INNOV OSEâ€™S & CREAATIVE CULTU TIVE RE
issue 6.1 Sight & Sound April/May 2014 display until june 15, 2014
Image Challenge 14_San Jose Fashion Marty Neumeier_Author & Brand guru Dan Harden_Industrial designer Jeff Evans_On The Corner Music Shamina Khangaldy_Musician
Tanja Lippert film photographer
content magazine, san jose
sight & sound 6.1 $9.95
CONTENT Issue 6.1 “Sight & Sound” April/May 2014 The Makers: Cultivator Daniel Garcia Marketeer Sarah Garcia Managing Editor Flora Moreno de Thompson Writers/Editors Leah Ammon, Nathan Zanon, Lynn Peithman Stock Managing Photo Editor Gregory Cortez Distribution Sarah Hale
Writers Mark Haney, Leah Ammon, Kathryn Hunts, Brandon Roos, Susan Chmelir, Lam Nguyen, Victoria Felicity, Nathan Zanon, Chad Hall, Derek Haugen, Gillian Claus Designers Morgan Smail, Brian Gomez, Kristen Young, Sean Lopez, Kevin Zittle Photographers Scott MacDonald, Lam Nguyen, Victoria Felicity, Gregory Cortez, Stan Olszewski Interns Samantha Mendoza, Jeff Gonzalez
As a photographer myself, I am especially excited about the new crop of emerging photographers in the South Bay. Some make me jealous and I wish I were doing what they are doing! But, mostly I am inspired. Excited by the potential I see. We created CONTENT MAGAZINE as a place for these local artists to grow in their craft. In this year’s Sight and Sound issue, we again put the challenge out for local photographers to have a chance to showcase their work. In addition, we feature some of the most interesting people and companies that have been shaping not only our Silicon Valley experiences, but also the world. From industrial design to architecture to brand experiences to vinyl records, we are proud to showcase some of our region’s sights and sounds. Enjoy. Daniel Garcia The Cultivator
IN THIS ISSUE Marty Neumeier / Dan Harden / First to Market / Tanja Lippert / KFJC / On The Corner Music To participate in Content Magazine: email@example.com Subscription & Advertising information available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Content DISCOVER 6.1
April/May 2014 San Jose, California
SJC to ORD/MDW
10 James Lick Observatory 14 Center for the Performing Arts
Makers 18 20 24 26
Buzzsaw Media, Todd Deskins Jumbo Jibbles, Amy Brown Sign Painter, Ken Davis Film Antics, James Davis, Jr., Juan Sotelo, Raymund Aranda, & Paul Aspuria 28 The Die Hards Co., Adam & Ben Mayberry 30 Skateboarder, Sean Flynn
Marty Neumeier, pg. 36
32 Whipsaw, Dan Harden 36 Director of Transformation, Marty Neumeier
42 Film Photographer, Tanja Lippert 46 Image Challenge 2014
52 First to Market, Joe Gradillas, Jenn Lin, & Chef Domingo Wolbert 54 Chocolatier, Sunita de Tourreil
Sound 58 62 64 66
On the Corner Music, pg. 62
KFJC, Eric Johnson On the Corner Music, Jeff Evans Musician, Shamina Khagaldy Blue Harmonica, Aki Kumar
70 Contributors 71 Localâ€™s Choice: Top Ten Vinyl Ablums
Content Magazine is a bimonthly publication about the innovative and creative culture of San Jose. To participate in the production or distribution contact: email@example.com
Whipsaw, pg. 32
Image Challenge, 14 pg. 46
Though its ubiquitous nickname is “The Windy City,” Chicago has much more to offer its denizens than just wind and notoriously harsh winters. Chicago boasts a robust culture that makes any visit an exciting and unique experience. From dining to entertainment, activities to architecture, Chicago is a world-class city full of hidden and well-known gems.
Chicago is the United States’ third-largest city, and as would be expected, it has left its stamp on our country’s culture. We see her influence in our daily life—the speakeasy, deep dish pizza, and the idea of multiple hot dog toppings—all originate from Chicago.
CHICAGO ILLINOIS Written by Susan SusanChmelir Chmelir
Good Eats As any citizen of Chicago will tell you, Chicago makes the best deep-dish pizza in the world. What Chicagoans can’t agree on, however, is which is best. With over two thousand pizzerias in Chicago, it’s pretty obvious why people all have differing opinions. Some of the most wellknown pizzerias are Pizzaria Uno’s, Gino’s East, Giordanos, Lou Malnati’s, and Pizanos. They all put their own spin on deep-dish, and all have several locations in and around Chicago. If this seems overwhelming, some instead opt to go on the Original Chicago Pizza Tour, which not only allows interested patrons to sample different kinds of deepdish, but aims to educate as well. Another Chicago food-staple is the multitopping’ed Chicago Dog. The most famous eatery to serve this delicacy is Portillo’s Hot Dogs, which is considered a must-visit for any out-of-towner. A restaurant that’s putting a new spin on the Chicago Dog is Hot Doug’s, loved by foodies for its foie gras hot dogs and duck-fat fries. But truly, the best Chicago Dog can be found at one of Chicago’s most iconic venues: Wrigley Field. Celebrity chef Rick Bayless also has three restaurants in Chicago, all right next to each other. Xoco, Frontera Grill, and Topolobampo (in order from least to most expensive) all serve signature Mexicaninspired dishes, with creative cocktails and farm fresh ingredients.
flight time Nonstop flights depart daily out of SJC to Chicago O’Hare airport via American Airlines, and Chicago Midway via Southwest Airlines.
