CONTENT Silicon Valleyâ€™s Innovative and Creative Culture
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FUTURE 9.3 $9.95
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CONTENT Issue 9.3 “Future” July / August 2017
The Makers: Cultivator Daniel Garcia
Editors Odile Sullivan-Tarazi Vila Schwindt, Elizabeth Sullivan Kelsy Thompson, Grace Olivieri Laura Larson, Katherine Hypes Brand Director Julia Canavese Production Kristen Pfund Circulation/Distribution Elle Mitchell
Designers Elle Mitchell, Maggie Moore Photographers Stan Olszewski, Arabela Espinoza Scott MacDonald, Jay Aguilar Writers Tad Malone, Kate Evans Michelle Runde, Nathan Zanon Diane Solomon, Daniel Codella Johanna Hickle, Brandon Roos Brandi Stansbury, Francisco Alvarado Thomas Ulrich, Tracy Lee Summer Interns Haley Kim, Nick Panoutsos, Rashi Gupta
Publisher Silicon Valley Creates
I am a “futurist.” At least, that is one of the personality traits that Gallup StrengthsFinder assigns me, and I think it is true. I am always looking forward to the next thing. Even in the middle of working on one project, I am already itching to start something new. Living in Silicon Valley, there is a lot of talk about the next, the new, and the future. Cutting-edge technologies are being worked on here in our own backyard—two of the latest: virtual reality and augmented reality—and living here, we have access to the right people to talk to about what’s new, what’s next. And often the opportunity to try these technologies out early on. In this issue, we are excited to offer a sample of some of the pioneers of change. And though we are looking forward even to traveling to the moon, the future is not limited to technology. It can be a new building project, a new approach to art, a new vintage, or even a new career. Each one of these can be challenging and exhilarating. But in the end, we have a responsibility to help shape, build, and mold both our personal and our communal future. What will your future hold? Enjoy.
Daniel Garcia The Cultivator
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Content Future 9.3 July/August 2017 San Jose, California
Napa Valley, Ca
Art & Design
10 14 18 22
Artist, mr.harada Lola + Kenneth, Kenneth Ronquillo Nikalabs, Ali Tassavor SJ Digi, Ronnie Patania
26 28 30 34 40 44 48 52
mr.harada, pg. 10
Food & Drink
60 64 68 70 74
2nd Story Bakeshop, Cailin Bryant & Christy Ikezi Ridge Vineyards Pizzetta 408, David Perez The Catamount, Ray Tang Summer Cocktail, The Fountainhead Bar
76 78 80 82
Dav @ActivePoet, Davied Morales DJ Salty Sherilyn Summer Fest, San Jose Jazz Profiles Album Picks, Ungramr
DJ Salty Sherilyn, pg. 78
84 Headspace, Daniel Garcia & Arabela Espinoza
92 Author, Paulette Boudreaux 94 96 97 99
Content Calendar Content Contributors Walk San Jose, Mayfair-Arbuckle Content Partners
Headspace, pg. 84
The Catamount, pg. 70
SPACES THAT INSPIRE
The right environment connects ideas and sparks innovation.
Next-level meeting spaces at sanjose.org San Jose McEnery Convention Center The historic California Theatre The historic City National Civic The historic Center for the Performing Arts The historic Montgomery Theater and more
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Need an escape? Don’t have a lot of time? Living in Silicon Valley provides you with all kinds of options for a short getaway. From the beach to the mountains, wineries to windsurfing, the South Bay is one of the best hubs for launching into world-class scenery and activities. So why not take a day trip?
Napa Valley, Ca. Written by Lynn Peithman Stock Photography by Daniel Garcia It’s 10 o’clock in the morning in Napa Valley and your first stop is a winery for a wine tasting. Yes, you read that correctly. 10am...wine...tasting. Welcome to Napa wine country, one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world. And you’d better start early if you want to get a full day in. But it’ll be a day of beautiful scenery, a touch of history, a lot of wine swirling, some tasting, and even a bit of wine dumping (you don’t have to actually drink it all; pouring some out is encouraged). That said, if you visit Napa Valley for only a day, you’re likely to find that touring three wineries is the max. And while some welcome walk-ins, tastings by reservation will give you the best experience. So let’s back up. Yes, you should have breakfast and something in your tummy before you start to imbibe, er, taste. Gillwoods Cafe in the heart of St. Helena is a good starting point. Get there before 8:30am to avoid the lines and enjoy their traditional breakfast selections. Instead of country potatoes, ask for their roasted tomatoes as a side. If you’d rather start on the northern end of the valley, try Cafe Sarafornia in Calistoga for breakfast. Your first winery should be Silver Oak Cellars in Oakville. This is one of the best tours in Napa Valley. The tour guides are entertaining and knowledgeable...and they often take a bottle or two along and keep refilling glasses. Plan ahead and reserve one
of their tours, which start at $40 a person. Now it’s time for lunch. Keep in mind that (even though the weekend traffic on Highway 9 screams a different scenario) Napa County’s Winery Definition Ordinance aims to keep this area an agricultural region, not touristy. This means most wineries do not allow picnics on their grounds. An exception is V. Sattui Winery. This is one of the few wineries in Napa Valley where you will find an extensive deli/grocery/gift shop onsite. Few wineries have such commercial enterprises on their property, but places like V. Sattui (and Inglenook) have been around so long they are grandfathered in. Because of that, V. Sattui’s deli can get crowded. If you’re enjoying the day with a partner, you might want to split up once inside: one heading to the sandwich counter (check out the tri-tip sandwich), while the other scours the store for wine and dessert. Or just scoop up a loaf of bread, chunks of cheese, and a ready-to-go packet of plates, napkins, and environmentally friendly utensils. Then find a bench outside to scarf up your sustenance for the afternoon round of wine tastings. If you would rather have a more leisurely lunch, make reservations at Rutherford Grill. From lighter fare (like the Caesar and Rock Shrimp Salad) to more hearty selections (Barbecue Pork Ribs with coleslaw), as well as a variety of burgers, you’ll be sated for your next two wineries.
The next stop, Inglenook, offers up a healthy dose of Napa Valley history, not to mention a celebrity name. Plus it is one of the most beautiful wineries in the valley. Dating back to 1879, this is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s wineries and it’s rich in Napa Valley history. The $45-per-person tour starts with a glass of their refreshing white blend, Blancaneaux, in another rare Napa gift shop, the most elegant you’ll find in the area. Next, the tour guide takes you into the vineyard, which overlooks Coppola’s home. The visit ends with a group sit-down tasting, and a dash of more history of the wines and families behind the winery. End your day at the low-key and bucolic Frog’s Leap Winery. The main building, styled as a country farmhouse, has indoor, porch, and outdoor seats for their tastings. The setting overlooks their organic gardens. With its laid-back, relaxing vibe, this makes for a perfect final winery of the day. On your way out, stop by Findings to pick up some wine-related souvenirs. Rabbit Rabbit Fair Trade is worth a visit too, for their eclectic fair-trade home décor, children’s gifts, and stationery. If you’re not staying the night, you should grab a bite to eat before you head back down the road. Cook St. Helena serves simple Northern Italian fare in a small, cozy restaurant on St. Helena’s Main Street. The perfect way to close out a perfect day.
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1313 Main St St. Helena, CA 94574 707.963.1788
1413 Lincoln Ave Calistoga, CA 94515 707.942.0555
Silver Oak Cellars
915 Oakville Cross Rd Oakville, CA 94562 707.942.7022 silveroak.com
V. Sattui Winery
1111 White Lane St. Helena, CA 94574 707.963.7774
1180 Rutherford Rd Rutherford, CA 94573 707.963.1792 rutherfordgrill.com
1991 St Helena Hwy Rutherford, CA 94573 800.782.4266 inglenook.com
Cook St. Helena
Frog’s Leap Winery
8815 Conn Creek Rd Rutherford, CA 94573 707.963.4704 frogsleap.com V. Sattui Winery
Gayle’s Rabbit Bakery Fair & Rosticceria Rabbit Trade
1371 Main St St. Helena, CA 94574 707.963.6000
Welcome to Napa County, CA
Rabbit Rabbit Fair Trade
Population: 141, 667
1327 Main St St. Helena, CA 94574 707.968.9182 baksheeshfairtrade.com
Napa County is the epicenter of Napa Valley, which loosely encompasses one of world’s most highly regarded wine-growing regions. Cities include Napa to the south and Calistoga to the north, as well as Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Yountville, and American Canyon. St. Helena has a very charming Main Street, as does Calistoga with its Lincoln Avenue. The towns of Napa and American Canyon are much more commercial centers.
Cook St. Helena
1310 Main St St. Helena, CA 94574 707.963.7088
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“I CREATE THINGS IN A WAY THAT IS SO STRAIGHTFORWARD, YET OPEN TO THE IMAGINATION AT THE SAME TIME.” _mr.harada
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mr.harada Written by Tad Malone Photography by Daniel Garcia
Finding artistic harmony using dry, confessional humor and spontaneity
eremiah Harada (mr.harada) is a man of contradictions. The San Jose–based artist, best known for his slight, sardonic illustrations, is on a mission to grow as both an artist and a person, without sacrificing that part of him that makes art his own way. Originally from Seattle, mr.harada has spent much of his life in San Jose. A graduate of Del Mar High School, he moved down to Huntington Beach in search of opportunities in the skate industry—before moving back up north and settling in with a local San Jose skate-crew-turned-skate-legend: The Tiltmode Army. “It’s the people I grew up with,” he says about the support system that pushed him in a fully creative direction. He also credits skateboarding—particularly the tongue-in-cheek decadence and satire of early 2000s skateboarding magazines—with inspiring his art. But mr.harada always made art, and his family recognized this, too. Drawing consumed his life from an early age. “I knew I could draw but I never took it seriously,” he says. Art was just something he did in his spare time. “I didn’t want to read any art books or have any influences. I saw what was out there, and frankly, I didn’t want to know more about it,” he says. Instead, mr.harada approaches his creations in his own inimitable way. Working mostly in pen and acrylics—or even Sharpie on napkin—he creates singular portraits of humor, exasperation, and suffering. Often
manifested through spare, cartoonish figures and cursive slogans or phrases, mr.harada reflects his own journey through misery, joy, and humor. “My work is informed a lot by the pain of love and relationships, and I take an almost light-hearted, silly, and sarcastic way of approaching it,” he says about his flat yet striking portraits. “I create things in a way that is so straightforward, yet open to the imagination at the same time.” One-quarter Japanese, mr.harada goes by his last name—only formalized—as both a tongue-in-cheek reference to mysterious noms de plume, as well as a reflection of his own cynical nature. His first real gig was for Enjoi Skateboards, where he designed graphics for a series of decks. He then showed his work at the former Phantom Galleries. From there, things started taking off, and at last, he began to take his vocation as an artist seriously. Currently he works for Metro Silicon Valley, where he illustrates the “Barfly” column. He also holds a spot at Local Color, a gargantuan space in downtown San Jose full of working artists and creative types. The spot has impressed upon him the importance of being an integral part of his community— both artistically and personally. “It’s about pushing and supporting each other,” he says. “Not networking to get ahead, but having a collective understanding of resources and opportunities.”
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Lola + Kenneth Collaboration Written by Francisco Alvarado Photography by Daniel Garcia
society6.com/lolaxkenneth instagram: lolaxkenneth
here’s a difference between your job and your work. Your job pays the bills and ends after eight hours each day. Your work is what lives beyond your lifetime, what bears your mark. Your work is your legacy. This is the credo that San Jose artist Kenneth Ronquillo lives by. “A job is what you leave behind at the end of the day. Work is what you leave behind at the end of a lifetime,” he says. Ronquillo’s work is to tell the story of a lifetime, the story of the work his grandmother Crescenciana left behind. “I am the living expression of her work,” Ronquillo says. “It’s my responsibility to make sure her work is good.” That expression—and that responsibility— take form in the Lola x Kenneth Collaboration, a series of artworks created by Kenneth and his grandmother, whom he calls Lola. Lola started all the pieces by painting strokes of different lengths and widths and shades using watercolors, and Ronquillo finishes the paintings by filling them in with drawings. The drawings are based on his conversations with Lola, her memories, and sometimes how she felt that particular day. Their source material is quite extensive, as Lola lived to the age of 96. She lived through World War II, raised two family generations, worked countless jobs to support that family, and served as a source of strength for Ronquillo whenever he needed it. When his source of strength needed support, Ronquillo moved back home from Los Angeles. At the end of a contract at a job he didn’t like, he was asked by his mother to return home to help with the care of his Lola. Ronquillo made the decision to return to San Jose without hesitation. “I don’t feel like I made any kind of sacrifices,” Ronquillo says, reflecting on the career he quit to be with his family. “In an alternate universe I’m in a job I don’t like, not making much money, and I’m certain [my alter ego] is regretting not spending time with his Lola.” The time he spent with Lola from 2014 until her death in December 2016 brought out in Ronquillo the
artist he always wanted to be. “I was getting further and further away from my dreams and goals,” he says. “I had to come home to make my dreams come true.” Those dreams began with a love for the art in comic books and drawing on anything he could find, even the family growth charts. That love went into hiding as Ronquillo grew older, and he didn’t see art as a way to earn a living. “I used to make choices out of fear,” Ronquillo says. That changed when he expressed his fear of failing grad school to Lola. “Why scared? Discover,” Lola replied. “What is fear? You fight it.” Art is his work now. Telling Lola’s story is his work now. He is no longer afraid. He wants to discover. What Ronquillo discovered is that his work with Lola was appreciated. The duo were asked to serve as judges for art contests, give interviews for Asian American broadcasts, and even make appearances at Filipino community festivals. “We got to meet the news anchors we’d see come on after Jeopardy,” Ronquillo laughs. He also discovered that he needed her to actually do something he loved. The art that started as an alternative to watching television all day developed into a creative flame in them both, producing piece after piece, some of which are still waiting to be completed. Ronquillo is hesitant to complete those works that Lola left behind, even though his stated goal is to finish everything she started. “There’s going to be a point where I draw on all the paintings she left behind and there’s nothing for me to do,” he says sorrowfully. But Ronquillo is brave now, and completing the paintings is part of his work. “She left her story in my hands,” he says. “We are still a collaboration.” Each new addition to the Lola x Kenneth Collaboration is an homage to his Lola, his greatest inspiration. There’s a difference between your job and your work. Ronquillo’s work is to tell his story through art. And his story is truly that of Crescenciana Carbonel Tan, his beloved Lola.
