SAN JOSEâ€™S INNOVATIVE & CREATIVE CULTURE
CONTENT Issue 4.5 Ritual Winter 2012
SJ Earthquakes goalkeeper
Damir Emric_Ballet San jose Laura Garcia Cannon_NBC Anchor Steve Caballero_pro Skateboarder Nancy Duarte_Storyteller Jon Busch_Sj Earthquakes
CONTENT Issue 4.5 â€œRitualâ€? Winter 2012 The Makers: Sarah Garcia Marketeer
Mary Matlack Editorial Manager & Writer
Sarah Hale Sustainer
Gillian Claus Writer/Editor
Stacy Ernst Shaper/Blogger
Ed Matlack Media Advisor
Flora Moreno de Thompson Writer/Editor
Jeff Gardner Designer
Mark Haney Contributing Writer
Daniel Millan Designer
Shannon Amidon Contributing Writer
Charlie Thayer Designer
Bonnie Montgomery Contributing Writer
Sean Lopez Designer
Kat Bell Contributing Writer
Britt Clyde Proofreader
Daniel Garcia Cultivator
No matter what your religion, philosophy or circumstance, you have a ritual. Some routine, habit or addiction that has become a part of your life. Some choose their path and schedule as steps in reaching a goal or to accomplish something. Others are controlled by subconscious forces to repeat a behavior, attitude or perspective. Our rituals may not define us, but they shape our lives in a powerful way. In this issue we look at a few San Joseans who have developed a practice, craft, or discipline that creates that interwoven mysterious space between who we are and what we do.
IN THIS ISSUE Damir Emric / Laura Garcia Cannon / Steve Caballero / Nancy Duarte / Jon Busch
To participate in Content Magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org Subscription & Advertising information available by contacting email@example.com
Fine dining * catering * take out * banquets * gift cards
Habana CCubaa RESTAURANT
238 race st , SJ Ca * 408.998.2822 * www.998cuba.com
Winter 2012 San Jose, California
8 SJC to SEA
History & DESIGN
10 Echoes from the Lodges 12 First Church of Blight
PROFILEs 14 18 24 28 32 36
Artist, Patron Artist, Josh Marcotte Christmas in the Park, Tom Trafton Designer & Lecturer, Joe Miller San Jose Tanner, Bruno Medeiros Dancer, Damir Emric
Jon Busch, pg. 44
Features 40 44 48 52 56
Storyteller, Nancy Duarte San Jose Earthquake, Jon Busch NBC Anchor, Laura Garcia Cannon Pro Skateboarder, Steve Caballero Mr. Produce, Phil Cosentino
60 Holiday Cakes, 3 Bakeries and 3 Cakes 64 Little Chef Counter, Steven Le & Robert Dasalla 66 Localâ€™s Choice, Jennifer Ahn
68 Band, Anya and the GetDown 70 Band, Pantheon
Laura Garcia Cannon pg. 48
Content Magazine is a bi-monthly publication about the innovative and creative culture of San Jose. To participate in the production or distribution contact: editor@content-magazinecom
Nancy Duarte pg. 40
Steve Caballero, pg. 52
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Hop on a plane tomorrow and explore with reckless abandon or plan every last detail–whatever your mood, here’s our take on one of many non-stop destinations served by our very own Mineta San Jose International Airport. Now boarding!
Looking to get out of town for a weekend? Seattle’s a great place to explore. With daily flights to SeaTac International Airport from SJC, you could be on your way to experiencing the Emerald City in no time. Make sure to pack a raincoat and wear some comfortable shoes. There’s a lot to see and do.
Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson
Although Seattle might be the birthplace of the first Starbucks Cafe, why not try something different? Caffe Vita roasts all their coffee by hand in small batches, so your cup will be as fresh as can be. Start your morning with a drink in one of their seven Seattle locations. Don’t forget to take a pound of coffee home with you as a souvenir. If you like having something a little sweet with your coffee, head over to one of Top Pot Donuts’ establishments for a fresh donut made the old fashioned way. Most visitors to Seattle find themselves at Pike Place Market. If you end up here too, come hungry and make your way down Post Alley for a meal at The Pink Door. This quirky Italian joint is a hidden gem, serving up delicious food and an inviting ambiance. Dinner guests are treated to cabaret performances throughout the evening. If you’ll have a car in Seattle, getting around will be fairly easy, especially if you have a navigation system or smartphone. Otherwise, you can use the city’s public transit system of light rail, monorail, West Seattle Water Taxi, and a network of free downtown buses. The Link Light Rail will take you directly from SeaTac to downtown Seattle. Flight Time A flight from SJC to Seattle’s SeaTac International Airport (SEA) is approximately two hours. Flights leave San Jose daily.
Caffe Vita caffevita.com
Top Pot Donuts toppotdonuts.com
Metropolitan Market metropolitan-market.com
Dick’s Drive In Restaurant Are you serious about pizza? How about a pizza class at Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie Downtown? “Students” are taught pizza-making techniques from chef Audrey Spence–the pizza dough recipe is a closely guarded secret, though. Everyone makes their own individual pizza to eat at the end of the two-hour class using the finest ingredients (wine pairing is included.) Call to reserve a spot as spaces are limited. If you’re looking to get away from the city center, make a day trip out of it and head to Snoqualmie Falls for some hiking and fresh air (check their website to make sure trails are open). On your way to the Falls, stop by a Metropolitan Market where you’ll find everything necessary for a perfect picnic. Metropolitan has a wide selection of gourmet and artisanal food items, many of which are locally sourced. Don’t want to go on a hike? How about kayaking Lake Union instead? Rent some kayaks from Agua Verde Paddle Club and explore Seattle from the water. Paddle through the Ballard Locks, where you might catch a glimpse of some sea lions. You can also kayak through the water trails teeming with wildlife near the Seattle Arboretum. Go exploring alone or join a tour. Afterwards, replenish your energy while taking in a view of Lake Union with some Mexican food at Agua Verde’s cafe.
For a fun night out on the town, head to Capitol Hill. Known for being the heart of Seattle’s gay and counterculture scene, Capitol Hill is perfect for people watching and bar hopping. Start off the evening with dinner and drinks at Quinn’s Pub, a place with a great selection of bourbon and beer. Wander around Capitol Hill or stay here all night. Before heading to your hotel, stop by Dick’s Drive In Restaurant for a late night burger. A Seattle institution that’s been around since 1954, Dick’s is open until 2 am every night. After your weekend jaunt in Seattle, come back to Mineta San Jose International Airport. Sometimes the best part of traveling is coming back home. Check out flights to Seattle and beyond departing from SJC at flysanjose.com. Make sure to share your wanderlust by tweeting us with your adventures: @contentmag
The Pink Door 1919 Post Alley Seattle, WA 98181 206.443.3241 thepinkdoor.net
Serious Pie Downtown 316 Virginia St. Seattle, WA 98121 206.838.7388 tomdouglas.com
Snoqualmie Falls 6501 Railroad Ave. SE Snoqualmie, WA 98024 snoqualmiefalls.com
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club Seattle 1303 NE Boat St. Seattle, WA 98105 206.545.8570 aguaverde.com
Quinn’s Pub 1001 East Pike St. Seattle, WA 98122 206.325.7711
Echoes From the
Lodges Written by Bonnie Montgomery
The Rotary Club of San Jose meets each Wednesday at noon atop the Fourth Street Garage which displays the Rotary International’s spoked logo. Members conduct the club’s business, enjoy lunch, and listen to a speaker. Rotary restricts its membership to representatives of all the major businesses, institutions, and organizations in San Jose. Several years ago, when the City decided to bring its city hall and library to the doorstep of San Jose State, the business elite of San Jose confirmed the decision and brought its meeting place to the new center of public life. Likewise, the Kiwanis Club moved its Monday lunch meetings to the Flames Eatery on the ground floor of the Fourth Street Garage. These luncheon clubs date back about one hundred years. But let’s return to 1913 in San Jose, when Rotary was in its infancy. Looming above the city streets was not a spoked wheel welcoming San Jose’s business elite. Instead it was the spreading antlers of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Affectionately known as the “Best People on Earth,” the B. P. O. E. was one of dozens of fraternal lodges that flourished in downtown San Jose during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Masons and Odd Fellows brought along their lodge traditions and initiation rituals during the Gold Rush. Unlike the Masons and Odd Fellows, both founded in medieval Europe, the B. P. O. E. were All-American. In New York City in 1866, a band of actors lamented that the saloons closed on Sunday, their only day off. Thus was their social club born, first called the Jolly Corks, after a drinking game members played to determine who would buy the next round. Soon they looked for a more respectable
name. Inspecting the menagerie in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum, they settled on the Elk as their totem, described in a natural history book of the period as “fleet of foot, timorous of doing wrong, avoiding all combat except in fighting for the female and in defense of the young and helpless and weak.” Thirty years later, they still had a lingering reputation as a club for actors. San Jose newspapers, announcing in 1899 the first lodge of San Jose Elks, disabused readers of that notion, reporting that their ranks now were filled with “staid businessmen.” The 1899 roster listed Harts and Hales, attorneys and judges, a new generation taking the reins of San Jose into the twentieth century. The first Elks lodge, at the corner of Santa Clara Street and Lightston Alley, tumbled into a shapeless pile during the 1906 earthquake. Settling temporarily in an old church, the Elks embarked on a three-year mission to build and furnish a new lodge home. Architect Louis T. Lenzen led a design team that included Frank Wolfe, Charles McKenzie, and William Binder. Dedicated in August 1913, Ionic columns decorated the exterior of the three-story building. What urban planners would now call a mixed-use project, the Elks let store and offices on the street level. On the second floor was their lodge room furnished with silk tapestries, gold leaf woodwork, and plush upholstered seating for four hundred. A “Dutch lunchroom” with tile fireplace and mahogany buffet completed the second floor. Up a heavily carpeted staircase was the “jinks hall,” with an 80-foot long maple dance floor, stage, and dressing rooms. The Elks lodge stood at the southeast corner of First and St. John Streets, an anchor
of St. James Park. Mere steps from the courthouse, twenty years after its dedication, members could watch the mob storm the jail and lynch the two kidnappers in the park. Charter members of the Elks included Alex Hart, father of the kidnapped and murdered Brooke Hart, and Fred L. Thomas, county district attorney who failed to prosecute any member of the lynch mob. After World War II, San Jose sprawled in all directions. As lodge members dispersed to new suburbs, their halls moved away from downtown. The Elks can now be found just off the Alma Street exit of the Guadalupe Expressway. The Eagles and the Scottish Rite Masons had their lodges overlooking St. James Park on Third Street. The façade of the Eagles lodge remains, grafted to an office tower, while the Eagles roost in a storefront on Lincoln Avenue. The Masons now have their complex on a hill overlooking Willow Glen. Their Scottish Rite temple, dedicated in 1925 at Third and St. James Streets, retains some of its grandeur as the Silicon Valley Athletic Club. The Elks Lodge, sadly, did not survive. By 1972, the site was scraped clean and a new office building rose on that site. Diagonally adjacent to the St. James Post Office, City Year now uses it as their headquarters. The Elks take the memory of their departed members very seriously. At each lodge meeting, a climax of the ritual is the “11 o’clock toast” to departed friends. The next evening that hour rolls around, raise a glass to the old Elks lodge and its members. Images courtesy of The california room Dr, Martin Luther King Library, San Jose
a First Church of Blight
Conserving & Repurposing an Urban Sanctuary
Written by Mark Haney Photography by Josh Marcotte
Churches have long stood as physical representations of religious faith.
Beyond the symbolism, these structures represent places of sanctuary where communities can gather safely. San Jose is no exception, with many architecturally and historically significant sanctuaries: Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, The Five Wounds Church, The Sacred Heart Church, The Trinity Episcopal Church, and the vacant First Church of Christ, Scientist. It is this last building which draws attention unfortunately not for its innate beauty, but for its dilapidated condition. Boarded windows and fenced grounds have left the structure unusable and undesirable. The First Church of Christ, Scientist was not always a blight. Standing on the northern border of Saint James Park, the building is one of architect Willis Polkâ€™s few remaining designs south of San Francisco. Polk is known for two great estates on the peninsula: Filoli in Woodside and Carolands in Hillsborough. He designed several turn of the century mansions in San Francisco, along with many civic and office buildings after the 1906 earthquake. Polk was appointed as the supervising architect during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition.
In 1905, Polk designed the First Church of Christ, Scientist, with a floor plan that mimicked the shape of a Greek cross. With its large dome and column faĂ§ade, it quickly became a landmark in San Jose. Currently, Barry Swenson Builders (BSB) has plans for two residential towers to be built around the empty church. The project includes a complete renovation of the historical building, but clarity and direction are needed for this restoration. What will its new purpose be once the restoration is complete? BSB started renovation last year, but due to lack of financing, all construction on the project is currently on hold. The restoration should respect the integrity of Polkâ€™s design while maintaining its original purpose, though perhaps ultimately employing a broader definition of sanctuary. Creating an extension of Saint James Square by making the building into a museum is one option. The interior could be transformed into a large, open space, with exhibits attracting visitors to the newly restored building to view the history of Saint James Square. Another alternative would be a grand interior garden. Exotic flowers from all over the world would create a permanent extension of Saint James Park, allowing the public to appreciate its beauty every day of the year, just like the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. The current structure consists mostly of plaster walls with mini-
mal natural light, so replacing the dome entirely with glass would admit sufficient light to sustain a year-round flower sanctuary. Such repurposing would generate new educational opportunities for groups studying horticulture, flowers, and art history. Despite the size limitations, a public open space added on the North 2nd Street side of the building could accommodate a flower vendor kiosk and a small square gathering place before entering the conservatory. Public art dedicated to the conservatory project could be on display within the area. The First Church of Christ, Scientist is a significant part of San Jose history which demands that any potential use be explored with careful planning and insight. By creating a modern sanctuary, the enhanced structure would not only honor the lasting design of Willis Polk, but also ensure that San Joseans receive ownership of an extraordinary space which they desperately deserve. Buildings and spaces can be conceptualized and built, but it is only through the interaction of people within those spaces that memories, traditions, and rituals are born.
