Posts Tagged ‘Melissa Burman’

Quinn Corey: Found Objects to Pop Culture Action Figures

By xpressmagazine

Words & Photos: Melissa Burman

Like any young boy who grew up watching television, toy advertisements made a big impact on Quinn Corey. Corey moved to San Francisco from the East Coast with his girlfriend, both artists now live in the Sunset district. Corey builds action figures using found object and used children’s toys. He finds most of his materials at SCRAP, a nonprofit donation based creative reuse center located in San Francisco’s Bayview district. SCRAP offers an ever changing selection of artist materials from glitter and toys to paper goods and fabric.

Corey uses his garage at home as his workshop where he mix and matches old toy parts and scraps of fabric to create his own action figures. Each character, like real toys on the market, has a complete dramatic back story be it villain or superhero. One action figure currently in Corey’s workshop is a buff ecstasy raver, originally a wrestler figurine, sporting blue leggings, yellow boots, neon shorts (hand sewn by Corey) and a child’s bracelet as a belt. The raver wears a blue crystal pointed hat and holds a water bottle in his jewel cuffed hand. Clearly Corey’s toy creations are pop culture commentary that take an aspect of modern life he finds funny and packages it in a playful art piece.

Once an action figure is complete, Corey sets his toy sculpture up in front of a backdrop that suits it’s story and takes promo photos mimicking those of exaggerated children’s toy commercials of the 1980′s and 1990′s.

Corey recalls that he was inspired as a child by the toy cabinet in Pee-wee’s Playhouse that held all the odd franken-toys that would come alive. He hopes to be able to recreate Pee-wee Herman’s toy cabinet someday.



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Not Playing Dress-Up


Lindsey Brophy and Sean Lee display their hand-made cosplay outfits in thier forest hill home in San Francisco. The outfits made to look like outfits from a music video by Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu, with surrealistic and colorful visuals. Photo by John Ornelas

Words: Ben Pack
Photos: Melissa Burman & John Ornelas

The massive crowd is buzzing. The sun is beating down on the concrete courtyard. In one corner sits a small group of ninjas-in-training. They size up the crowd as their metallic headbands glisten. Across the way, stands a troupe of elite robotic soldiers, armed with high-tech laser weaponry. Their red-white and blue-clad leader stands fast, surveying the area. Near them waits an anthropomorphic hedgehog, whose love of going fast is only rivaled by his love for chili dogs.
Scattered around there are beings ranging from human to alien to machine, and some are a mix of all three. There are mercenaries, scientists, mech pilots, lawyers; all eyeing up the competition. This is not a scene from a seventh grader’s history binder, rather these are real people. This isn’t some mystical land, but instead it is San Jose. These are not actors, these are cosplayers.

This scene was months in the making. A look into a cosplayer’s living room reveals the laborious process that is cosplay costume making. Fabric trimmings, chip bags, a disembodied lion head, and wigs are strewn about the room. In the middle of this whirlwind of odds and ends, Lindsey Brophy stands, in this living-room-turned-costume-workshop, working on a strange and cartoonish top. It features gigantic, circular shoulder pads and large eyelashes that are affixed to the breasts, making them look like eyes.

Sean Lee, her boyfriend, is hard at work coating foam balls with resin. After letting them dry and set, he sands them down into fine, smooth spheres which will be attached to form a decorative neck tassel. After all the hard work is complete, the pair will arrive in costume (and character) to an upcoming anime convention. This is the level of their fanaticism.

Desperate Times Calls for Weird Measures



Words: Kenny Redublo
Photos: Melissa Burman

Taylor Reynolds is a princess. A part-time princess.

She drives over to “the Castle,” a Lake Merritt country club in Oakland, California that acts as the Magic Princess headquarters. She takes the elevator down to the basement by the swimming pool, and gets her costume for today’s party. The smell of chlorine and the pile of cheap costumes in front of her is a stark contrast to the regal scene a few floors above. Reynolds puts on her costume. The royal blue blouse with puffy red sleeves and a golden flowing skirt is completed with a red bow in her hair. She’s Snow White for the day. Snow White who smells of chlorine.

She gets into her ‘83 Datsun to get to the party in Tracy. She hopes her car can make the drive. It has overheated in the past. This isn’t the typical carriage for a princess.

This isn’t a typical job.

Reynolds dresses up as a princess, be it Snow White or any other copyrighted Disney princess, and goes to children’s birthday parties around the East Bay when she’s not going to class at San Francisco State University. This is the modern day party entertainer, with less nightmares and childhood trauma.

The pressures of paying tuition and living expenses give students no choice but to find a job. According to the 13.9 percent national unemployment rate among 20 to 24-year-olds, some students haven’t been as lucky. Jobs for students are sometimes necessary and they’re often few and far between.

Prepping for the Polls


Words: Kelly Leslie

It’s the first Tuesday in November. Along with hundreds of fellow students, you make your way to the polling place to cast your vote before class. After months of listening to fervent political speeches and heated debates given by the country’s leading politicians, you know without hesitation which boxes you are going to check on the 2012 election ballot.

Slowly approaching the front of the line, it’s the moment every young adult anticipates at one point or another after their eighteenth birthday.You’re finally of the legal age to exercise the right to vote in an election that only happens once every four years. Handing your student ID card to the volunteer who is checking eager young voters in to cast their ballots, you’re sure nothing can stand between you and your political opinions now. Much to your surprise, you’re turned away. Somehow, you have been branded ineligible to vote.

“It’s my legal right as a United States citizen,” says Graham Woolsey, a first-year transfer student confident voting is a privilege that cannot be revoked. “I’m registered to vote so I should have no problems.”

This year voting may not be as easy as Woolsey say it is. Republican politicians have systematically been making it more difficult for certain populations (i.e., liberal-leaning folks) to vote. Thousands of students from across the country are at risk of being turned away from the polls because they do not possess proper government issued photo identification.


Forever Golden


Written by Erin Browner
Photos by Melissa Burman

One day in 1986, Karen Alexander donned prom dress and rushed to Bayview to see Dick Clark appear on a new TV show – KOFY TV’s Dance Party. She waited in line among a horde of Bay Area locals who flocked to the network’s warehouse to travel back in time.

For dozens of seasons, KOFY TV created a pocket of the 1950s, complete with spotlights, retro sets, and a crowd jiving to the sounds of Little Richard and Chubby Checker to recreate the good ol’ days.

Two decades later, Alexander, 67, sits on her apartment floor and digs through boxes of clothing for the next taping session of Dance Party. Her vintage jumpsuits are saved from her years of living in London in the 1980s. In 2012, KOFY TV continues to put on Dance Party, but now the theme is the 80s. Alexander has made a full circle with Dance Party– starting to dance to 50s tracks in the 80s, and now dancing to 80s tracks in present days.

More than the decades have passed during Alexander’s fanatic phases of Dance Party. Her apartment overflows with color-coded bags of sunglasses, boxes of lame´ leggings, piles of sequined hats, and closets full of 80s outfits. It’s safe to say participating in Dance Party is a hobby Alexander has dedicated herself to. Through the years of attending– she has transformed.

Presently, Alexander, more commonly known as Ladygold, cruises to KOFY TV’s warehouse in a gold Camaro bearing a personalized license plate that says “LADY24K.” KOFY TV invited Ladygold to host a show viewing the original Dance Party episodes – during the taping she was decked out in gold, head to toe. Ladygold is an expert in Dance Party, she’s 67, and she ain’t stoppin’ the dance party any time soon.

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