“The client gets really excited when they see they’re being the creatives too.” _Ali Tassavor
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NIKALABS Agency nikalabs.com instagram: nikalabs_agency
li Tassavor, founder of the San Jose–based creative agency Nikalabs, describes web design as “a hobby that became a career.” Born in Iran, Tassavor moved to the US in 1998 to attend San Jose State University. It being the height of the early dot-com boom, he was eager to familiarize himself with web design. Instead, he studied machine information systems. “There wasn’t really a web design major,” he explains. “I was interested in web and digital things, but everything I learned was basically on my own. So the major didn’t really help.” He learned enough on his own to get steady freelance work, which he did on the side for years while taking on a variety of jobs in the startup world. Finally, in 2010, after the company he was working for was bought out by Disney, he decided to become his own boss and turn his side hustle into a full-time commitment. The one-man operation soon expanded from simple web design projects to more complex branding and advertising campaigns, and Nikalabs was born. As the company grew, they opened a small office in Campbell. This past January, after a recent boom in projects and a need to hire more employees, they moved to downtown San Jose. “We doubled the size of the company within six months—we went from five people to ten,” Tassavor says. “A few of the things we recently launched were in the enterprise level size; it got us on the map. We’re getting a lot of good projects that we’re interested in. We’re getting contacted by companies, and we’re surprised they’re reaching out to us. For the first time, we submitted works to the ADDY Awards, and we won a few.” One of the additions is Ayman EshaghPour as the new creative director, bringing experience with global agencies and a creative background to the company. “His background is creative and mine
is digital, so we make a good combination,” says Tassavor, who’s also excited about the diversity of his team, which has a mix of backgrounds from around the world. “Now we have people on the team who are really focused on branding and messaging, so we have a full-service agency,” he says. “We can help companies from branding to websites, apps, and digital marketing.” Today, Nikalabs is attracting a lot of local companies, which is how Tassavor prefers it. “I would say 95 percent of our clients are in the Bay Area. We love the face-to-face interactions.” Nikalabs tackles projects a bit differently than other agencies. The client is involved throughout the entire development process. “Everybody collaborates: the client, team, and us,” explains Tassavor. “We’ve seen that doing two- to three-hour workshops with the client speeds up the whole process. The client gets really excited when they see they’re being the creatives too. We’re not the only ones. Everyone is a creative.” Nikalabs’ process is collaboration in its most basic form. The formula seems to be working. As Nikalabs continues to grow its portfolio—from small, local construction companies to Silicon Valley startups to huge national brands like FedEx—their collaborative style brings both visual beauty and technical expertise to the final products. They offer a full suite of creative solutions, including strategic branding and positioning, all kinds of advertising, and even things like food packaging. “We’re really optimistic and excited about this year; things have been going great. We love the space that we moved into downtown. It has a super nice backyard. It has helped us a lot, both internally and outside. People come and check out the space, and they see the creative environment. It’s exciting times for us.”
Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by daniel garcia
William Quan | Mitchell Morrison | Ayman EshaghPour | Elaheh Tassavor | Ali Tassavor | Amir Shobeiri
Kim Ross Production Manager
Ronnie Patania Creative Director
Philip Solis Recreation Supervisor
Valerie Ervin Youth Cultivator
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SJ DIGI EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH THE ARTS Interview by Brandi Stansbury Photography by Daniel Garcia
sjdigitalarts.org instagram: sjdigitalarts
s Silicon Valley increasingly becomes a global example of cutting-edge technology, SJ Digi is ensuring that lessons in technology are passed down to younger generations. Through camps, mentorship programs, and in-school programming, SJ Digi aims to serve underrepresented communities and empower youth through the arts. The creative director, Ronnie Patania, offers insights into the inner workings of the dynamic organization. Can you briefly describe SJ Digi and what it offers? SJ Digi is a communitybased organization that offers both in-school and after-school educational experiences in digital arts for the youth (13–24) of San Jose. We focus on selfgrowth and social awareness using digital art mediums such as music production and recording, digital cinema, digital photography, graphic design, and illustration. Our foundation is creating projects like music videos, music recordings, and short films with the kids in the most underserved communities in San Jose. SJ Digi is powered by the City of San Jose and Silicon Valley Creates. How did SJ Digi come to be? In 2011, I came to the Seven Trees Community Center with an idea and a passion to deliver music and digital arts in a new way. Since then I—along with other very passionate individuals, Philip Solis, Kim Ross, Marlo Custodio, Ed Solis, Valerie Ervin, Peter Pheap, and many others— have had the privilege of growing this organization from a volunteer program into a multicentered program that serves thousands and that continues to expand with many powerful partners and companies. How do you see your work positively impacting San Jose? The funny thing is that I couldn’t wait to escape San Jose, and at 18 years old, I moved to the other side of the country in the Bronx, New York. When I think about the kids today in our program, I think about my mentality as a young artist at that time and what drove my decision. I hope that this program sparks a creative culture among the youth here and inspires them to help shape and mold the city that raised them. There are so many resources in this city, but unfortunately many of our youth are underserved when it comes to the arts and technology. I see this program truly providing not only a balance but also an advantage to kids from East San Jose and all underserved communities.
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“THE ARTS REQUIRE TRUST. WHEN OUR STUDENTS CREATE WITH US, THEY ALSO TRUST US WITH SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THEIR LIVES.” What kinds of events does SJ Digi participate in? Providing platforms for our students’ work is at the core of our program. Through our partnerships, we look for opportunities for our students to experience performance at the highest capacity. For the past three years, our students have opened for the Comedy for Kids event at the SAP Center. Seeing our students step on that stage, watch themselves on the jumbotron, and get the response from the audience has been amazing. Last September we were able to host our own music stage at the Arena Green Park during Viva Calle. Through our strong partnership with SVCreates, our film students are able to showcase their work at the annual San Jose International Short Film Festival at the CineArts Theatre on Santana Row. Recently, we have collaborated with San Jose Jazz and the Downtown Association and had our students create a pop-up performance in front of the Hammer Theatre. In March, we hosted the second annual Young Creators Symposium at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. This event provides a platform for over two hundred San Jose high school students to interact with industry professionals and to use innovative tools, allowing them to experience the digital arts in a dynamic way. So, you see the arts as empowering kids? To me, creativity provides hope and control. Our youth are forced to deal with some very harsh circumstances in their lives, and by providing opportunities to create something tangible, I’ve witnessed some extremely inspiring stories of growth and success. One important piece of what this program does, that most people do not get to see, is the mentorship side. The arts require trust. When our students create with us, they also trust us with some of the most important elements of their lives. Our media mentors are amazing people who not only share their craft but are able also to connect with the students as big brothers and sisters. Where can people sign up for SJ Digi’s programs? SJ Digi is offered, at no cost, to middle school and high school students at the Seven Trees and Roosevelt Community Centers in the afternoons after school from 2:30 to 6:30. Summer camp registration can be found at sjsummer.org. High school teachers can request us to support their classes by emailing us. How can community members support SJ Digi? The original concept was the idea of passionate creatives equipped with industry-leading tools operating in the most underserved communities in San Jose. This is still alive today. We encourage professional artists in the community to come and work with us and our students in the classroom as teaching artists, at one of our after-school sites, or on a project at one of our professional partners’ studios such as Suspect Studios or Mac House Productions. All community members can support us by making sure that the youth in their neighborhoods are aware that our program and resources exist and are available to them. Any success stories you’d like to share? All of the students who have engaged in our program by committing to projects and performances for more than one year have gone on to pursue higher education, with many of them studying the arts. I cannot share the details of our students’ struggles, but we as a family share small success stories every day. The fact that our students come through our studio doors by choice, instead of getting involved with other activities in the neighborhood, is a huge success.
“NOT A LOT NEEDS TO CHANGE STRUCTURALLY IN THE WAY PEOPLE LEARN, BUT TEACHERS NEED MORE HELP.”
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Shmoop Written by johanna hickle Photography by Arabela Espinoza
COMEDIC RELIEF AS THE REMEDY TO REVIVING FATIGUED STUDENTS shmoop.com twitter: shmoop
umor is an extrovert. Isolate him to his own company, confine him to stand-up comedy acts and a stage, and you quash his versatility. But if allowed to socialize and mingle with a crowd of other topics and fields, he will flourish. Education is one field that often finds itself quarantined from humor. Who among us departed adolescence unscathed by the dreaded textbook? The monotone voice, the many pages with large word counts, the incessant barrage of fact after fact after fact—is it any wonder that students feel beaten down? David Siminoff, chief creative officer and founder of teaching website Shmoop, sees comedic relief as the remedy to reviving fatigued students. As he sees it, “learning shouldn’t feel like a root canal.” When asked about Shmoop’s unusual name, Siminoff responds, “It was my grandmother’s catch phrase for pushing something forward a little bit. She would say, ‘Shmoop me my chocolates.’ ” Siminoff views the education system in a similar manner. “Not a lot needs to change structurally in the way people learn, but teachers need more help. You need a little more intimacy, a little more student engagement and motivation.” Evolution rather than revolution, he summarizes. Like CliffsNotes and SparkNotes, Shmoop offers countless resources (many of them free) in school subjects such as math, science, literature, and social studies. However, unlike its predecessors, Shmoop’s mission is to “speak student” in order to act as an “academic WD40 to take away friction from learning.” The online
courses and learning guides are infused with imagination, word-play, pop culture references, and wacky humor in the vein of Monty Python, The Big Bang Theory, and The Simpsons. Siminoff is responsible for penning all the original learning guides and continues contributing creatively, but he has his business-savvy wife, Ellen, to thank for the boost in revenue. It was Ellen who expanded Shmoop’s website, and it was Ellen who made the learning guides accessible to iPhones, Kindles, and NOOKs. She is now the company’s CEO. Even their two children, Sophie and Ben, have influenced the site. In fact, they are to thank for a special set of literary guides— the outcome of a persuasive argument favoring the literary merit of the Harry Potter series. As Shmoop gained popularity, it advanced to new territory. One added section for test prep combats foreboding acronyms like SAT and ACT. “Because if we can make something that’s ‘ohmigod awful’ simply ‘bad,’ we’ve really achieved a lot, believe it or not,” Siminoff chuckles. Other sections look beyond high school and address College Readiness Prep, College 101, and a careers page. And in order to accommodate visual and auditory learners, almost all of Shmoop’s pages are now accompanied by short, animated videos for further explanation. There are over five thousand of them—and they’re all narrated by Siminoff and his comedian’s drawl. “I’ll go in the studio for five or six hours at a time,” he says of the recording process.
Another constant staple throughout the Shmoop learning guides is concepts explained with the help of quirky metaphors. Polynomials are described as aliens that must be studied to understand their strange customs. Chemical bonding is romantic elements seeking stable relationships. And F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby is a “concoction of Real Housewives, a never-ending Academy Awards after-party, and HBO’s Sopranos. Shake over ice, add a twist of jazz, a spritz of adultery, and a little pink umbrella.” Though the work is gratifying, the job comes with its share of challenges. “It’s one thing to make jokes about politicians,” Siminoff says, “but it’s very hard to make jokes about question #87 on the Chemistry AP exam.” Fortunately, Siminoff has a strong team backing him. As Shmoop’s LinkedIn page explains, they hire “only the finest writers from the world’s finest long-haired learning institutions (read: PhD students from Stanford, Berkeley, and Harvard).” The Shmoop team regularly rallies around shared Google Docs docs to brainstorm, generating ideas by writing in the margins. “The jokes talk to everyone,” Siminoff says. “Shmoop is used equally by the poorest kid in South Philadelphia and the richest kid in some East Coast prep school.” The numbers speak for themselves— thousands of schools use Shmoop in their curriculum and over fifteen million students and teachers flock to the site each month. As Siminoff concludes, “Humor is wonderfully universal.”