Another restaurant worth a visit is the Billy Goat Tavern—located beneath Michigan Avenue, and forever immortalized by the classic Saturday Night Live “cheeseburger cheeseburger!” skit. In fact, many of SNL’s great talents have come out of Chicago and its Second City comedy troupe, and a trip up-town to see a show is well worth it. Drink Up It seems that every city these days has its own special collection of “speakeasy” themed bars, but Chicago pretty much invented the Speakeasy. Most notably is Violet Hour, a classy establishment complete with strong cocktails, house rules, low lights and a “secret” entryway behind a mural. Another speakeasy worth checking out is The Office, which requires an exclusive invitation for admittance. Along with the speakeasy, another Chicago staple is the piano bar. Locals love the Zebra Lounge for its strong martinis, cozy atmosphere, and topnotch live piano music. There is also the famous Davenport’s, which prides itself on being Chicago’s premiere cabaret bar. A fantastic bar of note is the Signature Lounge, which resides on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. They have a fantastic menu in addition to their full bar, but the real reason locals and tourists alike love the lounge is the spectacular view, framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. SightSee One of Chicago’s most defining characteristics is its beautiful skyline, dominated by its largest tower, Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). As the tallest building in the country, its Skydeck is worth a visit to experience the unparalleled view. The Midwest is flat, and from 103 floors up, you can literally see for miles and miles in all directions. In addition to Willis Tower, Chicago’s buildings are, in general, beautifully built. The city acknowledges this, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation
offers an excellent boat tour along the Chicago River to view and learn about all these architectural masterpieces. The boat tours all dock at Navy Pier, which itself is worth a visit, if only to ride the huge Ferris Wheel and sample some of the locally-made saltwater taffy. Another well-known Chicago site is the public sculpture Cloud Gate, located in Millennium Park. Affectionately dubbed “The Bean” by locals, the stainless steel form was sculpted by Anish Kapoor and is usually swarming with tourists. No Chicago trip is complete without a picture of yourself in the Bean’s warped reflection. Millennium Park has several fantastic art installations in addition to the Bean, and on a sunny day is definitely worth a stroll. Right next to Millennium Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, a world-class art museum complete with Van Goghs, Monets, Picassos, Pollacks, and the famous Georges Seurat pointillism masterpiece immortalized forever in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. On top of all the amazing restaurants, bars, and sights to see, Chicago is also populated by Midwesterners, who are polite and friendly to a fault. Chicagoans really want you to love their city. Especially when the weather is nice, it’s hard to have a bad time in Chicago. Even when it’s cold outside, visitors from all over the globe still fall in love with the Windy City every day.
Chicago Pizza Tours 27 N. Wacker Dr. #126 Chicago, IL 60606 chicagopizzatours.com Portillos Hot Dogs 100 W. Ontario St. Chicago, IL 60654 portillos.com Hot Dougs 3324 N. California Ave. Chicago, IL 60618 hotdougs.com Xoco 449 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60654 rickbayless.com Billy Goat Tavern 430 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 billygoattavern.com The Second City 1616 N. Wells St. Chicago, IL 60614 secondcity.com The Violet Hour 1520 N. Damen Ave. Chicago, IL 60622 theviolethour.com
JAMES LICK OBSERVATORY FROM CALIFORNIA’S RICHEST MAN COMES ONE OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS SCIENTIFIC MONUMENTS
Written by Mark Haney Photography by Laurie Hatch
In 1980, the City of San Jose decided to replace all the streetlights in the city with low pressure sodium lighting. If you’ve ever wondered why, the answer lies 25 miles to the east on Mount Hamilton at James Lick Observatory, home of the first permanently equipped mountaintop astronomical outpost in the world.
fter spending some time in South America, James Lick decided to move to California in 1848, where he made millions on San Francisco real estate during the Gold Rush. The Pennsylvania native arrived with $30,000 worth of Peruvian gold and began buying up as much land as he could.
At the time of his death, Lick was the richest man in California, owning properties in San Francisco, Santa Clara Valley, along the shores of Lake Tahoe, in Los Angeles, and the entire Santa Catalina Island. Lick wanted to use his wealth to construct a monument to himself when he died.
At the time Lick moved to California, there were only 1,000 or so inhabitants in San Francisco. In the following two years the population grew to 20,000. One anecdote of Lick’s time in San Francisco is that along with his gold, he also brought 600 pounds of chocolate from a confectioner in Lima. It was so popular that he advised Domingo Ghirardelli to move to San Francisco, making Ghirardelli Chocolate famous all over the world today.
His first choice was to use a full San Francisco block and build a pyramid larger than those in Egypt. Lick was persuaded otherwise by his good friend George Davidson, president of the California Academy of Sciences. It was Davidson that got him interested in astronomy. Lick settled on making a telescope superior than any made before.
By 1858, Lick was in his mid-fifties, living in a Victorian mansion he built in Santa Clara on a large tract of land known as Lick Mill. He dabbled in horticulture and produce, but was also known locally as an eccentric. Though wealthy, he rarely dressed well. It was because of his attire and a journalist’s story that San Jose’s architectural history was altered forever. Lick commissioned a replica of London’s Kew Gardens to be made on the East Coast and shipped to California as a gift to San Jose. After an article in the local paper mocked how Lick dressed, he decided not to construct it. After his death, a group from San Francisco bought it and constructed it in Golden Gate Park. It is now known as the Conservatory of Flowers.
In 1874, Lick set up a board of trustees for his estate and endowed them with $3 million, of which $700,000 was designated to the University of California for the building of the observatory. Originally, the observatory was planned for San Francisco. But city observatories had difficulty viewing the skies at night because of street lights and pollution. Eventually the board decided on a mountaintop location, making it the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world. Mount Hamilton was chosen after careful consideration. At 4,200 feet, it is the highest point in an 85-mile radius. Lick put one condition on the observatory being built— that Santa Clara County had to build a worthy road up to
DURING ITS 125 YEARS OF SERVICE, IT HAS BEEN USED TO DISCOVER SEVERAL MOONS OF JUPITER, ASTEROIDS, COMETS, AS WELL AS PLANETS OUTSIDE OUR SOLAR SYSTEM.
the summit, since at the time there was no way of reaching Lick Observatory is the sole reason why San Jose has the top, except by horseback. The county was all too glad low pressure sodium lighting. It was a joint decision with the university system to help keep light pollution to oblige. to a minimum so that nighttime viewing would not be In 1876, Lick died of complications from a stroke suffered disturbed. Through this decision, the city acknowledged a few years earlier, never taking the newly completed Lick the importance of the work being done up on the Road (now Mount Hamilton Road) up to the summit. It mountain. took another four years before construction work began in 1880. Though he was first buried in San Francisco, Even after a successful 125 years, the fate of Lick Lick requested to be buried underneath the observatory. Observatory has recently come into question. The When construction began on the largest of the telescopes University of California system sees the aging observatory in 1887, he was brought up Mount Hamilton and laid to as costly to maintain and unable to keep up with the larger telescopes now throughout the world. Though it is still rest underneath the Great Lick Refracting Telescope. important, the annual budget of nearly $2 million has On January 3, 1888, the great telescope finally saw first those in power reducing staffing operations and looking to light, but not without a hitch. To the shock of all present, close the observatory by 2018, turning it into a museum. when they first looked through the lenses they could not It might take another wealthy eccentric Californian with put the telescope in focus. The tube had been cast too a propensity for science to save and restore the prestige of long, and it was hacksawed to the appropriate length of 57 this historic observatory. feet. Aldebaran was the first star to come into focus. Today, the observatory remains an active center of research and is open to the public. It has been used to discover several moons of Jupiter, asteroids, comets, as well as planets outside our solar system. It consists of six telescopes, the largest of these built in 1960, which at the time was the second largest in the world.
