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Piers, Pikachu, and Pinballs: A Guide to SF Arcades

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  • Girls testing their strength at Musée Mécanique Fisherman's Wharf on Friday, May 2.
  • Skee Ball lanes at Players Sports Grill at Pier 39 photographed on Friday, May 2.
  • Boys playing a Terminator arcade game at Musée Mécanique at Fisherman's Wharf on Friday, May 2.
  • Batman driving game at the Players Sport Arcade in Pier 39, photographed on Friday, May 2.
  • The different arcade games at Players Sports Grill at Pier 29, Friday May 2.

Written by Justice Boles
Photos by  Jenny Sokolova

You walk into the bottom of Cesar Chavez. You’re hungry, the smell of Ike’s and Nizario’s wafts through the room, but that’s not the hunger. The real hunger you feel is the hunger… FOR GAMES! There’s a selection of a few arcade cabinets down there, some Dance Dance Revolution, some Marvel vs. Capcom. Things you’ve seen a million times. You have spent enough time down there, and the air has grown stale. They offer brief respite from your smart phone, the games it contains and the very app store bolstering your false satiation, like how chewing gum tricks the brain into thinking it is eating. You need something more thrilling, something more physical. You need cold metal pinballing around. You need joysticks and button mashing. You need… an arcade.

 

Unfortunately, there aren’t too many of those left in the city.

Fortunately, I’ve got a list of places for you to check out.

 

Museé Méchanic

Located on Pier 45, Museé Méchanic is like the Island of Misfit Toys, but instead of toys, it is old entertainment machines. Arcade machines young and old inhabit this arena, mostly old though. Like, almost a century old. Like older than television. Older than radio. It even houses Laughing Sal and other historic remnants of San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. Inside, the air is absent of any real ambient music, it’s mostly the sounds of a turn-of-the-century fair bouncing off the walls, like a carousel past its prime. Don’t let that deter you, it is a haven for arcade hipsters.  Wanna play games before pixels were cool? There’s things to do in there that don’t even involve electricity. Museé Méchanic has it all, from nudey nickelodeons to self-playing pianos to old school atari games no one has ever heard of. From marionettes to Metal Slug, Museé Méchanic is the place to be.

 

Highlight: Vapor TRX. It is an old Atari game. It is a racing game that seems like an F-Zero rip-off, but flying a racing plane/jet/hovercar through ice canyons and futuristic cities with the ability to shoot missiles at the racer in front of you makes it so much better. I’ve never found another one like it.

 

Players Sports Grill & Arcade

Players Sports Grill and Arcade. Need a place to watch sports, see Alcatraz out the window and play in an arcade? Players is the place for you. Located on Pier 39, this place has all the classics. It’s Chuck-E-Cheese for parents that don’t hate themselves. It’s got shooters like like Area 51 and Terminator Salvation, as well as go to standards like Whac-A-Mole and air hockey. In addition, it has what any good kid-friendly arcade has, a ticket exchange booth. That is right, Players offers tons of really shoddy toys for way more ticket-to-dollars than they are worth You are not having a good time unless its 25 tickets for a Tootsie Roll and 5000 for a basketball, but hey, that’s part of the experience..

 

Highlight: Batman. It’s a racing game where you get to drive a Batmobile. Not THE Batmobile, A Batmobile. As in one of Batman’s numerous whips he’s driven through Gotham City throughout the years. From that old Batman ‘66 convertible to that new Dark Knight Rises hovercraft thing. Become… The Batman. Or at least drive his car.

Buckshot Bar & Gameroom

Buckshot, located on Geary and 3rd Ave. stands out above the rest for being a legitimate bar. Players is nice, but that’s just Dave and Busters-lite. Buckshot is a Bar and Gameroom. The games are pretty lacking though. It is classified as an arcade on Yelp, but that’s a pretty loose definition. There is a billiards table and shuffleboard. They have a Tron game as well as a pretty standard deer hunter game with the shotgun plugged into the arcade cabinet. However, they do have booze, so you can get smashed while you play skeeball. They’ve also got a little virtual gambling machine in the corner, so you can get smashed while you play video poker.

 

Highlight: Gauntlet. Not Gauntlet Legends. Not Gauntlet Dark Legacy. Just straight up Gauntlet. That’s pretty cool. Get smashed while you play Gauntlet.

Playland at Japantown

Located in the Japantown mall west, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Japantown arcade. It’s small and cramped. All the games have Japanese kanji written on and in them. Maybe half the machines involve winning some sort of plush toy, like a Domo or a My Little Pony. There’s a giant Pikachu adorned with flowers in the window. Seriously, it’s a really big Pikachu, the sign said no one over the age of 7 allowed into the Pikachu, so it’s at least larger than the average 7-year-old. Other than that, it’s a nice respite from the loud clunks and beeps of the more American arcades. There are games to win Japanese treats and candies like Hello Panda and Hi Chew. It’s a novel little Arcade that’s simply fun to check out. I got a can of Dragonball Z Cola (Krillin was on my can, sadly. No one cool like Gohan or Vegeta) for the low low price of 4 dollars (or 408 yen) in there, I can’t think of anything more novel.

