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what’s inside san jose life & style

FEATURING Alfredo Muccino/Ronnie Bogle/Lacey Bryant 1





DESIGN 8 Bootstraps PROFILE 12 Lacey Bryant 18 Ronnie Bogle 22 Beverly Zeiss 30 Alfredo Muccino





FEATURE 38 Satori Tea FASHION 48 The Usuals 56 Nigel Who?




Issue 3.1 “What’s Inside “ May/June 2011

The Makers: Daniel Garcia Cultivator Sarah Garcia Marketeer Sarah Hale Sustainer Stacy Ernst Shaper/Blogger Sobrina Tung Style Editor Mary Matlack Contributing Writer Steveyann Jensen Contributing Writer Aleksandra Bulatskaya Contributing Writer Kevin Kempis Designer

To participate in Content Magazine:


Lacey Bryant / Ronnie Bogle / Beverly Zeiss / Alfredo Muccino / Satoria Tea / The Usuals / Nigel Who?



Ronnie Bogle, Nigel Who? Designer






Strap Project By Steveyann Jensen


One of the best things about traveling is bringing back treasures for your home. It’s a wonderful feeling when you find that perfect, special piece that reflects a specific culture and their traditions, a piece that tells a story. These unique treasures add life to a space in a way that mass-produced, store bought goods (as great as they can be) can never do. There’s only one problem…most of us don’t have the opportunity to travel nearly as often as we’d like! So you can imagine our delight when we stumbled across the Bootstrap Project.

proaches these artisans and their communities as people of great potential that just need the right resources and access to allow that potential to be realized. The Bootstrap Project works by having the artisan set the price for the goods. They are paid the local market value plus a premium, and then the remainder of the funds from the sale goes back into the community in one of two ways. The first is by helping development partners fund microloans to other potential micro-entrepreneurs. This allows growth to spread throughout the entire community.

The Bootstrap Project is an online store that offers handcrafted goods from artisans around the world. Their mission is to give local artisans access to the global market to sell their traditional, handcrafted products while using 100% of the profits to benefit the artist and their community. They call it “Trade Not Aid.” The Bootstrap Project has created a global platform that connects the buyer with local artisans in countries such as Tajikistan, Zambia, and Swaziland. There is a unique story behind each product, and you can connect with the artisan as you read about their personal journey on the website. Additionally, when you purchase from one of these artisans, you are not only helping them, you also become part of a movement for change in their community as well.

The second way that profits are reinvested into the communities is to fund joint projects that educate other artisans in the community so that they, too, can become future Bootstrap artisans. For example, the Bootstrap Project is currently working with a master suzani weaver, Soliha Sharopova, who is now leading the training of fifty other women in Tajikistan to learn this traditional craft that was once central to Tajik culture. Before this opportunity, Soliha and her daughters were a few of the last remaining suzani makers in the entire country. This partnership is now helping to breathe new life into this nearly lost tradition. The whole community now has a great sense of pride in knowing that global consumers are interested in these unique handcrafted traditions. Maxine states, “It is this pride and excitement that can lead an entire village to end their own poverty. It is an extremely powerful change in mentality.”

It all started when founder, Maxine Kaye, was working in Swaziland for the UN in the summer of 2009. She came across the handcrafted, wooden platters of local artisan Thembekile Tsabedre. Kaye approached Thembekile to learn more about the history of her work. Thembekile told her how she had learned to make the platters from her father, who had, in turn, learned the tradition from his own father. She explained the importance of these dishes in Swazi culture and how their circular shape reflects community between different families. She also told Maxine about the difficulty she was having selling these platters because of her remote location in the countryside. In addition, local Swazis weren’t buying her products as often because they could only afford to purchase the plastic dishes that were flooding the market from far off countries. As Maxine returned to the United States, she couldn’t get this conversation out of her head. She thought to herself, “If only the artisans had access to markets and people could learn about them and from them, then these artisans could survive, thrive, and continue

More information about the Bootstrap Project can be found on their website at We encourage you to check out the beautiful handcrafted products available on their site, find out more about the artisans, and become part of a sustainable approach to positive change and growth in these communities.


their beautiful traditions.” It was from this conversation with Thembekile that the Bootstrap Project was born. Maxine’s experience working with the UN made her acutely aware of the limitations of monetary aid and the value in providing a trade platform to these communities of artisans. The Bootstrap Project’s “Trade Not Aid” philosophy ap








acey Bryant

If you go by Kaleid Gallery, and you should, you will most likely be greeted by the friendly smiles of Lacey Bryant who has the good fortune of being able to work as the gallery host and have her own studio space. Her curiously innocent demeanor, cloaked in an army jacket and paint-spotted boots, does not convey the depth of her talent or the grandeur of her paintings. San Jose is privileged to have Lacey and her work so accessible. For art enthusiasts, she is someone not only to watch but also to get to know. Interview and Photography by Daniel Garcia


Content: Your work has been described as “cute and creepy.” How did that style come about? Lacey: I guess I like contrast. I think things are more interesting when there is a duality to them. If it is just one or the other, I would be done thinking about it pretty quick. I like that kind of tension between things. I am not necessarily trying to make things hyper cute. I like drawing things that are pretty, but at the same time, that’s so boring to me. The “weird” is always something that I have been interested in, and it took a while for that to come out in my work because I thought, “Oh, no one wants to see that.” But since I have been putting out more of the things that I think are great and weird and cool and I don’t care, people have actually really responded to it. The elements of your painting include innocent characters and then things like birds flying out of their face or berries that are like blood. What’s your creative process in doing that?

