Profiles 10.4

Page 110

CONTENT MAGAZINE, SAN JOSE SEPT/OCT 2018 PROFILES 10.4 $9.95 FEATURING Profiles of 50 South Bay Creatives


Daniel Garcia


Elizabeth Sullivan

Kelsy Thompson, Grace Olivieri

Samantha Tack, Marissa Ahmadkhani

Linnea Lukatch


Elle Mitchell

Community Partnerships

Kristen Pfund

Summer Intern

Justin Sun


Elle Mitchell, Maggie Moore

Jeff Gardner


Gregory Cortez, Arabela Espinoza

Scott MacDonald, Robert Schultze

Jacob Martinez, Joey Pisacane, Mark Chua

David Ho, John Agcaoili


Brandon E. Roos, Cathleen Miller

Michelle Runde, Nathan Zanon

Johanna Hickle, Gillian Claus

Brad Sanzenbacher, Daniel Codella

Tad Malone, Diane Solomon, Thomas Ulrich

Marissa Ahmadkhani, Esther Young

Kunal Sampat, Brooke Olsen Roush

David Ma, Allen Johnson, Jeff Brummet

Publisher SVCreates

This is the third edition of our "Profiles" series, and it is one of my favorite issues because we get to pack it with our local creatives. Doing six issues a year just does not provide the space to feature all the people we admire in our community; the "Profiles" issue is to give breadth more than depth and to introduce you to people we think you should investigate. It is also dear to me because I make this issue my chance to photograph all the people featured, so you will only see photo credits where I did not personally take the photos. If I could, I would shoot all the images and do all the interviews in every issue, but that is not really possible nor does it further our mission of giving locals a platform to showcase their writing skills and develop their photography. But for this annual issue, I get a little selfish and shoot all the images, not only because I love photography, but also because I really like to meet new people and get to know their story. Even though the shoots can be short sometimes, I feel that these people are my friends, and so it is my pleasure to introduce to you a few of my friends in this issue. I hope you too get to know them and connect with them, like a good friend.



ISSUE 10.4 “Profiles” Sept/Oct 2018 To participate in Content Magazine: Subscription & advertising information available by contacting CONTENT MAGAZINE is a bimonthly publication about the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley, published by . IN THIS ISSUE Red Berry Coffee Bar / Kung Fu Vampire / Councilmember Tam Nguyen / Sam Rodriguez


open studios santa cruz 2018 First 3 weekends in october 300+ studios Free app + guide santacruZopenstudios.coM t aylor r einhold, in studio | p hoto: c rystal b irns fI

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We have a story to tell – a story inspired by rich cultural history and an innovative spirit. A story that shares all of what San Jose has to offerfrom outdoor adventure to unbeatable shopping and a vibe that only exists here. This is a story that has been written by you - San Jose - and we are proud to tell it to the world.

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Profiles 10.4

CONTENT Sept/Oct 2018 San Jose, California ESSAY 12 Art as Slow Change, Karen Gutfreund ART 16 MACLA’s DMC Studio, Nicholas Jimenez 18 Sculptor & Painter, Abel Gonzalez 20 Artist & Designer, Tamiko Rast 22 San Jose Museum of Art, Susan Sayre Batton 24 Print Maker, Fanny Retsek 26 Display Artist, Damian Kelly 28 Paper Art, Darius B’Alexander 30 Graphic Designer, Kaitlyn Horner 32 Mural Artist, Lila Gemellos 34 Painter, Francisco Ramirez 36 Photographer, Vicki Thompson 38 Mixed Medium Artist, Sarah Cade 40 Mural Artist, Sam Rodriguez 42 Sangam Arts, Usha Srinivasan 44 Public Art Director, Michael Ogilvie 46 Stencil Art, Jason Adams 48 Top Notch Kustoms, Notch Gonzalez FOOD & DRINK 50 Slap Face Coffee & Tea, Mike Rozenblum 52 Red Berry Coffee Bar, Jeff & Lisa Hampton 54 Elyse Restaurant, Chef Ngoc-Bao-Ky Vo 56 Storrs Winemaker, Pamela Bianchini-Storrs 58 Rhys Vineyards Manager, Javier Tapia Meza
Fanny Retsek, pg. 24 Sarah Cade, pg. 38 Notch Gonzalez, pg. 48 Darius B’Alexander, pg. 28
All materials in Content Magazine are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast or modified in any way without the prior written consent of Silicon Valley Creates, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of this content. For further information, or to participate in the production or distribution, please contact us at (cont. on page 8)

Chez, pg. 104


60 Kombi Co., Jeff & Christine Alexander

62 Sales & Marketing, Fairmont Hotel, Marshall Jones

64 Marketing, Laura Chmielewski

66 Comedian, Rory Campbell

68 Councilmember, Tam Nguyen

70 TV Host, Janice Edwards

72 Viva Calle (Parks & Rec.), Ed Solis

74 Events Planner, Eric Belladonna

76 Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Carl Guardino

78 Authentic Imprints, Drew Scicluna

80 Entrepreneur, Sarah Chea

82 Deputy City Manager, Kip Harkness

84 Kiva & LettuceBee Kids, Sarah Adeel


86 Second Hand Hustle, Jaypee Inguito

88 Photographer, Mark Chua

90 Wardrobe Stylist, Adrea Cabera

92 Makeup Artist, Renee Batres


Carl Guardino, pg. 76 Damian Kelly, pg. 26 Sarah Adeel, pg. 84
94 Second Hand Style
Hip-Hop Dancer, Chez
Rapper, Kung Fu Vampire
Gyrotonic Teacher, Christine Toha 110 Pilates Instructor, Maria Yu
Singer/Songwriter/Waiter, Chris Landon 114 Album Picks, Needle to the Groove 116 Content Calendar 118 Content Contributors Published by 38 West Santa Clara Street San Jose, CA 95113
102 The Get Down, Ceech Hsu, Jeannette & Brian Rapaido 104
504 A Front St & 1108 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Wed-Thurs 12pm-9pm Fri-Sat 12pm-10pm Sun 12pm-8pm FACTORY SHOP


School of Visual Philosophy is expanding to 13,000 square feet in order to grow the school and increase artist studio space. There will also be a new tech lab with laser cutters, a 3D ceramic printer, CNC woodcarving, and more. Looking forward, the school is planning to introduce certificate programs for bladesmithing, blacksmithing, and possibly brewing.

School of Visual Philosophy is excited to join the active community already on the Alameda in San Jose.

The School of Visual Philosophy

1065 The Alameda San Jose, CA 95126



Art as Slow Change

ACTIVIST ART IS ON THE RISE, particularly in the last two years. While it used to be rare to have art institutions hosting activist exhibitions, they are now being shown across the country and in locations that even just a few years ago would have seemed improbable. Imagine a gallery or museum in a conservative southern town having an exhibition on the theme of racism or Black Lives Matter. The whirlwind of rhetoric and hyperbole from the current administration spewing xenophobia, misogyny, and racism has galvanized artists into action, bringing to light injustice and inequalities.

Many artists have been deeply committed to a practice that addresses pressing issues such as immigration, human rights, women’s rights, health care, the environment, and gun control. This is the bedrock of art-as-activism exhibitions—using the power of the arts to visually document social issues and drive social change. The role of curators and artists is not just to produce exhibitions but, through shows and the programming of socially engaged art, to help shift the way people think about the issues. It has been said that art cannot change the world, but if artists said nothing, the silence would be deafening. Now more than ever, artists, curators, universities, and museum professionals are compelled to produce activist exhibitions because silence on the issues would suggest complicity and collusion.

Using art for social commentary is not a new phenomenon. Art helps humanize and actualize emotions, injustices, hopes, and fears. It can elicit a visceral reaction, provoke and then inspire us to action. Art is not just about depicting beauty, but rather encapsulating and expressing the viewpoint of the artist, drawn from their experiences and perspectives, into a visual form. Common themes are contextualized through specific imagery and art that reflects the happenings of the time. The art and culture feed into each other and can cause transformation as a result.

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Illustration by Kyle Harter

Think of Picasso’s painting Guernica, portraying the bombing of a village in Spain by Nazi Germany, Goya’s 80 aquatint etchings, The Disasters of War, detailing in exquisite detail the horrors of the Napoleonic Peninsular War, or The Napalm Girl, by photojournalist Nick Ut, capturing a little girl burned by a bomb, running naked down a dirt road in Vietnam. With the onset of AIDS in the ’80s, Silence = Death personified the advocacy and protest of the Act Up organization. That image still has the power to move and disturb. This “logo” included the instruction to turn anger, fear, and grief into action, and it changed the way people looked at the AIDS epidemic, opening a national conversation. These are all examples of lasting, impactful artwork that altered worldviews on war, violence, and injustice.

And consider Guns: Loaded Conversations, a recent exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles (SJMQT) that was on display from April 22 to July 15. Guns was their inaugural activist show, starting off, and pardon the pun, with a “BANG.” It challenged the status quo and certainly was not your grandma’s quilt show. As might be expected, the exhibit ruffled some feathers. A few visitors, members, and volunteers expressed disappointment that the work was political instead of what one would expect to see in a quilt and textile museum. The exhibition, however, initiated a fully loaded conversation on guns, violence, and American gun culture—examining both the pros and cons of gun ownership and the resulting polarizing issues. The works were powerful, nuanced, and impactful, with a level of sophistication that allowed the viewer to draw their own conclusions. This is an example of an exhibition that has opened the door to art as slow change, eliciting a visceral reaction while provoking and inspiring us to action. These shows may not take a stance on specific viewpoints but encourage civil discourse, education, and understanding with the intention to create common ground for people with disparate views. This is the start to reaching across the divide, creating synchronicities and collaborations to resolve complex issues. Many works in Guns: Loaded Conversations could have the same lasting impact if given a larger stage. This show will travel next to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, and hopefully to other venues as well.

Guns was two years in the making. Too many recent mass shootings made the show’s timing bleakly spot on. Amy DiPlacido, curator of exhibitions at SJMQT, said, “I wanted the museum to tackle these social and political issues. I also knew that I needed to take a risk. I figured if we had more relevant themes, perhaps a new audience would come in.” Later this fall, SJMQT will be partnering with various city organizations to sponsor a gun buy-back program entitled Quilts + Cash for Guns. According to Nancy Bavor, director of SJMQT, the goal of the program is to reduce the number of firearms owned by civilians and provide them with an opportunity to turn in guns without risk of prosecution. Participants turn in a gun and, in exchange, receive cash and a quilt.

Discussing the exhibition theme and all the subtleties and nuances that go into understanding complex concepts such as gun control, DiPlacido said, “In a moment where the public is openly questioning and skeptical of the news, words have an even greater weight—now more than ever. As a result, political and social rhetoric seem to be more extreme; because words are finite, it’s easy to see a situation as black and white. In contrast, art is a physical expression, often using little to no words and can shine a light on the gray area which is sometimes omitted from the conversation.”

Art is a slow form of activism because it sends a less direct message than vocal or written activism. But it is in this gray area, through visual storytelling and the subsequent stirring of emotion, that activist art lives and has its power. Slowly and authentically, art can affect people on many levels. It requires the participant to slow down and spend time absorbing the work and its meaning, stimulating the subconscious. That may cause a shift in held beliefs, perceptions, or viewpoints. Once you’ve seen something, you can’t unsee it. Haunting, powerful artwork returns to the viewer again and again, retelling the narrative and creating new and lasting meaning over time. Rather than telling one what to think, art prompts more questions than answers, and that is the point.