 

Highlight: Umm… I don’t know. There was one game where you’re like a sushi maker or something, and another one where you beat these really big drums. I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on in there. I don’t speak Japanese. That Pikachu was pretty sweet though.

Free Gold Watch

Free Gold Watch is located a block up from Haight Street, right across from Kezar Stadium. Free Gold Watch started out as a printing shop, screen printing and t-shirt making, but has since implemented 2 dozen or so pinball machines. They have come under some fire for it lately, city ordinances and what not, but let it be said the employees will remind you it’s a printing shop with pinball machines, not the other way around. But oh man do they pinball. It’s quite a sight to behold, as well as the sound of a dozen different pinballs rocketing against bumpers and bells. They’ve got pinball machines of every variety and from the furthest reaches of your imagination. Terminator, X-men, Mario, Jurassic Park, Playboy, ACDC, they’ve got them all. It’s all you could want or need in a pinball palace.

 

Highlight: There’s a Street Fighter II arcade machine in there. The arcade cabinet that crafted champions and birthed tournaments. Granted, it’s a Champion Edition, but that’s probably as close to pure Street Fighter II you’re going to find. Quarter-circle that stick and mash some buttons. Fire off a Hadouken and you can almost feel a moment in gaming history. It’s excellent.

Fur and Loving: Unzipping the SF Furry Culture

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“Shaman” by Patricia Wilson, Furry Artist.

Written by Chantel Genest

A purple fox is spotted walking upright on Harrison Street in the Mission District. It halts at the corner, greeted with hugs from a brown teddy bear, a silver wolf, and a neon bunny just outside a dark and narrow cavern blaring electronic dance music. Passersby scoff at the sight, but a few curious individuals question what the hell they just witnessed.

Snooping inside, the outcasts find themselves welcomed by total strangers left and right. Some shrouded by mascot-like costumes, some with little black ears and purple tails, or many that look perfectly normal.

Every month a group of Bay Area residents gather at The Stud Bar in San Francisco for Frolic, an event for the furry community. They drink, meet new friends, and dance their tails off, literally. Furries, a growing subculture supported around an extensive love of anthropomorphic art, was once secluded to chat rooms and forums on the Internet. The community has grown and now hosts sizeable conventions and meet-ups all over the world.

To the ‘mundane’—as furries have dubbed the outsiders to their community—the concept of furry fandom has typically been centered on a sexual fetish and nothing more than people dressing up in ‘funny animal’ costumes to do strange and erotic things. But the furry culture is made up of a vastly diverse group of people with individual perspectives and varying interests of creative expression. The only genuine bond connecting the full scope of the furry community is a common love for ‘funny animal’ characters in art.

A hub for diversity, it is no surprise that San Francisco has formed a massive furry community of its own that has brought furries from around the Bay Area together to socialize with like-minded people and share like-minded art. The Bay Area has thousands of furries who create and take pleasure in furry music, furry drawings, and the flashy fursuits that have become the public’s main representation of the fandom.

“It is a culture that really embraces individual creation,” says Fremont furry artist Patricia “Bastek” Wilson, 26. “Personal expression is not something most people get in their lives and I think it is one of the biggest draws to the furry community—the ability to express parts of themselves that cannot be expressed otherwise.”

ANTHROPOMORPHIC ART

Anthropomorphic characters are by no means a new concept. In layman’s terms, they are anything non-human that possess distinctive, human-like traits. Humans have a long history of anthropomorphizing animals and nature, both for religious idolization and as metaphorical outlets to tell stories and teach morals. Ancient cultures have used anthropomorphic animal characters in their art and spirituality, and the role of these in literature can be traced at least back to Aesop’s fables in 500 B.C.

“In older cultures, there was not so much separation between people and nature,” says Wilson. “As religions progress in time you see less and less connection with the earth and animals that we share it with.”

The term ‘funny animals’ came in to context in the early 1900s to distinguish them from more realistic animal characters such as Lassie.

Donald Duck, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Winnie the Pooh are just a few notable furry characters that gave us comfort and entertainment as we ached to find our place in the world as kids. Children’s books, TV shows and movies have become so dominated by anthropomorphic characters, that many of our fondest childhood memories include furry art, whether we know it or not.  For the people in the Furry Fandom, the fascination of cartoon animals and giant, life-sized mice at Disneyland never faded.

DRAWN FURRY ART

In 1985, Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley held one of the first parties designated for furries at Westercon, a large science-fiction convention. The party gathered artists to share collections of furry art and short stories, along with a viewing of Warner Bros. short cartoons and more. This themed party influenced Merlino and O’Riley to hold the first Furry Convention in 1990, ConFurence, which paved the way for furry conventions and meetups to sprout up throughout the nation.

Today, San Jose is home to one of the largest annual furry conventions, Further Confusion. It was the first event sponsored by the non-profit Anthropomorphic Arts and Education, and continues to showcase art and honor creative individuals in the furry world.

“It started through looking for different characters that I had grown up with and seeing the way that different artists worked with it,” says John “Sticker Stealer” Henifin, 27, of San Francisco. “Like Disney and Warner Bros., the characters have a certain style. People will take those same characters and develop them into their own style, so it was recognizable, but also something you had never seen before.”

