Fashion or Function?

By xpressmagazine



Story and Photos by Jessica Graham

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.

Josh Sisler
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.”

Josh Sisler

Josh Sisler

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.”

Fatima Fleming
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.

Fatima Fleming

Fatima Fleming

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.”

Drew Shugart
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.

Drew Shogart

Drew Shogart

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

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.

Dan Torro

Dan Torro

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.“

Open City: A Week of Comedy Open Mics in SF


Wednesday Night Comedy at The Flying Pig brings crowds in to see 2 minutes speed rounds for 2 hours offering a plethera of the bay areas finest comedians such as Ken Townsend. Photo on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

Wednesday Night Comedy at The Flying Pig brings crowds in to see 2 minutes speed rounds for 2 hours offering a plethera of the bay areas finest comedians such as Ken Townsend. Photo on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.


By Molly Sanchez
Photos by Frank Leal

By day I am a journalist. I sit in classes, carry a voice recorder in my purse, and find clever ways to mock my superiors within the confines of the Chicago style. But by night I am a standup comic. I sit in bars, carry a voice recorder in my purse, and find clever ways to mock my superiors within the confines of three-minute long sets. Open mics are a right of passage for entry-level comics, and the best way to get stage time. Richard Dreyling, comic and Marine corps veteran says, “Open mics are important because they provide a venue for comics to get good though trying material, figuring out what works, and getting more comfortable on stage. Most good shows won’t let comics on until they progress past that level, so open mics are a bit of a crucible. Everyone sucks at the start, its just that some people stick with it and with that consistency, get better. I look at it as a shitty boot camp that never ends, but you have to go down there to work those skills, like hitting the bag or running. You have to do it.” What follows is a guide to doing it every night of the work week. Even if you’re not a comedian these are events worth attending because nothing makes a good night great like a dark bar and hours of quality dick jokes.

Portals Tavern
179 W Portal Ave,
Sign up:8
Get there: 7
Set length: 5 minutes

I’m a firm believer that good things can be found behind even the dingiest of exteriors, old wardrobes, faded Mission taco shops etc. The open mic at Portals Tavern is no exception. Behind the unremarkable wooden door that most people mosey past en route to West Portal’s other attractions (RIP Squat and Gobble) is a bar lit by Christmas lights and warmed by a fireplace. The ratio of comedians to civilians is a decent five-to-one here on a good night and the audience tends to be respectful of sets. The mic is hosted by loveable stoner, Justin Alan, and by the more coherent Scott Simpson. Both hosts insist on a strict code of conduct for the comedians ascending the makeshift stage, a microphone that abuts a jukebox. “Shake my hand when you get on,” Alan says. “Shake my god damned hand. Don’t make me look like an asshole!” The bar is usually filled with laughter either from bartender Randy’s weekly sets (ask him to tell the one about the Lone Ranger and the whores) or from the antics of comedians offstage. “Did anyone else hear that fart?” asks comic, Mean Dave, mid set. “This guy puked outside, what kind of place is this, someone take a dump right now!” The back patio area of Portals is also a great place to network with fellow comedians. Just watch out for the puke.

The last Tuesday of every month offers The Break Room hosted by Rajeev Dhar at Amnesia on 20th and Valencia. Combing through the bay areas finest comedians with 2 minutes rapid fire shorts. Photo on Tuesday March 26, 2013. Photo by Frank Leal/Xpress

The last Tuesday of every month offers The Break Room hosted by Rajeev Dhar at Amnesia on 20th and Valencia. Combing through the bay areas finest comedians with 2 minutes rapid fire shorts. Photo on Tuesday March 26, 2013. Photo by Frank Leal/Xpress


853 Valencia St
Sign up: 6:30
Get There: 6
Set length: 3-4 minutes

Amnesia is a dark bar. I’m talking bat cave, basement apartment, and “future for graduates with a humanities degree.” The bar, featured prominently in my other article, is lit by glowing red candles on the high tables that line the wall and the pink-gelled theatre lights that blast on thestage. Climbing the stairs to the stage, the brightest spot in the whole bar, I always feel like Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark and worry that I haven’t brought a heavy enough sand bag to displace the totem safely. The mic, called “The Break Room,” is run by comedian and producer, Rajeev Dhar, though sometimes it is run by his sun glassed alter ego “Prince Rajeev The Everlasting.” The room is populated completely by comics with only a few civilians who trickle in around nine to witness the bar’s nightly transition into a music venue. What no one tells civilians about comics watching other comics is that no one laughs. One comic, William Lushbough astutely labels this issue “the comic’s room chuckle” and describes the usual slight groans to the quiet intonations of “funny” as comic’s way of saying “ah yes, we agree with what you say there.” This relative silence is tough on later comedians, sometimes embittering the material. “I think a lot about guns,” one comic says. “Especially at open mics.” Amnesia is a good spot for networking or trying new material on peers. Beer lovers can avail themselves of the secret happy hour (dollar off taps from 6-7p.m.) and music lovers can show up at 8 p.m. and dodge the cover for the music act that comes
in at 9:30 p.m.

Casey Grim is the hostess for The Flying Pig's Wednesday night comedy show, aiding the audience to watch with a crowd wide beer game, screaming for visitors to drink when ever comedians utter the phrases she had picked through out the night. Photo on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Casey Grim is the hostess for The Flying Pig’s Wednesday night comedy show, aiding the audience to watch with a crowd wide beer game, screaming for visitors to drink when ever comedians utter the phrases she had picked through out the night. Photo on Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Flying Pig
433 S Van Ness Ave
All ages
Sign up: 7:30
Get there: 7
Set length: 5 minutes

Wednesdays at the Flying Pig are the brainchild of comedy power couple, Casey Grim and Adam McLaughlin. After meeting via sessions at the infamous Comedy College, McLaughlin and Grim devoted their married life to raising several cats and the bar set for open mics in their neighborhood. The Pig, as it is affectionately referred to, is bright and homey that serves delicious sandwiches, local beers, and salads the size of a grown man’s head. There is also free Wi-Fi so comics can tweet their jokes that didn’t make it into their sets. Because this venue is a restaurant rather than a straight up bar, the civilian-to-comic ratio is a healthy four-to-two. Audience members keen to be featured in everyone’s set tend to sit at the very edge of the bar, giving them a front row seat to the keg surrounded stage. Grim, twitter fight instigator and main emcee, has high energy and a loud laugh that gives comics new and old an onstage boost. “Comics aren’t funny, open mics help comics understand that. Or at least that’s the goal,” says Grim who takes pride in the organization of her mic.” The unfortunate thing is our lack of quality open mics has really trained poor habits into people. We need stricter open mics & showcases with higher expectations. That would really do the comedy scene a WORLD of favors.” The beauty of baby open mics like The Pig, baby here referring both to the event’s recent inception and the age of potential comics, is that they are often more generous with stage time than more established and thus more crowded mics and usually pull a wider audience. Sooie!

1122 Folsom St
All ages
Sign up: 6:30
Get there:5
Set length: 4 minutes

Brainwash is by far the best venue for new comics. Bar freaking none. First time comics are given a warm welcome by host Tony Sparks, a prestigious fixture of the bay area comedy scene. “Baby,” “Human” and “Sugar –nasty” are among the many terms of endearments Sparks applies to comics and audience members and he rallies the crowd to greet new comics with a boisterous call of “GIVE THEM A LOT OF LOVE!” That love can be seen in the sign up priority new comics get on a list that sometimes reaches over thirty comics a night. The same priority is given to women comics (I’d be mad about my vagina being seen as a handicap if I wasn’t so busy getting on stage early). Because of the supportive atmosphere of this venue it is often packed past capacity with comics and civilians and their combined laughter can be heard even over the rumblings of the adjacent laundromat. Because of the sprawling sign up list this mic lasts well past 11 p.m. but civilians tend to stay and laugh for the majority of the time. Comic Drew Harmon, a veteran of the Brainwash scene says “open mics are where that guy who everybody in the office says “is SO funny, you should do comedy!” finds out that he would rather just be the funniest guy in the office and not spend the next seven to ten years hanging out in bar basements and laundromats. Those that are left are sad, disturbed narcissists who will never know peace.” This spot is a great place to be seen by producers in charge of showcases and many a new comic lands their first gig at Brainwash. If you’re a comic looking for inspiration, the back bathroom is covered floor to ceiling with sharpied jokes and quotes from literature, history, and pop culture. Patty Hearst was right, Brainwash is a great thing.

