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CONTENT Silicon Valley’s Innovative and Creative Culture

Polaroid Jay | Opera San Jose | Hapa’s Brewing co. | Socorra | Ben Parr

Issue 9.2


content magazine, san jose

Sight and Sound 9.2 $9.95


By Any Media Necessary

2 N . M A R K E T S T R E E T, S U I T E 1 0 0 , S A N J O S E , C A 9 5 1 1 3 / P : 4 0 8 . 2 9 3 . 4 2 4 2 / U M B R E L L A S A L O N . C O M


CONTENT Issue 9.2 “Sight and Sound” May / June 2017

The Makers: Cultivator Daniel Garcia

Editors Odile Sullivan-Tarazi Johanna Hickle, Emily Wenzl Vila Schwindt, Elizabeth Sullivan Kelsy Thompson, Grace Olivieri Laura Larson, Katherine Hypes Brand Director Julia Canavese Production Kristen Pfund

Designers Elle Mitchell, Maggie Moore Photographers Stan Olszewski, Arabela Espinoza Scott MacDonald, Mark Chua Jai Tanju Writers Tad Malone, Kate Evans Michelle Runde, Nathan Zanon Diane Solomon, Daniel Codella Johanna Hickle, Brandon Roos Brandi Stansbury, Francisco Alvarado Shannon Amidon,Tracy Lee Circulation/Distribution Elle Mitchell

Publisher Silicon Valley Creates

Our annual Sight and Sound issue is one of my favorites of the year since we specifically feature visual artists and musicians. I have wanted to feature Polaroid Jay and Cromwell Schubarth since I first met them a few years ago, so I am excited we have them in this issue, which explores what they are doing with retro instant film, which we contrast on the other end of the spectrum with Eric Darnell’s work at Baobab Studios in the realm of virtual reality animation. As a publisher, I am also thankful for the creative companies of Silicon Valley who are helping us to better share our content, like issuu, and for work like Ben Parr’s with bots at Octane AI, each doing their part to help ideas reach the community. Then behind the scenes, there are the coders who make this digital revolution possible with their ingenuity and creativity. This issue offers further insights into that world, and we’ll continue to spotlight technology innovators like this throughout the year. And of course, great visual endeavors are often inspired by music. Songs connect us so powerfully to others and to our own experiences that we are delighted to be featuring musicians and song makers across the spectrum, from opera to rock to jazz. As a result, in these pages you will get a glimpse of the ever-evolving and innovative sights and sounds of the South Bay. Enjoy. Daniel Garcia The Cultivator

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Maverick: Oil Painting of Ning Hou "My painting already looks like a sculpture—a lot of relief. I like those big strokes, for the Chinese calligraphy feeling." Ning Hou

4/2 9 -5 / 1 7 / 2 0 1 7 Silicon Valley Asian Art Center Opening: 2:30pm, 4/29/2017 Address: 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051 Contact: (408) 248-2698

Content Sight and sound 9.2 May/June 2017 San Jose, California

Day Trip


Capitola, Ca


10 14 18 20 24 28 32 36 42 46 50

Artist & Curtaor, Genevieve Hastings Baobab Studios, Eric Darnell Octane AI, Ben Parr Neuro-JavaScript, OpenBCI, and APIs BAMN Squad Instant Film Photographer, Cromwell Schubarth Instant Film Photographer, Polaroid Jay Fashion Photographer, Tanya Ravichandran Photographers & Curators, Marisol Picazo & Robert Lopez issuu CEO, Joe Hyrkin Inside issuu, Profiles

Tanya Ravichandran, pg. 36


56 First Street Opera, Amy Mendon &

58 60 62 64 66 68 70

Melissa Mallory Singer-Songwriter & Musician, Mitchell Lujan Opera Singer, Matt Hanscom The Mark Arroyo Trio, Mark Arroyo Cola, Cliff Rawson Noise Root Studio, Rob Ernst Sweet HayaH Singer-Songwriter, Socorra

Universal Grammar Music Section

72 Content Music, Universal Grammar 73 DJ Sake One, Stephen Goldstone 76 Album Picks

Socorra, pg. 70

Food and Drink

78 Zola, Owner/Chef Guillaume Bienaime 82 Hapa’s Brewing Company, Derek Tam & Brian Edwards


86 Endless Summer, Markas Plato & Arabela Espinoza


94 Author, Marina Adair 96 Content Calendar 98 Content Contributors 99 Walk San Jose, Downtown 101 Content Partners 110 San Jose & Bay Area Maps

Endless Summer, pg. 86

The Mark Arroyo Trio, pg. 62

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Need an escape? Don’t have a lot of time? Living in Silicon Valley provides you with all kinds of options for a short getaway. From the beach to the mountains, wineries to windsurfing, the South Bay is one of the best hubs for launching into world-class scenery and activities. So why not take a day trip?

Day trip


Capitola, Ca. Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia If you haven’t yet been introduced to Capitola, it’s time you two got acquainted. Legend has it the name of this coastal town came from the tomboyish heroine of an 1800s adventure series by popular novelist of her day E.D.E.N. Southworth. Each place has its own personality, and the only adequate way of describing Capitola is “whimsical”— as in straight from the colorful and idealistic illustrations of a picture book. Christen your trip with a visit to Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria, destination of 1,500 customers daily. As you walk in, take time to appreciate the mismatched china plates lined along the walls before moving on to the main attraction—glass cases brimming with baked goods. Whether you’re looking for an American classic like apple pie or French sweets like chocolate soufflé or crème brûlée, Gayle’s has you covered. Afterwards, stretch your legs along the footpath simply known as the Duck Walk. It begins at the intersection of Riverview and Blue Gum Avenues, weaves between summer houses and Soquel Creek, and passes beneath an old wooden train trestle, its surface changing from sand to brick to cobblestone with quilt-like versatility. Emerge from the other side into the heart of Capitola Village. Nearby, you’ll discover Mr. Toots, a cafe that excels in coffee and community. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an older gentleman tickling the keys of the Yamaha piano or a father teaching his daughter chess

at the counter, taking advantage of the set stocked there along with other games. Lofted on the second floor, the cafe also provides a view of Soquel Cove and the wharf. Now that you’ve caught sight of the shoreline, you’ll want to experience it firsthand. Its distinctive feature is a row of beachfront cottages painted to emulate the ones of Cinque Terre in Italy, with vivid hues of saffron, coral, and aquamarine. If a stroll is too slow-paced, rent surfboards, paddleboards, or bodyboards at Capitola Beach Company. Need to brush up on using them? Not to worry. The rental shop offers lessons too. After your morning recreation, it’s time for lunch. Esplanade Park is the paradigm of picnicking spots. A contradiction to its name, it’s really just a small lawn, but it provides an elevated roost right beside the coast where you can enjoy your sandwich with a view of the bluffs above and the waves below. If you’d rather lunch inside, but don’t want to forfeit the seascape, try Sotola Bar & Grill. The clean white walls and driftwood decor make this place as cool and airy as the ocean breeze pouring through their open windows. Revitalized by your meal, surf Capitola’s boutiques. Find all your summer staples like swimsuits, sunglasses, and flip flops along with year-round retail like clothing, jewelry, and art. If that last item catches your attention, visiting Gallery One should be a top priority. Here, they create art out of license plates: individual letters have been arranged in word


collages on reclaimed wooden plaques, and an entire guitar has been created of whole plates. Interested in learning on your excursion? Check out the Capitola Historical Museum. Their new exhibit, The Nature of Capitola, opening in early March, is set to explore “Capitola’s natural features from both a historical and contemporary perspective.” Displays will cover topics like Capitola’s beach, native trees, and monarch butterflies. Outside the main museum, you’ll find a fully furnished cottage showcasing how vacationers spent the holidays here in 1912. For dinner, you might try East End Gastropub, a stylish brewery, or Bella Roma Ristorante, an Italian restaurant reminiscent of Ancient Rome. But the crowning glory is Shadowbrook—a 1920s summer-hometurned-restaurant with seven dining rooms, including a converted wine cellar and a greenhouse. The natural beauty of the surrounding garden creeps inside the building itself: vines, along with strings of white lights, spiral around wooden ceiling beams, and a Cyprus tree shoots through the floor and exits out the ceiling like a natural pillar. There’s no question that this restaurant has earned its place in the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. Capitola’s manifest personality makes it hard not to humanize her. And once you’ve become acquainted, you’ll be drawn back repeatedly until it feels as though you’re visiting an old friend.

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Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria

504 Bay Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.462.1200

Mr. Toots Coffeehouse

231 Esplanade #100 Capitola, CA 95010 831.475.3679

Capitola Beach Company

131 Monterey Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.462.5222

Esplanade Park

110 Monterey Ave Capitola, CA 95010 Sotola Bar & Grill

Sotola Bar & Grill

231 Esplanade #102 Capitola, CA 95010 831.854.2800

Gallery One

111 Capitola Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.854.2394 East End Gastropub

Capitola Beach Company

Capitola Historical Museum

410 Capitola Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.464.0322

East End Gastropub

1501 41st Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.475.8010 Capitola Historical Museum

Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria

Bella Roma Ristorante

316 Capitola Ave Capitola, CA 95010 831.464.2608

Welcome to Capitola, CA

Shadowbrook Restaurant

Population: 10,093

1750 Wharf Rd Capitola, CA 95010 831.475.1511

Capitola is the oldest seaside resort on the Pacific Coast. Its annual events include the Wharf to Wharf Race, the Art and Wine Festival, and a sand castle competition. Its most well-known celebration is the Begonia Festival, in which flower floats cruise down Soquel Creek to the lagoon.

Gallery One



_Genevieve Hastings

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HASTINGS Interview by My Art Resources Photography by ARABELA ESPINOZA

Art of the Invisible World instagram: genevieve.hastings.artark


enevieve Hastings’ smile and whole-hearted personality are infectious. She is someone you can chat with over coffee or dive with into deep intellectual conversations about books and art. She balances her roles as mother and as large-scale installation artist and director of Art Ark in a gracious and enthusiastic way. Art Ark is a gallery and creative space meant to engage, educate, and inspire the public. Why did you decide to get involved with the space? All artists have to do a lot of different types of things—self-promotion, writing about your work, research, marketing, promotion, engaging with the community, installing, etc. I felt like Art Ark was a natural progression for me. I have experience with all of these elements separately, so it’s a nice fit to move into this place where I can explore all of these things in one space. When I came in, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a big, blank canvas, which is really a nice thing. The enthusiasm is amazing. The more excited I am about the programming, the more other people get excited, and it has become this really wonderful community from all over the Bay Area. There are so many people wanting to give feedback and contribute ideas. All of this input from all of these other engaged artists is going to make it something way better than I could have imagined. What are some of the things you have been working on at Art Ark? We just started a residency program, and we currently have our first artist in residence. It’s a two-month residency, and the artist gets access to the facilities, a small materials stipend, and a solo exhibition. I am really excited about this program and what it can become. Another part of Art Ark that I am working on is a web archive with links and resources to inform people about the exhibits. I really want that to be an important and educational part of Art Ark. It’s just another layer to explore and learn. I am really into modernist literature and this idea of the footnote—I want to go down the rabbit hole. How do you navigate the art world? The art world is not just the market, galleries, and artists and collectors, or curators and museums. It is culture, and culture has infinite perturbations. A spray-painted piece of graffiti is art, a piece of sculpture, carefully placed words, and they are freely interactive with one another and other people. I’m not an artist who has a commercial gallery, nor do I make art that one would say is “permanent.” Speaking of your art, can you describe it and what you are currently working on? All of my work can be experienced on some very aesthetic base level, but the more you explore and the more curious and engaged you are, you can start to see or draw the connections Art Ark | 1035 South 6th St | San Jose, CA 95112


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between different elements, and I think that is interesting. It goes back to the storytelling and archives. My work very much has to do with archiving people’s experiences. I am really interested in multisensory art, and not just the five senses but other senses like equilibrium. I have a big installation going in the Richmond Art Center this spring. I am excited about it. It’s going to be a big walk-in silo with historical images from Richmond embedded in the wood, and backlit. There is going to be a map of the constellations drilled into the corrugated tin roof that shines down on the floor. What inspires and motivates you? So many things. I’m a book maven—I love literature and books about history and theory of all kinds. Everyday life, what my son says to me. Thinking about what to say to him, to explain the world, takes me to new places. And of course, seeing art, listening to music, and connecting with people. What kind of message would you like a person to leave with after spending some time with your art? The messages vary, but I would like to say, most of the world is invisible to us, and we have to dig deep. Deep into time and history to try to see what the possibilities are.


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Baobab Studios Eric Darnell Written by Diane Solomon Photography by Daniel Garcia social media: baobabstudios


ric Darnell makes magic. And yet, this Campbell resident is relatively unknown. His light shines brightest when he’s creating virtual reality animation at Baobab Studios, the multiplatform VR animation startup he cofounded. Last year, Baobab released the film short Invasion, one of the world’s first VR animations. A VR headset-wearing viewer will be immersed in its action and landscape. Look up: you see blue sky. Look around: you’re standing in the middle of a frozen lake, surrounded by a snowy forest. A friendly bunny hops up and makes eye contact. Look down: you have a bunny’s body. Both bunnies notice the arrival of a spaceship. You’re enthralled. Between 2005 and 2012, Darnell wrote and directed all or parts of the series of animated Madagascar films, which have grossed more than $2.5 billion at the box office. He also directed DreamWorks’ first animated feature film, Antz. Born and raised in Kansas, Darnell says he’s always been interested in technology. While earning a degree in journalism at the University of Colorado, he taught himself Basic so he could program graphic animation on his mother’s Compaq computer. “I’ve always had an interest in science and science fiction and art,” says Darnell. “For me, it was something fun to do.” His California experience began when he studied experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts, where he earned a master’s degree. He then landed a job at Pacific Data Images in Sunnyvale, and followed that with work at DreamWorks. When Dreamworks acquired PDI, Darnell was asked to direct Antz and the Madagascar films. That led to the Darnell family’s mid-1990s move to Campbell. Instead of moving to the more exotic locales of San Francisco, Marin County, or Beverly Hills, Eric and Laura Darnell have chosen to stay in Campbell. “We have this great house in a typical American neighborhood with sidewalks and kids on tricycles going up and down the street—and we’re really good friends with our neighbors,” says Darnell. “Our kids went to public school and got a great education so we didn’t feel the need to leave. We still don’t.” Maybe that’s why Darnell’s films delight so many children and adults. The man knows and enjoys ordinary life. “My sensibility tends to lean towards comedic,” Darnell says. Comparing


“This is the time to have open eyes and an open mind and just try stuff and see what works. We’re all experimenting right now.”

