Posts Tagged ‘XpressMagazine’

Double the Work

By xpressmagazine

TopShelf Boutique, owned by Christina Ruiz and originally a traveling fashion truck, currently occupies space in the Storenvy Pop-Up Shop that is shared with other vendors. Ruiz will be relocating to her own spot on the floor above the pop-up in the Crocker Galleria and will be having a grand opening on May 9. TopShelf Boutique features vintage handpicked women's clothes, accessories by local designers, and upcycled items. Photo by Virginia Tieman

TopShelf Boutique, owned by Christina Ruiz and originally a traveling fashion truck, currently occupies space in the Storenvy Pop-Up Shop that is shared with other vendors. Ruiz will be relocating to her own spot on the floor above the pop-up in the Crocker Galleria and will be having a grand opening on May 9. TopShelf Boutique features vintage handpicked women’s clothes, accessories by local designers, and upcycled items. Photo by Virginia Tieman

By Melissa Landeros
Photos Virginia Tieman

What started, as chasing a store on wheels all around San Francisco has now become a simple muni ride downtown to The Crocker Galleria, which is the permanent home for Christina Ruiz’s mobile boutique.

The TopShelf Style boutique’s pop-up shop opened in February because at the time Ruiz, said there were not a lot of “fashion truck friendly events.” It was a slow season for the truck so she figured she had nothing to lose.

The pop-up which was only supposed to be open for a month turned into 2 and a half months. Meanwhile Ruiz was approached with the opportunity of owning her store which is now located on the second floor of The Crocker Galleria. Now just about a year after starting the fashion truck Ruiz’s dream of finally owning both a “brick and mortar” shop has become a reality.

Ruiz and her team had been working day in and day out to prepare for the launching of the store. She had gone on numerous buying trips for merchandise, furniture, and even purchasing small detailed items like doorknobs. Ruiz said, “Getting the store ready had been a collaborative process and a true labor of love.”

Ruiz remained located in the pop-up shop up until the official opening of her boutique which was May 6th. She said having been in the pop-up up until the opening of her store helped a lot, because she was able to talk to frequent customers about the launch.
The May 9th launch party for TopShelf Boutique was an utter success. Ruiz said, “I was overwhelmed by the amount of love.” There was a lot of support for TopShelf Boutique from frequent shoppers to Ruiz team which also included her brother David Ruiz, who mixed free drinks for guest the night of.

Ruiz said, “I want the TopShelf brand to turn into more than just a local business.” She hopes to expand in years to come and she is motivated to grow her online business. Ruiz wants her presence to be known in a wider range.

While her fashion truck will still be in motion around SF, shoppers now have easier access when shopping for the one of kind affordable merchandise TopShelf Boutique offers in store. Ruiz said, “We will have more space to carry a wider variety, some limited at first, more well known brand names, and eventually some shoes!”

Ruiz will continue to hit the streets of San Francisco in her truck but primarily on weekends and the TopShelf Boutique will be open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm.

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Scrapped Up

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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.

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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.

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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.

Best Hangover Breakfasts

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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.

Nerdy San Francisco

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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.

http://www.calacademy.org/events/nightlife/

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 http://www.sylvanproductions.com/.

Sunday Streets: Western Addition Edition

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Words: Babak Haghighi

It is a beautiful, sunny Sunday in the Western Addition district of San Francisco. Bass is bumping and fists are pumping as a local house DJ puts on a show for his audience across the street from the Panhandle at the southern end of the Sunday Streets route. His unique, yet effective sound system comprises of no more than four boomboxes, each blaring his original beats.

Nearby, two young adults sporting shorts, sunglasses, and bare feet rest on an air mattress on the sidewalk as they sip on their Bud Lights and indulge in some people watching. A couple blocks away, an elderly woman, a child, and a college girl show off their best hula hoop moves while the crowd surrounding them does its best to keep up—just one of many hula hoop circles along the route. Further down the road, a teenager, accompanied by his garage band buddies, puts on a three-man rock show for his cousin, aunt, mother, and anyone else looking for some entertainment. His messy, dark hair swings from side to side as his fingers slide down the fretboard of his guitar. His 2010 San Francisco Giants Championship t-shirt occasionally sways in the calm breeze. Around the corner, a group of Western Addition residents and their families dance to The Sugarhill Gang’s “Apache.” Costumed rollerbladers are easy to spot, and cruising past all of them, at a modest pace, are countless bicyclists. But what brings these people together is the one thing they all have in common—the massive smiles on their faces. This is Sunday at its finest.