ucolick.org/public 4750 Lick Mill Boulevard Santa Clara, CA
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day: Noon-5 pm Other times of year: Noon- 5 pm Thursday-Sunday
Design Done Wright
San Joseâ€™s Center for the Performing Arts Written by Heather M. David Photography by Gregory Cortez
The Grady Gammage Auditorium, completed in 1964, was the last non-residential architectural commission of Frank Lloyd Wright. Following its completion, the building was widely praised and considered a major breakthrough in theater design. Built as a multi-purpose facility, the Grady Gammage Auditorium is a celebration of the circular form, from the structure itself to the building’s detailing and surrounding landscaping. Wright had been working on the design for the Grady Gammage theater prior to his death in 1959. At his side on this project was architect In August 1969, following two decades of economic William Wesley Peters, Wright’s trusted associate and oft growth and a population explosion, ground was broken on described “right arm.” a new cultural center for the city of San Jose. City leaders were not messing around. They had toured contemporary William Wesley Peters, also known as Wes Peters, theaters throughout the United States and done their was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first apprentice. He joined homework. After much consideration, it was decided Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship in 1932 and collaborated on that the Grady Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State some of the architect’s most famous projects including University was the closest model to what they envisioned Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania; Johnson Wax Headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin; and the Guggenheim for their progressive city. Museum in Manhattan, New York. The two worked so n architectural jewel sits in the heart of Downtown San Jose, but few people know its history or pedigree. The Center for the Performing Arts, formerly the San Jose Community Theatre, is one of a select number of buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area with a direct lineage to Frank Lloyd Wright. Distinctive in design, the building represents an architectural Who’s Who of some of the brightest minds of Taliesin Associated Architects, Frank Lloyd Wright’s atelier.
closely together that it is difficult to ascertain each man’s individual contributions. In fact, Peters is described by former Taliesin colleagues as “brilliant,” “multi-faceted,” and a “true artist,” and might have had a greater hand in the above structures than is fully understood. Peters was an incredibly modest individual, more apt to own a small deficiency in a design than to take credit for a clever innovation. According to Arnold Roy, Taliesin architect and a former associate of Peters’, “Wes was unbelievably creative. He was both an architect and a structural engineer. He made Frank Lloyd Wright’s work possible. Frank Lloyd Wright would say to Wes: ‘Here Wes—go make it happen.’” John Ottenheimer, former Taliesin architect, further explains: “I think that few persons truly understand the relationship of master and apprentice, or architect and his staff…I did many details on FLW buildings that he then checked, corrected and/or improved on if necessary, and signed. As far as I am concerned, they are 100% FLW. Following Wright’s passing, Peters became the chairman and chief architect of Taliesin Associated Architects. Arguably, there was no better individual to grab the torch, and Peters took his role seriously. His initiative was to carry on the guiding philosophy of the master: “to create a total environment for a better life for humanity.” In the 1960s and 1970s, Peters worked on a number of high-profile community theater projects across the United States including the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida; the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, California; and the San Jose Community Theatre. Peters is publicly credited with the designs for all three buildings.
On April 11, 1966, concept drawings for its community theater were presented to the San Jose City Council. When work finally began, Peters was joined by Aaron Green FAIA of San Francisco (associated architect), Dr. Vern Knudsen of UCLA (sound consultant), George Izenour of Yale University (consultant in theater design and technology), William Schwartz (project architect), and Mrs. Frank Lloyd Wright (interior designer and color consultant). On February 1, 1972, the San Jose Community Theatre’s opulent opening featured a performance of Aida. According to a review that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner shortly thereafter, “The building exterior is attractive, if not a distinguished architectural design. Pleasing curving lines, circle motifs, white light globes and a great glass window wall set the Theatre off pleasingly as it stands quite alone. The Taliesin Associated Architects have done their work well.” Some 45 years later and the same can still be said for the building, now called the Center for the Performing Arts. In a sea of architectural mediocrity, the theater shines. An added bonus—its design integrity remains largely intact. At first glance, San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts most closely resembles Arizona’s Grady Gammage Auditorium in overall concept and design. However, look a bit closer and you will see elements of the worldfamous Guggenheim. Both exterior and interior spaces are characterized by spiral ramps, decorative arches and spheres. There are several lobby areas, all very spacious and light.
“The Ridder just drips with that feeling of wealth and luxury. The recessed lighting in the walls, the low/high ceiling combination, the detail in the ceiling, the enormous chandelier, the custom made couches that perfectly match the wall color and are contoured to the rounded wall, and the Milo Baughman tables and chairs,” Williams says. “The Ridder is the most pristine example of mid-century design in the building, because it does include furniture and fixtures, and it has not been tampered with over the Nanci Williams is the general manager of Broadway San years.” Jose/Nederlander, the New York-based company that presents touring Broadway musicals at the Center for the A remarkable cultural and visual landmark, once a Performing Arts. Williams first experienced the theater as centerpiece in advertising collateral for promoting the a child performer, while appearing in a stage production region, the Center for the Performing Arts today is of Oliver. She has a near encyclopedic knowledge and shockingly underappreciated. In 2001, the building was deep appreciation for the CPA. When asked about her rejected for city landmark status. The nomination was favorite part of the building, Williams immediately offers opposed by the building’s tenants who wanted the options the Ridder Lounge—a unique room located next to the to alter or demolish the structure. San Jose’s Redevelopment Agency then argued that the building wasn’t distinctive or outdoor courtyard. unique enough to be preserved in its original form. For One of the more interesting features of the Ridder the record, the Center for the Performing Arts represents Lounge is its multi-level ceiling. The entrance to the a one-of-a kind design, for no two Taliesin structures are Ridder is characterized by a low ceiling, which then rises exactly alike. dramatically. Cutouts in the ceiling allow for optimum sound circulation. It is said that the high/low ceiling Perhaps the time has come for us to take another look combination was a Peters/Wright signature—a visually at the Center for the Performing Arts? How many cities pleasing design that originated in a compromise between in the United States can proudly claim a building with two men with differing preferences for ceiling height. such a pedigree? In the words of Jan Novie, President of Peters, fondly referred to as a “gentle giant” by his peers Aaron G. Green Associates: “The San Jose’s Center for the stood a stately 6’4” while Wright stood nearly a foot Performing Art is a great building that should be cherished and preserved. It is a beautiful example of the work of shorter. one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most trusted apprentices expressing Mr. Wright’s principles in an evolutionary way.” The original theater design featured a moveable ceiling, a Taliesin first. Sadly, roughly three months after the theater opened, the ceiling collapsed and lawsuits ensued. Although no one was harmed, the incident attracted significant negative publicity and the venue closed for repairs. It was three years before the theater reopened and when it did, it did so with a new name—the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.