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Dr.BobRichards Moon Express Written by Derek Haugen Photography by Stan Olszewski
Taking humanity back to the moon with the first ever commercial landings, slated for 2017 Founder Dr. Bob Richards
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“IF YOU’RE GOING TO VISIT THE MOON BASE, YOU MIGHT JUST BE TRAVELING ON THE MOON EXPRESS TO GET THERE.” _Dr. Bob Rcihards
n “orphan of Apollo” and founder of Moon Express in 2010. “Wonderful model aims to enable a Moon Rush. “We spacecraft company Moon Express, people like [Moon Express cofounders] ultimately are a space resource company. Dr. Bob Richards has been deeply Naveen Jain and Barney Pell, who weren’t I believe the moon is an eighth continent involved in the space industry all his life scared of big risks, really wanted to think with trillions of dollars’ worth of resources and is well on his way to offering the first big and change the world,” Richards that could benefit our growth as a human private shuttle to the moon. “As a boy, my says. “That’s really where I discovered the species in space and maybe even the earliest memories are of walking around Silicon Valley approach and culture that fit economics of Earth,” Richards says. “Our the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space this big bold vision and we were able to get engineering, our spacecraft, what we do as Center,” Richards says. “That was the era of Moon Express financed.” a business begins once we’re in space. If Apollo, the original Star Trek, and 2001: A In 2015, Moon Express transitioned you’ve got a rocket going our way, for the Space Odyssey. My generation grew up with from their startup phase and their right price, we’d love to hitch a ride. Once this belief that the future would be filled first series of funding rounds to their our spacecraft exits the rocket in Earth’s with exciting space exploration—and that operational launch phase in Cape orbit, then we take over and that’s where didn’t happen.” Richards adds that now his Canaveral. They’ll continue their work we collapse the cost of getting everywhere generation is working to create the future from the Space Coast. Their mission? To else. That’s what we’re concentrating on they believed they would have by now. expand Earth’s economic sphere beyond right now.” A native of Canada, Richards went on to the planet’s orbit and become the first Richards doesn’t see Moon Express study aerospace and industrial engineering private company to reach the moon. “The repeating past NASA missions like the at Ryerson University, physics and only spacecraft that have left Earth’s orbit Apollo program, but instead, ultimately astronomy at the University of Toronto, have been government spacecraft. All of providing a service to NASA, shuttling and space science at Cornell University, the spacecraft that the private sector are scientific lunar experiments back and where he became special assistant to the currently building are like coastal vessels— forth. “NASA excels when it’s pushing famed astronomer Carl Sagan. In the ’80s, ones that don’t go very far from shore— the boundaries of human experience, Sagan fueled Richards’ love of space— they’re just in low earth-orbit. The ones the frontiers of space that are so hard, so Mars in particular. that [Moon Express is] building are ones expensive, and so far away that no private In 2005, while working at a Canadian that will go into deep space, way beyond company would be able to attempt it,” he commercial space company providing the planet’s orbit and toward the moon,” explains. “What no government is good at, technology that flew aboard the Mars Richards says. “It will be the first time and what NASA should not be doing, is Phoenix Lander, Richards realized his it’s ever been done. It will redefine the routine, repetitive stuff. When something dream of taking part in a mission to Mars. possible—it will be the space equivalent hard is to be done once, it’s probably the * U N Dof E Rthe EM B A R G O Umile, N T I which L A U Gwill U Sinspire T 3 , 2 0 1 government’s 6** “It was a government mission. It was *very four-minute job. If something has an expensive, and being an entrepreneur many more new kids and college kids who opportunity to be done many times, it’s at heart, I was trying U toSimagine, ” R M O Olikely G O V E‘Isn’t R N M Eare N Tgoing A P to P Rsay O ‘IV can E S do P Lthat A Ntoo.’ FO N EaXbusiness P R E S opportunity.” S there a way that we could do this more Furthermore, Richards sees his As far as transporting civilians to the T O BWhat E C Owould M E Fthat I R Slook T Plike? R I V A Tcompany’s E C O M mission P A N Y igniting T O V Emore N T Uprivate RE BEY O N DRichards E A R Tsays H ’that S OitRisn’t B I Ta priority economically? moon, What kind of commercial business can be exploration beyond Earth’s orbit at a at the moment, but he wouldn’t limit the found beyond Earth’s orbit?’ That’s what fraction of the cost it took government vision of Moon Express. The robots that started me thinking about the moon.” superpowers to do in the 20th century. they will place on the moon—a task that Richards learned all he could about “When the US sent the first robots to the only government superpowers used to the potential of traveling to the moon, moon back in the ’60s, it was, in today’s do—will be enough to satisfy Richards particularly the economic viability of lunar dollars, a billion-dollar program. We are for now. “Putting humans in space safely resources. now talking about doing our own missions on other worlds is a thousand times more In 2008, he came to the NASA Ames to the moon for less than $10 million.” difficult and a thousand times more Research Center in Mountain View, to Lunar resources are at the heart of what expensive…That’s going to change, and prepare the 2009 Space Studies Program Moon Express hopes to gain. According it’ll change first with great companies like for the International Space University, to Richards, water is the oil of space and Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, who are an institution he cofounded. It was that the recent discovery of water on the moon going to give people the experience of same year that Richards, along with would turn our sister satellite into a giant popping up into space and back. That’ll Ray Kurzweil and others, cofounded gas station, refueling Earth’s spacecraft be followed by orbital adventures and Singularity University—located in on their way to further destinations like platforms in space…If you’re going to visit NASA Research Park at Moffett Field— Mars. Additionally, just as trains provided the moon base, you might just be traveling an institution that brought together the transportation for the Gold Rush, Moon on the Moon Express to get there.” minds that were instrumental in forming Express’s low-cost lunar transportation
moonexpress.com | facebook: moonexpress | twitter: moonex
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Gonzalo Juarez Written by Brandi Stansbury Photography by Daniel Garcia
etips.com instagram: etips.travel
emember lugging cumbersome guidebooks and unwieldy maps along on vacations? Now— thanks to brothers Gonzalo and Sebastian Juarez—you’ll know where you’re going without the heavy stuff. Their eTips travel apps are available online, specific to nearly any destination around the globe. Each app provides a comprehensive offline map and augmented reality so you can learn about countries, regions, national parks, cities, landmarks, and museums in real time. The headquarters for eTips is currently relocating to San Jose, and cofounder Gonzalo Juarez is happy they’ve landed in such a diverse city. Born in Switzerland and raised in Argentina, Gonzalo and Sebastian are truly citizens of the world. Gonzalo’s soccer skills led him to a scholarship at the University of Maine, where he studied business. He went on to work for Hewlett-Packard as a financial analyst in Switzerland. Then he and his brother began working together on eTips. Although Sebastian was in Buenos Aires working as a video game developer, they both knew they wanted more economic independence. In a pre-iPhone world, they built apps focused on tips—for example, how to make a cocktail, or how to speak in public. “We were just trying to do something in the mobile space because we knew there was something to be discovered,” Gonzalo explains.
When the iPhone came out, travel guides became their focus. Paper maps and books didn’t work for Gonzalo. And yet he likes reading about the cities, buildings, and history where he’s landing. Doing maps and guides was a natural fit, and Paris was the first city to inspire their passion. “Once we put the Paris app in the App Store, we started to see revenue. Then we were like, ‘Let’s do one hundred cities.’ ” Their work began in earnest. The brothers knew at least one of them needed to fully focus on the app. So they flipped a coin. Gonzalo won the toss, quit his job, and began working fulltime on eTips. To save money, he returned home, and by 2011, eTips was profitable. “I remember that day because it was the same month my son was born. We have a saying in Argentina that ‘every child comes with a loaf of bread,’ and it was so true with the birth of my son and the burgeoning success of our business.” As the company saw more success, they improved the product more and more to include photos and eventually augmented reality. “We were one of the first to use augmented reality in an app. With a travel guide, AR works with geo-localization so when you open your camera within the app, you can see where the local places of interest are,” Gonzalo says. Their thinking is that tourists shouldn’t need to ask questions, but can see local options for themselves.
â€œWe were one of the first to use augmented reality in an app.â€? _Gonzalo Juarez
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Augmented reality was in all their apps by 2012, and eTips travel apps are now available for hundreds of cities. When the iPad 2 was released, Tim Cook used the eTips Madrid guide in his keynote speech to demonstrate augmented reality. The Juarez brothers were elated, “We saw this and were so excited. We did something good for the traveler!” At this point the brothers knew that more apps for more cities were necessary. As the first company in the App Store to feature augmented reality for travel, they grew quickly from a “two brothers with laptops” operation to a team spread around the world and are now the largest publisher of travel guides— each specific to a country, region, national park, city, landmark, or museum. For the last five years, Gonzalo and Sebastian have attended the Apple Worldwide Developers
Conference, and had the opportunity to explore San Jose and the Bay Area. They decided it was time to come to Silicon Valley and join the big league players. “I’ve relocated my family to San Jose, and my brother is moving here soon,” Gonzalo says. His passion for the city doesn’t go unnoticed. After a tour of the city by Councilmember Raul Peralez, he’s been working with Team San Jose to create specific guides on the food, travel, and museums here. Gonzalo appreciates the area’s diversity, saying, “I love dropping my kids at school and speaking with the other parents. They’re from all over the world— Finland, India, Mexico, Sweden. People here get together for barbecues and talk about different cultures. I never found that in Europe. Silicon Valley brings amazing talent from across the globe. I love that.”
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Matthew Claypotch “Potch” Web Developer Advocate, Mozilla
Isaac Z. Schlueter Creator of npm and CEO of npm, Inc.
Web Platform Team, Google
lex Russell is senior staff software engineer on the web platform team in Chrome at Google. He runs standards efforts for Chrome and also leads the team in charge of designing and launching progressive web app (PWA) technologies. Alex and his team are working to change the way the web works by setting aside the current model of the web to think about how to get us to a brand new web. There is potential for a new web everywhere, converging in different groups and conversations. “There’s a vision of computing which is device centric. Another version is that everything comes from everybody—you don’t have to buy software from one vendor and you can use everything together,” Alex says. To make these visions reality, the first step is creating a web that doesn’t lock applications into proprietary platforms. With the current model, developers have to decide which platforms to build in. Companies choose whether to make desktop versions, smartwatch versions, web versions, or iPhone and Android versions of their app. The Google team is betting on the web as the best platform to build for distribution. Progressive web apps, a methodology for building web apps, is one example of a way forward. With PWAs, you build only for the web and don’t have to create the same experience on other platforms for a uniform user experience. But they can’t do it alone. Web standards must advance and other browsers must be on board. A key part to making the web accessible for all users is to make sure technology developed within the Chrome team is shared with everyone. “A lot of our colleagues work to make proprietary features, but our goal is to give our knowledge away as quickly as possible,” says Alex. Alex speaks highly of the joint efforts with others. “We love working with other browser teams to create standards. The strength of the web is that we have standards organizations to help make the web equal for everyone. I hope standardizing the web will create a better, more unified platform for us all.” chrome.com twitter: slightlylate
“NOW I’M THE HAPPIEST I’VE EVER BEEN, AND I’M THE MOST BROKE I’VE EVER BEEN.”
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JUSTIN LEMUS PhotoBloom AR Article and Photography by Daniel Garcia
PhotoBloomAR.com instagram: photobloomar
fter graduating from Willow Glen High School, Justin Lemus found his way to Los Angeles and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising to pursue a career in fashion. His ultimate dream was to launch his own clothing line. After working for several brands and helping others design items and accessories, he found himself working in sales for Alternative Apparel. Although it wasn’t what he’d set out to do, the money was good, he was in the industry, and he was learning a lot about business from the company’s founder, Greg Alterman. He figured he’d only stay a couple years, and then launch his own line. Seven years later, Justin was no longer enamored with the fashion scene. With some money saved up, he knew it was time for a change. “I was obsessed with Shark Tank and Kickstarter and just felt like I needed to invent something.” So, he began tinkering and decided to move back home to San Jose. At age 32, he felt it was time to take the risk before another seven years blew by. “So I quit. I really didn’t have any idea yet what I wanted to invent.” Once back at his parents’ house, Justin was going through some old knickknacks and came upon one of those photo cubes. You know, the clear plastic cube that you slide images into of you and your siblings bathing together, with big smiles and Santa soap beards. That faded,
forgotten cube sparked an idea that merged with Justin’s experience from design, sales, and having been around his parents’ print shop while growing up, and he began to develop and launch Cubee, the first backlit photo cube that displays your Instagram and mobile printed photos. In October 2014, even as Cubee was wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign, Justin was already thinking about and tinkering with what would come next. Amid the daily hustle of personally assembling thousands of Cubees for individual and bulk sales—for clients like Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn—Justin saw a news story about a Pixar designer who had made a children’s book using augmented reality. “Honestly, I hadn’t really heard of it before then, but I saw its potential for images and video.” So, although Cubee had just begun, Justin began researching technology for an AR platform and looking into the viability of this approach. He discovered several augmented reality services that focus on software as a service (SaaS) and on business to business (B2B) relationships, as well as advertisers looking to reach consumers with that technology. Justin thought, “What if we combine the consumer-friendly features of an online photo-making platform with the cuttingedge tech of an AR interactive print platform.” In collaboration with a developer who specializes in augmented reality, he prototyped “CubeeAR”
to play off the growing platform of Cubee. The goal was to figure out a way an AR interactive print platform could bring an individual’s videos that sit hidden on a mobile device to a real-world product with a tangible showcase. When he reached out to venture capitalists, angels, and funders here in Silicon Valley, the concept received an overwhelmingly positive response. “No one’s ever told me no,” Justin says. “It’s more like, ‘Hey, you’re onto something. You’re just not quite there.’” But Justin wasn’t discouraged. His sales experience had taught him persistence. Also, he’s learned that VCs actually offer good advice and that he should consider their suggestions and pivot if he needs to. One of the suggestions investors gave him was to not focus on one product but on a platform, which is more diverse and scalable, and which has other markets that can be developed. So Justin has done just that and renamed his product PhotoBloom AR. Driven by Justin’s vision, PhotoBloom AR has been in development and stealth mode for the last three years. His belief in himself and desire to give it his all matter
more than what others think. “My own family members were like, ‘Dude, you’ve been doing this way too long. Come on, man, you’ve gotta give this up. It’s time to get a job.’ But I’m like, ‘Dude, I can’t give up now. I’m so close.’” Three days later he was accepted into Santa Cruz Accelerates. Justin excitedly explains what a great step this is for bringing PhotoBloom AR to market. Recently, after connecting with several supporters and one main angel in particular, someone who has advised several Silicon Valley tech companies, Justin is poised to make his project more visual and hopes to launch this summer. Seeing the potential of a $5 billion ($9 billion by 2020) market and with an eye on the progress AR technology has already made, Justin isn’t looking back. “I worked in an industry where I was making a lot of money but wasn’t happy,” he says. “Now I’m the most broke I’ve ever been, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.” In the next four years, AR and VR together will have a predicted $120 billion industry. With his passion and ideas, and with the AR interface, Justin Lemus’s product line can be expected to bloom.
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DREAM LOGIC Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel garcia
TECHNOLOGY AS AN ART FORM
n October of last year, more than five hundred attendees filtered through the gallery doors of The Laundry—and found themselves transported into a technological dream world straight from the pages of a science fiction novel. Over two dozen artists and technologists had converted the space into a bewitching labyrinth of electronic devices and wires. The lights were dimmed. Projectors caused phosphorescent colors to flash, flow, and flex over walls and faces. People wearing large headsets over their eyes reacted to unseen stimuli—craning their necks and caressing the air with outstretched hands. This was Dream Logic’s first art show, The Art of Dying, an event that harnessed virtual and augmented realities to discuss the taboo subject of mortality. Before diving into the details of this show, you’ll want to meet the minds behind it. After all, what is a creation without its creator? The founders and curators behind it all are Kelly Vicars and Lindsay Saunders. Kelly is the creative spirit. Among other things, she creates graphic design for the business and gives input on decorating rooms for the shows. Besides her work with Dream Logic, she is currently working on converting a Boeing 747 airplane for Burning Man. Lindsay, by contrast, is the businesswoman. Anything to do with number crunching falls to her, be that budgeting, handling taxes, or coming up with solutions for reducing the waiting times of large cues for shows. She’s a problem solver, with a mind for fixing what she reflexively calls “glitches.” The two women met at a virtual reality (VR) workshop last April. Lindsay came as an attendee. After curating an augmented reality (AR) art show in Brooklyn and producing a live theater play that incorporated VR into the performance, she decided it was about time to get some hands-on experience. Kelly was the class’s organizer. As fate would have it, the two women ended up on the same couch. Kelly was captivated by Lindsay’s descriptions of paring VR with art. They realized that San Francisco—a city alive with artists and technologists—would be an ideal location for such a phenomenon. It wasn’t long before they were brainstorming ways to entwine these two fields. The name for their endeavor, Dream Logic, presented itself when they began noticing parallels between VR and the dream world. Both are removed from reality, which allows them access to imagination and the subconscious. “It’s a place where anything is possible,” Kelly declares. “You can suspend the laws of physics, you can travel to Mars, you can experience the life of a refugee.” Dreams also directly influenced their first show. One morning, Kelly woke up with the memory of a dream about an old man who traveled from town to town, pulling a strange contraption behind his truck. He invited people to step inside and, for a brief moment, they would “experience” their death. It wasn’t a menacing vision, but a joyful one. To bring this first show to life, Lindsay and Kelly recruited two more members to their small team. Sean Kennedy was brought on as technical director and Liisa Laukkanen as designer. As the event neared, Sean set up the electronic control center, a place to bring the different platforms all under one roof. And there were
“A REALLY GOOD WAY OF UNDERSTANDING VR IS THAT IT LETS US CREATE AND SHARE WORLDS OF OUR IMAGINATION.”