_Eric Darnell

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his films to Disney, he explains, “The films I’ve made are certainly sillier, more sarcastic, and the jokes might sometimes skew a little to an older audience, but it’s like Jeffrey Katzenberg [CEO of DreamWorks Animation] would say, ’It’s OK to have some dialog that kids won’t understand. There’s a talking lion up there! They’re happy!’ And kids love it when their parents laugh at something.” Darnell himself knows this from firsthand experience. He remembers watching the Batman series on TV with his dad when he was a kid. He remembers his dad laughing at lines that he didn’t understand. “It didn’t matter that I didn’t know why he was laughing,” he says with a smile. “I was just happy that he was happy.” But the big challenge these days is using VR to tell a story. “You can certainly allow the viewer to be a ghost and watch the story unfold,” Darnell explains. “But I’d like to figure out how to put the viewer inside the story.” His biggest problem is doing this in a way that doesn’t bring a grinding halt to the action. He’s working on that magic. And one of the ways he’s working on it is to keep work short, where they can learn a lot and learn it quickly, then turn around and apply that knowledge to the next film. The sequel to Invasion is another VR short, Asteroids, which premiered at January’s Sundance Film Festival. It was also shown at Cinequest, so Darnell hopes to release it to the public this year. Invasion is available on multiple media platforms. And Roth Kirschenbaum Films has partnered with Baobab Studios to develop it into a traditional fulllength animated feature. Darnell says it takes three to five years for a major studio to make a feature-length film. “I can’t imagine how long it would take a little company like ours to tackle something like that—we don’t even want to because by the time we’d get it done, who knows where VR will be?” Of VR, Darnell says, “Nobody really knows what to do. Nobody knows how to do it.” But that shouldn’t slow anyone down. It certainly hasn’t slowed him down. “This is the time to have open eyes and an open mind, and just try stuff and see what works. We’re all experimenting right now.”


Capturing Attention Interview by Daniel Codella Photography by daniel garcia


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en Parr had everyone’s attention in November 2011. In just three years he had gone from a staff writer to editor-at-large of Mashable, one of the most influential blogs on the internet, where he wrote over 2,000 articles and interviewed everyone from Ashton Kutcher to Mark Zuckerberg. But the days of Ben writing headlines were coming to a close. It was time for him to start making them Leaving Mashable, Ben divided his time between entrepreneurial projects and a variety of roles, from advisor to investor, with some of the world’s most powerful companies. Forbes even named him one of their “30 Under 30” young innovators to watch. For the last several years, however, Ben’s been working on a new project that just might be his most impressive yet. Poring over scientific papers and interviewing some of the world’s brightest minds, Ben has been studying the science of capturing attention. His new book, Captivology, is an approachable dive into the psychological and cognitive triggers that make people sit up and take notice. Where did the inspiration for Captivology come from? When I was a venture capitalist, early-stage startups would always come to me for help with the same problems—press, marketing, customer and user acquisition, and virality. I realized that all of these topics fell into the same bucket—attention— and I became fascinated with the idea of helping my companies by doing research in this area. This led me to Captivology. I’ve had many book offers over the years, but this was the first time I found a topic that deserved a deep dive. It was a topic that could help not just startups, but teachers, musicians, brands, nonprofits, and anybody who wanted to impact the world. Has the way people pay attention to things changed over time? Are there generational issues to consider when it comes to capturing someone’s attention? Yes and no. Thousands of years ago, we were hunter-gatherers. And back then, our attention was caught, when

scanning the horizon for new information, by any new sound or movement, like a rustle in the nearby bushes. This was a defense mechanism—is that rustle my next meal or is it a predator out to eat me? Today, we don’t have the same problems, but we still have the same psychology and attention mechanisms. So our attention now goes towards sources of novel information, the most prominent of these being push notifications on our smartphones. That’s where the generational difference comes into play: same brains, different technologies that are more effective at draining our attention. You mention three different stages of attention: intermediate, short-term, and long-term. Do you see brands or individuals focusing too much in only one area? Are there any brands that are particularly good at all three? Brands focus too much on attracting shortterm attention and too little on building long-term attention, long-term loyalty. It’s easy enough to get people to look at your commercial or product, but if it doesn’t lead to conversions and long-term retention, then it’s useless. Companies like Apple, and even celebrities like Beyoncé, do a great job of capturing attention for new products while creating long-term loyalty to their brands. It’s more and more difficult for brands to cut through the noise these days. I’ve seen companies do some extreme things to get noticed. Are there “wrong” ways to capture people’s attention? A big mistake a lot of startups and brands make is trying to capture attention by using techniques that aren’t significant or aligned with their brands. Shock marketing is an example: you can say something controversial, but it won’t necessarily translate into sales. Quiznos had those weird-looking mutant rodents singing off-key with their sandwiches, but it didn’t prevent them from filing for bankruptcy. There are so many surprises in your new book, but what did you uncover that surprised you the most? I was genuinely

surprised by the Rokia Effect—the fact that personal stories will almost always trump statistics. You will always capture more attention and change more minds with a personal story people can relate to. Statistics often muddy the picture and make people feel like they can’t make an impact. So many people can benefit from the insights you share in this book, but did you have a specific audience in mind? I wrote it for anyone who has to capture attention to do something meaningful. I wrote it for a purposely broad audience. I do think it has the most application in business and entertainment, though. You took a complex subject and scores of scientific research and boiled it all down to an entertaining and approachable book that anyone can pick up and get value from. What was your writing process like? I spent multiple stints locked away from the world to focus on the writing and the research. I went to a secluded home on the river and to my home in Thailand to do this. You just can’t multitask if you want to write a great book. Are there any lessons or insights from this book that you think would have helped you at the start of your career? I think if I had known more about the reward systems of the brain, I would have been a better manager, motivator, and public speaker. What other projects or businesses are you involved with? I’m the cofounder and CMO of Octane AI, the easiest way to create and manage a bot to engage with your audience on Facebook Messenger. Octane AI removes all the technical barriers to bots and allows you to focus on being creative with the content of your bot. Maroon 5, Jason Derulo, 50 Cent, Aerosmith, KISS, SPiN, Lindsay Lohan, and Thirty Seconds to Mars use Octane AI to interact with their combined 150plus million fans on Messenger.

Held at their award-winning headquarters in Campbell, ZURB Soapbox is an opportunity to gather insights and get inspired by some of the most influential people in design and technology. Learn about past speakers and RSVP for future events:


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echnology is continuing to advance before our very eyes more quickly than we can consume or comprehend. Technology we take for granted today often began as many small, passionate projects, projects that rippled across technology in ways that today define and dominate our everyday interactions. Three technologists are working on further revolutionizing the world we live in. These individuals don’t consider themselves extraordinary. They see themselves as normal people, doing what they love. But, to quote Edward Lorenz, “when a butterfly flutters its wings in one part of the world, it can eventually cause a hurricane in another.” These three “butterflies” are working on projects that will help map out our technological future: Neuro-JavaScript, web components, and accessibility. Alex works on Neuro-JavaScript and OpenBCI (open-source brain computer interface). With OpenBCI, now anyone—including developers in the JavaScript industry—are helping with critical research on the human brain and assisting the medical industry. Monica’s work on web component initiatives is changing how websites are built. You can use web components today to share code across the web, access rich Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and even add functionalities to your app, like internationalization or Google Maps, without writing a single line of code. Rob is a developer advocate for accessibility and working to make the web work for all, regardless of disabilities. Future AI interaction with the web depends heavily on the work done in this area. Of the many people helping to build the web of the future, these three comprise a small sample. Casual developers in various corners of the internet will likely become other, similar butterflies flapping their wings, making little waves that could ultimately become the tsunamis that change our world. instagram: ladyleet


Alex Castillo Neuro-JavaScript

Meet Alex Castillo, a senior software engineer at Netflix. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Alex studied communication design at both the Altos de Chavón School of Design in his home country and at Parsons in New York. Alex is not your typical software engineer. By day, he works to help deliver Netflix to all the devices in the world; but by night, he dedicates his time to changing the world by researching the human brain. It seems improbable that a software engineer with no medical or science background could save lives through part-time hobby work, and yet Alex’s software is already being used in operating rooms to visualize neurofeedback during surgeries. The OpenBCI project that Alex works on enables anyone to easily extract data from the human body with biosensors and headgear that can be 3D-printed at home or bought online. Some cool projects have already been created, such as controlling and solving a physical maze without

touching it, and controlling a robotic arm using only the sensors. “One of the reasons I want to advocate for OpenBCI in JavaScript,” explains Alex, “is to abstract out the science part and help people understand that working with science could be as simple as interacting with an API.” OpenBCI is being used in developing countries to diagnose epilepsy. Yet Neuro-JavaScript is still in its infancy, so a lot of work remains to be done before something truly breakthrough will be created. However, the near future could reveal a newly developed API that would detect a person’s mood and emotional health, for example. Working on OpenBCI allows Alex to do work that he finds meaningful, work that contributes to the well-being of people across the globe—work that will save lives. You can get involved in this project by going to and by following NeuroJavaScript on


Monica Dinculescu Polymer Meet Monica Dinculescu, an engineer at Google who is also passionate about emoji and artfocused projects. She works on the open-source Polymer Project, a JavaScript library for building web applications using web components. Picture living in a world where building fully functional applications with little to no code is normal. Engineers today are working on projects that foster adoption in this paradigm shift, and one of those is Polymer. Web components enable anyone to create and share complex code easily across the web. You can package beautifully created components and enable them to work the same on different browsers. This concept is still fairly new, but standardizing and mainstreaming web components will help eliminate the complexity of sharing code and make it easier for anyone to easily add features to their applications. Briefly, Polymer is what allows web developers to create web components. Since web components don’t currently work in all web browsers, some help is needed to enable their use. This is where

Polymer comes in. One way Polymer helps developers is with polyfills, which make sure a feature works across different browsers, such as Chrome and Internet Explorer. Building complex applications could become as easy as dragging and dropping features and functionality onto your site using web components. “Google is passionate about web components and Polymer because they make the web ecosystem better,” says Monica. “These initiatives help all developers, but they also help Google developers scale code and share it across codebases internally.” With the adoption of web components, large companies will no longer need to reinvent the wheel by standardizing their code base across multiple projects. When organizations create a repository for web components, their individual teams don’t have to re-create components such as navigation bars or buttons. To get started is to visit for a catalog of custom elements.


Rob Dodson Accessibility Meet Rob Dodson, a senior developer advocate for Chrome at Google. Rob is an advocate for web accessibility and has worked on a vast array of initiatives at Google, including Polymer and web components. Accessibility is something we’re all familiar with, but on different levels. For example, if you’ve ever used your phone outside on a sunny day and couldn’t see the screen, then you’ve been frustrated in accessing information. The World Health Organization says that approximately one billion people—15 percent of the world’s population— have some form of disability that prevents them from seeing or using a large percentage of websites. Accessibility is a foundational key to ensuring the web works for all users. Many of us often take our abilities for granted. Ninety percent deaf in one ear, Rob is empathetic about why accessibility matters in technology. “Even though I’m only partially deaf in one ear, when I wear headphones and play video games, if there is directional audio, I sometimes have to turn around in the game to hear what’s happening on the other side.”

When we look at emerging technologies, such as Google Home, and capabilities like text to speech, we may not realize these technologies began as accessibility technology. Accessibility work doesn’t just help people access the web better, but it also impacts our future world. An early text-tospeech device was a calculator for the blind. As we enter the world of AI, text to speech will become integral for interacting with technology. AI will soon be helping us perform simple tasks around our homes. Imagine a world where Alexa or Siri finds instructions for painting a home and reads it back to the user. With better semantic content on the web, these things would be possible today. We would not only enable a more accessible web, we’d also enable future AI to interact with our apps. Standards such as WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications) and WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) have been pushing forward on this evolution for the web. Check out a11ycasts, Rob’s YouTube series.


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Self-described underdogs of the scene, BAMN strives to share compelling stories that inspire community pride.

Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Daniel Garcia instagram: bamnsquadent

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“There were not enough stories being told, and not enough unity within our generation in terms of the content and stories we wanted to tell.” _Marlo Custodio


o understand the approach and philosophy of BAMN—By Any Media Necessary—it may be best to start with a music video. Opening with a crowd shot of eager performers ready to audition for America’s Got Vocals, “I L*** You” establishes a spoof world akin to American Idol and America’s Got Talent, with Andrew Bigs at the forefront of the story. The judges mock Bigs before he launches into his song, a confrontational affirmation of selflove. He soon turns the tables, flipping off the very people who could, in this alternate reality, send him to Hollywood. During the video’s crescendo, dismissed contestants infiltrate the room, taking back their inspiration and creativity from the judges, established in shows like these as gatekeepers of opportunity. Beneath the light-hearted narrative frame, there lies the distinct punk-rock ethos of urging viewers to “do it yourself,” despite what supposed gatekeepers may say. The storyline mirrors the way BAMN’s core unit of creative partners feel about their own road to success. Self-described underdogs of the scene, BAMN strives to share compelling stories that inspire community pride. That inspirational, and at times political, message stretches across several forms of media. Andrew Bigs explains that BAMN rose out of a need to find a working solution to the conundrum of the creative artist—work diligently in your offtime to pursue your dream, or quit your job and grind to make your dream a reality, without going broke. That working solution was to create an infrastructure that would allow them to sustain and fund themselves. “To be independent is to be free,” Bigs says, “and you have to build the team in order to do it.” That’s the challenge BAMN’s seven-member team took on when they left their day jobs to make their collective passion their livelihood. Though the company has been up and running for a year and a half, its conception came from a series of chats among local artists, videographers, and community leaders at Eastside shop Coffee Lovers four years ago. The crew began to blossom in earnest in 2015 when these disparate voices reunited to help Bigs create his video for “Dollaz.” The project clicked into place. “We were just trying to figure out what we could do for the city of San Jose,” recalls Marlo Custodio, videographer and BAMN’s creative director. “There were not enough stories being told,

and not enough unity within our generation in terms of the content and stories we wanted to tell.” BAMN has struggled with viewers grasping the full scope of its output, projects spanning music videos, artist releases, video skits and short films, and immersive themed events like Open Pad Party (OPP). The event rollout for OPP incorporated a series of skits that established characters who extended the concept of the event, including an antagonist who was ceremoniously booed during the show. In line with their mission, this multifaceted approach came from a desire to throw a rap show with a brand new spin. “Some people see us only as entertainment because they see our events or music videos,” says Phillip Du, a former designer at Microsoft who generates much of BAMN’s branding and messaging. BAMN, however, pushes the boundaries. “We’re always trying to find new ways to do what we love,” Du says. Back when they operated under a four-quarter format akin to a record label, complete with an artist roster of in-house producers and rappers, the team called themselves an entertainment company. They now prefer “new age content studio,” which better portrays their desire to craft engaging narratives through various forms of media and to leverage social media messaging to maximize their reach. BAMN has also recently extended that reach into new markets. Through its sister agency, NEEBA, BAMN’s creative core focuses on delivering engaging content to Fortune 500 clients. As NEEBA, the team has worked with clients like Intel, ASUS, and the Vernon Davis Foundation, once more pushing their own boundaries. Telling stories now for a whole new audience. BAMN’s core is similarly fluid when it comes to roles. Bigs may be most visible as an artist, but he also works behind the scenes. “I could go from recording to being an assistant director or emailing people we’re partnering with,” he notes. “We’re all capable of more than just one thing, and we utilize ourselves in that way.” That team-minded approach is a centerpiece of their working philosophy. Also at the center is respect. Though they’re the creative team on a wide range of projects, functioning together tightly as a unit, the core members of BAMN are partners, Custodio notes, each with their own brand identity. As BAMN, they thrive collectively, individually. Artists, partners, teammates, brothers.


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“We’re always trying to find new ways to do what we love.”

