists and agnostics. The pending changes would allow scout troops across the nation to individually decide what kind of policies they would uphold. The BSA’s National Committee — the blanket organization that oversees all troops in the U.S. —will decide on the matter during their annual meeting in May.
In his years as a boy scout, Andrew has become familiar of parents pulling their children out of scouting because of the organization’s stance on gay members. During a recent food drive, doors were slammed on members of Troop 88, without giving them the time to explain their own personal stance on the policy.
“When you come and join, we don’t ask you what your sexual orientation is,” says Andrew. “Our troops policy has always been that we don’t discriminate.”
In 2001, a year before Andrew joined the scouts, concerned parents of Troop 88 sent a letter to the national committee denouncing the non-discriminatory policy.
The letter reads: “We are proud to report that we know of no Scout or parent in Troop 88 who believes that discrimination and bigotry is right. To deny participation in Scouting for factors beyond someone’s control is hateful and harmful and we will not teach this to our children.”
There are just short of twenty thousand scouts within Bay Area troops, teams and crews, and that number has increased 6.4 percent in the past two years, says Ryan DiBernardo, Director of Field Service for the Bay Area Council. Scouting enrollment nationwide, however, has suffered a severe drop in recent decades. In 2011, there were 2.7 million registered scouts, down from a peak of 4.8 million in 1973. Dotson believes that this drop is due in part to the organization’s selective restrictions.
“This is what they’re doing —they’re preventing boys from learning leadership skills to further their future,” says Dotson. “Once it’s lifted, more and more will join the scouts.”
Since the late 1970s, the Boy Scouts national leadership has discriminated against gay members. Last July, Moraga teen Ryan Andresen was denied his Eagle Scout badge by the national committee after telling friends and family that he was gay. Bay Area scouts and supporters have been a driving force behind attempts to lift the ban. Following a two-year study in 2012, the national committee reaffirmed the ban, deeming their decision “the best policy for the organization.” Groups like Scouts for Equality, an alumni association dedicated to ending BSA’s policy on excluding gay members and leaders, have helped gather more than 1.4 million signatures among their various campaigns. Zach Wahls, a son of two lesbians and founder of Scouts for Equality, was hopeful of the national committee’s delay on the decision.
“Though the vote did not go through, this is the first time in thirty-five years that the BSA did not re-affirm their ban,” says Wahls.
A Religious Backing
Opponents who wish to keep the ban in place include many religious organizations. Of the more than one hundred thousand scouting units across the nation, nearly seventy percent of all units are chartered to faith-based organizations. Mormons, Methodist and Catholic churches make up the three largest religions to back scouting troops. Troop 88 is chartered by the Forest Hill Association. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, a think tank that promotes Christian core values, has been a key figure in standing by scout oath and law, policies both adopted in 1911.
“The mission of the Boy Scouts is ‘to instill values in young people’ and ‘prepare them to make ethical choices,’ and the Scout’s oath includes a pledge ‘to do my duty to God’ and keep himself ‘morally straight,’” Perkins said in a press release. “It is entirely reasonable and not at all unusual for those passages to be interpreted as requiring abstinence from homosexual conduct.”
Dotson says that the interpretation of “morally straight” is confused between proponents on both sides of the ban.
“People are using the oath’s ‘morally straight’ in the wrong context,” says Dotson. “We interpret morally straight as doing what’s right for yourself and other people.”
Mitch Mayne, a recognized gay LDS church leader and former scout, has seen a compromising shift in the Mormon Church’s view on gay members. Mayne works closely with Mormon leaders, parents and siblings of gay Mormons, assisting them with ways to accept their LGBT loved one. Once married, Mayne admits he’s lived a charmed, celebrated, yet uncommon life of a gay Mormon. He taught Sunday school. He was invited to events. Wore a wedding band. Loved by his church community.
After his marriage had ended two years ago, Mayne was presented with the opportunity to serve as a leader in San Francisco’s Bay Ward.
“I could either say ‘no thanks’ and choose to get remarried and go back to my comfortable, gay Mormon life that I had, and could have again,” says Mayne. “Or I could walk away for the time being and make myself a very public figure and try to create what I had for other people.”
Mayne says that he no longer has to handle the overwhelming amount of calls and emails from Mormons worldwide asking for help on how to integrate gay members into the church. He now has bands of people in different pockets around the globe who help share the message of inclusion.
In the past eighteen months, grassroots groups like Mormons Building Bridges, a Salt Lake City group, has vocalized their support for accepting LGBT individuals. Another group, Mormons for Marriage Equality, an online meeting place where Mormons or those affiliated with the faith can provide mutual support, share stories, and organize activities and initiatives, have formed to span the connection between the church and LGBT members.
Mayne says that gay Mormons often leave the church before coming out —or instead of coming out —because often times, these members are ex-communicated.
“The key to being a healthy, gay Mormon isn’t about stuffing down our Mormon side, nor is it about stuffing down our sexual orientation. It’s about integrating those two sides of our identity in a fashion that allows us to balance two parts of our identity,” says Mayne.
Growing up in Idaho, where many of his church’s leaders were also scout leaders, Mayne, who was vocal about being gay at a young age, says fellow scouts picked on him while leaders turned a blind eye. In return, Mayne had to veneer his identity, eventually leading to him dropping out.