Mutiny Radio
21st and Florida St
All ages
Sign ups: 7:45
Get There: 7:30
Set Length: 5 minutes

To say Pam Benjamin, comedian and host of Pamtastic’s Comedy Clubhouse, is enthusiastic is to say chocolate is just ok, or the BP oil spill was just a little messy. At the beginning of every open mic Pam, a former cheerleader, leads the crowd in a loud rendition of the Comedy Clubhouse theme song. The song is the Mickey Mouse Club theme …if the Mickey Mouse Club theme was sung by middle aged stoners. “M-U-T-I-N-Y Comedy Clubhouse/ Forever we will all get high, high, high( audience pretends to take a toke, all cough exaggeratedly).” The mutiny radio feels like that song, something wholesome and familiar with a little twist around the edges. The studio is small and the walls are bedecked with local art. The stage is teeny and abuts the bathroom. Sometimes, if the station’s djs have been negligent, the bathroom smell permeates the small space. “We called it Pam’s Comedy Outhouse last week,” Benjamin confides with a wink. Friday nights are fueled by her enthusiasm and sheer bouncing presence. She smiles and laughs so uproariously that a child seeing a bike under the Christmas tree would look at Benjamin and think “ Sheesh woman, get a hold of yourself!” Called affectionately “a grown up Rainbow Brite” Benjamin’s childlike glee can be seen when she introduces one comic as “a fireball inside the mouth of an angel from space”.The mic, which is every Friday (save for the first of the month) draws a mostly comics crowd with very few in-studio civilians. Still the show, which is converted into a podcast weekly, draws a crowd. Longtime intern and comedienne, Lalique D’Bruzzi, says that the listenership has reached “eighteen thousand or so”.

Side bar
Top five tips for Open Mics

1) Come early: SF is a city full of hungry comics aching for stage time. Since most of them are unemployed they arrive at mics an hour to two hours early and position on the list is normally decided on a first come first served basis.

2) Don’t run the light: When you have one minute remaining in your set,
the emcee will flash a light. This means it’s time to wrap up. Very few places penalize for going over time but doing so cuts into the stage time of your fellow comics. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t bring a book into a crowded bathroom stall; you’d do your business and get the heck out. Yes, comedy is like one giant toilet.

3) Drink…a little: If you are of drinking age and the mic you attend is at a bar you should buy one drink. This serves the dual purpose of being polite and patronizing the venue and taking the edge off before your set. Be warned though, too many pre-set drinks can be detrimental to your material and your ability to avoid being a jerk offstage.

4) Try new things: Nothing is more annoying than a comedy that does the
exact same material at the exact same open mic week after week. It’s ok to try different iterations of the same joke to see if a slight change of wording unlocks the elusive comic’s room laugh but doing the same material verbatim week after week is asking comedians to do the same job your bathroom mirror or shower walls could do, and I don’t mean help you practice kissing. If you must repeat a set to work out serious kinks take it to a different mic another day that week and challenge yourself to generate new material for the old mic.

5) Keep Freaking Going: Open mics get old. Sometimes people don’t laugh,
sometimes the set feels too short, sometimes you have cramps and would
rather go home and use your computer as a heating pad on your aching uterus than schlep out to a mic (so I hear anyway). If you’re serious about the business of being funny you need to ignore all these excuses and just freaking go. Going to mics is like running on a treadmill, it may seem like you’re going nowhere, but you’re conditioning yourself to live differently (shoot Sanchez, is comedy a treadmill or a toilet?? Make up your damn mind!) But don’t take my word for it; Patton Oswalt said it best when he said, “Go onstage a lot. Go onstage as much as you can. Don’t read books on comedy. Don’t take comedy classes. Don’t ask anyone how you should write material, or what they think of your material. Develop on your own. Go onstage. A lot. Every night. If there isn’t an open mike in your town, start one. And then go onstage. A lot. That’s it.”


Nutrition in the Raw



The Juice Shop offers juices made only with ingredients from local organic farmers.

By Nicole Ellis
Photos by Samantha Benedict

The word juice means different things to different people. The “juice-heads” in Jersey aren’t the same juicers who work with Barry Bonds or Lance Armstrong. And those juicers are completely different than the juicers shopping at Whole Foods. The more common and accepted juicer is the kind that extracts nutrients from raw fruits and veggies. Not everyone who juices is a rawist, but juicing is a huge aspect to eating raw.

Beans, fruits, seaweed, sprouts, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables are among the types of foods rawist eat. Rawism, or eating raw, leaves food in its environmental state. The fruits, veggies, and grains are considered raw if they’re cooked under 115 degrees. Most people who practice eating raw stick to a vegan diet, but there’s also rawists who eat animal products. A sashimi dinner is the perfect example. Raw foodists, who eat animal products believe that eating foods above this temperature makes the food lose its nutritional value and can harm the body.

“I started this [raw food] diet because I feel like it is the only thing that makes sense in this world,” Novalee Truesdell, a raw foodist of six years, explains. “Plants grow naturally as a pure food source and yet we turn to all this processed, chemically altered nonsense that confuses and screws our poor bodies up!”

Truesdell stuck with her raw diet because she saw her body change. Her depression went away, her energy level rose and her body remains slender and lean. “People saw there is a certain glow about me that they can’t quite put their finger on,” Truesdell says.

Some commonly known benefits to eating raw include: weight management, clear skin and hair, decreased food cravings, increased energy, and mental clarity.

David Hinkle went raw for one hundred days to lose weight. “Honestly, it just seemed kind of easy to me,” Hinkle says about making the decision to swap processed food for a clean diet. “I did a raw juice fast for seventy days, then a break, then another thirty [days] for a total of one hundred and six pounds lost.”

During his fast, Hinkle consumed nothing but raw juice, regular water, and coconut water. “A key component of the success of juice fasting, and not eating, is hydration,”

Hinkle explains. He recommends drinking lots of water, up to two gallons a day, to help suppress the hunger and accelerate the weight loss process.

Hinkle and Truesdell found that juicing is the key to staying trim. “I love juicing and make a green juice every single day which I crave until I have [it],” Truesdell shared about her secret to keeping her body lean. “You can just feel the fresh, raw, liquid fruits and vegetables, seeping into your body.” She eats almost any fruit and vegetable she can get her hands on.

Page Gausman sells juices at the Juice Shop on Thursday, April 11, 2012.  The Juice Shop serves juice made only with ingredients from local organic farmers.

Page Gausman sells juices at the Juice Shop on Thursday, April 11, 2012. The Juice Shop serves juice made only with ingredients from local organic farmers.

The two things rawist need to keep an eye out for are contaminated food and low levels of certain vitamins. Food poisoning doesn’t only occur in meat, it can affect raw produce like lettuce, melon, spouts, and berries. The American Dietetic Association advises checking iron, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iodine, vitamin B-12, and protein levels to ensure they’re not too low.

The positives definitely outweigh the negatives in terms of potential benefits, according to rawists. Some people believe eating raw can cure chronic illnesses like cancer. Others think the lifestyle change can help aid problems like asthma. Truesdell has a friend who cured her own asthma, chronic fatigue, and sinusitis, just by eating raw.

Cecilia Kinzie changed her eating habits when she was twenty-two. Her health problems were causing her to become depressed, but after a conversation about raw food with a friend, Kinzie went out and bought a raw cookbook and never turned back. She’s been raw for over ten years and has never felt better. Kinzie has her own website and has written her own book, Raw Food Starter Guide, that’s downloadable for free online.