Oscar Wilde once said that life imitates art more than art imitates life. Pop culture and artistic expression

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are assimilated into the common vernacular, and personal identity is formed through consumption of contemporary culture, whether it is film, music, or visual art. Cultural transformation is necessary for lasting change, but that requires a shift in beliefs and values. Rallies or protests will not have a lasting impact unless the issues resonate as true with the general public. A society’s culture creates their politics—what they support and live by or what they will deem intolerable and reject. Often, what is important, desirable, and sought after is created and visualized by the artists in our midst. They initiate and shift the conversations. Once society embraces those ideals, it becomes embedded in the culture. Think of civil rights, women’s rights, AIDS activism, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality; the shift in attitudes and ideals creates the new normal—what is perceived as right and correct, shifting the culture in ways big and small. Artists do tend to be the progressive thinkers.

Within the art-as-activism movement, there is also a groundbreaking crusade around who can tell the stories and who is represented. Historically, the art world has been a white man’s club. That is changing, and it’s about time. The #MeToo movement, breaking away from patriarchal hegemony, is giving voice to underrepresented women, people of color, and LGBTQ artists. These voices need to be heard. And with the

popularity of Instagram and YouTube, just to name a few platforms, the visual narrative is taking over culture and giving an equal platform to artists to share their voice and vision, eschewing the normal channels of the past for what would or could be viewed. We’ve come to a tipping point, the doors are wide open, and new, invigorating conversations are happening worldwide.

Look for more activist exhibitions at the SJMQT. “As the textile medium is constantly re-identifying itself with interdisciplinary processes, the work that I show is going to be more nebulous and expansive,” DiPlacido said. “We will continue to highlight current social and political issues. I feel that artists are the courageous visionaries who authentically distill our realities in the visual form, and it is my responsibility to illuminate their voice.”

Art gives us a vision and a means by which to communicate to others in the here and now and to dream the impossible dreams of what could be. The creatives are the soul of a community and reflect society’s best and highest ambitions. They create the manifesto and others follow their lead. These messages get absorbed into the culture at large and produce, albeit slowly, positive change.

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NICHOLAS Jimenez Instagram:

Just as big-picture thinkers are as crucial as detail-oriented minds, art generalists are as essential as the artists of a single medium. It all depends on the specific role being fulfilled. In regards to the position of program assistant at MACLA’s DMC Studio—a free arts education program mentoring youth in a range of disciplines—Nicholas Jimenez’s eager appreciation of many mediums is an asset. Jimenez’s wide-ranging creative palate spills over into his endeavors in video editing, photography, and illustration, as well as his pursuit of a BS in Industrial Design at San Jose State University—a study allowing him to combine all three aforementioned disciplines. It even spreads to his YouTube channel, SJCA Style & Culture with Nicholas Jimenez, a vlog that tracks his adventures around San Jose and his interviews with those who are developing our city’s culture from a variety of vocations.

“Being fully transparent—my dad was incarcerated. During his incarceration, he would write letters and send drawings to my mom. At the time, I didn’t really understand that. I just knew he was an artist. He drew and he painted. I saw more of that. I want people to know I didn’t have this beautiful upbringing, but I saw a beautiful opportunity in the talent that my dad had as a first-generation Mexican American (Chicano) living in San Jose. Even though I had that looming over my head, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was destined for that, but rather, I actually got a great talent out of that. I saw the creativity and the value.”

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instagram: driftin

For San Jose artist and muralist Abel Gonzalez, art and the natural world are intertwined. As a child, he visited his uncle’s farm in Mexico and was enraptured by the animals, even attempting to draw them. In middle school, the colors and boldness of graffiti attracted him, and he quickly built a reputation as a talented artist. His early twenties saw him take a bit of a creative sabbatical, but nowadays he’s an established artist—though he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Taking cues from his former graffiti career, Abel sculpts and paints in an assembly line process, layering different pieces before building them to completion. This was especially evident with his most recent show at the Arsenal, TUFF LIFE. The show featured his most consistent theme—sharks—rendered in fierce, vibrant, playful strokes. As for the future, Gonzalez hopes to extend his career into something larger, including international mural work, while still keeping it fun and inspiring the next generation of burgeoning artists.

“I really don’t know what it is; there’s just something about sharks that fascinates me. I’m attracted to their form and motion, but I think I relate to them on a character level, where we are nice and easy-going, but a little trigger brings out the wild side. I’ve always tripped out on animals like sharks, how they are big and beautiful but could destroy you in a second. I can paint a person or do illustration characters, but I’d rather paint or sculpt an animal, especially a shark.”

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art & desgin

Instagram: tommytoe

It might take a bit of prodding to get it out of her, but artist and designer Tamiko Rast is about as South Bay as it comes. A fourth generation San Josean, Rast attended both San Jose City College and SJSU for degrees in art while working at her grandfather’s coffeeshop, Roy’s, a coffee staple of Japantown. Although much of her professional artwork falls under commissioned designs at Rasteroids Design, a firm she co-runs with her brother, Rast’s personal work is heavily influenced by woodcuts and combinations of typography and illustration—themes that manifest in her own bold, political woodcut art and delicate tattoo work. A huge proponent of the arts, Rast also serves on the boards of multiple art and service organizations, including as president of the Japantown Business Associations and as District 3 Arts Commissioner for the city of San Jose. As for what the future holds for her life and art, Tamiko Rast has no idea and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My creative process doesn’t follow a systematic approach. But as a commercial artist, I do favor guidelines and limitations, and I usually get a pretty instantaneous visual of a project upon starting. With my personal art, I only hope people get a kick out of it. I guess you could say I was representing irony with my Veritable San Jose art show. I was inspired to create travel posters of San Jose but thought it’d be humorous if they exhibited the darker side of our city instead of some glossy tourist propaganda. With the Japantown Mural Project, my intention was to feature others’ artwork and tell a story about Japantown and San Jose—one of great diversity, in every sense of the word.”

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S. Sayre Batton, Oshman executive director

S. Sayre Batton

Many of Susan Sayre Batton’s childhood adventures took place under the inquisitive eyes of Greek statues and painted portraits. One art museum excursion, particularly fond in Batton’s memories, was a trip to the Museum of Modern Art with her sisters. Attempting to make sense of a piece by abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, the sisters observed it from a different angle by standing on their heads. During her career, Batton has held a number of art museum positions, including deputy director at Honolulu Academy of Arts, collections consultant at Norton Simon Museum, and her current position as Oshman Executive Director at San Jose Museum of Art. With the intent of creating a borderless museum through onsite and offsite projects and seamless integration with the communities they serve, Batton and her team have undergone a number of collaborations with other organizations. To this end, they recently collaborated with Empire Seven Studios and the Children’s Discovery Museum to establish a new mural titled Sophie Holding the World Together. The mural celebrates nine-yearold activist Sophie Cruz and contributes to the commentary on social justice currently permeating the art world.

“I think art museums are the new agora, the new gathering place. We have many examples here and in other cities where people want to connect with each other and get away from staring at their screens all day. They want to have an experience with an analog work of art or with other kinds of public programs—which could be a speaker, a series, a film, or a performing arts event. It’s really a place to gather.”

San Jose Museum of Art 110 S Market Street San Jose, CA 95113
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Fanny Retsek

Originally from South Pasadena, artist Fanny Retsek attended Loyola Marymount College for a degree in European history before relocating to the Bay Area in her late twenties. Her interest in art grew out of a study of art history, and after moving to the Bay, Retsek earned an MFA at SJSU with a focus on printmaking. Retsek considers her main influence to be nature, particularly the intersection of human-created habitat and the wild. Working in prints, Retsek creates stunning and nuanced representations of the natural world. Often rendered in flat, earthy colors, Retsek’s prints draw in the viewer with their layered, subtle textures. Her work often starts with an experience or reading something about nature—the idea gets stuck in her head, and Retsek attempts to compose permanent records of her impressions. Her most recent series, Coyote Sightings, documents coyote movements in and out of that line between the human world and the wild. Retsek has shown her art in countless shows around the world and currently has one of her series on display at the SJICA. As for the future, Retsek plans to continue exploring themes of equilibrium and man versus nature through the printmaking medium.

“I always liked looking at prints, the aesthetic of the work, the line quality you can get from printmaking, plus the way the flatness color is used really attracted me, so I wondered, ‘How do you make that?’ After one printmaking class, I was definitely in love. I also was always interested in chemistry; like, I would take chemistry classes in college for fun. So that marriage of chemistry and the way things were happening on a chemical and molecular level in making a print, as well as the drawing process and the final print aesthetic…it all just kind of clicked for me.”

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Damian Kelly art displayed

Damian Kelly moved up to the Bay as a teenager to study industrial design at San Jose State University, which he credits with preparing him to use design thinking to produce any type of product. After graduating, Kelly moved to working in the arts and found jobs as a graphic designer and photographer for green-energy companies. After that, an artist friend introduced Kelly to the world of museum art and design, and it’s a field he has excelled in since—as contract preparator at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and as an exhibition designer and engagement associate at Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana. This means that any exhibition you see at either museum is coordinated by Kelly, including setting up, pulling down, arranging the spatial composition, and any other detail that goes into bringing an art exhibit to life. About the work, Kelly is characteristically humble, but in the future, Kelly hopes to continue his behind-the-scenes exhibition design work while transitioning into more of a curatorial role, bringing his artistic eye to future shows at San Jose’s finest art institutions.

“I have an affinity for materials and three-dimensional shapes, and I just had my first art show at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art. My work was included in a show, and it was the first time I really felt accepted as an artist, so I definitely plan to keep doing that work. I also plan to collaborate with a lot of creatives I know in the Bay Area, creating unique and innovative art exhibitions around the world. It’s kind of all over the place, but if I keep doing my art and traveling and making connections, I’m hopeful it will take me good places.”

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folding paper Darius B’Alexander

Darius B’Alexander is one of downtown San Jose’s most visible street artists. You’ll find him at SubZERO Festivals, SoFA Street Fairs, art gallery openings, South First Fridays Art Walks, and on the VTA buses that he takes to work. B’Alexander looks larger than life because he’s a big man and wears the clothes of time travelers and adventurers. He’s from a family of artists and adventurers who have lived and worked around the world—B’Alexander’s mother teaches pottery, and his artist father worked for UNESCO and entertained his family with his hand-drawn cartoons and storytelling. Although B’Alexander was born in San Jose, he was raised in Trinidad and Tobago. He finished high school in Santa Cruz and studied art at Cabrillo College. He’s been folding paper since he was eight years old. After discovering the magician Harry Houdini’s book Houdini’s Paper Magic, B’Alexander began making more complicated origami forms. Today he teaches laser cutting at the School of Visual Philosophy. His art practice is yarn bombing, origami corrugations, and the paper constructions that he calls “sticker critters.”

“I just like making things and giving them to people and making them smile. Yarn bombing makes people do a double take and then smile. The paper folding? It just amazes people when you make a bracelet out of paper that squishes down into a flat piece that fits around their wrist. I like making and giving the sticker critters to kids and making them smile. It’s an interesting way to meet people.”