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dreamlogicart.com instagram: dream__logic
a lot of platforms—among them Vive, GearVR, Oculus, and Google Cardboard. “It itself was an installation!” Kelly laughs, as she recalls the room. “There were headsets everywhere, there were computers, there were computer parts, there were all these crazy schematics up on this whiteboard.” Liisa, with input from Kelly, designed installations for the rooms to reflect the VR content housed in each one. Lindsay planned for crowd control. And everyone pitched in with the grunt work. There were also the artists to think about. With the money from ticket sales, the Dream Logic team were able to offer temporary communal housing. “We really tried to form a community, a place where people were able to build, share ideas, and collaborate,” Lindsay remarks. The final result was over 30 works that explored dying—a transition that all must undergo, but everyone views a little differently. “The experiences range from joyous to thought-provoking, meditative to silly, deep to fantastical, sublime to sad,” Kelly explained in an interview just prior to the show’s opening. “We hope the exhibit will inspire new ways of looking at death and support new conversations about living.” A tour through three of those works will give you a feel for the experience. “White Light,” silvery digital threads pulsing and responding to participants, became the perfect portal for symbolically transitioning from life to death. “Ceremony for the Dead” used Google’s Tilt Brush—a three-dimensional painting tool that digitally creates art in thin air—to display a Mayan-inspired temple for viewers to traverse. And a deceptively traditional gallery with paintings and sketches on the walls morphed when viewed through phone screens, the once static images stirring to life and moving about their frames as if seen through the eyes of the artist who created them. One goal unites all of Dream Logic’s experiential art shows: a desire to comprehend different perspectives or, as the website so articulately puts it, a desire “to explore new ways of seeing.” The technology assists in that goal. “I think a really good way of understanding VR is that it lets us create and share worlds of our imagination,” Kelly says. “We get to step inside someone else’s reality.” In other words, it can become a tool for one individual to share how they view and think about the world with others. “That’s what people are looking for in art right now,” Lindsay adds. “They want an experience. They want to feel something.” Through these experiences, people also have the opportunity to learn in a novel way. Possibly the most popular artworks that first evening were the fully immersive VR ones. In “Crossover,” the artist created a series of conversations held between the living and the dead within the rooms of a house. He created this space to grieve as well as find closure after losing his wife to suicide. In “Imago,” the viewer enters through the eyes of a former dancer who is now completely paralyzed and learns of the helplessness of being incapable of communicating with loved ones. Attendees sat in wheelchairs to fully assimilate themselves into this other life. These experiences, like the others, offer different perspectives not simply for the sake of being different, but also to encourage empathy. “You get a connection with somebody when you see their art—especially when you’re in their art—that you don’t get any other way,” Lindsay says. This inevitably promotes vulnerability—both mentally and physically. To open themselves to another’s experience, attendees must voluntarily shed their own reality. A VR headset becomes a high-tech blindfold and, when paired with headphones, completely cuts off that participant’s world so he can immerse himself in that of another. Perhaps Dream Logic’s most compelling achievement is their demonstration that technology can be an art form. “A lot of ways that we see VR showcased is big, crazy, flashy simulator rides and shoot ’em up games.” Kelly says. “But the work people are doing in VR is so imaginative. People are really pushing the boundaries in this medium.” Technology doesn’t have to be sterile. It can be alive and it can be colorful.
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The Art of Dying Show
Transitions by Mike von Rotz & Joost Jordens
“You get a connection with somebody when you see their art—especially when you’re in their art—that you don’t get any other way.” _Lindsay Saunders
“HOW CAN WE KEEP PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE NOW HERE IN 10 YEARS? WE HAVE TO BE INTENTIONAL TO MAKE THIS A PLACE OF OPPORTUNITY FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE HERE.” _Teresa Alvarado
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Teresa Alvarado Interview by Mark Haney Photography by Daniel Garcia
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SPUR SAN JOSE
eresa Alvarado is the new executive director at SPUR San Jose. She also serves on the boards of several local nonprofit organizations in San Jose and Silicon Valley.
first Latinas in any circle. For example, two older Latina women brought me into the San Jose Rotary Club 13 years ago, which probably made me the third Latina. I went to San Jose State and worked my way through by temping everywhere—at Atari, FMC, at all those big pre-tech companies. That gave me exposure to not only the industry but also different types of people. I got comfortable being the only woman of color.
Tell us your family’s story. I’m the youngest of five and was born at San Jose Hospital. We were all brought up in East San Jose. My parents were very involved in the community. My mother was in high school with Norm Mineta, and my dad was a radio announcer up to the early 1960s. My father advocated for people getting citizenship and being involved in the community. In 1978, my mom ran for San Jose City Council and won. She became the first council member to represent District 5, the Alum Rock area. I was 15, in high school, and went with her to all her speeches and campaign rallies.
Who inspires you? My mother, because she put herself out there. She’s an incredible orator and she’s well read, even though she’s from a mining town in Colorado. She never went beyond high school, yet she’s a very articulate and passionate public leader. What things motivate you? I’m motivated by positivity and aspirational thinking, by people who are vulnerable and want to work deeply in partnership and community. I really focus on what we’re doing and all the awesome people who are open to collaboration. A lot of people say, “Come on, let’s do it together!”
How did those experiences translate for you professionally? All my siblings have strong perspectives about civic engagement, but I was the most exposed to the lifestyle of pushing for civic improvements and getting people involved. Everything I’ve done has been about being rooted in San Jose. I was on San Jose’s General Plan Task Force. I was the first community member appointed to the San Jose Mercury News Editorial Board to bring that perspective to the issues they were considering. I’m the founder of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, whose mission is to promote civic engagement and leadership development in Latinas.
What brought you to SPUR? Twice in my career I’ve left a big organization to run an organization whose board I was on. In 2006, I left PG&E to be the first director of the Hispanic Foundation. Then I worked for Santa Clara Valley Water District while on the SPUR San Jose Board. It was fortuitous with Leah [Toeniskoetter] leaving. I knew what was coming for downtown and San Jose and thought, what better time to be at SPUR than the next five to ten years? It will be in an incredible transformation.
What does it mean to be a woman of color in leadership here? I’m thankful that a lot of women are leaders, especially in civic roles—but just not many women of color. I’ve always been one of the
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“EVERYTHING I’VE DONE HAS BEEN ABOUT BEING ROOTED IN SAN JOSE.”
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SPUR.org instagram: SPUR_Urbanist twitter: TAlvaradoSJ
as high, and as dense as we possibly can there. We need to make these billions of dollars of transit investments worthwhile. For it to be successful, the land use surrounding the station must be smart, dense, and seamlessly connected. Third, the city should promote San Jose, in and of itself. A few organizations have dropped the name San Jose for Silicon Valley. We should do what we can to promote San Jose and build civic pride amongst the residents. People come here for great jobs, but they don’t always connect to the civic fabric. How do we get people to feel part of that, and our incredible arts and cultural community?
Briefly describe SPUR for someone who doesn’t know. SPUR is about urban planning, good government, and improving the SPUR-area communities. The 107-year-old nonprofit started after the 1906 earthquake to help San Francisco rebuild housing. We’ve since added public transportation and sustainability. What’s changed over the last decade that impacts city planning today? Disruptive technologies are happening fast. The private sector is thinking well ahead with new technologies that people expect to come soon, like autonomous vehicles and different kinds of transportation nodes. However, we’re planning our transportation infrastructure in 50-year cycles—also true for water and energy. With billions of dollars of costs in building systems that have been very reliable, how can we ensure tomorrow’s services are publicly accessible, and yet recognize a sea change in transportation from the sharing economy and disruptive technologies?
How do you see public spaces working in San Jose’s future? Even as people focus more and more on their electronics, they still have a strong desire to be with others—that’s a great opportunity for our public spaces, which will need to be dynamic and vibrant with interesting things to do, see, and consume. What question keeps you up at night? I’m grappling with how we improve, modernize, and get all these great walkable attributes without displacement and gentrification. Inclusive community improvement has to be possible. Community members deserve amenities and walkable neighborhoods, higher density housing, and places for people to come together. We should feel cohesive as a community. It’s multifaceted—and it’s the magnitude of many puzzle pieces coming together all at once.
Technology changes quickly. How do you tell people that cities have decades-long projects, that measuring change can be about decades and centuries? Cities take longer because the basic role of government is to serve everybody. Government should provide safety and a consistent level of service for everyone. It isn’t to serve subsets. Now, in the private sector, we each can have our individual experiences. Individuals are selecting so many options that everything is tailored now to the individual, but the public sector is still required to serve us all equally.
What questions should we be asking about the next 10 years? How can we keep people who are here now here in 10 years? We have to be intentional to make this a place of opportunity for anyone who wants to be here, not just for those who can afford it. So that whole resegregation is of great concern. Upward mobility. In 1982, all kinds of tech was happening. I got a paid internship at NASA Ames Research Center and worked there seven years. I went to grad school because an aeronautical engineer, a native American woman from NASA Ames, saw a full-tuition scholarship at Tufts University for people of color. So I got a master’s in civil and environmental engineering. I had all these opportunities and exposure, but I don’t know if kids today have that. It really worries me. How do we regain those options?
What top three issues should we, as a city, invest in in the next decade and why? I’m surprising myself, but the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI). The city should invest in community organizing, listening, and visioning. Under the Redevelopment Agency, SNI let communities decide their own priorities. A lot of change will happen with the urban village planning process and growth; we need to make sure communities are ready, that they won’t reject the proposals that come forward. That means a whole lot of dialogue up front, dialogue that should be happening now. Second, focusing on the Diridon Station area, which will have some big announcements in the next couple months, as a distinct area. We have the opportunity and responsibility to build as big,
He first built his reputation as a charismatic battle rapper with precision punchline timing. Now, Dirtbag Dan shifts his wit to the world of stand-up.
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DAN Written by Brandon Roos Photography by daniel garcia
dirtbagdanshow.com social media: dirtbagdan408
“The Zae baby!”
Every show began with the same battle cry, followed by a vocal roar and a flash of the 408. Daniel Martinez—known around the globe as Dirtbag Dan—always made it a point to shout out his hometown at the start of every one of his rap battles. His stage presence, signature style of ruthless takedowns delivered with comedic wordplay, and precise timing allowed him to become one of niche scene’s more distinct characters. This combination of talents also prepared him for his second act in entertainment: stand-up comedy. As a teen, Dan’s entry point to hip-hop came through the underground Bay Area sounds he heard on skate tapes. “Rapping, hip-hop music in general—everything came through skateboarding,” he explains. “That was my identity as a kid. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I found a skateboard.” Dan remembers hearing hip-hop on the radio, but the sounds of regional heroes Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics on those tapes inspired him to dive more fully into the culture. He began freestyling with friends, and in high school he developed a reputation as a ruthless battle rapper. During his final year of high school, he faced 15 challengers and never lost. Dan soon made his way to the West Coast’s freestyle battle scene and in the mid-2000s witnessed its shift from 8 Mile–style battles over beats to today’s favored a cappella format. In 2008, he participated in the West Coast’s first battle of this kind, and he continued to build his name as outlets like Grind Time and King of the Dot gained prominence and their battles on YouTube started clocking hundreds of thousands of views. Throughout his 75-battle career, he sparred with legends and upstarts alike, among them The Saurus, NoCanDo, the late Cadalack Ron, and DNA. “I’d like to think that in those 75 battles, I did everything,” he notes. “I rapped my ass off. I was super funny. I did super unrappy things and took risks in that regard. I also was mean when I needed to be. But I definitely was always more on the lighter side, which I think made me more watchable, and more likeable, to a general audience.” At one point, he called himself the “most traveled battle rapper,” since his name helped him book appearances at battles in the Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, the UK, and various locations throughout Canada and the United States.
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“AS MUCH AS I’M PROUD OF MY ABILITY TO RAP, I THINK MY HUMOR WAS THE THING THAT MADE ME AN ENDEARING CHARACTER AND HELPED ME STICK AROUND FOR AS LONG AS I DID.” However, his style was divisive in battle rap circles, loved by some and hated by others. In a scene that could be defined by violent lyrics and no-holdsbarred personal attacks, Dan used his stage presence to craft an approach that emphasized punchlines and comedic timing. Above all, he seemed to understand that despite the huge stakes and cage-match-like depictions, battling ultimately was entertainment. “As much as I’m proud of my ability to rap, I think my humor was the thing that made me an endearing character and helped me stick around for as long as I did,” he adds. For years, friends had nudged him to try to develop comedic material, but he didn’t make time until he stepped away from battling in late 2015. He began writing immediately, but waited six months before finally taking the stage, making his first appearance at a Brainwash open mic in San Francisco. Dan was hooked immediately. He started finding more spaces to share his material, and now with nearly two years committed to this new form, he just secured a weekend spot at the Punchline in Sacramento. Though he recognizes that his ascent feels accelerated at times, he also notes that his extensive experience with battle rap prepared him to take the stage. Developing material, being aware of an audience, and feeling comfortable in the moment are all elements he’s already explored while battling. One might ask if there’s anything more daunting than standing in front of a room full of people equipped with nothing but your mic and your wit. Dan says yes and compares stand-up comedy to stepping into a high-profile rap battle. “You’ve got to go into a room, and someone has to die for the audience to be entertained. Some other dude’s going to make fun of you. You have no control of what he’s going say. You have to memorize nine minutes of unique material that you only get to do one time, and if you mess up, it’s on camera, forever.” Bombing doesn’t faze Dan: he sees it as part of the comedic process. Not everything is going to work, and at least when a joke falls flat it won’t be criticized in YouTube comments for years to come. Dan has retired from battling, but he’s still very active within the culture. He calls his weekly podcast, The Dirtbag Dan Show, the “ESPN of battle rap.” He’s a fixture as a commentator for various pay-per-view battles. He’s also working to cultivate a path for others in the scene to cross over. “There’s a lot of people who can make the same transition I’m making,” he says. “There’s a connection there, and I’m trying to build that bridge so that when I go out and cover a battle event, I’m also doing a comedy event the night before. Most of the time, there’s another battler on that bill.” He’s also helped establish a battle league in San Jose in an effort to ensure the city’s name recognition in the battle rap scene. His newfound passion for discovering jokes with universal appeal has shifted his creative focus from developing bars to developing bits. He has, however, decided to bring one major piece of his legacy with him. At every show and open mic he steps up to—he’s still being introduced as Dirtbag Dan. “It’s been a fun ride, and though I’m not in the ring any more, I’m still in the world. I’ll never get all the way out,” he says. “No matter what I do in comedy, no matter what I do in rap and hip-hop and making music, I’ll always be in the world of battle rap in some way, shape, or form.”