_Phillip Du

Actor / Artist / Writer - @heisandrewbigs Design / Visual Expert - @phillipdu Artist / Producer - @BeatsbyFly

Cinematographer / Editor - @ryan.engosling Director / Founder - @directormarlo Cinematographer - @stayamplified instagram: bamnsquadent


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Life through a Retro Lens Interview by Michelle Runde Photography by Daniel Garcia flickr: cromwell_schubarth instagram: cromschu twitter: svbizcrom


y day, Cromwell Schubarth is editor of TechFlash and senior technology reporter at the Silicon Valley Business Journal. By night, Schubarth puts down the digital camera and pursues his passion for instant photography. Using a variety of old and new film types, Schubarth captures the artistic side of the Bay Area through a retro lens.

for pleasure. There’s something about a Polaroid camera that breaks the ice when you’re shooting on the street. If I point an iPhone at someone, they’re not always welcoming. But when I point a Polaroid, people are drawn to it like magnets. They want to know what it is and even ask to have their picture taken. I also enjoy really thinking about what I’m going to shoot. You don’t want to waste your film, especially expired film that’s not made anymore. Unlike digital photography where you shoot a thousand pictures and weed through them, you have to spend a lot of time thinking about what it is you’re shooting: how you’re shooting it, the lighting, everything. It becomes much more of an intense event.

How did you first get interested in instant photography? My father was a photo engineer and quality controller at Polaroid for 25 years, so I saw every new camera and film that came out before it was released. I started with one model called a Swinger, which I thought was pretty cool. Our Christmas cards and family photos were all done with Polaroid. But while I was exposed to it early on, I moved away from doing anything with instant photography for most of my life. Four years ago I somehow got involved in a shoot using Lomography, the old toy plastic cameras, which reignited my interest. It was also a way to connect with my dad, who died last summer. In these past few years, it was a way for us to talk.

Have you ever been frustrated when you didn’t capture the shot you envisioned? I never throw out anything I shoot, no matter how bad it might be. I’ll go through them looking for photos for competitions and photo shows. I’ll find pictures that I thought were horrible but now are beautiful. Sometimes it’s because the photo has aged and naturally become more sepia. As I said before, I spend a lot of time planning a shot in my mind, so I’ll often be disappointed with the photo in my hand. But when I look again months later without that baggage, I’ll realize it was something beautiful.

What is it about the medium that draws you to it? What I like about instant photography are the qualities to it that you can’t achieve with digital photography. I shoot digital Monday through Friday: digital is my work life, analog is what I do


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Top: Be honest. Be passionate. Bottom: Constantly risking absurdity. Opposite page: Be the change you want. Images by Cromwell Schubarth


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This event is special because I shoot with a rare film called Chocolate, a special type of Polaroid film that creates a chocolate brown image, cooler in tone than sepia. Ever since I did the first shoot four years ago, friends who saw my work have given me Chocolate film to use for this project. At some point, I’d like to turn it into a zine or a show.

Your work seems to focus on both people and places... I have a deep fascination with people, particularly artists. Many of the people I photograph are creative types: artists, models, and other photographers. I see them at SubZERO in San Jose, and festivals in San Francisco and Oakland. I get an energy and vibe that makes them fun to shoot. I’ve always been fascinated with shooting abandoned places: if I can get into old buildings for a shot, it’s fantastic.

What are you working on this year? I’m focusing on new projects for the 12:12 Men group, an invitation-only international art collective where twelve men from around the world pick a new theme for each month to shoot. This year, we also have to do something “new” each time we shoot: a new technique, a different approach, etc. So I’m looking forward to that challenge.

Are you more influenced by the subject of your work, or the medium? I spend a lot time trying to match the film with the subject. Often I’ll lug three different cameras and multiple film types to see what I’ll use. One project I’ve developed is shooting the San Jose’s Day of the Dead festival in October.



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Polaroid Jay Jay Aguilar Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Daniel Garcia

ALWAYS A CHANCE instagram: thepolaroidjay


t his show “Almost Famous,” held at Cukui last March, Jay Aguilar completely covered the single wall he was given with his photography. From nearly floor to ceiling, each meticulously placed, independently developed square shot portrayed various local scenesters and musicians. The sheer volume of his work was overwhelming, but what made the evening extra special was how each portrait brought back memories of the many shows he had memorialized on film. Aguilar never expected that people would notice what he was doing, much less invite him to display his work, which he has done at Curate Good in San Jose and SoundCloud headquarters in San Francisco. His approach—capturing his favorite artists in informally posed snapshots—didn’t arise from a master plan. Over time, he’s simply taken on the role of cultural archivist, photographing the many musicians, DJs, and passionate supporters who visit the Bay Area. He wanted to prove that culture does exist here, even if some would witness it only the morning after on social media. It’s crazy to think that all of Aguilar’s photos, in theory, might never have happened. He’s reminded of that every time he stares at the hundreds of portraits he’s taken over the years. Each one serves as a reminder of what he accomplished by taking a chance. “I just think ’You’ve got to get out there and do your thing,’ ” reflects Aguilar, who’s earned the name “Polaroid Jay” for his choice to shoot exclusively with Polaroid cameras. “You’ve got to

take a risk. You might miss, but you might get it, so just go for it.” When Run the Jewels recently played the City National Civic in downtown San Jose, Aguilar and his brother waited outside in the rain for over an hour for two portraits. A handful of fans still stood alongside him, but most had trickled away, lulled to bed and wary of the raindrops. As security turned over, one guard told them there was no chance the group was coming out. In a case like that, experience told Aguilar otherwise. “I knew that they hadn’t exited the venue,” he says. “I pay attention to the details.” He could see the tour bus sitting right outside the only exit. Sure enough, Killer Mike and El-P eventually appeared. Killer Mike even gave him a hug. Aguilar is exceptionally good at waiting, because in his craft, patience and perseverance often lead to results. As long as he hasn’t witnessed the getaway, there’s still a chance he’ll get his shot. Why wait for an interaction that will last no more than a minute? “It’s an adrenaline rush,” he says. “There’s nothing that can compare to it.” Whenever Aguilar heads out with one of his cameras, he’s bound to experience an emotional journey—the anxiety of waiting to get the shot, the uncertainty of meeting the artist, the joy and relief of capturing the portrait. There are no guarantees when it comes to artists or to instant photography. Growing up, Aguilar was always fascinated with Polaroid cameras. He remembers the ads starring


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Images by Polaroid Jay


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celebrities on TV, but never asked for one because they were too costly. He finally asked anyway in 2004, and his dad bought him a camera and four packs of film. He began shooting regularly in 2009 after he picked up an SX-70 with auto-focus from a coworker. Soon, he was scouring thrift stores for any model he could find and searching for deals on expired film on eBay. At one point, his collection included 40 cameras. It has since been whittled down to around 25, with six in regular working rotation. “I want people to know that this format of film is still alive, that you can go out and buy it and do it yourself,” he says. After he lost his girlfriend, his photo crew, and his job in 2013, Aguilar began to pursue his craft with renewed focus. Capturing show portraits became his refuge, his therapy. “I didn’t think it would lead to super awesome stuff, but it did,” he

says. “I feel like I’m in a better place now than I was when all that stuff happened.” He has since cultivated a following of over 4,500 followers on Instagram, and an online archive of more than 4,000 photos. But Aguilar, as cultural archivist Polaroid Jay, has not just helped renew interest in instant photography, he has also created a link to the past. When thinking about the countless memories a single photo can evoke, he is reminded of times when his mom would ask if he remembered something and he would have no recollection until she produced a photo. Instantly, he’d be transported back to that moment. His own photography now provides that same refresher for an entire community. It also provides a tangible photo trail of timeless mementos in an increasingly digitized world.


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Tanya Article and Photography by Daniel Garcia

Fifteen and fashion instagram: tanyaravichandran


ifteen-year-old photographer Tanya Ravichandran, inspired by travels with her father and his camera, saved up to buy a camera of her own when she was 10. But it wasn’t until she began shooting her friends a couple of years later that she began to develop her own style and aesthetic. Yet, it is not common for a girl who’s been bullied, who’s shy, to step out and begin shooting lifestyle shoots of brands like PacSun and Aeropostale. This Monte Vista High School sophomore is not only “showing them” (the middle school bullies), she’s carving out a career for herself. “They would send me a bunch of clothes, and like, ’Oh, this is the model we want you to shoot.’ I would just shoot it, and then I would send them a bunch, a lot, like a thousand edited photos, and yeah, I was paid.” You are probably asking yourself, “How’d she get connected with them?” The answer, social media. And though it seems like an obvious answer these days, those who’ve been trying to make an impact in the photo industry might be frustrated, even mildly outraged, when she says simply, “I actually just followed this guy on Instagram, like, his photos are so cool. The next thing I know he messages me, ’You know, I’m the director of photography for PacSun. Here’s my email. Let’s work together. I love your work.’ ” Tanya then began to tag Aeropostale in her shots, wondering if they’d even notice, but she received an email, and began to shoot for them as well. It was that easy… Even now, in the earliest stages of her career, Tanya has begun to ask herself how she can take her style further. She’s begun shooting fashion editorials and shooting more studio images. “Finally I got into

a more editorial side. I think studio shooting—I just started that—was great, because I learned how to play with light, how to understand light,” Tanya explains, with the subtle reflection that you’d expect to hear from a veteran photographer. Tanya is looking to continue to grow her career as a photographer, but she’s also a realist and so she’s developing her other interests, like computer science and graphic design. Having interned last summer at John McNeil Studio, a marketing agency in Berkeley, which does campaigns for tech companies like HP and Apple, Tanya declares, “I want to open a company like that in the future. It’s photographer and tech bound together.” No doubt this talented young woman will find her path, as she has already begun to grasp many of life’s lessons—and much of that she has learned on her own. “I really don’t connect with a lot of people at my school,” she says. “I’m a quiet person at school. I’m very introverted. I don’t have that school lifestyle. My lifestyle applies in another way, which is my photography. Not to sound really bad, but being alone all these years, I had to learn and mature in myself.” Those lessons and the opportunity to travel have begun to pave a path for Tanya. But she knows there’s still work to be done. She already understands the one thing that’s absolutely necessary for developing careers and talent, the one thing that even passion cannot replace—the Hustle. “I feel like, in this business, you just need to hustle a lot. Go for it. You need to just keep striving for something even though it seems impossible.” And, with her talent and early understanding of how things work, we are sure to be seeing more of Tanya’s work in the future.


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Images by Tanya Ravichandran


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Creators Curators

Marisol Picazo and Robert Lopez Written by tad Malone Photography by Daniel garcia

The quiet, artistic power couple transforming San Jose’s art scene

Robert and Marisol

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arisol Picazo and Robert Lopez are the most unassuming power couple you’ll ever meet. From creating zines to curating art shows or featuring their own work in galleries, Marisol and Robert have been quietly establishing a young, ambitious, and deeply positive force in the San Jose art scene. The pair met through a mutual friend in late 2009. After meeting up to take pictures together in Big Sur, they started hanging out every day. “We always chilled and took photos and fed off each other. I guess we just clicked,” Robert says. Their artistic collaborations began soon after they met, as both of them were bloggers and film documentarians. As for how they got into art, the process definitely started early for each. “I’ve loved art all my life,” says Robert. “As a kid, I liked to look at pictures and either trace or copy them and make it in my own way.” This life-long infatuation led Robert to enroll in a four-year art program at his high school. It was during this time that he started getting into photography. From there, he went on to San Jose State University, graduating with a BA in design studies. Students could sign up for gallery time, and it was here that Robert got his first taste of curating. Marisol has also been in touch with her artistic side from a young age. A photographer as well as a writer, Marisol graduated with a degree in creative writing from CSU Monterey Bay. Her personal writing and photography (which focus particularly on Chicano/a identities) have been published in various zines, literary journals, and online publications. In recent years, they have found themselves becoming increasingly in demand as local curators. Though Robert already had some experience curating shows in the South Bay, it wasn’t until after managing a 52-person show in 2015 for the relatively cozy Chromatic Coffee that the couple’s curatorial work took off. That work caught the attention of the owners of Boba Bar in San Jose, who asked the couple to curate art in their own store. From this project they created Space B, a multimodal art exposition that puts on a show at least every two months. Their most

recent show, “Tough Love,” was a blow-out success. For now the couple plans on taking a little breather, but Marisol and Robert will have another show up and running by April. As for their more textual work, the idea of Paper Memory stemmed from an open-call zine that Marisol and Robert created and released in late 2015. They invited a group of photographers to share intimate portraits from their lives and titled the project Something Personal, a name derived from an old blog Robert and Marisol used to share called Memories on Paper. “When we first started doing it, it was only through our inner circle of friends,” says Robert of their newest project. “But we wanted to extend it and make a platform where we could reach out to a larger audience.” Thanks to their artist connections and a little bit of networking on Instagram, Marisol and Robert received contributions from all over the world. One feature of Paper Memory included letting photographers primarily working in film take over Paper Memory’s social media account for four days each, as a sort of digital artist-in-residency program. While they have been recently more focused on curating, the pair plans to revamp the site into a multimodal platform for photographic expression to include artist interviews, profiles, and photos of the day. “Attending art shows is cool and all, but they’re only once a month. You need to do stuff every day,” says Robert. “It’s good for artists to look forward to things that they’re a part of, not just events for other well-known artists.” In terms of navigating and networking in the San Jose art scene, Marisol and Robert remain inspired by their local support. “There are separations in the local scene, but we have always been surrounded by really a positive art community,” says Robert. Marisol echoes her partner’s sentiments. “I look forward to working with the San Jose community because I see the strong attachment in our own circle. I see a lot of support, which inspires me to work on my own art, as well as create zines or curate shows.”