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Kaitlyn Horner Creative Communications

As creative project manager on Epsilon’s embedded team at Google, Kaitlyn Horner must orchestrate the smooth collaboration of developers and designers. As part of her responsibilities, Kaitlyn touches base with the team to ensure they have everything needed for the project, discovers issues in order to implement solutions, and acts as gatekeeper to guarantee quality of the work sent to the client. Her job requires her to be a master at communication and adept at juggling face-to-face conversations and online chats, emails, and video conferences—all in a single day. Kaitlyn’s love of simplifying chaos carries her through as she sees projects from start to finish.

“I enjoy shaping the way that I deal with different kinds of people. I would probably not talk to a developer the same way I would talk to a designer. They just think and see and hear differently. A developer is very cut and dry—detailed. They need specific directions. They know exactly what to do, and they will follow your design to the T. Whereas designers are a bit more free in their thinking (as they have to be because they’re being creative). They need space to manifest their creativity. You have to phrase it more as a question. It also plays over into actual life. You never know who you’re going to walk up to on the street. Some may be a little bit more reserved or quiet—introverted. Some may be extroverted and really like to talk. I’m able to switch my thought process or my conversation skills to adapt to whoever I’m speaking to.”

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lila gemellos

Instagram: gemellosmurals

When Lila Gemellos was nine, her painting won at the Santa Clara County Fair. After her initial confusion at the lack of an age range on her ribbon, she was informed her work had been chosen as Best in Show. Now a muralist, Gemellos delights in conversing about the identity of San Jose and its microcultures through art. This couldn’t be more prominent in her recent work, four murals at Eastridge Mall that explore the tech age and Santa Clara County’s former orchards, as well as our city skyline and hills. Everything is doused in vivid psychedelic hues, tying the pieces together and celebrating the colorful experience of living in the Bay. These tie-dye shades permeate not only Gemellos’s murals but also her recent project, The San Jose Series—architectural drawings of well-known spots around the city. As these drawings have gained popularity, they’ve been converted into prints, cards, and, most recently, a coffee table book. Gemellos hopes the book will one day find its way into the San Jose Airport.

“We have public art that doesn’t indicate the culture of San Jose. It’s certainly here, it certainly adds, but it is not San Jose. It is high art, but it’s not our art. It’s not our artists. It’s not our story. I don’t know why we don’t take more opportunities to discuss our place in human history...My murals are not just a Band-Aid on the wall. They create atmosphere for the area in front of them. They are place-making as well as a sense of place. We can literally activate space using murals.”

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Francisco Ramirez

Facebook: ea86hachy Instagram: fco1980

Francisco Ramirez has been into art for as long as he can remember. His first memory is of scribbling on his mom’s walls. As he grew up, art became a form of escapism from a turbulent home life. It was a hobby for a long time. Only recently has Ramirez begun taking it seriously, picking up mural work and other commissions to keep himself afloat. His work is comprised of bright, mysterious color, bringing focus to his anthropological and fantastical themes—dramatic, mundane, and everything in between. Ramirez works in acrylic, watercolor, and pastel, but he prefers acrylic, as it lends itself to the versatility of his art gigs. He likes to work fast—sometimes producing a full painting in a day—although the complexity and composition of his work belies that speed. As for the future, Ramirez sees himself doing murals, but beyond that, he doesn’t plan much and is happy to see where his art takes him.

“While I have my personal favorite artists like Van Gogh or Frida Kahlo that are big influences on my art, at the end of the day, the people I’m really inspired by are those that surround me. Other artists are my creative food. That goes for life itself, everything beautiful, wonderful, and terrible, all of it brings me inspiration. But quite honestly, without the influence of the artists around me, I wouldn’t have much.”

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Written by Tad Malone



Instagram: photo_philosophy_

Photographer Vicki Thompson was raised in the East Bay, where at the age of 10, she received her grandfather’s camera as a gift from her father for Christmas, and it opened up her world. By no means raised with wealth, Thompson was struck at an early age by the extreme poverty documented in National Geographic. As she matured, she found work documenting stories for the Silicon Valley Business Journal, which gave her the chance to witness the meteoric dot-com boom and all the major players. Thompson still shoots for the Business Journal but on the side has developed a bit of an artistic photographic collection via her Instagram feed. Often documenting San Jose in crisp and vibrant HDR (high dynamic range), Thompson finds the unique subject in anything she documents, whether it be an event for the Business Journal or a person walking down the street. In the future, she hopes to get her pictures in history books, so people can see the world through her eyes forever.

“My photos act, in a way, like a record of my inner visual dialogue. I’m accused of being a dumb blonde a lot—you know, the ditzy kind, often looking off into space. So my photography is kind of a retort to that notion. My photos are really a direct transmission of what I’m seeing, what I’m thinking, and what is going on in my head. My Instagram, even more so than my work for the Business Journal, is sort of a record of my thoughts expressed in a visual way. Not everyone gets it, but I hope most do.”

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Sarah Cade

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, artist Sarah Cade came to San Jose to study art and animation at San Jose State. Reared on picture books, Cade was always interested in the intersection of art and storytelling, with the hopes of one day illustrating children’s books. After graduation, Cade won an artistic residency from the TechShop and had her work in a few small shows, as well as spots at the Luna Park Chalk Art Festival. Still, art was more of a hobby for Cade until Local Color appeared on the scene two years ago. The cheap studio space with lots of exposure reignited her artistic purpose. Inspired by storytelling, Cade’s art is both bright and mysterious, combining the fear and beauty of childlike wonder in a variety of mediums. As for the future, Cade hopes to start telling more involved stories with her art, to create a world and story that appeals to all types of people.

“As much as I love the storytelling route, a lot of my pieces don’t have a specific story. Often, what I am going for in my pieces is a specific feeling as opposed to narrative. When I think back to the stories that I loved as a child and how they made me feel, it was the darker fairy tales that inspired me the most. Like my childhood in Alaska, which in the summer is bright, green, and verdant, but then in the winter it gets very dark, but it still has a magic to it. In that same way, I like to bring together the creepy and beautiful.”

Instagram: sarahcademade
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Written by Tad Malone

More Than Murals Sam Rodriguez Sam Rodriguez

Instagram: samrodriguezart

Born and raised in east-side San Jose, Sam Rodriguez was attracted to art from a young age. His first real foray into the art world came with adolescent graffiti adventures, but even then Rodriguez knew he wanted more. At age 25, holding down two jobs while finishing up college and with a baby on the way, Rodriguez didn’t have the time or energy to further his art. Luckily, a few years later, artist and friend Aaron De La Cruz invited him to be part of a small art show, reigniting his purpose. Now, Rodriguez has garnered the world’s attention with his symbolism-heavy, typographically jumbled portraits and his unique way of capturing the human form. His work graces the surfaces of international brands such as Puma, Under Armour, and Google. Recently, Rodriguez has taken to putting his work on T-shirts, both to make his work more financially accessible and to honor the cultural forms that first inspired him to make art.

“A lot of my work explores identity in general. It depends on each piece; some pieces are about identity in relation to language or fashion or anything really. It’s not a specific meaning; it’s more like I’m mixing different ingredients to create a new portrait. Sometimes my work is my interpretation of what’s popular in culture. As a parent, I’m consuming more pop culture than ever, so a lot of my work is my take on what’s happening in the world. But, simultaneously, I don’t really have conclusions in the work I make. It’s more like I’m documenting information around me. In a way, my art is note taking.”

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Usha Srinivasan Sangam Arts

Facebook: sangamartsorg

Usha Srinivasan came to the United States in 1990 from southern India for a graduate degree in electrical engineering. After working in Dallas, Texas, for a few years, Srinivasan got a green card and moved out to the Bay to attend Stanford Business School. She spent years as a product leader in the tech field, but as time went on, Srinivasan, now a mother, wanted to do something different. In 2013, she started Sangam Arts, an arts organization that brings together various ethnic art forms on an equal level so people can learn and grow through each other’s work. Sangam started with Indian dance, but over time, has implemented other cultural art forms. Along with her cofounder, Priya Das, Srinivasan has organized events and shows at local libraries and the San Jose Museum of Art, highlighting the diversity of ethnic art forms that are often practiced quietly. Sangam has won numerous awards and grants for its work—from the Knight Foundation, among others. Srinivasan and Das hope to further build events around the idea of a mosaic society, where diversity in ethnic art forms is highlighted and recognized in a meaningful way.

“In 2008, I started reconnecting with native forms of art from my home country. This included traditional Indian dancing, which I took up with my daughter. I started really getting immersed in the arts and culture scene, and I realized that just like myself, there are so many diverse communities in the Bay practicing rich and ancient art forms from their motherlands. So I figured, ‘Now that I’m in the US, how do I take what I brought with me and make it relevant to my new home, and in turn, learn about other people like me?’ Sangam actually means ‘coming together’ in Sanskrit, so I wanted to create a platform for people to share their native art forms. And what better place than the incredibly diverse and vibrant South Bay?”

Written by Tad Malone
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Michael Ogilvie

Social media: sjculture

Public art not only brings bland concrete walls to life, it embodies the culture of a city and even aids in solidifying that city’s identity. Assisting with this mission is Michael Ogilvie, San Jose’s public art director. Seeking to deepen San Jose inhabitants’ appreciation of their home, Ogilvie leads the city’s public art program by stewarding over 250 works of art, and research and also plans and evaluates public art projects. Formerly overseeing public art programs in Las Vegas and Clark County, Ogilvie assisted in the realization of murals at an elementary school as well as projects to beautify utility boxes and roadway medians across the city. He enjoys meeting with administrators, the council, boards, and commissions because it means connecting with like-minded individuals who share his drive to actively care for the community.

“If you travel enough, if you visit enough cities, you begin to realize that public art reflects the identity of that city. It’s something that’s completely unique to that city. You won’t see the same thing in every city. You might see large murals in every city, but often the content of the murals are inspired from the area that they’re completed in. What you have with the city of San Jose, I think there’s a fantastic selection here. I mean it’s really tailored to fit the people, the history, and also its innovation. It’s a testament to the creativity that has lived and prospered in this area.”

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Jason Adams

skateboards to stencils

Instagram: kidadams

Growing up in the quintessentially suburban Almaden Valley of San Jose, professional skateboarder and artist Jason Adams was always drawn to the raw vitality of punk rock and its striking aesthetic, or really anything that stood in opposition to the smothering suburban splendor. Around the age of 13, Adams was introduced to the subversion of skateboarding, something that would soon become one of his life’s great loves—so much so that by age 16, Adams was for all intents and purposes a professional skater, with sponsors from the likes of Ventura, Santa Cruz, and more. Now at age 45 and basically retired, Adams is considered one of the most influential skateboarders of all time for his raw power, speed, and creative eye in conquering seemingly any obstacle. These characteristics also define his art, which consists mostly of layered stencil portraits of musicians and other cultural figures. Adams first got into skating as an outlet that transformed into a career, and then into art, which transformed the same way. For the future, Adams just hopes to find another outlet—provided it doesn’t replace art as his career.

“As much as I would try, I was never good at traditional art. Drawing, painting, sculpting...I never showed a knack for it, and it was frustrating, because I loved art. It wasn’t until my late twenties, when I had a young daughter and was stuck at home with a leg injury, that I started messing around with making stuff, xeroxing, and stenciling little things. I didn’t consider it art, it was just stuff I was making. Then I found this book of stencil art that showed all this work, and it blew my mind. It opened the possibilities of what can be art and really ignited my artistic purpose.”