Upon first glance, Todd Deskins, founder of Buzzsaw Media, doesn’t strike you as a man who doodles behind a computer for a living. His full tattoo sleeves, shaved head and tall, gaunt frame are quite intimidating. I reach out to shake his hand and see that his fingers are adorned with big, heavy rings with skulls etched on them. He greets me with a warm smile and an even warmer voice. I feel a little embarrassed about what I had assumed of the man.
e take a quick tour of his lobby. The first thing you see is a green, custom-made Harley that would make any chopper fan drool. The walls are decorated with art of all sizes both local and from abroad, including a signed Shepard Fairey original. His desk, and those of his staff, is plunked down right in the middle of all of this.
What was design school like for you? At my interview, they asked for my portfolio. I had these three huge pieces wrapped in blankets, I unwrapped them and neither of them said a word. Nothing. All they asked was, “If you were to sell this piece, how much would you sell it for?” I estimated my cost of materials and threw out “300 bucks.” The teacher, Ken Hegstrom, responded immediately, “I’ll buy it.”
We turn the corner and enter his production room, which also doubles as a makeshift showroom. Prominently displayed is a wall of logos representing the impressively large and diverse group of clients, from Cisco to Adobe, Google to Zagat, that Buzzsaw Media has serviced. Promotional products of all shapes and sizes fill his showroom. There are rungs and rungs of traditional items such as T-shirts, water bottles, mugs, and backpacks. Just past those are more unique pieces such as old-school steel lunch boxes, a giant etched Lego block and, my personal favorite, a Google bowtie.
How did you start in the industry? I did a few logos for clients while I was in school, but I needed to get a job in the industry. I started out as a delivery driver for a design company in Palo Alto. It didn’t take very long for me to start doing their production. Right around that time, the Mac was coming out and I wanted to get some experience so I started at another company called Linotext in Cupertino. Why did you start your company?
As we begin the interview, I’m struck by the manner in which Deskins responds. He is delightful in his forthrightness and absolutely sincere in his gratitude for those who have gotten him where he is. His journey has been an interesting one, from watching a valley of orchards grow into the tech capital of the world, to falling into the world of substance abuse and fighting his way back to create a successful design business.
After being there for about ten years, I started to see the warning signs that things might go south. The printing industry was taking a dip and I moved on. I tried to start my own company, but I still wasn’t sure about the financial end of things so I worked for a few other companies, bouncing around a little bit. I eventually just got tired of working for somebody else so I started this. I called upon a few people I had worked with over my 20 years in the business and enlisted their help mostly for the business and financial side of things.
How did you grow up? I was basically a city boy raised on a farm, born and raised in Cupertino but we also had a farm in Santa Cruz and we were sustainable. We had chickens, goats, pigs, cows, sheep, a vegetable garden year-round, we did all that stuff at a very young age. I hated it as a kid but now, as an adult, I really appreciate the work ethic that my dad instilled in me. I’ve always lived here. My entire life I’ve been here. I went to high school here, went to college here, went to rehab here, and built a business here.
Why Buzzsaw Media? It was actually a culmination of a couple things. My dad was a contractor, had his own business for years and taught me construction growing up. I thought it’d be kind of cool to have something that represented that. I tried a few name generator websites to see if they’d come up with anything. Ultimately, I wanted the name to be something easy to say, short and simple but also impactful. I eventually came up with Buzzsaw and it stuck.
How does a farmboy become an artist? My mom is an interior decorator. So she was the creative one and I always had the urge to doodle and draw as a kid. In high school I did architectural design and was pretty good at it. I stopped for a while and, really, my whole recovery is a really big part of why I’m here today.
What’s next for Buzzsaw Media? Building strong relationships with good vendors. The one big mistake I saw in the companies I worked for is that they made such huge investments in capital equipment. My goal is to find vendors that can produce up to my standards at a price that benefits us both. That’s why I’ve been to New York, London, India, all to find the right vendors. I meet them face to face so they understand that I mean business. I think that’s been one of the largest factors in my success so far. Finding the right people, the right companies, and working together toward a common goal.
How did your recovery play a part in your design evolution? After I got out of rehab I had a bit of time to reflect. I lived at my mom’s house; this was at age 22. She found this ad in the newspaper for graphic design school. They said I needed a portfolio but I didn’t really have anything so I started designing. I created these three-dimensional, really large pieces and had my interview at a school in downtown San Jose. There were two designers that didn’t agree with what San Jose State was teaching when it came to design so they started their own school. 20
ccccCreating Buzzzzzz Interview and Photography by lam nguyen
Buzzsaw Media 950 N Rengstorff Ave. Mountain View, CA 94043 650.625.1700
buzzsaw-media.com facebook: Buzzsawmedia
Jumbo Jibbles Written by justin san diego Photography by daniel Garcia
Amy Brown is known by her short hair and big glasses, her quirky personality, and her Jumbo Jibbles.
“i’m doing Unintentional art that no one else is doing.”
f Jumbo Jibbles sounds like something a person might mumble in their sleep, that’s because it actually is. Jumbo Jibbles is a brand of pillows that are designed to look like fruits or vegetables, handcrafted by artist and San Jose transplant Amy Brown. The name Jumbo Jibbles came from when she first discovered her talent of making large, fabric sculptures. She woke her husband up out of excitement one night and while in mid-sleep, he thought Brown said “Jumbo Jibbles” and repeated the name back to her.
The Jumbo Jibbles shop also contains unicorn flair, such as headbands, ski masks and hats, as well as jewelry made of candy. The unicorn products were first started from her Halloween costume, but customers wanted to purchase headbands and more “because they are fun to wear,” Brown says. The first encounter Brown had making fruit and veggie looking pillows was for a vegetarian friend’s wedding. Her friend needed props for the event, which lead Brown to take the first steps towards creating her new brand.
She has made almost every kind of fruit or vegetable, including carrots, asparagus, kiwis, and strawberries. Brown says she sells between 15 to 40 Jumbo Jibbles pillows per month, and more during holidays.
Along with making larger-than-life plush fruits and vegetables, Brown also creates astronomy jewelry for her other line, Sky and Light. She hand-paints a star map of constellations onto pendants for bracelets or necklaces.
Brown is currently looking for brick and mortar stores who are willing to carry her products, but in the meantime sells her food-like pillows on Etsy. Besides selling her wares online, Brown is also a regular vendor at SJMADE events. “Because of this group, I was able to sell my works inside of Valley Fair Mall,” Brown says.
Brown lived most of her life in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She’s only lived in California for two and a half years. She just started doing these art projects after her move.