Henifin enjoys creating graffiti-style pieces that he gives away or shares online at FurAffinity.net, the largest ongoing website for the promotion of furry art. When he isn’t doing his own work, he is out in the city peeling sticker art off buses and stops signs, which he saves in a massive collection with hundreds of binders at home and online at Stickerstealer.com. For him, the sharing and collaborative efforts made in the fandom are something spectacular.

“The artists tend to push together and play off each others ideas,” says Henifin. “Sometimes one person will start drawing a character and they all work on it until they have this big masterpiece.”

Many furries will wear a badge around their neck at meetups and conventions so that others will recognize them from online. A big market for furry artists is actually bringing to life fursonas, a furry’s animal alter ego name.

“The artists are deeply involved in the culture by helping people realize their characters. It is really a joy to help bring something like that to life,” says Wilson. “It used to be the standard price for a badge was fifteen to twenty dollars. Now it is anywhere from fifteen to fifty dollars depending on the artist.”

Wilson has been a furry artist for eleven years and has used the money to pay her way through college. She says it was the art and the surrounding community that brought her to the fandom when she was first introduced to it on yerf.com, a then PG-rated furry art site.

“For me, furry originally had nothing to do with adult art. I did not recognize that it was part of the fandom,” says Wilson. “It actually came as a shock to me initially, and then I understood why furries were the butt of everyone’s jokes.”

Wilson had a hard time with the adult artwork she began seeing throughout the fandom, finding herself uncomfortable with those themes. But to her, there was no difference between the erotica in furry and standard pornography. She found the furry culture at a time when she was questioning her life and growing out of the religion in which she was raised.

“Eventually the positivity and openness surrounding sexuality helped me to understand and become comfortable with my own sexual nature,” says Wilson.

For other Bay Area furries, art was something they had been doing all their lives before even knowing about the fandom. Kriss “Samoy Wolf” Andrews*, was president of the anime club at her high school when it was brought to her attention that her art looked a lot like furry art.

“I do a lot of cartoony and anime style drawings,” says Andrews. “I mostly draw felines and canines. That is what people identify most with because of our pets growing up.”

Like many Bay Area furry artists, Heather Rose, 28, “Lady Duck,” makes money through commissions for furry drawings. Producing works of art for other furries allows her to invent never before imagined scenarios in her illustrations.

“I have always drawn people and animals separately, but combining them is just, fun,” says Rose. “It is nothing more complicated than that.”

FURRY MUSIC

With popular music videos like Ke$ha’s “C’mon,” and the Gym Class Heroes “Clothes Off,” featuring fursuiters (furries who wear the costumes), it seems furry animals have made their way into mainstream media. While it is true that Furry Fandom appears on the surface to be a purely visual interest, furries have started using music to express their furry creativity. Songs such as Miike Snow’s “Animal” features lyrics about changing shapes, and a music video showcasing furry giraffe heads, and have become theme songs for Bay Area furries.

“It speaks to a lot of furries because it is all about changing who you are,” says Oakland resident Erin Merit, 27. “Changing your outward appearance just to be an animal.”

Merit, known by his fursona “Neonbunny”, hosts and performs at Frolic on every second Saturday of the month and is also the co-founder of the FUR camp event at Burning Man.  Also known as DJ Neonbunny, is known in the  Bay Area furry community for his upbeat music that many have pranced and danced to at local meetups. A favorite from his playlist is his rendition of the popular rave song, “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat,” where he replaces “Rave” with “Fursuit” and modifies the lyrics to relate to the furry lifestyle.

“Right now I’m working on one with a lot of music from a cartoon show called “Gumball,” which is about a cat and his rabbit sister and walking fish brother,” says Merit.

FURSUITERS

Fursuiting has become the most identifying aspect of the fandom for those not a part of it. The fandom did not start out with fursuits everywhere, but the suits have grown as the fandom has. A 2005 survey by the UC Davis Psychology Department found that only eighteen percent of the fandom actually owned a full fursuit. Cost is a big factor. Full fursuits can range from a few hundred to up to ten thousand dollars for high quality ones. While there are many professional fursuit makers, most costume makers are amateurs.

“I was really creeped out by fursuits at first,” says Wilson, who has made eight fursuits, but has yet to make one for herself. “Back then they were not as high quality as they are now, but I eventually had a friend teach me how to make them.”

Most furries are known by their fursonas online, so when it comes to conventions and actually meeting other furries in person, the fursuit can give them confidence and a sort of transformative power to socialize with ease.

“If someone is really shy, the fursuit can act as a layer of emotional protection that allows the person to interact more comfortably and become the confident person they want to be,” says Wilson. “The confidence found when wearing a suit can really change a person, and I think that confidence eventually bleeds over for many people into their everyday life.”

Hayward resident and co-founder of the Further Confusion convention Corey “Chairo” Strom, has been building fursuits for over fifteen years.

Strom projected the average suit to consist of eighty percent faux fur, fifteen percent foam, and five percent for everything else, including glue, thread, and spandex, but every fursuit maker has their own method. Some ambitious artists have even added machinery to the workings such as wagging tails and blinking eyes to give a greater animal effect.