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Instagram: topnotchkustoms

As one of seven kids, Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez was passionate about working on cars from an early age, with fond memories of building car and transportation toy models—so much so that straight out of high school, Gonzalez got a job at a body shop. For years, he bounced back and forth between body shops, but became disillusioned working on newer-model cars. On the side, he would work on older cars, particularly American muscle cars and dragsters with his friends, which led to a job at a classic car body shop. But working for an inconsistent boss proved to be, well, inconsistent, so Gonzalez made the jump and opened his own classic car body shop, Top Notch Kustoms. Now, a decade later, Gonzalez can look back at the rough road it took to get to this position while still being eager about the future of his business. But his creative outlet isn’t limited to vehicles; Gonzalez also has a burgeoning side career as a bar designer, with his handiwork— particularly in tiki bar design—entertaining the inebriated at bars all around the Bay. As for the future, Gonzalez hopes to expand his bar-building business while keeping his body shop up and running.

“I’ve always been into building things, so when I got into tiki bars, I realized I could create my own little private Hawaii in the back of my auto body shop. Like getting lost in detailing a car, the bar-design work I do is really escapism. The idea of being able to close my doors to the outside world and hide in my created world inside really inspired me. And like with cars, the more bars I visited, the more I wanted to create more and more bar stuff, as much as I could really. I even built a mobile 18-foot tiki bar that can be plopped down at any event for people to have fun. With both cars and bars, it’s creating something out of nothing that appeals to me.”

Ignacio “Notch”
Gonzalez Written by Tad Malone
Ignacio “Notch” Gonzalez Kevin Peth

Slap Face Coffee & Tea Mike Rozenblum

Slap Face Coffee & Tea

37324 Fremont Blvd

Fremont, CA 94536

Social media: slapfacecoffee

What if there was a coffee shop where the baristas asked customers if they’d like a slap to go with their coffee (two for the sleepy souls ordering decaf)? Mike Rozenblum joked about this concept years before opening Slap Face Coffee & Tea. While his baristas don’t actually implement this practice, the title playfully tips its hat to caffeine’s role in a muddled morning. This cheery absurdity doesn’t stop at the title, but permeates the entire shop. The cafe resides in a former bank and uses the old vault as a seating area. Its prominent mural features a geisha—submerged in a latte as if it were a hot tub—caught in the act of picking her nose. As the unofficial art and culture hub of the Fremont community, Slap Face Coffee & Tea’s offerings are as splendidly eclectic as the interior. A single night at the cafe may very well consist of a rock band, magicians, and salsa dancing. A myriad of free workshops are also presented—everything from public speaking seminars to training puppies to piano lessons offered by the resident musician. Rozenblum, patron saint of night owls, keeps his shop open until midnight and hosts under-the-stars events during the summer, transforming the parking lot into an outdoor lounge with blow-up couches, music, and dancing.

“We’ve made our bar quite low, the idea being that baristas should not be behind some tall bar where there’s a barrier between the customer and the barista. We like a closer interaction. Also, we want to expose the actual process of coffee making. The customer gets to see how it’s done. It’s transparent.”

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(L to R) Allie, Jeff, and Lisa Hampton


Before opening his own coffee shop, Jeff Hampton honed his craft by reading everything he could on the topic of specialty coffee and by training in the well-recognized coffee destination of Portland. Only then did Jeff determine he was ready to birth Red Berry Coffee Bar with his wife, Lisa. Today, the couple partners with Chromatic, Verve, and an overflowing of other roasters to connect customers with powerful pour-overs and expressive espresso. Jeff’s favorite part of the job is introducing customers with no previous experience of specialty coffee to an exceptional cappuccino—then watching their faces brighten after that first sip. The locals have claimed the space as a neighborhood haunt, perhaps attracted to Lisa’s attentive efforts to create a cozy interior. Her intentionally hunger-inducing color scheme consists of rich, food-themed shades like chocolate, caramel, pecan, and (of course) berry red.

Jeff: “I’ve always called Red Berry ‘artisan coffee without the attitude.’ Everyone says, ‘You know, you’ve got to be a hipster to own a coffee shop.’ I’m just not a hipster guy. I’m pretty laid-back. We’re not condescending to people that come in that don’t know anything about specialty coffee.”

Lisa: “We have a lot of roasters sending us coffee samples. Some make the cut, some don’t. We continue to rotate through them. That’s really one of the values of our coffee bar—we’re never the same. There are always new coffees to try as the roasters make them available and as we put on bar new roasters. That was one of the values of the basic business concept to start with: we would not remain stagnant and only serve the same thing. It’s given us a lot of flexibility, and it’s served us well.”

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For literary giant Marcel Proust, the taste of a madeleine dipped in lime-blossom tea brought back childhood memories of French village life. “My madeleine de Proust, or youthful memory, is not the aroma of a tea-soaked cake,” Chef Ngoc-Bao-Ky Vo admits. “It is the eggroll my grandmother made for me every Wednesday after class.”

The journey from his grandmother’s kitchen to Elyse Restaurant in San Jose began after he left Vietnam for Belgium as a toddler in 1983. By age 16, he worked as a cook in a Vietnamese restaurant. As a 19-year-old, he attended culinary school in Braine-l’Alleud, a town 20 kilometers south of Brussels. “I learned traditional French cuisine,” he says. “Every school day, I would bake bread, prepare a three-course dinner, and select French wine to accompany the meal.” By age 22, he worked as a commis de cuisine for Michelin-star chef Christophe Hardiquest at Bon-Bon Restaurant in Brussels. “He taught me to make simple, but elegant dishes,” he says. “We’d use one, two, or three ingredients. And we always put quality first.”

On September 30, 2017, he opened Elyse Restaurant where he has combined a French reverence for the finest ingredients with a Vietnamese sensibility for subtle seasoning to create la cuisine bourgeoise, a variation of the less expensive, flavorful food that French families savor every day.

“I thought about becoming an architect, because presenting your ideas is so important. I became a chef because it's a never-ending chance to learn something new.”

Elyse Restaurant 151 S Second Street San Jose, CA 95113 Instagram: elyserestaurant
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Winemaker Pamela Bianchini-Storrs

Instagram: storrswine

Pamela Bianchini-Storrs admits that making wine is as much an art as a science. Once she helped launch Storrs Winery & Vineyards in 1988, she left much of what she learned about enology at UC Davis behind.

Thirty years working the vineyard and winery with husband, vineyard manager, and partner, Steve Storrs, taught her to trust a lifetime of experience and the vineyard to deliver the best chardonnay, gewürztraminer, petite sirah, pinot noir, and zinfandel grapes can offer.

In 2001, they bought an apple orchard in the shadow of Mount Madonna. Within six years, they had transformed it into an organically farmed vineyard perfectly suited for chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. By 2010, they were producing 10,000 cases of wine annually.

This July, they opened Quarry Winery from the remnants of a quarry located on their Hidden Springs estate vineyard. They’ve insulated the winery and plumbed it to collect and store rainwater for irrigation. With additional solar power, according to Pamela, it will become a net-zero production facility.

“We set out to prove the viability of sustainable farming in hopes that others will follow.”

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JAVIER TAPIA MEZA Vineyard Manager

Twitter: rhysvineyards

Javier Tapia Meza—vineyard manager for Rhys Vineyards in Los Gatos—has traded the abundant yields of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for sustainable harvests that embody the climate, geography, and soil of a half-dozen Santa Cruz Mountain vineyards.

A third-generation vigneron, Tapia grew up in Chile, where he attended the Administration of Agriculture and Viticulture and business school before immigrating to California. In 1990, he left his job in Chile for a chance to work with Jim Fetzer—a longtime advocate for organic farming—as a cellar worker, a field hand, and then a winemaker at Ceago Winery in Lake County. Today, as vineyard manager for Rhys Vineyards, Tapia farms six vineyards that straddle the San Andreas Fault. Where the Pacific and North American plates collide, combinations of chert, limestone, mudstone, sandstone, and shale cover the hillsides. The shallow, weathered soil and cool climate limit yield, concentrate aromas and flavors, and reduce alcohol. Less alcohol enhances the aromas, flavors, and textures of the wine.

Tapia and winemaker Jeff Brinkman are transforming American viticulture from an industry where vineyard managers flooded vines with water, fertilizer, and pesticides to a marketplace where sommeliers tout the character of each vineyard.

“The chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah rootstocks and clones are the same [across all six vineyards]. Only the climate, geology, and location are different. The vine produces the highest quality grapes, the most balanced fruit when the vineyard reaches a natural equilibrium.”

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Kombi Co.

Jeff and Christine Alexander

After experiencing a bar inside an old Airstream travel trailer, Jeff and Christine Alexander decided to build a business around their 1968 VW single cab. Initially, they intended their truck (fondly christened Essie) to be a coffee cart, but today it carries flowers for build-your-own bouquets. Kombi Co. can’t help but spark conversation. Customers point out flowers they associate with fond memories, share pictures and stories of VWs they used to own, or come to say hello to Damien, the tiny Yorkipoo who guards the cash box from a miniature tent in the truck bed. He takes his job seriously, yapping at passing dogs.

Jeff: “We switch our flowers out every week. Christine’s the flower expert, but I like to pick one to be my flower for the week. One time, we went out to a wine-tasting place down in Gilroy. I saw this plant called green trick dianthus. Essentially, they look like fuzzy grass pods. I said, ‘I love these! These are what I’m picking.’ It was for St. Patrick’s Day, and they were green. Christine was like, ‘Ok, we’ll see how it goes.’ And it sold out! People really liked it. They reflect my personality because they’re different. They make people smile when they see them. That’s my whole role with the truck: to talk to people.”

Christine: “I don’t know which flower best reflects me, but my favorites are definitely dahlias or ranunculus—mostly because we had them in our wedding, so it’s kind of a sentimental thing. The ranunculus are really fluffy and cute. And the dahlias can get as big as your head and come in all different colors, so they’re pretty amazing. It’s fun when we get to carry them and add them to bouquets.”

60 Social Media: cakombico Social media: cakombico
Written by Johanna Hickle

Marshall Jones

Instagram: fairmontsanjose

Marshall Jones has come a long way from his first job as a busboy at a Holiday Inn. These days, he oversees all of Fairmont San Jose’s revenue areas as the hotel’s director of sales. Perhaps his success lies in a commitment to the motto “visibility, credibility, and loyalty”—a slogan he picked up during his time on the board of directors for the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County that continues to apply 30-plus years later. Perhaps it’s his dedication to the art of unifying a team while protecting each employee’s individuality. Or perhaps it’s because he treats the hotel staff as more than numbers on a spreadsheet, making sure he’s familiar with everyone—from the dishwashers to the housekeepers.

“I’ve had a number of bosses over the years. I’ve tried to build my own person based upon a little bit of each one. No one person is perfect, but there are certainly elements of each of us that could make the perfect person. I looked back at my history, at some of the managers that I thought were good, and I took qualities from each of them. One was trying to provide vision. If we aren’t unified in what we’re trying to do and don’t realize what that final product is, how do we know when we’re successful? Next, removing obstacles. I feel like the biggest part of my job is to remove things in the way of employees being successful. Third is training…and fourth is celebrating the successes and having fun.”