San Jose artist Patron
“Why do artists make [art] so serious? I don’t understand that.”
Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson Interview and photography by Daniel Garcia
Wake up after three hours of sleep. Head to Original Joe’s as soon as they open and order a Bloody Mary. Talk to the staff, who know you by name because you’re there so frequently. Get motivated for the rest of the day after sharing stories with the girl behind the counter. Finish your drink. Get to work and keep at it all day. Later in the evening, when you get tired, come back to OJ’s and order another drink. Repeat. This type of schedule doesn’t work for everyone, but the routine suits local artist Patron (real name: Bertand Paule) just fine. Patron does work for video game companies and other freelance projects to pay the bills, but his greatest joy is drawing caricatures of people he meets everyday. In fact, if you have been to a downtown bar or coffee shop lately, you very well may have been one of his subjects. “I work better in a public setting,” says Patron. His art is gritty and cartoonish, much like how he perceives the world around him. Patron prefers using pencils for his first sketches. Some of his work is done on sticky notes, while other pieces are scanned and cleaned up on a computer.
Patron grew up being influenced by cartoons and comic books. He compares his art of storytelling with that of Chuck Palahniuk, author of “Fight Club.” “When you read his stories, you think he’s doing it for shock value, but he’s not. That’s how it is with my caricatures.” Lately, he seeks inspiration from the world around him. “Whatever makes you happy and whatever emotion I get that’s strong, that’s what I imitate,” Patron says. He’s especially grateful for the staff at the bars and restaurants he frequents that let him turn their bars and tables into his office. “You can’t forget those people,” Patron says. “I’m grateful for everything they give me.” Patron takes his work seriously, but he doesn’t take himself seriously. He studied at San Jose State for a while, but soon dropped out. “I dreaded the industry,” Patron says. “I worked a little bit and I did not like it.” The best moments of his life have happened during his freelancing stints. Patron would take CalTrain to San Francisco or Santa Cruz and draw out in the open at parks or in bars, interacting with different people. “People would ask me ‘What did you do today?’ And they’d say, ‘Didn’t you work?’ Doing that was my work.” When Patron isn’t working for hire, he’s busy working on a book about his drawing techniques that he hopes to publish in the near future. “That’s my whole purpose,” Patron says. “I work on it day and night.”
“I work better in a public setting.”
San Jose photographer Josh Marcotte Written by KAT BELL Photography by Josh Marcotte
This isn’t the first business Marcotte has seen close down and it won’t be the last. “I like to revisit old buildings and ones that are vacant; they take on a life of their own. Someone worked or lived in that place, and the building has absorbed that energy and the general warmth of their life force. The people breathe life into the structures. If it was a church, or a theatre, a business or a house,” he continues, “somebody designed it, built it, loved it. There was something that was there, communities came there, family events were held there and at one point that was all lost.”
Babyland is closed now. After 25 years of serving San Jose, its windows are dusty and covered in paper, the parking lot is already cracking and sprouting grass. Josh Marcotte points his camera at it, aiming the lens at the blank windows. “It only closed a few weeks ago,” he says. “That place was family owned and operated. They were trying to provide something they felt was missing from the community. It was a place for nervous, new mothers to get help setting up a nursery–something that is so personal. Now they up and close shop.” Folding his tripod, he continues down the sidewalk. “People assume these places will be here even if they don’t shop there. They just assume they’ll be around.”
That’s where Marcotte comes in. He’s the creator of Lost San Jose, a popular photojournalistic blog which documents his wandering spirit and explores his profound connection with the city his family has called home for four generations. Part urban explorer, part night photographer, as well as writer and historian, he seamlessly blends his poetic view into his art form, creating profound images that cause even a local to pause and think: “Where is this?” Marcotte’s passion for San Jose and his affinity for exploration came from his grandfather. “When I was a kid I would mow my grandfather’s lawn every weekend. He was this self-proclaimed local historian who knew everything about San Jose and would tell me all these great stories.” Walking home late at night, Marcotte remembered these stories and became inspired by his grandfather’s encounters with the old buildings that once stood in their heyday after the Great Depression and WWII–the San Jose his grandfather knew and loved. “As a fourth generation [San Josean], there are relatives of mine out there haunting the streets. Part of why I do this is to go out there and make my own stories, to find my own perspective. What’s my place? What is my footing four generations into this? It’s about the family history and reconnecting to my past.”
Marcotte reminisces about the long drives he would take through San Jose, as his grandfather pointed to one building after another, remembering old San Jose. “No one bothers to look, or stop their cars, or turn down a side street to discover what lies beyond,” Marcotte says. “For me, I like to wander the streets and look for those happy accidents. If I do go out with a place in mind, I always walk there because you never know what you’re going to find.”
His wandering never fails to provide new material and he’s often completely surprised. He recalls a shocking moment when a police officer suddenly pulled over and pointed his gun at a man near him, mid-photo. “I was shooting the old Burger Bar and the exposure ended right on time; I quickly swung the camera on the tripod and caught the police officer lunging at the guy!” He explained, it turned out the officer had mistaken the man’s folded cane for a gun, “but I just thought how crazy it was to have this happen in the middle of a photograph!”
For the most part, Marcotte explains, people leave him and his camera alone–if he ever comes across people at all. “When I’m out, there are rarely even people around.” Don’t let him fool you, his process isn’t for the faint of heart. “I’ve managed to spook myself. A couple of times I’ve thought to myself ‘What the hell am I doing out here?’ One time, I was photographing a bridge and I could hear people laughing and breaking bottles underneath it. Another time, I got into an abandoned building and suddenly I could hear people whispering from another room and I realized there were probably people squatting there. That was a little scary.” Tonight, he’s on the railroad tracks. Flashlights from a homeless encampment under a nearby bridge blink and move out of sight, but Marcotte is busy focusing his lens before the next train arrives. “I used to work in the old Century movie theatre,” he explains. “I didn’t get off work until one or two in the morning, sometimes later…I didn’t have a car. The buses didn’t run that late. If I couldn’t get a ride home I would have to walk. For years, I wouldn’t go to bed until 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning.”
“I really like working at night because you’re capturing not just fractions of a second, but entire spans of time. You can condense everything that has passed, the movement of the earth, the trails of the stars, into a single image and for me, that’s fascinating.”
Through his odd late night schedule, his writing, and eventually his photography grew. “I decided if I was going to be up late I might as well be productive and do something about it. I started to write short stories and poems and little memoir clips about those nights walking home and the things I would run into.” Marcotte remembers, that he started to notice different places and locations getting demolished or gutted and began photographing them with disposable cameras. “The only one who ever saw them was my wife and the developer at Walgreens,” he laughs, “I kept them in a box.” After eight years of self-taught photography and writing, it was Marcotte’s wife who finally convinced him to show his work. “She set up the first website and ordered the first business cards and pushed me to do something with the images,” he says with a smile. “She convinced me that people wanted to see the pictures and read the stories. They wanted to know why I was doing it. People started visiting the site, and I got offers to do a few shows. It all went from there.”
Currently, Marcotte’s work has a permanent home on 4th Street’s Kaleid Gallery, and he recently closed a show at The Usuals. “The most surprising thing was how supportive and how encouraging everyone is,” he says, “There is always that fear when you put something out that people are not going to understand it or like it. It was a surprise to me how much fun it was to go out and meet these people with these shared passions.” Marcotte has been invited to join local historical societies and is currently compiling his favorite photos and writings to into a book. “It was more than I ever expected and I haven’t been disappointed yet. Even if tomorrow no one ever came back to my website again, I would still be out doing this. I’m going to continue to take photos in San Jose. Sharing them and telling their stories is a humbling experience.” lostsanjose.com @lostsanjose
My Whole Life
Behind the Scenes with Exhibit Designer Tom Trafton at Christmas in the Park Written by Gillian Claus Photography by Scott MacDonald
Tune the train. Replace the beards. Repaint the elves. Wrap all of the presents and steam wash the fencing. Such is the yearly ritual for Tom Trafton, City of San Jose Exhibit Designer and the artistic inspiration behind Christmas in the Park–and yes, he loves his job. He first stepped on to the synthetic snow back in 1979 as a college volunteer. Thirty three years later, he is still spending six months a year in the company of animated mice and grinning elves. Although Trafton is the sole City employee for Christmas in the Park, it takes a surprising number of community members to keep the snowflakes falling. As soon as the displays come down in January, DUI “participants” spend six days a week steam-washing the 3/4 mile of white fences in a recycled car wash. “Volunteers don’t want to do that part so we save the
fun stuff for the volunteers,” says Trafton. Later in the year, Elmwood inmates cut plexiglass for displays and signage. Come October, middle and high schoolers prefer to earn community service hours wrapping presents and painting displays. “Lots of people think we just put it in a warehouse and just unpack it all ready to go–they don’t realize the involvement.” Five hundred people of all ages volunteer on November 17 in the park, preparing for the big day. There are 25 volunteer board members, not to mention the countless families who work on hand-crafted ornaments for the community trees. “We are not Disneyland–the point is the community involvement,” says Trafton. If he can find a volunteer who is good at painting faces, he will put them to work. A large part of the charm is the homemade, kitschy quality of the displays. Trafton uses an airbursh with acrylics to repaint the faces and cotton batting for the beards. “It’s true we have had some scary ones, but people did their best and that’s all I ask,” says Trafton–perhaps reminiscent of the
volunteer who touched up that famous Spanish fresco. “We get a lot of that. We’re very accepting but if it is something that’s gonna scare the kids, then I’ll fix it myself,” says Trafton, smiling. So when it comes to decorating the giant tree, Trafton does not consult fashion magazines for the latest colors. “No, I think like a kid,” he says. “What do kids want to see? There’s adults that want it to be just the perfect little tree and I say no, let’s just make it fun.” The IBEW Union donates one and a half days and two motorized lifts to decorate the 55 foot tree. “They have a great time and they’re really good at it. But you can imagine, you hang one ornament, they have to move. Hang another ornament and move. It takes a while to do all that.” And then Trafton decorates the bottom with whatever toys and packages take his fancy. Fortunately the tree has turned out to be self-watering. The City of San Jose built a special pipe for the big tree that goes down 12 feet. “The water table is so low that
“We are not Disneyland– the point is the community involvement. We are not looking to be Disney.”