Jumpstarting a raw diet might be as easy as visiting The Juice Shop. Located on Union Street and Buchanan, The Juice Shop started out as a delivery service, but its popularity grew, allowing them to open a store in 2009 where people can visit them face-to-face. “We have a lot of people who come on a regular basis,” said Lina Gulick, co-owner of Juice Shop, “but we also have people stopping by who never experienced juicing before.”

Their juices are made on a hydraulic press, which “gently and completely extracts all of the vital nutrients in the most optimal method possible,” Gulick explains. The pure nutrients are one hundred percent organic and start at $9.

Is juicing a trend or has it always been an “in” thing? “We have definitely seen an increase in the general interest in juicing since we started,” said Gulick. Juicing has been around for over a century, but its popularity and accessibility has made it a phenomenon. “When it comes down to the basics, the benefits of juicing are so profound that people tend to stick with it.”

Some people use the raw diet as a way to lose weight, others use it as a way to rid medical problems, and some people just want to make a lifestyle change. Eating raw provides many benefits, but not all carnivores will want to dabble in the semi-strict diet. Although, it seems that once people go raw, they don’t go back.


Novalee’s Morning Pick-me-up Smoothie

Fresh or frozen fruits blended with fresh leafy greens like kale, chard, parsley or dandelion, and chia seed powder

David’s Go-to Juice

Half bunch of kale, half a cucumber, one granny smith apple, two carrots, half a lemon, and a small hunk of ginger

Joe "Grill" watches the Giants vs Rockies game on Tuesday April 9, 2013.

The Benchwarmers of Section 139

By xpressmagazine

The section 139 bleacher bums watch a fly ball during the Giants vs Rockies game on Tuesday April 9, 2013.

The section 139 bleacher bums watch a fly ball during the Giants vs Rockies game on Tuesday April 9, 2013.

By Jessica Mendoza
Photos by Gabriella Gamboa

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”).


Marc Jr. Miranda waits for the Marina entrance gates to open at the Giants opening game on Friday April 5, 2013. He and the rest of Section 139 bleacher bums have custom made sweatshirts for the group.

“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.

Section 139 bleacher bum, Alex Patino, shouts for a baseball during the Athletics batting practice before playing the Giants at an exhibition game at AT&T Park on March 28, 2013.

Section 139 bleacher bum, Alex Patino, shouts for a baseball during the Athletics batting practice before playing the Giants at an exhibition game at AT&T Park on March 28, 2013.

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.

Section 139 bleacher bum Marc Jr. Miranda attempts to catch a fly ball during the Giants vs Rockies game on Tuesday April 9, 2013.

Section 139 bleacher bum Marc Jr. Miranda attempts to catch a fly ball during the Giants vs Rockies game on Tuesday April 9, 2013.

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.


Sublet Survivor


For Luu, skating was essential for Sublet SF. Skating across each district requires a keen eye for every nook and cranny and connected her with the city even more // GIF created by Kenny Redublo


By Kenny Redublo
Photos by Virginia Tieman

Valencia street is alive as usual. Cyclists ride next to cars and trucks zooming by while couples walk their dogs on the sidewalks as they window shop at the local boutiques before stopping into a cafe for a coffee. It’s a typical Mission day, except for the lack of sunshine. Valerie Luu sits on the patio at Four Barrel Coffee, taking a break from work. She holds a poetry book in one hand and adjusts her hair with the other. The wind is making the day colder than it looks.

This spot is familiar for Luu. Not just Four Barrel, but the Mission itself. It’s her two blocks of comfort in the city, but they’re not her home. It’s been over a year that she’s been on the search for a place to call her home, since a breakup.

“I felt like I had two choices after the breakup: find a Craigslist situation to fall into, which was probably going to be shitty, or go on an adventure,” says Valerie Luu with a skateboard next to her.

“I chose to go on an adventure.”

Luu started Sublet SF in March 2012 after the breakup. Sublet SF is her blog and personal project, where she subleases a room in eight different neighborhoods in the course of one year. She chronicles her different experiences with the residents of the neighborhood, showcasing conversations, photos, or achievements. Her idea came about when she visited Paris a couple years ago. The city of Paris is divided into twenty different administrative districts, or arrondissements. Luu thought it would be a great idea to live in a different arrondissement for a year, but as she was driving around San Francisco after her breakup, she realized she can do that in San Francisco. She just had to do it.

“Whenever I have a creative idea, it becomes implanted in my head and I can’t get it out and I just have to do it,” says Luu.

“I’m at a point where I’m able to [move]. I’m young, I don’t have children, I don’t have an apartment, and I need a reason for adventure.”

Luu skates down Steiner Street in front of her Marina sublet // Photo: Kenny Redublo

Luu skates down Steiner Street in front of her Marina sublet // Photo: Kenny Redublo

An Educated Escape

Luu started her sublet obsession while she was in college at UC Santa Cruz. Between her junior and senior year, she didn’t want to be stuck at a job or in school. She just wanted to experience living in San Francisco. She subleased a room in a house on Scott and Fulton Street. Out the window was a view of City Hall, she was in walking distance to the parks of Lower Haight, and she fell in love with the city.

“Every chance I got, every winter break or summer break, I would come and sublet in San Francisco,” says Luu. “And that’s when I became a chronic subletter.”

When she finished college and moved out of Santa Cruz, subletting was already a part of her life and packing up and moving was commonplace.

The First Sublet

When she moved out of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment in March 2012, she asked her friend Scott to move in with her for the inaugural Sublet SF move. She dreamed of living with her friend and working on art projects together and Scott felt the same.

“We’re both dreamers,” says Luu.

The first sublet of the project was a one bedroom apartment in the Panhandle on Baker and Hayes Street. Luu’s place before the breakup was already in the Panhandle, the neighborhood that made her fall in love with the city. It’s her foundation for San Francisco.

After the Panhandle, she moved to the Marina.

When In Rome

One of Luu’s goals with Sublet SF is to absorb a neighborhood’s culture. Each neighborhood has its own type of people, landmarks, ways of life, and to Luu, it’s a way to find inspiration in the city she lives in.

“There’s studying abroad, right? Well, this is studying domestic,” says Luu.

When she moved to the Marina, a neighborhood of big houses, big boats, and big views, she ran with the culture of the neighborhood, literally.

Marina Green

Marina Green

“Everyone’s running [in the Marina]! Everyone is in running pants!” says Luu. “So I went home, put some on, and ran six miles in the rain. It was so epic.”

She made the goal of running 100 miles during her time in the Marina. Setting this goal one week into living in the neighborhood, she had three weeks to achieve this feat, in which she did, complete with a celebratory donut.

“I’m not a runner by any means,” says Luu.

“Exercise makes me a little sad.”

Urban Inspiration

According to Luu, people living in San Francisco have their “two blocks of comfort.” As she sits on Valencia, she knows this is her comfort zone.

“My life is here, but it gets monotonous and I lose inspiration,” says Luu.

In Chinatown, Luu found inspiration, and the flu.

She shared a bed with a friend and her friend’s cat for two months while having the flu. She might be allergic to cats now.

Maybe it was the neighborhood seen through a fever dream but Luu saw Chinatown as this different entity and hub for urban living.

Chinatown has a grittier, more New York like, visual with more urban commercial streets, grocery stores, and merchants, all with apartments stacked right on top.

“That’s living in Chinatown! Stacks on stacks!” says Luu.

She experienced different people, lifestyles, aesthetics all in one place since Chinatown borders the neighborhoods of North Beach, Russian Hill, and the Financial District.

“Being around so many lifestyles reminded me that I’m in a fantastic city with a lot of different people because it’s easy to get stuck in the same two blocks in the city,” says Luu.

“One of the main goals of this project is to have myself leave my ‘two blocks of comfort’ and see what other people’s ‘two blocks’ are like and hopefully inspire other people to go check out Chinatown and North Beach.”

Subletter’s Rules of the Road

Luu’s parameter for a new place is the monthly price has to be less than $800.

“That’s the goal,” says Luu.