When crafting their fantasy personas, furries are likely to identify with animal traits that they find to be consistent with their own, or desired, inner personality. Not surprisingly, the majority of fursonas and fursuits are canine or feline, illustrating a strong connection to pets. Once becoming closer to their fursonas, it is not unusual for furries to mix multiple animals together to create something completely new.

“She is ninety percent wolf, five percent fox, and five percent border collie,” says Andrews when describing her spunky white and turquoise fursuit personality.

Of course, the fandom is not foreign to sex. There is an alternative fraction of the fandom who do very much use their fursuits for sexual arousal. Truth is, altering the suits to make them apt for sex is not a such daunting task. Add a zipper and there you go, sex can convene anytime, anywhere.

San Francisco is and will always be known for its liberal activism and resident diversity. The Bay Area furries are fortunate to be centered in a city where they can congregate in peace and acceptance, and not be ridiculed for running around in fursuits.

San Francisco is also known for being a hub of creativity and vision. All forms of art can be found scattered throughout the Bay Area.  It is no wonder that so many furries live in the Bay or travel long distances for the local furry meetups.

*Name has been changed to protect subject’s identity

On Silk and Ink

One of Audrianna's transparencies of  of a bird's skull.
One of Audrianna’s transparencies of of a bird’s skull.

By Julian Lim
Photos by Lorisa Salvatin

Only half of the emerald neon sign is on. A grouping of the center letters, which in whole spell out “Mission Cultural Center,” is nearly invisible in the sunset-darkened Mission District of San Francisco.

The lobby beneath the sign is empty. A soft rhythmic thud pulsates through the ceiling. There is no one around except for a woman selling one-day class tickets behind the Plexiglas window.

“The screen printing class is on the fourth floor,” she says. “Take the elevator up.”

The elevator only goes up to three. As the arm-length industrial lift reaches its final ascent, the small room fills with muted noise heard below, only for it to be revealed as the doors slide open. The air is thick with the slams of foot stomps, trumpet riffs, and a heavy bassline that pounds through your chest.

To get to the other side, where the stairs to the fourth and final floor are located, you must navigate pass the Tuesday night Flamenco and advanced Mexican Folk Dance classes, the open door hovering parents, and through the narrow incandescently lit hallways.

At the top of the steps and to the right of a six-feet-tall screen-printed anatomical skull is the Mission Grafica—the thirty-seven-year-old graphics studio with a long-standing history of making
political posters for the Mission.

Up here—in the attic space of a building, which used to be Shaff’s Furniture Company,—the red wooden floorboards covered with ink splotches are bouncing to the thumping soul of the center.

The Grafica’s print shop holds five black-painted workstations adorned with hinge clamps, which are used to hold down the silkscreen frames with the burned design. Around the shop, three metal drying stations with forty to fifty racks are leafed together like pages in a book; they are filled with layers of flatstock poster prints, and fabrics from past workshops and classes.

In the corner between two of the drying stations, an out of commission screen-printing machine sits with used transparencies piled underneath the ripped yellow silk screen. There is a six-by-six-foot backlit power washing station and a dark room around the corner where the photo emulsion is applied for image burning.

In nearly every facet of the shop, hundreds of ink-stained silkscreens in aluminum and wooden frames are stacked on the floor, shelves, and dolly carts tagged with marked masking tape.

“The ethos of printmaking is supposed to be about access,” says Amy Diaz-Infante, one of Mission Grafica’s screen printing instructors. “That is why I love a shop like the Grafica.”

Diaz-Infante has only been teaching at the Mission Grafica since July, but has been involved with the shop for years. When she received her master’s in fine arts, she learned how to screen print at the Grafica.

“You can come in without knowing anything or you can be a veteran printmaker and it does not matter,” she says. “We are all here printing in the same space and learning from each other.”

Mission Grafica is in the realm of screen printing that is only the starting line of what this art medium has to offer. From here, its world is a scatter shot of different characters, ideas, and aesthetics. The posters created capture the essence in which it is meant to pay tribute to, whether it is a band, a movie, an emotion, or a movement. But regardless of which direction screen printing floods into, it seeps back down to its truest sense of what Diaz-Infante and many others believe: access.

It is Thursday night in the Tenderloin. People are shuffling in and out from one gallery to the other; complementary PBRs and Gnarly Head Merlot in plastic glasses in the left gallery in the back, prints for purchase in the right gallery, with an unrelated hair salon nestled in between.

This is Spoke Art Gallery on Sutter Street, where just a few hours earlier, people lined down the block for the gallery doors to open at six so they can receive their free exclusive Tim Doyle print.

This is the Austin-based screen print artist’s third solo show at Spoke Art in the last three years. Each time, it is the same theme: “Unreal Estate.” Doyle, whose resume includes producing work for the widely popular Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, pays homage to television pop culture by reimagining iconic landscapes seen on the mini screen. Spoke Art Gallery Owner Ken Harman says that with this type of show, the appeal is universal.

When Harman was manning the drinks station in the left gallery, an older black man with a grey beard approached him to top off his wine glass. After their small conversation, he realizes that the exchange just proved his point.

“That dude right there, perfect example,” Harman says. “He does not know what Adventure Time is, but knows what Sanford and Sons is. That is a pretty big cultural divide between those two things. This show has been able to draw that dude who knows what Sanford and Sons is, as well as some kids who knows what Adventure Time is, and they all come together and they all appreciate it. You would not get that if this were a normal art show, which is usually a little more targeted, but with popular culture you get a little bit of everything.”