when you open up the lid every year, it’s just full of water–so we just stick it in the water,” says Trafton. One of his favorite occasions are the days when the park is opened to visually-impaired children and they are encouraged to climb in and touch the displays. He recalls handing a huge ornament to a child, and seeing his face light up. Organizers let the kids play with the big train that goes round the track and feel it move away. “We have a frog display called “Caribbean Christmas” and they just love to touch the water. And we turn on the snow machine for them.” Remarkably, Trafton has had relatively few major problems in his thirty years on the job. “We’ve had fires. A snowman caught on fire one year. Electrical cables have shorted out. The park was even hit by a drunk driver whose car struck the Elves Decorating the Tree display,” says Trafton. The driver hit the corner of the trailer and tipped the whole thing over, but managed to get out so fast that security weren’t able to catch him. The possibility of trouble in toyland means he is on call throughout
November and December–and the phone never stops ringing. The displays are aimed at children so vandalism fortunately stays fairly low, limited to tagging and the occasional theft of an ornament or an arm. Trafton explains that people take ownership of this exhibit in San Jose. If visitors see somebody causing problems, they yell at them or get security. He attributes the safety of the event to the 24/7 security and the decision not to sell alcohol: “There’s nothing to attract a rough crowd.” The economic impact of Christmas in the Park is that it brings half a million people downtown each year to have dinner, use light rail, and stay in hotels. Trafton feels it is well ingrained in the community. “That was the great thing. When the City didn’t have the money, people started stepping up, saying you just can’t let it go.” As Exhibit Designer for the City of San Jose, Trafton has also redesigned the Wishing Well, the Crooked House, and Danny the Dragon’s track at Happy Hol-
low. “When I think back about how many people have actually seen my artwork. It is amazing,” says Trafton. “If we could get the holiday parade back, that would be great. It got cut about two years ago.” The parade was fully funded and ranked as the #25 parade in the US. “I did the floats for that, too. Matter of fact, the one we use to bring Santa in is one of my floats.” So he has had something to do with every display in the Plaza. “Built it, designed it. I have had some hand in every display that’s in here now.” Because most of his artwork stands outside for forty days and nights, he has to dream up things that can withstand sticky fingers and spilled hot chocolate, pouring rain and beating sun. Until 2000, everything used to sit uncovered in an outdoor City yard across from the History Museum. His goal is to design at least one new exhibit each year. The current design and funding process takes two years but the more difficult job is attempting to retire old displays. “If you try to phase one
“It’s amazing how much stuff he has in there.” Lath Carlson, VP Exhibits at The Tech
out... I have done that, leave one here in the warehouse and we’ll get emails saying ‘Where’s that display? Do I need to come over and fix it up?’” The 32,000 square foot warehouse donated by the City to house the displays is piled high with trailers, trains, ornaments and dismantled figures. How could such a crazy combination of bits and pieces ever be inventoried? Executive Director Jason Minsky describes Trafton as “irreplaceable,” not least because of the details of each and every piece are inside his head. The value of such an inventory might surprise people. Each display is worth a minimum of $50k and each piece of animation would cost $800 to $1000 to replace–an astonishing price tag as the little dolls with their creaking motors are the antithesis of Silicon Valley. Trafton says, “They’re very rudimentary. You can see why we recycle. If we decide to get rid of a display, we’ll just take these guys off, repaint them and turn them into something else.” But this year’s new display, in conjunction with the Tech Museum, will be a little more modern and a lot more colorful. Because Trafton’s daughter Dakota loves fluorescent colors, he has designed a new Twelve Days of Christmas for the entrance to the park. Each day will be represented by a plexiglass
box sitting atop presents. The bright colors will really pop and Trafton wants it to be visible from Santa Clara Street. The Tech Museum has contributed an engineer to assist in the LED sequencing. Lath Carlson, Vice President of Exhibits at The Tech, was impressed with Trafton’s passionate approach and was happy to be involved in the project. “It’s amazing how much stuff Tom has in there, and how many members of the community are involved,” says Carlson. He is working on a Green Certificate. Environmental Services have become big sponsors of the event, so Trafton has made special Eco-stations to manage recycling. Everything is LED, low wattage. With help from PG&E, energy consumption has been considerably reduced since Trafton started. Families often find themselves in the park watching performances on the community stage. At only $50 per hour including technician, Trafton stresses that stage rental is extremely reasonable. “Can you imagine trying to go over to the Montgomery to rent that for an hour? What that would cost?” So what is Trafton’s tradition before he turns the whole thing on? “Well, I’ll tell you how it works. Usually on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, everything is decorated so it’s ready. I do like the part
where I turn it all off that evening and I know I have a day off. It is a great feeling to know that Friday I can just come in and turn everything on.” And he turns it all on about 7:00 on Friday morning. Vendors are coming in and people are still decorating their trees. At 6:30 pm, there is a ceremony to light the main tree–often by the mayor or a local celebrity. “Our big ritual is Santa Claus coming into the park that evening. Our main Santa is a police officer. They are all volunteers. Some are very into it and bring their own costumes.” So what does Trafton do at home? “Nothing,” he says. “I figure I can go down and look at the display every day. I have a little Christmas tree I set up on top of the piano, you know.” He did when his daughter was younger, but she understands. “She has experienced enough Christmas. She grew up with a dad who worked for Santa.” That father’s dreams have borne fruit in thousands of childrens’ imaginations. But to do a job like this for thirty years, a man would have to love it. “Yeah,” says Trafton. “It’s been Christmas my whole life.”
JoeM Joe Miller has always had a thing for words. As owner and principal designer of graphic design firm, Joe Miller’s Company, he specializes in “identity and brand development through graphic, typographic, and environmental design.” Miller has worked with companies like Atari, HP, and The New York Times, as well as several local organizations. As Lecturer in Graphic Design at San Jose State University, he shares his love of graphic design and typography with students three times a week. Miller is also the president of the Board of Directors for Works/ San José, an art and performance center located downtown. If all that wasn’t enough on his plate, Miller is also a spoken word performer and poet. 30
Miller Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson
Interview and photography by Daniel Garcia
How did you come to San Jose? I grew up in the East Bay, in Richmond, and went to high school there. At the urging of an art teacher, I went to San Jose State. I was into words and I thought maybe I’d be a journalism or art major and then I saw this graphic design program, At the time there were only two in the state. I graduated in ‘83 from San Jose State. I was the first person in my family to go to a four year university. My mom was always really encouraging about that. How did you get into teaching at SJSU? In 1988 I got a call, “Sam Smidt said you’d be great at teaching, would you like to come in and talk?” Teaching always sounded like a great thing. I had no idea if I could teach. I interviewed my old teachers. I went out talking to them and I went out talking to alumni that I knew. Teaching started to work out right away. The student response was great to my thoughts and it was really fun to see that activity. I think for me, it balanced out my office. Now I have three really full days of teaching. The other days I run my office.
“It all comes down to the space that the typography occupies.” As you’re working with students, how do you help someone who is young and wants to be a graphic artist? How do you teach them that you have to do hard work? First, you gotta do your hard work. No matter what’s going on in the economy, people are going to notice you if you’re doing hard work. During the dot com bubble, we were getting people recruited away from us, eager to leave school or sign a contract when they graduated to go work on websites. You go from that to times like in the ‘90s when it’s super competitive and all those people who didn’t finish college are going back to college. And then the “sexiness” of graphic design as a major really boomed, too. Don’t you think? Now it’s part of the national lexicon. Everyone has an idea of what design is. When I went to school, my brothers were supportive, but later they would tell me, ‘We couldn’t imagine what you were going to do, we couldn’t imagine what graphic design was.
Joe Miller’s Company came out of the ashes, rising out of other companies’ misfortune. Are students right now kind of nervous? Graphic design is a pretty impacted industry, but I’m amazed at the number of places that are hiring. There’s a lot of business spending. They’re not spending tons, but they’ve got more to spend. Basically, something’s going to happen for students who do the work and have the goods.
showing their own work. It’s so painful to take something out, but you’ve got to learn [how] to not show something.
want to look like these four other places look because that’s not gonna help you. Uniqueness isn’t a bad thing.
In terms of your work, what’s your favorite thing?
Talk about the design scene here in San Jose...
Typography is my favorite thing. I like dealing with things in type that are not like destroying the type. Not necessarily always deconstructing it, but doing things that are new to me. You can work it into signage
San Francisco has always been the design and cultural focus of the Bay Area. The sports focus, too. There’s a lot less going on here, in those realms. There’s the in-house world that’s really huge in the South Bay. The San Jose scene is a lot of these things that are in-house. Here it’s a much more corporate scene than in SF, as far as design goes.
For you, what’s it like managing the creative and business sides of your own company? I’ve been super lucky with having clients follow me mostly. That’s pretty unusual. I’m trying to think about that more, lately. On the business side, typically a design firm has to spend 20 percent of their resources going after the next thing. That’s generally standard. I’ve been really lucky that projects have rolled into other things. It’s all about the people you meet. On the business side of things, I’m just pathetic. My clients email me three times to invoice them. I’m trying to take care of the next thing, and I always want to get the creative work out. You started Makeshift Design School at SJSU. Was it your idea? Yeah. The students had a portfolio class, and an exhibit. It was a one night thing put together called the design mixer. Students would put up their work for one night and everyone would come. People from the field of design would come, too. It was just to show the work, a portfolio show. When I was offered the class, I said I’d love to do it, but I want to turn it into a real exhibition that stands on its own. It would be a design exhibition that would show their work, but the thing itself would be the thing they produce. Now that’s become the standard. This is more of a production. Do you think that helps students be prepare for the real world since it is more collaborative than just showing your own work? Yes, and also to be less isolated about it. I really wanted to get them to do some sort of storytelling–to be dispassionate about
When it comes to typography, what rule would you never break? It’s tough to define, but it has to be of quality. It all comes down to the space that the typography occupies. There is this conscientious use of space in typography that is what I would always shoot for. or an exhibit. Some of those things look simple and you’re mocking it up for the client. Works/San José has been this place that has been very open to anything even when I wasn’t on their board of directors. They were always pretty much encouraging. Those adventures where I don’t know what’s going to happen necessarily are really fun. At the same time, I like very straightforward type, very grid-oriented. I like bouncing back and forth between those things, deconstructed and readability. Do you find that as an artist you have this pull towards a safe zone in a way that you go back to? Do you find yourself going down a similar path all the time? There is a starting point like that where I start in my safe zone, and then I go, ‘Well, that is too safe, I’ve gotta try to get out of that.’ Not just for the adventure, personally, but for whatever the utility of the thing is. You’ve got to make it more tailored to the situation. That’s maybe the hardest thing about the business aspect of things: getting a client to buy into the thought that the uniqueness of something is for their benefit. You don’t
What’s that right balance between where meaning sits and where elegance sits? Maybe there’s a time where meaning pushes it away from elegance, but you still try to stay very conscientious. I would say to students, ‘Have I attended to the details?’ If it’s supposed to be ‘effed-up looking,’ is it ‘effed-up looking’ down to the last detail? And if not, why is that? It comes down to that attention to detail and space. If you can master that, then it’s going to be a great piece. joemillersco.com
Local artist finds a market and the passion for the ancient art of leathercrafting
Interview by Geoffrey Nguyen Photography by Chris Lovos
San Jose Tanner
“Leather is timeless. It can be bold, understated, used as a focus or just an accent and it lasts a lifetime. Leather is a living thing that literally molds to you and changes with use.”
What started off as just a hobby for Bruno Medeiros blossomed into a full-fledged, handmade, American leather goods company. Self-taught in his home garage in Japantown, Medeiros founded Headknife. Bruno started by making things for friends and having them field test prototypes. After seeing how much they loved his work, he took his story to the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter and was fully funded. Many people believe in his vision of making beautiful leather solutions for our everyday needs. What is it about leather that interests you most? Leather is timeless. It can be bold, understated, used as a focus or just an accent and it lasts a lifetime. Leather is a living thing that literally molds to you and changes with use. The more you touch it, the better it looks. That’s what I love about it–no two pieces will ever look the same. I can make you a wallet, for example, and after a year of handling, light exposure, wear, etc. it will have a rich patina that will be unique to that piece. Then I can make you that same wallet again and after a year of use it will have aged differently than the first one even if you handle it the same as the first. Do you think everything you’ve done in your life has led up to your love of leather and Headknife? It would be a really romantic notion if that was the case, but my love of leather (and Headknife in particular) was a relatively recent development. That isn’t to say that I haven’t always appreciated leather on some level. I’d see a leather jacket and think, “Oh, that’s pretty cool,” or see bags or accessories and think they were cool things that just happened to be made out of leather. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that the reason I liked them was because they were made out of leather. So, I had that little revelation and nothing came of it for a long time. Then one day I was at a fair and saw a guy selling these
crazy masks he made out of leather. They were so detailed and intricately made, and most of them were just made out of one uncut piece of leather. I had no idea you could do that with leather. I remember thinking immediately, “I can learn to do this.” How did you come up with the name Headknife? I wanted a name representative of the craft, so I started thinking of the tools. A lot of professions have iconic tools: carpenters have hammers, lumberjacks have axes, fishermen have hooks, and leatherworkers have head knives. For a while I thought it sounded a little violent and almost ditched it, but the more I thought about the tool itself, the more I liked it. It’s a simple tool that can cut long, straight lines, cut curves in tight spaces and, held at an angle, can skive edges. It’s simple and versatile, which is what I strive for when making anything. Also, the domain was available, so, big plus there. Speaking of versatility, have you found that a lot of people are unaware of leather’s ability to transform with the life of the user? Definitely. Like I mentioned earlier, leather will literally mold and change, and every kind of leather has its own characteristics in how it changes with use. For example, Horween Chromexcel (one of my favorites) is a pull up leather that is hot stuffed with waxes and oils, and you can actually see those oils being temporarily displaced and moved around as you bend and touch the leather.
Do you see yourself getting more satisfaction out of life with Headknife and working with leather? Oh, totally. No question. My background is in user experience and design so I spend all day on a computer, and when I get off work I need something that lets me get away from pixels and lets me create in the physical world. For years my outlet was cooking and photography, then pyrography (wood-burning art), t-shirt stenciling, woodworking, and a bunch of other maker-type hobbies. I just like making things. But leather clicked most with me. It satisfied my need to make something tactile, but also satisfied the need to make something that looks good and also has a practical day-to-day use. I’m really lucky that I get to invest so much time into doing something I love. And I’m even luckier that everyone in my life is so encouraging and supportive. Sometimes it’s really stressful (especially since the success of my Kickstarter project), but even on the worst days it’s a weird mix of stress and being really excited. I look forward to it every day–that’s how I know I’m doing what I want with my life. That feeling of stress and excitement means you’re working behind something great. With the success of Kickstarter, what do you plan on doing next? Well, first thing is finishing up all the Kickstarter rewards. I have close to 1,000 items I have to make and deliver to my backers. At the same time, I’m working on designing and building my online shop for a spring launch. What I’m most looking forward to though is getting back to designing some new products.
Chromexcel is just one example, but I think the type that does it most drastically is natural vegetable tanned leather.
Without giving away too much, is there any product you are designing that you are most excited about?
It starts out as a plain beige color and for that reason it’s not a very popular choice. But people who know leather goods love it because they know that with time and wear it will develop deep, rich caramel colors with beautiful patina. No two goods will ever be exactly the same because everyone holds it differently, or has different amount of oils in their hands, or exposes it to the sun more often, etc.
I’ve been sketching a couple of bags that I’m pretty excited about developing. One of them is laptop briefcase/shoulder carry that combines leather and tweed. I want it to be simple and provide a solution in folks’ daily lives in a beautiful way, and that’s what Headknife is about.
With natural vegetable tan, it’s about delaying instant gratification and putting time into a leather product to make it truly unique to you. That’s why I usually recommend it when people are unsure what color they want.