According to the San Francisco Tenants Union, the annual allowable rent increase is 1.9% as of March 1, 2012 compared to last year’s 0.5%. Rental prices from show properties in Bayview cost more than SoMa. The rental landscape has changed.

Bernal Heights Park

Bernal Heights Park

“People say rent is expensive in San Francisco and it is. It’s super scary and I think about it all the time because I’m constantly moving,” says Luu.

“Everyone is afraid of leaving their rent controlled apartments, but there are still cheap rooms [out there] and my hope is that [they] will still exist in some way. Friends will pass it along to friends and friends of friends.”

As a chronic Craigslist subletter, Luu’s tip to find a room in San Francisco is to stand out among the hundreds applying.

“Sell yourself.”

Luu looks for rooms in houses since finding a one bedroom sublet is out of her budget. The sublet in the Marina was the only place to break the $800 rule, with the minimum rent of the neighborhood being at least $1200.

With each move, she is heading toward her ideal amount of possessions. She still has more stuff than she wants. One item includes a box of her journals ranging from the third grade. Paper things are hard to tear away from.

“The ideal is to have a backpack, a suitcase, a bag, my bike, and my skateboard,” says Luu.

“I would love to move on a MUNI!”

Barely Bernal

Luu’s current neighborhood is Bernal Heights. Her experience so far: being domestic.

She calls her room the “Hobbit room.” It’s an attic room with two camping sleeping pads and a comforter on top, decorated with Christmas lights, with some company from the house dog.

Being domestic for Luu in Bernal Heights includes buying groceries at the Farmer’s Market on the weekend, cooking at home, and going home at proper hours (before 2 A.M,). The lack of bars around the neighborhood help reduce her late nights.

Her Bernal room is also her first room by herself, which is a much needed break.

“I didn’t realize there was going to be some unexpected psychological consequences to this project. Displacement, no feeling of home or security… no privacy, which I thought I was fine with.”

Never Stay Stagnant

There are two neighborhoods left in the project: Tenderloin and North Beach. Though Luu set out to live in eight neighborhoods throughout the year, there’s no telling if she’ll stop there.

“There’s a part of me that could continue this, like go to Bayview or Laurel Heights, whatever that means, Ingleside, Glen Park. What are these neighborhoods? I have no idea!” says Luu, laughing.

“But who knows? Who knows how I’ll feel after I finish these last two neighborhoods?”

Luu’s home is Bernal Heights for now, but with this project, San Francisco is becoming her home more and more. She skates around the city, learning its literal nooks and crannies, and reminisces on the places she’s lived in. Bernal Heights is the “neighborhood where you can see all neighborhoods” and she sees the different chapters of her life from the hill.

“I have faith that by the last sublet, I will find the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ and maybe I’ll know what neighborhood I want to settle in,” says Luu.

“Maybe I’ll know who I am.”

The changes to the neighborhood she sees during this personal journey reminds her of what her ex-boyfriend’s teacher told him: “Life is all about having homes or creating homes, and then getting kicked out of them, repeatedly.”

“The universe will always kick you in the ass so you can grow,” says Luu. “Never stay stagnant.”


Scrapped Up



Melissa Tan works on a dress for her brand “With Love” in her victorian home in the Mission District on Wednesday April 3, 2013.


By Kayla McIntosh
Photos by Gabriella Gamboa

The name SCRAP says it all.

Tucked away in SF’s Bayview neighborhood, a junkyard/teacher’s donation center/starving artist’s paradise is waiting to be sifted through. Melissa Tan is completely at home. Carrying two frumpy shopping bags, she rushes past the metal gate and scurries up the mini-flight of stairs into her personal nirvana.

“It’s a good thing I’m not alone otherwise I could spend hours here,” she says nonchalantly.

Her cat-lined eyes are set on the fabric section placed dead center of the cluttered store.

Tan glides past the store’s “free” section, which is stuffed with retro CDs and tattered binders, and walks straight to the recycled fabrics. Most would be immediately overwhelmed. SCRAP is filled with thousands upon thousands of art-related knick knacks.

A plethora of bright and dull fabrics are rolled up and tucked away in dozens of shelves along the aisle. From brown leather to fuchsia jersey to neon lycra, myriad textures are present. Some textiles are new and shiny while others are pungent and dowdy.

Tan starts grabbing.

Dressed in all black, her half shaved red hair makes her stand out. She is rambunctious, humorous and a self-proclaimed hippie who adores designing sustainable clothing. She relentlessly picks up and puts down fabrics that she finds interesting, random or just plain ugly.

It’s a game of the senses.

She unrolls many of the fabrics and chuckles to herself when amused.

“Look! It’s elastic bands for guy’s underwear,” she says with a huge grin as she dangles dozens of the grey and black bands.

Barrels of worn leather are positioned in the middle of the cramped aisle. Grass green velvet is carefully spun around a metal contraption.

Tan sifts through the boxes on the other side of the aisle and finds a small bag of black fringe. She quickly shoves it in her bag. She may feel like using it for her next Burning Man costume.

SCRAP is a non-profit reusable art center but most importantly, it is where Tan purchases most of the fabrics for her recyclable clothing line, With Love. Her label consists of whimsical circle skirts in mesh, velour and jersey. She also has draped tees made of two separate tops. A standout piece is  her black mini skirt made of mesh and fringe. Perfect to wear as a swimsuit cover up.

Every fabric used was either salvaged from SCRAP or from an piece of clothing that was never going to be worn again.

“The most sustainable thing to do is to not buy anything new,” Tan proclaims. Her ideology is that sustainable fashion is only sustainable when in fact, no new material is being used.

The green movement in fashion has been around for decades. This movement refers to the notion of not using fabrics that have been sprayed with harsh pesticides and synthetic fertilizers for the sake of growing cotton. Repurposed and recycled fashion shows off a softer side to an industry notorious for consumerism and self-indulgence. Eco-conscious designers are popping up and creating successful names for themselves in the Bay Area community.

Designers like Tan are producing garments that are either from organic textiles or recycled materials. In pursuit of protecting the environment, designers are putting Mother Earth before the apparel.

Another brand following the eco-conscious trend is Clary Sage.

Environmental lover Patti Cozzato founded the line in 2008. Her store is located on the upscale Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights.

Out front, a small sign with the words “Clary Sage Organics” hangs above the door of the store.

Inside, the interior reflects the aesthetic of the brand. Repurposed pieces furnish the space. The countertops are weathered pieces of wood sanded down to give off a rustic vibe to an otherwise cold space. The concrete floors are polished with grey scraps floating throughout. The walls are covered in metal beams and reach high into the ceiling.


Melissa Tan sews a dress seam at her victorian house in the Mission District on Wednesday April 3, 2013.

“It’s all her vision,” Catherine Kwei, head of the Clary Sage stores, says about the modern interior design of the comfortably sized storefront. The “her” being Cazzato, who has manifested a yoga and lifestyle label featuring textiles like organic cotton and bamboo.

Clary Sage initially launched as a yoga brand that sold leggings and tanks but has since expanded to fashion pieces like tees, tunics and wraps. Like the label, With Love, designers of this eco-friendly brand use repurposed materials as well.

Their most famous duds include a pair of knee-hitting yoga pants that come in both organic cotton and recycled water bottle fabric. That’s right. Water bottles can also be used to create chic workout gear.

Designed, manufactured and sold exclusively in San Francisco, Clary Sage has been a staple in the community for the past five years.

Their main clients are eco-conscious shoppers and small business supporters.

Kwei wants consumers to know that living an organic life does not stop at what you put into your body but what you put on the outside as well.

To her, Clary Sage centers on “teaching a lifestyle about living well [and] being well, including what you wear.”

Protecting the environment is the focus of all designers that aim to create eco-friendly articles of clothing.

It’s not just local designers either. Back in 1988, the out-of-the-box, Parisian based Maison Martin Margiela sent models down the runway in a gown constructed of repurposed leather from a butcher’s apron. More recently, fashion model Elettra Wiedemann wore a Prabal Gurung dress made of recyclable materials to the annual fashion prom known as the Metropolitan Gala held in New York City in 2011.