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“WE FELT THAT WE COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN HELPING CHILDREN LEARN HOW THE WORLD WORKS BEYOND OUR WALLS.” _ Marilee Jennings
Marilee Jennings, Executive Director
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Discovery Museum Written by Kate Evans Photography by Daniel Garcia
THE SAME WONDER AND ADVENTURE—BUT NOW IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS. cdm.org instagram: PurpleMuseum
he Children’s Discovery Museum is a child’s paradise. It is a busy sanctuary of adventure and experimentation, fun and excitement. There is something for every child, every interest, every background and learning style. Children can hunker down in the artist’s loft and create or dig for fossils in the shadow of the Columbian mammoth whose skeleton was found along the nearby Guadalupe River. They can fly planes, drive fire trucks, ride in a Wells Fargo stagecoach, dance up musical stairs, cook and serve meals in the play kitchen, build bridges, shoot balls across the room with a jet of water, and blow bubbles the size of a pumpkin. In all of this laughter, concentration, and activity, the children are learning. Every exhibit and area in the museum has been carefully designed and curated to enhance the learning process. While at play, participants’ brains are absorbing valuable lifelong lessons about being active, eating healthily, being good stewards of the planet, about cultures around the world, and even about themselves. Marilee Jennings, executive director of the Children’s Discovery Museum, explains, “What I care about most is making sure that the needs of all children in our community are met. We are remarkably diverse, and we want to ensure that we are welcoming and provide access to all.” “We are very aware of our demographics,” Marilee continues. “We want to be a reflection of our community. We ask ourselves, ‘Who are the people you are seeing and are they being represented?’ ” In the almost 30 years since the museum’s inception,
it has taken the idea of cultural competency very seriously. “We want to be welcoming, responsive, and respectful,” she says. Being a reflection of the community, however, has not meant that this Children’s Museum is a Silicon Valley museum with focus on and bias toward technology. “Here in Silicon Valley, there is pressure to be so tech oriented,” she sighs. Within the museum leadership, there is a constant dialogue about how many screens are needed and a lively discussion of how technology can be a means to an end. The hope is to balance the benefits of innovation and technology with good, old-fashioned play. “We’re huge fans of technology,” Marilee says with a smile, “for what it enables.” But as the museum leadership looked towards its next big project, it was aware of the risks of children’s increased screen time and sedentary, indoor, techfocused lifestyles. To tackle this challenge, it has embarked on a major expansion—outdoors. Bill’s Backyard (named in honor of generous, longtime benefactor and board member, Bill Sullivan) is a revolutionary play space taking up a full half acre along the backside of the museum, facing the green space along the Guadalupe River. “We wanted to create an unstructured place for children to explore, engage in physical activity, and experience natural materials,” Marilee explains. The museum believes that this type of interaction with the physical, natural world hugely impacts critical thinking and creativity. “A lot of parents are scared to let their kids play outside,” Marilee says, leaning forward, “and I get that. I completely understand
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Bill’s Backyard will give children a safe, inspiring area in which to explore their surroundings, learn to conserve water, test their courage, and give in to the abandon that comes from rolling down a steep hill. that. But we felt that we could make a difference in helping children learn how the world works beyond our walls.” Marilee and her team dream of creating a “bridge to nature,” an outdoor space as engaging and inspiring as their indoor exhibits. “We want the parents to be comfortable letting their children play and explore.” To create this outdoor wonderland, the museum partnered with MIG, a Berkeley-based company famed for its innovative open-air learning spaces, and created a plan that blends imagination, nature, and education. Bill’s Backyard is beautiful and neat but not overly structured or overwhelming. The Junior Ranger Station offers a welcoming orientation and allows children to touch animal skeletons and pelts. There are maps, not just of Bill’s Backyard, but of open spaces throughout Santa Clara County, in hopes that families will be inspired to make the leap from this backyard to the many parks and green spaces around the Bay Area. Next is an entire area dedicated to the art of
fort building—using reeds and grasses, branches and rocks, children can construct the fort of their dreams. A spot that Marilee is particularly excited about is the dig pit. She explains that they had a prototype last summer and realized, due to its extreme popularity, they would have to alter their plans and double its size. The enormous pit, full of rocks and gravel, is exemplary of the type of “safe risk” that is part of the Bill’s Backyard philosophy. “Now you might expect people to say, ‘Oh, what if a child swallows a rock!’ But you know what? That whole time we ran the prototype, no one swallowed a rock. Now I’m sure some kids put rocks in their mouths, but parents weren’t worried. And I think it’s because it was outside—somehow that makes these small safe risks worth taking.” And since all children love rocks, there is a dry creek bed running the length of the space. “When Mother Nature provides water, it will be there,” says Marilee, explaining that drought awareness and valuing water as a precious resource is another tenet of the Bill’s Backyard philosophy.
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Near the entrance, three tall trees connected with ropes and “sky bridges” will allow children to climb up high and discover their world below. They’ll be able to see the lookout tower and tunnel just next to the trees, where kids can run, jump, and tumble down the grassy hill. The far side of the backyard is an outdoor classroom with a solar roof and a space for rotating exhibits. One exhibit, for example, will allow kids to pump rainwater out of the cistern into small watering cans and water the elaborate vegetable and herb keyhole garden. (The garden was specifically designed so that one can get around all sides of the planters, even in a wheelchair.) Visually, the crown jewel of the entire backyard is the Tree of 40 Fruit, which will be planted in the center of the keyhole garden. For the past two years, environmental artist and professor Sam Van Aken has been carefully grafting limbs of myriad stone fruit onto a juvenile plum tree. He has sought out farmers from around the area and sourced heritage and antique varieties (meaning they are over two
hundred years old). All of the stone fruit chosen will bloom in shades of purple, pink, or white, creating a spectacular prism of color every spring. “This particular piece is an emblem of the intersection of art and environment,” Marilee explains, but it’s also a nod to the Santa Clara Valley, the Valley of Heart’s Delight, that was once home to thousands of orchards. Much like the giant mural near the bubbles exhibit that highlights San Jose’s history and legacy, Bill’s Backyard has been designed around a strong sense of place and love for this particular corner of California. Bill’s Backyard will give children a safe, inspiring area in which to explore their surroundings, learn to conserve water, test their courage, and give in to the abandon that comes from rolling down a steep hill. Bill’s Backyard will become the city’s backyard. Its thoughtful philosophy and intentional design will give Silicon Valley children a childhood full of joyful memories of adventure and instill in them a love of nature and this very special place.
Children’s Discovery Museum | 180 Woz Way | San Jose, CA
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bakeshop Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by Daniel Garcia
2ndstorybakeshop.com instragram: 2ndstorybakeshop 138 East Santa Clara Street | San Jose, CA
DOWNTOWN BAKERY IS BRINGING BACK OLD-WORLD TECHNIQUES.
fter spending more than a decade working at a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Christy Ikezi had figured out something important about her career: this wasn’t what she was looking for. “I’d been waiting, thinking ‘I know I don’t want to do this, but I don’t know what I want,’ ” she recalls, sitting in the modest back kitchen of the 2nd Story Bakeshop with business partner Cailin Bryant among bins of cookies and shelves stocked with a few leftover loaves of bread from the day’s work. The storefront opened about a year ago on Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose. “It took a little while to figure this out.” Ikezi had started baking more at home for her kids and enjoyed it enough to try making a bold career switch. She began by working in bakeries for a few years, honing her craft, then eventually rented a kitchen and started 2nd Story as a pastry and granola stand at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area. “I was just doing teeny tiny little farmers’ markets to start,” she says. Business was good, and customers kept coming back. “I was begging Cailin to come join me,” Ikezi continues. And eventually she did. The two had initially worked together at a bakery in Bryant’s hometown of Santa Cruz. Like Ikezi, Bryant had no formal education in baking: she’d simply learned on the job. “I had a job at a bagel shop in college, then worked my way through all the different positions, including being the baker,” she explains. “I got nerded out on it and more curious, and sort of romanticized that Old World, hands-on, woodfired kind of thing and just wanted to keep doing it.” Joining 2nd Story was a perfect fit. “The story is about the next chapter in your life,”
Ikezi says of the company name. “It’s me writing a new story for myself, and it’s about everyone having the ability to write their second story.” “It’s a metaphorical story,” Bryant adds. The two women are well aware that the name can easily be misinterpreted as a reference to floor level. The storefront is in fact on ground level. “When we first started the company, we were in our own kitchen so we never thought anybody would get it confused with being on the second floor,” laughs Christy. To highlight the idea of storytelling, the shop’s decor features bookshelves and the graphic identity evokes the feel of an old-time bookshop. An important component of the company’s mission involves using primarily locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients. While Ikezi was initially pondering her career change, she had been studying up on healthy eating, with herself and her young kids in mind, reading writers like Michael Pollan. She understood the huge importance of local ingredients and organic, healthy foods, but she was having a hard time finding baked items in San Jose that fit the bill. “There weren’t any organic baked goods that I could find,” she recalls. “And it was becoming really frustrating. So that was part of the push to open up and start producing that stuff myself. There just aren’t a whole lot of options in San Jose for that kind of focus, food-wise. You go up to San Francisco and there’s 50 great bakeries, but in San Jose it’s a little bit spotty.” Working the farmers’ markets has also given the pair an opportunity to connect with local, organic suppliers in the area and directly source many of their ingredients. And while both craft selections
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“THE STORY IS ABOUT THE NEXT CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE. IT’S ME WRITING A NEW STORY FOR MYSELF, AND IT’S ABOUT EVERYONE HAVING THE ABILITY TO WRITE THEIR SECOND STORY.” _Christy Ikezi
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of mouth-watering pastries using seasonal fruits, Bryant’s breads “create the full package,” Ikezi says. “Our bread selections are pretty off-the-wall,” Bryant admits. “It’s sort of a new California traditional-ish country style loaf as a base, and then we have all sorts of crazy flavors like maple miso. We have a Bloody Mary loaf, one with buckwheat flour and cheese— those are our wildest ones. We have some with whole sprouted grains as well, a little more tame, but with nice flavors.” Although the shop has gained a following in the short time it has been open, particularly with staff at the nearby City Hall, there have been struggles. Seasonal offerings don’t necessarily jive with what people have become used to in a world where everything is available for delivery, on demand, year round. “Any flavor they want, any variety they want, instantaneously,” Ikezi says to describe the modern Silicon Valley culture. “That’s hard because it’s the opposite of what we’re doing. Our process is slow. We’re not just putting everything into a mixer and letting it go, or buying pre-made dough and freezing. It takes time. There’s a lot of care that goes into our product.” “We do all of the mixing for the bread by hand— mixing, shaping, and baking,” Bryant adds. “There’s no oven loader or anything. We basically don’t have machines except for the oven. It’s definitely a lot more hands-on and careful. We’re really learning to adapt to what the neighborhood wants. We came in
with some ideas about being this sort of mom and pop walk-in shop where you pick up your baked goods and then you go on your way...but everyone wants a cafe where they can sit down and eat lunch or breakfast and maybe use Wi-Fi.” With that in mind, they’ve opened the menu up from just bakery items to go, and now it includes a variety of toasts with different toppings. “They’re basically open-faced sandwiches,” Bryant says. “So that’s sort of our first stab at that. And we do have hot coffee and tea, and we’ve just put in chairs along our formerly standing bar.” The result is a spot where people can finally linger like they want to. And the aroma of baked goods wafting into the seating area from the kitchen probably doesn’t hurt. 2nd Story has also partnered with Spade & Plow, a community-supported agriculture service, as a pickup location for produce boxes. And they offer catering services to local businesses—an aspect of their business which they hope to expand. They still work the farmers’ market circuit, too, and some of their products are offered in South Bay Whole Foods stores. “We just really want to get more people in here,” Ikezi says. As word gets out about the delicious cookies, “fruit-forward” pastries, and handcrafted loaves available at this unassuming little shop, more people are sure to come in and discover their new favorite bakeshop. It’s already a second story worth telling.