Damir Emric and Ballet San Jose
Dancing Through Life Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson Photography by Daniel Garcia
What do judo and The Lion King have to do with ballet? Everything, if you’re Damir Emric. A dancer in the corps de ballet at Ballet San Jose, Emric’s journey to becoming a ballet dancer started with judo lessons when he was eight years old and living in Berlin, Germany. “I wanted to take ballet,” says Emric. “So one day I snuck into the ballet class instead of judo class in my kimono and the teacher asked me to come back the next Friday if my parents let me.” Emric’s parents did, and his first dance performance was a memorable one. “We were all supposed to bring in our favorite song or something to improv to,” Emric says, chuckling as he tells the story. “I brought the dramatic death scene music from The Lion King and just flailed around the room. I don’t even know what I was doing.”
His teacher saw something in Emric worth nurturing and she invited him to continue his lessons at an actual ballet school. After two months, he auditioned for the State Ballet School of Berlin and was accepted. Born in Bosnia to a Serbian father and a Bosnian mother, Emric moved with his parents and younger brother to Berlin when he was five to escape the war and conflict in Bosnia. Growing up in a war-torn country is difficult and traumatic for any child, but Emric credits ballet for helping him to cope with it all. “Ballet was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me,” says Emric. “It let me go somewhere else and forget about all these things that happened. I think that’s what healed me...it was like therapy.” When Emric moved to San Jose in 1998, he began training at Ballet San Jose right away (then it was known as the San Jose Cleveland Ballet). He has trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and the Rock School for Dance Education as well as several summer intensive programs throughout the U.S. Emric may not have known what he was doing that day when he flailed around to The Lion King soundtrack as a kid, but he’s got ballet pretty much figured out now.
it’s all or nothing with ballet. There are a few [dancers] that have extraordinary talent that just comes from wherever and they can do everything, but even then there’s a certain kind of discipline and level of commitment. Even at my stage right now, there’s always more you can do. It’s one of those art forms where it’s a constant striving for perfection that is never achieved. Your whole career you are fighting to do this perfect technique. It has made me a lot stronger of a person. It has opened up my mind about a lot of things. Being with such an amazing group of people around me, working all day together, I see them more than I see my actual family. We spend all week together. Being an artist and having a very strong personality and sense of self, it’s very interesting being around 40 other people that are exactly the same. I’ve learned a lot about life being around dancers. Every day is a learning experience. I’m completely and always have been in love with classical ballet. I really love to see a musical dancer dance to a choreography that’s extremely musical as well. Lately, the older that I get, I do feel that I enjoy more and more of the free-flowing movements. It has been great to move in a different way. We’re a pretty classical ballet company and we do a lot of works now that are outside of that box, neo-classical to contemporary works. It’s a challenge to get yourself to let go of all those years of structured technique to do something that is technical as well, but feels so free.
I like being in San Jose because my family is here. I’m really close to my family. Compared to other dance companies, this is the most tight-knit company of people. Not just the dancers, but the entire organization itself. Everyone is working as a team. Everyone knows each other, even our stage crew and costume people. We might have our days, but most of the time everyone is good to one another and it’s a good environment. In general, ballet is hard. Sometimes you feel like you can’t go on, and when you do push yourself on those days that you feel like you absolutely can’t do it–you feel even better after. You’ve accomplished something you thought that you couldn’t do, because it’s your job to do it, and it’s helping you get stronger and better. It’s just a physically challenging job. Most of the season, dancers are sore and hurting. It’s a constant rehabilitation process with your muscles and bones. I have to get the soreness away so I can do tomorrow, and then tomorrow I do something else that makes me more sore...but it’s fun. I think you have to be a ballet dancer to understand that. A lot of the time, I meet people out on the street and they ask “What do you do?” And I say, “I’m a ballet dancer,” and they ask “But what’s your real job?” That can get frustrating, but I don’t take offense to that. I mean, most people don’t know what it is unless you walk through these doors into rehearsal for a day. I’d probably think the same if I was just an outsider looking in. I wish ballet was more of a part of our culture in America.
“Once that curtain is up, everyone disappears and you literally go to a different place.”
really happy here right now and I love the direction Ballet San Jose is going. After you join a company when you’re young and fresh out of ballet school, you’re still very mechanical and technical. It takes a few years of professional dancing to let go and develop artistry. That’s the kind of thing I’ve felt a lot in the last three years of my career. The shyness starts to go away. You start to trust what you’re doing is right. You’re not worried about what others are thinking. It’s more about yourself and your art form. I think that’s what I’m looking forward to: growing in my art form. My parents can never see my first performance. I’m not afraid of their criticism or anything like that. I have to have one show that goes the way I want it to
go first. When they come on the first performance it creates some tension that I don’t want in my body for that first performance. It’s only for opening night. It has to be my experience before it can be someone else’s. Once that curtain is up, everyone disappears and you literally go to a different place. You might be tired or you might be hurting, but–lights are on, curtain’s up, and smiles are on everyone’s faces. It’s a powerful feeling to experience so many people in one place that are a part of this art form. Being on stage and connecting to the audience, feeling all that–that’s my favorite part. Twitter: @DAmiracle7 Instagram: @damire27
â€œSometimes the things you do that take the greatest faith have the greatest rewards.â€?
Written by Sarah Garcia Photography by daniel Garcia
When was the last time you weren’t furtively glancing at your email on your smartphone while a person in your office was giving his or her presentation? When was the last time a business meeting truly inspired you? Nancy and Mark Duarte set out to change all that when they founded Duarte Design, with a mission to help people move others to action by communicating in a clear and compelling way. How? By rediscovering the art of storytelling.
Looking for a ‘real job’ Mark and Nancy didn’t plan to start a business when they first got married. In fact, Nancy is the first to admit that she sort of fell into presentation design and training. She and Mark got married when she was just 19 years old. After a year of college, she took a job at an office supply store in Chico making cold calls to a high tech company where she was eventually hired. Moving from Chico to the Bay Area, the need for “feet on the street” selling was strong, but she had trouble penetrating the boy’s club that was Silicon Valley. Mark schlepped furniture all summer long to afford a Mac Plus to help further his career
as a technical illustrator. “I thought it was all a joke,” she smiles while remembering those days. “The laptop. The idea of illustrating.” Mark, however, was convinced this was a medium to explore–but seven years into their marriage, a very pregnant Nancy started sending out resumes and telling Mark to find a “real job.” “I almost aborted this dream–I worked really hard to kill this thing,” Nancy explains. One afternoon, she made three phone calls, won three accounts and thought, “this is the real deal.” After her maternity leave, she never returned to her
high tech job. She was convinced that Duarte Design could fill a real need for a technical illustration business in Silicon Valley. “There was a defining moment with a local design firm. I knocked and I knocked and finally she looked at our portfolio and said, ‘Clearly, you’ve never been taught typesetting.’ And I’m thinking, ‘what the heck is typesetting? So I wrote it down. We researched what it was. We learned all about it, and I won that account. It’s those little things along the journey where we’ve been good students. The people and things that look like they are the roadblocks actually have the answers to move you to the next level.” True to this philosophy, Nancy read about a cutting edge digital illustration process, and pitched it to one of their first clients. Tandem (now HP) loved it, and she realized, after getting the account, that the technology was still six months out. So she and Mark found a work-around, putting the kids to bed, staying up late, watching Letterman, getting up before the kids woke up to manually create the effect. In those early days of the business, with two small babies, Mark and Nancy lived across the street from what is now their office in Mountain View. “If I sat in that apartment back then, looked across the way and saw a business with 105 employees, it probably would have freaked me out. I think things stay hidden; that’s the best view sometimes.”
From good to great After a few years, the Duarte’s technical illustration business morphed into the presentation business when they won an account at one of the first companies (name intentionally withheld) to project from a computer. In 1992, more businesses were using desktop projectors across the valley for presentations and needed help. For much of the 1990s, the phone at Duarte Design rang like crazy. Nancy briefly diversified during the dot-com boom to extend her design work to web and print. However, in 1999 two things happened. First, many dot-com businesses crashed. More importantly, she read Jim Collins’ book, “From Good to Great.” “Jim Collins says if there is one thing you can be passionate about and be best in the world at, do just that one thing,” she says. Even as many businesses in the valley downsized, the Duarte’s phone kept ringing with demands for better presentations. Some design agencies couldn’t be bothered with presentation designs. But
not the Duartes. They made it their “one thing.” The designers who weren’t passionate about it left the business, leaving Nancy with a core of people she was able to keep on salary all throughout the bust. Finally, when the economy turned around, business exploded. Now, two books, 105 employees, and many clients later, they continue to take risks to keep the business healthy—and innovative. “Sometimes the things you do that take the greatest faith have the greatest rewards,” she explains. Yet with all the risks Duarte Design has taken, Nancy says the scariest one was hiring her fifth employee. “I don’t know why. Maybe because it stretched us right to the top of our budget,” she recalls. “We were moving to a new office, we needed a new designer, we needed to move, and that was scary. I like the edge of fun but scary.”
Conquer and Liberate Years ago when Nancy and Mark were working on their personal mission statement, their corporate chaplain encouraged them to consider that the most important part of the mission statement is the verb because that is the action you “do.” Looking through a big book of action words, Mark found his verb immediately, but Nancy struggled to put words to what she felt. She finally settled on “To conquer and to liberate.” “When people hear that they think I am crazy, but part of my liberating and conquering mode is to create
safe places. I conquer and liberate all the roadblocks away so this warm, squishy nest is there for people to be creative. Every decision we make in this company is for the care and feeding of our employees. We’ve always felt that everyone is our personal responsibility. A lot of people would walk through our parking lot as the CEO and say, ‘Look what I’ve done.’ But I walk through thinking, ‘oh my gosh, look at all these car payments that are dependent on the decisions I’m making.’ It’s humbling. My ‘conquering’ is on the outside protecting.”
Telling campfire stories in the 21st century Nancy sees her job as helping companies and individuals find ways to communicate more effectively–especially in the valley’s tech-saturated, ADD culture. In a way, the slide presentation has become the office’s version of the campfire circle. “We all gather around this glowing thing,” she says. Nancy’s solution isn’t to dismiss the ritual, but to set it free by redeeming old patterns of the greatest communicators.
“People are rebelling against presentations. What has happened is that if there is a slide between you and me, I don’t have to be human. I think when we put that slide between us and lose the [ability to be] improvisational, our communication becomes stilted. Boardrooms everywhere should be delighted that there is a desire for communication that is clear and interesting, leading people to a destination.”
Part of a bigger story Before Nancy’s books “slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations” and “Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences” came out, there were publications on the idea of storytelling, but not with the technique and detail that she could provide after years of working in the trenches for many of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies. “I think there is a natural hunger for story,” she says. “We’re all part of a bigger story–a story that is bigger than ourselves. We had been talking about how to communicate with story. The idea that presentations are the way we verbally communicate in business made it a natural place to apply story structures.” “I could say we do PowerPoint all day,” explains Nancy. “Or I could say we are changing the world. There is a really big difference. The work we do is meaningful. It’s driving stock prices. It’s catching causes on fire. It’s transforming top brands.”
and you–what we have in common. I have to build everything from your perspective and not my own,” she says. Nancy believes that the art of presentations will continue to evolve, becoming more conversational. “A client from a large company had a department head that needed to present to the CEO and wanted help creating slides,” she says. “That just seems so weird for two humans in a room to look at the screen. So we shaped the arc of his conversation, and we gave him four different whiteboard graphics to use. We rehearsed it and it was lovely. He got all of his funding. It doesn’t have to be about slides; it’s all about persuasion.”
Teaching business people how to fish With highly skilled designers on staff, Duarte Designs has expanded their offering by creating a training program, which has proved to be one of the most fulfilling things for Nancy. “In here we do the fishing,” she explains, “but in there, we teach them how to fish. Combining the creative services with the academy, we’ve been getting calls from major organizations asking us to change them into a story culture. It isn’t the ‘Hi, I have a PowerPoint, can you make it look pretty?’ It’s the ‘We want to be transformed from the top down.’ That’s revolutionary.”