Oh, dang, that’s a hard one. A lot of them are just images that sort of pop into my head at random. I use a lot of imagery over and over again - things that I think are interesting or kind of symbolic of many things at the same time. It makes it more interesting, I think. The more things something can mean, the more interpretations the painting can have, and the more people are going to think, “Oh, that’s me.” So I like birds a lot; I like fruit a lot. Fruit is so cool, it means so many things to me, but when you combine these things in certain ways, they just become so much more interesting. How intentional are you in that? Are you trying to say that you want the contrast, or do you think, “I enjoy this”? Where does that little nugget of inspiration come from? Or is it art school? Haha, no, it’s not that. It kind of evolved naturally with things that I like but at the same time trying to make paintings that say a little bit about life


and emotion. My paintings are very emotional. A lot of times it’s just about a feeling of expressing some sort of longing or mourning and changing or shifting, just different feelings. A lot of things are hard to put into words. I try to put them into pictures instead. People can see the picture and get the words for themselves. So the images communicate more of the emotion but not necessarily a story. Yeah, but they feel like a story to me in a way. You can look at them and wonder what just happened, what’s about to happen, what’s going on in this image. You have all you need to say, “Ok, I could leap from this to this.” It’s more interesting and reaches more people if they can bring their own context into it. So when you come to a painting, you’ve got your canvas, and you’ve got your paints, and you’re sitting down…do you have a story that

you are coming into it with, or is it more like how different artists talk about how the canvas brings it out? How do you come to that? I usually spend a lot of time in my sketchbook. I draw a lot of little tiny drawings. I will fill a page with just a whole bunch of things, and I’ll have an idea. Right now, for instance, I am interested in things with two figures. I’m interested in their relationships and how they are interacting; a lot of them end up looking like two of the same person. I’m not sure if they are twins or if they are just different aspects of the same person or if it’s all in their heads. I guess I usually don’t really know what’s going on because I don’t want to pin it down. But I’ll draw a whole page of something and pick out the ones that I think would be really interesting to take further. And with paintings, too, a lot of the time, I’ll make a small painting and it will really work, so I’ll make it bigger so I can get more into it.

So you go down a path of noticing that something is interesting and then go on from there. I definitely notice things a lot. I go hiking once a week with a couple of friends and I’m always out there taking pictures. I have a huge fascination with crawling things like little bugs, so they make it into my work a lot. Do you think in your paintings it is just a curiosity that you have, or a fascination, or a longing/searching…or all the above? Yeah, it kind of goes back to the whole contrast thing because there are so many bad things that happen. The world has so much horribleness in it that we focus on that a lot. But if you get down to these tiny little crawling things, you get this sense of awe like, “Oh my God, there are these little teeny tiny things that survive somehow and are really magical.” And even things that are often thought of as ugly-- for instance, cockroaches-- I think they are fascinating. I think spiders are really


cool. People think that’s the creepy stuff, and I think it’s really cool. There is this whole other side of things. I think that’s what I love about your work. It has tons of emotion, and it tugs on so many different levels. There is such playfulness. Do you find yourself returning to some of those figures out of security, or out of habit, or out of more to grow in that area? Usually it’s about taking an idea as far as I can take it. Then once it gets a little stale, I will move away from it. If I really like a painting, I will want to do it again but in a slightly different way to see if it still works. A lot of times I will repeat it on a larger scale so I can get more detail. A lot of ideas that I had and did in a simpler style, I want to bring back and try with a better background. You can change the mood so much with just changing the setting behind someone.

I have actually been doing the people in my paintings a lot older lately. I did the kid thing for a while and now am more interested in a slightly older mentality. The commission piece I am working on now was actually a guy that came in who saw a bunch of my paintings and said he would really love me to paint him as a kid, so he brought in a picture of himself as a kid. Most of the time when I paint people, I don’t have a model. I usually just make them up, and, for the most part, I can kind of fake a face, but they all end up looking like me a little. So I have been trying to explore other faces. I have actually been bothering people that I meet and asking them if I can get a picture of them. You are exploring. What do you feel that you are proud of that you have done recently? And then what is it that you want to explore more? I am not sure. Adding background and adding space, paying attention to the whole picture and not just the subject, has been a big step for me. It’s really something that I think has made my work more interesting to me and hopefully to others. I am using more actual people. A lot of the times when you are making people up, you still have to go to the mirror and see, “How does the elbow bend like this?” and see how things actually work. To some degree, I like a bit of distortion in my images. So if you go and measure them, they are not quite right. But I like for things to be a little off sometimes. It’s interesting to me, and it gives it a bit of character when you let things be more exaggerated. But I am starting to move in the direction of using actual people. It’s kind of hard for me because I’m not super outgoing about going up to people and saying, “Hey, can I take pictures of you?” But I am getting to where I am doing it just to bring in more faces and more people. I want to keep going in that direction right now. I am really interested in pushing the humanity of my characters a little bit so that they feel even more real. Not necessarily “real” as in realistically painted but just real emotions.