People in the industry have begun to embrace the concepts of sustainable wear. Labels are beginning to let it be known that organic garments don’t have to be dowdy.

The brand, Mina+Olya for example.

Designers and founders, Mina Yazdi and Olya Dzilikhova, teamed up and eventually founded their luxury label in 2011. For the past few years, they produced three collections for the fall and spring seasons.

Some of their favorite fabrics include sustainable wools, organic cottons, silk charmeuse, and hemp.

Their design aesthetics are classic and crisp. Their fall 2013 collection consists of conservatively tailored wool dresses and structured outerwear in muted palettes of grey, camel and plum.

Their collection is sold exclusively at the boutique Curve in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

Myriad fashion brands have sprouted up throughout the years yet most are difficult to find. Sites like Eco Fashion World serve as guides to all things related to style and sustainability.

Founder and nature enthusiast, Magaly Fuentes-Sagan, finds herself now juggling her newborn and her site.

“The issue of sustainability as a whole is important to me,” Fuentes-Sagan expresses.

Her love for the outdoors, her personal health and animals catapulted her and three others to create the informative site. A variety of designer brands, articles and guides are available to eco-friendly followers.

After graduating from San Francisco’s Art Institute, Fuentes-Sagan immersed herself in the fashion industry for several years until she burnt herself out. Globe trotting was her next move and it was then she discovered the harsh realities of textile manufacturing.

“While traveling, I realized that I did not want to leave the fashion industry but wanted to travel a different road within it,” she explains.


Melissa Tan searches through aisles of recycled fabrics at Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art Parts (SCRAP) on Wednesday April 3, 2013.

She eventually asked herself what about the fashion industry troubled her so much and came to a solid conclusion.

“The answer came easily and had a lot to do with overconsumption and any abuse to workers and the environment,” she admits.

Back in the Mission, Tan is working away at an intricate fabric on her ironing board. Using fabric wax, she precisely marks up the areas she wants to chop off.

After a recently taking a belly dancing class, Tan’s been playing Turkish music while she sews to keep herself entertained. She stands still for a few seconds, peering at the ornate material and deciding on which steps to take next.

“I got this fabric for free off of Craigslist,” she says gleefully. Some “crazy lady” posted that she needed some materials to be taken off her hands and Tan just couldn’t resist.

Tan’s traditional home was transformed into her in-house studio after she was booted out by her prior landlords.

“They raised the prices so more startup companies could start coming in,” Tan sighs.

All around her home is a touch of Tan’s creativity. On her mannequin rests a black velvet and gold cotton gown. Half the bustier is velvet. If Vivienne Westwood created a dress for a gypsy ball, this would be it.

“I like to look at it and come up with ideas,” she says of her creative process.

In the back of her kitchen rests all of her other recycled fabrics. Some from the Garment District in Los Angeles but the bulk from SCRAP. Three tall black shelves are stacked with numerous textiles. Zippers and buttons are tucked away in boxes for Tan to rifle through if needed.

Tan stands and peers at her wall of reusable textiles and tries to decide her next move.

No matter which direction she chooses, the result will be a stylish garb with a repurposed edge.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The original article incorrectly identified the surname of Eco Fashion World’s owner. Her name is Fuentes-Sagan, not Fuentes-Saga.

Unique Hotels in San Francisco



Hotel Kabuki


By Hassina Obaidy
Photos by Erica Marquez and Andy Sweet

Location, cleanliness, and price are usually the top three things guests think about when booking a hotel room. But what about the uniqueness, or the historic, elegant touch that most of these hotels embody? We’ve compiled the top five unique hotels that make guests feel at home, feel like they’re a star, or just feel like they’re living in an art gallery. Literally.

From Japantown to the shopping district of San Francisco, five boutique hotels stand with distinct themes differentiating themselves from others. Their history, ambiance, and services give guests a whole new experience in visiting the city.


Hotel Des Arts
447 Bush St San Francisco, CA 94108

Guests are taken up five floors of this art gallery incorporated hotel on Bush street near Chinatown’s gate. In each room, the walls are painted by local artists, and throughout every hallway, different kinds of artwork hang and are changed out every two to three months. From black and white photography to abstract paintings, the majority of the artwork displayed is for sale and open for the public as well.

In 2002, the building was purchased as The Good Luck hotel then became Hotel Des Arts in 2004 when the previous owner and art curator, John Doffing decided to bring in emerging artists from around the world to paint each room differently, says Samantha Felix, General Manager of Hotel Des Arts. During this time, some of the artists such as David Choe were just starting to take off and Doffing helped select people who have since become very popular, but the rooms have not been repainted since. The hotel works with an art curator who helps select the artwork and bring in more artists from around the Bay Area.

Room rates range from $79 to $299 per night, varying based on dates. Depending on the season and availability, Hotel Des Arts offers special packages and discounts like their Facebook fan page discount of 15 percent off, or AAA discount of 10 percent off.

“We not only offer a comfortable stay, we offer you an experience,” says Felix. “We want our guests to have the experience of sleeping in a gallery and to live the art. You’re in a room and you’re inside the painting.”


Hotel Bijou
111 Mason St San Francisco, CA 94102

Travel back in time to classic Hollywood in San Francisco’s Hotel Bijou. Portraits of old Hollywood actors, such as Marilyn Monroe, along with pictures of old-school movie theaters in San Francisco are displayed in the hallways of this classic cinema-themed hotel. Right across the reception desk and waiting area is a built-in theater room- Le Petit Theater. With its vintage themed decor and deep purple velvet seating for eight, the classic theater offers free movies for their guests every night at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and complimentary popcorn and soda are provided. Movies that were filmed in San Francisco such as The Pursuit of Happiness, The Joy Luck Club, Escape from Alcatraz, and more are played in Le Petit Theater.

Hotel Bijou opened in 1998, but has had new ownership since 2008. The previous owner generated this theme to celebrate old world San Francisco and classic cinema. All sixty-five rooms are named after a movie that was filmed in Northern California. For example, room 202 is named The Birds and includes a framed still of the original movie with general information about the film. Although the rooms may not be themed, they are adorned with jewel-toned bedding and spacious area.

Le Petit Theater in Hotel Bijou

Le Petit Theater in Hotel Bijou

Rates range from $89-$259, including special offers such as shopping packages, an Alcatraz package in the summer, and a San Francisco pass package. Inspired by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hotel Bijou offers Breakfast at Bijou’s every morning. Considering that there are only sixty-five rooms at this hotel, it’s named Hotel Bijou because of its small aspect.

Blanca Zelidon, General Manager of Hotel Bijou. says that the demographic is a little bit on the older side, but gets some young visitors as well. Hotel Bijou is a very quaint and pleasant hotel to stay at with not a lot of roughness.

“The Bijou just creates a docile environment here where our guests feel safe,” she says.


The Mosser Hotel
54 4th St San Francisco, CA 94103

Located in the shopping center on Market and Fourth street and just a block away from Union Square and The Moscone Convention Center, The Mosser Hotel has been standing since 1913. Original marble flooring, modern light fixtures, detailed carved ceiling, and original woodwork in the lobby helps bring out the “hip-historic” element that the hotel embodies.

“We are a hip historic,” says Charleen Murphy, director of sales and marketing. “We cater to a fun, hip clientele, but we keep our historical roots and backbone.”

Of the 166 rooms, all of which are non-smoking, thirty-two of these rooms (five on each of the eight floors) have a shared bathroom, but are just a few short steps away from the room. A vanity sink and mirror are included in the European style rooms. Murphy says shared bathrooms were considered fashionable and it’s the way things were built in the early 1900s. The Mosser Hotel was originally opened as The Keystone Hotel, a premier hotel of its time, then was purchased in 1981 by Charles W. Mosser who renamed it to its current name after a multi-million dollar renovation in 2003 and continued its soft and hard renovations in 2001, 2005, and 2012.