How does one make the shift from presenting slides to storytelling? “The first thing you do is not open presentation software,” she says emphatically. “Take out sticky notes and write ideas out. Group them into themes and arrange. Add a title, image and supporting text. Keep it tactile for a really long time. Software programs force you to think chronologically and linear. If you pull it out of the software program, you can look at the whole instead of the parts. We’ve lost the art of crafting what we say. We are a one draft culture. We write a tweet; we tweet it. We write an email; we send it. We write a presentation; we present it. We don’t think about the power of a well-crafted oration. So I think if people are going to spend time on a talk, they need to spend more time on the content. Slides are just the backdrop.” While slick graphics help, in the end, it’s the authenticity of the speaker that has the power to transform. Nancy’s book “Resonate” argues that the only way for the speaker’s words to truly change others is to tap into something within the audience itself. “I have to find the overlap between me
Present and be heard Having a business in the South Bay, Nancy wants to empower those with the greatest messages to be heard. “The currency in Silicon Valley is innovation,” she says. “Sometimes, whoever communicates innovation best gets funded. What’s sad is that some stuff gets funded that is stupid. My ‘what could be’ for Silicon Valley is that some of these engineers and entrepreneurs could communicate their messages clearly enough to be heard. I love Silicon Valley–you can feel the power in the air. But what happens sometimes is that investment decisions are made on what is going to bring them the quickest, shortest return versus what is the best idea overall. If we keep going in a “what could be,” [then] we’ll decline. I believe we have all the ideas to solve the world’s problems, but some people don’t speak up or know how.” Nancy and her team are working to change that. One presentation at a time. duarte.com @nacyduarte
Jon Busch is the 36-year-old veteran goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes. He’s smaller than your average keeper, but his attitude and perspective drive him to greater heights. Written by chris vickery Photograhy by daniel Garcia
The Quakes won the Supporters’ Shield this year for the best regular-season record, but lost in the first round of playoffs to the rival Los Angeles Galaxy. How painful was the loss in the playoffs? This one hurt pretty bad. My family must have left 20 text messages and phone calls. I didn’t answer anything for like two days. Finally, I called my brother back. “I’m fine. I’m just miserable right now. But I’m ok, you know?” This one hurts a little more because we do have the team to win a championship and we know that. Was there an extra element because of the comments from LA’s Omar Gonzalez (who called San Jose “a bunch of jokers”)? Did those comments bother you? Me, personally? No. Some guys took a little offense to it. But I’ve been around and heard a lot of people talk. I believe in going out and doing your job, doing your business and letting that speak for itself. Some people like to talk. I don’t.
It was a relentless onslaught the Galaxy had. It’s not easy. I mean you’re dealing with Robbie Keane, one of the best in this league and probably still in the world. A clinical finisher. And Landon (Donovan), when he’s motivated, is almost unstoppable. But the other point you have to make is that we played the defending champions five times this year. And we beat them three times. We tied once and we lost once. We’re unhappy we lost to them in the important game, but we’re also very happy with what we did against them. What was the highlight of the season for you? The number one thing was winning the Supporters’ Shield. It means a lot to players throughout this league. I think maybe the outside observer doesn’t understand that as much as the players do. And the game at Stanford Stadium–even though I took an elbow in the face and my
eye was closed for three days–that was a huge win. And it was Military Day. I got a great kick out of when Wondo (Chris Wondolowski) scored the game winner and saluted the military guys that were sitting on the sideline. For me that was a very touching moment I thought was very cool.
about getting the timing down and dealing with the bumps on the field but it’s also doing the work in the weight room over the years to be strong enough to come for it.
Exactly. You get bumped. You get hit. For me, I grew up as a hockey guy, so I don’t mind the physical side of the game. I don’t mind if I get hit as long as it’s fair. If you knock me on my butt and it’s fair play, I got no issues with that. So it’s part of the game.
Busch has started a campaign called “Saves for Seals” to help the Navy SEAL Foundation, which supports military personnel, their spouses and children. Tell me about your work with the Navy SEAL Foundation. Two years ago, I auctioned off jerseys and game gloves and we donated that money to Saves for Seals and the Quakes matched it. This year I personally donated 50 dollars a save, and the Quakes are going to match that. We’re going to donate $8,100 to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Why the big connection with the military? I just think that those guys, even though they can’t get any credit, they deserve it for what they do. I’m allowed to catch a ball for a living because those guys are willing to do some dirty work that nobody ever knows about. I never want to forget that and never want them to feel unappreciated. And I think that’s something other people need to remember on an everyday basis. So they’re your heroes? Yeah. This year on my right glove I wrote the letters JSOC which stands for Joint Special Operations Command. It’s all of the best of the best coming together for these secret missions. And when we were going through a rough time or our backs were against the wall, I could just look at my wristband and say, “You know, you really don’t have it so bad. It’s a soccer game.” And it’s a reminder for me what real life really is, I guess.
Busch is 5’10” in a sport where most goalkeepers are 6’2” or taller. Do you feel like your game has to be different because of your size? Yeah, I’ve had to work on it for many years. The biggest question was always, “Can he deal with high balls when there are bodies around him and can he catch a cross when there’s traffic?” That work is
You’re right at elbow height, too.
What about goalkeeping idols? When I started it was Tony Meola and Casey Keller. Those were the two American guys. One of the guys I really enjoy watching is Shea Given who’s at Aston Villa (in the English Premier League). He’s a smaller guy so I think we have a very similar style of play. I’m not into the flashy guy. I’m into meat-and-potatoes, do-your-job, and make it look as simple as you can.
Busch’s steely glare and authoritative voice keeps his team focused, and has brought him success at the top level of soccer. You’re intense on the field. Is that you or your gameface? My wife calls me Jekyll and Hyde. On the field, I’m all business–I don’t smile a lot. I’m trying to get better at that, but for me it’s business. It’s something I’ve done for 16 years. I’m very passionate about it, but I’m also very focused on doing the best I can every Saturday night for a game. There is a certain pressure I feel on an everyday basis to bring my best and not just say, “Oh, we’re out here just to play soccer and have fun.” But off the field, I’m more quiet, laid back. I kind of go with the flow and I’m not very intense. You were called up to the national team and you ‘kept a clean sheet’ (didn’t allow a goal). Do you think you could have achieved the kind of prominence as Casey Keller or Tim Howard? I was very lucky. Bruce Arena (former national team coach) gave me my chance– every time I see him, I tell him thank you. But just when I was really getting into the mix and being part of the meat of that national team, I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament.) So I never know where it
maybe would have gone, who’s to say? But I can say my one start, I kept a clean sheet against Colombia. So it is pretty cool.
Busch designs and sells goalkeeping gloves for High Performance Goalkeeping (hpgoalkeeping.com). What sets your glove apart from other brands? All last winter, a couple of other full-time pros were wearing this stuff, trying it, tweaking it. I personally put on every item we have. The thing that’s very attractive to goalkeepers and their parents is the pricing. Our glove is about half the price of the same product somewhere else. I’d say on average a high school or club goalkeeper is probably going through 10 to 20 pairs a year. I go through about 35 pairs a year. So, if you’re a parent having to supply them, it adds up at the end of the day.
When he’s not saving shots from David Beckham, Busch keeps things quiet and watches other athletes do the work. What do you do off the field? Well, I’m really a homebody. I like to try to make up the time I’ve lost during the season and hang out with my wife. But the biggest thing is I’m a huge hockey guy. I like to go to Sharks games and watch hockey on TV–so I’m really perturbed about the strike! That’s about it. Part of my days are spent doing emails and shipping gloves out. Just make more business and pray for the hockey season. So what’s after soccer? I think when it’s all said and done I’ll be some sort of goalkeeper coach. That’s what I love doing, whether it’s the youth kids or the full team in an MLS setting–like a goalkeeper director there at every step of the process. And obviously the glove company. But I’m going to play as long as I can. I feel good. I think with the group we have together we have probably a three or four year window here that hopefully we can win some trophies. I’m 36, so I might go till I’m 40. Twitter: @HPG_GK Facebook: HPG North America
“If you knock me on my butt and it’s fair play, I got no issues with that.”
San Jose Mornings: The Life and Work of NBC Anchor
Laura Garcia Cannon Written by Sarah Garcia Photography by Daniel Garcia
Every morning, we roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button, find our way to the coffee maker and turn on the TV to the morning news.
Every morning, NBC Bay Area anchor Laura Garcia Cannon tiptoes through her house and says good-bye to her sleeping family before heading off to be the face we see each morning.
Laura and her husband, Brent Cannon, have been working in television news since before they met, and have spent the last 15 years of their marriage juggling opposite schedules, breaking news and now, three year old triplets. How did you get started in journalism? My first internship was at KGO Radio, in San Francisco. In that building, radio is on the third floor, television is on the second and I would always make my way downstairs, trying to work my way into the newsroom and volunteer wherever I could. I figured I was getting paid in experience. My first on-air job was in Fresno where I jumped around to three different stations there over a five-year period, always taking a better position. First I was a reporter where I did it all–I shot my own video, I wrote my own scripts, I edited it, and I hurried and got it done because I had to run teleprompter. But once again, I was paying my dues to work my way up. My next job I had a photographer at the ABC station in Fresno, and then I didn’t have to worry about shooting my video. I also had an editor and could focus on my writing. Next was my first crack at anchoring on the weekend news. Following that, I went to Phoenix at the CBS station, and then I came here. In January, I will have been here for 13 years. It’s weird to be the matron of the newsroom.
When did you meet Brent? We were both reporters. I worked for ABC, he worked for NBC–and we covered the same stories, which is where we met. Within a month of getting married, we both got job offers at the same station in Phoenix. He was a morning anchor and I was an investigative reporter. We worked different shifts, so we had a book that we wrote notes to each other in. I would sometimes see him in the newsroom when I would come in for a 9:00 meeting and wave across the newsroom. Sometimes that was our only overlap of seeing each other. But you make it work. After Phoenix you ended up in San Jose, what was compelling about coming here? I was coming back home. I went to school here in the Bay Area. My dream, my goal, literally, was to anchor the morning news in the Bay Area. The news director we had in Fresno moved to San Jose years later and contacted us in Phoneix and said, “I always wanted to put you two together as a team, but I never had the opportunity. How would you like to work together in San Jose?” A lot of news directors wouldn’t give you that chance–to have a husband and wife team. We thought it was a great opportunity to come back to California and to see if we could work together doing what we love to do.
So you really went from completely opposite schedules… To being together 24/7! We commuted together, we sat in a cube together, we sat at the news desk together, and we drove home together. You could count the hours we were apart on one hand…if any at all. That’s a big transition. Did you like it? We did. We loved it. You want an anchor team to have chemistry, and as a married couple, we know each other so well. I could tell if he was running out of steam, and I could swoop in and help; and literally you are a team, a cohesive unit. Granted, you have times you disagree or whatever, but we would call that our “commercial break.” You have a minute thirty to get over it. If it’s really big, of course we’ll take it home, but for the most part; you really realize what was important and what was not. What is it like to share career paths? It’s interesting. Both of us at the very beginning probably worried about it. Especially being two on-air people where the path is typically to move on. We’ve been fortunate to be able to move to three stations together. We decided early on that we (each other, our marriage) were going to be the priority. Nothing was going to upset that. And we would support each other no matter where life takes us.
We waited a long time to have these kids. they are the biggest blessing in my life. I take advantage of every single moment. When they say, “Pick me up,” I stop and pick them up–because they aren’t going to ask for that forever. homes first thing in the morning. You are in their living rooms, so they get to know you. When I go out, to run my own errands, I’ll have people stop me and say, “Hey Laura!” They say it on such a friendly basis because they feel like they know me. And they do. I’m glad. It means I’m doing my job. When they stop recognizing you, then you need to be nervous. I don’t get tired of people stopping me. It’s kind of cool because I’m talking to a camera–I never get to see the people I’m talking to. It’s nice to have that connection because I am a part of this community too. I’m raising my family here. We’re all in this together. What is the best part of anchoring? I like live television. I love breaking news. I find great excitement in being the first to know information–to get the story accurate. To be a part of something that is live and active and changing right before your eyes. What is something that stands out as being difficult or hard? September 11th was such a hard day, the emotion of it. There is a certain amount of your own emotion that you need to leave at the door when you do what we do, and remain unbiased. It was so amazing how fast everything was happening right before our eyes. We first got an indication that something was going on when our producer told us to take a live shot from New York And literally while we went to the shot, the second plane hit the build-
ing. We just paused. And then we started hearing about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania…and I remember writing down on a piece of paper to my husband, “Terrorism.” You can’t say it. We didn’t know it. But the emotion of that day…as it unfolded was intense. We were on the air eight or nine hours solid. The people are behind the cameras were sobbing, and I had to remain stoic. You are that anchor for the community. You are that face they are turning to, especially in tragedy. They are used to relying on you for information, so you have to keep it together. It seems people identify with a station and an anchor, perhaps because we’ve come to rely on a familiar face to ease us through those tough times. It’s a very interesting medium we have, because I am the face in so many people’s
Your broadcasts start at 4:30 in the morning. You have a husband and three year old triplets. Walk me through a typical day for you. My alarm goes off at 2:18 in the morning. And that is 2:18 because it gives me ten minutes to hit the snooze button. So the alarm goes off at 2:28 and that gives me 2 minutes to fluff up prior to a 2:30 conference call that I’m on. Since Brent is on an opposite schedule now, I sneak downstairs quietly, and let the dog out. I’m watching him outside while I’m on that call, then I sneak back upstairs to get my clothes that I laid out the night before. I am out the door and at the station by 3:30am. I can leave the station at 10:30am, so sometimes Brent and I try and meet for lunch. But sometimes we’ll be on the phone and say, “I saw you on the freeway, coming the opposite direction–see you tonight!”
Alarm goes off, hit snooze
2:28am Get up 2:30am Conference call with executive producer for news briefing. Sneak downstairs, let dog out while on call
It’s kind of like we’ve gone full circle, at that opposite schedule again, and we’re back to writing in the journals. And I laugh because it’s so different than it was 15 years ago. Before it was, “See you Friday!” Now it’s “this is what the triplets did.”
I love to say that I’m from Silicon Valley because it is the hub of what everyone around the world is doing. Google is in our backyard. Facebook is in our backyard. The weather is phenomenal. There is nothing better than a Bay Area morning. I love a Bay Area morning.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your family?
And yet you are in the studio…
I especially love waking up with those kids. I love to hear them calling me from their room, because I don’t get that five days a week. Their little bed heads, pajama-clad bodies, asking for pancakes and smelling like syrup…I love that. I treasure that. We’ve always brought them into our bed on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and now you’ve got five people in the bed, and the dog. We do try to get out in the community. There are so many great places and things to do in the Bay Area.