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L * A * U * R * A CHMIELEWSKI twitter: visitsajose_ca

Born and raised in Chicago, Chmielewski started her career at the National Art Gallery after studying art history. A bad breakup took her to Nashville, where she fell into producing music videos, eventually producing hundreds of country music videos. Another job took her back to Chicago where she first dipped her toes into public service. Chmielewski later ended up taking a job at Team San Jose to increase tourism and interest and to tell the story of the city and the South Bay. When she first got here, the team didn’t have a budget or any assets—and the Super Bowl was coming to town. But they turned it around, setting up a performance cube in Super Bowl City that often stopped traffic. Beyond that, Chmielewski finds any way to promote the lore of San Jose, including collaborating with business owners, artists, and schools to bring the city’s fascinating, if not Steinbeckian, story to the world stage. As for the future of her position, Chmielewski and her team are collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to create a digital guide to San Jose.

“At this point in my career I have just transitioned from a VP role to being a contractor, so my future could be interesting. Working for San Jose has made me fall in love with this town, so I’d like to still contribute to the city in whatever way they need me. Whatever happens, I will always keep a part of my heart in San Jose. And it makes my job easy because the city has such a great story to tell. Every dreamer who has a dream comes here. It’s an amazing place to be, and I feel very lucky.”

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Instagram: kingredrory

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Rory Campbell was reared in the brutal, no-holds-barred comedy scene of Boston proper. A self-proclaimed degenerate, he moved out to the Bay Area, where he went to school for video and musical production in 1998 after he got his girlfriend pregnant. Arguably a young comedian with a few years in the game, Campbell’s career was accelerated after he started producing local legend Dirtbag Dan’s podcast and he convinced his new crew of friends to get into standup comedy. Comprised mostly of battles, Campbell’s first year of comedy was brutal but saw him earn a spot in the finals of the San Jose Improv Comedy Competition. Since then, he’s been honing his craft in bars and other local watering holes, while simultaneously holding down a production position for NBC, a position that has earned Campbell five commercial production Emmy Awards over the years. As for the future, Campbell hopes to continue cultivating his comedic voice, as well as producing music for his eldest daughter, local musician and singer Zoe Campbell.

“We have a nice little comedy scene here. I think the only problem is we are all a little too edgy. In San Jose, we’re used to doing our comedy in badly lit bars like the Caravan for an audience of bikers and pirates. So now I just go up and be unreasonably aggressive to the audience, because, what can you tell me about your life that makes me feel bad about mine? But that’s how comedy should be. If you want to see pithy, well-crafted, little political statements, go up to San Francisco. If you want to see real comedians doing their thing, San Jose is the place to be.”

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Tam Nguyen Councilmember D7

Born in Vietnam, Tam Nguyen emigrated to the United States in 1975 at age 18. After earning his bachelor’s degree in engineering in Missouri, he moved to California to work in the burgeoning tech industry. Taking MBA classes at night, Nguyen left the engineering world after getting a class assignment about the legal underrepresentation of San Jose’s Vietnamese American community. This inspired him to become a lawyer, with his initial work focusing on advising marginalized communities. After 20 years of selfless work for the community, Nguyen was encouraged by the people around him to run for the San Jose City Council when a seat opened up in 2014. Nguyen knew nothing about politics, much less how to run a campaign, so he approached it how he knew best, going door-to-door and learning about his community’s needs. The grassroots campaign was a success, and since becoming a council member, Nguyen has worked tirelessly on a number of issues, particularly affordable housing, homelessness, and better police-community relations. Although he’s nearing retirement, Nguyen hopes to continue his work for the community in any capacity as long as he can.

“Like myself, a lot of Vietnamese people moved to the South Bay because of the good jobs. But really, the reason I’ve stayed here so long is that there is no other place on earth that can compare to San Jose and the Silicon Valley—the weather; the opportunities; the inclusive, collaborative community. San Jose is the paradise of many people’s dreams. Every day I wake up, I feel lucky and humbled that I get to help make a difference and that I get to watch the democratic process at work, bringing opportunity and hope to myself and my community. I’m so proud to be a part of San Jose.”

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Janice Edwards

Instagram: tvjaniceedwards

A tinge of awe and tenderness creeps into TV personality Janice Edwards’ voice as she recalls people she’s interviewed over the years. There may be mention of the time she conversed with Oprah about overcoming critics or the time she learned to pronounce the name of an up-and-coming senator who’d recently written a book (“Oh gosh…let me get his name right…Obama?”). She might recall the time she spent an extra 40 minutes after an interview with a homeless 14-year-old in the Haight-Ashbury district, trying to convince the girl her parents would be overjoyed to see her again. It’s as if these stories are lovingly etched onto Edwards’ skin. Her heart for people has secured her a position as host and executive producer of Janice Edwards’ Bay Area Vista and Signature Silicon Valley for almost a decade now. She continues to highlight nonprofits, celebrity successes, and just about any story with a message of inspiration or empowerment.

“I like to have deeper conversations whenever possible because we are deep people and we are layered. Many times, there is not enough time for the creation of this space. People should feel that they will continue to be received on layer number five as opposed to still being on layer number two. Sometimes before you go out into the world, you have to put on that psychological and spiritual armor to get through, but when you connect with someone, they feel that they are seen and heard, that what they’re doing matters, that their impact in the world is a big support to others.”

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ed solis

Parks & Bikes

As a teenager, Ed Solis didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, so he joined the military, more specifically, the 82nd Airborne Division. He came out of the service after a few combat tours with the intention of really making a difference in the world. Love brought him to San Jose. Then in 2014, he was appointed recreation superintendent at City Hall. In that position, Solis has implemented numerous recreational activities, but the idea for his most notable activity he gleaned during a fact-finding mission to Guadalajara, Mexico—the notion of a day of open streets, free of cars, to build better community relations. The idea is simple, and though Solis was hesitant to try it in the United States, he decided to give it a chance. “Viva Calle” was born and has been a smashing success. Last year, 130,000 people turned out to shut down six miles of San Jose streets and get to know one another. As for the future, Solis plans to continue bringing the San Jose community together in fun, meaningful, and inclusive ways.

“Before I retire in about five years, I would really love to see our open streets program growing and thriving on a multipletimed basis every year. I would love to see more public space engagement where we have nonprofits, art groups, and citizens all taking part in creating vibrant communities and public spaces for everyone to enjoy. You may not have a park or a dog park in your community, but if there is a spot that can act as an open space, then that’s wonderful. Ultimately, I would love to see all the folks in San Jose come together around making the city more walkable, more livable, and more inclusive. This town is a wonderful place; we just have to connect all these little communities into one unified, connected city.”

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Eric Belladonna’s transition from coordinator of joyfully outrageous electro dance parties to member relations coordinator at a posh private club was a peculiar conversion, but he has the same mission at heart: engaging people, curating an experience, and making customers feel welcomed. Belladonna’s current employer, Silicon Valley Capital Club, is a private business, social, and dining club for the area’s movers and shakers. There, he markets the club, organizes special events, and strikes up conversations with business tycoons to answer their questions and discuss their event ideas. Outside work, he flexes his creative muscle as a stylist and creative director for fashion shoots and editorials.

“I think what’s great about where I work now that I never really experienced before is the importance of striking up a conversation with the person next to you—taking that leap and overcoming anxiety that we might normally have to reach out and shake someone’s hand and introduce ourselves. You’d be surprised at the opportunities that can come from sitting at a communal table and just saying hello. I’ve seen people where they happened to be sitting next to each other, and six months later, they’re starting a business together. It was just a casual conversation. You really don’t realize how many doors that could open, a lifetime of opportunities that could come from that, the lessons you could learn from someone that you would normally shy away from.”

Instagram: ericbelladonna
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Carl Guardino

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Twitter: carlguardino

Facebook: svleadershipgrp

As president and CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)—a nonprofit advocacy group with policy areas in education, energy, environment, health, housing, tax policies, tech and innovation, and transportation—Carl Guardino champions issues that matter to both CEOs in boardrooms and community members in living rooms. Also a dedicated marathon runner and ironman distance triathlete, Guardino’s proudest accomplishment is founding the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot with his wife to raise money for local nonprofits. It’s one of three annual races produced by SVLG and has become the largest timed Thanksgiving weekend race in the nation. Though Guardino works 80-hour weeks, he still carves out time for his family, waking up at 4:30 to make his wife’s coffee each morning and playing with his three kids (which often involves jumping sessions on their trampoline).

“I’ve learned that most people are mission driven rather than monetarily driven. In our line of work, my colleagues overwhelmingly are driven by the opportunity to make that positive, proactive difference. They’re driven by our mission. And while we all need enough to put a roof over our heads and groceries on the table, we’re not in our line of work to get rich but to make our communities richer and more vibrant places. I find that learning that about my own team translates into what I experience with most people outside of work as well. People are most fulfilled when they’re making a positive difference in their own lives and the lives of others.”

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Drew Scicluna

Born and raised in South San Jose, Drew Scicluna found his way into the printing business at an early age. During high school and a few graphic design classes, Scicluna fell in love with graphics work; so by the time he was a senior, Scicluna had taken every design class offered. He already had a foot in the industry, though, as a few years earlier he happened upon a printing company and asked for a job. He started as a grunt at a company called Screen Designs, but he was hooked. A decade or so later, Scicluna and a few friends started a company called Cyruis Imaging*, but Scicluna eventually left out and hopped around design jobs for another decade before gaining the skills and experience to open his own shop. Thus, Authentic Imprints was born, and recently, they celebrated their three-year anniversary. There, Scicluna oversees all types of printing, particularly with water-based inks, creating unique and fantastic designs on T-shirts, banners, and other products for their customers. As for the future, he hopes to broaden how Authentic Imprints can help the community, but in the meantime, Scicluna is happy where he is. Even after 30 years of being in the industry, Scicluna still looks forward to going into the shop each day.

“If you go into nine out of 10 printing shops, they are usually pretty dirty and grungy and can be off-putting to prospective customers. At Authentic Imprints, we didn’t want that. We hit our deadlines as best as we can, and due to our 10- or 12-color printing techniques, we can provide unique designs for our customers. Being in Silicon Valley, we wanted to have the look of a reputable place, and the South Bay has treated us well. Everybody needs uniforms, banners, or business cards, so it’s just a matter of being creative and a step ahead of everyone else, and the customers come to us.”

authenticimprints 78 — Profiles 10.4 C *Retraction: Original article mistakenly had the company stated as "Serious Imaging". Scicluna intendeded to refer to Cyruis Imaging.

Chea Sarah

Instagram: live.lotus

When Sarah Chea first founded Lotus Premium Denim, a jeans line to counterattack an epidemic of poorly fitting women’s pants in the clothing industry, she didn’t realize it would be the catalyst for an entire lifestyle brand. As her jeans business began to blossom, Chea turned to yoga as a stress reliever and was affected so deeply by the experience that she quit her corporate job and founded her own studio called Live Lotus. As she continued to build her business (a brand she describes as “sanctuary and fashion house”) she incorporated Blooms Privé, an underwear with detachable sides as well as a hidden pocket that allows it to pack into itself for discreet carrying. Ultimately, Chea seeks to empower women and to bring out the leader she observes within everyone she meets. It feels only natural to symbolize all this through the lotus flower, a plant that stretches out of the mud and pursues the sunlight, inspiring dream chasing even in the midst of adversity.