The lobby at The Mosser Hotel

The lobby at The Mosser Hotel

Room rates range from $69 to $249 per night, with an average rate of $145 for private baths and $79 for shared baths. Annabelle’s Bar and Bistro, which is owned by The Mosser, is connected to the lobby and provides room service to their guests when asked for. After taking charge of the hotel, Mosser, a playwright and songwriter, built an on-site state of the art music studio, which has sponsored festivals such as Noise Pop and Treasure Island Music Festival, and works with many indie bands. The Mosser is the only boutique and three star hotel in a five star area.

“It is so cute, if it had cheeks I could pinch them,” says Murphy. “It is very unique because it is not a cookie cutter hotel. If you’re coming here, you’re looking for something different, and we are a family owned property.”

The hotel will be celebrating its 100th birthday kicking off in May with an upcoming event in July as the celebrations continue throughout the year.


Hotel Vertigo
940 Sutter St San Francisco, CA 94109

Hotel Vertigo is one of those buildings that definitely shouldn’t judged by its location. From the looks of the exterior, there is an instant doubt that this hotel could possibly add sophistication to its interior. However, it’s beautifully designed to its modern sophistication, adding a “hitchcockian design,” says Nick Dalisay, director of sales and marketing. Simple yet opulent, the clean white marble flooring, sheer orange curtains, porcelain white animal statues, and white and orange contemporary furniture create an elegant ambiance for its guests the moment they enter. Behind the receptionist desk, a flat screen television is repeatedly playing the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, Vertigo.

The lobby at Hotel Vertigo

The lobby at Hotel Vertigo

First opened as the York Hotel in the 1920s, it eventually transformed to Hotel Vertigo in 2009. The exterior of the building was shot in the film when “Judy walks down Sutter street and Scotty follows her and she enters the building,” says Dalisay. “Then she is seen across the street by Scott from her window.” Her room number was 501, which is now room 401 in the hotel.

There are one-hundred-two guest rooms in this ten floor mysterious hotel with an orange and cream theme in every room “to give it a bit of chic type of feel without getting too gotti,” says Dalisay. Room rates range from $129-$299 with a complimentary morning coffee and tea in the lobby and wine hour from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday. The hotel will also be opening a restaurant soon.

Hotel Kabuki in Japantown

Hotel Kabuki in Japantown

Hotel Kabuki
1625 Post St San Francisco, CA 94115

Located in the heart of Japantown, Hotel Kabuki offers an elegant Japanese style touch to its decor. A boutique hotel, its spacious rooms and lobby catches the eyes of guests for a comfortable and peaceful stay. Looking out the large window from the receptionist desk, guests will find a beautiful, serene green garden and a Koi pond where they can take a walk and relax. The guestrooms are designed with sophistication and elegance with strong Japanese influence and make guests feel at home. Some rooms have private balconies looking out to the city and a Japanese style deep soaking tub as well as a sauna. Each room is painted with Japanese artwork on the walls and an exterior window with paper Shoji screens. With two hundred and eighteen rooms, and sixteen floors, Hotel Kabuki has various rooms that fit guests’ needs, including a traditional Japanese suite with a low-level futon style bed and private gardens.

Adjacent to the lobby, the O Izakaya Lounge offers Japanese style plates and cocktails. For a traditional and exotic spa, guests are welcome to Kabuki Springs and Spa, a Japanese influenced bathing facility. Although the spa is a separate business from the hotel, they are still managed by the same corporation. Rates range from $89 to $550 depending on the season and offers packages that include complimentary parking and complimentary breakfast.

The Koi Pond and garden at Hotel Kabuki

The Koi Pond and garden at Hotel Kabuki

The main building opened in 1968 then the second building opened in 1973 along with the annex to the meeting space. Japantown was in definite need for a full service hotel and it’s the only full service hotel west of Van Ness and the only Japanese hotel in San Francisco, says Ben Lawson, assistant general manager.

“It is a very serene, tranquil property,” he says. “The music that we play in public spaces is very strings oriented-asian themed, very peaceful. Often times during a slow day you can look through the lobby and two or three people are sleeping on the lobby chairs.”

Best Hangover Breakfasts


By Ben Pack
Photos by Frank Leal

You wake up, and through your squinting eyes you remember that it’s Sunday. You try to piece together last night, but somewhere between that second shot of Jager and the AMF you lose it. That doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters now is recovery. Most of society is already up and functioning, so you gather your friends and decide it’s time to go. Where to, you ask? Well we’ve got you covered. We have assembled five of the best hangover breakfasts for you to get set on your day. From greasy, to soupy, to meaty; we’ve got the bases covered. Now hurry, that essay due tomorrow isn’t going to write itself.


HRD Coffee Shop is caffenating the SOMA district with freshly brewed coffee and feeding hungry San Franciscans with oddities as their entrees such as the spicy kimchee burrito or BBQ pork scrambled eggs. HRD Coffee shop is located on 3rd street and Bryant. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

HRD Coffee Shop is caffenating the SOMA district with freshly brewed coffee and feeding hungry San Franciscans with oddities as their entrees such as the spicy kimchee burrito or BBQ pork scrambled eggs. HRD Coffee shop is located on 3rd street and Bryant. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

HRD Coffee Shop
521 3rd St

Go here if hungover on: Soju
Suggested Item: Korean Breakfast Cheeseburger $6.50

Let’s be frank. When looking to crush a hangover, you don’t need the classiest establishment around. You just need good food, and HRD has got you covered there. HRD offers both American and Korean options when it comes to getting your morning right. The restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, but don’t let that hack Guy Fieri influence you, it’s actually a great place to eat.

The bright white walls in the front may be a little harsh on your headache, but after you pass through the door you’re immediately hit with the smell of grilled pork products and can move into the much warmer dining space in the back.

The item to get is definitely the Korean Cheeseburger. It’s a delicious burger topped with the traditional mayo, lettuce, and tomato; but also with hash browns, spicy pork, bacon, and a fried egg. These burgers are stacked high and may be a mess to eat, but they will easily crush any residual aches and pains caused by a late night out. And for only $6.50 they’re more than worth it.

Another option worth exploring is the Korean breakfast burrito. A burrito with two scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, spicy pork or chicken, and kimchi all for under $6.

Breakfast is served until 10:30, so if you’re a late riser after drinking it will be a rush to get there in time but it will be oh so worth it.


The Shanghai House is the outer Richmonds Chinese food spot. Located on Balboa Street and 28th Avenue, The Shanghai House is offering crowd favorite dumplings and potstickers for San Franciscans to explore. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

The Shanghai House is the outer Richmonds Chinese food spot. Located on Balboa Street and 28th Avenue, The Shanghai House is offering crowd favorite dumplings and potstickers for San Franciscans to explore. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Shanghai House
4052 Balboa

Go here if hungover on: Rice Wine
Suggested Item: Steamed Pork Dumplings 10 for $4.95

If greasy and fatty isn’t your jam when it comes to a hangover cure, why not try Shanghai House. It’s small, fast, and crowded. There’s usually a line out the door, and if you’re whole party isn’t there the efficient (read: fast but really rude) wait staff won’t even acknowledge your existence, so come in one car. That being said once you get in and seat yourselves around the table you will be transported to a world of pure imagination. And dumplings, lots and lots of dumplings.

Shanghai House offers many Americanized Chinese dishes, but you are better off just bypassing all of that and going straight for the dumplings. They only offer pork and vegetarian options for dumplings, but the quality of them makes it easy to polish off ten (or more) by yourself, and it’s worth it at under $5. Another choice, if you’re not in the mood for delicious soup-filled satchels of divinity, is the vegetarian goose, which is actually crispy bean curd stuffed with mushrooms for just over $4.


The Boulevard Cafe is the defining line of San Francisco Estalbishments, Sitting conveniently on John Daly Blvd in Daly City. Boulevard is creating delectible traditionally American food, with excellent service and a full bar.

The Boulevard Cafe is the defining line of San Francisco Estalbishments, Sitting conveniently on John Daly Blvd in Daly City. Boulevard is creating delectible traditionally American food, with excellent service and a full bar.