In this particular show, a little bit of everything includes the exterior of Saul Goodman’s law office and the Red Keep castle. It includes the Smurf’s village, the Munster’s house, and Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It also includes The First Church of Springfield and the Robot Arms Apartment complex.

One of the patrons of the gallery opening noticed a similarity through the use of iconography employed by famous artists of decades past, particularly Andy Warhol.

“It seems to me that the culture is repeating in visual art, but it’s doing it through illustration, and a little bit of fine art,” says Evren Bilgilham, who is also an Academy of Arts student. “These days, our iconography is visual media. It’s film. It’s television. It’s online. It’s a cycle. It’s the same type of thing that was going on in the seventies, just a completely different medium, and a different visual motif.”

And with free exhibit openings like this at Spoke Art Gallery, it is more than just appreciating the cool artwork on the walls as Harman explains. It is also the actuality of taking a print or two home.

“That’s something people aren’t used to,” Harman says. “They aren’t really aware that you can do that, that you can walk into an art gallery and go home with really cool art for under a hundred bucks. So the price is definitely nice.”

Harman started out as an art blogger, writing about the street art scene while working at Whole Foods as a bagger. But through a sequence of events, which the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Harman describing it as a “happenstance and coincidence and serendipity,” it led to Harman opening Spoke Art Gallery in 2011 “with just sort of a dream and a credit card.”

“Historically, if you want to look at the aesthetics of the Bay Area,” Harman says. “The Mission is cool, Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen, the birth of the SF street art scene, and a sort of folk art scene, definitely informs the aesthetic here, more so than it does in other cities.

“It is almost a sense of community in here. I feel more than there is other cities. I think that is in part because there is a large number of creatives, but also not a large market. We are all sort of in the same boat together. New York has a large number of creatives, but also a very booming art market that San Francisco does not have. So you do not get that sense of camaraderie between artists, and I feel it is a little more competitive in places like New York and L.A.”

That idea of camaraderie and community is not far off. Though the Tim Doyle’s Spoke Art show was a solo venture, the gallery also curates shows that feature a wide-array of artists focusing on a theme. One such theme is the annual Bad Dads show, which is based upon the works of film director Wes Anderson. Outside of the walls of Spoke Art, there’s even The Rock Poster Society in the Bay Area. This is a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve and promote the long-standing relationship between music and the graphic art.

The Rock Poster Society are like the keepers of the crypt,” says Oakland-based screen print artist Matt Leunig. “They keep the flame burning for the old school stuff.”

Founded in 1998, the organization holds an event for artists and poster enthusiasts to meet each other, and buy and sell posters in San Francisco each year. Leunig, who did his first The Rock Poster Society Festival of Rock Posters show six years ago, says that most of the old school poster artists who created posters for venues like the Fillmore in San Francisco are still a part of the group.

“You will be sitting across from someone like Stanley Mouse,” Leunig says. “It’s insane because you are in the same show with the old school guys who started it all, who are very humble, and cool in this very low-key atmosphere.”

Like all of the artists in The Rock Poster Society, Leunig’s work primarily consists of gig posters—posters created with the sole purpose of promoting a band playing a venue  ona particular night. Some of the musicians he has worked with include Ween, Erykah Badu, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Pixies.

“The art form of screen printing is really hot right now,” Leunig says. “There’s been a resurgence of going back to hand drawn, hand made artwork. It’s a digital backlash. You can find a cool picture and save it as a JPEG. But if you have that same image, that you know somebody made by hand, it means more because when you look at it, it’s a piece of art.”can find a cool picture and save it as a JPEG. But if you have that same image, that you know somebody made by hand, it means more because when you look at it, it’s a piece of art.”

Berkeley-based screen print artist John Howard, who is also a gig poster artist in The Rock Poster Society, agrees that there is a digital backlash as Leunig describes.

“There’s no longer anything tactile related to the music” Howard says. “People wanted something to replace the LP that you used to hold while you listen to the music. It’s kind of hard to say or expand it from that, but it has gotten crazy in the last several years.”

Howard has created work for bands like Sonic Youth, Queens of the Stone Age, and Sublime. Despite mass producing their work by the hundreds and selling it for less than three digits, the resurging screen printing medium has seen a new audience give rise: the collector. Howard says he does not play to collectors that much.

“I don’t want to do a hundred posters and be at the bottom of some collector’s drawer,” Howard says. “I’d rather have it go to people at the show that love the band. That’s why I do it. I want it to be on their wall because they love that band. I’d rather have it take two years to sellout of a poster than have most of it go to that.”

Leunig, at one point, had to be much more particular as to who gets a special black and white String Cheese Incident print of his. The posters were meant for children to color on their own, after which their parents send back photos to Leunig. Unfortunately, Leunig caught someone trying to flip the poster on Ebay.

One of the other effects of the resurgence is Flatstock. This is a poster convention of sort that the American Poster Institute organizes to feature artists around the world on a convention platform. The American Poster Institute—like The Rock Poster Society—is another nonprofit organization that serves the poster community, but on a broader scale.