She finds her work fulfilling “because it makes people happy.” Her pillows usually lead to funny pictures of people holding her oversized stuffed fruit, Brown says. Brown describes her craft as “unintentional art that no one else is doing.” Her food-shaped pillows are not a necessity, so every time someone buys one it is usually a gift with a good story behind it. One customer bought a stuffed strawberry pillow for his girlfriend. The couple’s first date was through a strawberry field, but the girlfriend was allergic to strawberries, so he wanted to gift the girlfriend a strawberry that she wasn’t allergic to. Asparagus is Brown’s personal favorite vegetable, and the inspiration for one of her favorite creations: a four-foot-tall asparagus stalk. She reveals that she uses a swimming pool noodle to form the shape. Another of her signature pieces is a four-foot-tall carrot body pillow.
When she isn’t making things for her Etsy shops, she also teaches classes and summer camps for art and design. She hopes to advance as a teacher. Brown is taking ceramics and art classes at West Valley College to improve her craft. This past February, Brown went to Las Vegas to attend a fashion trade show during Magic Market Week. “Experiencing this helped me get over the fear of putting myself out there,” Brown says. She hopes to collaborate with inflatable balloon artists for O Yeah Toys to be used in clubs and parades. As Brown likes to put it, Jumbo Jibbles is “taking small things and making them big,” whereas Sky and Light is “making huge things small.”
Etsy.com/shop/jumbojibbles instagram/twitter: jumbojibbles firstname.lastname@example.org
COOL HAND KEN Written by Kathryn Hunts Photography by Scott MacDonald
Ken Davis wants to make sure the time he spends on earth is put to good use. Mixing passion with purpose, he uses the art of sign painting to help give mom and pop stores a chance.
Like any time-honored craft, newcomers learn through an apprenticeship: a commitment to pour his or her soul into countless hours of practice without pay. New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco gave Davis that chance to learn, something he never took for granted. For the next three years, he would show up hours before anyone else to practice drawing each letter of the alphabet in different styles. The long hours and dedication to a dream can take a toll on relationships and finances, but Davis explains, “When you get into any sort of craft, I feel like you have to send a pound of your flesh to it and be Davis sees sign painting as a way of leveling the playing field for fully prepared to make sacrifices.” It eventually paid off for Davis, small businesses that must compete with big box stores. He grew up who now operates independently with a global client list and the in Fremont’s Niles District lined with antique stores and biker bars. respect of his peers. The hand rendering in their signs stuck with him because they were so pleasing to the eye. Now the region has become focused on tech, In his work, Davis pays homage to legends such as the late Rey Giese and hand painted signs are a soothing break from bright screens and from San Jose while infusing his own style. Toeing the line between Helvetica font. With each sign he is commissioned comes a sense of honoring the past and pushing the boundaries can be tricky, but Davis sees everything from 1960s psychedelic to Victorian trade honor and duty to bring that human touch back. cards as a jumping-off point. “You can take your distaste for something and change it with something you really like to do,” Davis says. “I don’t particularly like “My ultimate nightmare is to be comfortable in something and have the fact that I have a homogenized world in front of me and every a formula for everything to where someone can right out the gate stop off the freeway has the same four stores. I feel like I can fix that say, ‘Oh that looks exactly like what he did ten years ago.’ I would in my own way by someone approaching me for a sign. I can make never want that for myself and the only way I think of doing it is it look different and encourage someone to be self-empowered and always trying to find something new to get inspired by.” start off on their own and not be fully content with going along with the herd of something.” en Davis’ studio is covered with skateboard decks, shelves of records, and reference books as an ode to the tangible. He prefers to have these items as a reminder to slow down. None of his research is done online, preferring to hunt down a rare book instead of staring at a scan. But the extra effort shows in his work. His meticulous eye and dedication to doing things the right way at every stage of production are sure signs that clients are getting a quality product.
“My ultimate nightmare is to be comfortable in something and have a formula for everything to where someone can right out the gate say, ‘Oh that looks exactly like what he did ten years ago.’” From drawing album covers to company logos, the demand is rising for Davis’ art. His goal is to keep doing this as long as he possibly can (Giese did it until he was 93), and part of that is establishing his own voice. Knowing the rules is the basis for authenticity in sign painting. For example, learning how to lay out a design correctly so that it is easy on the eye is essential to the craft. Davis puts his phone in a drawer and gives his full attention to each detail. The greats figured out things like layout to help pull in a stranger’s attention. Now it’s about what you do with it. “I look at stuff that’s has come hundreds of years before me,” Davis says. “The gold leaf techniques that I’m doing on windows for 5 Color Cowboy or Empire Seven, or Black and Brown, those techniques have been around and done by people that executed it really well. So in the grand scheme of things, I’m not really some next level zeitgeist of design doing what I’m doing. I’m just kind of kicking up dust from an old trail and doing it in my own view and my own vision and hopefully that makes my time on the world worth it by doing that, and kind of giving my own look on things.”
“When you get into any sort of craft, I feel like you have to send a pound of your flesh to it and be fully prepared to make sacrifices.”
cool hand ken email@example.com instagram: coolhandken
The four partners of Film Antics have sacrificed financially lucrative and stable positions as engineers, high-tech consultants, and store managers for their shared passion: working together to produce provocative motion pictures. With a slew of music videos and shorts in the can, many created for a variety of 48 Hour Film Project showcases, founder-director Paul Aspuria, writerproducer Juan Sotelo, and actors James Davis, Jr. and Raymund Aranda are forging ahead with two feature-length films this year. After a false start in Los Angeles, Aspuria returned to the Bay Area where he and the rest of the Film Antics crew grew up. Each member graduated from Oak Grove High School, with the exception of Aranda, who attended Silver Creek.
Aranda’s performance as the Devil is wordless and intense. He took classes at De Anza, but also trained in the Meisner technique at Playhouse West in Los Angeles. The in-the-moment method and looking to serious actors like Sean Penn has helped Aranda tackle the challenges of such a short turnaround time to get into character. For a role “where he could just play,” Aranda looks to Room 133 (2012), a comedy produced for San Diego’s 48 Hour Film Project. However, Aspuria says this was the film that almost broke the group apart.
“It wasn’t working,” Aspuria recalls. Aside Written by Derek Haugen from the first scene, the jokes weren’t “I realized all the filmmakers that I love, all the great ones, they weren’t in LA,” Aspuria says. “They made effective. Sotelo agreed and took a few hours to make extensive their films outside the system. They told the stories they knew and rewrites. He focused the film on the lighter side of “stalking and discussed the issues they had opinions about…We can do it here. If obsession.” As the group ironed out the kinks, they started to have Robert Rodriguez can make films in Texas or Woody Allen can make fun with the process, and the tumultuous experience ended up all those films in New York or France, why can’t you make it here?” bringing them closer. “We’re always looking for the best result,” Sotelo says. “We’ll put aside our individual opinions, and look at it objectively…In the past two years, we’ve made 13 short films. We execute. We’re intelligent about it.”