“I wake up with ideas, I go to bed with dreams. I take my dreams and I implement them into what I conceive as visions or solutions for growing the brand...The thing about working for your vision or your purpose is you never really turn off. And I don’t really need to turn off, because the inspiration that comes in between the mundane—the meetings, paying the bills, doing administrative work—is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever been honored to experience.”

Live Lotus 556 N First Street, Second Floor San Jose, CA 95112
Written by Johanna Hickle
80 — Profiles 10.4 C

Kip Harkness Gathering Innovators

You wouldn’t expect your local civil servant to also be a candidate for the most interesting person in the world, but San Jose’s deputy city manager, Kip Harkness, is definitely a contender. Raised all over as a military brat—including on a remote island off of southern Florida—Harkness considers San Jose his 19th adopted home city. His first career was in international development in Frenchspeaking Africa, before he returned to San Jose to do public sector work. He moved into the tech world for a few years, only to find himself back in San Jose’s public sector, this time as the deputy city manager. In that position, Harkness oversees budgetary and efficiency problems plaguing the city as well as emergency services, which includes increasing the efficiency of city police car use by officers and speeding up the city’s hiring process. In addition, he is collaborating with telecom companies to increase cellphone coverage and connectivity in San Jose. As for the future, Harkness hopes to continue his service for the city in any way that he can and also work on his side career as a fine artist (he fences too).

“I’m looking to gather a tribe of innovators to transform San Jose. In the last two years, I’ve seen that there are a lot of talented people inside and out of city hall that want to lend a hand and change how we do business. In turn, we’ve seen the implementation of design thinking, data analysis, to rethink how we do things. The bottom line is that people in the building are really hungry to change and innovate the way we do services. All I’m doing is tapping into that energy and creating a space for people to lead and innovate.”

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Instagram: & sarah.adeel

By day, Sarah Adeel aids small businesses as lead of Kiva San Jose & Peninsula, a nonprofit lending platform. But her work isn’t complete when she leaves the office. At 5pm, she switches over to Pakistani time to touch base with LettuceBee Kids, an organization she founded to equip street children (many of whom are found begging or picking up trash to survive) through a program that merges education and character building. At last count, they have prepared 300-plus underprivileged children to make the transition into the formal education system. Adeel, a former design student with a knack for applying her background to problem solving, crafted a product line for the organization, the profits from which further support the kids. Phone cases to pillows are decorated with whimsical designs inspired by the children’s drawings. Adeel also uses the website to share pictures of the children before and after entering the program. It’s incredible how a shower, a haircut, and a cheery yellow school uniform can transform a little adult with solemn eyes once again into a gleeful, grinning youngster.

“I love connecting people with people. We host open houses [at Kiva] every month to connect small businesses with their local community. Seeing two people talk to each other just changes everything. A lot of times, when people who are stuck in their campaign and not getting funded very quickly meet people at the open house, they get funded within hours. When they talk to somebody, they become a person instead of just a name on a computer screen. I think that’s magical.”

85 — Profiles 10.4 C


Second Hand Hustle

Instagram: secondhandhustle

Seeking ’80s and ’90s swag? Jaypee Inguito’s your man. Through his store, Second Hand Hustle, and its offering of curated vintage men’s clothing, he hooks customers up with all your starter throwback threads, from Coogi cardigans to Reebok windbreakers to parkas to snapback caps. Jaypee’s collector’s heart was cultivated by Savers and Goodwill trips with his parents as a kid and frequent thrifting with his pals as a teen. Like a moth drawn to wool, Jaypee’s appetite for vintage clothes has grown insatiable. He can often recall the location he discovered specific items and admits he would keep collecting even without a store—the profit is an added bonus. Ready to stock up? Jaypee extends an open invitation to come by and bargain.

“We go far and wide. Actually, a couple months ago, we did a little road trip. We got a rental truck, a Dodge Durango, and we went from city to city to city. We started from San Jose. We went to LA, then to Arizona, then to New Mexico. We went to any shop we found on Yelp. We said, ‘Let’s do this like savages and just hop in the car and sleep in the back—we’ve got a pretty big truck.’ The first day, there was a lot of room in there. We could sleep two people easily. By the second day, we were sleeping on a little pile of clothes like a mattress. The third day, it was halfway so we had to kinda squeeze onto the clothes. And then on the fifth day we were literally a couple inches from the ceiling.”

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Mark Chua photographer

Instagram: mark_j_chua

Be it in fashion or concerts, photographer Mark Chua captures the complex elegance of people’s spirits. Born and raised in Manila, the Philippines, Chua moved to San Jose in the mid-’90s, just before becoming an adult. It took two more decades for him to find photography, which happened after he took up shooting family photographs. After a chance opportunity to shoot a hiphop concert, Chua fell in love with photography, and as he says, “It quickly took on a mind of its own.” He plunged into it deeply, shooting photos for fashion mags such as Vogue, street-wear brands like HYPEBEAST, events such as weddings, and more spontaneous street photography. Through this experience, Chua developed a signature style, creating photos—often portraits—that manifest as both crisp and murky, raw and well-defined, expressing people’s unique energy. A member of HANGARX as well as San Jose–based Darkside of the Moon Photography & Design, Chua also enjoys the collaboration process with different creatives. As for what comes next, Chua intends to continue shooting photographs with increasing passion, with the added hope of taking his photography work full-time.

“I like to put my subject in a mind state where it becomes second nature for them to express certain things about themselves, whether it be putting them in an environment where they feel comfortable or even having them almost method act. Even with fashion, that’s important to me, because I believe the audience should feel what the subject is feeling at the time rather than just seeing a pretty face. There should always be emotion involved.”

Photography by John Agcaoili
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Cabrera Adrea wardrobe stylist

Instagram: adreacabrera

Capturing a client’s stylistic needs, even when they don’t know how to articulate what it is they want exactly, then channeling that into an outfit takes almost psychic-level empathy along with superhuman listening skills. With work featured in both commercials and magazines, wardrobe stylist Adrea Cabrera has learned to walk the fine line of fashion—she’s attuned to when it’s beneficial to be bold about introducing her own style and when it’s fitting to pump the breaks on her personal preferences—and she does all this while making sure each look is on-trend. A vintage girl at heart, Cabrera admires clean silhouettes, monochrome, and all things ’60s. Beyond work accomplishments, she mentors students, sharing her own journey in the hope of helping others succeed on their own.

“I was a dancer growing up. When you dance, when you have a routine, you always have costumes. If the button was off, we had to fix it ourselves. If our ballet shoes were not the right color, we had to dye them, or we had to stitch them up with ribbons. When I stopped dancing, I was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ I really loved fashion. And I really loved all of our costume designers in the ballet world and just costumes in general. When I started being interested, you could be a celebrity stylist (which was just starting) or you could be a costume designer. That’s how my interest was piqued—with the idea of dressing people for photo shoots and creating a world with the clothing. Telling a story through clothing.”

Makeup: Elizabeth Chung | Wardrobe stylist assistant: Krystyn Nakamura 90
C — Profiles 10.4

Renee Batres

“Pretty Lil Renee”

Makeup artist

Instagram: prettylilrenee

Makeup artist Renee Batres (known as Pretty Lil Renee to her social media followers) is well-versed in all the standard talents expected of a professional in the beauty industry—achieving everything from the soft peaches-and-cream tones of blushing brides to the smoky-eyed smolders of runway models. But then she whips out the liquid latex and a bottle of fake blood, revealing an unsettling knack for taking standard, healthy human faces and transforming them into monsters. The results are wincingly realistic puncture wounds, dribbling blood trails, and exposed raw, red patches of flesh ripped straight from a person’s nightmares—or a horror aficionado’s daydreams. Perhaps Renee’s love affair with specialeffects gore isn’t surprising considering she turned to makeup as a way to afford gas money while studying forensics, eventually dropping her studies to pursue makeup full-time. It also explains her fascination with the scientific side of cosmetics. Renee’s keen interest in understanding how people’s body chemistries react to products fuels ambitions of concocting her own cosmetic/skin care line in the lab someday.

“One of my favorite things is that transformation. Bring out the blood. Bring out the liquid latex. I enjoy people’s reactions. I have students that can’t even sit in on some of the demos because they’re like, ‘No, I can’t stomach it.’ I think that’s so much fun. Knowing how to do that sometimes takes away from the movies, because I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s such great prosthetics!’ I tell my students, don’t be so keen on detail. Make it ugly. Really tear it up. The uglier the better.”

C — Profiles 10.4

Second Hand Style

Photography: Mark Chua

Stylist: Adrea Cabrera

Makeup + Hair: Renee Batres

Models: Bryan Berry + Kiernan Muella for Scout Model Agency

Wardrobe: Second Hand Hustle

95 — Profiles 10.4
Black Underpass (Left) Vintage Raiders starter jacket, Second Hand Hustle Black shirt, H&M; Light denim jeans, Forever 21 Gray sneakers, Old Navy (Right) Black trench coat, Second Hand Hustle Vintage ’90s graphic shirt, Second Hand Hustle Black jogger sweats, Forever 21 Street Red (opposite page): (Top) Chicago Bulls sweater, Second Hand Hustle Red chinos, Second Hand Hustle (Bottom) Members Only red jacket, Second Hand Hustle Vintage ’60s button down, Second Hand Hustle Chambray red shorts and red slides, Old Navy Jean on Jean (above): (Left) Vintage hoodie & overall, Second Hand Hustle (Right) Vintage collar stripe shirt, Second Hand Hustle Vintage over size denim jacket, Second Hand Hustle Jean shorts and boots, H&M Urban Tan (oposite page): (Top) White button down shirt, H&M Camo wind breaker vintage, Second Hand Hustle Creme chino and bucket hat, H&M (Bottom) Graphic vintage button down, Second Hand Hustle Cream rain jacket, Second Hand Hustle Cargo shorts, Old Navy
Military poetry jacket, Scotch & Soda, $495; leather sandals, CRIV, $139; triangle necklace, CRIV, $64; geometric earrings, CRIV $36



The Get Down

198 Jackson Street San Jose, CA 95112

Instagram: getdowndancestudios

If you can walk, you can dance. Jeannette and Brian Rapaido, along with Ceech Hsu—cofounders of The Get Down—invite everyone with an interest to head to the heart of Japantown to hip-hop, lock, break, boogaloo, salsa, and bachata. The camaraderie isn’t confined within the studio’s walls, and it’s not uncommon for groups to go out to eat after class. With a strong drive for cultivating community and building up the next generation of social dancers, Hsu and the Rapaidos encourage students to further develop their rhythmic passion by attending live music venues and salsa clubs.

Brian: “A popular move for locking is the James Brown. You go down and do the splits and slap the ground. It came from a locker trying to kill a cockroach. If people don’t know that, they’ll have the wrong impression and attitude toward doing that move. Now that they’re thinking about that, it’s going to look a lot different. There’s a move called the Biz Markie. It’s really just both arms punching out and then one arm punching to the side. If we show them that move, they can get it on time and everything, but it’ll look a little mechanical. But then we tell them that Biz Markie was a rapper, a big guy in the ’90s. He loved to dance on stage, but all he could do was sway his arms. He tried really hard, but he didn’t have that much energy. If they have that idea, try to envision it in their heads, they start to get a similar look.”