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Above images by Marisol Picazo

Above images by Robert Lopez

instagram: spacebsj instagram: papermemory instagram: papermemoryzine


CEO of issuu, Joe Hyrkin

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Joe Hyrkin instagram: jhyrkin

“Everything I’ve done has this broad global perspective of cultural interaction,” says Joe Hyrkin, who’s traversed the world, from country roads to big city bridges and across the continent to China. At age 16 Hyrkin was so awestruck by the adventures of Marco Polo that he pursued a career that would connect those different worlds and wanted a wide range of experience to do so. After a decade and a half, he became CEO of issuu, an online platform that’s stacked with over 20,000 publications that are available to anyone around the world who wants to know more. Looking at Hyrkin’s career, you’ll see the bridges he’s crossed are all about communication—visual and verbal, corporate and personal. Fascinated with all that is “out there,” and influenced by the travels of that early merchant adventurer, he studied Chinese and political science in college, and then traveled all through China. He set up the Economist Group’s China business, diving deep into content and information, and split his time between Hong Kong and Beijing. When he caught the technology bug, he moved to California and handled sales for Virage, a company that provided video search and publishing software, an early SaaS. Still working in BD and sales, Hyrkin went to Yahoo and Flickr. “Flickr was this innovative service that was all about sharing images. Much more importantly, it combined creativity, community, and digital expression,” Hyrkin says. “What people don’t talk about are these things called Flickr gatherings, where photographers got together, shared images, and talked about how to improve their images and use their cameras. Those events were key to Flickr taking flight.” These early Silicon Valley positions all fed into Hyrkin’s captivation with digital services, products,

and technology and how they really exist to serve our ability to be creative and express our humanity. In order to better guide technology toward that end, he signed on with Trinity Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence. By focusing on meeting “tons” of entrepreneurs, he began absorbing how he would actually run a company. “I learned three things at Trinity,” he says. “One, I learned to synthesize ideas quickly, and two, I learned to ask questions. Larry Orr, a partner there, asked questions that catalyzed the core issues and challenges about 20 minutes into every presentation. I was fascinated by the way he framed his questions. His thoughtfulness always changed the conversation.” And, three, he learned perspective. Hyrkin feels it’s important as a CEO to have a broad view of your constituents due to the massive competition for time, for ways to move forward, for ideas and priorities. Before that, he’d held a narrow vision based on his own contributions. He’s learned that awareness of the differences is critical. His positive approach let him see that everyone has good intentions about how to grow and build a company, but they usually approach it from different perspectives. Learning to balance and appreciate that wider perspective is an ongoing challenge for Hyrkin. He admires CEOs who focus on learning as opposed to demanding or telling. They may have a clear strategy, but being able to respond to what’s happening in the environment and with their people is really important. “That bigger perspective is necessary,” he says. Deeply understanding each situation’s synchronicity is something Hyrkin strives for to create a culture of caring and equity in the organization. “We have equity in our customers’ business,” he explains, talking about the SaaS

Written by Vila Schwindt Photography by Daniel Garcia


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_ Joe Hyrkin .

approach. “But we also have equity in our employees. It starts with being aware of how we interact, operate, and manage challenges.” Hyrkin encourages his people to care about what they do, to take time to see what’s being created. “Like, care,” he says. “I really care about creativity. I want the world to access the brilliance of having meaning, and to share our creativity. We need to cultivate awareness of what’s happening around us, wherever we are.” Long before he read about Marco Polo, his parents were interested in Eastern philosophies. He met the Dalai Lama at age eight and spent summers at a meditation ashram in upstate New York. Hyrkin sees meditation as valuable to his purpose and tries to apply it in practical ways. He’s always looking to create a special congruence that comes with the practice of meditation and the focus it brings. He wants that alignment to happen—with who and where he and his people are—in all aspects of his business. “Even when I coach baseball, I tell the kids that if you know where your feet are when you’re in the batter’s box, you’ll make better decisions.” With issuu’s global nature and presence expanding as it grows, Hyrkin continues to apply his philosophy of focus and alignment. The company was started in Denmark, so the perspective the company holds has little to do with his being American. “Our roots are in Copenhagen, but we are Italian, German, and Indian as well,” he says. Hyrkin sees their markets as being Europe, the US, and Latin America, so he focuses on leveraging and optimizing that global nature in a way that feeds the product and business, their publishers, customers, and readers. The vision Hyrkin has for issuu considers its international nature, but he also compares it to highly esteemed technology and Silicon Valley organizations. “The most successful companies are run by people who are creative and have an inner wisdom, an intuition that they act on. Silicon Valley’s big secret is its creativity,” Hyrkin says. He stops to ponder this. “Yes, there are nerds and techies, and a lot of code. But I believe that if Steve Jobs had taken time to more broadly nurture his ability to listen and execute in other people, he would have given a greater gift to the world than even what he left with Apple.” An internal organizational challenge issuu faces is the time difference between Scandinavia and California. Hyrkin knows he needs to align company meetings for a smoother workflow with less lag in communication. “My job as CEO is to amplify the success issuu has already had,” he says. “And I’ve

been able to bring in good people.” He’s instigated a weeklong series of conversations among staff that uses Slack and other channels to be as transparent as possible. He tries to send weekly emails with updates, and encourages teams to coordinate their work more effectively. Taking the longer form content created by passionate people and publishing it successfully is Hyrkin’s outward challenge. Four years ago, markets were focused more on snippets of information—with minimal access. His team analyzed how to build audiences around deeper topics and ideas. “What’s happened, particularly in the last year, is more depth and meaning across the board where people create their own thing.” Creative people need outlets for their content, and issuu exists to facilitate the connectivity between content and its customer base. Creatives can now use and leverage technology to gain those larger audiences. issuu makes it easy for creative people to be part of a growing ecosystem of tools and services. “The speed to do things is now accessible, and I want us to be part of that,” Hyrkin says. “Our stacks demonstrate that people care deeply about content that matters to them.” A fun example is the subculture that gained a popular viewing at the Oakland Museum of California this year: sneakerheads. People who are passionate about sneakers care about the styles and colors, how they’re worn and where they’re seen. They care enough to learn more, and can now do that via publications, blogs, and ads featured on issuu. Content about Martin Luther King Jr. also exists within issuu, and that particular stack is deep, showing the depth of feeling and interest around King and civil rights. “Whatever your feelings about MLK, he really represents the moving of society, culture, and humanity forward,” Hyrkin says. “Culturally, we need to hear new voices—from new feminist voices in particular—and to think about things differently. Agreeing or disagreeing isn’t the point; we need to be more aware.” The focus that Joe Hyrkin has given to his career is resulting in the construction of a totally new intersection that engages deep, rich content with technology—by and for people who care. issuu is the perfect combination, since media is essentially about access and providing the right content to the right people. “Digital platforms make Silicon Valley the new media capital,” Hyrkin says. “Platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter allow massive numbers of people to access and engage with content. That is so important today.


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Profiles of the people behind the digital publishing platform. Photography by Daniel Garcia


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Joshua Davis

never really saw myself working at a tech or media company in Silicon Valley. But a circuitous path after the Great Recession led me here. Because there were hardly any jobs doing tech support for high school graduates, I wound up biding my time by going to Northern Virginia Community College. There I started applying my interests in photography and web design for the student newspaper, the NOVA Fortnightly. A few months later I was the editor in chief of a struggling newspaper. There were issues that missed print deadlines, staff was quitting, morale was low. To restore faith in the paper with our readers, contributors, and the school faculty, I and my editor were determined to get out our first issue on time. We both wound up having to play almost all the roles, from selling ads, to copyediting, to designing layouts, even photographing events. But we got the first issue out on time, saw many contributors come back, and covered some exciting events like when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law at our campus. Later, the Fortnightly wound up winning several awards from the Virginia Press Association for its visual content. That’s not the kind of experience that typically leads to building software at a tech company. But it wound up teaching me a lot about what it’s like working on a small publication with passionate people. I tell people that I try to build products that delight users. As a full-stack engineer at issuu, I can use my passion for media to create digital experiences that our publishers and their audiences will enjoy. There’s such a satisfying feeling after collaborating with a designer and building a product that people wind up using. The best feeling is when you accidentally use your product and think “That was nice,” and then realize, “Hey, I built that.”

Full Stack Engineer


Brad Sant User Experience Designer instagram: brad.sant


’m a user experience designer in the Palo Alto issuu office. As a kid, I was always interested in why people did what they did—like what made them decide to buy that house, how did they decide which wrist to put their watch on, or why do we all use steering wheels instead of levers. Back then I guess I labeled it as simply being curious or observant. In college I was inches away from majoring in psychology, but pursued design instead because I loved the idea of visual communication...then I discovered user experience design, which is a magical mixture of both worlds—the psychology behind design. One of the biggest challenges of UX is asking the right questions across various teams (from Palo Alto to Copenhagen to Berlin) so we can align on the problem we’re trying to solve. There’s often a myriad of contextual factors to consider, so the distilling process requires honest, transparent communication. It’s a cool process where I learn a lot about what drives people’s decisions and gain a better understanding of various ethnographic motivations. Outside of work, my wife Rachel and I spend a lot of time outside. We team-shoot weddings and love to do destination lifestyle photography at virtually any opportunity that comes our way, which provides a lot of opportunity also to live outside our comfort zone. I’ve often found myself contentedly observing the people around me and wondering about what it’s like to be in their world. It’s an empathic approach to life, and I’ve really enjoyed that approach so far.

Lisie Sabbag Marketing Associate

social media: lisiesabbag


rowing up in Palo Alto, I was always surrounded by the latest in innovation and high tech. I rebelled against this by denouncing Kindles and e-readers and burying my nose in old books. So my journey to working at a digital startup was a long one. In my senior year I wrote an exposé on rape culture at the high school level, interviewing rape survivors from among my peers and starting a much-needed conversation in the community. What followed was a whirlwind of media attention, interviews, awards, speaking, and a Title IX investigation. Readers wrote in as well in large numbers to let us know how the piece affected them. This experience showed me the power of a good story and made me determined to effect positive change with my work going forward. At Emerson College, I focused on feature story writing and book publishing, writing for five different school publications and acting as the head designer for our student book publishing group, Wilde Press. Now after almost two years of working at issuu, I’m proud to be able to support our publishers with educational materials that make their transition to digital publishing easier, allowing them to focus on telling stories instead of stressing about process. Outside of work, I am studying journalism and continuing to hone my skills in interviewing, writing, and enabling the voices of those so often overlooked to be heard. I also work on a publication called Liminal Magazine that delves into the liminal spaces we traverse, literally or figuratively, such as the once-lost passageways of Seattle Underground or the strange phase of being a young adult. Recently, I’ve become inspired by the alternative zine scene on issuu and started to create zines to explore issues I’ve dealt with in my own life, including mental health, sexuality, and growing up.

Denise Twum Manager, Customer Support instagram: niseyknits


ended up in customer support quite by accident. I majored in biology and women’s studies and wanted to work in adolescent and women’s health in developing countries, as I’m originally from Ghana. After college, as a Watson Fellow I conducted independent research on responses to domestic violence in the UK, India, Trinidad, Uganda, and South Africa. My Watson Year experience gave me an appreciation for people living in different countries and cultures, and I came away with two lessons. The first, that life is richer and fuller when you embrace difference and appreciate variety. The second, to keep learning new things, which is why I studied Hindi during graduate school and Korean for the past two years. I joined my husband in California in 2008, and it was quite difficult finding a job in public health because of the recession. My husband, a software engineer, suggested that I look into the technology companies in the area, as the qualitative research skills from my public health training could be applied in a user support role. It wasn’t as difficult a shift as I thought it would be, and I quickly realized I enjoyed helping users succeed using the product I supported. After contracting at Facebook and Color Labs, I joined issuu in 2013 as the support team lead. issuu appealed to me as an occasional knitwear designer and full-time K-pop fan because I could see how easily small- and medium-sized creative businesses could incorporate the platform into their marketing efforts. (In fact, I like to create knitting patterns and K-pop newsletters to use for imagery in our product tutorials.) My role requires working with all the teams at issuu, which makes my job pretty demanding and infinitely exciting at the same time. My team communicates with customers more than any other team in the company, and so while keeping an eye on the company’s goals and wellbeing, I have to make sure that I’m advocating internally for our customers as well. Speaking of appreciating variety, I work out of Palo Alto, but my team is based in Denmark and at one point comprised people from six different countries. Talk about diversity! And not only is my team diverse, so are all of issuu’s employees, as are our customers too. This means I’m always learning something new from both colleagues and customers, which keeps me motivated and energized.

John Sturino VP, Product and Operations instagram: jsturino


f you want to hear my story, you should probably pull out an atlas. I’m from the US, but I’ve spent my adult life in a lot of places: Russia, Kazakhstan, China, the UK, and most recently, Denmark. From those jumping off points, I’ve been able to travel a lot and see and experience a lot of different things. Mostly, what I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of context. A solution is only a solution if it makes sense in your situation. The way people view the world—and approach a situation—varies wildly from country to country. This is in part cultural, and it’s in part a function of their infrastructure. In our case, “infrastructure” comes down to questions like, do people have smartphones? If so, are they Android or iOS? How fast is their connection? Does the government censor websites? As a product person, I like solving problems in ways that are not only useful but hopefully unexpectedly delightful. The more important and intractable the problems are, the better. Doing it as part of a group of super-talented people makes it even better. As head of product of issuu, I get the opportunity every day. The most important part of product development is empathy. Can we put ourselves in the place of the customer? Since our customers are everywhere, it’s important that we be able to understand their needs. Why is a university student in Brazil starting a tech magazine? What are the goals of the group in NYC that started a travel magazine? What other platforms do they have available to them to help them in their mission? I’m lucky because I started my career as a designer/ editor. So even though it’s been a while, it’s not too hard for me to put myself in the position of our customers, people who are utilizing all the means available to them now to give voice to their passions. I’m really proud for us to be a platform to help amplify the creativity of people who don’t like the limitations of blogs. And because we’re dealing with creative, visual people, we have to be creative and visual too. And of course, I’m a crazy reader. So being able to work on a product that makes it possible to read all of these amazing publications for free—well, it’s easy to understand why someone would want that. This all works because I tend to take an “outside-in” approach to product development. If you start with visualizing how someone will be using it, what it needs to do and how it needs to do it then fall naturally into place. Since we have a million active publishers and 80 million monthly unique readers, we must be doing something right.



_Melissa Mallory

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operaUnStaged First Street Opera Written by kate Evans Photography by Daniel Garcia twitter: firststopera


n the first Friday of every month, crowds pack into the cozy, Italian-inspired Caffe Frascati in downtown San Jose as part of the South First Fridays art walk. The audience brings energy and enthusiasm, creating a respectful but slightly rowdy atmosphere while they wait expectantly to hear some of the best operatic performances available in the South Bay. Meanwhile, First Street Opera’s cadre of professional opera singers, plucked from the competitive but uncertain world of freelancing for big opera companies, gets ready to perform. While it all feels impromptu, the singers have already selected their music, they know their pieces, and they’ve been vetted. When they start to sing, they transform the cafe, filling it with drama, emotion, theatrics, passion. Opera lovers are in heaven. New-to-opera audience members are entranced. What makes First Street Opera and its local, intimate performances so unique is that they really serve two purposes. The first is to grow the opera audience, reaching people who might not know that they love opera. “It’s like wine,” says Amy Mendon, co-owner of First Street Opera. “You don’t have to know how wine is made to know what you like.” As with wine, so with opera. “We put it out there for people,” she says, simply. “And we know they will like it.” It helps that there is a tremendous amount of operatic talent in the Bay Area. “We’ve never had a problem with someone coming to perform. I just don’t worry about the quality of singer,” Amy says, smiling. “Everyone who takes part really is amazing. Every evening is unique and extraordinary because that set of singers and music will never happen that way again.” But these performances aren’t only for the audience. They also give professional opera singers exposure, a way to fulfill their passion, and that’s their second purpose. “It’s a great way for singers to get their material out in front of people,” Amy notes. It’s a chance to fine-tune and perfect craft. Amy explains that for such a highly emotive art form, the academic study of opera is formal and formulaic. “It’s easy,” she says, “to get caught up with the nuts and bolts while studying at a conservatory or performing on stage.” At

Caffe Frascati, however, singers are in close proximity to the audience and can easily get a sense of how that audience is responding. Singers also have a chance to experiment with movement and style. “With us, you can develop dramatic elements of a performance—move around, raise your arm, experiment with the give and take from the audience,” Amy explains. While singers are removed from the audience on a formal stage, at the cafe informality is the order of the day. “Sitting in someone’s lap is a much better way to gauge your performance,” Amy laughs, “and I do sit in people’s laps!” Currently, First Street Opera is a light and nimble organization led by Amy and co-owner Melissa Mallory, who have big dreams and the innovative thinking needed to make those dreams come true. They help professional opera singers perform, network, and support one another, but they want to take their mission to another level. “We like to think outside of the box,” Amy grins, drawing the outline of a box with her fingers, “literally outside of the box of the proscenium arch in a theater. We think of ourselves as an arts startup.” First Street Opera performances are cutting edge, audience centric, intimate, but they are not dumbed down. There’s an inherent respect for both the audience and the performers. Melissa and Amy are hoping to take a traditional and sometimes staid art form and make it fun, approachable, even beloved. This doesn’t mean performing Mozart in English, but it might mean a production of Don Giovanni set in 1960s America. “The stories within opera are just as relevant today as they were when they were written,” Amy stresses. “We can bring them to a modern audience without beating them over the head with it.” Melissa nods in agreement. “Opera is about everyday life,” she says. “It’s about love and passion and family. It’s relatable.” Amy and Melissa are proud of their work and of the community that supports them. In this increasingly intolerant climate, Amy acknowledges that for many singers, the fine arts offer sanctuary for those who’ve felt marginalized. “We have an obligation,” she says, “to maintain a sense of beauty. And we’re really good at what we do.”