Boulevard Café
2 Poncetta Drive (Daly City)

Go here if hungover on: Vodka Redbull
Suggested Item: “The Hangover” $10.50

While just out of the San Francisco City Limits, it’s important to offer at least one choice to our commuting alcoholics, and if you’re coming from Daly City, Boulevard Café is where you want to be. Formerly the Red Roof Café, offers typical diner food at reasonable prices. But you don’t care about that. You want a big plate of greasy, messy food so you can forget about last night when you sang along with Rihanna in the middle of the club. Whatever dude, don’t worry about it, that was awesome. Those girls totally loved it.

If you find your way in this reputable establishment, be sure to go with the appropriately titled “Hangover” plate. Hash browns topped with chili, two eggs, cheese, green onions, jalapenos, tomatoes salsa, and toast. This massive plate costs a mere $10.50, and will not only cure your liquor hangover, it will also put you in a new, arguably less painful food hangover. If you want something a little more traditional you can’t go wrong with their ham and cheese omelette. But get the Hangover, man. It’s called the Hangover!


Pork Store Cafe sits off of Haight and Masonic and offers the busy Haight crowd with their version of breakfast offering every itteration of bacon and eggs that can be possible. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Pork Store Cafe sits off of Haight and Masonic and offers the busy Haight crowd with their version of breakfast offering every itteration of bacon and eggs that can be possible. Photo on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Pork Store Café
1451 Haight Street

Go here if hungover on: Microbrews
Suggested Item: Pork Store Special $9.50

When you wake up regretting having one too many, the only cure is meat. Satisfy this craving by paying a visit to the Pork Store Cafe, which specializes in, you guessed it, pork. Whether it be chopped, cutlet-ed, or baconed; Pork Store offers many delicious breakfast options when it comes to pigging out… on pig.

The atmosphere is very homely. You feel like you’re on a country farm with mom in the kitchen, cooking you up something special. Then you look outside and see all the hipster homeless and remember you’re in the Haight.

If you want to shed your mortal coil and transcend into a pork-fuled Nirvana, the Pork Store Special is for you. The plate is two of their signature pork chops, coupled with two eggs, hash browns, and a biscuit or toast. Another choice dish is the chicken fried steak. And if you’re a vegetarian, I’m sure you could get toast or something. But go home, you’re ruining everyone’s fun.


Sea Breeze Cafe is nestled in the outer sunset, off of Judah and 45th street. Offering a blend of classic American comfort foods with their own blend of subtle fusions from their chipotle eggs benedict al the way to dinner plates including their own rendition of Mamas meatloaf.

Sea Breeze Cafe is nestled in the outer sunset, off of Judah and 45th street. Offering a blend of classic American comfort foods with their own blend of subtle fusions from their chipotle eggs benedict al the way to dinner plates including their own rendition of Mamas meatloaf.

Sea Breeze Café
3940 Judah St

Go here if hungover on: Rum
Suggested Item: Chipotle Benedict $9.95

Why not wash away your nausea after a night full of pillaging with the salty sting of the sea. Located blocks from the beach, the Sea Breeze Cafe offers an extensive menu of breakfast options, as well as lunch and dinner. But you’re not there for that. You’re there because you need to get something in you to soak up last night’s sorrows.

The “house favorite” Chipotle Benedict will also be your new favorite. The special is the pretty straightforward: poached eggs and canadian bacon on an english muffin coated in a chipotle sauce. Let the spice wash away the residual taste of alcohol as you enjoy this spin on a traditional breakfast. Since you’re right there anyway, Sea Breeze offers plenty of seafood options, including a salmon fillet over eggs, if you want to be healthy or whatever.

Food Tours


By Vanessa Serpas
Photos by Gabriella Gamboa

Gourmet Walks chocolate tour guide Nicole Lewis (middle) has tourists try fine chocolates in front of the Ferry Plaza on Friday April 19, 2013. Gourmet Chocolate Tour is an artisanal tasting trip from the San Francisco Waterfront to Union Square

Gourmet Walks chocolate tour guide Nicole Lewis (middle) has tourists try fine chocolates in front of the Ferry Plaza on Friday April 19, 2013. Gourmet Chocolate Tour is an artisanal tasting trip from the San Francisco Waterfront to Union Square

By Vanessa Serpas
Photos by Gabriella Gamboa

Whether you are a local or new to San Francisco, one item you must cross off your “things to
do in SF” list is a food tour. With San Francisco’s eclectic neighborhoods and diverse culture,
there are great restaurants all throughout the city that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
And the great part about the food tours is that you can leave all the details to your tour guide.

All you have to do is purchase your ticket and show up to taste some great dishes at some of
the best locations in the Bay Area. Below are some great options for you to try.

Grub Crawl
780 Potrero Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110 / $40 – $50 per person

Baseball season is here and the Giants are back at it, working on getting another
championship win! After all the magic that has happened at AT&T Park, what fan
wouldn’t want a private tour of the stadium? Well you’re in luck! You can join Grub Crawl’s Grubbin’ like a Giant walking tour.

This unique tour stops at three different restaurants – Ironside, Pedro’s Cantina, and
Public House, where you are presented with the best dishes from each eatery. And
don’t worry you don’t get teased with just a taste of the best dishes, you get to dig
into the whole thing, but make sure to pace yourself because you are guaranteed to be
stuffed at the end. Once you’ve stuffed yourself you’ll grab your
roadie (beer) and head to AT&T Park for an exclusive tour of one of the most beautiful
stadiums in baseball. Can’t think of a better way to end a night of great food and drinks
with friends.

Gourmet Walks chocolate participants try fine chocolates at the Buyer's Best Friend kiosk in the Ferry Building on Friday April 19, 2013. Gourmet Chocolate Tour is an artisanal tasting trip from the San Francisco Waterfront to Union Square.

Gourmet Walks chocolate participants try fine chocolates at the Buyer’s Best Friend kiosk in the Ferry Building on Friday April 19, 2013. Gourmet Chocolate Tour is an artisanal tasting trip from the San Francisco Waterfront to Union Square.

Gourmet Walks
1 Ferry Plaza, SF, CA / (415) 312 – 1119 / $52 – $75 per person

Everybody loves chocolate. So why not take a Gourmet Chocolate Tour, or even better,
an ULTRA Chocolate Tour. I know what you’re thinking, how can anything possibly be better than a gourmet chocolate tour? You can sip on wine while you’re at it! The ULTRA tour lets you relish in savory chocolate delights at 7 different locations and pairs it with the perfect wine to
take the taste from delicious to sensational. The very knowledgeable tour guide fills
you in on the history of chocolate and shows you the best way to examine and taste
your treat. And for any San Francisco newbie, some fun
history of the city is added as well. Of course, if chocolate isn’t your thing, Gourmet
Walks offers three other great food tours you can enjoy.

Local Tastes of the City Tours
588 Sutter Street, SF, CA / (415) 665 – 0480 / $59 per person

Delve into the North Beach and Chinatown neighborhoods with a tour of the local
businesses offering tasty morsels to excite your palate. Local Tastes offers the
flexibility of touring day or night and even same-day bookings. If you’re thinking of
doing your tour in the day then you’ll be heading to North Beach to try everything
from baked goods, savory chocolates to specialty meats and olive oils. Night tours head
into Chinatown to visit local tea shops and sample some of the tastiest dim sum in the
neighborhood. Not only do you get to sample the goods from local shops, but you also
get to watch how they are made and ask questions of the talented chefs and bakers. As
you stroll through the neighborhood, your guide will also fill you in on the fascinating
history of North Beach and Chinatown. Come alone, come with friends, or book a
private tour for a group.

Nerdy San Francisco


PJ Reyes blocks his partners light saber at a light saber choreography class held by the Golden Gate Knights at Studio Gracia in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2013.

PJ Reyes blocks his partners light saber at a light saber choreography class held by the Golden Gate Knights at Studio Gracia in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2013.