Vice President of Vineyard Operations, David Gates
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Ridge Vineyards Science and Wine
or decades, Ridge Vineyards managers, winemakers, and cellar masters have relied on sophisticated laboratory analyses to keep track of the vintage. Vineyard and winery teams follow a protocol that requires sensory and scientific analysis from bud break to bottling. During the winery’s first half-century, the tools have changed, but itssense of place, or terroir, has not. David Gates, vice president of vineyard operations, keeps an eye on the vineyard with a network of electronic sensors. Winemaker Eric Baugher guides production with a conveyor belt receiver, wholeberry sorting tables, portable fermenters, and a wellequipped laboratory. But they still make wine the old-fashioned way. Reestablished by four scientists from the Stanford Research Institute in time for the 1962 vintage, Ridge Vineyards remains bound to Old World tradition. The way COB Paul Draper sees it, his team makes wine following a process that vineyard managers and winemakers have practiced for thousands of years. “We do not follow a simple recipe,” Eric Baugher says. “We’re not on a fixed path except for our commitment to producing natural wine.” “We began to develop a high-tech lab in the 1970s because my partners, all Stanford research scientists, pushed the idea,” Draper says. “We thought we should learn as much as we could about the natural process, and we wanted to back up our tastings with lab analysis.” True to that natural process, instead of inoculating grape juice with commercial yeast, Baugher permits wild or feral yeast to ferment the juice spontaneously. “We want them to show the nature of the vineyard and enhance the varietal characteristics of the grapes,” Baugher explains. Spontaneous fermentation produces aromatic, flavorful, silky wines—the essence of carefully cultivated vineyards and carefully crafted vintages. “It’s not luck or simply not interfering,” Draper adds. “It’s paying close attention to the vineyard and the winery.” Gates has installed a weather station and electronic sensors for tracking field conditions and transpiration rates of vines planted at the winery’s Monte Bello
vineyard. His team collaborated with engineers from Ranch Systems and Fruition Sciences to build a network that helps shape his vision for the 2017 vintage. Sensors measure sap flow, then pass that data to a modem that relays it to a Fruition Sciences computer in staccato-like bursts. The computer calculates transpiration rates, gathers data from the weather station, and stores information that Gates can access with his desktop computer. From there, he can evaluate the health of the vineyard by analyzing charts and tables that the weather station and sensors update hourly. “The results are a perfect integration of soil, root, and atmospheric conditions,” he says. The cellar team relies on laboratory instruments to detect problems in the making. The team searches for unsavory microbes in regions of the winery where factors like temperature, humidity, and age of the barrel or wine might encourage growth. Team members analyze wine drawn from barrels that Baugher plans to blend. They measure alcohol, acidity, color, tannin, pH, and residual sugar, for example, and culture, identify, and estimate microbial populations using DNA probes. “But wine is not made by the numbers,” Baugher admits. “It’s years of experience and being totally engaged—tasting and smelling each wine.” Even though traditional acuity is aided by the trappings of technology, it is old-fashioned craft that underpins everything done at Ridge Vineyards. “Our procedures have evolved over time, but we have developed a fail-safe system,” Baugher says. “It comes at a price—more time, more labor, and an investment in infrastructure for fermentation tanks, pump-over gear, holding tanks, and barrels.” But for Baugher, Draper, and Gates, each vintage returns Ridge Vineyards to its roots. “Our founders,” Baugher notes, “read books by winemakers from the 1880s who believed that if you farm properly, picked to taste, and were patient enough for a spontaneous fermentation, you would be rewarded by a vintage with tremendous depth and aging potential, the essence of great wine.”
Written by Thomas Ulrich Photography by Daniel Garcia
ridgewine.com | social media: ridgevineyards | 17100 Montebello Road | Cupertino, CA
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Pizzetta 408 David Perez Written by David Ma Photography by Daniel Garcia
SoFA Market | 387 South First Street #104 | San Jose, CA
riter, culinary figure, and renowned traveller Anthony Bourdain once remarked: “Obsession is the natural foe of mediocrity.” This motto has been a springboard for David Perez, who quit his longtime job to pursue his passion, or rather obsession, with food— specifically pizza. Like Bourdain, Perez’s travels have shaped not only his worldview, but also his palette. “From the French Laundry in Yountville, to a hawker centre in Singapore, or even to the Snack Shack in DC, whose cheap, greasy pizza-by-the-slice almost drew tears,” explains Perez, “I’ve grown to realize that good food can be found in unexpected and unusual places.” The art of pizza isn’t as easy as one would think, given its ubiquity—its origins are as old as Roman warfare, and history is embedded in every crust, every ladle of sauce, every bite. Perez explored his obsession in the ’90s when he began taking courses on pizza making—taking local crash courses in manning ovens, raising dough, and all the other particulars of what makes a healthy pizza pie. This soon led to erecting an authentic, wood-fired oven in his backyard, not only feeding friends and family, but also practicing what was becoming a sharply honed craft. “The oven started as a DIY project. I convinced my wife that ‘we can do this for about $700.00,’ ” says Perez. “So I purchased plans online, built the oven base, and quickly realized that I had no masonry skills! I didn’t want a five-year project and to be stuck with a potentially ugly, nonfunctioning oven. Long story short, I hired a company to come and build it for me. My initial estimate was close. I was just missing a zero,” he laughs. Perez’s path didn’t end there—it was just beginning. Seeking the truest and most artful approach to pizza making, Perez made a pilgrimage to Naples, specifically to Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the Harvard of pizza education. “The school director explained that the purpose of the school is to preserve the true craft of pizza, using techniques that have been handed down for centuries,” says Perez. Grueling hours, eight-mile walks, blisters, and
mosquito bites also seasoned Perez’s time in Naples. Not all his days were as daunting, however. “The final test was to make two pizzas for these Pizza Masters who’d judge and rank everyone. What? No one told me about the Pizza Masters!” laughs Perez. “ ‘The judges want to talk to you first,’ ” he recalls being told. “So I sat down in front thinking I was disqualified for some reason. In English, they responded, ‘Congratulations, your pizzas were the best!’ After that I don’t recall exactly what they said. It didn’t matter. I mostly concentrated on exhaling. I was nicknamed ‘The Maestro’ by one of the judges. Class over!” With a fully realized understanding of pizza’s history and its centuries-old techniques, Perez sought a location to begin selling his product, which at this point was becoming a part of his identity. As a lifelong San Jose resident who had attended James Lick High School, Perez immediately thought of the blossoming SoFA district. “I ideally wanted to be in a neighborhood location where we could set up and do our thing for the local community in the 408. In fact, the ‘Pizzeria Di Quartiere’ on our logo is actually Italian for ‘neighborhood pizzeria’ because that’s what we’re all about: bringing the taste of Naples to our neighborhood.” “About six months into our search, my wife suggested that I attend a San Jose food and wine panel discussion held at a place called the SoFA Market.” Perez went to the SoFA Market with an open mind, not really knowing what to expect. Amazingly, the first thing he saw was a sign reading: “Space for Lease, Perfect for a Wood-Fired Pizzeria.” “I looked around for a hidden camera. This is too perfect,” he remembers thinking. Now, roughly a year and a half later, Pizzetta 408 is open and the feedback has been enormously positive. Perez’s vision of building a backyard oven, studying abroad in Naples, and wanting to provide the same quality pies he serves loved ones, has finally come to fruition. A food lover with immense training under his belt, Perez continues to strive for perfection and depth. “I just want my guests to say: ‘Your pizza has soul.’ ”
The quiet, artistic power couple transforming San Jose’s art scene “That’s what we’re all about: bringing the taste of Naples to our neighborhood.” _David Perez
“I’M NOT ONE OF THOSE CELEBRITY CHEF TYPES—I DON’T HANG OUT IN THE CIRCLE...”
_ Ray Tang
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Ray Tang the catamount Written by kate evans Photography by Daniel Garcia
thecatamount.com instagram: thecatamountlg
ay Tang rushes around the dust-covered floor of his new Los Gatos restaurant, The Catamount, with a mixture of professionalism and sheer giddiness. He’s getting pulled in all directions: the bartenders are there for training, men in suits are looking busy and official, and the painters are trying to match the exact pale beige color of the building so that they can paint over the old “California Café” letters. Despite busily finishing up the last necessary touches before the expected grand opening, Ray steals a quiet moment to tell the story of how The Catamount came into being. Ray Tang has always loved food. His family is from Hong Kong (“and all people in Hong Kong are gourmands, every single one,” he says), yet he lived in Southern California, which he describes as a culinary wasteland of chain restaurants. When he came north to attend college in San Francisco, he would pass the wide windows of PJ’s Oyster Bed, where the chefs were cooking beautiful, bountiful fresh seafood. “These guys were not just frying up a box of frozen squid tentacles,” he says. And it was a revelation. Inspired by the Bay Area culinary landscape and finding himself to be a natural talent in the kitchen, he “went to the school of hard knocks,” as he describes it. He got a job as a dishwasher (despite earning a degree in liberal arts) and asked chefs to teach him technique after hours. He gained confidence and skill and worked his way through famed San Francisco establishments Postrio and Boulevard. He then completed the necessary stint in New York, proving himself to top chefs at notable restaurants. When California called him home, Ray returned to open Mariposa, a small, very successful restaurant in Sonoma County. In between selling Mariposa and opening a
new restaurant, Ray had time on his hands and randomly entered a high-profile pork-cooking contest in Iowa. He won the whole event with a pig jowl recipe. “Now,” he explains, “I’m not one of those celebrity chef types—I don’t hang out in the circle—I can’t. I’m too crass, too sarcastic, but here I was, Ray Tang, winning this major pork contest.” The pork board sent Ray on a speaking tour, which proved to be a pivotal moment, as it helped him formulate his brand and cultivate his public image. He remembers sitting in front of a room full of recipe testers and writers at Southern Progress, a publishing company based in Alabama. He was there to talk about his winning pork recipe, but, he realized, these people wanted to know about him—they wanted an experience. As much as they wanted to learn about economical cuts of pork, they wanted to know the chef, Ray Tang. So he turned on the charm and has never quite been able to turn it off. Every restaurant he’s opened since has been a Ray Tang creation. He has focused on more than just the menu: he infuses the ambiance with his own imaginative, humorous personality. In 2006, Ray opened the now much-beloved Presidio Social Club (PSC), a San Francisco favorite that made the Presidio cool when, as he puts it, “no one was going down there.” The restaurant, set in a 1903-era military barracks, needed a certain look that was respectful of the location but modern and sophisticated. With no formal ties to the military, Ray turned to Hollywood and the romance and elegance of the 1954 film White Christmas. He wanted the feeling of that movie, the feeling, he elaborates, “of the soldiers coming back home— of friends helping friends—of a time when they dressed well.” As for cultivating the feeling, he had some ideas. “Remember that scene at the club in
Florida? Those little lamps on each table?” he asks. And that right there is the key to what makes Ray Tang work: the attention to detail, the zeroing in on some small component that helps encapsulate an entire essence. So while the Social Club serves fresh California fare and upscale comfort food, it offers also an experience, a connection to a bygone era that Ray manages to articulate with a simple table lamp. When Ray was ready to start a new project, he set his sights on the South Bay. Searching for a feeling more than an exact location, he explored the area, learning the unofficial boundaries between Santa Clara and Sunnyvale and discovering the myriad ethnic neighborhoods and individual villages. When his team showed him the California Café in Los Gatos, he wandered in, got a seat at the bar, ordered a drink, and waited for that feeling. After a little while, he said to himself, “I get it. I can make this work.” The space was much larger than what he’d been looking for, but he saw the potential. The building was an old school, built in the 1920s, and it appealed to Ray’s cinematic, nostalgic aesthetic. For a brief moment, Ray considered opening a second PSC, but in the end, he decided that this place had enough personality for its own identity: The Catamount. The name, The Catamount, comes both from the translation of Los Gatos (“the cats,” named for the area mountain lions) and the restaurant’s location, nestled at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The space has been completely transformed from its decades as the California Café. It’s now open, airy, and polished, with brass fixtures, a creamy white marble bar (a subtle homage to his PSC), and pale greens and yellows to complement the white subway tile and reclaimed wood. When looking for inspiration for the décor,
Ray again turned to Hollywood, and zeroed in on a scene in Lawrence of Arabia. “I wanted palm trees, and shutters, and Moorish details.” He grins and points to open white shutters partitioning the library. “See? I got my shutters.” He points out other details that hint at humid colonial clubs of the 1920s: the rattan, brass accents, caned lounge furniture, and Chilewich fabric. Every element is incredibly understated. There’s no kitsch here. It’s carefully curated and thoughtful. Designed to look more like an expansive country house than a dining room, the 10,000-square-foot space is cleverly organized to be flexible. Rooms can close off to host private events, but there is an easy flow between them. Ray explains the layout: a bar/lounge area (with a sleek ping pong table, a subtle tell that Ray isn’t taking himself too seriously), the living room, library (complete with fireplace and leather banquets), and two large sunrooms that overlook the Redwood treetops and the Los Gatos Creek Trail below. One almost expects doors to open onto an indoor pool, full of houseguests in jazzage attire there for the weekend. But again, this is the magic behind Ray Tang’s success. “Sure there are great chefs everywhere, there’s great food everywhere. But I’m creating an experience. I want people to get that subtle sense of make-believe. They’re not going to know why they get it, but they do. And you have to make that feeling happen.” Ray wants The Catamount to become part of the fabric of the community. He wants people to say, “I had my engagement party at The Catamount.” Or, “I had my graduation party there.” It will be a place that makes people feel transported. They know that it is something special, as they sit next to the fire in the library or play ping pong in the lounge. They just might not know exactly why.
The Catamount | 50 University Avenue | Los Gatos, CA 73
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Written by David Ma Photography by Daniel Garcia
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The Fountainhead is an urban bar with architecturally themed cocktails made from high-end, small-batch spirits and locally sourced ingredients.
he Fountainhead Bar takes its name from Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel about an idealistic young architect who refuses to compromise artistic and personal vision for fame and recognition. The story follows his battle to practice modern architecture while opposed by an establishment centered on tradition. Make no mistake: the bar’s name carries no political undertones but, rather, is an ode to architecture and to its owner, Thang Do, who successfully owns and operates local architect firm Aedis Architects. In the heart of the SoFA District, The Fountainhead is an urban bar with architecturally themed cocktails made from high-end, small-batch spirits and locally sourced ingredients. The menu is adjusted according to freshness and product availability. Premium wine and rotating local craft beers are also always on the menu. The relationship of the bar’s signature cocktails to architecture is suggestive and conceptual, based on aesthetics as well as ingredients. For instance, one of the most widely purchased drinks, “The Kenzo,” is named after renowned Japanese architect and theorist Kenzō Tange. Tange is a towering figure in the world of Japanese architecture. His approach and work in the 20th century was focused on merging traditional Japanese architecture with the modernist language. Perhaps his best known work is the Hiroshima Peace Center and Memorial Park, a project which almost immediately earned him an international reputation. In keeping with The Fountainhead’s concept, The Kenzo is made with an ounce and a half of I.W. Harper, a premium bourbon among the most popular on the Japanese market today. In keeping with Tange’s merging of international concepts and ideas, the cocktail that bears his name also contains a quarter ounce of Marie Brizard, a naturally aged and refined raspberry liqueur imported from France. The ingredients are stirred and poured atop a large ice cube, topped with mint for aromatics and fresh raspberries for acid as well as color. As in architecture, vision and craftsmanship are key at The Fountainhead.