I know, isn’t it ironic? There are no windows to look out. I don’t get to enjoy what I wake people up to every morning. Yet another reason why my weekends literally are so treasured. Watch Laura on NBC Bay Area Morning News 4:30-10:30am Monday-Friday @LauraGarciaCann
What do you like most about the South Bay?
At station. Sit at desk and review show with a (big) cup of coffee
Hair and makeup
Seated at the news desk
Meeting right after show to talk about what went right and wrong, and thinking ahead of how the news will evolve
10:30am Local news cut-ins every half hour. While catching up on emails and social media 10:30am Run errands 12:00pm Meet Brent for lunch or call him while passing him on the freeway 12:30pm Home. Start other job of being a mom 1:00pm
Kids take a nap (maybe Laura too)
Triplets get up from their nap
Arts, crafts, snacks and parks with the triplets
6:00pm Dinner and getting ready for bed (x3) 8:00pm
Kids go to bed
Kids actually go to sleep. Lays out clothes for next morning, makes coffee, takes a shower
Goes to bed (just around the time Brent is getting home)
“It’s definitely a blessing to me to say I’m still a professional skateboarder at age 47.”
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Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson Photography by Daniel Garcia
Steve Caballero is a busy guy: a professional skateboarder, an artist, a musician, and a family man. An original member of Bones Brigade, a team of highlyskilled skateboarders formed by Stacy Peralta in 1978, Caballero still competes in skateboarding competitions and has been sponsored by Powell Peralta Skateboards since 1979. He’s also the Cab in Van’s Half-Cab skate shoe, recently celebrating twenty years of sponsorship together.
As if a skateboarding career wasn’t enough on his plate, Caballero is an artist and participates in several art shows a month. Caballero uses social media to promote his artwork and upcoming art shows, often selling his paintings moments after posting photos of them on Instagram or Facebook.
In what San Jose neighborhood did you grow up?
Caballero has started playing with punk band Agent Orange recently, after taking an eight year hiatus from guitar-playing. Originally from San Jose, Caballero now calls Campbell home. His wife Rachel owns Bela La Vie Boutique in Campbell, which also doubles as an art gallery curated by Caballero himself.
It has its good and bad points. It’s definitely very flattering to be able to be an inspiration to the younger generation, and the generation I grew up with in the ‘80s as well. It’s really cool to go to events where you have older guys that looked up to us back in the ‘80s that bring their kids. It’s definitely a blessing to me to say I’m still a professional skateboarder at age 47.
I grew up on the east south side of San Jose and went to Andrew Hill High School. What’s it like to know that you’re a skateboarding and cultural icon to both kids and grown ups all over the world?
How often are you skateboarding now? When I’m at home, I try and skate at least twice a week. It doesn’t necessarily happen because of family. What’s your favorite skate park? Lake Cunningham. Do your kids skate? All my kids skate. I have a 14 year old daughter that skates, a 5 year old son that skates. and a 3 year old daughter that wants to skate. I didn’t start till I was age 12.
Is it true you’ve never held a 9-5 job? I’ve never had a ‘9-to-5er,’ but it’s hard being a skateboarder. It’s a different type of stress and work commitment. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot to be who I am. Family takes a lot of sacrifice. My time, social events–I travel a lot so I’m not home a lot. The pressures of always wondering if you’re going to get hurt...there’s a danger factor when it comes to skateboarding. It’s not an easy sport to do. I’m putting my life at risk.
What do you to stay healthy? I juice a lot, and I don’t eat meat. I try to stay away from dairy for health reasons. I just want to be at my maximum performance when I’m skating and have the best endurance and the best health. Even when I’m done skating, which I don’t know when that will be. I know that when you’re healthy you can last longer at your sport or healthy activity. I wasn’t educated about my diet when I was growing up. It wasn’t until later in life that I got more serious about what I consumed rather than let my taste buds dictate what goes in my body. What has been your greatest accomplishment? Staying with Powell Peralta this whole time. I got sponsored by them in 1979 and I’m still with them. We’ve had our ups and downs and I’ve wanted to quit three times, but I’m still with them. Same with Vans. I’ve been with Vans since 1998. It’s not been all good times. We’ve had struggles and differences in both companies, but because I’ve been able to suck up my pride and work through it, we’ve been able to have a long lasting, strong relationship.
“There’s always a new experience around the corner. That’s what’s rad about life.” People have been able to see and maybe they can take something from that. That’s something I can see from my career – relationships are hard. But if you persevere and work through them, you can come out on the other end. That can even stem not just from business, but personal relationships as well. What was it like being the first skateboarder to get a shoe deal? I don’t expect things, I let life play itself out. I already had a skateboard in 1980 that I had been selling for nine years before Vans approached me with a shoe. So it was just another extension of that. When I first started out, I got my board in 1980. I made $300...we got a dollar a board. By 1987, I got an $18,000 check for one month. That all stems from our contest career, magazine photos, skate movies like “Animal Chin” that Stacy [Peralta] produced. Bones Brigade was making tons of money so when Vans approached me, it was like the next step. What do you attribute your success to? Having a positive attitude, not taking anything for granted, and just being very appreciative of all the blessings that have come upon me. Also, overcoming a fear of things. I think that’s a major drawback in society, that a lot of us are guided by fear that keeps us from experiencing our full potential. Once you get over your fears, you can do anything you want. When did you become more involved in art? I remember taking art classes all through elementary, middle and high school. I’ve always been intrigued with art. As for making it a career or profession, I decided to get into it about 2002. I started seeing a lot of my fellow skateboard peers doing art shows together and I’d always visit art shows on my own to get inspired, but then I thought, “Hey, I want to show in galleries and I want to get better at art,” so that’s when I got serious about it. How often do you show your artwork? At least once a month. I have people approach me and say, “Do you want to
submit a piece to a show?” Most are group shows which are a lot of fun to be a part of. Besides art galleries, where can people find your art? Instagram or my facebook page. I’m very surprised at how accepted my art is on Instagram. My prints are at Bela La Vie Boutique all the time. How do you curate the art you have at Bela La Vie? Every third Friday, downtown Campbell has an Art Walk. We try to connect our opening shows with the walk to get people into the shop. I contacted a bunch of artists that I’ve met throughout the years and a lot of them have agreed to do art shows at our place. We’re trying to establish our shop, to let people know where it’s at, but also as a place to show your work. It’s tucked away in the Campbell Courtyard. It’s all word of mouth and social media to promote things. What’s it like coming back to playing an instrument after not playing for eight years? My fingers...I had to get the calluses on my fingers [again]. I had to get my wrist back in this mode...it was aching. It’s definitely been great to be on stage again and be expressive in that way. How often are you playing now? I’m still not playing that much. Whenever we have an Agent Orange show I get the guitar out and start practicing the songs. They have a really long set–we play about 23 songs. That’s a lot of songs to remember. You have this mindset of making things happen. Did you have that as a kid? I think as a young kid I always strived to be creative. I remember looking at “Monster Magazines”...I used to look at how they did all the makeup. It really intrigued me so I remember, one Halloween, I got a “Planet of the Apes” mask that was made out of plastic. I cut it up to make it look like it was blended in. That’s how I’m able to learn and figure out how things work–same with music, same with art. I study things a lot. Everything is trial and error. I want to
try and make the least mistakes possible. The more you study and the more you work towards something, the quicker you will get to your goal. When you see my Instagram, I’m all over the place. I’m doing all this stuff because I’ve gotten very good at not focusing on just one thing. I’ve got a lot of things going on. I think that really encourages and impresses people. I want to show people that if you put your mind and your heart to something, you can accomplish anything you want. What do you want to pass on to your own kids? My faith. That’s what basically guides me now. I don’t want to push being successful in this world as something to strive for as the main goal. I’m not saying don’t try to get what you love and make the best of it, but I want to teach them that it’s not the most important thing in this world. Finding out who you are as a person is the most important thing. Find out your true value as a person, your true worth, where you came from, who you are, and where you’re going. That to me is more important than anything I’ve accomplished in this world, whether skateboarding, art, music– you name it. Those are just temporary fulfillments. What’s next for you? Right now, I’m just focused on the things at hand...developing my art skills, and hopefully developing my music skills – skateboarding, bringing up my kids as healthy as I can, and having them in a good environment. Hopefully I can use everything I’ve learned and accomplished to help people who are coming up, and help guide them in a positive way. I want to teach people to live life to the fullest–in a safe way. There’s always a new experience around the corner. That’s what’s rad about life. Steve Caballero stevecaballero.com @steviecab Bela La Vie Boutique @belalavieboutique
Phil Cosentino: MR.PRODUCE
Written by Paige Bayer Photography by Thomas Webb
The last vestige of what used to be known as
the Valley of Heart’s Delight
Surrounded by houses on one side and Highway 85 on the other–a perfect piece of San Jose’s history preserved in time by one of its last farmers
in the most ordinary of neighborhoods on the outskirts of Almaden Valley is a rather extraordinary site: fruit trees–lots and lots of fruit trees. Hundreds, in fact. Approaching J&P Farms, you are greeted by a wooden fruit stand filled with baskets of sweet fruit, picked ripe that same day.
Taste One of the last in a line of great farmers in Santa Clara Valley who grew for taste, Phil Cosentino still fits over five hundred trees on his remaining two acres of land. If you don’t care for one peach, he guarantees he can find one you’d favor in his over thirty varieties. “They don’t know there are different varieties,” he says, matter-of-factly. Fruits that once filled the valley, beloved for their sweet flavors, have nearly disappeared. As it became necessary for fruits to travel longer distances, store well, or look a particular way, the market for flavor diminished. For those in the know, they still travel to Phil’s corner of town, where they can pick up a perfectly ripened Blenheim apricot or Santa Rosa plum.
Farming Although his father purchased the land in 1945 and Phil grew up surrounded by farming, he really didn’t know much about it until he began farming the land himself, as an adult. His days are now defined by it. He still spends most days in his orchard, pruning trees, picking fruit, and caring for the land. “You have to be satisfied with a simple life if you’re going to work in farming.” Simplicity is the biggest difference between the Santa Clara Valley’s San Jose and Silicon Valley’s San Jose. Back then life was defined by the harvest. If you didn’t work on the land, you worked in a canning plant, preserving the bounty for the rest of the country. If you wanted a job, you had one. Even the kids worked in the fields, harvesting the last of the prunes each season. When the harvest was complete, the school year would begin. With its Mediterranean climate and fertile soil, San Jose was the country’s perfect produce provider. This made it all the more surreal when, as Phil puts its, San Jose’s city management began to view agriculture as “peasant stuff” during the 1950’s.
A Transitioning Landscape “They wouldn’t rest until San Jose was like Los Angeles.” It was during the 1950’s that urban sprawl first came to San Jose. During City Manager A.P. “Dutch” Hamann’s time in office from 1950 to 1969, San Jose saw a huge increase in population growth and started to be sold to the rest of the country as an ideal place for businesses to expand. The cost, both economically and environmentally, led to a revolt against expansion in the 1960’s that is still evidenced today in the limited development of areas such as the Coyote Valley and the eastern foothills. But the businesses kept coming, and so did the people. It was difficult to deny that the land was becoming worth increasingly more than the product farmers were able to produce. As the land values increased, so did the taxes. The economics weren’t in their favor, and so the farms were sold off and the land developed. Jobs in agriculture were replaced by technology jobs. Children no longer worked in the fields. Schools, no longer tied to the harvest, developed regular schedules. Whole orchards disappeared.
A Farming Renaissance In the last several years, the Bay Area in general seems to have entered somewhat of a “farming renaissance.” Younger people are foregoing careers in high tech, choosing instead to get their hands dirty and to once again live that more simplified life. I work with some of these farmers every day. They are passionate. They are committed. They are seeking ways to make it possible. This often means involving non-profit groups, seeking out government grants, and working closely with other small farms. Preserving farms now requires more community support. “Do you see farming coming back?” I ask Phil, “No,” he says, to my dismay. “The money’s in development. It’s not profitable.” This is true. I know farmers who are very successful. They work long hours, employ a
good number of people, grow a multitude of organic crops, have varying distribution channels for their product, and have hundreds of dedicated customers. They are fine business people. They still might only clear $50,000 a year, if they’re lucky. In the same way that it took government to put San Jose on a path of urban sprawl, population growth and diminishing farmland, it will take support from San Jose’s government, from NGOs, and from the people of San Jose to encourage this budding farm renaissance. People are becoming more aware of what’s in their food, they’re becoming more excited by the opportunity to learn how to make their own jams, cure their own meats, and even raise their own chickens for eggs. From here, it’s only a small leap to make the connection with people who are trying to maintain this land as a career, for all of us. Making that connection means supporting those farms, increasing our consumption of local food, and supporting policies and businesses that do the same. San Jose is not Los Angeles. It is not San Francisco. And it does not need to figure out how to become more like its larger, more urban neighbors. San Jose grows
some of the best food in the country. San Jose introduced broccoli to the United States in the 1920’s. We’re about food. We don’t need to figure out how to be special. We only need to look at ourselves in the mirror and remember who we are, so that we can preserve what is special about us, before it’s too late. Phil’s advice? You can plant a lot on a city lot. Pull all your shrubbery out and plant your favorite tree. Begin with taste. The fruit sells itself. J&P Farms Fruit Stand 4977 Carter Ave. Sat. & Sun. 9 am to 4pm tierramadrefarm.com
3 bakeries 3 bakers 3 cakes
Written by Mary Matlack Photography by daniel Garcia
La Lune Sucrée The Shop Tucked between the leading fixed gear bicycle boutique in San Jose and a fiercely popular coffee house, La Lune Sucrée is an authentic European Pastry Café–complete with sidewalk seating, French music in the air and delicate palate-pleasing delights. For the savory minded: fresh crepes with poached eggs, honey ham, Gruyere cheese, and housemade Hollandaise share the board with sandwiches, salads, and soupe du jour. And when your sweet tooth is acting up, La Lune Sucrée offers an ever changing selection of pastries, croissants and breads baked in the French and German tradition. Accompany your meal with an assortment of drinks–fine coffee, tea, and cocoa or just bring your cuppa over from Philz–it’s the neighborly thing to do.