“Scouting is supposed to teach us how to be people that make the world better —how to be kind, how to be diligent, how to be good citizens,” says Mayne. “What I walked away from in my experience in scouting is how to lie about who I was, how to be dishonest, about how to be inauthentic, how to cover up who I was to please other people — and that flies right in the face of what scouting is all about.”
Mayne says that the pending changes of the BSA reflect the evolving Mormon Church.
“The proposed changes to allow Troops to decide who they allow to join would mirror what’s going on in the LDS church today. There’s a lot of leeway given to local congregations to decide for themselves what’s best for their congregation and how to institute policies,” says Mayne.
Links to the Military
Aaron Belkin, a Political Science professor at SF State, has weighed in on the topic because of the close relationship the boy scouts has historically had with the military. Ties between scout practice and the military date back to 1908 England, when British military hero Robert-Baden Powell first published “Scouting for Boys,” —modeled after a military field manual he wrote prior — that taught youth skills on observing and tracking.
Belkin is also Director of the Palm Center, a UCLA law school think tank that conducts research into gender and military issues, and author of “Bring Me Men” that overviews the recently repealed “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. Belkin says that what interests him about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is that “even though the military has moved on to a more inclusive policy, the scouts are stuck in the 20th century.”
In recent decades, the BSA has been confronted with cases of child molestation from some of its leaders. Last year the BSA released more than twelve hundred previously secret files, revealing cases of child molestation from 1965 to 1985 within the organization, including about two dozen from the Bay Area.
Belkin says that the ban on gays from being members or leaders does not address prior problems of child molestation within scouting.
“Rapists who rape boys – that’s not about homosexuality, that’s not about being gay. That’s about mental illness and power. Many child molesters who rape boys are not gay. If you want to police predation, police predation. But do not treat that as an issue of sexual orientation,” says Belkin.
Oregon-based attorney Paul Mones works on cases involving people from around the country who were molested in scouting. Mones is actively working on cases dating back to the 1970s. In 2010, Mones won an $18.5 million dollar case against the BSA involving a man who was molested by his former assistant Scoutmaster. It is the largest verdict against the BSA involving sexual abuse to date.
Mones says that in many cases, people take decades to tell anyone else about being molested. In California, this poses problems for those who have been molested but have taken an extended amount of time to tell authorities.
Under the Special Childhood Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations, victims have eight years (up to age twenty six) or three years after the date “the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse,” to bring a case to court.
“Some perpetrators get away Scott-free,” says Mones. “The main reason people have a hard time coming forward is the shame, they blame themselves for the sexual abuse and think that people will think less of them.”
A petition named The Childs Victim Act has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature by those who support the elimination of the civil statute of limitation for child sex abuse. If passed, victims may, at any time, sue their abusers and the institution that allowed their abuse to occur.
National studies of sexual abuse reflect that one-in-six boys are sexually abused before they turn eighteen. Mones says that many confuse reports of sexual abuse within the organization with being gay. Mones said that some of the cases he’s handled involve molesters who were married.
“People think that people who sexually abuse are gay,” says Mones. “That has nothing to do with being gay or straight.”
Many corporations have withdrawn their sponsorship of the BSA because of its exclusive policy on gay members. The largest notable pull of scout sponsorship include the Intel Corporation, headquartered in Santa Clara, that donated seven hundred thousand dollars in the 2009 tax year. Wells Fargo Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, has also withdrawn funding after donating more than two hundred thousand dollars in the same tax year.
Two of BSA’s national board members, James Turley, CEO of professional services organization Ernst & Young, and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T Inc., have publicly come out against the ban on gays, promising to move the organization away from its exclusive policy. In a press release issued last June, Turley says that the “membership policy is not one I would personally endorse.”
During a recent visit to Troop 88, it was election night, where scouts vie for the senior patrol leader post every six months. Pierce McDonnell, a fourteen-year-old Star Scout, with kind eyes and light brown hair combed over to the side, lost the election for the second time in a row. But for McDonnell, that’s OK.
“In troop 88, we don’t leave it up to the person in charge to make all the decisions. Power is distributed equally, so I know we’ll all be able to have an influence,” says McDonnell.
A shy kid before he joined the scouts, McDonnell says that he learned to be more vocal.
“I believe that when you’re an SPL, you should be loud and big. I’m not very loud and big, so I have a plan,” says McDonnell during his pitch before grabbing a chair to stand on.
“My loud and big plan! And what I’m gonna do is…I’m gonna plan these meetings! And plan ‘em loud and big like Lincoln!” yells McDonnell.
“Will you always be standing on a chair, yelling?” asked one of the scouts sitting in the front row.
“If it helps you, I’ll always be standing on a chair, yelling!” says McDonnell as the troop laughs with him.
McDonnell says that in his time as a scout, he’s learned to get his ideas across, and he’s often the first to raise his hand for school volunteer opportunities. During a recent class presentation, McDonnell decided that he would clear up any confusion about Troop 88’s stance on the BSA’s policy on gays.
“I think that a lot of people in my school can’t see past some of the policies that boy scouts have and don’t see the benefits of scouting,” says McDonnell.
To earn his Eagle Scout honors, McDonnell wants to make a movie interviewing city and scouting officials documenting the thoughts and feelings of the ban against gays. He hopes to present the video to the national council later this year.
“We can all learn these skills cooperatively,” says McDonnell. “Instead of just teaching the leadership to certain people, we want everyone to have the power to lead.”