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“It’s been really experimental, but also really rewarding.” _Mitchell Lujan

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MITCHELL LUJAN Written by Tad Malone Photography by Arabela Espinoza

MUSIC TO REACH SOMEBODY instagram: mitchell_lujan


inger-songwriter and musician Mitchell Lujan has always wanted to reach people with his talent. He first started playing music as a teenager when his parents bought him a bass guitar. Looking up to the Motown singers and the alternative music gods of the ’90s, including the Deftones and Incubus, Lujan says his first forays into music centered on “getting loud and angsty.” But the music bug bit deep. By the end of high school, Lujan had learned to play acoustic guitar and was leading a rock band called Conversions. But he was the only member of the band pursuing music heavily. “I wasn’t getting the results I wanted in the collaborative effort,” he says. “It ended up as a solo project instead of me choosing it to be that way.” But fortune favors the passionate. Lujan started hitting open mics at places like Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, and Cafe Lift and Caffe Frascati in San Jose. At the gigs, he would also sell his music CDs. “I felt kind of youthful and adventurous because I was going out and doing it myself,” he says. “It was a very vital stepping stone in terms of getting to the next level of performance.” His first EP, Subject to Change, was released in February 2016. Almost entirely self-produced, the EP is a warm introduction to Lujan’s smooth, melodic sound. Taking its influences from soul and jazz with an informed pop sensibility, the tracks soar through Lujan’s powerful but relaxed voice. The infinitely catchy single off the EP, “Blankets,” was coproduced with Rob Ernst of San Jose’s Noise Root Studios, and the official music video has racked up more than 10,000 views on YouTube. One day when performing on the street in Santana Row promoting his EP, Lujan had a fortunate encounter with the music industry. A representative from locally based LeVille Records took notice of Lujan’s performance and quickly moved to sign him. Today, Lujan enjoys the partnership so much he hopes to release all his music through the company. “It’s been an awesome relationship where business definitely gets

handled,” he says, “but it doesn’t feel like that, which is what I prefer.” While Lujan has performed around the country, from LA to New York City, and has a near-weekly gig with the Hyatt Hotel in downtown San Jose, he says the music pursuit “has definitely been a slow and steady burn.” But that’s hardly any discouragement since Lujan sees his time on stage, in the studio, or wherever the venue, as the most fulfilling part of creating music. “For me, it’s always been rooted back to that sense of purpose I felt when I started playing music.” More recently, Lujan set his sights on something a little different. Along with childhood friend and drummer Amrit Mahi, he’s created a new music group— Vudajé (pronounced voodajay). Also signed to LeVille Records, Vudajé offers a fresh take on Lujan’s neo-soul sound, transformed into something more experimental. “Amrit and I just see eye to eye on a lot of textures within producing music,” says Lujan. And texturally, the sky’s the limit. Work for Vudajé has taken them out into the wild on a search for strange and new sounds. They made their own percussive instruments by recording different sounds. From household knives roughly cutting against a surface to the poignant sounds of wind scratching leaves on pavement, Lujan and Mahi have recorded fascinating textures to incorporate into their music. “It’s been really experimental, but also really rewarding,” says Lujan. Although they are in the process of creating new material, Lujan expects an official release from the group by mid-April. Otherwise, you can often find Lujan baring his soul at one of many music venues in San Jose. While his future plans include broadening his musical horizons and moving beyond San Jose, his musical intentions remain the same: to reach somebody. That could include a fellow musician, a doctor, a taxi driver—anybody. “I just want to spread an energy,” he says, “that leaves people feeling motivated and inspired to reach for whatever it is they believe in.”



_ Matt Hanscom

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opera (Dad) Man Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia


icture yourself leaning on the balcony railing inside the California Theatre, watching an Opera San Jose performance. The show is Rigoletto, the tragic tale of a court entertainer who fails to keep his daughter out of harm’s reach. For two hours, that set is its own world and situated at its center is Matthew Hanscom, his rich vibrato entwining with strains of music mounting from the orchestra pit. He’s clad in a red and yellow jester costume—which might have been cheery if it weren’t paired with smeared clown makeup evocative of Heath Ledger’s Joker. When asked about his favorite role, Hanscom recalls this one, his first with Opera San Jose. “Verdi wrote a lot of really good fathers,” Hanscom says of the composer as he points out the Rigoletto poster, one of many show posters lining the conference room walls. Stripped of stage makeup, Hanscom looks like an entirely different person. But his booming baritone—acclimated to projecting to a large audience in a large space—prevails, filling the small room. “I’m a father myself. I remember loving my son and holding him and being like ’ohyesyou’resocute,’  ” his voice raises an octave in typical parental fashion. “But when I do it with my daughter and she smiles, it’s something a little different. There’s no way to put it into words— unless you have a daughter. Then you know what I’m talking about.” Hanscom has been with Opera San Jose for three years now. In a move modeled on the regional opera companies of Germany, Opera San Jose employs a resident company, offering professionals early in their careers annual contracts—and free housing. This approach provides principal artists stability in location and work, which means relief from traveling place to place chasing gigs. For a family man like Hanscom, it’s ideal. “I need to be around those people and those people need me around,” Hanscom says of his wife and kids. The living arrangements also enrich the work relationship. “We play video games after rehearsal, eat dinner together, go grocery shopping. You build a partnership that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” he says with a smile.

Hanscom hasn’t always been a Californian. His childhood was spent in Minnesota. “When I was growing up, you went to choir every day of your life at school,” he recalls. During his teenage years, he opted out of choir, period, for voice classes and began acting in his high school’s musicals. As graduation neared, he faced the same self-scrutiny, and litany of questionnaires, all students face when deciding on a college major. “Inevitably there was the question, ’What do you love to do in your free time?’ And for me it was singing, so that’s how I ended up here.” Hanscom attended Northwestern University, and it was there his passion for opera was kindled. Hanscom credits American universities with offering the best vocal training in the world, remarking that all singers graduating from major universities can vocally satisfy the general public. But vocal mastery is only the starting point. “I don’t want it to be about the singing,” he says. “For me, the voice is just a tool to storytell.” Although plays similarly stir an audience’s imagination, songs introduce a special element. “Music sets an atmosphere,” Hanscom says, leaning into his point. “If you don’t know anything about a straight theater show going in, you have to find your way into whatever mood you’ve been dropped into.” In contrast, operas offer an overture to set the tone before the curtain is even lifted. “If you’re at The Barber of Seville, it’s going to be full of little flighty, giggly things. And if you’re at Silent Night, it’s going to be more ominous. It’s going to be a little more weighty, have more gravitas. So you have that expectation before anyone opens their mouth, before you hear any words whatsoever. The music will inevitably make you feel a particular way.” In April, Hanscom will be performing in Puccini’s La bohème as Marcello, an impoverished painter. “Puccini, in general, is very popular,” Hanscom observes. “It’s a happy opera up until the end, and then it is the most heartbreaking thing that you’ve ever’s kind of perfect in that way. If I were taking my children to their first opera, it would be La bohème.”


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MARK ARROYO TRIO Written by Brandon Roos Photography by daniel garcia instagram: themarkarroyotrio


ormed on a whim back in 2009, The Mark Arroyo Trio has come a long way, shifting from an ensemble that crafted interpretations of jazz standards and pop tunes, to a group whose approach is essentially limitless. Arroyo, the group’s guitarist, recalls the genesis of the Trio: Hotel De Anza’s Hedley Club needed a band for a gig, and he answered the call and, because he couldn’t think of anything more creative at the time of their first show, the group still bears his name. “The Mark Arroyo Trio is not me at the front with these two as anchors. It’s always the three of us,” he points out over a Filipino breakfast at Coffee Adventure, flanked by bassist Fred Paclibon and drummer Kristian Buenconsejo. In 2012 the group began to explore their sound, performing extended re-interpretations of hip, melodically rich tunes like James Blake’s “The Wilhelm Scream” or Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.” Now their shows involve the three diving into the great creative unknown: completely improvising every number they play. The approach isn’t without precedent—jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has made a career of touring concert halls to improvise an entire evening of music—but it is unique to the San Jose scene. “That’s one of the things I’ve wanted to get more into, just playing,” Arroyo says. “I don’t know if I consciously made a decision to turn the band into that, but it is a very personal experience for each of us.” “It’s a very vulnerable experience,” adds Buenconsejo. “Every time we play, I feel like I open up in a way. It’s therapeutic.” Buenconsejo, the group’s newest and youngest member, sits behind a kit previously occupied by Sutton Marley and Chris Leidhecker. At just 21, he met Arroyo while a student at the South Bay School of Music Arts. “Every time we have a gig or we practice, it’s always a treat because I get to play with, in my perspective, the elders,” he explains. “The fact that I’m here is a big deal, and the fact that I’m playing with them is an even bigger deal to me.” For a quick taste of the Trio, try “Juliana,” written by Arroyo as a tribute to his family after the passing of a close relative. Starting with washes from Arroyo’s overdriven guitar,

it’s clear the group is establishing a moodier foundation than your typical jazz trio. After playing through a tender, lyrical chorus, Arroyo’s guitar steps back to welcome Paclibon’s bass solo, a searching series of note clusters. A quick cymbal flourish marks the passing of the torch, and Arroyo’s Jazzmaster—a signature of the group’s sound—steps into the limelight. Delicate picking builds to feverish strumming and leads to a bittersweet finale. Collaborating musicians aren’t able to build such evocative moments without incredible trust and a working understanding of one another’s musical vocabulary. Over the years, Arroyo and Paclibon have become fluent in the other’s style and are now able to react, and almost anticipate, each other’s musical choices. All three musicians agree that the thing they struggle with most is finding a proper way to categorize their sound. The idea of improvised shows would most closely align with the jazz tradition, but the effects and tones the band utilize often fall more in line with what one would expect from indie or alternative rock. Their live explorations can even touch upon elements of dub and reggae. “It’s almost soundscaping, in a way,” Arroyo offers. But that lack of traditional genre has become the point of the group: in a musical world obsessed with labels, these three come together with no discernable guideposts, choosing instead to pull from their collective experience to channel a compelling and spontaneous conflict and resolution. The result is not always flawless, but Arroyo relishes that imperfect side of the live experience. “A lot of that is because we’re not using sheet music most of the time,” he adds. “We’re not coming from a shared road map. In a way, we’re stacking our own maps on top of each other, trying to find a road to the same place, or trying to create a new road. But that makes it fun.” Fans can expect The Mark Arroyo Trio’s new full-length project, Two Sides to a Promise, in May, and in 2018 the group is planning a limited vinyl release that captures their live chemistry, something akin to last year’s EP, Shoegazing on Sunday.


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“I’m still in it to win it.” _ Cliff Rawson Cliff Rawson, Aaron Anaya, James Meder, Peter Colclasure, and Kevin Hull

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The Band instagram:colarocks


or the past six years, musician Cliff Rawson, whose band, Cola, just released its Great Taste EP on SNAFU Family Records, has worked to grow the prestige of San Jose’s live music scene. “San Jose is on the ups,” he says. “There’s a whole bunch of little bright points of light.” A San Jose native, Rawson went to school at Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory. After graduating, he remained on the East Coast, starting and dissolving several bands (most notably Ladycop) as he fine-tuned his musicianship. When describing his early work, he rattles off a few different genres that his music could be categorized under—electronica, indie rock, punk, post-punk, shoegaze—before concluding, “I don’t subscribe too much to all that categorization of styles.” After nearly a decade of living and working in Boston and New York, Rawson returned to the Bay Area in 2011 to be closer to his family. He landed a job that he seemed perfect for, as a pianist at Ballet San Jose (and now at the recently formed New Ballet). “It’s the best job I’ve ever had, for sure,” he says of being able to work a nine-to-five playing music and being creative. Meanwhile, Rawson has been reconnecting to his San Jose community via the local music scene. But coming from the artistic and cultural hub of New York City, there was an adjustment process. Although he gives props to places like The Ritz, Art Boutiki, Cafe Stritch, Caffe Frascati, and Good Karma, he can’t help but draw comparisons. “You could find all that stuff in Brooklyn. You’ve just covered, like, two blocks of Williamsburg with all of the cool things in San Jose. But it’s cool, it’s kind of like a small town, and there are advantages to that. It’s connected in a way that you don’t get in an anonymous big city.” A few years ago, Rawson channeled some of his frustrations into a demo which was primarily just himself singing and playing acoustic guitar. He called the project Cola. “I like the sound of the word,” he explains. “It’s a word that’s so associated with a particular brand that we’ve almost forgotten it has a generic meaning—like, there’s a cola plant

and you can get cola that isn’t branded. So I like taking the word back from The Man a little bit. It’s kind of rock-and-roll. And it sticks—people remember it.” Cola began to evolve almost immediately, as Rawson brought in musician friends to join him for live shows. He organized some concerts at Art Boutiki, then connected with The Ritz to begin putting on larger events as his network grew. He formed a concert promotion company called Showtime Productions, booking shows that bring together up-and-coming local and out-of-town artists. The new Cola EP has been a year in the making. Rawson gained access to a live studio environment with enormous rooms and natural, cathedral-like reverberation, and the sounds started to morph the feel of the music he was creating. “It changed the sound of the band from being a sort of New York rhythm and blues to [having] a much more atmospheric, psych element—which was always there, but has come much more into the forefront with these soundscapes. I’m a very ’try and see’ kind of guy and we were just throwing a bunch of paint at the canvas. We’ve put it out and gotten a really positive response and suddenly we’ve got a tour in the works.” The current incarnation of the live band, which will go on a West Coast tour in August and a European tour in December, consists of Rawson, Aaron Anaya, Peter Colclasure, James Meder, and Kevin Hull. And Rawson hopes this is just the early stages of his rock-and-roll dream. “I’m still in it to win it,” he says. “I feel like at this point in my life, I’ve kind of figured out how to take a good band from a local level to a regional level to a national level. If you’re talking about doing it professionally, you’re talking about playing live shows for people all over the place. That’s what you can do that they can’t get on the internet.” No matter how far Cola goes, Rawson’s work is already starting to achieve his other goal of putting San Jose on the map—and that’s another bright point of light.

Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by daniel garcia


“What was great in the ’60s is great still, so I use vintage whenever I can.” _Rob Ernst

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NOISE ROOT STUDIO Written by Kate Evans Photography by Jai Tanju facebook: noiserootstudio


an Jose native Rob Ernst sits comfortably in his rolling chair with his American bulldog snoring on the leather sofa to his right and an enormous console of computer screens, audio equipment, and speakers directly behind him. He’s at home here, in his garage-turned-private-recording-studio, looking effortlessly cool, his flannel shirtsleeves perfectly rolled to reveal colorful tattoos along his forearms. Focused and intent, he has an innate energy that seems to reverberate right below the surface. At 30 years old, Rob has already established himself as one of San Jose’s music industry mainstays, an audio producer whose talents can be heard on albums, songs, commercials, and films. He fully acknowledges that the term “audio producer” can mean many things to many people, and Rob Ernst does many things. Overall, he plays a dual role in his work. There’s technique—he understands “what needs to be done technically to make the best sounding music.” But there’s also artistry—he “has the ability to give creative feedback and push the artist emotionally.” Whatever he does, it’s always in support of the artist. “I want to bring the artist’s intention of a song to life,” he says. “I figure out how that intention will translate on a recording.” He offers an example: a song that has rested on vocals and an acoustic guitar in coffee shops might need some help in the studio to re-create the energy and emotion that a singer taps into with a live audience. That could mean adding percussion, harmonies, or additional vocal texture. Through education, experience, and innate talent, Rob knows exactly what is needed to take a sliver of audio from good to deeply compelling. He also does sound for picture, which means recording on location, problem solving with postproduction, and even composing his own pieces for film. His credentials include ads for global brands and a feature film that debuted at San Jose’s Cinequest. He’s even working on a pilot for an episodic show being shot in Santa Cruz. He loves the challenge of taking raw sound and elevating it, or as

he says, “breathing life into it.” He is acutely aware of how his ability to manipulate sound can completely transform the visuals of the story underway. Rob’s home workspace, Noise Root Studio, built with the help of some friends and fellow bandmates, is custom—with walls 14 inches thick, a raised, vaulted ceiling, and an openness that allows producer and artists to share the intimacy of space. The acoustics result in, to Rob’s satisfaction, “a rich, full sound.” And the lack of partition between Rob and the musicians means he can be more fully engaged with, more finely attuned to, a performance. As for tools, he respects his sophisticated software and all that it does for his industry, but staying current requires a lot of time. It’s his analog gear that he particularly appreciates. “I really value my equipment—the mics and hardware,” he says, as he waves over to the collection of classic mics and amplifiers in the corner. “What was great in the ’60s is great still, so I use vintage whenever I can.” Noise Root is just one of the many tools that Rob Ernst uses to transform audio and sound into creative masterpieces. He also rents out larger studios and works on set. In between doing audio for clients like LinkedIn and Google, he finds passion projects with local artists. Rob’s easy-going, confident nature enables him to work with almost anyone who comes to him with a project. “I can almost always find something I like about a song or a project. Something where I say, OK, that’s compelling.” And that’s what Rob brings to his clients and partners—the sense of knowing what’s compelling, and when it’s not there, how to manufacture it. “I like a level of organic-ness,” he reflects. “What I’m after, what’s interesting, is not something clean and perfect, but where there are edges.” He acknowledges that there is a place for clean and perfect audio and that there’s a challenge in obtaining that. But for Rob, what makes something compelling, what elevates it to art, is finding “those little edges that show character.”


Aaron Marquez | Kosuke Okamura | Nehal Abuelata | Brandon Garcia | Josh Gardner | Devin Moreno

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Sweet HayaH Pronounced [Sweet Hi-Yah]

Written by Francisco Alvarado Photography by Arabela Espinoza instagram: sweethayah


weet HayaH’s sound is familiar because they are what happens when you mix indie rock, piano ballads, ska music, hip-hop, latin flavor, and on and on. They are none of these genres and all of these genres, and somehow it just works. The musical backgrounds of this six-person band are just as diverse as the genres that influenced them individually. Nehal Abuelata, the lead vocalist, pianist, and human energy drink, began her musical journey in Capoeira circles, chanting with the crowd while the martial artists battled. Devin Moreno, the lead guitarist, played in metal bands prior to Sweet HayaH and enjoys anything from the 1970s. Aaron Marquez on bass guitar also has a wide variety of musical interests and a history with metal; in fact, he played in a metal band together with Moreno. “I’ll go from hip-hop to Zeppelin to Lamb of God, all in one sitting,” Marquez says. Lead drummer Josh Gardner’s interests are metal and funk; trumpeter Brandon Garcia listens to ska music; and percussionist Kosuke Okamura brings a love for salsa and pop. These varied musical styles and personalities came together through a combination of coincidence and necessity. Moreno, Marquez, and Gardner were fixtures at the local open mic night, jamming together whenever Marquez wasn’t competing in a bowling league. They encountered Abuelata on a non-open-mic night and ended up playing together. “There was this back and forth chemistry that I had with her that I wasn’t able to pull off with anyone else,” Moreno says. The next day Abuelata happened to walk in to Moreno’s workplace, in need of a mirror. “These metal guys like what I’m playing?” Abuelata recalls asking herself when they asked her to join. Okamura joined after the band needed percussion on a couple of songs. At that time, Abuelata and Moreno were digging the percussion used by Curtis Mayfield, so when they met Okamura, they knew he’d be a great addition to Sweet HaYah. Later on, Garcia, the trumpet player, would join as he just so happened to record at the same studio as the band. Now a group of six, the members stress the value

of an open mind and objective listening. “Trying to listen to yourself objectively,” says Moreno, “is one of the hardest things to do as a musician.” Criticism is welcomed and the members are attentive to each other’s ideas. “We all take risks,” Abuelata says. They embrace each other’s different ways of doing music. When someone tries something new, no matter how subtle, the others take notice. “What have you been listening to? Do it again!” Abuelata recalls shouting at her bandmates on several occasions. A lot of what they do is the result of coincidence and creative accident. A number of instruments used on their latest album, Gentle Lies, were lying around the recording studio when a member of the band decided to try them out. “Most of the things I do are accidents,” Marquez says. But accidents like these can become a source of strength during live performances. “I get bored if I play the same songs the same way, every single time,” Abuelata says. “She keeps us on our toes,” Marquez replies. While the band is on their toes, Abuelata keeps the crowd moving with a boundless energy that is the embodiment of Sweet HayaH’s wild and upbeat tracks. “We have fun with each other. Fun is contagious,” Abuelata says. “We had just as much fun when there were only three people at our shows. Doesn’t matter, we’re gonna rock it.” That fun factor is what makes Sweet HayaH a “festival band.” Their music and stage presence work well in front of large crowds, and they embrace the festival label because they know that’s where they want to be. “We want to be at a BFD or an Outside Lands or a BottleRock,” Marquez says. “I want to go back to South By Southwest,” Moreno chimes in. That fun, high-energy attitude ingrained in their music and expressed during live performances is what makes them special. The band’s personality comes from their devil-may-care approach to their artistry. “I might mess up, but if I don’t, it’s gonna sound so good!” Abuelata says. “That’s our mantra,” Moreno laughs.



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S oa gutsy c obluesrvoicer a Written by Tad Malone Photography by Mark Chau instagram: socorramusic


an Jose singer-songwriter Socorra’s voice can send chills down first-time listeners’ spines. It’s familiar but unique, and undeniable in its smoky richness. And Socorra is no pseudonym. It’s her real name, a more feminized version of her grandmother’s name, Socorro, which means “help” in Spanish. “My mom wanted all of my siblings and me to have uncommon names,” Socorra says. Raised in a San Josean musical family, Socorra has always had a strong inclination toward sound. It was her father—a multi-instrument musician— who encouraged her pursuit of a musical career. “I started on drums at 10 years old, then added guitar when I started writing songs at about 13,” she says. She recalls her dad giving her a binder of classic rock songs and the corresponding chord charts for practice. “I was listening to music in a totally different way when I felt like I could also be a participant. It was really exciting,” she says. Socorra’s first EP, The Paper Guitar, took a while to create. “I kept talking about recording songs and just making up excuses as to why it wasn’t getting done. I was getting annoyed with myself,” she says. So while visiting a friend in St. Paul, Minnesota, she decided to book some studio time on a whim. Armed with a few older songs like “Imagination” and “Selfish” and “St. Paul,” written the night before her session, Socorra laid down a few demos that would become the catalyst for her EP. For the more fully realized Break EP, Socorra set stronger parameters. “I didn’t have a strict deadline, but I wanted to get it done in a timely manner,” she says. To help with punctuality and to create a broader sound, Socorra enlisted the help of three musician friends—Brian Hart on bass, Jeff Wheeler on drums, and Katie Day on keys and piano. Recorded in less than a week, Break is a roaring, head-bopping blues-rock journey, peppered with country swoons and jazz gesticulations. It sounds

vintage, yet refreshingly contemporary. Songs like “Imagination,” which appears on both The Paper Guitar and Break, and “Evil Eye” are haunting in their melodic ferocity, mobilized by Socorra’s powerful, defined vocals. Others, like “Stranger” or “If I Ruled the World,” combine pop and swing with a mysterious sense of groove. One of Socorra’s most engrossing songs is the single “Glass.” Telling a story of a girl hardened by life, the song begins as a marching blues meditation but then explodes into a soaring and self-affirming call to arms for women everywhere. Lyrically, Socorra cites almost everything as an influence—especially other people. “I take a lot of stories that I’ve heard or what people have told me and put them into songs.” Three things in particular have influenced her more than others: classic rock, other singer-songwriters, and Motown. As for her composition process, she tends to write both words and notes at the same time, often using improvisation. “I like walking around my house with my guitar and singing nonsense and playing random chords until it doesn’t seem so random anymore,” she says. In her live performances, she uses a shaker and a foot tambourine in her acoustic sets. “I like to challenge myself,” she says about performing. While she has no current plans for a future EP, that doesn’t mean Socorra is slowing down. Besides some upcoming local shows at One Roof Sessions with Better Promises and Vudajé and at Caffe Frascati, Socorra will be performing a showcase with Balanced Breakfast at this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. In the meantime, she plans to get even more involved in the San Jose music scene with the friends she’s made along the way. “I plan to keep cultivating and contributing to the community, figuring out ways that we can all lift each other up and accomplish our goals.”


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CONTENT MUSIC Written and Curated by Universal Grammar


n this issue, you’ll find a new sonic residency in literary form—Content Music—designed to enlighten your taste buds with emerging voices, cultural leaders both of our time and the near future. Here, you’ll find art and music, stories previously untold, artistry in its rightful place. As a starting point, peruse this eloquent dialogue from an important influencer, Stephen Goldstone, aka DJ Sake One, one of the West Coast’s finest DJs in the game. His weekly Pacific Standard Time (PST) party not only elevated the standard in nightlife club culture, but pushed the envelope and forecast the future. Though a constant presence for the seven or eight years that made up its lifetime, PST didn’t have one set time or place, shifting from Thursday to Tuesday then back to Thursday again, never settling in one location. Despite the venue hopping and day swapping, it remained a trend-setting space. It was the spot in San Francisco where every week you would see a room peppered with tastemakers, emerging fashion designers, and in-the-know b-ball players visiting the Bay Area for a game against the Warriors. It was a shining moment in the Bay’s nightlife scene. It felt authentic. The spirit of PST is something its successor, TCS, strives to evoke every week. The music TCS shares every Thursday evening touches deeply everyone involved in producing it. Sometimes playing, or listening, can be a downright religious experience. This group is serious about music, but finds also plenty of joy in the process of finding it, pairing it, and sharing it. The hope is for listeners to find that same joy at TCS.

“Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain Over and over you can be sure There will be sorrow but you will endure Where there’s a flower there’s the sun and the rain Oh and it’s wonderful they’re both one in the same” _Maze, Frankie Beverly

social media: thereal_chalebrown


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DJ Sake One Interview by Brandon Roos Photography by Polaroid JAy


J Sake One is one of the resident DJs behind weekly party The Changing Same (TCS). A collaborator and mentor, he provided the key inspiration for the TCS concept and he’s a regular featured guest on the decks. In particular, his much heralded hours-long James Brown tribute sets in December are a prime example of how DJs can use their platform not just to entertain but to educate.

of social change. The Changing Same was a concept that literally came from a conversation we had about music and society—the idea that “roots” and urban music forms can and often are the most progressive, quickly evolving, and influential genres. We talked about it as a music event or concert series, and Tommy applied the name from an Amiri Baraka essay he had read. We did one event, but I had a busy DJ career and he was producing parties, festivals, and doing arts programming at MACLA in San Jose, so we both got busy. Tommy continued to think and plan and several years later, he told me he wanted to make it a weekly event to continue the struggle to bring cutting-edge music culture to the Bay Area. I was juiced he was manifesting it and of course wanted to be involved in any way I could. I DJ there at least once a month.

What was the philosophy and format of your former party, PST? Do you believe that the spirit of PST exists within TCS, or do you consider the two to be entirely separate ideas? Pacific Standard Time was a party designed to bring world-class music and DJ culture in a weekly format to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Specifically, our goal was to break soulful dance music in an environment that was welcoming to everyday working people. Describe your relationship with Tommy Aguilar. Do you recall the first time you two met? I don’t remember when I met Tommy, but his reputation preceded him: people regularly asked me if I knew him and told me he was doing similar shit in San Jose. Worldview and what kind of person you are determine who I work with, not making money. Me and Tommy never set out to make money, we actually never set out to do anything—we just were excited about some of the same music, DJs, and ideas. And rather than working with each other out of brand consideration, we worked with each other because we wanted to. Tommy regularly involves me in projects he doesn’t need me for. He just wants me to be involved. And I am the same way with him. Of course, over the years, his brand and rep have grown beyond San Jose and the Bay Area, so his involvement in anything I do is a big blessing.

What was your first impression when Cory, the CME, said he wanted you to mentor him? How has the relationship between the two of you grown since that encounter? Cory is a guy who just from jump has a lot of what some people call “candela” or flame—he is someone who you can’t help but notice, watch, and want to talk to. He is highly intelligent, funny, one of the best dressed dudes around, and has incredible music knowledge of not only current music, but shit that came out way before he was DJ’ing. This last thing is a cardinal sign of a great DJ, and when he started coming to PST parties, I immediately saw him as someone that would be great to have involved as more than a party attendee. Eventually, he began to DJ and quickly became quite good at it. To this day, Cory is the only dude who can say he was a resident DJ at both PST and TCS. As both a longtime DJ and promoter, do you find TCS to be different from other nights and parties in the Bay Area? Why or why not? TCS is important and unique in its ability to transform from a music-forward dance party on one Thursday, to a legit live music experience on a different Thursday. Other people and events have done live performances

What made you want to collaborate on shows with Tommy under the TCS moniker, and why have you continued to play an active part in supporting the brand over the years? Again, Tommy and I are united in our passion for ideas, specifically ideas that relate to art and culture, and the broader processes


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instagram: sake1derful

and PAs, but TCS actually transforms their space and vibe, while keeping the essence of their event and the excitement of a DJ-based dance party intact. It’s pretty impressive and a testament to how much the TCS principles care about music and about San Jose.

up to San Francisco on Thursdays to party with us and would regularly say “we need something like this in San Jose.” I always told them to attend Tommy’s events, but I also remember a lot of them telling me San Jose wouldn’t, or couldn’t, support an event like PST. Tommy and the TCS crew have proven that false. Due to Tommy and other people’s work in San Jose, it is arguably a more music-friendly city now than San Francisco—and equal to Oakland.

Would you consider TCS to be a “DJ friendly” party? Why or why not? TCS is a DJ’s dream party because they have a successful party that has a solid turnout regardless of what’s going on any particular night—their crowd comes for TCS, not to see any particular DJ or act. TCS is firmly rooted as a musicforward brand. There is no pressure to dumb down your sets, and the crowd wants to hear new music. For any DJ who is serious about breaking new songs and pushing music forward—and in my opinion, you ain’t much of a DJ if you don’t do these things— TCS is a dream gig.

Is there a particular TCS show or night that stands out a favorite moment for you, as either a DJ or an attendee? The event they did 10/8/15 with Christian Rich, JMSN, Jack Davey, and Kris Bowers blew me away. I really saw Tommy’s vision come to fullcolor fruition that night, and I had that little fellowDJ-slash-promoter tinge of jealousy that is healthy because I recognized he had a super hot party and one that would also have a positive impact on everyone who came into contact with it. I am super proud of Tommy and the TCS crew and hella happy for them. I consider myself a part of TCS, like an uncle or big brother, and the work they put in opens doors for all music lovers in Northern California. They deserve our appreciation and gratitude for that.