The Baker Bettina Pope has always been a cook–entertaining 25 for Thanksgiving dinner, catering for friends and school events, and finally working as an apprentice under chefs in Florida and the Loire Valley in France. Born in the Black Forest region of Germany, Bettina met her husband Mark and together they raised a family in Florida. Mark had grown up in the Bay Area and when his kids left the nest, they set up house in California, too. Pretty soon grandchildren were arriving. “When our first granddaughter was born,” says Mark, “Bettina and I started realizing that we didn’t want to be in Florida and have our family, our grandbabies out in California.” They spent years planning, developing menus, and taste testing. Finally, after Bettina completed eight weeks in France as an apprentice in patisseries and chocolatiers, their hard work culminated in a serendipitous purchase of their petite café. Bettina can be seen in the kitchen most mornings and in the afternoons, you can often find her with Mark–and sometimes a grandbaby–enjoying a pastry in her storybook sidewalk café.
The Cake Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (shvartz val duh keersh tor tuh) is a musical name for a cake–as long as pronouncing words in German comes easy to you. (Otherwise, stick with a mouthful of Black Forest Cake.) Whatever you call it–be sure not to miss a taste when Chef Bettina has this treat in her case. Better yet, order your own freshly-baked cake. Chef Bettina uses her mother’s recipe– a specialty of the Black Forest region. She starts with a butter crust layer and “the other two layers are made with chocolate, almonds, flour, eggs butter, sugar, “ explains Bettina. “Lots of yummy ingredients.” The layers are sprinkled with Kirschwasser (a tart cherry liqueur) and finally the whipped cream is mixed with Morello cherries–a type of sour cherry popular in Germany–and homemade vanilla sugar. The three tiers are stacked and smothered with the enhanced whipped cream and then the whole masterpiece is covered in chocolate shavings and a few more special cherries. Chef Bettina’s creation is beautiful and delicate, but the almond cake and the sour cherry cut the sweetness and add a level of sophistication. “German desserts aren’t usually so sweet,” says Bettina, but she’s certainly sweet enough to make you a specialty cake any day of the year–as long as she doesn’t have a date with a grandchild. La Lune Sucrée 116 Paseo de San Antonio San Jose, CA 95112 408.292.2070 lalunesucree.com
Peters’ Bakery The Place At midnight the mixers begin. Two machines running. Men working. All slowly gaining momentum as more men arrive. Two gas burners working overtime produce gallons of custard, hand stirred in copper bowls like Willy Wonka’s, massive, shiny and heavy. The work is hard, the trays are heavy and the quantities–unimaginable. Doughnuts fry in the corner, and two ovens and eight men stock the shelves every morning. By 6 am, when the retail staff arrives, the baking is done and the bakers move on–back to bed, or maybe to their day job. Open every day except Sunday, Peters’ Bakery is an Alum Rock legend. You could call their Alum Rock Avenue and White Road location the crossroads of sweetness and tradition. “Customers come from two hours away in every direction,” says Margaret Aguiar, a Peters’ employee since 1973. The classic wood paneled bakery shelving is filled with familiar cookies, brownies, rolls, pies, and doughnuts. The no-nonsense staff often move 200 cakes on a typical Saturday. And if their 12,333 Facebook fans get a whiff of a special, there’s sure to be a line out the door. Their last special saw 1,600 cupcakes disappear in three and a half hours. They were sold out by 10 am.
The Baker In typical bakery fashion, the bakers were gone before the shop opens but Aguiar, Peters’ Head Cake Decorator is just getting started. “I got drafted in by Mr. Peters,” she remembers. “He’d watch me start to write on cakes, and then he’d have the guys make extra cakes for me to decorate. He told me, ‘you’re going to be my next cake decorator.’” So, for 39 years, Margaret has been decorating cakes in the kitchen at Peters’ Bakery on Alum Rock. Birthdays to anniversaries, Margaret has seen it all. “I’ve done 100 cakes in a day–in a seven hour period. The internet has really challenged us in the cake decorating department. People come in with lots of ideas and we have to be flexible. It keeps it exciting and fun.” On a tall shelf in a corner of the kitchen, little boxes are labelled with every kind of “thing” you can imagine (plus some that you can’t imagine someone wanting on a cake.) It would certainly be a challenge to come up with a cake that Margaret and her staff hadn’t conquered yet. Bags of colored icing lay on the table–tips attached ready to write something special atop any of the cakes on offer.
The Cake Peters’ Bakery equals Burnt Almond Cake. If you know one, you are likely to know the other. Whether you buy it in the form of a whole cake, a cupcake or a cake square, the Burnt Almond Cake is legendary. It is made in four flavors: classic vanilla, ever-popular chocolate, undecided marble, and seasonal pumpkin. The moist layers are covered in thick, sweet custard and crusted with toasty burnt almond slices. The nuts give the cake a nice crunch and a grounded, savory flavor, but mostly the cake is sweet and moist. It tastes familiar and Peter’s customers drive for miles for that taste of tradition–delivered in a pink box tied up with cotton twine, and handed over the well-worn counter by a lady who still smiles and calls you “hon.”
Peters’ Bakery 3108 Alum Rock Ave. San Jose, CA 95127 408.258.3529 Facebook: petersbakery
Flower Flour The Place Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen is one of the best pedestrian-friendly shopping streets in San Jose, but there is a destination just a few blocks away that also deserves a short detour. With mural-lined walls inside and out, Flower Flour stands out from the strip when you drive by and then delights when you stop in for an experience uniquely Willow Glen. Every detail inside the shop is considered–from the European-style window seats to the charmingly-mismatched utensils. The bounty of baked goodies is seasonal and cleverly displayed in baskets, platters, and cake plates. Examining the savory lunch menu reveals one of Flower Flour’s most unique offerings–the owners are farmers. Their menu and floral shop are reflective of what’s growing in their fields in South San Jose, as well as at their Bed and Breakfast farmhouse in the Napa Valley. You can stop in for quick tea and a pastry, or enjoy a hearty lunch. Order a birthday cake, arrange for a catered meal or take home the most unusual flowers you’ll find for miles around.
The Baker “I always think the most important thing is how does this product make you feel? So I’m all about creating feeling as well as wonderful taste,” says Mimi Brown, owner of what she calls “French Bakery and flowers.” Before Mimi opened Flower Flour ten years ago, “I had always been a highend floral designer, working for other florists. Because Willow Glen is such an old fashioned, ‘cottagey’ town, a lot of my styles are much simpler now. It’s gone from high style to a more charming, European style.” Mimi’s family was in the restaurant business but her style is not authentic French or authentic this or that, it is authentic Mimi–served with a shot of love and passion. “Everything I do is really, really special. It makes people feel good when they look at it,” says Mimi. “As long as it is displayed well and made special, I think you can conjure up special moments.”
The Cake The Flower Flour pastry case is full or mouth watering delights in every shape and flavor you can imagine. Orange passion fruit for the season, chocolate truffle and a moist, deep gingerbread are a few of the offerings, but the cake on display is a two tiered fondant masterpiece–white for winter, punctuated with housemade pistachio macaroons a shade darker than a Granny Smith apple and oozing in the middle with matching pistachio butter cream. Draped with hydrangea, pomegranate and softened with the silvergrey, felt-like sprigs of dusty miller, the cake is the embodiment of understated elegance. The flavor is yours to choose–almond cake to compliment the traditional French macaroon, strawberries to herald the arrival of spring or a deep dark chocolate truffle to linger over as we contemplate the hope that the new year brings. Whatever your cause for cake, Flower Flour’s bakers under the careful direction of Mimi Brown and her impeccable sense of style are sure to capture the feeling and serve it back to you on a silver platter.
Flower Flour 896 Willow St. San Jose, CA 95125 408.279.0843 flower-flour.com
The Little Chef Written by Stacy Ernst
Photography by Daniel garcia
Little Chef Counter co-founders Steven Le and Robert Dasalla have a lot to celebrate with their one-year anniversary: a successful restaurant and a growing catering business to round out their Little Chef enterprise. Here Steven and Robert share with us how their tireless labor and love for high quality ingredients has made Little Chef Counter a standout in San Jose’s affordable fine dining scene. Steven, how did you decide to leave politics to open a food business? S: I’ve always been interested in business development and marketing. Robert and I met seven or eight years ago at a youth group and we started talking about food and what we were interested in. Our original idea was to start a food truck, but the more we researched it, the more we felt like it was too saturated at the time and we hadn’t thought of any concrete ideas at the time. It’s funny that you thought the market was too saturated, even back then because I feel like there are so many now.
What are your favorite menu items?
Really? Why is that?
R: I’m torn between the short-rib poutine and the steamed mussels.
S: I think it’s because you can’t replicate fast-food or fine dining. Everything in between you can kind of do yourself.
S: I really love our burger and our duck confit. Do you ever cook for yourselves at home, or are you just done with it when you leave here?
R: Food from places like P. F. Chang’s or Sonoma Chicken Coop, you can do those things at home.
R: I’ll occasionally microwave this or microwave that, but when I’m really craving something I’ll cook it.
Do you think there is a lack of fine dining here in San Jose? S: I would say so.
S: I never really cooked before. I just cook what I learn here, which is still not very much. Before this, I wasn’t a foodie. I didn’t even know how to cut things. I would ask, “How do I do this?” Now I know how to do it.
R: I wouldn’t say fine dining so much, more high quality food. Food that is bought from the farmers market and seeing it go directly to your plate. Tracing where the duck came from and where our meat is from and knowing the difference between IPB and pasture fed cows, because there is a big difference. And I think that is what is missing from San Jose; the responsibility of restaurants to know where their food comes from.
Stepping into the food industry can be pretty intimidating, so what are some other things you’ve learned? S: I wasn’t really picky with food before, but it’s different now. I think it’s the same with Rob, but all I crave now is fast food or fine dining. Nothing really in between.
S: That same issue is what worked against when we first started. People didn’t understand our price points. To us, it’s affordable
“It is the responsibility of the restaurant to know where their food comes from”
when compared to fine dining establishments, but expensive when compared to the overall spectrum of restaurants in San Jose. That’s why I’m happy that new taco Loteria Taco Bar and Sama Zama have opened up in the San Pedro Square Market because we have more chefs that are into the quality and gourmet aspects of the business. Do feel that San Jose has been a support to your business or has it been more of a struggle? S: I think it’s a combination of both. I think in the beginning it was a struggle because people weren’t into our price points. However, we can’t deny that we have built
a clientele that has been really supportive, which allows us to expand our business. What is the next step for Little Chef?
a full kitchen to be able to experiment with different ingredients and techniques will be nice.
S: The ultimate goal is a full service bistro. We chose the Little Chef name because it’s very interchangeable; we have the Little Chef Counter and Little Chef Catering, but we want to run a full-service bistro where Rob can create entire menus that really reflect his passions and be able to serve wine pairings.
S: I think right now, we’re just trying to make sure our restaurant is stable while we grow the catering aspect of our business. If I were to put a number on it, I would say look for a Little Chef bistro in the next 3 to 5 years.
R: We want to be a real, old school bistro that sources locally and has an everchanging menu, fan favorites, and have a full front-end staff. We are limited on space and are able to pull it off, but having
Do you have a timeline for when you would want to open a bistro?
Little Chef COunter San Pedro Square Market 87 N. San Pedro Street littlechefcounter.com
Picks and Photography by Local Jennifer Ahn
With a city as big as San Jose, even the most savvy insiders need a local’s advice every now and then.
1. Myung Dong Grill
4. Mudai Restaurant
8. La Villa
It’s a great Korean spot that has delicious BBQ and a variety of soups.
If you don’t mind eating with your hands, this place is great down to every lick of my fingers!
This place is known for their handmade raviolis and it’s my favorite place to eat when I go to Willow Glen.
Favorite pick: Lamb or beef tibs and fava beans
Favorite pick: Meat and spinach ravioli with a side of their cheese garlic bread (toasted) and then anything out of the dessert case.
Day Job Executive admin in a San Jose semiconductor company
Favorite pick: Rice cake with meat: Bul Go Kee Duk Bok Um
1484 Halford Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95051 408.246.1484 tofucabin.com
Partner in San Jose’s own Empire Seven Studios and a photographer and artist in her own right. Ahn’s work was recently featured as part of the Japantown Mural Project. “There are times when we’re tired. But Empire Seven keeps us going. We love that it keeps us connected to the community.
Hometown I was born in Chicago, but we moved to San Jose in 1988. I’ve been here ever since so I’m more of a San Jose native although my heart’s in Chicago.