Some Kind of Sign (2011), a drama Film Antics shot for San Jose’s 48 Hour Film Project, is a visceral and unforgettable eight minutes long. The piece demonstrates that shorts not only serve as a training ground for the group’s upcoming features, but that shorts can be an art form.
As for today’s film community in San Jose, both Sotelo and Aspuria agree there is a wealth of opportunity here. Aspuria points to technology companies like Apple and Adobe as well as the creative community that is not as visible as its Hollywood counterpart. However, people have to seek it out and take advantage of it. Aspuria sees too many people just talking about creating something. Even the locals film makers, he says, don’t take full advantage of Cinequest. Davis admits he never really tapped into the film scene until Film Antics got him interested.
In the film, Ian Jeffes (Davis), a deaf homeless man, attempts to return a wayward hundred dollar bill and is led to his death at the hands of the Devil (Aranda). Sotelo, whose love affair with film he picked up from his parents, builds the story around the haunting Ave Maria and infuses it with the silence and pacing of P.T. Anderson, a filmmaker he studies intensely. Aspuria, influenced by Wong Kar Wai and Terrence Malick, captures the concrete desolation of San Jose’s streets, storefronts, and parking lots that mirror Jeffes’ condition.
Sotelo echoes Aspuria’s sentiments and emphasizes the acumen that many artists lack. “The present is tremendously alive here. I think it is a center of the movie technology revolution,” Sotelo says. “I always tell people we consider ourselves a startup, but a nontraditional startup…We are very operational minded and we utilize our technology resources to maximize our potential.”
Davis’ instinctual and moving performance shows he has come a long way from childhood performances of Michael Jackson’s Thriller routines and acting “silly in Physics.” Aside from acting classes at De Anza College and studying improvisation in San Francisco, he has had little formal training. Instead, he built the role with memories of a disabled childhood classmate. Davis attributes his further growth as an actor to his family’s values and Film Antics.
filmantics.com firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: filmantics instagram: filmantics facebook: FilmAntics
James Davis, Jr.
Raymund Aranda Paul Aspuria
“In the past two years, we’ve made 13 short films… We execute. We’re intelligent about it.” –Juan Sotelo, writer-producer
Photographer Lead__Keith Baker Assistant Photographer__Jeremy Givens Location__Umbrella Salon
The Die Hards of Fin City Written by Jeffrey Gonzalez Photography by Gregory Cortez
The Mayberry brothers combine their design skills and love of Bay Area sports to create The Die Hards Co.
“We’re just reflecting the culture of the teams, and the culture of the fans in our apparel.”
t’s 2010 and the San Francisco Giants are on their way to win the World Series. The stadium is full of fans decked out in the team’s colors. As the camera reporting for national TV pans across the sea of orange and black, it zooms in on a fan wearing a shirt that says “Big Time Timmy Jim.” The shirt is a reference to Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. It isn’t a jersey, or even an official Giants t-shirt. “Big Time Timmy Jim” is not an authorized team slogan but a construction of fan culture that two San Jose brothers are now turning into a thriving business. Adam and Ben Mayberry created the “Big Time Timmy Jim” t-shirt at the beginning of the 2010 baseball season for their clothing design company, The Die Hards Co. Four years later, they’re still hitting it out of the park with their merchandise directed specifically to sports fans. The Die Hards is a brand of secondary market clothes geared toward Bay Area sports fans who don’t want to buy it from official retailers. They make sports apparel that doesn’t violate trademark agreements, but are close to the fan base of Bay Area sports teams. “Given the six, now seven, sports franchises in the Bay Area, we knew there was a market for it,” Adam Mayberry says. The Die Hards Co. has made apparel for every sports franchise in the Bay Area. Their “I Survived the Stick” design was a hit during the 49ers’ farewell season at Candlestick Park. The “Hella” t-shirts remain as popular now among San Jose Sharks and San Francisco Giants fans as they did when they were first released. “Hella” is a Northern California thing, and NorCal sports fans don’t like Southern California teams.
Sharks and Earthquakes, and the Oakland Athletics and Raiders. Although the Mayberry brothers are personally Giants and 49ers fans, they don’t discriminate. The two brothers blazed their path in fandom culture when Adam got tired of being unemployed. After graduating from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2007, Adam landed a job as a designer at an architecture firm. He was laid-off in 2009 when the economy crashed. He decided he wasn’t going to sit on his hands and wait for someone to offer him a job. He was going to brand himself as the owner of his own company.
The company started as a way for them to prove they could do good work, so that they could have concrete evidence of their ability and ingenuity. Ben eventually applied to be the San Francisco 49ers creative manager and landed the job using The Die Hards Co. as part of his résumé. Now Ben is in charge of the graphic design behind every ticket stub, web banner, billboard, or anything that comes out of the 49ers office.
In addition to co-running the clothing company, Adam has a full time job as senior designer at an architecture firm, and does side projects on his own account. He is currently designing a wine bar for the Little Adam and his brother Ben, a graphic Chef Counter in Campbell. designer, combined their talents and love of sports to start The Die Hards Co.: sports While the sports apparel company has apparel for die hard fans. They each came up provided them with solid résumé material, with ideas for designs and had shirts printed the brothers don’t want to settle just yet. The Die Hards Co. was awarded the Creative by a friend who had a screen press. Industries Incentive Fund grant through The “We both grew up with sports. We both have City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs the same view of it. And we’ve unconsciously and the Center for Cultural Innovation. studied sports and sports apparel,” Adam says. The two brothers had always been fans The money will help develop the company’s of sports fashion, even back in 1991-92, way autonomy by granting them the funds to before the Lids culture was ever popular. purchase and stock their own t-shirts in the Starting a business among like-minded colors of their choice, particularly San Jose brothers made the venture less intimidating. Sharks teal which is hard to find. The Die Hards Co. will be launching a KickStarter Although they did try selling t-shirts campaign to match the funds provided by outside of San Pedro Square Market in the the city of San Jose. beginning, the Mayberry brothers never saw themselves as street salesmen. Instead, they “It’s not our desire to use this as a stepping took to the online marketplace and their stone,” Adam says. “We’re progressing the clothing can only be bought from their company as its own thing.” website, thedhco.com.