C 102 — Profiles 10.4
(Bottom to Top) Cofounders: Jeannette and Brian Rapaido, and Ceech Hsu

Ranchezca Vicente

Born in the Philippines, dancer Ranchezca “Chez” Vicente was raised on the east side of San Jose. It was there, at Independence High School, that she was introduced to dancing—particularly hiphop and breakdancing. In turn, she joined various street dance groups and built up her b-girl skills, competing with the legendary San Jose dance group Headhunters Crew. Later, Vicente went back to school in Las Vegas, where she studied kinesiology. She had always wanted to help people through dance, so when she moved back to the Bay, she got into teaching Pilates. Now she is a full-time Pilates teacher, overseeing multiple classes at different studios across the South Bay. Although she has less time to compete, Vicente incorporates her hip-hop foundation into her teaching, putting her own unique spin on Pilates. She hopes to eventually own her own studio that combines health, wellness, community, and of course, dance.

“My dream is to start a studio that combines a focus on physical well-being, artistic expression, as well as community-oriented partnerships. I want to create a place where, if you’re coming in for yoga, Pilates, hip-hop dance, or even a cup of coffee, all people are welcome to explore their own type of expression. I want to help people prepare to advance whatever passion they have. I’m striving, one day, to make that a reality.”

105 — Profiles 10.4 C

Instagram: kungfuvampire

San Jose’s preeminent horrorcore rapper—who rightfully thinks the horrorcore label is inaccurate—Kung Fu Vampire is a legend in the Bay Area hip-hop scene. Born and raised in San Jose, he first came up with the name in 2001, then spent the next decade building up his rap reputation, playing shows around the Bay and then the state. In 2009, Kung Fu Vampire took his unique brand of rapid-fire delivery and dramatic personage all over the world, touring with such legendary acts as Tech N9ne, Dirtbag Dan, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Originally, he was known for his dark material and even spookier look—pale face paint and glaring white eyes. As he’s matured, Kung Fu Vampire has toned down the look while building up the positivity transmitted through his lyrics, with many of his songs focusing on living a healthy life with a healthy mindset. Going forward, Vampire plans to remain an independent artist, while fully exploring his music as the man, the myth, and rap legend—Kung Fu Vampire.

“Back in 2001, some friends and I were messing around and talking about making a low-budget vampire movie. And then it kind of came out, mixing kung fu and vampires. But all my friends were like, ‘Yo, you’re the Kung Fu Vampire.’ I just loved Asian culture as well as vampires. It’s like a yin and yang, with kung fu and vampirism as that dynamic. You hear it in my music, which can be bright and cheery, but also really dark and edgy. Ultimately, I’ve always been inspired to bring live instrumentation to hip-hop without it sounding like rock-rap or sloppy. I want to create liveband-backed hip-hop that still sounds like hip-hop.”

C 106 — Profiles 10.4
Written by Tad Malone


Social media: urbanbodysanjose

After experimenting with many fitness programs, Christine Toha found herself drawn to the fluid, flowing style of the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis methods. Now a teacher of her favored program at Urban Body, she specializes in working with artist athletes as well as those injured and seeking rehabilitation. When explaining the method, Toha describes it as “dancing with the machine” and “swimming in air.” Rather than pumping out reps, Gyrotonic is a movement system in which students enact sweeping movements with handles and pulleys to elongate and expand their joints. Toha, previously a ballet and modern dancer, notes that both dance and Gyrotonic share an intentionality in breathing—each movement harmonizing with each inhale and exhale.

“I love playing with imagination on the equipment. Imagery, especially, allows you to get into the flow aspect. You can come up with different scenarios to get lost in the movement. Day-today, even if you’re doing the same exact program, you can have a totally new experience, depending on what imagery you use or how you breathe. For example, there’s a swimming exercise in the system, and I’ll imagine myself in the ocean. I’m using my arms to push the waves out of the way; I’m using my back to push the wave behind me; I’m breathing with the motion of the waves going forwards and backwards. All of that helps to get into the movement a lot more effectively than just saying ‘Ok, here’s exactly how you position your body to do the movement.’ ”

Urban Body 1413 The Alameda San Jose, CA 95126
C 108 — Profiles 10.4

MARIA YU Pilates

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While Maria Yu was a dancer with Ballet San Jose, she discovered Pilates as a way of combating injuries and strengthening her body. Those years saw the peak of her performance career, when she was elevated to the lofty position of principal dancer. When Maria finally made the choice to hang up the pointe shoes, fellow dancer Shannon Bynum Adams encouraged Maria to obtain Pilates certification and join her at Urban Body. Today, Maria teaches classical Pilates, adhering to the original principles and equipment designed by Joseph Pilates. She empowers clients, helping them realize that their injuries don’t immobilize them, that 99 percent of their bodies are still healthy and ready to be put to work. Her favorite part of the job is giving back to the dance community, applying her understanding of the body and her knowledge of Pilates to the next generation of dancers.

“The body needs to move. I would define Pilates as movement for better function in everyday life. We want our clients to take ownership of their physical health, have that empowerment through body awareness. Pilates parallels dance because it’s an art form that’s movement. Back in the day, when Joseph Pilates had his studio in New York, George Balanchine would send his dancers to Joe. He would say, ‘They have this injury, this imbalance in their bodies. Can you please fix them?’ And he would. That’s how the connection between ballet and Pilates became so strong.”

Urban Body
The Alameda San Jose, CA 95126


Landon’s first foray into the San Jose music scene was at the late, great Campbell Coffee Roasters in the early 90s, a place frequented by local creatives like skater Steve Caballero and other musicians. This introduced Landon to skate rock and other derivatives, as well as many different bands that he would end up fronting. He took a job at Original Joe’s in 2000 and continues to work there today. As such, he’s never far from the action; OJ’s is a stone’s throw from most of the downtown San Jose music venues. A singer first and foremost, Landon accompanies himself on either guitar or keyboard and can often be found playing at local venues like Forager or the Ritz. A songwriter at heart, Landon counts grunge, skate rock, and alternative rock as influences. Landon wants to give it his all—to give people a good time and inspire people through his expression. Landon doesn’t consider himself a spring chicken but knows, musically, he still has a lot to offer.

“What’s cool about San Jose is there are just so many untapped options here, especially for music. If I want to put on a show, I’ll go and find a really oddball place to do it, and San Jose is filled with those types of places. Moreover, people are hungry for it. Places like Stritch or the Forager are really bringing out young people and showing the excitement for music in San Jose. Really, you just have to go for it.”

Instagram: crashlando
by Tad Malone
113 — Profiles 10.4


Roc Marciano

Rr2: The Bitter Dose

(Marci Enterprises)

Release date: June 8, 2018

Looking back along rap’s trajectory, one can see style trends that emerged and altered the landscape thereafter. Roc Marciano, frequently dubbed “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper,” has slowly spawned a sonic approach that many have mimicked to some degree, especially as his solo work slowly gained traction.

Out of New York, his first solo album was Marcberg, a sample-driven effort with paranoid rhymes and a claustrophobic feel to the bedroom production. Its dark soundscape, which Roc has since embellished upon even further, struck an obvious nerve. This latest record—a sequel to 2012’s Rosebudd’s Revenge feels like a compendium of library records, slow and woozy, with Marciano’s dreary, sunken imagery woven throughout. Lines like, “you should pick up a few tips, there’s loot to get, gotta watch who you in cahoots with…” don’t sound particularly dynamic in written form—but work within the atmospheric setting: eerie violin stabs, washes of choir, choppy snares, grunts, and background chatter. Coupled with Marciano’s subtle charisma and his commitment to the script, the results can be seriously captivating.

It should be noted that Marciano also produced the lion’s share of the songs with minimal guests rappers— Knowledge the Pirate and Vice Magazine’s overexposed darling, Action Bronson, are lone features. The tempo of tracks does at times shift in speed, as does Roc’s cadences, but they’re all purposeful and short-lived as the album always reverts to its picturesque.

Favorite track: “Corniche”


Twitter: rocmarci

Parquet Courts

Wide Awake!

(Rough Trade)

Release date: May 18, 2018

Wide Awake! still mines the boisterous dueling-guitar sounds and thought-provoking, gut-wrenched yelps from singer/guitarist Andrew Savage but adds different sonic flavors and detours down different stylistic avenues in interesting and soulful ways. Working with producer Danger Mouse for the first time, Parquet Courts branched out and made a musically diverse, weird, and pissed-off record, yet one not without hope.

The epic opener, “Total Football,” sets the tone that this record is meant to unite in today's somewhat hopeless landscape here in today's America. "Only through those who stay awake can an institution be dismantled, it is dishonest, nay a sin to stand for any anthem that attempts to drown out the roar of oppression." These sentiments are spread across most of the themes of Wide Awake! The Gil Scott-Heron meets Funkadelic feel of "Violence" is certainly a new direction for the band. With its Fela Kuti keyboard stabs mixed with its mantra of "violence is daily life," this cut seethes and pulses with disgust.

This album is full of juxtaposition between nihilism and communal positivity, which is where most of us seem to be living these days. A light beyond the darkness. Perhaps summed up best by this section of the album closer, the beautiful bouncy piano-driven "Tenderness"...."that you wait through when you hate everything you do, you wanna live outside the groove then fine, but it's there like a flower blooming in your ears, open up your mouth, pollenate your peers." Wide Awake!, as we all should hope to be.

Favorite track: “Normalization” PARQUETCOURTS.WORDPRESS.COM

Curated by Needle to the Groove Instagram: needletothegrooverecords

Muslims and Christians

(Habibi Funk Records)

Release date: July 6, 2018

German label Habibi Funk, known for reissuing forgotten Arabic funk and jazz, returns with newly uncovered songs by the great Kamal Keila, dubbed by some as the “James Brown of Sudan” for his funkcentric take on Sudanese jazz. Keila’s music, however, was never released on vinyl or cassette, as Sudan didn’t have bustling musical scenes quite like nearby Ethiopia or metropolitan Egypt. Then how, one might ask, does Keila’s music and reputation exist, given the extreme circumstances that hindered it? The answer: radio.

While a large portion of Sudanese radio programming is of the talk-show variety, some of the live performances are stellar works of ambition—funktinged arrangements combining spoken word and nuanced vocals, wildly drum-driven songs that raise your blood pressure as any impactful battle-cry should. In most cases, the musicians never received a copy of the songs, out of fear that they’d release the music independently themselves. Keila, however, was able to obtain two of his legendary sessions and hung onto the studio reels for decades. According to the label, “Both tapes were in the most horrible condition with mold everywhere…Much to our surprise, they played very well.”

In a plot twist that leaves more questions than answers, the guys behind Habibi Funk discovered that these songs are much younger than previously thought. While the music sounds like hazy Ethiopian jazz-funk from the ’70s, the team saw a sticker on one of the reels that dates back to 1992.

Were these copies of originals from a forgotten Sudanese heyday? Did Kamal Keila make these in the ’90s and simply forget? Given their exuberant nature, it’s probably best to hear them free of context and any chronological framework, free from any distraction that may hinder these gorgeous, unheard recordings.