Places to enjoy Lacey’s work Good Karma Vegan Cafe opening August 5th KALEID Gallery, Ongoing display SubZERO festival, June 3rd June Weirdsville at Tasty Gallery in Seattle Pieces of Eden at Modern Eden in SF






There? Interview with Ronnie Bogle By Aleksandra Bulatskaya Photography by Daniel Garcia




n 1990, before the Internet became as much of a household necessity as adequate plumbing is, Nigel Who? made fashion history as the first fashion house to stream a runway show live online. It’s been over twenty-five years since that moment, and after a five-year hiatus, Ronnie Bogle, the man behind the Who, is back with a highly-anticipated new line, a new boutique in the heart of downtown San Jose, and an upcoming fashion show poised to take San Jose’s art scene by storm once more.

“I wanted to do something different, to help people,” said Bogle, “I started working for non-profits, but I knew I wanted to do something creative again down the line on a smaller scale than what I had done before.”

As Ronnie Bogle walked across the parquet museum floor, slowly shuffling towards the next piece, he stopped in front of a series of mismatched patches, sewn together in an old-fashioned patchwork blanket, and was mesmerized. He explains, “They’re called heritage quilts in the south and are sewn together with snippets of fabric from different occasions to be passed down from generation to generation.” Bogle reflected on the beauty and memories that each patch represented with a glint of dampness in his eyes. He knew then that he had to create something that would honor that tradition and express his own past. That familiar quilting craft began to blend his personal narrative, his memories and his vision for the future. Not to mention that it also proved to be the catalyst for his, as some call it, “comeback.”

“When I decided to do another line, I knew I wanted the models to walk down the runway in head to toe Nigel Who?” proclaimed Bogle. The handcrafted shoe line was central to that vision and completely unprecedented from a local designer. Initial reactions to Bogle’s shoe ambitions were less than enthusiastic--it just wasn’t possible for a local designer to make a shoe line, much less of artistic quality and wearable practicality. Bogle disagreed with critics, albeit in a very polite, southern way.

Growing up in the sleepy farming town of Oden Ridge, Alabama, Bogle immersed himself in the rich southern tradition of arts and crafts. The transition to a career in art proved natural when Ronnie received a scholarship to study sculpture at San Jose State. But Bogle’s creative instincts told him he was not meant for Michelangelo’s glory. Instead, he made plans to change his emphasis to wearable art once at San Jose State. Once there, Bogle used his southern charm to persuade the folks at San Jose State to create a new program geared towards developing a complete fashion line, show and boutique. The wheels were in motion for the creation of his label, which he knew would be called “Nigel Who?”

The Nigel Who? Summer 2011 line, consisting of women’s and men’s wear, shoes and a new boutique in the heart of downtown San Jose, is a testament to what small-scale means in Bogle’s world.

“I think I have such naiveté. If I set my mind to do something, it never occurs to me that I will do anything less than succeed,” said Bogle with a soft conviction that is a requirement for regularly achieving things other people say are not possible. “The most flattering thing was that people remembered me and were so eager to work with me again,” said Bogle of his return to the creative scene just a year ago. “San Jose has such an amazing creative community, artists, photographers, designers, all so talented and innovative. I really think San Jose is one of a kind and is finally coming to its own.” For more information on the Nigel Who line and coming July launch show go to:

“Before I came to San Jose, some friends and I all went to a little dive bar in Alabama, and someone asked me what my favorite name was. I said Nigel-- it’s so European and fou fou, and then someone shouted from across the table, ‘Who’s Nigel?’ and we were like, ‘Nigel Who? That’s it!’” Bogle said.


The first Nigel Who? line debuted in a sold-out fashion show at Café Leviticus which was so packed that onlookers perched on windows to get a view of the new line. This helped launch Ronnie Bogle’s popular boutique in downtown Willow Glen and thirty successful retailing collections. Even though Ronnie was experiencing creative and artistic success, he felt it was time for a break, partially because of burnout, partially just to try something else.



