Posts Tagged ‘erika maldonado’

Showman Matthew Bouvier performs one of his many sideshow acts, sword-swallowing, at his Oakland studio.

Sideshow Performer on the Main Stage

By xpressmagazine

Showman Matthew Bouvier performs one of his many sideshow acts, sword-swallowing, at his Oakland studio.

Written by Erika Maldonado
Photos by Nelson Estrada

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

Some of the women watch, with arms crossed and blank expressions while most of the men loudly cheer and raise their beers. Burlesque dancing, once entertainment of the past, is experiencing a revival in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.  Dixie DeLish, a blonde Marilyn Monroe-esque, five-year veteran and her new partner Molotov offer a fresh act in between the solo burlesque dances with an ode to classic Americana.

Molotov, who has been working in sideshow acts since 2000, lays on a bed of nails for their second act. He has been teaching DeLish the ropes to mesh their individual acts into more of a partnership.  Trick rope, bull whips, knife-throwing, sword-swallowing and fire-breathing are all acts Molotov performs throughout the Bay Area.

Soul Singers

By xpressmagazine

The 90-member SF State Gospel choir rehearses before the end of semester concert at the Herbst Theatre. Photo by Mihail Matikov

Written by Erika Maldonado
Photos by Nelson Estrada & Mihail Matikov

What draws ninety students from different cultures, majors, religious backgrounds and sexual orientations to a stuffy classroom at San Francisco State University every Monday night?  Some say it’s the safe, familial atmosphere.  Others enjoy the idea of being a part of something greater than them.  To others still, these meetings are a spiritual experience.

The SF State Gospel Choir, held in Room 146 of the Creative Arts Building, a one-unit course offered every regular semester, is more than just a class.

“It’s about singing from the heart with a strong emphasis on emotion,” says alto and veteran member Mariam Saaed.  “Singing helps heal ourselves and others and sends a message of love, peace and forgiveness.”

Her involvement in the choir for the past five years helps her deal with depression and anger, helps her become more responsible and has helped establish some lasting friendships.


Bare in the Bay Area

By xpressmagazine


Rich and Julie Pasco lie on their lawn chairs in their backyard of their San Jose home. The bi-coastal couple split their time between the Bay Area where Rich is the director of the Bay Area Naturalists and a nudist community near Tampa, Fla. Photo by Gil Riego Jr.

Written by Erika Maldonado


A luminous Florida sun reflects off of the lake at the Caliente Resort on a Saturday morning in April.  Rich Pasco stands next to his groomsmen, clad in matching bow ties as his wife to be, Julianne, walks barefoot down the aisle.  Draped in a veil crowned with a floral wreath, Julianne is the only person in his world.

Her three bridesmaids stand with plastered smiles as they hold their pink bouquets, floral wreaths atop their brows.  The duo’s closest friends come together in Land O’ Lakes, Florida for the clothing optional ceremony.  The couple met three years earlier at a nude resort in Los Gatos.

“I had been swimming in the pool and there was one open lounge chair right next to Julie,” says Rich. “We got to talking and she brought up her disabled niece.  There was such compassion and love in her heart and this sparkle in her eye that she got from talking about her.  I knew I needed someone like that in my life.”

The wedding invitations explained that it was fitting to pledge the couple’s union before the community that supported the growth of their love.

“When my mom got the invitation, she wrote me a five-word e-mail saying ‘I was sick.  Sick.  Sick,’” says Julie.

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