SoFA Market | 387 South First Street | San Jose, CA instagram: fountainhead_bar
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Active Poet Davied Morales Written by Tad Malone Photography by Jay Aguilar
soundcloud.com/activepoet activepoet.bandcamp.com instagram: activepoet
o out on a weekend night in downtown San Jose, and you’re bound to find Davied Morales. You won’t find him wandering the street or nursing a drink in one of the SoFa bars. Instead, he’ll be on stage, either at one of the area theater companies or at a venue rapping as Dav @Activepoet. Born and raised in San Jose, 24-yearold Morales credits his older sister—also a poet—with helping inform his aesthetic sensibilities. In all his high school lit classes he wrote poems, but it wasn’t until a fateful hangout session one day that Morales saw a future in hip-hop. “I had a lot of friends around me who were writing raps all the time and some were actually recording. I thought, hey this could be a good thing.” After messing around a few times with the I Am T-Pain app (which lets you record and synthesize your voice like the rapper and musician T-Pain), Morales realized how attached he was to the music by proxy, but even more so, he saw a potential channel for his poetry. In his first few years at college he learned more about hip-hop and rap, acclimating himself to the craft, but only in the last year did he feel he truly took it seriously. Simultaneously, Morales jumped into theater and acting, and took a degree from Foothill College’s two-year acting program. Morales has thoroughly crossed the threshold into the spotlight. Last year he starred in the thoughtful, intimate play You and I at City Lights Theater Company. He also works for Theatreworks, another noteworthy Bay Area company. “Anything that’s creative and helps pay the bills,” he says of the
different hats he wears. Morales considers himself a performer above all else, and takes great pride in his ability to work a crowd. When he’s not acting, Morales is Dav @Activepoet, a rapper and emcee with a positive, affirming style and sensibility. Influenced by such lyrical legends as Andre 3000 and J.Cole, as a performer he’s released a profusion of music—most notably with his recent “P.E. Mixtape,” which features over 15 songs with varying themes and sounds. “I talk about my everyday life—I try not to get too far from that—as well as life lessons I’ve learned along the way,” he says of the content. Morales is excited about having recently been inducted into the TradeKraft Collective, a San Jose–based music collective. This group of young artists, using their different talents and skill sets, works to bring exposure and support to up and coming South Bay musicians through song releases, events, and radio shows. As for the future, Davied Morales has his sights set on a number of projects. As an actor, he was cast in an upcoming production in Berkeley, and he’s been promoting a project trailer he acted in to distributors like Netflix. Music-wise, he plans to drop a full album sometime this year on iTunes and Spotify, as well as increase his already consistent performance schedule. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter what route he ends up on. “Any way I can to entertain people,” he says, “that’s how I want to make my living. I’m a performer above everything.”
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“I WANT TO CREATE MUSIC FOR EVERY TYPE OF OCCASION PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING.” _Salty Sherilyn
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Salty Sherilyn Written by tad malone Photography by Arabela Espinoza
soundcloud.com/plzpassthepie instagram: saltysherilyn
J, producer, and musician Salty Sherilyn offers her audience a panoply of sounds, sometimes heavy, sometimes upbeat, but always unique. Since an early age, music has been a big part of Sherilyn’s life. While attending high school in the East Bay, she played everything from snare to bass drum in the marching band’s drumline. As such, rhythm became the cornerstone of her musical creations. In recent years, she’s steered her focus towards DJ’ing and production. “I’ve always been surrounded by musicians and artists and a big music community,” she says of the influence her friends have had on her journey. Sherilyn credits SoundCloud with providing the necessary tools for her professional growth. She often finds the wide range of sounds she employs in her mixes through the website, favoring electronic musicians like Flume, Cashmere Cat, and Manila Killa. As for equipment, she prefers to create through the DJ controller Serato and incorporates Ableton into her live performances. “Nowadays you don’t have to go to music school,” she says about the practicality of a formal education. “I have all the resources I need to pursue music.” While she’s been dabbling in production and composition—and plans to put out a full-length, original EP later this year—Sherilyn considers herself first
and foremost a DJ. Her mixes and their soundscapes are dependent on her mood. “I’ll have one mix that’s like hanging out by the pool, barbecuing, chill vibes, and another mix will have forward, downtempo electronic music to fit rainy days,” she says. “I want to create music for every type of occasion people are experiencing.” That’s not to say that Sherilyn looks for mixes with mass appeal. Rather, she likes to present new and strange sounds and gauge the audience reaction. “I like to play music that I’m super into in hopes that people become interested in it as well,” she says of her live technique. To pay the bills, Sherilyn interns at Google, but otherwise you can find her spinning at different area clubs and venues. She has worked alongside groups such as East Bay music and art collective Macrowaves and the San Jose–based TradeKraft Collective. She has also put her skills to use in creating a soundtrack for a friend’s short film. Recently she’s performed in Oakland—for the city’s First Fridays event—and San Francisco, and you can find her at The Hatch in downtown Oakland the first Wednesday of the month. Ultimately Salty Sherilyn’s passions lie in both hearing and sharing new music, and her goals are straightforward. “I just want to play more gigs and get my name out there,” she says.
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SAN JOSE JAZZ
S U M M E R F E S T
ugust will be here soon enough, which means that San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is right around the corner. San Jose’s biggest musical takeover of the year will transform downtown into an eclectic haven for live music, August 11–13. Now in its 28th year, SJZ’s annual festival will feature performances by funk heavyweights George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Oakland future R&B outfit The Seshen, vocalist and Cuban national treasure Daymé Arocena, and jazz fusion pioneer Eddie Henderson, among dozens of other artists. Sorting through so much music can feel overwhelming, so we asked a handful of Summer Fest insiders to share their favorite memories from past Summer Fests and reveal who they’re excited to see in the near future.
SJZ Executive Director
Summer Fest Director of Logistics
Favorite Summer Fest memory “Looking out over a full house at the California Theatre for the world premiere of San Jose Suite by trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles. Etienne’s composition ‘Speed City’ featuring Dr. Harry Edwards has remained an anthem for us at SJZ, and seeing that piece premiered in the California Theatre for the San Jose community was a pretty cool thing.”
Favorite Summer Fest memory “Back in 2012, the Blues Stage was set up near a grassy park, and right in the middle of a performance, the sprinklers went off. The grass was full of people. After the initial screams of surprise, everyone eventually got out of the way. Instead of complaining, they laughed and then parked themselves back in their chairs to watch the rest of the show. That showed me how dedicated our community is to the music we present.”
Summer Fest artist I’m looking forward to “I’m really looking forward to seeing Manny Martinez y La Rebeldia on Sunday afternoon at the Salsa Stage. That experience pretty much sums up the Summer Fest vibe. Manny has been a fantastic artist on the Bay Area scene for a long time, and this new project merges his many influences—funk, hip-hop, politics, and salsa, among others—in a way that honors the past while pushing forward musically.”
Summer Fest artist I’m looking forward to “George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. I have seen Clinton before, but never with the combined force of his ’70s conceptions, Parliament or Funkadelic. Their set may actually have me dancing—something no one has ever seen me do at the Summer Fest. 2016’s Sérgio Mendes made me groove significantly in my golf cart last year, though there are no photos in existence that can be verified.”
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Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Daniel Garcia & Gregory Cortez
Carl Yamada Jazz Aficionado
Jackie Gage Summer Fest 2017 Artist
Summer Fest Volunteer
Favorite Summer Fest memory “I attended my first festival in 1993, so this year will mark my 25th season of enjoyment. As the years go by, I can’t help but recall great performances by legendary artists who are no longer with us: Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, James Moody, Charlie Haden, Etta James, Smith Dobson...I had the great pleasure and good fortune to either know or meet these past legends at the festival.”
Favorite Summer Fest memory “It was the end of the Summer Fest 2015, and Kamasi Washington was closing the California Theatre. His bassist, Miles Mosley, shared his tune ‘Abraham.’ He had a pedal board connected to his upright bass, and the moment he started using it, it was like the theatre growled and filled with a full string section. Then he burst into a powerful, really grooving riff right with the horn section. It was unforgettable!”
Favorite Summer Fest memory “Discovering hidden gems every year. There is always awesome music being played away from the main stage. Several years ago, I walked into an indoor venue to escape the heat and found myself listening to [jazz bassist] Buster Williams. That was a pleasant surprise, and the memory still puts a smile on my face.”
Summer Fest artist I’m looking forward to “To this very day, I try to attend performances of elder greats knowing they won’t be around forever. Memories of witnessing artists for the last time are everlasting. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing Jimmy Cobb (age 88) and the Jazz By Five at the festival.”
Summer Fest artist I’m looking forward to “I have yet to hear Tia Brazda. I dig electro swing, and her earlier music is reminiscent of Parov Stelar, Dessy Di Lauro, and Taco’s ‘Putting on the Ritz.’ I’d like to see how she brings that style to life at the festival.”
Summer Fest artist I’m looking forward to “Chris Botti. Honey comes out of that man’s trumpet. I’m a fan of his big, expressive tone, and I’m really looking forward to hearing that sweet sound spread throughout downtown San Jose at the festival.”
summerfest.sanjosejazz.org social media: sanjosejazz
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Curated by Universal Grammar instagram: ungramr
Arca Arca LP
Salami Rose Joe Louis Zlaty Sauce Nephew
(XL Recordings) Release date: April 7, 2017
(Independent Release) Release date: April 18, 2017
Arca is the self-titled release of London-based producer Alejandro Ghersi. While Ghersi is most known for producing the likes of Björk, FKA Twigs, and Kanye West, his previous studio albums, Xen (2014) and Mutant (2015), have secured his notoriety within the electronic scene for his unique execution of dark orchestral and visceral sounds. While Ghersi remains consistent with the development in his sound stylings, Arca showcases Ghersi’s next evolution in sound, as several tracks feature his own vocals (in recent interviews, Ghersi insists that this was not without heavy encouragement from Björk), allowing for a new lyrical and sonic context to live at the forefront of his wildly chaotic, yet soothing compositions. Arca lends the refinement and completeness missing from Ghersi’s previous albums to satisfy even a first-time listener. This album is the stuff that club music nightmares are made of. Expect the grotesque, the bizarre, and the beautiful from this release.
Zlaty Sauce Nephew is the second solo and independent release by Salami Rose Joe Louis, a handle adopted by vocalist Lindsay Olsen. SRJL brings a unique “sauce” to the table: velvety and full-bodied vocals, layered lo-fi production, tender piano chords, and crunchy percussive accoutrements. Two minutes into Zlaty Sauce Nephew is more than enough time to ensure that you melt into the spaciousness of nostalgia and the sense of truth that shines right through Olsen’s vocals. At an impressive 32 tracks, Zlaty Sauce Nephew is a rare and delicate case in which quality is not sacrificed for quantity. Most tracks span less than two minutes, in which SRJL wastes no time in setting the soundscape: low boil, slow simmer. Short intermissions, such as the “Just Peanuts Interlude,” offer a frame of context to the album that toys with a cognizance of unrealized potential. As SRJL neatly puts it, “on a scale of one to peanut butter cookie, I feel like this album is...just peanuts.”
Favorite Track: Castration
Favorite Track: Dorkiest Jam of All Time
arca1000000.com twitter: arca1000000
salamirosejoelouismusic.bandcamp.com facebook: SalamiRoseJoeLouis @carolinebeleno
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Henry Wu Deep in the Mudd EP B. Bravo Paradise LP
(Eglo Records) Release date: March 10, 2017
After the critical success of Yussef Kamaal’s debut album, Black Focus, Kamaal Williams aka Henry Wu aka one half of Yussef Kamaal, goes back into the lab on Deep in the Mudd, giving the listeners six intense tracks of straightno-chaser jazz and broken-beat gliders. “Deep in Mudd” opens the EP with a funky drum and bass number that melts into the chill of Wu’s London roots. “R6 Interlude” starts off with a recording of a youth in friendly banter before the repetitious staccato of a piano note hammers away room for the rhythm section to take center stage. The crash, ride, and hi-hats of the drums keep Wu’s ivory keys dancing above the atmosphere on “Boards and Skins.” “Just Negotiate” gets a major overhaul from the legendary Kaidi Tatham from Bugz in the Attic. Simeon Jones’s voice graces the smoothness of this dance number, catching the ghost under this percussive blanket. “Century” transfixes with its dizzying loops and synthesized bass lines, stabbing in and out with punctuated clarity. In the end, “Reflections” takes all the beauty and madness of the last five tracks and cools us down, reawakening our thoughts on life and its melodic meaning. An ever-elusive figure, Wu and his contributions to the global jazz scene are getting him noticed more and more each day. Like most artists of this caliber, he lets the music do most of the talking. And trust, Henry Wu’s tracks are reciting gospels.
(Bastard Jazz Recordings) Release date: April 7, 2017
B. Bravo fans around the world have been waiting patiently for the modern-day funk champion’s debut LP to arrive. Between B. Bravo’s touring the globe and his many side projects, we never thought Paradise would reach our ears anytime soon. Well, it’s here, and after several dance-infused listens, I’m very happy that Mr. Mori decided to take his time with these 12 tracks of cosmic funk. The opening title track, “Paradise,” sets the tone of the album, pulsating into an atmospheric groove that readies your audio taste buds for what’s to come. Tracks like “I’m for Real,” “Starz in Your Eyez,” and “Summer Love” will help to flavor any stale sound system. Bangers like “Energy” and “Don’t You Worry” lace the album with the sounds of today’s global club movement. Those wishing to satisfy their funk cravings will find “Freak It,” “Lay It on the Line,” and “Groove” layered with rhythms and plenty of talk box love. “Can’t Keep My Hands off You” and “Stay the Night” are gentle reminders that funk can be for sensual lovers too. Paradise is a spectacular accomplishment for B. Bravo, solidifying his creativity for the whole world to get down to, whether they bump it in their ride or on the dance floor. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long for a follow-up. Funk horns out. bbravo.com bbravo.bandcamp.com instagram: b_bravo_
soundcloud.com/wueslI yussefkamaal.bandcamp.com facebook: Wuesliwu @dandiggity
H E A D S P A C E Markas Plato
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Photographers | Daniel Garcia and Arabela Espinoza Art Director and Wardrobe Stylist | Elle Mitchell Producer | Kristen Pfund Prop Stylist | Arabela Espinoza Wardrobe Assistant | Mariana Kishimoto Models | Tamika Miller and Javion Rob Hair Stylists | Debbie Duran for Umbrella Salon Make-up Artist | Byanka Batres Location | The New Ballet School Props by The Tech Museum and Art Ark Gallery Clothing and accessories by Ceiba SF, Camelia Skikos, Scotch and Soda, Donald J Pliner, and Redemption
yellow structured shift dress & cropped top by Camelia Skikos, netted hoodie & short set by Ceiba SF, silver slides & white high tops by Donald J Pliner, cuffs by Redemption
cropped open jacket & wide-leg pants by Camelia Skikos, white knitted tunic & white joggers by Ceiba SF, white high tops & silver slides by Donald J Pliner, rings by Redemption
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black leather mosaic tunic by Ceiba SF, white denim pants by Scotch and Soda, one-shoulder top & white structured skirt by Camelia Skikos, necklace & rings by Redemption, high tops & sneakers by Donald J Pliner
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white round-sleeved dress by Camelia Skikos, green patch army jacket & white denim pants by Scotch and Soda, silver fringe loafers & white sneakers by Donald J Pliner, cuffs & rings by Redemption
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Paulette Boudreaux Interview by Ann Bridges
Paulette Boudreaux’s passionate quest to become a respected storyteller leads her to Silicon Valley to teach and share a stunning new world with her readers.
community in the segregated South in the heart of the ’60s. It is a very different version of the story than most know, and what gives the story relevance. It shows a context and reveals important, usually overlooked, American experiences, and points to some of the factors leading to the kinds of racial frustrations that we are grappling with across America today. Mulberry also points to our main source of hope for America’s future: the young and their strength, resilience, adaptability, and optimism.