What do you think it means to the culture of San Jose that TCS not only exists as a weekly, but that it recently celebrated a one-year anniversary? Surviving one year is a testament to San Jose’s ability to support progressive music and culture events. During the time I threw PST, a lot of our folks came


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ALBUM PICKS Curated by Tommy Aguilar

Matt Martians The Drum Chord Theory LP (Three Quarter)

Childish Gambino Awaken, My Love! LP (Glassnote)

Solange A Seat at the Table LP (Saint Records/Columbia)

The traceable depths of Matt Martians’ catalog date back to 2010, but in due time since, the 28-yearold singer, keyboardist, and producer (perhaps most notable for his contributions as one half of the original members of R&B band The Internet) has been churning out experimental electro funky jazz for the greater part of the last decade. Drum Chord Theory was one that flew under the radar due to a slew of new releases in the earliest part of 2017, but the LP reminds me less of an album and more of a series of boom-bap vignettes. The sonic palette is splattered with warm drum patterns, as choppy and disorienting as the album itself. Frequent interruptions in tempo are then stirred by dialogue sound bites of Matt and the band. The album is tied together by central themes of loyalty, friendship, love, and marijuana. Standout tracks include “Dent Jusay,” “Where Are Your Friends,” and “Diamond in the Ruff.” @carolinebeleno

The music and artistry of Childish Gambino’s (aka Donald Glover’s) past has gained plenty of new lenses. With Awaken, My Love! sneakily unleashed in December of last year, following his latest claim to fame with his witty and intelligent show, Atlanta, on FOX, Childish Gambino drops a psychedelicsoul-funk-jazz opus. Much of Awaken, which marks Mr. Glover’s third studio record, features work with longtime collaborator Ludwig Göransson and the project clearly vaunts the musical growth of both artists. Awaken is pure-needle droppin’ material, taking you to places and spaces of black music’s past. I hear Bootsy, Sly, Funkadelic, Prince, Jimi, Miles, etc. George Clinton is actually featured on the track “Riot.” Most importantly, with Awaken it comes off authentic. It’s delivered free of forcedness—taking chances and challenging the listener who was maybe expecting something else. And the album artwork is stunning, setting the tone visually to accompany this future funk-psychedelic-jazz trip.

The last of 2016 and the early days of 2017 have us feeling, knowing, there is a musical renaissance going on. With all the distraction that may or may not be grabbing your time—some of it warranted and in need of our collective attention, but most of it just jargon and rhetoric filled with hate—you can find solace in the inspiring music being made right now. One of those albums is Solange’s A Seat at the Table, released independently on her own imprint. If you’ve been following these reviews, you’ll know that featuring an album that’s already reached high acclaim is not our MO. Transcending any success the album has had (at press time, the song “Cranes in the Sky” had won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance and the album itself debuted as the number one record on Billboard back in September), it is mandatory listening from our point of view. An album that leads with a fearlessness that is making music so good right now. And it’s only going to get better. @thereal_chalebrown



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Thundercat Drunk LP (Brainfeeder)

Chris McClenney Portrait in Two LP

Very much a beacon of the Universal Grammar / The Changing Same sound diaspora, Thundercat has been a fixture at our events dating back to 2006. Fact. He was the bass player for J*DaVey, an LA duo who were known as the progenitors of their sound and the new guard of the Los Angeles music scene, forebears to the future music movements prevalent in everyone’s current streaming service playlist. They played at the launch party for The Changing Same, a party we produced at the now defunct Mighty SF. With his eccentric fashion style and iconic Thundercats cartoon-version belt buckle in full display, he began his reputation as the baddest bassist in the west. Fast forward to 2014, before the current heightened next-jazz movement led by his label Brainfeeder, he played for a San Jose crowd at that year’s San Jose Jazz Winter Fest, copresented by us. Now he has unleashed his latest greatest, Drunk, billed as a “23-track epic journey into the often hilarious, sometimes dark mind of the Grammywinning singer/bassist.” Joining him on the project: Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington, and Brainfeeder mastermind Flying Lotus. The lead single, “Friend Zone,” is one of the illest tracks for the early part of 2017, definitely TCS rotation material. @thereal_chalebrown

Vocalist and producer Chris McClenney makes his record debut with Portrait in Two, an EP that showcases the strength of his song writing and much-touted creativity. Having showcased his talents on remixes with the venerable Soulection label, McClenney takes it upon himself to craft original classics from the influences of his youth and adulthood. The album begins with an internalized monologue spoken from the point of view of McClenney’s inner voice. Representing all his fears and doubts as an artist, a litany of fractured questions builds up on “Consciousness” until the torrent breaks with a voice in the distance, waking Chris from his daydream. “Headlines” is a call to action to abandon those reservations and trust in the person he has become, and “Run” is a verbal mantra in taking chances and standing your ground. In songs like “What You Mean to Me” and “Pearl,” we find several modern love ballads that bring to light Chris’s singing and piano playing, touched with the sounds of today. To round up the project’s contemplative mood, tracks like “Untitled (Funk #2)” and “Glide” help to get the hot-steppers out on the dance floor.

Eric Lau Examples LP (First Word Records)

(McClenney Music)

McClenney’s debut shows the promise in a young adult’s dreams. With a mix of modern R&B, funk, and jazz, there is enough to tide us over until the next release; hopefully that means a full-length LP. @dandiggity


UK producer Eric Lau makes a pulsating return with his latest instrumental full-length, Examples. This new album continues the beat-tape esthetics that he is known for, filled with sketches and ideas that have been percolating within his producer’s mind. Highlighting both his penchant for rhythmic jazz samples and his vocal chops, Examples takes the listener on the perfect headphone excursion, one that keeps the neck snapping. “New Speed” breaks open the album with a syncopation of sounds and rhythms that has one foot in the recording studio and the other in space. Following that is the aptly named “Lift Off,” a song that nudges closer to a live session in flight. The dirty loops of “Rahw” and “Spooky Fonk” are reminiscent of the compositions that graced the late J Dilla’s Ruff Draft tape. Raw and unapologetic, they stand to show Lau’s grit on the pads. “4 De La” plays De La Soul melodies from their AOI era, while “Can I Get a Witness” chops up Q-Tip’s familiar vocals to help punctuate this message to the fans: better recognize the skills. While most of the album is filled with midtempo gems, one of my favorite tracks was “Masamba,” a bossa nova–flavored tune that can transition easily from dance floor to dance floor. DJs take note. Although short on variety, Examples offers a considerable amount of music to satisfy longtime Eric Lau fans and beat aficionados alike. Lau continues to nurture a sound that stays timeless and well-traveled with each release. I suggest picking up the limited edition yellow vinyl from First Word Records. You won’t regret it. @dandiggity

Chef & owner Guillaume Bienaime

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Written by Michelle Runde Photography by Stan olszewski



any modern foodies find French cuisine divisive: those delectable flavors often come with the added cost of heavy, calorie-rich sauces and an overly formal dining experience. For casual, more health-conscious diners, Zola, a seasonal French restaurant in downtown Palo Alto, offers the best of both worlds. Chef and owner Guillaume Bienaime puts a fresh spin on traditional dishes, bringing a California sensibility to haute cuisine. Having spent part of his childhood in France, Chef Guillaume developed a taste for French cuisine and found himself in the professional kitchen early on. “I’ve been cooking since I was fifteen,” he says. “It’s always been something I was interested in.” After graduating from culinary school in 2003, Guillaume began interning at Marché, a high-end classic French restaurant in Menlo Park. “I worked there for seven years; they were my formative years.” He rose from intern to executive chef, learning along the way what it would take to run a critically acclaimed restaurant. “Marché is where I developed my style and my network of customers. It’s also where I learned a lot about wine. I kind of figured out a lot about the community,” reflects Guillaume. Marché closed its doors in 2011, and by then he was ready to move on to his next project. After Marché, Chef Guillaume did a mix of private catering and restaurant consulting, eventually working in Portola Valley at Mike’s Cafe, which later reopened as Portola Kitchen under his guidance. After three years, Guillaume quit to look for his next challenge. In early 2014, he found a vacant space in Palo Alto, and by September Zola was open for business. “I had the experience where I felt confident that opening a new restaurant was going to work,” he says. With a preexisting customer network in the Bay Area, Guillaume knew Zola would be a welcome dining addition. Any preconceived notions about French dining are forgotten the moment you enter the restaurant. There are no long white tablecloths, no complex arrangements of formal silverware. Instead, diners are treated to beautiful bare wooden tables that look ready to support the weight of a feast. With seating for just over forty, the restaurant is small enough for each diner to be treated like a treasured guest.


“We’re not here to create a ’French experience.’ We’re here to create a French-influenced experience that’s in Palo Alto. This is an expression of our story.” _Chef Guillaume Bienaime

The wait staff comes fully prepared to guide diners through the menu, the daily specials, and the curated wine list. Sold by the bottle and by the glass, each wine has been carefully selected to complement the menu and satisfy even the most selective oenophile. Chef Guillaume also offers a playful take on the basic kir, a popular French cocktail made with crème de cassis topped with white wine. At Zola, kir gets a seasonal spin with kir danube (elderflower), kir automn (pear), and the sweet kir madagascar (vanilla). These delightful drinks are must-tries—even for those who don’t normally order cocktails. In keeping with the lessons he learned at Marché, Chef Guillaume has captured the best aspects of French dining. The menu offers timeless staples such as roasted bone marrow and tartare de boeuf mixed with refreshing flavors to keep things from becoming too heavy. “I try to keep the food light and balanced,” says Chef Guillaume. Receptive to feedback from guests and the community, he has adjusted the menu over time to remove overly traditional dishes that haven’t worked and has added more produce-focused options. “We’re not here to create a ’French experience,’ ” Chef Guillaume explains. “We’re here to create a French-influenced experience that’s in Palo Alto. This is an expression of our story.” Dining in Zola doesn’t take you away to a different place: it makes you love the place you’re in. Chef Guillaume is always fine-tuning the menu, and diners are invited to come in and sample his latest creations. From date night to dinner with friends, Zola is the manifestation of successful French dining in the Bay Area. 565 Bryant Street | Palo Alto, CA 94301 | 650.521.0651 social media: zolapaloalto


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brewing Written by Brandi Stansbury Photography by scott MacDonald instagram: hapas-brewing-company 460 Lincoln Ave Ste. 90 | San Jose, CA



he Midtown Arts Mercantile on Lincoln Avenue houses some of the city’s most innovative and creative businesses, while connecting the Willow Glen neighborhood to downtown San Jose. There’s something to be said for being in the right place at the right time. For lifelong friends Derek Tam and Brian Edwards, along with accomplished beer-brewing figure Peter Burrell, the right place is Hapa’s Brewing Company on the south end of the Mercantile building. The right time is now. Brian and Derek met in their little league years in Los Gatos and have remained friends ever since. Both returned to the area after college, and Brian laughs as he reminisces about their first go at brewing. “I had no job and no prospects. In that period, I got into home brewing. Derek was with me the whole way.” It started with some basic supplies and ingredients, along with a recipe from the home brewing store. Both craftsmen found home-brewed beer was fun to make—and even more fun to drink. They watched their hobby evolve as they started to explore more advanced systems and delve more deeply into the art and science of brewing. The name Hapa came naturally to them as they brewed for friends and family. It’s a play on the word hops, but also has another dimension. “It’s a Hawaiian word,” explains Brian. “The literal translation is ’mixed.’ ” Not only is it reminiscent of the mixing involved in brewing, but it’s also used to describe people of mixed ancestry. “Derek and I are both ’Hapas,’ ” Brian says. “I’m half Japanese and half Caucasian, and Derek is half Chinese, half Caucasian.” As Derek found his way into investments and finance, Brian worked in tech, and it was then that their hobby called to them. Brian jumped out of tech and spent a year brewing with Peter Burrell at his Dempsy’s Brewery in Petaluma. A Saratoga native, Peter understands the South Bay area and, with Derek and Brian, saw the potential for success in opening a brewery in this underserved market. Their quest for the perfect spot had begun. “We wanted to find a space that was unique and special,” Derek explains. After having seen over 50 different spaces, they came across a location that was actually a storage unit. Yet it had all the makings of a distinctive space. “We tried to visualize what it was going to look


Brian Edwards

Derek Tam

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like and knew it would work,” Derek says. The space is right in the middle of the burgeoning Midtown neighborhood, and they were originally unaware that the area would be going through some redevelopment. “It’s cool to be a part of that and see Willow Glen connect to downtown and the Rose Garden,” Brian adds. “This Midtown neighborhood is becoming a spot to be.” They are happy to be a part of this evolving location, since the city seems to be backing the development of the neighborhood and the residents are enjoying the changes. Many people have taken to walking and biking to Hapa’s, something they had not done until recently. “Everyone in the neighborhood’s been telling us they’ve been excited for us to open,” Derek says, delighting in the brewery’s reception. “We have been too! We want to be a destination spot in the community.” With board games, shuffleboard, cornhole, occasional live music, and food trucks, the dream of Hapa’s becoming a destination is turning into a reality. The vibe and immediate goal of the brewery’s brand focuses on the overall experience of the tap room. “We want to make sure people have a good time,” Derek explains. Currently, the bar has three classic types of beer on tap: IPA, blonde, and a porter, all brewed with style. Fans of the brewery can take Hapa’s beer home with them or give it as gifts to friends, thanks to the brewery’s crowler (can-sized-growler) program. A one-timeuse, filled, and sealed-on-the-spot can is fast becoming the industry standard for takeaway beer. These recyclable vessels keep beer fresh for longer than a traditional growler, and just look more fun. “It’s like a big, old-school Foster’s can,” Derek smiles. “It’s nice to know that people can share these with friends—and ultimately share the experience they have when they come here.”



Markas Plato

Photographers: Markas Plato and Arabela Espinoza. Production: Kristen Pfund. Art Direction/Styling: Elle Mitchell. Styling: Arabela Espinoza . Hair: Debbie Duran, Brianna Virta, and Taylor Virta for Umbrella Salon . Make-Up: Veronica Lewis for Umbrella Salon and Renee Batres . Talent: Angelique, Milia, Jackson, and Joniel for JE Model Management, Bella for Look Model Agency . Props provided by Thrift City Furniture, Antiques Colony, and Briarwood Antiques and Collectables. . .Clothing and accessories provided by Moon Zooom, Black & Brown, and CAM JEWELRY. . Swimwear provided by Palapa Lounge Beachwear. . Shot on location at Hotel Rose Garden. .

Arabela Espinoza

Markas Plato

Markas Plato

Arabela Espinoza

Markas Plato

Markas Plato

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Arabela Espinoza

Arabela Espinoza

Markas Plato

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M arina A dair Interview by Ann Bridges Photography by Daniel Garcia


American traditions, the expansion of e-books has allowed me to reach readers everywhere. My book Summer in Napa hit #1 in three different countries in the same week.

How did you feel watching your novel Autumn in the Vineyard come to life in the Hallmark Channel original movie? It was one of the highlights of my career thus far. I hold a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting, so when I switched my focus to novels, I thought I had to give up on the dream of watching my work make it to the screen. Muse Entertainment and the Hallmark Channel allowed me to follow both dreams. Very few novels ever are made into movies, so I’m honored to be one of the chosen few to reach a different audience of viewers, not just readers.