“There should at least be a Flatstock here,” Howard says. “I know they tried a couple of times, but they haven’t been that good for a couple of different reasons, but not because they couldn’t be, mostly just logistic kind of reasons. San Francisco should be the epicenter of psychedelic art. It could be and have a great history to back it up.”

Both Howard and Leunig attended Flatstock at the weeklong South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas in March.

Oakland-based artist Jason Munn also attended Flatstock this year. However, compared to Leunig—who uses large fields of color a key line to keep everything connected—and Howard—whose works have a traditional psychedelic rock poster look that’s quintessential to San Francisco—Munn is the complete opposite.

“When I first started, my stuff had this minimal look, even though it doesn’t look like it does now, but you can tell,” Munn says. “Especially with the way I work with type and stuff. It was quiet and I like quiet. And a lot of the bands that I was doing stuff for were very quiet bands. This was the kind of stuff that I was attracted to. And minimal, definitely, you can describe some of the bands like that.”

Some of the bands he has worked with includes Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, and Phantogram. Munn has even been commissioned to create a line of retail projects for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist Series in 2011.

“I really like mid-century design work; simple and economical, straight lines, minimal use of color. Very un-rock and roll for the most part,” Munn jokes. “With John Howard and Matt, I love that they have that traditional feel. They all require a different way of thinking. I can’t think the way those guys think. I’m always kind of amazed about what these people do.”

These people, and so much more, make or break those in the screen printing universe. They come from different backgrounds and it reflects in what they produce, whether it is a band poster, a gallery, instruction, or appreciation. The audience, to which they serve, may not ever overlap.

But regardless of the theme or subject matter scraped through the flooded yellow silk screen and on to the flatstock poster, each of these artists, instructors, enthusiasts, and gallery owners essentially believe in the idea behind why they print, sell, collect, or teach. It is the same ethos learned from the screen print shop in an attic in the Mission.

“Screen printing is supposed to be the most democratic art form; it is about people having access to information and to work,” Diaz-Infante says. “It’s not like only one person can only own this one piece. No, you make five hundred and everyone can own it and see it.”

Cocktails With a Kick: Winter Sour

Written by Dani Hutton

Elixir–Winter Sour–$11

Have you ever wondered what a Christmas tree tastes like? No, probably not. But, in the event that you’re curious now, it tastes like rosemary. Or vice-versa. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s certainly unusual if you’re not used to it. Despite the interesting element of rosemary oil within Elixir’s Winter Sour, it’s not what makes this drink special. No, that’s the egg whites.

Overall, the Winter Sour isn’t an overly complicated drink on an ingredient level. There are four ingredients: Campari, a type of potable bitters, Meyer lemon juice, egg whites, and rosemary. Muddle the rosemary, juice the lemon, strain the egg white, add the liqueur, shake, serve, and garnish. Seems like a combination that would result in a simple beverage, right?

Wrong. From the first sip, the drink is interesting, although whether it’s in a positive or negative manner, that’s up to your interpretation. The rosemary and Meyer lemon play off of each other heavily, nearly overpowering the other two ingredients. Despite that, the Campari makes an appearance, working with the with the Meyer lemon to add a sweetness that works to make the rosemary less overwhelming.

The egg white does nothing for the taste, but it’s an interesting addition because of what it does to the drink. Once shaken and poured, the egg white forms a frothy head that adds a fizzy layer, which makes the rest of the flavors pop in your mouth for an intense, if not particularly booze-laden experience.

Hump Day Music: 4 Songs To Get You Through The Week

Childish Gambino performs at Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on May 27, 2012. Photo owned by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Childish Gambino performs at Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on May 27, 2012. Photo owned by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Written by Macy Williams, Jake Montero, Maggie Ortin and Matthew Reyes

It’s the middle of the week, and the weekend is just past the figurative horizon. Here are some tunes the Xpress Magazine staff picked to get you through work, school and/or studying. Cheers.

Continue reading Hump Day Music: 4 Songs To Get You Through The Week

Halloween Costumes For a Broke College Student

Written by Macy Williams & Sarah Todd
Photos by John Ornelas

Had midterms last week? If so, we know for a fact that you haven’t even thought about a Halloween costume. The festivities are just a few days away, so we put together five budget-friendly costumes for fellow gators with a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.