By Molly Sanchez
Photos by Virginia Tieman

San Francisco is a city full of the weird and the wonderful. It’s the city of Lucas Films; the future home of The United Federation of Planets, and stomping grounds to nerds and geeks of all shapes, sizes, and degrees of virginity. As a connoisseur of all things nerdy, I feel it is my duty to bestow upon you the top 5 favorite nerd sites in the city.

Friday Night Magic at Two Cat’s comics in West Portal

Players of the game Magic: The Gathering compete against one another in swiss pairings at Two Cats Comic Book Store in West Portal on Feb. 22, 2013.

Players of the game Magic: The Gathering compete against one another in swiss pairings at Two Cats Comic Book Store in West Portal on Feb. 22, 2013.

Monday nights (5-9 p.m.) and Friday nights (5:30-9:30p.m.) are magical at Two Cat’s comics. Austin Meshel Haun, cinema major at SF state and comic store employee, oversees the store’s weekly free Magic the Gathering card games. “We get on average about 10 people Mondays, 16 on Friday and we hit capacity at 32 people for our weekend events.” Meshel-Haun says that the players range in age from the very young to the very old. Though there are many strategies for game play and deck building, Meshel-Haun says that there is one thing every game has in common,“I inform people that fun is mandatory!”

Nightlife at the Academy Thursday nights at the Academy of Science

Booze, music, and science, no this isn’t a flashback of your weird chem teacher from 10th grade, it’s a taste of what’s in store at Nightlife at the Academy. Every Thursday night from 6-10 p.m. the California Academy of Sciences hosts a party featuring a DJ or a live band. Partygoers can sip trendy cocktails in front of the museums aquatic displays or listen to lectures such as “A Brief Science of Sex and Culture” or enjoy a show in the planetarium while munching on sustainable cuisine. Admission is $10 for member and $12 for general admission.

Nerd Nite SF

For Lucy Laird, co-boss of Nerd Nite SF, nerd is the verb. It’s “not who someone is but how someone chooses to spend his or her time, i.e., nerding out.” And what a great way to spend time! Laird describes Nerd Nite, which meets at the Rickshaw, shop every 3rd Wednesday of the month , as“discovery channel, with beer!” The group meets for host’s lectures, games, and field trips and each meetup costs an average of $8. “We emphasize humor, as bawdy and nerdy as possible,” says Laird, adding “its way easier to get up in front of hundreds of people with a beer in your hand and a slide presentation as full of hard data as LOLcats!” The lectures range from grammar to genealogy and from physics to fungi and as always the liquor and laughter flow freely. Nerd Nite is a great way to grow some new brain cells and kill the old.

Chandra Gilmore jumps over her partners light saber at a light saber choreography class held by the Golden Gate Knights at Studio Gracia in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2013.

Chandra Gilmore jumps over her partners light saber at a light saber choreography class held by the Golden Gate Knights at Studio Gracia in San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2013.

The Golden Gate Knights

Playing with light sabers is not just for jedis anymore, or for teenage Michael Cera in the Bluth’s garage thanks to the Golden Gate Knights. Started by longtime Star Wars fan, Alain Bloch ,and stage combat choreographer, Matthew Carauddo, the Golden Gate Knights is a group that meets every Sunday to teach the art of light saber combat to geeks and nerds of all stripes. Bloch says the class involves “stretches, calisthenics and lots of warm-ups” and is “very athletic and also very geeky.” Bloch says that not everyone who takes the class is a hardcore Star Wars fan. “ Our class makes a great date with a partner,” he adds. Classes are every Sunday from 12-3 p.m. at Studio Garcia on Heron street and cost only $10. I love Golden Gate Knights. They know.

The Podcast that shall not be named

Comedians, dragons, and beer oh my! These are the elements of improv guru; Max McCal’s latest brainchild is a podcast about comics playing Dungeons and Dragons and other table top games. Along with Justin Gomes, McCal started the podcast this January,” We thought putting some of the funniest people in a room together and asking them to just portray strange characters in fantastic worlds would be an awesome way to entertain,” McCal says. “ I think it mirrors the experience most people have with the game to not take it 100% seriously all the time.” Local comedians bring their own senses of humor to the game, which is made apparent by the character traits, one is a lesbian elf played by a bearded straight guy, the constant star wars jokes, and the occasional mid-melee serenades. The podcast can be found on

San Francisco Welcomes Back Allen Ginsberg


By Nicole Ellis

Only in San Francisco can Vermeer, Allen Ginsberg, and ancient terracotta soldiers be displayed within five miles of one another. The city is a cosmopolis. A fusion of everything from cultures to taste, and it’s the perfect place for these five traveling exhibits to stop and display their distinct and diverse histories.



Asian Art Museum
China’s Terracotta Warriors
Now- May 27
Tickets: $20/adults and $16/student with I.D*
200 Larkin St., San Francisco

The terracotta warriors were built under the order of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang. The emperor wanted an army equipped and ready to protect him in death. He created a tomb decorated with over seven thousand life-size figures and more than 10,000 weapons. Shihuang protected himself in the afterlife when he buried himself with the army in 210-209 BC. The Asian Art Museum has ten different pieces on display.


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de Young- Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Now- June 2
Tickets: $26/adults and $22/student with I.D.*
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., San Francisco

This is the first stop in America for the famous painting by Johannes Vermeer. The famous portrait is a piece of a traveling exhibit of Dutch paintings from the Mauritshuis. The exhibit will feature thirty-five paintings from the 17th century. Vermeer’s famous oil painting is sometimes referred to as the Dutch Mona Lisa. Completed in 1665, the Girl with a Pearl Earring has lived on to be adapted into a book and movie.



San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
The Logan Collection
Now- June 2
Tickets: $18/adults and $11/students with I.D*
151 Third St., San Francisco

The Logan Collection exhibits nearly forty transformative pieces of art from the 1960s through the 1990s. The collection highlights artwork by renowned artists like Chuck Close, Philip Guston, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition celebrates the 15th anniversary of collectors Vicki and Kent Logan, who changed SFMOMA’s vision.



Cartoon Art Museum
Chuck Jones
Now- May 5
Tickets: $7/adults and $5/students with I.D.*
655 Mission St., San Francisco

The CAM is celebrating renowned animation director and creator, Chuck Jones. The Chuck Jones: Drawing on Imagination: 100 years of an Animated Artist exhibit will showcase 100 pieces of art from the 1930s through the 1990s. Jones is the recipient of three animation Oscars and an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar for creating classic cartoons and characters. Jones worked on classic films like How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Tom and Jerry, The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie.



Contemporary Jewish Museum
Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
May 23- September 8
Tickets: $12/adults and $10/students with I.D.*
736 Mission St., San Francisco

The Beat Memories exhibit will display over 80 photos taken by legendary poet, Allen Ginsberg. As one of the leaders of the Beat Generation, Ginsberg captured photos of famous friends like William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac. The photos represent the simplicity of the everyday life. Looking back at the photos he captured decades before, Ginsberg wrote lyrical captions underneath the images, providing viewers with essential information about the photo.

*First Tuesday of every month is free, but special exhibit fees still apply

First Sunday of every month is free for the Asian Art Museum

Diving Deep: Rhys’s Guide to the Best Dive Bars in SF

By xpressmagazine

By Rhys Alvarado

Li Po Cocktail Lounge

Li Po Cocktail Lounge

Li Po Cocktail Lounge
916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 982-0072

Bathroom-o-meter: 1.5
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

Summer Place

Summer Place Cocktail Lounge
801 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 441-2252

Bathroom-o-meter: 1
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.



The Saloon

The Saloon
1232 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 989-7666

Bathroom-o-meter: 2.5
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.


Broken Record

Broken Record

Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 963-1713

Bathroom-o-meter: 1
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
(415) 552-5525

Bathroom-o-meter: 4
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
(415) 831-8838

Bathroom-o-meter: 3.5

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.


Portal's Tavern

Portal’s Tavern

Portals Tavern
179 W. Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
(415) 731-1208

Bathroom-o-meter: 1

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.

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