Why did you choose this medium to communicate with rather than video, especially since you can understand better than most where the movie version of your story might have been more or less impactful? I tried many mediums before finding my passion for writing novels. My bachelor’s degree is in film studies, and my MFA is in screenwriting, but I quickly discovered after working on a few movie sets that, for me, something was lacking in the creative process. I am as passionate about my characters as I am about the setting and the emotion behind the words. As a novelist, I get to be the writer, director, actor, and set designer, combining all my creative training into one piece.

arina Adair is a #1 national best-selling author of romance novels, devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive.

Most people don’t realize how many women—and men—read romance novels, and therefore what a wonderful opportunity it is for writers to run their own successful businesses. What is the most surprising aspect in your experience as an entrepreneur? More than 50 percent of all traditionally published books sold are romance novels, and romance dominates the e-book market too. It is a huge industry with a voracious readership, yet it’s a genre that is consistently undervalued because it explores female-dominant issues, such as balancing career, family, love, and aspirations. Fortunately, romance readers are very open-minded to discover and read new authors, so the market is a growing and vibrant one, not stagnant like so many other genres dominated by one or two best-selling authors.

How do you shape your stories? All stories are about relationships, so for me it is natural to have that as the jumping-off point. To understand the conflict of the story, I need to first figure out what each character needs (external struggle) and what they fear (internal struggle), then make certain both struggles conflict. Once natural conflict is established, I create a Rising Action Chart using a different colored pen for each plot line. The goal is a complex story with approachable themes and characters. I map out the story on a piece of butcher paper to make sure I have a fast-paced, balanced book with conflict, tension, and relatable characters. This also allows me to estimate the final word count to ensure I will be within the contractual length my publisher requires. If even one of those elements is missing, I start over with a new sheet of butcher paper. The screenwriter in me demands I prepare for the creative process. In any creative medium, story quality is the product of purposeful preparation. Creative mastery is what escapes the cutting room floor.

These days, e-books are available globally. Where have you received the most appreciation for your stories? My books deal with themes of self-worth and the different forms of healthy love, which are issues women all around the world can relate to. And while my books are rooted in


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“Afternoon, Francesca,” the man said with enough practiced swagger that it made not rolling her eyes impossible. Frankie turned her head and, wishing she were standing so she could glare at him without having to shield her eyes, swore. Nathaniel DeLuca was six-plus feet of solid muscle, smug-male yumminess and he smelled like sex. He was also extremely Italian, annoying as hell and, for whatever reason, every time he entered Frankie’s space she felt all dainty and feminine. Which pissed her off even more because at one time she’d trusted Nate with her heart and a promise of keeping her deepest secret. And he’d broken them both. Thank God she had on her ball-buster boots today. Too bad they were currently covered in mud, alpaca fur, and pointing at the sky. “Go away, Nathaniel,” she said by way of greeting. The alpaca hummed louder, arching into her hand as Frankie scratched down his spine. “And leave a lady in need?” Nate asked, coming forward and squatting down to pluck a maple leaf off of Frankie’s forehead. “Nonna ChiChi would have my ass.” “I know you’re used to your women poised and proper. But I’ve got this handled.” “I didn’t know you paid that much attention to my women, but now that you mentioned the difference…” He plucked a branch from her hair and flashed his perfectly straight teeth in her face. His smile, like his personality, was lethal and his entitled attitude was one-hundred percent DeLuca. “That’s great,” he continued, “because I won’t have to worry that you’ll cry when I tell you to stop exciting my alpaca and get the hell off my property.”

Excerpt provided by Marina Adair twitter: marinaeadair


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COntent Calendar

maY/JUN #ContentPick



Silicon Valley Bikes Festival & Show


Flash Fiction Forum

The bicycle community will celebrate cycling and its history with demonstrations, artists and vendors, family fun, BMX stunt riding, and more. 5/7 History Park

Flash fiction is short-form fiction, typically no more than two double-spaced pages. At this forum, flash fiction writers will gather to read their work aloud. 5/10 Works/San José

11 Mastering the Board Building Cycle

Pear Slices 2017

Certified trainers from the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits will lead a handson workshop to help arts organizations in recruiting and training an effective board. 5/11 Sobrato Center for Nonprofits in San Jose

This evergreen collection of short, original plays from the Pear Playwrights Guild showcases the wide-ranging talent found among local playwrights, actors, and directors. 5/5–5/28 Pear Theatre

05 Jane’s Walk


Taste for the Space

06 Printers’ Fair & Wayzgoose


Swan Lake



Finding San Jose

Jane’s Walk is a global movement of free, locally led walking tours inspired by Jane Jacobs. Community guides will share stories of San Jose on each walk. 5/5–5/7 Various San Jose Venues

Print enthusiasts, students, educators, graphic designers, typophiles, artists, and printers will enjoy the demos, tours, and array of vendors and exhibitors at this fair. 5/6 History Park

Silicon Valley Open Studios

Hundreds of artists open their studios and shared spaces, showcasing the tremendous diversity and wealth of artistic talent in this creative valley. 5/6–5/21 Various Silicon Valley Venues

At this community experience, local culinary professionals will compete to win a fully equipped eatery space. Guests will have the chance to vote for their favorites. 5/13 Eastridge

The New Ballet’s streamlined rendition of this jewel from the classical ballet repertoire tells the story of a prince who falls in love with an enchanted swan queen. 5/13 California Theatre

Cellista’s album becomes the soundtrack for a multimedia event choreographed by Lilith Ransom and Mojo Deville with video projections and films by Jennifer Gigantino. 5/18–5/20 Akiyama Wellness Center

To have your event considered for listing, submit event to 96

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Maker Faire Bay Area



Pancakes & Booze Art Show

04 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern


Content Meet-Up

15 I Hate Hamlet


Story Is the Thing




24 ID10T Festival

This annual gathering of makers features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance, and craft. 5/19–5/21 San Mateo County Event Center

The San Jose edition of this art show will feature over 50 local artists, a unique lineup of music, live painting, and other forms of entertainment—plus pancakes. 5/20 Forager Tasting Room & Eatery

This portfolio review event connects emerging culture creatives in various design fields. Professionals are available to review and coach attendees in their areas of interest. 5/23 Park Station Hashery

This evening of storytelling will feature seven Bay Area authors reading on the theme of “To Find a Home.” There will be wine, cheese, and cupcakes beforehand. 5/25 Kepler’s Books

Packed with nonstop video programming, original artwork, music, dance, games, and panels, this celebration of Japanese art and pop culture is run by fans for fellow fans. 5/26–5/29 San Jose Convention Center

27 Taco Festival of Innovation

Moveable Feast curates dozens of taco trucks serving their rendition of a taco—from Vietnamese shrimp to ice cream tacos—plus entertainment to enjoy between tastings. 5/27 History Park


SubZERO Festival

Focused on subcultures thriving in the region, this combination festival and artwalk is a DIY, artistically bent, hi/lo-techno mashup where street meets geek. 6/2–6/3 SoFA District

Broadcast and recorded live from The Old Vic in London, David Leveaux’s new production marks the 50th anniversary of Tom Stoppard’s famous comedy. 6/4–6/6 Aquarius Theatre

An actor rents a New York apartment that used to belong to John Barrymore—whose ghost arrives, intoxicated and in full costume, causing complications in this comedy. 6/15–7/9 Olinder Theatre

Palo Alto World Music Day

Fifty professional and amateur artists will perform music from a wide variety of genres on street corners and in plazas all around University Avenue. 6/18 Downtown Palo Alto

Created and hosted by Chris Hardwick, this weekend of music, comics, gaming, comedy, technology, and pop culture will feature music headliner Weezer. 6/24–6/25 Shoreline Amphitheatre


ComedySportz World Championships

Twenty-five ComedySportz teams from across the US and Europe compete in this 30th annual improv comedy championship. 6/28–7/1 Hammer Theatre

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Contributors The production of Content Magazine would not be possible without the talented writers, editors, graphic artists, and photographers who contribute to each issue. We thank you and are proud to provide a publication to display your work. We are also thankful for the sponsors and readers who have supported this magazine through advertisements and subscriptions.

MAGGIE MOORE A big fan of dogs and tacos, Maggie is a graphic designer who, along with two other women, runs a creative design studio. instagram: maggiesayswhat

JAI TANJU Jai is a photographer and has exhibited his photos in London, Norway, and Tokyo. He owns Seeing Things Gallery with his wife, Blanche. They are both owned by a dog named Frida. instagram: seeingthingsgallery

ELLE MITCHELL A recent graduate from SJSU with an art and design degree and a full-time team member of CONTENT, Elle spends much of her time creating. Her passions include clean typography, creative packaging, and photographs that tell a story. You will probably find her in a coffee shop, styling photo shoots, or enjoying time with her friends and family. instagram: elleirene

LAURA LARSON Born and raised in San Jose, Laura graduated from SCU and has worked as a freelance copyeditor and writer. She currently works for an elevator company, occasionally teaches Irish step dancing, and reads and writes in her spare time.

MARK CHUA A photographer in love with fashion and street photography, Mark was born in Manila, but has spent half his life in San Jose. He picked up his first camera when fashion first called to him. His primary focus is his family and documenting the lives of his wife and two daughters. instagram: mark_j_chua

SCOTT MACDONALD Scott’s photographic career is built on a dozen years as a photojournalist at daily newspapers, informed by an endless fascination with California, and fueled by a passion for telling stories. He’s a freelance photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area focusing on editorial, commercial, and weddings.

KATHERINE HYPES Katherine moved back to the Bay Area by way of Berlin, and currently edits for fun. She enjoys rock climbing, supporting live music, and road trips to wherever. After exploring the Southwest, she’ll begin teaching Yin Yoga in Gilroy. instagram: kat.hype

JULIA CANAVESE Julia is a performing artist, arts administrator, and web content creator. By day, she supports Content and SVCREATES as communications and brand manager. In her “free time,” she performs with High Release Dance Company, Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, and other local choreographers. instagram: dancingdesigns

Want to be a part of the Content community? Contact us at:


Cut along line

___ Sight and Sound 9.2 ___ social media: californiawalks


___ Sight and Sound 9.2 ___

Cut along line


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Thank You

This issue is made possible with the support of our partners—companies and organizations who share our desire to support and develop the creative community of the South Bay. We are grateful for their contribution and support and for actively taking part in the betterment of our region.

For more information on becoming a mission partner, contact

Filco Events has been working on festivals, fundraisers, and events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. Each event is individually tailored to the special needs and goals of the organization. While fundraising is always a significant part of festivals, other priorities include media attention, corporate support, and volunteer building, as well as the opportunity to showcase specific programs and services to the community. In all cases, advancing long-term goals while still raising significant revenue gives each event purpose and recognition for many years into the future. From logistics to concessions to volunteer coordination, we can coantract key elements of large festivals, provide consultation, or actually direct the entire production. We are also available for national and multi-city events.

Proud Sponsor of Content Magazine Pick-Up Parties for 2017


Telly Award–winning Tabrizi Productions is downtown San Jose’s leader in event and commercial videography. Led by Farran Tabrizi, the company has expanded quickly since its introduction to San Jose’s SoFA district. Combining a creative eye with expert editing, Tabrizi Productions excels at capturing what makes your product or event special. Our team has produced online advertisements, instructional videos, music videos, and TV shows, and covered weddings, nonprofit events, festivals—and everything else in between.


Welcome to Foundry Commons. A place with a soul. That’s what you get when you move into the Foundry Commons. Part industrial. Part sophisticated. But all very real. Foundry Commons is where doers, originators, and creatives not only call home but make it as well. Unique to this community are resort-like amenities such as a Pool, Petanque Court, Bike Workshop, Dog Spa, Library Loft and a MicroGallery. Offering a variety of living options that mesh with your unique styles, Foundry Commons is where you can make a life for yourself. Mention Content Magazine and receive up to $100 move-in credit*. Now leasing 408.292.0868

Mach 7 Sound is a company local to the South Bay, catering professional sound reinforcement to a broad spectrum of events. Founded in San Jose as a hobby project, Mach 7 has grown to a versatile audio and lighting company with a proven track record of accommodating all their customers’ needs. With over 20 years of combined experience, Mach 7 has been supporting local music and arts in Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and beyond. facebook: FoundryCommons

*Pricing & Availability subject to change


Guglielmo Winery

The crew at Bay Maples specialize in water-saving options like installing rain-catchment systems to help conserve water. Fact: On a 1,000-square-foot roof, 600 gallons of rain can be collected for every inch of rain that falls. “So even in a drought year, you’ll easily get several thousand gallons. The problem isn’t not having enough rain, it’s how big of a tank do you want to store it.” Alan Hackler, Bay Maples founder.

(Owners, George E., Gene and Gary Guglielmo)

The Guglielmo family is a firm believer in creating wines that will be shared with food, family, and friends. Because of this, careful restraint is used to keep the wines from being overly alcoholic, too oaky, too “big,” or anything else that would overpower the enjoyment of the wine as a complement to a meal. Guglielmo Winery differentiates itself not only through its rustic and welcoming Tasting Room, but also by having a large and complete Event Center and a state-of-the-art winemaking and bottling facility. This bottling facility allows the winery to maintain a viable custom crush and custom labeling business in addition to the wines produced exclusively for the Guglielmo labels. The winery prides itself in providing great wine at a great value. facebook: guglielmowinery facebook: baymaples


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for the Professional Artist & Craftsman

Units range from 85 to 800 Square Feet.

Studios available now. art studios 408.753.0278

Banking with your best interests at heart.

ŠTechnology Credit Union. Federally insured by NCUA.

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Professional courier service promoting sustainability and empowering women through cycling in the heart of Silicon Valley.


Lodge and Camp 2001 Rossi Rd at Hwy 1 Pescadero, CA 650-879-1100

works is your community art and performance center, a welcoming space where you can experience and create exhibits and events.

works is a creative laboratory where artists, audience, and ideas interact to expand the scope of cultural experience.

works/san josÊ 365 south market street see what’s up: facebook, twitter, instagram: workssanjose

Take a Blacksmithing Course at SVP Learn the ins and outs of forging metal. This comprehensive course will show you hot and cold blacksmithing techniques using a gaspowered forge, teach you to create various objects out of steel, and prepare you to become a monthly renter of our blacksmithing facilities. (Must wear closed-toe shoes and long pants.)

Course runs from April 7 - June 9 on Fridays from 5-9pm Course fee is $350 with a $40 materials fee Sign up at:


Credit: Brian Brush

Brian W. Brush, Voxel Cloud, 2017 Color-changing and data-driven LED lights. Located at The Pierce in downtown San Jose, CA. Dynamic, illuminated, data-driven LEDs are connected through a matrix of reflective metallic cube frames, shimmering and shifting in the night sky. Draping across the roofline, Voxel Cloud is a beacon for San José’s SoFA Art District, visible from Interstate 280 as well as aircraft utilizing Mineta San José International Airport. Voxel Cloud, a public artwork in private development, was made possible through a partnership between Sares Regis Group of Northern California, Pritzker Realty Group, and the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program.






Sal Khan

Founder, Khan Academy

Learning better ways to manage your money doesn’t have to cost a thing

The more you understand how your money works, the more confident you’ll feel about your financial decisions. That’s why we created Better Money Habits® in partnership with Khan Academy—an independent, nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone anywhere. Better Money Habits is a one-of-a-kind online approach to financial education that’s customizable and answers tough financial questions in practical ways. Get the financial know-how you need at

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2016 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. AR69QWWB

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Sight and Sound 9.2  

Our annual Sight and Sound issue is one of my favorites of the year since we specifically feature visual artists and musicians. I have wante...

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