Journey to theTop Beverly Zeiss Interview and photography by Daniel Garcia



Athough it has become cliché to say, “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” it seems to be fitting for Beverly Zeiss. This glamorous and sophisticated production and events producer stands near the entrance curtain with her headset “calling the show” from Santana Row to Bloomingdales in San Francisco. She didn’t arrive at her fashionista success overnight; it has been a journey of following opportunities as they unfolded before her. Beverly has been able to make this journey with class, perseverance and, above all, laughter. Content had the opportunity to sit down with Beverly Zeiss in the penthouse condo at the Axis in Downtown San Jose. It was the perfect setting for our conversation and photo shoot as she is, in many ways, on the top of the fashion culture in San Jose. Sitting among the clouds in a beautiful penthouse looking over the HP Pavilion, Beverly is honest and down-to-earth as she shares the personal anecdotes that have guided her journey to the top. Content: How did you get your start in the fashion industry? Beverly Zeiss: Oh, my goodness. I started by accident. I was living in Santa Rosa. My kids were little, and I had been working as a cardiac nurse. I have always loved jewelry, especially turquoise, and I had a couple of jewelry stores I would frequent. One day I was looking around when the owner came to me and said, “How would you like to model?” My immediate reaction was, “Oh, no, no way. There’s no way. No way.” I kept thinking, “I don’t do that.” But she just kept badgering me and badgering me. She must have made 15 calls saying, “I really need you to model. We need you to model our Indian jewelry. It’s a great big charity show, and please...” She eventually wore me down, and after I agreed, I discovered I would be modeling jewelry, but no clothes. So [laughs] I was lucky enough to be a seamstress at the time, and I decided to make clothes for this show. I created black, cream, natural and chocolate pieces to make the turquoise jewelry pop out. I ended up in this fashion show, and there were actually three of them. I remember walking the first time; I was never so frightened in my entire existence. But I thought, “Oh, well, I’ve made it through the first show. Let’s try to make it to the second show.” The second show, of course, got a little better. By the time the third show came along, I was going, “Hmm, this is kind of fun.”[laughter] And thus my modeling career started. But again, I was in Santa Rosa. So I went down into the city, got connected with agencies, and just started doing all kinds of modeling and then got into acting. They called me “Red” all the time, but I really did a lot more commercial acting and film, things like that. It was lots of fun. How did modeling and acting turn into fashion production? I don’t know. I can’t remember exactly how the whole fashion production end of it started, quite honestly. Somebody just asked me, “Do you think you could do a fashion show?” and I said, “Well, I’ll try.” So I started doing the prerequisite nightclub little shows just to get my feet wet to understand the process, and then it started growing. It got bigger and bigger and bigger. The thing was, I pretty much did everything myself. I’m talking about setting up the stage, putting up backdrops, climbing ladders to put lights up, doing all the music, trying to coordinate everything. Of course, I was also booking all the models and pulling all the clothes. You name it, I did it. If anything were to happen to me, the show didn’t go on, because...



“I’ve been always of the mindset that I’d rather

do it myself because

then I know it’s going to be done right.” 27

You were the show. I was the show [laughs]. I’ll never forget this one time I was putting up backdrops for a big event in L.A. As I was putting up the backdrop, I was scoring it with a pair of scissors. I went down, scored it, and cut off the tip of my finger. And the blood...You don’t want blood spurting on white foam core. I was in a big hotel, and they were freaking out, “We have to take you to the hospital. We have to take you to the hospital.” I said, “No, I can’t go.” So they were bringing me all these towels. I had this wad of stuff holding on my fingertip [laughs]. The show must go on [laughs]. There’s nobody else to do it. When did this happen? That was probably 20 years ago, yeah, almost 25 years ago when I really started doing shows. I’ve been doing them for a long, long, long, long time. Been there, done that, seen it all [laughs]. But you definitely started out at the bottom. At the very bottom. Schlepping stuff around, making it all happen? Schlep, schlep. [laughter] Everybody says, “Oh, this seems so glamorous,” and I want to just shoot them right there, because it is not glamorous. It is really a lot of hard work. And so much is resting on it. It’s a live production, so there are no retakes. There’s no editing. It starts, and it has to go. It was one of those things that I had to really learn from the bottom up. I learned from all my mistakes, and that’s why I’m mentoring now [laughs]. How did the mentoring come about? I’ve been always of the mindset that I’d rather do it myself because then I know it’s going to be done right. But that’s not a good practice because there are so many capable people. I finally wised up after doing it for so long and realized that these young, up and coming girls are really knowledgeable and smart. They want to learn. So I’ve just been trying to share as much as I can... I drag them everywhere. “OK, this is what you need to know.” Now are you doing that with West Valley? Well, I got introduced to West Valley, and they have such a great fashion design program. There are all different directions that the girls and guys are going in. I’ve also worked with the Art Institute, FIDM. I’ve worked with a lot of different places before, but the people at West Valley are very eager to take knowledge and put it to good use, so I’ve just taken them under my wing. Did you anticipate then—when you were younger, cutting foam core and cutting your fingers—that you would move into a role of mentoring people in the industry? No, no, never thought about it. Looking back, what do you think was your goal you were working towards? I don’t even know if I ever really stopped to think, “OK, someday this is what I want to be. Someday I want to be this big show producer.” It has morphed into something bigger. After a while I started thinking, “You know, this is what I really love.” I love being able to conceptualize something – design, conceptualize, execute, and then put it to bed. That’s what I have learned in life that I really like. I loved nursing; I thought it was wonderful. But I had a creative side of me that I never really knew I had. I always try to tell young people not to squelch that creativity because it may just take you in a completely different direction than you had thought you were going to go, because it certainly did for me. Fashion production was the last thing on my mind at the time.I thought I was going to go back into nursing. I thought that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life, and then I got this bug. You know, it was a bug. And I love the excitement. I love taking risks. I just love seeing it all come to fruition. And I also love seeing it done [laughter]. Interview and photo shoot on location at Axis.