If it sounds like a normal day in the city, it’s not. It’s the ultimate hangover cure. It’s Sunday Streets in San Francisco.

Despite its hilly features, San Francisco is a bicycle-friendly city. At Sunday Streets, that friendship turns into a romance. Bicycles, skateboards, and wheelchairs alike take over the streets alongside pedestrians. A pre-determined route is turned into a no-car zone, and along the way there is all sorts of fun to be had.

A Technological Pursuit

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Words: Jennifer Sandoval

East of San Francisco past Pleasanton lies the small city of Livermore. The city is normally quiet and quaint, but at two in the morning it holds an urban legend. Just behind the Safeway supermarket, a pair of railroad tracks stretch onward, inviting those who enjoy ghostly encounters to drive along the desolate and dark street beside it. The lights that kept the daring safe from their own fears slowly becomes less frequent until there is nothing left but a row of warehouses, a cement wall splattered with graffiti that divides the street and railroad tracks, and a dim florescent bulb coming from one of the warehouses. This is the destination for those who want to meet Rock Boy.

Although there are many versions of this tale, one story says that long ago a young boy often walked along the railroad tracks as a shortcut to get home. One day, the boy got caught in the tracks and threw rocks at the cement wall as a plea for help. No one was there to hear the clack of the rocks hitting the cement wall.

Clack. Clack.

It is said that if anyone dares to roll down their windows and turn off their car and call Rock Boy three times, he will try once again to get the attention of those who are looking for him.

Clack!

SlutWalk Featured Image

A Provocative Change

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Jadelynn Stahl (with the bullhorn) and Maria Garcia, are two of the people leading marchers on Slutwalk from Delores Park to the Castro. Slutwalk was formed to help deconstruct the myths around rape, “slutshaming,” and victim blaming. September 8, 2012. Photo by Deborah Svoboda.

 Words: Emily Gadd & Ruby Perez
Photos: Deborah Svoboda

Jadelynn Stahl stands in front of the crowd with a kind of confidence that comes with natural leaders. In her hands she holds a portrait of herself as a child. The little girl in the picture is smiling faintly and wears a rainbow visor that reads “California.”

“Would you call this girl a “slut?” she asks.

She points to the picture. “This is the year I was raped.”

Stahl, along with fifty or so others, gather in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park for SlutWalk, a protest that is trying to shine light on the victim-blaming that many sexual assault and rape victims experience. The protest, deemed controversial by some, uses unconventional methods to gain attention to their cause. Some of the protesters are dressed simply in jeans and t-shirts but many sport lingerie and towering high heels. There are wigs, leather corsets, mini skirts, thigh garters, and lots and lots of skin.

The SlutWalk began in 2011 in Toronto, Canada as a response to an authority figure perpetuating victim-blame while speaking at a safety meeting at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Constable Michael Sanguinetti told the attendees, “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Outraged, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis began SlutWalk in Toronto in an attempt to protest the blame of assault on victims. They believe that the person inflicting the violence deserves the blame, not the victim-no matter what their lifestyle or their choice of clothing is like. Whether they are male, female, gay, transgender, sex workers, prudish or sluts, SlutWalk participants and organizers believe that no matter the gender, age, dress or level of intoxication; rape and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault.

Ahmina Alenthia James visits the Islamic Society of San Francisco on Jones Street to pray and read. Photo by: Tearsa Joy Hammock / Xpress Magazine

The Road to Conversion

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Ahmina Alenthia James visits the Islamic Society of San Francisco on Jones Street to pray and read. Photo by: Tearsa Joy Hammock / Xpress Magazine


Words: Hassina Obaidy
Photos: Tearsa Hammock

The first step is often the hardest. Stephanie Skoog has dreamt of this day countless times-the day when she reveals her new identity to the world. She’s not without inhibitions, though. She imagines all the comments construction workers will say when she walks by.