Why did you decide to write? I was an introspective and imaginative child stranded in small-town Mississippi in the 1960s. I disappeared in the pages of a book and reemerged feeling changed with a different perspective on the world around me because of the journey through the story and the people I met in the book. My eighth grade English teacher put the idea in my head that I could be a writer. From that point on, I wanted to do for others what books had done for me—reflect back parts of myself and the rest of humanity, show the world in different lights, and offer a lifeline of sorts for those in need of one.
Could you share your unique process for writing? My short stories and novels all start with a single thought or image flowing out from some mysterious place in my creative imagination. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I may see a character moving about or speaking, maybe going on in a monologue. Or I may hear a phrase or a few sentences echoing in my mind out of the clear blue. My job then is to sit down and write that character’s monologue or those sentences and let the rest of the story unfold.
Is writing your hobby or compulsion? Writing is my vehicle for understanding, feeling, thinking, exploring, expressing, untangling the confusion, trying to answer the big questions of life, and breathing life into my existence. If I don’t write, my world starts to go to pieces in large and small ways. So I write to keep my world intact.
How do you juggle writing with your teaching commitments at Foothill College? During the academic year, I have to carve out writing time and guard it jealously. As crazy as this sounds, my creative self, when she has something to say, will hold her tongue and bide her time while I do what I must do away from the keyboard if there is a regular, guaranteed appointment during which she knows she will get to speak her piece.
Who inspires your memorable characters and plots? Sometimes I will encounter a person, or remember someone I have known, who did or said a certain thing that piqued my curiosity. Then in a random inspired moment, I find myself pondering that personality or situation and asking— why? how? what if? From there, my imagination takes over. The story that flows from that kind of inquiry usually ends up far afield from where I started. Sometimes I’m inspired not by who, but what—a philosophical idea or question. As I pursue the idea or seek an answer, a short story or a novel takes shape.
How did you feel winning the Lee Smith Novel Prize? It was one of the biggest thrills of my life being named the winner of the inaugural Lee Smith Novel Prize. Lee Smith is a much revered and prolific author of contemporary Southern fiction, so winning a prize honoring her and her contributions to Southern literature was very exciting, especially for my debut novel. Mulberry has since won a Silver Independent Publisher Book Award for Best Southern Fiction in 2016 and was named a finalist for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize, another prize honoring Southern authors. This recognition means a great deal to me.
What reactions do you wish from your readers after reading Mulberry? I wish them to have a cathartic experience. As they are laughing, crying, hoping, wishing, and surviving with my characters, I hope their own emotional load will grow lighter. Additionally, I hope readers discover something new about a part of America and a time in her history. Mulberry gives an inside view of a black American family and
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Mulberry I remember patches of azure sky and thin white clouds outside my sixth-grade classroom windows; pale blades of late November sunlight slanting through the bank of windows and emptying into square pools of light on the gray tile floor; the pleated navy-blue skirt and white chiffon blouse with navy piping my teacher Miss Washington wore. Miss Washington retrieved a handkerchief from her desk drawer and wiped her face. “You may not know it,” she began, “but President Kennedy was the first president in over a hundred years that cared anything at all about America’s Negroes. He was passing laws to make this country into a place where we could hold our heads up and walk the streets with dignity. Trying to get us an equal chance with white people.” She fell silent except for the odd snuffling sounds in her throat. “Now they’ve murdered him.” Her words rushed at us when she regained control. “White people truly hate the Negro. For no good reason other than our dark skin. If you didn’t know it before, you sure should know it now. They’d rather kill the president, one of their own, than let you have what all white children in America have. A chance at a decent life. That shows some very deep hatred!” My heart beat in my ears. Anxiety mingled with shame. I was ashamed to belong to a group that had attracted the “deep hatred” of a whole country. I looked around at my classmates. Some nasty emotion hung in the room, thick and palpable like a wool cloud. I felt stripped and raw, naked in a world where everything was prickly and mean. I hadn’t thought that those WHITES ONLY and COLOREDS ONLY signs pointed toward deep hatred. With Miss Washington’s explanation about the reason for the president’s murder, the WHITES ONLY signs suddenly seemed more sinister and hateful, not just a simple fact of life in my little Mississippi town. Excerpt provided by Paulette Boudreaux
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Well-RED Reading Series
The San Jose Obon Festival is a time when generations come together to enjoy a rich cultural experience with music, food, games, and over 1,200 dancers. 7/8–7/9 Japantown San Jose sjbetsuin.com
At this month’s event, Joel Katz and Robert Perry will celebrate the release of a book of English/Dutch poetry published by Dutch Poets Press. 7/11 Works/San José pcsj.org
Tahiti Fête of San Jose
Christmas in July
East Side Funk
Rini & The Incident
The Rotary Fireworks
Music in the Park
Content LAB: Wood + Water
Camera As Witness
Dancers come from all over the world to compete, showcasing the rich history of the Polynesian people. Plus, there will be food vendors, artisans, and dance workshops. 7/1–7/3 Event Center at SJSU tahitifete.com
East Side Funk captures the passion and style of East Side San Jose’s ’70s era, but combines it in a modern context with a fusion of traditional and digital instruments. 7/2 Cafe Pink House cafepinkhouse.com
The Rotary Club of San Jose celebrates Independence Day with a world-class fireworks display in the heart of downtown San Jose. 7/4 Discovery Meadow rotaryfireworks.org
The latest Content LAB is a hands-on creative networking event where guests will learn the art of woodworking and water preservation. 7/8 Bay Maples content-magazine.com
This annual fundraiser will feature live music from The Houserockers, along with food, a “beverage trailer,” live and silent auctions, and a few extra special activities. 7/15 History Park christmasinthepark.com
Rini is a New York–based South Indian singer, composer, and violinist whose music is a mix of art-rock, electronica, jazz, and Carnatic. The Incident will also perform. 7/15 Art Boutiki artboutiki.com
At the second concert in this series, Blues Traveler will perform their blend of blues, psychedelic, folk, and Southern rock. Local favorites Ben Henderson and Socorra open. 7/20 Plaza de Cesar Chavez sjdowntown.com
This film series exploring emerging issues in human rights will be moderated by Jasmina Bojic, founder of the international documentary film festival UNAFF. 7/20–8/3 Location TBD continuingstudies.stanford.edu
To have your event considered for listing, submit event to bit.ly/contentmagcal 94
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21 Rock the Garden
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club
21 Silicon Valley Beer Week
San Jose Renaissance Faire
Shiny Side Up Bicycle Show
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
Gilroy Garlic Festival
Diamond in the Rough Film Festival
This is the opening celebration for Now Hear This!, an outdoor exhibition featuring immersive site-specific soundscapes, sonic experiences, sound sculptures, and more. 7/21 Montalvo Arts Center montalvoarts.org
Venues, restaurants, and breweries that are passionate about craft beer are highlighted through activities such as tap takeovers, food pairings, demos, and brewmaster dinners. 7/21–7/30 Various Silicon Valley Venues svbeerweek.com
Celebrate the 10th year of this show that features all types of bikes, from fully custom-built bikes to original rusted Schwinns, as well as vendors, stunt shows, and more. 7/23 History Park shinysideupbikeshow.com
This festival attracts garlic-lovers from around the world for three full days of incredible food, drink, arts and crafts, live music, and cooking competitions. 7/28–7/30 Christmas Hill Park gilroygarlicfestival.com
Connecting emerging and established fashion, art, and music communities, this event features a fashion show, exhibitors, live music, food, dance, and more. 7/29 School of Arts & Culture at MHP famepresents.com
04 South First Fridays Street Mrkt
In addition to the monthly South First Fridays Art Walk, the summer months bring an outdoor, nighttime, urban faire, featuring artists, creative vendors, and music. 8/4 SoFA District southfirstfridays.com
Silicon Valley Shakespeare brings theater outdoors with a Sherlock Holmes adventure by Jeffrey Hatcher (Tuesdays with Morrie). 8/4–9/3 Sanborn County Park svshakespeare.org
This full-scale, interactive experience features about 800 costumed performers bringing Shakespeare’s England to life and 100 artisans displaying their wares. 8/5–8/6 Discovery Meadow sanjosefaire.com
San Jose becomes the temporary epicenter of the jazz universe with 100+ performances on 10 stages presenting jazz, blues, Latin, salsa, R&B, New Orleans jazz, and more. 8/11–8/13 Downtown San Jose summerfest.sanjosejazz.org
A time-bending romantic drama spun out of string theory, this unconventional Broadway and West End sensation explores the infinite possibilities of “boy meets girl.” 8/23–9/17 Mountain View CPA theatreworks.org
Short for “Music And Gaming Festival,” MAGFest expands to the West Coast with MAGWest, a festival dedicated to the appreciation of gaming and video game music. 8/25–8/27 Hyatt Regency Santa Clara magwest.org
In this annual film festival, the organizers want to highlight truly independent films— even if they are “rough around the edges.” 8/25–8/27 Bluelight Cinemas bluelightcinemas.com
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Contributors The production of Content Magazine would not be possible without the talented writers, editors, graphic artists, and photographers who contribute to each issue. We thank you and are proud to provide a publication to display your work. We are also thankful for the sponsors and readers who have supported this magazine through advertisements and subscriptions.
TAD MALONE Tad is a contributing writer for Metro Newspaper Silicon Valley and music and culture magazine Cypherleague.com. He is also the editor/publisher of the literary magazine PAPINO. In his free time he enjoys skateboarding, art, and history. He currently studies English literature at Santa Clara University. instagram: tee_emart
DEREK HAUGEN Derek is a Milpitas-based writer, artist, and musician. Driven by the power of “the story,” he graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in 2008 with a double major in English and Japanese. He currently writes and edits content for Apple. derekhaugen.com
MARK HANEY Mark was born and raised in San Jose and founded ThinkBiggerSanJose.com shortly after graduating from SJSU. As a contributing writer to Content, Mark has focused on “What If ” thought pieces and interviews with community leaders working to develop a better San Jose.
ELIZABETH SULLIVAN Elizabeth is a copyeditor and poet with an MFA from the University of Washington. She lives with her husband and numerous bees, chickens, and goats and is fond of making and eating cheese washed down with a moderate amount of mead.
HALEY KIM Haley is a San Jose native currently studying at Syracuse University. When she’s not interning for Content, she might be Snapchatting her weekly baking adventures or reading a novel. instagram: haleyy.kim
NICK PANOUTSOS Nick is an undergrad music major and communications student at New York University. Since 2016, he has contributed to Content’s blog and print magazine, focusing on local music, specifically the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Outside of school, Nick pursues work as a freelance bassist in New York and the Bay Area. instagram: vegbass
RASHI GUPTA Rashi is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California, double majoring in journalism and environmental studies. She is also currently interning with Content for the summer.
Want to be a part of the Content community? Contact us at: Editor@content-magazine.com
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Cut along line
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This issue is made possible with the support of our partnersâ€”companies and organizations who share our desire to support and develop the creative community of the South Bay. We are grateful for their contribution and support and for actively taking part in the betterment of our region.
For more information on becoming a mission partner, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Filco Events has been working on festivals, fundraisers, and events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. Each event is individually tailored to the special needs and goals of the organization. While fundraising is always a significant part of festivals, other priorities include media attention, corporate support, and volunteer building, as well as the opportunity to showcase specific programs and services to the community. In all cases, advancing long-term goals while still raising significant revenue gives each event purpose and recognition for many years into the future. From logistics to concessions to volunteer coordination, we can contract key elements of large festivals, provide consultation, or actually direct the entire production. We are also available for national and multi-city events.
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Telly Award–winning Tabrizi Productions is downtown San Jose’s leader in event and commercial videography. Led by Farran Tabrizi, the company has expanded quickly since its introduction to San Jose’s SoFA district. Combining a creative eye with expert editing, Tabrizi Productions excels at capturing what makes your product or event special. Our team has produced online advertisements, instructional videos, music videos, and TV shows, and covered weddings, nonprofit events, festivals—and everything else in between.
Bay Maples owner Alan Hackler and his team are experts at designing gardens that reuse household greywater from laundry, baths, and sinks for landscaping purposes. They also design rain catchment systems that use rain to water gardens. Recently they were awarded the 2017 Bay Area Award for Sustainability and the 2016 Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award. They make the most of resources at hand and specialize in making water-saving gardens that embrace the native beauty of Northern California plants. If you want to design a beautiful, artistic garden while incorporating overall sustainability, call Bay Maples.
Welcome to Foundry Commons. A place with soul. Thatâ€™s what you get when you move into Foundry Commons. Part industrial. Part sophisticated. But all very real. Foundry Commons is a place doers, originators, and creatives alike call home. Unique to this community are resort-like amenities such as a pool, petanque court, bike workshop, dog spa, library loft, and microgallery. Offering a variety of living options to mesh with your unique styles, Foundry Commons is the perfect place to make the life you want. Mention Content Magazine and receive up to $100 move-in credit*. Now leasing. 408.292.0868
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Brian W. Brush, Voxel Cloud, 2017 Color-changing and data-driven LED lights. Located at The Pierce in downtown San Jose, CA. Dynamic, illuminated, data-driven LEDs are connected through a matrix of reﬂective metallic cube frames, shimmering and shifting in the night sky. Draping across the rooﬂine, Voxel Cloud is a beacon for San José’s SoFA Art District, visible from Interstate 280 as well as aircraft utilizing Mineta San José International Airport. Voxel Cloud, a public artwork in private development, was made possible through a partnership between Sares Regis Group of Northern California, Pritzker Realty Group, and the City of San José Ofﬁce of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program.
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