C 28




MUC CINO By Mary Matlack Photography by Daniel Garcia



t’s an exciting time in San Jose these days. There seem to be many “who knew” moments popping up like a frantic game of whack-a-mole. Who knew SJEats would bring twice as many patrons as expected and fill all the downtown restaurants on the same night? Who knew that the very cool looking building on South Market, the one that says “Liquid Agency,” isn’t a washed up ultra-lounge, but really the headquarters of an internationally renowned brand marketing agency boasting a client list that includes the likes of HP, Intuit, Adidas, Microsoft, and Seagate? And who knew that a guy by the name of Alfredo Muccino, whose name alone sounds more at home in Milan during fashion week, is the co-founder of Liquid Agency and lives, works, plays and creates right here in San Jose. Born in Colombia to parents of Italian and Colombian heritage, Muccino moved around constantly as a child – living in countries that included Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil while always having Italy as a home base. “I was very fortunate that my parents moved around to a lot of different countries growing up. We spent every couple of years moving to a new place.” Eventually San Francisco became a base for his family while they continued to travel, spending some high school years in Egypt and later in the UK. He recalls that as a kid the experience wasn’t all that easy. Learning new languages and making new friends while maintaining the basics of elementary school in different languages was a challenge. “Imagine learning chemistry in a foreign language. As if learning it in English wasn’t hard enough, I had to learn it in Portuguese.” Muccino’s early years shaped his adult life – he’s a man who finds it easy to get along with people from many different cultures and walks of life. Having lived in Muslim countries like Egypt and Catholic countries like Italy, Muccino learned early on that defining right and wrong could be tricky and was often defined within a cultural setting. “There was no right or wrong. Every culture looks at it differently, and that kind of opened up my mind. I’m very open-minded.” Muccino started his career pounding the pavement at age 19 looking for a job in advertising. When that proved fruitless, Muccino opened his own agency. One employee grew to 10 employees, but without any formal business school experience, Muccino found it daunting to move beyond 10 employees. “I always felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants. I was having a challenge growing beyond 10 people. I didn’t know how to do it.” When an opportunity came for Muccino to sell his company and join forces with people who “maybe knew more about business than I did,” he took that opportunity and began working for Full Moon Interactive. This much bigger company with 250 employees and 7 different locations was making millions each year but still losing money “like there was no tomorrow,” Muccino recalls. “I had never lost money in my life. I realized maybe these guys weren’t that much smarter than I was.” Muccino realized that this company’s goal “wasn’t about making money; it was about growing… growing as fast as you can. That was what the dot-com philosophy was about.” So Muccino and his co-worker and friend, Scott Gardner, left Full Moon to co-found Liquid Agency in 2000.



Liquid launched with 30 employees just as the dot-com economy crashed. Muccino and partners struggled to keep Liquid alive by mortgaging their houses and doing what they could to retain most of their employees and grow through the first year. Muccino admits that they had to fight some stigma associated with San Jose. With tech companies there is no stigma, but as an international brand management agency, people were shocked that San Jose was home base. There were times that having a headquarters in San Jose automatically lowered Liquid to the second tier. But Muccino and Gardner saw the potential in San Jose, “the heart of Silicon Valley,” and believed it had something to offer. And, well, quite simply, they lived here. So they began. Fast forward to 2011 and add in a lot of hard work: the Liquid Agency now has grown and seen an increasingly international success. Muccino easily accredits their success to the team and staff, but it is apparent that Liquid is an extension of Muccino himself and his early vision to build a company and workplace of quality and authenticity. “I wanted to build a company that did the kind of work I was proud to do for the kind of clients that I wanted to be associated with, with people that I enjoyed, creating an atmosphere that was positive and rewarding for the people that work there…We spend so much time working. I want it to be positive for the people that work here.” As Chief Creative Officer, Muccino’s role is more strategic than “hands-on” creative. He consults with clients to help them find their way – Liquid calls it a Brand Compass – to help companies align with their mission and vision. He sees his role as “helping at a higher level, thinking about the big problems. We have creative directors and designers who can actually execute towards those strategic ideas.” Muccino also develops the products and services that Liquid offers and manages their growth around the world. Having recently opened an office in the UK, Liquid is slated to open an office in Chile and hopes to open in Shanghai by the end of the year. With global clients, Muccino agrees that having a footprint in a region helps tremendously. “In the world today that is so connected, it makes sense to offer an agency that has viewpoints from different places.” After all, Muccino has seen from personal experience that each culture has its own perspective. Muccino’s passion is clear. “Design is not about what something looks like. It’s really about what something is.” As a brand marketing agency, Liquid advises clients that a brand is the combination of an idea and then the execution of that idea. “We help companies define who they are and then figure out how to transform themselves into what they want to be. Transformation is a big component of what we aim to bring to the table for our clients.” And window dressing is not enough – Muccino confesses to waking up one morning and thinking about how changing the look of a company “seems so shallow and so meaningless in some ways. If we just change what a company looks like and don’t change what a company is, ultimately that isn’t going to affect the way they create new products, the way they grow as a company, or build relationships with their clients.” With excitement in his voice, Muccino explains how his personal transformation to do more than “decorate” but to truly design, or architect better companies, works. “Say we meet with a CEO and we decide that this company is about innovation. We have a new document, a new tagline, a new logo, but if the employees don’t believe that, they are never going to build that into what they do and who they become.” For example, Muccino refers to the popular social media “check-in” app FourSquare and wonders if there aren’t ways for an similar application for the