  • Model: Celeste Feeling clever? Psychology majors will appreciate this costume. Throw on a silky slip and attach Freudian phrases to it. Look at you, getting all sassy and smart.
    Feeling clever? Psychology majors will appreciate this costume. Throw on a silky slip and attach Freudian phrases to it. Look at you, getting all sassy and smart.
  • Freudian Slip
    Model: Celeste
  • Everyone has an umbrella shoved in the back of their closet--it’s San Francisco, after all. Transform your old bumbershoot into everyone’s favorite sea creature with a little ribbon and a hot glue gun. Your friends will have no trouble finding you at the bar with this costume.
    Everyone has an umbrella shoved in the back of their closet--it’s San Francisco, after all. Transform your old bumbershoot into everyone’s favorite sea creature with a little ribbon and a hot glue gun. Your friends will have no trouble finding you at the bar with this costume.
  • jellyfish
    Model: Mike Hendrickson
  • Model: Sarah Got a sheet? Perfect, the classic sheet ghost costume is complete. But if you want to really turn heads this year, throw a bra on over that sheet and transform into a sexy sheet ghost. Laughs are guaranteed.
    Got a sheet? Perfect, the classic sheet ghost costume is complete. But if you want to really turn heads this year, throw a bra on over that sheet and transform into a sexy sheet ghost. Laughs are guaranteed.
  • sexy ghost
    Model: Sarah
  • Model: Sarah Todd The government shutdown has come and gone, but everyone is still talking about it. There’s nothing better than making fun of politics, so throw on some old pajama bottoms with a suit and tie and bam, you are a government official on holiday.
    The government shutdown has come and gone, but everyone is still talking about it. There’s nothing better than making fun of politics, so throw on some old pajama bottoms with a suit and tie and bam, you are a government official on holiday.
  • The Government Shutdown
    Model: Sarah Todd
  • Model: Virginia Tieman Remember those naked little troll dolls that sat and stared at you with beady little eyes? Let’s bring them to life! Use a nude colored tank top and glue a gem-like piece of paper to the  bellybutton area. Grab some spray hair dye and pull your hair into a point. Ladies will look adorable and guys will be downright creepy. It’s a win-win situation.
    Remember those naked little troll dolls that sat and stared at you with beady little eyes? Let’s bring them to life! Use a nude colored tank top and glue a gem-like piece of paper to the bellybutton area. Grab some spray hair dye and pull your hair into a point. Ladies will look adorable and guys will be downright creepy. It’s a win-win situation.
  • Troll Doll
    Model: Virginia Tieman

Embracing All Sizes

 

When someone hears the word “model” most people picture this 6 foot tall ,a size two women with lots of confidence and a sense of power to take command on a fashion runway. However, Morgan Weinert sees the word “model” in a different light.

SF State held its annual Body Positive Week and first ever “All-Bodies Fashion Show,” where it supports both the love for fashion and the different shapes and sizes people may have. For one whole week, students participated in different activities and workshops to help them love the most important person in their lives, themselves.

To kick off Body Positive Week, Weinert created an activity involving a chalk outline of ones body. Students were asked to point out one part of their body that they liked and say why. They also had to pick one part of their body that they did not like and turn it into a positive.

Weinert produced the fashion show because, “fashion is a great way for people to reclaim their body.” While it was San Francisco Fashion Week, it was also Body Positive Week in the Residential Life community.

Weinert believed that by having a fashion show open to all sizes in which students could model their own wardrobe it would lessen students negativity about their weight. During Body Positive Week one of Weinert’s goals was for students to understand that being healthy goes beyond nutrition and exercise. She, in addition, believes one’s sexuality, emotionally being, and stress levels are also things to take into consideration with one‘s wellbeing.

Weinert has been the Health and Wellness Coordinator for Residential Life for about 6 months now. Weinert is responsible for developing and implementing workshops, presentations, and activities that help reduce harm to oneself. Such activities include sexual wellness, sexual assault, exercise, and nutrition.

The following day students listened to Virgie Tovar, an activist and lecturer on fat discrimination and body image. Tovar’s lecture revolved around having better sex through body love. The third day marked National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, held at Malcolm X Plaza. Students were able to get information regarding sexual health, nutrition through games and brochures. The event also revolved around raising awareness about violence against women in order to prevent it.

The fashion show was the grand finale of Body Positive Week. Having declared the show open to all shapes and sizes it “gave people the opportunity to be fashionable in their own body,” Weinert says. SF State student Rajit Sandhu who modeled in the show says, “I was nervous to go out on the runway but I was still confidant and owned my body.”

The fashion show was said to feature San Francisco stylist Zuriel Bautista, who is inspired by the diversity of modern popular culture, but due to an unfortunate car accident he was not able to attend. Bautista’s aesthetic is influenced most by his grandfather’s wardrobe from the 1970’s and his utility workwear. This altered the timeliness of the fashion show and how many looks went down the runway. Nevertheless, the show went on, and hopefully the show will continue to be says Weinert.

At the same time, the show featured a handful of student fashionistas, it also featured lines from 31 Rax and Nooworks. 31 Rax is thrift store that offers hand-picked, vintage clothing for men and women. Owner Stephanie Madrinan who was present at the All Bodies Fashion Shows says, “the clothing found at 31 Rax is out of my own closet.” The models strutted down the runway in dresses, tribal print pieces, and all paired with unique jewelry. This vintage thrift store will soon be featured solely online and will also feature extended sizes.

Nooworks features numerous artists who create prints, which are then turned into garments such as dresses, shirts, and or leggings. Nooworks is also a participating store that currently carries plus sizes up to 18, but they plan on expanding their sizes to 4x. The clothing featured at the show was showcased by SF State students as well by Morgan Weinert who wore colorful, bold printed leggings.

While the fashion show was the grand final Weinert also encouraged students to attend the Folsom Street Fair that Sunday. Weinert says, “Folsom is a great way for those you are recently on their own to explore.” College is a great time to create who you want to be and everyone should take advantage of that says Weinert.

If there was only one important thing that Weinert wanted students to take away from all of Body Positive Week was that everyone should be excited to reclaim their body and that we are only given one body so appreciate it.

