Sideshow Performer on the Main Stage

Written by Erika Maldonado Photos by Nelson Estrada Men with piled up pompadours and ladies in vintage animal-print dresses and high-heeled shoes swing dance across the floor to local band Lost Dog Found at Oakland’s Uptown Nightclub on a Saturday night.  Shortly after their opening set, pasties and tassels gyrate as women strip down to just enough to leave something to the imagination as part of the “Hubba Hubba Revue,” a burlesque variety show. Some of the women watch, with arms crossed and blank expressions while most of the men...

Soul Singers

Written by Erika Maldonado Photos by Nelson Estrada & Mihail Matikov What draws ninety students from different cultures, majors, religious backgrounds and sexual orientations to a stuffy classroom at San Francisco State University every Monday night?  Some say it’s the safe, familial atmosphere.  Others enjoy the idea of being a part of something greater than them.  To others still, these meetings are a spiritual experience. The SF State Gospel Choir, held in Room 146 of the Creative Arts Building, a one-unit course offered every regular semester, is more than just...

Dating Digitally: Date Smarter in the Age of Technology

Written by Sage Kemmerly Photos by Henry Nguyen "Where’s your head at?” asks Bay Area advice columnist Deborrah Cooper. There are some people who text their friends while on a first date, or are painstakingly perfect on online dating profiles to get more hits. Where is the authenticity? Just because the Internet makes connections easier does not mean it is an easier dating game. It is silly seeing a couple on a date, both bent over their smartphones like there is a pane of glass between them. If the date...

The Dangers of Body Modification

Written by Leigh Walker Photos & video by Hang Cheng As adrenaline pumps through her veins, Ashley Kilday waits patiently for her friend, an ex-piercer, to arrive. Kilday, a twenty-three-year-old veteran of the United States Army, decides to get twelve piercings: her nose, belly button, four on each ear, and two in very personal places.  Her friend arrives with the basic sterile equipment she keeps in a lockbox, and begins the process of cleaning each location with rubbing alcohol. Her ears are easy -- the piercer marks the ears with...

Freedom Fighters: Battling Sex Trafficking in America

Written & Photos by Alice Debois-Froge “I am not going to tell you about all the horrible things that happened to me. Often, people want to know how bad it is. It’s bad, I can tell you that. But tonight though, I want to focus on the positive,” announces Nikki Junker, a former sex trafficking victim, during a speech for the Freedom House’s third annual gala. Junker is one of several guests who came to speak at the fundraising event in the packed banquet room of St. Mary’s Cathedral in...

Hunger in the City: Food Runners Helps Feed the Poor in San Francisco

Written by Lissette Alvarez Photos by Godofredo Vasquez The smell of bagels and coffee float in the air, as R&B and laughter emanate through the sitting area in the Sala Burton Residence. 72-year-old Beverly Saba, the president of the Sala Burton Tenant Association, wears her hair in a loose, white bun which reflects her soft yet authoritative demeanor. The table is a schmorgesborge of salad, yogurt, pasta, and fruit, while the couch next to the table overflows with bagels and other pastries. San Francisco’s senior citizens line up by the...

Mending Hearts: A Sewing Project

Written by Haley Brucato Photos by Gil Riego Jr. Michael Swaine sits behind an unusual looking cart in the middle of the sidewalk, as he mends clothing for free every month in a district of San Francisco that needs the most mending of all: the Tenderloin. With his brightly striped sweater that hangs loosely over a neon green shirt and brown pants, his artsy persona shines through kind eyes that hide behind long grayish brown hair and an unshaven beard. Not only is his style quirky, but so is his...

Thriftlation: Trash or Treasure?

Written by Haley Brucato Photos by Juliana Severe The familiar smell of musty furniture wafts through aisles of old books, dusty knick knacks, and faded jeans. Although these items are one person’s trash, they will soon become another’s treasure. The thrill of hunting for vintage items buried in the back of Grandma’s closet for all those years bring shoppers to thrift stores day after day, and keeps businesses thriving and growing all over San Francisco. Whether it be a fashionista innovator on the hunt for some inspiration, or a single...

Blurring the Lines of Hierarchy

Written by Victor Manuel Rodriguez Photos by Nelson Estrada Will Nelson sits at a table and watches the students come in and wait for the day’s lesson to begin. As he pulls up his sleeves, his laid-back hiker’s appearance does not exactly scream professor and revolutionary. As is customary, he greets the students when they come in and jokes with them, displaying a strong sense of rapport from teacher to students — but teacher is an inaccurate title. Behind Nelson is Kelly Corwin, also one of the teachers of the...

When Fashion and Art Collide

Written and photographed by Julio Cortez A model creeps onto a white strip of runway in wedged ankle boots -- everything but her arms and head bare as eyes in the front row shift up and away from their smartphones. A long trail of black hair drapes down at her sides, her arms spread apart and palms face up, channeling a divine creature that may have found its way out of a clogged drain. Her face is covered but her body is open and naked for the most scrutinizing eyes...

Forever Golden

Written by Erin Browner Photos by Melissa Burman One day in 1986, Karen Alexander donned prom dress and rushed to Bayview to see Dick Clark appear on a new TV show - KOFY TV’s Dance Party. She waited in line among a horde of Bay Area locals who flocked to the network’s warehouse to travel back in time. For dozens of seasons, KOFY TV created a pocket of the 1950s, complete with spotlights, retro sets, and a crowd jiving to the sounds of Little Richard and Chubby Checker to recreate...

Network Interruption

Written by Lissette Alvarez Illustrations by Sara Donchey The soft clicking of Kristen Gardner’s typing is the only sound heard in her Daly City apartment. Gardner, who works part time as a receptionist at USA Hostel while going to school full time, is so focused on getting her research done that the heat of the room doesn’t faze her. Undeterred by the temptation of Facebook and her iPhone, she continues surfing the web for more information on Nigeria. Researching deforestation in Nigeria for her Social Science class, she switches from...