workplace that would reward behavior that supports the brand value while helping chart an employee’s career path. This type of integration builds the brand into the fiber of a company so that the employees’ actions and attitudes not only support the brand but also develop meaningful communities that are living out the values and goals of the individuals as well as the company’s. Though a logo is a symbol of a company’s values, Muccino is clear to point out that “these things have to live within. They just can’t live on a piece of paper. Most branding companies have been doing that for years and years. If we don’t change the attitudes that people have within the company, it’s not sustainable. Really savvy brands work with their employees and transform them and then those employees are the company.” When a brand reaches this stage, Muccino refers to it as a living organism and confesses that this is the exciting part of his job – where it feels real and authentic. On a higher level, Muccino sees his role as helping to “bring honesty back into the clients that we deal with; relevance to the audiences they influence by being authentic; no facades. If we are going to be different, let’s be different.” His role is to help companies realize that transformation needs to come from within. When companies call and say they want a new logo, Muccino takes a deep breath and agrees that a new logo is more decorating than designing. “Designing something is changing something for the better. Not just giving it a new paint job. I mean better for humanity. That’s truly what the objective is. Deliberately change something for the betterment of humanity. If you honestly do that, amazing things can happen.” And Muccino is quick to point out that this isn’t just touchy-feely mumbo jumbo – this is about making money as well. “They [Apple] live it everyday in what they do and it shows. You see it on campus, you sense it in the atmosphere of the people who work there, you see it in their physical products, and you feel it in the messages they put out, and it is profitable and sustainable.” Muccino and his Willow Glen home seem to capture the transformation objectives of his work at Liquid (or is it the other way?). He designed the entire remodel; the walls are lined with his original art; and his purple pants and black nail polish are not contrived but are an authentic expression of his personality. And even though he hasn’t had the time to dedicate to his fine art, he admits that his paintings, napkin drawings, and sculptures are not a hobby or recreation. “It is something I can’t help doing. I do it all the time. It is part of who I am.” Find Alfredo and his work: Liquid Agency Twitter: @alfredomuccino Olive Slice







SAT ORI not your average cup of tea



To r i B o y e r t

B y S o b r i n a Tu n g Photography Daniel Garcia





rop by downtown San Jose on any Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night, and there’s no denying that the city has a nightlife all its own. Everywhere you look, people are waiting in line to get into clubs and bars, and depending on the time of night, you’ll find just as many people lined up at La Vic’s, the taqueria known for its impossibly tasty, unnaturally orange sauce. But today isn’t your typical party night. It’s a calm, sunny Sunday afternoon, and most of the bars along San Pedro Street are closed and quiet. There is, however, one bar in the middle of San Pedro Square which is open and bustling with energy: Satori. As I walk in, I see two men--one wearing a Ducati leather jacket--drinking at the bar in the front. One of them has an open laptop in front of him, and together they talk about something of interest on the screen. I peek past them further into the room and see a group of men and women engrossed in what appears to be a heavy conversation, but just a few seconds later, as if on cue, they all break out into laughter. Next to them, a trio dressed in shades of black catches my eye--one of the men has the most amazing headful of dreads. The crowd is diverse, and it could be an afternoon scene from almost any San Jose bar. The only difference is that there are no Bloody Marys, no Screwdrivers, and no Mimosas in sight. The elixir of choice at this bar, it seems, is a simple, good ol’ hot cup of tea. The simplicity of everyone’s drink, and the wide range of tea drinkers in the room, starts to make perfect sense when we sit down to chat with Tori Boyert, Satori founder and owner. Not quite a tea salon nor a tea house, Satori Tea Bar opened in August 2010 and has been serving tea in its own way ever since. Decorated in a contemporary style, Satori masters the concept of contrast: a bright pink wall with giant hanging sculptures of kewpie doll faces is juxtaposed with a somber brick wall painted a hip black; guests sit on modern lucite chairs, but drink tea poured from classic silver teapots. Everything is bold and makes a statement, and yet, when taken all together, feels warm and inviting, which is just how Boyert wants it to be -- “a place that anyone could feel comfortable in.”