The only retail outlet The Die Hards Co. sells wholesale products to is The Usuals shop in downtown San Jose. If the business continues to flourish, The Die Hards Co. hopes to open their own shop in the downtown area. “As a small business it’s opened up a lot of “We’re just reflecting the culture of the opportunities to the city and other local teams, and the culture of the fans in our businesses,” Adam says. “It’s been a catalyst for connection with the community at large, apparel,” Adam says. for the Bay Area not just San Jose.” The company makes designs that cater to fans of the Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, the San Jose thedhco.com twitter:TheDieHardsCo
For the Love of it Sean Flynn is, has been, and will always be a skateboarder Interview by Chad Hall Photography by LAM NGUYEN
“It’s like a kid that I can’t stop caring for.”
ean Flynn is a skateboarder. Regardless of the places he’ll travel, the things he’ll see or the people he’ll meet, Sean Flynn will always skate. He may one day be a father, a photographer, or a designer. He may start a skate company or open a brewery. Life will dart out before him like an invisible horizon curling into the unknowns of possibility. But whatever his future may hold for him, the one thing he can be sure of is that he’ll have his board in tow. Sean Flynn is, has been, and will always be a skateboarder.
I tried a Belgian beer a few years ago and realized there was better tasting beer out there than Pabst and Coors Light. My life has never been the same. I’m now a huge beer snob and I’m happy about it.
How did you first get into skating? I got my first skateboard for Christmas when I was eight and would just sit on my butt and ride down the driveway. Then my dad took me to Go Skate in Santa Cruz and I got my first real skateboard at ten. It was an Alien Workshop deck (probably worth some money now). I would skate in front of my driveway or go to the Derby Skate Park. Those were the best times I had, skating around Santa Cruz with my friends, getting kicked out of places, and then going surfing. We used to build ramps in front of my dad’s house.
What advice would you give kids just starting out skating? I always had the dream of making something of it, but getting a sponsor was never my goal. It’s just something I always loved to do and will continue to love. It’s like a kid that I can’t stop caring for. I’d say just to have as much fun with it as you can. Just skate everyday and enjoy the ride.
What are some of your current favorites? Drakes. Russian River. Clown Shoes. It’s great to see all the craft beer spots opening up in San Jose like The Market, Original Gravity, and ISO. San Jose needs more craft beer bars.
Who are some of your favorite people to skate with? I had a crew in high school called the Wastoids and we made a few videos. We would just go skate, film all day and then party at night. Those were great times. I always loved skating with the Tiltmode guys like Jerry Hsu, Ricky Espinoza, and Caswell Berry. My favorite skaters as a kid were Andrew Reynolds and Eric Koston. They were like my idols and I still am influenced by them today. Influenced in what way? Andrew Reynolds just always had the best style. He skated the biggest stuff and made it look effortless. Eric Koston was a skater who could skate anything. I get hyped on all the younger guys in the skate scene now who are killing it. Skateboarding has gotten to a ridiculous level and it’s exciting to watch. What made you stick with skating all these years? It was different than any other sport I’d tried. There’s no pressure or team. It’s just about having fun with your friends and pushing yourself to the next level. Skateboarding gives you a sense of freedom and independence to do whatever you want and take it as far as you want. I still feel like a kid every time I step on my skateboard. It’s when I’m most happy.
“Skateboarding gives you a sense of freedom and independence to do whatever you want and take it as far as you want.”
I’m sure, as you gotten older, you feel the injuries more. Has that changed the way that you skate? Absolutely. I’m only 31, but my body feels much older. You won’t catch me jumping down 15 stairs or doing crazy hand rails. I used to really break myself on big stairs or gaps. Hard to pinpoint what was the biggest, but I definitely hurt myself on a lot stuff. I kinda like not putting myself through that anymore. What are some of the best spots to skate in San Jose? Sunnyvale Skate Park, Quimby Middle School, and Red Park. The best is always just skating the raw streets and whatever’s around you. What activities do you enjoy other than skating? I grew up in Santa Cruz, so surfing. Snowboarding. I’m a music lover. Pink Floyd, always. I like skating to a lot of old rock music. It’s hard to skate to all the new pop stuff.
whip saw Written by brandon e. roos Photography by daniel Garcia
Industrial designer and Whipsaw founder Dan Harden has worked with everyone from Cisco to American Eagle and learned first-hand from greats like George Nelson and Hartmut Esslinger. Along the way, he’s utilized his quest for excellence, coupled with his insatiable curiosity, to become a design force in his own right.
Harden himself has won over 80 design awards, and his resume reads like a who’s who of industrial design greats, having worked with George Nelson, Henry Dreyfuss, Hartmut Esslinger. Such partnerships inevitably stem from his constant drive for excellence and his limitless curiosity, both of which were fueled by parents who channeled his creative energy. “I was always very inquisitive about things,” Harden explains. “My late mother used to say I was very philosophical. I would ask the ‘why’ question “So many of the finer products I developed non-stop.” were derived from lots of interaction and collaboration,” Dan Harden, co-founder, At ten, he was tasked with creating a project President/CEO and Principal Designer that turned circular motion into linear for Whipsaw Inc., explains about his firm’s motion. There were also hodgepodge go karts connection to the vintage tool. “There’s some and homemade explosives—though Harden magic that happens when you work together is quick to provide context: “I was fascinated by such rapid transformation of a state of to solve problems.” matter. I really wanted to understand and The Whipsaw team has won dozens of awards check the different chemical effects.” for their thoughtful creations, which aim to seamlessly unite form and function. The A “solid B student” more concerned with breadth of their customer base speaks to their his after-school tinkering, Harden had an acclaim as a design firm. Whipsaw has worked epiphany when he discovered what industrial with everyone from Acer to American Eagle design was in high school. “I was like ‘Oh my Outfitters, Gateway to General Dynamics, God, that’s how I think,’” he joyously recalls. “I can think three-dimensionally, I think as and Samsung to Stanford. an artist, and I also think as someone who anging above two tall metal doors on a quiet stretch of downtown San Jose’s SoFa District is a long, thin blade with wooden handles, typically controlled by two lumberjacks in unison to cut through fallen trees – better known as a whipsaw. Chances are you may have passed by this inconspicuous façade without even knowing it, unaware that behind this carefully placed artifact is one of the best industrial design firms in Silicon Valley.
likes to put combinations and mechanical things together. That’s industrial design.” This revelation led him to the University of Cincinnati, and while there, he worked three internships. The first was with Columbus, Ohio-based design agency Richardson Smith. He seemingly had his hands in everything, working on watches for Texas Instruments and Smith ski goggles while only 19. His second internship, with design legend George Nelson, took him to New York City’s Park Avenue. Harden’s last internship with Hewlett-Packard brought the Ohio boy out to California for the first time, though after he returned to Ohio, he was sure it wouldn’t be his last visit out West. Harden had job offers from all three companies he interned for upon graduation. But in a move he describes as “so Dan,” he instead bought a one-way ticket to Europe, the first step in a quest to track down his heroes and understand why the best designers all came from across the Atlantic. While working in southern Germany, he met Harmut Esslinger of Esslinger Design (later frogdesign) and the two made a pact to join forces down the line when Esslinger expanded to California.