The SF State community took a stand in representing all types of individuals through the fashion show, opening the door for other student fashionistas thanks to Weinert. If that was not enough of a milestone for fashion, one may want to know that this year there was the first ever plus-sized line featured in New York Fashion Week by designer Eden Miller. Fashion is for everyone no matter what size you are.

Party Poopin’ Pigskin

Photo by AFN- Pacific Hawaii News Bureau
Photo by AFN- Pacific Hawaii News Bureau


The NFL has finally put their foot down after years of watching players like Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens party like its 1999 in the end zone.

The NFL has cracked down on taunting this season with the reinforcement of several rules that will essentially prohibit players from celebrating anywhere outside of the end zone—and even there their options are limited.

Good riddance! Why players felt compelled to taunt their NFL brethren in the first place is beyond me. Men have feelings. Just because some men are oversized juggernauts that get paid large sums of money to play a sport doesn’t make them inhuman.

Do they not bleed? Are they incapable of weeping like the rest of us!?

Bravo Commissioner Goodell. It’s good to know that amongst the plethora of problems facing the NFL at the moment—PED testing, player safety, concussion lawsuits, expanded seasons, etc.—that the league has still found time to address this very pressing issue.

The rule outlines what will be penalized, and includes “sack dances, home run swing, incredible hulk; spiking the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent [prolonged and with provocation]; or dancing.”

Wait a tick, did it say dancing? Dancing, as in one of the few things left in the world synonymous with happiness?! Does that mean I may never see something like this again on a football field?

 

 

Well, not exactly. The rule actually prohibits players from doing any of the aforementioned celebrations towards an opponent. As such, players are free to celebrate within the confines of the rules so long as they’re not trying to antagonize the opposition.

It was just seven years ago that the league first banned props and group celebrations, as well as the “throat slash; machine-gun salute; sexually-suggestive gestures; prolonged gyrations; or stomping on a team logo.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t this rob the NFL of some much-needed entertainment and—dare I say it—fun?

“It’s bad for the game,” says football fan and bar hopper Alex Robershotte as he takes a break from the delicious Cheesestake and Sunday Night Football game ahead of him. “I think it’s a natural reaction to celebrate. If you succeed at what you’re trying to do, and you have to be held back from celebrating from that, I think that’s absolutely absurd. And when you’re an athlete who’s amped up on adrenaline, you’re gonna go all out in your celebrations.”

For shame. Are we forgetting about those most affected by the celebrations? Lest we forget that the NFL is not the WWE. Players get paid a lot of money to perform their duties to the best of their abilities and shouldn’t be subjected to such public humiliation as this when they get burned on a fly route:

 

On the other hand, maybe everyone should just chill the fuck out and put everything into perspective.

 

Football is an inherently emotional sport played by some of the most competitive athletes in the world. Naturally, they’re going to do whatever it takes to gain a competitive edge. That includes getting inside the head of their opponent.

Sack and touchdown celebrations add a layer of untapped entertainment to the league. Guys like Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson were watched not only for their remarkable talent, but because you never knew exactly what they were going to do when they found the end zone. One thing you could always be assured of though was that it would be fun to watch.

The days of watching an NFL lineman breakdance, a quarterback moonwalk, or a wide receiver make untimely phone calls from beside the pylons are in the rear-view mirror now. All that’s left to look forward to is this:

 

 

“The rule is kind of ridiculous,” says San Francisco State student Jeff Palin. “I don’t think the celebrations were really hurting anyone. And I’m not sure why the league even felt that it needed to take action.”

The reasons behind the crackdowns are unclear. Perhaps the rule was instituted to protect the NFL image. Maybe its purpose is to keep angry players from inciting a brawl. It’s possible the league was fed up with diva wide receivers disrupting the flow of the game and shifting the focus from the competition to some over-the-top spectacle.

Maybe it was a combination of all three.

Regardless, fans are left wondering if the rules are even necessary.

“You don’t really see anything exciting anymore when someone scores a touchdown,” says San Francisco State student Andrew Newlee. “Some of those celebrations were hilarious. So yeah, I kind of miss them.”

At the end of the day, football—despite being a multi-billion dollar industry—is just a game.  Someone ought to remind the Commish about that, because at the moment he’s robbing the league of some free and much-desired entertainment, and appears petty in the process.

For example during the preseason, the Jets third-string quarterback Matt Simms simulated that he was firing a pistol, and the NFL fined him $7,875 for the infraction.

For starters, how did the league come up with such a puzzling and specific fine; and secondly, did the crime really fit the punishment?

These rules are hurting the sport, and compelling fans to deem the NFL the No Fun League.

The celebrations are amusing. The only people they’re hurting are those being taunted. If they don’t like it, then they should get better at their jobs. Until then, they should bite their lip and set a good example for the kids watching.

I’m not advocating malicious taunting. Watching someone viciously sack a quarterback, stand over him and talk shit is never a welcomed sight. But something as simple and harmless as this (which was fined $10,000!) should never be penalized.

 

 

So think it over, Goodell. I know you care about the players (or at least that’s what you like to let on), but don’t go overboard here. Loosen up and just let everyone be themselves. Until then, here’s a little something for old time’s sake.