“I was the only kid,” she says. “Everyone else was like 80, and my mom was 30. I loved it so much. The woman who taught the class just traveled around the world and had tea, taught classes, and wrote about it. I was like, ‘That is what I want to do when I grow up.’” After a short-lived pursuit of an unfulfilling L.A. career in fashion, tea did become her life. She moved back to San Jose and began selling tea and building a following at local farmers’ markets. Concurrently, her mom worked at Teavana to learn the business side of how to retail tea, and a short two years later, the mother/daughter duo opened Satori’s doors for business. “Tea is way more than just a beverage,” Boyert says. “It’s a way to break the ice and talk to people. When I’m brewing your tea, you’re going to have to talk to me because what else are you going to do? So to me it’s more of a conversation.” Satori is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) and exclusively serves and sells Boyert’s own branded organic and all-natural tea blends. She spends her Mondays “off” growing the wholesale side of her business. Obviously a very busy woman, she makes pursuing one’s life passion look like cake but admits that she also has to work at maintaining a work-life balance. She says, “You just have to force yourself to make the time; it’s very easy to get caught up.” If her calm, peppy demeanor and chic outfit are any indicator, she’s got the work-life balance down pretty well. We adore her simple, colorful dress paired with lots of gold jewelery. As we munch on scrumptious scones, Boyert’s mom interrupts to inquire if a certain customer takes sugar in his tea. Without missing a beat, Boyert responds, “No sugar, just milk.” She looks at us and demurely explains, “I have everyone’s order memorized. I don’t know why I remember these things.” We think it may be because tea isn’t just tea at Satori. And for Boyert, it’s probably all just in a day’s conversations.

Decor aside, Satori’s main emphasis is on serving quality tea, an area of expertise for Boyert and one that started at an early age. While most kids dressed up and put on mock tea parties in their living rooms, Boyert was busy taking classes on how to serve “proper” afternoon English tea with her mom.

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7 Things to Know About Tea By Sobrina Tung Tori Boyert promises tea isn’t as hard to brew as some people might think. As she puts it, “You just have to put tea in water and you need a way to remove the leaves from the water.” She shares tea brewing tips and facts below. • Tea comes from one plant, the camellia sinensis. • There are many tea varietals. What distinguishes them are their oxidation levels. White tea is just dried. The leaves are plucked and they’re air-dried. Green teas are plucked and then slightly manipulated (rolled). In Japan they steam the leaves, while in China they pan-fire them. Green tea has very low oxidation levels. Oolong is in between a green and a black tea. Huge variety exists among oolong teas; they range from very lightly oxidized to almost completely oxidized. Black tea is fully oxidized. • Teas can range from very light flavors to the extremely robust. Here are Tori’s general descriptions for each: White tea: light in flavor, hay-like Green tea: vegetal and grassy; ranges from sweet and smooth to toasty Oolong: floral, toasty, charcoal, nutty Black tea: the most full-bodied tea; malty, muscatel • Best brewing apparatus: a simple teapot. Use a strainer to strain tea leaves out of your cup. Filter bags also work well-they’re large which allows tea leaves to expand fully and unfurl. • Use approximately 1 tsp of tea leaves per cup. • Brew time recommendations (adjust to suit your own personal taste): White, green, and oolong teas: about 3 minutes Black tea: 3-5 minutes Pu’erh: 3-6 minutes Herbals: 5 minutes Q: Are tea bags bad? Tori’s Answer: Mostly yes. You can have good quality tea in tea bags, however, 99% of the time the best quality tea will be reserved for loose leaf tea consumption. Normally in tea bags you get the dust -- just the broken pieces. The three enemies of tea are light, air, and moisture. Tea bags have so much handling involved, they lose a lot of the oils and aroma. At the end of the day you probably won’t get a quality cup. To learn even more about tea, check out Satori’s guide on how to brew a perfect cup of tea

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THE USUALS Photography—Daniel Garcia / Styling—Sobrina Tung / Assistant—Sarah Hale Hair and Make-up—Nathan Nguyen, Try Serino, Umbrella Salon Graphic Design—Daniel Tran, I AM Design / Clothing—The Usuals Stylist Coordinator—Khiem Hoang, Co–Founder Umbrella Salon Models—Carly and Sam, Halvorson Model Management / Andie, Scout Model & Talent



Melinda Mae Clutch / Bela Koi Button Necklace / 03 Everly Ruffled Candy Stripe Dress / Tulle Audrey Mustard Coat


Fibre Arts Georgie Bag / Bela Koi Flower Necklace / 03 Everly Sail Away Dress / Bela Koi Button Ring