Skoog begins this particular morning as she would the rest from here on out: she wraps a silk maroon scarf, a gift from her friend in Libya, to cover her hair and neck. She wraps layer upon layer around her face and neck, making sure her hair and light skin aren’t revealed. After finishing up her morning rituals, she dresses herself in a silky, bright pink blouse and black pants. She steps out of her room, walks to the front door of her Richmond district apartment in San Francisco and opens the door. Slowly, she peeks her head out, takes a look outside the apartment door then suddenly closes it shut, overcome with fear. Skoog opens the door once more, this time stepping one foot out, then rushes back inside the comfort of her Richmond apartment unable to take that first, big step.

Finally, she pulls herself together, opens the door and walks outside. This is the first time she had revealed her new identity to the world.

She takes the bus across town to San Francisco State University, where she is a student. There, she makes her way to the Muslim Student Association (MSA) room in the Cesar Chavez building. It is here, on the afternoon of May 2, 2012 that Skoog converts to Islam.

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Not Playing Dress-Up

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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

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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.

Get Me Out of Here: Why Students Aren’t Graduating in Four Years

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Words: Kayla McIntosh

As Laura Flores sits quietly at her white desk and stares plaintively at her MacBook, she realizes that each class she needs to take for the approaching fall semester at San Francisco State University is at full capacity. Her long curly brown hair is thrown up in a bun and she buries her circular face in her hands.

“Not again,” she thinks.

Eventually she gazes back at the screen and faces her cruel reality. Wearing a vintage crew neck sweater with Spike Lee’s face arranged colorfully on the front, Flores is skimming the school’s class list desperately hoping that there is an open seat in Principles of Human Physiology Laboratory, only to be defeated when she discovers that all five of the classes offered are already full. Flores is frustrated. This seems to be a recurring theme each semester for her.

Like clockwork, she pulls out her notebook and begins to brainstorm her next move. Before she even puts her pen to paper, she knows what to do because she has already done it before. Jotting down the slots for each of these labs on a piece of college-ruled paper, Flores hopes that one of these notoriously unforgiving college professors will give her a break and allow her to squeeze herself into one of their already crammed classes. This will be Flores’ fourth year at SF State but like many, this will not be her last.

From the moment she stepped foot on campus, walking across a stage wearing the school’s vibrantly hued cap and gown was and still is the quintessential dream.

Flores, a first-generation college student, dreams of being a nurse. Helping people is an undertaking that comes quite naturally for the 21-year-old Los Angeles native. Her childhood home was full of youngsters running and jumping and she was always the one to make sure that everything stayed copacetic.

A Peaceful Passing

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Moca, a 9-year-old Pit mix that’s looking for a new home, rests in the home base of Muttville. Muttville is a rescue group that takes in senior dogs, cares for all of their medical needs and either finds a new forever home for them or puts them in a “fospice” home to live out the rest of their days. San Francisco, September 21, 2012. Photo by Deborah Svoboda.

Words: Hassina Obaidy
Photos: Deborah Svoboda

Poor doggie. Poor Max. Just four years old, the black and brown boxer had been diagnosed with stomach cancer a short time ago, and he was slipping away fast-twenty pounds in just two weeks-and now he couldn’t eat, couldn’t even move. Euthanize, the veterinarian at Rancho Santa Margarita Hospital said. That was the best thing to do.

Upset and heartbroken, San Francisco State University student Alyssa Bowdle wanted to stay strong and keep up a positive energy for her dog Max. She knew if she showed her real emotions of grief, Max would be strongly affected.

“My emotions were very much needed to stay strong on Dewey’s [Bowdle’s second boxer] behalf. He didn’t understand [Max] was sick, but needing to stay happy for [Dewey], I didn’t want him to be scared,” she says as she begins to cry. “It wasn’t sad because [Max] wasn’t sad, but I think the entire time I was just trying to stay strong. I was obviously upset, but more so wanting to stay positive.”

The day of the procedure had finally come, and they wanted to make it special. Bowdle and her family stayed home and spent the day with Max as they sat around together, made him a special lunch, and brought his special toys and blanket. When it was time, they took him to the vet. Accompanied by her cousin, a strong Bowdle lay on her side, struggling to control her emotions as she holds Max in her arms.

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