Culinary Cred Earning her BFA from San Jose State gives Ahn insider status downtown. Whether she is ordering food for a corporate event or just trying to find a some sustenance between jobs, no food choice made by Ahn is ever taken lightly. With a smile, she admits, “We love to eat and it was hard to narrow it down to ten of our favorites. San Jose is so big!” empiresevenstudios.com jenniferahn.com
2. Cal Foods This is a great little gem in a family neighborhood. It’s literally a liquor store/eatery/ grocery all-in-one. You can eat there or order “to go” and picnic at Williams Street Park (about a five minute drive). Favorite pick: Tasty burgers and chicharones for snacks (fried pork rinds).
Authentic Ethiopian Cuisine 503 W. San Carlos St. San Jose, CA 95126 408.292.2282 mudairestaurant.com
5. Baker’s Village This place has an assortment of delish Korean bread, pastries, cookies, etc. Sometimes I like to have my spicy tofu soup next door at Myung Dong Grill and then walk over to the bakery to take home for later. Favorite pick: red bean bread and green tea rolls
195 S 28th St. San Jose, CA 95116 408.293.0550
1484 Halford Ave. Santa Clara, CA 95051 408.246.2434
3. Zenon’s Place
6. San Jose Tofu
(Peruvian) This restaurant isn’t in the busy part of downtown so many might not know it’s around. The food is tasteful and afterwards, if you feel like having a drink, you can walk next door to the Caravan (dive bar).
The place to go to get fresh “melt in your mouth” tofu. Great as a side dish, in soups, or just as is with a little soy sauce and green onions.
Favorite pick: Papa Rellena and Lomo Saltado 167 W San Fernando St. San Jose, CA 95113 408.275.9093
175 Jackson St. San Jose, CA 95112 408.292.7026 japantownsanjose.org
7. Japantown’s Kazoo Kazoo’s sushi chefs are the best–favorite is Jose. He was taught by their best chefs and has mastered the art of sushi making. Favorite pick: Salmon tataki, Hanabi roll and Paradise Roll 250 Jackson St. San Jose, CA 95112 408. 288.9611 kazoorestaurant.com
Gourmet Italian Delicatessen 1319 Lincoln Ave. San Jose, CA 408.295.7851 wglavilla.com
9. Tofoo Com Chay Great place to get a bowl of pho and some vegetarian summer rolls. 388 E Santa Clara St. San Jose, CA 95113 408.286.6335
10. Happy Smile Deli What I love about this place is that it’s an old school deli, everything from the sign outside to the decor inside. Nothing fancy to hype up their great sandwiches which are big and filling. They offer a variety of breads, meats, and delicious condiments. Favorite pick: Pastrami or egg salad sandwiches 452 E Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95112 408.292.2271
and the GetDown Written by Richard Faulk Photography by Thomas Webb
I’m sorry, but I must start with a fatuous observation: It seems to me that technology is having an atomizing effect on today’s society. I hear you laughing. But this is a true fact. It occurred to me as I was chatting with Anya and the GetDown at a downtown café. After checking my iPhone for the seventh time to make sure the damned thing was still recording, I became aware that everyone else at the table was treating their own smart device as another interlocutor: Anya discretely texting, DJ Snack Bot skimming tweets, and guitarist Matthew Gonzales looking intense as he did something inscrutable behind the screen of his laptop. We were sitting here, not exactly together, not exactly working, or relaxing, or conversing. It was some unholy, antiLevitican, and entirely modern muddle of all three. And then I looked at my hand. Really looked at my hand... If I’ve just taken up valuable lines of copy to state the obvious, it’s because techdriven transformations like that are the foundations that make a group like Anya and the GetDown possible. And I don’t just mean that they can now produce their own music on MacBooks or use Kickstarter to fund videos, and thus avoid the indentured servitude of being signed to a label. (Although that is what they do.) There’s something structural at work, too. At one time a band was almost a platonic thing that existed separately from its members. The roles existed in advance, waiting
to be filled–charismatic frontman (rarely frontwoman), guitarist, bassist, drummer, harpsichordist, tambourinist. (I’m using The Partridge Family as my Ur-group here, so the template might not work in every single case.)
and Mozart to listening to ‘Fever’ and ‘Strange Fruit.’ Something about the simplicity and raw vulnerability of those singers really caught me. And then Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston–that’s when the powerful side of soul hit me.”
But increasingly a band is more ad hoc, a confederacy of artists-as-independent-contractors whose interests coincide, more-orless fleetingly. When the moment passes, so do they. And it’s off to the next project.
These are serious, even audacious, role models. But Anya’s no lightweight. She minored in music and was a member of Santa Cruz’s Acquire A Cappella group. However comfortably Anya’s work may sit in a pop or hip-hop context, you can hear in her voice the early lessons she cribbed from the great ladies of the blues.
Anya and the GetDown does have its components: the glamorous chanteuse, the smoldering musician, and the jokester effects wizard. But more fundamentally, what’s at play are three independent sensibilities united by one obsession: Anya’s voice. Smooth and sultry, it can turn, at the drop of a beat, staccato and confrontational. Redolent of a ‘40s jazz club on one track, and on another it’s all hip-hop mannerisms. For a musician or a fan, there’s a lot to obsess over. Anya Kvika almost compulsively describes her music as eclectic, and that’s what you might expect from someone who was raised smack in the middle of a tectonic change. Anya was born in Moscow in the dying days of the USSR. Then, as the dotcom boom was heating up, her engineer father moved the family to Cupertino. A true Russian, Anya began studying classical piano at 3. Soon she developed a taste for America’s classics: Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, Etta James. Of course, there was plenty of Abba and Queen, too. “I was always eclectic, always scattered. Every day I’d go from playing Beethoven
Guitarist Matthew Gonzales still rapturously recalls the first time he heard Anya at a club: “I was just floored. I hadn’t heard a voice like that in San Jose. Ever.” Snack Bot had a similar conversion moment. “I got this text, ‘yo, there’s this girl you really gotta check out.’ I did, and instantly I said, I have to work with her.” The seed of Anya and the GetDown was planted three years ago at the first Left Coast Live, where Anya and Gonzales met and exchanged a vague promise to work together in the future. That promise languished for a year. Then, quite by accident, they found themselves playing with the same act for the 2012 Vans Warped Tour. It was a trial by fire: two weeks of intensive practice, culminating in a series of exhausting performances with “disastrous sound.” But it was bonding, too. Anya and Gonzales found time to work together on acoustic songs. The two spend hours jamming. “I’m from
“I was just floored. I hadn’t heard a voice like that in San Jose. Ever.”
the school of improv,” says Gonzales. “I live for that stuff. I live for it.” In the process, he learned to wrap his playing around Anya’s voice. A few months later, Snack Bot entered the picture. Coyly describing himself as “loosely affiliated” with the group (didn’t I tell you that the notion of a band is eroding?), Snack Bot can be heard supplying the electronics that that give weight and edge to Anya and Gonzales’ collaborations. He is also often at work behind the scenes producing. In their songs, you can hear all three members pursuing their own muse. To call the result “tension” is the wrong word, but there is an agreeable dis-unity in their work, however smoothly the pieces fit. I draw a comparison with Massive Attack’s forays into mashing up torch ballads with heavy, hip-hop electronics, and it meets their approval. Up to a point. “Yeah, we do electronics–but then we can do something totally different next, like reggae.” It’s Anya, refusing to be pinned down again. Every member has a pedigree in the San Jose music scene. Snack Bot is a producer and was a DJ at KSJS. Gonzales has produced, too. He’s also been a promoter and a sound engineer (aside from dabbling in journalism and filmmaking–but we’re talking music here). Anya’s worked solo and with other groups, and she’s recorded with local producers, such as Rey Resurrection. I ask the requisite question: Culturally, is San Jose ever going to stop being the un-
derdog city to San Francisco and Oakland? Gonzales takes a swing: “There’s a huge shift going on today–especially in art. People are just not giving a shit anymore. They don’t care who’s offering them anything, they’re just taking it. They’re opening up their houses, they’re opening up galleries. But they’re getting more professional about it, too.” Anya seconds him, “I think it’s evolving. The more people support it, the more venues there are, the easier and faster there will be a center. It’s slowly starting to form, and its centering on local businesses. Everybody is kind of related and everybody is coming together to help each other.” Case in point: Anya has also found something of a mentor in Marie Millare, co-owner of the clothing store and entertainment venue the Usuals, who has given her business tips right along with styling advice and a place to play. “She introduced me to my stylist, now one of my best friends. That’s how San Jose works: Once you meet these people, they become a part of your life. She does my hair; I teach her kids piano.” (Anya, who is apt to appear in her videos wearing sumptuous ‘50s vintage, seems at pains to downplay her obvious delight in dress up. Nevertheless, the first thing she did after shaking my hand was to compliment my shoes.) When I suggest that there might be some quirk in San Jose scenesters that short circuits the usual jealously and backbiting, I get laughter.
“I think it’s just getting old,” says Gonzales. “A couple years ago there was a lot of tension. Lots of beefs. Now I feel that more people are working together.” Snack Bot drops this wisdom: “You know, everybody wants to get out of San Jose. Everybody used to try to step over each other. But we’re realizing, you’ve got to work as a team to achieve that. Otherwise, you’re just stepping on your own toes.” For these three, there may be a path out of San Jose. The band has garnered support from Live 105, and Anya was voted Metro’s 2012 Readers Choice best singer-songwriter. When I meet the band, they are taking a break from recording their new EP, which marks their first time collaborating with producer Bobby Ozuna, a grammy-award winner for his work with Raphael Saadiq. They are particularly excited by the single “One Less,” which, Snack Bot says, takes them into Austin Powers territory. So add Swinging ‘60s to their rock, soul, trip-hop, dubstep, reggae repertoire. Anya looks at her phone. “After this, more rehearsal. Then I’m going to be up all night fixing this Kickstarter for our videos.” I ask for parting statements. “This is all I want to do: Play music,” Gonzales says. Anya breaks in, “Together would be nice.” anyakvitka.com @anyameowz Facebook: Anya-the-get-down
Coming Up For Air with
Pantheon Written by Andrew Kutsenda Photography by Lauren Davison
Call me a purist, but I’ve never been one for drum machines. While dance beats and breakdowns control the air waves and your local nightclub, there is one group of artists that bring hope in a time of mass musical genocide. Hailing from San Jose, Pantheon is exactly that band. Influenced by the likes of Coldplay, The Shins, and noteworthy locals, Picture Atlantic, Pantheon is producing music not often heard these days and blowing through the local music scene like a much needed breath of fresh air. Pantheon has accomplished much in their short careers. You might remember them from the PinUp Productions Battle of the Bands, where they, along with Beta State, were recognized as two of the top five bands in the Bay Area. Pantheon received a $2500 cash prize for this honor. Or perhaps you remember them from their performance at Music in the Park in downtown San Jose last year with The English Beat? Now just two years old and having already received notable interest from within the industry, Pantheon has turned their sights to the road as they plan their first tour scheduled for early 2013. Pantheon’s most recent single, “Coming Up For Air,” couldn’t be more appropriately named, as they’ve given San Jose the opportunity to do just that. So for anyone who is a purist like me and is also in need of hearing a bit of salvation from the local music scene, be sure to check out Pantheon. Facebook: pantheonmusic
Contributors The production of Content Magazine would not be possible without the talented writers, editors, graphic artists, and photographers who contribute to each issue. We thank you and are proud to provide a publication to display your work. We are also thankful for the sponsors and readers who have supported this magazine through advertisements and subscriptions. Want to be a part of the Content community? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoffrey is a San Jose born, Bay Area based Creative Director for numerous companies in diverse industries. He is the founder of marketing and design firm Beans & Croydon. Though very unconventional, he is most well known for his unique and nontraditional approach. geoffreynguyen.com
Paige Bayer After fifteen years, Paige traded in the world of hi tech and high heels for farming and boots. She started SV Local Market, an online farmer’s market, as a modern food hub to support farms and bring their excellent food to more Bay Area folk. She has lots of plans to ensure the success of Bay Area farms. And she intends to accomplish them all. Svslocalmarket.com
Thomas Webb Thomas hadn’t touched a camera until he was nineteen, but the cubicle life never seemed particularly appealing so he decided to find a different route. Four years and seven countries later, that route doesn’t look so bad. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Thomas is glad to be able to give something back to his hometown through photography. thomaswebbphoto.com
JENNIFER AHN Partner in San Jose’s own Empire Seven Studios and a photographer and artist in her own right. Ahn’s work was recently featured as part of the Japantown Mural Project. “There are times when we’re tired. But Empire Seven keeps us going. We love that it keeps us connected to the community. jenniferahn.com
Chris is a Santa Clara born, Bay Area based photographer who is most well known for his captures of emotion and creative framing. He currently works under the Beans & Croydon name. His has worked has appeared in many publications ranging from local, national, and world wide. chrislovosphoto.com
THANK YOU As we complete our first year as San Jose’s best print publication, we’d like to thank Mary Matlack for her contribution and hard work. Mary’s leadership, ideas and love for San Jose have really been appreciated by the entire team, especially me. Mary has a way of finding cool people and things that are going on in our city which has made it exciting to be part of. And, most of all, it has been a pleasure working with you. So, thank you, for helping shape and make a new magazine for the new San Jose. Looking forward to more insighful interviews with chefs in 2013! THANK YOU Daniel Garcia (The Cultivator)
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