Gramercy Oxford Shirt / Patterned Tie / Linen Pants


U s u a l S u s p e c t s Te e / A I & A I N e c k w a r m e r / Gramercy Straight Leg Jeans


Boy—Fibre Arts Bakku Bag / Gramercy Oxford Shirt / Linen Pants Girl—Bela Koi Button Necklace / 03 Everly Ruffled Candy Stripe Dress Girl—03 Everly Sail Away Dress / Bela Koi Flower Necklace / Bela Koi Button Ring


Melinda Mae Clutch


C l o s e t I n v a d e r Tu b e To p / S h a n n o n A m i d o n D o u b l e F e a t h e r E a r r i n g s / Mi l i t a r y Pa n t s


C l o s e t I n v a d e r Ta n k / S h a n n o n A m i d o n S i n g l e F e a t h e r E a r r i n g s / AI & AI Ruched Skirt / Fibre Arts Riva Satchel

NIGEL WHO? Photography-Daniel Garcia Model-Victoria from Halvorson Model Management. Hair and Make-up-Danielle Randleman, Shoot Assistant-SarahHale




Dresses from Nigel Who? Fall/Winter 2011 Collection Nigel Who? Fashion Show July 9th SEAT RESERVATION: 408 . 352 . 5834




From left to right: 1. Victoria Felicity’s passion for photography grew while she was living abroad. After recently relocating to her home town San Jose she has honed her passion focusing on live music and life style portrait photography. “Passion and art is birthed from your spirit not from theclasses you take. It’s inspiration from your experiences and a will to never stop seeing the world differently.” 2. Aleksandra Bulatskaya Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Alex loved writing poetry and fiction since learning the alphabet. She received a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies with a minor in journalism and creative writing from San Jose State University. Her work has appeared in SOMA Magazine and her love of avantgarde art led her to styling conceptualized photos for Access Magazine and creating her blog, You can find her at a food rave or scouring antique shops for a vintage typewriter. 3. Stacy Ernst Stacy Ernst is passionate San Jose native who loves learning about the journey others have embarked upon. She graduated from San Jose State University with B.A. in Communication Studies and enjoys spending time with her humorous and supportive husband, Robbie. She is a die-hard Rick Steves fan and loves to travel the world. Although traveling is a favorite pastime, Stacy loves being able to discover the creativity and innovation her city has to offer. 4. Sobrina Tung Born and raised in San Jose, Sobrina has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Walnut Creek but has found that the availability of parking and friendly people in San Jose just can’t be beat. She loves the delicious and whimsical aspects of life. In addition to her writing and styling contributions for Content Magazine, you can find her musings on delightful things to eat, see and wear on her blog at 5. Steveyann Jensen Steveyann is a full time design student finishing up her coursework in Interior Design at West Valley College and currently works for a design firm in Los Gatos. She was born and raised in Santa Cruz and now resides there with her husband. If she isn’t studying hard or working on a project, you can find her pouring over design and fashion blogs and magazines for inspiration. “I love how design can drastically alter how we interact with or respond to a space; it can effect our emotions and mood, and I love that we have the ability to create and shape that experience. There are so many different options, design never gets boring!” 6. Kevin Kempis As a recent graduate of the Academy of Art University Kevin has been immeresed in the design world for 7+ years. Throughout his career he has lead creative initatives for companies such as and Sephora. With his years of experience and now a designer at Kevin has realized the value of communicating a brand not only through the compelling stimulation of visuals but through the avenue of strategy and the understanding of current cultural landscapes. He is also an avid enthusiest of reality television, The Giants and Tang. Mostly Tang. To view his personal work go to 7. Mary Matlack Born and raised in the suburbs of San Jose, Mary is a crazy advocate of all things local. With a freezer stocked with locally raised meat and poultry, eggs, vegetables and fruit direct from the farmer, she is wondering what’s next – a dairy cow? Mary’s husband, two kids and neighbors would prefer if she would just focus on her other passion - rediscovering the charms and the spirit of San Jose and sharing that with others.



Contributor’s Notes Issue 3.1 May/June 2011 Lately, I have been thinking a lot about design. Probably because I have been slightly obsessed with the “feel” of Content and trying to cultivate a team that can reflect our goals of discovering and displaying the creative and innovative culture of San Jose. But also, I have been doing some self-reflections on who I am and what I am about. And, in this process, I have found several sources that inspire me and have begun to compile a list of authors, entrepreneurs, and artists that continue to challenge me to live courageously and generously. In Issue 3.1 we present some of the people on that list and who have been a part of my growing curiosity for life and the life in San Jose. Each one of these profiles demonstrates a consistent theme of life that reflects the very essence of how the world is designed. Whoever you are, whatever your interests, we are designed to produce. Not merely products to make a living, but to strive to have our gifts and talents materialize for the benefit of others. We hope you like what’s inside this issue and that you are inspired to live out how you are designed. Daniel Garcia Cultivator



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Issue 3.1  

Content Magazine interview Alfredo Muccino, Beverly Zeiss and Nigel Who? Designer Ronnie Bogle.

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