Favorite track: “Taban Ahwak”


Instagram: habibifunk


No News Is Good News (Foreign Exchange Music )

Re-release date: March 2, 2018

Phonte broke on the music scene in 2003 with rapper Big Pooh and producer 9th Wonder as the hip-hop group Little Brother. The group’s renaissance, goldenera sound was critically and commercially successful, clearing the way for a generation of rappers who wanted to stick to their roots. By 2007, the group split up to work on new projects. Phonte partnered with producer Nicolay to form Foreign Exchange but also started to pursue a solo career. In this transition, he has remained true to his soulful, North Carolinian background, and his rapping has aged like fine wine.

No News Is Good News is a continuation of Phonte’s smooth rhyming ability, dense vocabulary, and cultural admiration. He shows no hesitation to spit bars and showcase his emcee skills. Some highlights include “So Help Me God” and “Pastor Tigallo.” On the latter he boasts, “Maybe I’m possessed, maybe I’m a mess / Man in the High Castle takin’ out a Minor Threat / With one stroke of a pen, sippin’ on Hen’, sittin’ behind a desk / Why is it niggas only thrive in a time of stress?”

Moments of bravado and jaw dropping beats resonate throughout the album, but Phonte isn’t afraid to dig deeper and reflect on problems and solutions in our modern world. On “Expensive Genes,” he addresses health issues prevalent in Black Americans. “Cry No More” is an introspective song on which Phonte describes his childhood over a laid-back, melodic beat. In just 10 songs, Phonte covers ground with a stylish swagger and elite, polyrhythmic wordplay.

From North Carolina to your speaker box, his attention to lyrics and soulful backdrops should win your hip-hop heart. Phonte went to college, majored in English, and there he met 9th Wonder and Big Pooh. Guess you should go to college folks!

Favorite track: “Pastor Tigallo”


115 — Profiles 10.4





Sis Boom Bah!

Three-dimensional yearbook-style exhibition explores LGHS Wildcat over 100 years. Opening reception with a marching band, color guard, and cheerleaders!

9/8 New Museum Los Gatos

UCSC Prof & Pint Lecture:

UCSC Professor of film Shelley Stamp will chart the extraordinary role that women played in the first decades of moviemaking.

9/10 Forager Tasting Room and Eatery

Luna Park Chalk Art Festival

Artists and vendors will converge to cover Backesto Park’s pathways with over 250 works of chalk art. Musicians, performers, and food trucks will also be there.

9/15 Backesto Park



The Eulipions Jazz Jam Session

The house band led by saxophonist Tim Lin plays a set followed by an open jazz jam. Cafe Stritch

MON 7PM–9:30PM

Red Rock Open Mic Night

This family-friendly open mic experience welcomes people of all talents to share and perform their art.

Red Rock Coffee

16 Chile, Mole, Pozole

An authentic celebration of Mexican Independence Day featuring traditional food, unique family recipes, and art that bridges the traditions of Mexico and East San Jose.

9/16 The School of Arts and Culture

22 Oktoberfest

Enjoy Bavarian sausage, potato salad, Sauerkraut, freshly baked pretzel, beer, and live music from 2pm-6pm in the bierhall. Advance ticket required.

9/22 & 9/29 Ludwig's German Table


Viva Calle SJ

Six miles of street are temporarily closed for San Joseans to walk, bike, and play up and down the city. Hubs of activity placed along the route will have vendors and performers.

9/23 S. First Street and Monterey Road


Improving Finance Operations

Presented by Silicon Valley Creates, this workshop is designed for small nonprofit arts organizations looking to develop best practices in finance.

9/26 The School of Arts and Culture

27 Radical Velocity

Exhibition exploring the power of the human body to transform place and expectations, through images of protest, performance, and physicality. Opening Reception 9/27, 9/28-6/15 de Saisset Museum


The Caravan Lounge Comedy Show

Comics from all over the Bay Area and the world perform, hosted by Ato Walker. The Caravan Lounge

WED 7:15PM–11:45PM

Wednesday Night Hop

This swing dance party is preceded by a choice of classes, introductory to advanced. First United Methodist Church (Palo Alto)

THURS 6PM CityDance

Learn to dance to a variety of music genres with an instructor and then practice your moves to a live band. Free. Plaza de Cesar Chavez

FRI 10 AM–2 PM

San Jose Downtown Farmers' Market Stroll San Pedro Square for fresh produce and gourmet foods: through 11/16

San Pedro Street

116 — Profiles 10.4

28 Parquet Courts

Critical darlings Parquet Courts are coming to San Jose and are bringing their “americana-punk” sound with them. Read our review of their newest album in this issue.

9/28 The Ritz San Jose

29 Contact Warhol: Photography Without End

See the first public display of images from the Cantor’s archive of Andy Warhol’s photographic contact sheets, along with other examples of the artist’s iconic work.

9/29-1/6 Cantor Arts Center


Reinterpretation as Resistance:

Featuring work by Libby Black, Ken Botto, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Alexander Kosolapov, Liliana Porter, Josh Reames, Dread Scott, John Sims, and Victor Yañez-Lazcano.

10/2–11/2 Natalie and James Thompson Gallery

02 San Jose Taiko

Come celebrate America’s cultural diversity by learning about taiko and kumidaiko, the art of ensemble performance with Japanese drums with this high-energy performance.

10/2 Montalvo Art Center


Experience the Hallowe'en Candlelight Tours

In the crisp autumn evenings, wander the halls through the Winchester Mystery House guided only by Candlelight. Select nights

10/5-7, 10/11-14, 10/18-21, 10/24-31

Winchester Mystery House



Factor Arts 2018 Finals

Don't miss the final Pitch Play-offs, as artists and arts organizations test pitch strategies in a competition for funding of innovative projects.

10/16 The School of Arts and Culture


Pecha Kucha Night: New Terrains San Jose 2040

An evening of fast-paced presentations from New Terrains partners on topics related to the future of mobility in San Jose.

10/18 San José Museum of Art

24 10.5 Pick-Up Party

Content Magazine invites the community to celebrate local makers, artists, and creatives featured in Issue 10.5 “Dine” in one of San Jose's newest taprooms.

10/24 Camino Brewery


Evil Dead The Musical

Ash is back, and he's engaged in the ultimate battle: demon versus man. From the makers of Rocky Horror Show, comes a cult classic you won’t want to miss.

10/25 San Jose Stage Company


Rocky Horror Picture Show

Celebrate Halloween with the Bay Area’s premier Rocky Horror live cast. Shout, dress-up, or sit back and enjoy. This genderbending cult sensation is open to new and old fans alike.

10/31 3Below Theaters and Lounge


Well-RED Reading Series

Poetry Center San José hosts different featured readers each month, followed by an open reading. Works/San José


Brews & Beats

Diners can enjoy hip-hop and craft beer culture with beats provided by resident DJs Mr Choe and Cutfresh. Park Station Hashery


Third Thursdays at SJMA

Admission to the galleries is $5 after 5pm, and the museum offers a variety of nightlife programming. San Jose Museum of Art


First Friday Santa Cruz Enthusiastic arts lovers can enjoy an evening of art, music, and more offered by the Santa Cruz community. Various Santa Cruz Venues


San Jose Bike Party

This themed ride is a place to make friends and have a good time. Riders without lights can get free lights installed. Announced 24 hours prior


South First Fridays

The art walk is self-guided evening tour through galleries, and museums of SoFA Distrct of Downtown San Jose. Various SoFA Venues

C 117 — Profiles 10.4
Events are subject to change. Please confirm event details with the presenting organization or venue.


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.

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A San Jose native, Justin loves learning about the creative culture of his hometown and, more importantly, participating in it. He is an English major at Kenyon College in Ohio and interning at CONTENT Magazine this summer.



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.


Johanna’s favorite art form is painting with words. Inevitably, she became a freelance writer and editor, publishing articles in, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and Grace Belle. Her other love is coffee and she has invested so much time into making, drinking, and generally thinking about this beverage.

twitter: johannahickle



Tad is a contributing writer for Metro Newspaper Silicon Valley and music and culture magazine He is also the editor/publisher of the literary magazine PAPINO. In his free time he enjoys skateboarding, art, and history. He studied English literature at Santa Clara University.

instagram: tee_emart


Karen is an independent curator and artist who creates “art as activism” exhibitions on themes of social justice with national touring shows to facilitate positive, social change.

instagram: karengutfreundart


David is a longtime music journalist whose work has appeared in Pitchfork, Wax Poetics, Rolling Stone, Red Bull Music Academy, Mercury News, The Guardian, The Source, and other publications.

instagram: _davidma


Grace has many hobbies, but her true love is reading. Her dream is to spread this passion to everyone she can by helping writers share their work with the world. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Biola University.

facebook: grace.olivieri.1


Kyle is an illustrator with published work in Lumpen Magazine, Linework Anthology, The Bygone Bureau, Tiny Mix Tape Magazine, as well as his graphic novel, Boundaries. Kyle is represented in bookstores and galleries in New York City, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco. His work is featured in this issue's cover as well as on pages 13 & 15.

instagram: kyleharter

Banking with your best interests at heart. ©Technology Credit Union. Federally insured by NCUA. c o w g irl b i k e co u r i e r est . s a n j o s e , c a 2014 Martha Keyes 1s t S t 2 n d S t 3 r d S t Brewery & Taproom 980 South 1ST Street Ste B San Jose CA 95110 12 -10 pm 12 - 8 pm Wed , Thurs, Friday Saturday Sunday 4 -10 pm The secret is out! B R E W I N G Hoppy Hour 4-6 Hoppy Hour 12-2 Sunday Wed & Thurs

“He talks like Crocodile Dundee and sings like Bocelli.”

Back by popular demand, Guglielmo Winery is hosting

Timeless Classics AlfiO's

in the Vineyard


Two time Emmy®-Nominated recording artist and performer ALFIO is back at Guglielmo Winery by popular demand after his debut performance last year that left his fans wanting more!

ALFIO captivates audiences as he effortlessly brings together all generations of music lovers with his powerful vocals combined with his unique, charming, comedic banter.


$75 Standard Seating | $95 Premium Seating

All tickets include a complimentary glass of champagne and appetizers, Premium tickets include complimentary wine and front stage seating. Purchase tickets at the winery or over the phone at (408) 779-2145

Guglielmo Wine Group Members and employee discounts available

1480 E Main Ave, Morg an Hill, CA | www facebook com/gug lielmowiner y |
Wine & Appetizer Reception 5:30 PM | Concert 6:30 PM

Stuart Event Rentals

Ser ( Spanish ): expressing identity or origin; having the intrinsic quality of

Ser is an artisanal winery specializing in varietal, vineyard designate, and old world style wines, produced in a natural way to allow the expression of their varietal character and the vineyards from which they are sourced.

Visit our tasting room:

14572 Big Basin Way Saratoga, CA 95070

Open Thursday- Sunday, 2- 7pm • @serwinery

OPEN DANCING & LESSONS • LIVE MUSIC • BEER GARDEN DANCE NOW THINK LATER STEP INTO A DIFFERENT GENRE EACH WEEK! Merengue & Bachata • Vogue • K-Pop • Electro Swing Salsa • Country Two-Step • Bollywood • Disco Plaza de César Chavez, San José Free every Thursday night, Aug. 16–Oct. 4
Presented by The City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs • Photo Credit: Ariel Dance Productions and Chris Willis
NEXT ISSUE Dine 10.5 SAN JOSE 2018 WWW.CONTENT-MAGAZINE.COM social media: contentmag

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