Upon his return to America, Harden joined giant Henry Dreyfuss Associates in New York. He worked with Polaroid, AT&T, John Deere, and American Airlines, winning a bevy of awards in the process. At a certain point, though, he outgrew the place and felt it was time for a change. It was then that he reached out to Esslinger. Within a week, he was in California and part of frogdesign. His tenure with frog was meteoric to say the least. Within two months, he moved from senior designer to creative director. A year later, he was VP. By 1997, he was President. Offered the freedom to both manage and design, he found his job to be an “absolute rush” and admits frog was the first firm he ever felt personally attached to. Yet frog’s rapid expansion came with a shift in responsibilities. With only a minute fraction of his time now dedicated to design, he decided to start Whipsaw. Lucky for Harden, he possessed, in the words of a friend, “the Rolodex of the gods.” His boutique outfit also seemed to be just what clients were looking for in a shifting market. Eager for more personalized service and a smaller invoice, he had three clients— Cisco, a division of General Dynamics, and Creative Labs—within a week of his departure. He’s been building his own firm, bit by bit, ever since. Asked to look back and highlight any project he’s particularly proud of, he instead maintains a diplomatic distance, measured with the perspective of a father asked to name his favorite child. “I’m most proud when I walk in somebody’s home and they’re using something that I or my team worked on. There is a great satisfaction in seeing how we had envisioned an experience unfolding, and how the product is enhancing that experience. If our projection or forecast years before was right, the affirmation will be finally what I see at that moment, in that interaction.” With the confidentiality of Silicon Valley’s IP culture, who knows what Harden and his company will design next. But armed with a distaste for mediocrity, which he playfully attributed to having grown up in Cincinnati, we can expect future collaborations to bear his mark of excellence. It seems to be in that air of possibility where Harden thrives—ever since his hodgepodge go kart days, whether development of future media gadgets or medical devices, Harden has always enjoyed a challenge.
“We’re trying to move the culture forward and up in whatever way we can. It makes our job much more interesting, The cultural side of design is way more interesting.”
Renderings Courtesy of Whipsaw, Inc.
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A NEU PERSPECTIVE Written by Flora Moreno de Thompson Photography by DANIEL GARCIA
Marty Neumeier is known today for his books, lectures, and workshops on brand strategy and design. He’s the Director of Transformation at Liquid Agency, where he helps companies innovate and become stronger through organizational change. But Neumeier’s illustrious career would have never happened if he had received a callback from his audition for the Monkees.
From there, things changed. Neumeier decided he had to bring what he loved about music into his work, so that his design had a musical quality to it. “That was important for me to make that decision. I had to put everything in and focus. I understood I needed to put in the time, to make myself a valuable to a company.”
Neumeier had wanted to be a graphic designer since he was a little boy, influenced by his mother who had gone to art school to become a fashion illustrator. While attending Art Center College of Design in southern California, Neumeier suddenly found himself floundering. “I was starting to doubt my calling,” he recalls. “I had been interested in music and songs, and thought ‘Maybe I should be a songwriter.’”
In design school, Neumeier was somewhat of an iconoclast. “I was a good kid, but I started to understand Someone at school told him about a big casting call in that art school is a very competitive business,” he says. Hollywood. They were looking for anybody who could write music and play the guitar. Intrigued, Neumeier showed up to the audition. The line was several hundred people long; later he learned it was an audition for the Monkees. “That had a big influence,” he says. “I remember seeing the competition. I knew some of them, they were real Neumeier would turn in his assignments the wrong way musicians, practiced and everything.” Neumeier weighed his on purpose, getting mixed results from his instructors. options. Since he was already further along in design, he Impatient to leave Art Center, Neumeier dropped out. began to concentrate his energy in that direction. By then he had gotten what he wanted out of it.
“YOU HAVE TO DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF. I HAD TO BE BAD JUST A LITTLE BIT.”
“I think you can’t learn the rules until you break them. Somehow you have to test them a little to see which are true and work for you.”
When he moved to Santa Barbara and opened Marty Neumeier Design, he was the first graphic designer in town. “I had to persuade the phone company to put a new heading [in the phone book] just for me,” he recalls. He spent a lot of time “trying to turn business people into clients when they didn’t even know what graphic design At first he worked as a graphic designer. He didn’t make was.” For Neumeier, this was valuable experience paving a distinction between graphic design and advertising. the way to what he calls the brand gap: the difference “There’s copywriting involved,” Neumeier says. “The between business strategy and design. words and pictures have to work together.” At first he would look for people that could write to work on his Later, Neumeier created Neutron, a design consultancy team, but he often found himself feeling underwhelmed out of San Francisco. He helped companies understand with the quality of their writing. So he decided to figure branding and design, getting them to think like designers so they could learn to embrace these concepts. “We didn’t it out himself. do any design,” Neumeier says. “We gave up all that glory “Slowly but surely, I started to get it,” Neumeier says. of having your work be seen by everybody to work entirely Though it was a difficult challenge, he eventually learned inside corporations.” to meet his own high standards. “I understood how compressed copy has to be, how perfect it has to be. This meant giving a lot of workshops and lectures. I started to appreciate it even though I found it very Things were going well for the business and Neumeier was successful. But he was beginning to lose interest. He difficult.” wanted to be free to work on what really interested him For Neumeier, the process of learning how to write was instead of poring over spreadsheets. “I love moving onto “painful and slow.” But the skills he learned as a designer something else,” Neumeier says. “I wanted to transition proved applicable in writing, too. “Writing is very much from [Neutron] to something else.” In 2009, Neutron was about unincluding,” he says. “You need to eliminate acquired by Liquid Agency. needless words. That instruction applies to anything in art.”
Follow Marty’s weekly series “The 46 Rules of Genius” bit.ly/RulesofGenius Take the Metaskills Test bit.ly/MetaSkills
“If you can make your brand do something that no one else can, that’s valuable. You have to fight regression towards the mean all the time.”
In his most recent book, Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age, Neumeier looks at what skills are needed in our robotic age and talks about the two forces at play in the world: entropy and extropy. Entropy, according to Neumeier, “makes everything want to die and lose energy.” Extropy is the battle against that. “That’s what life does,” he says. “Life says ‘No, we’re not going to be dead.’ But it takes work to be alive. That’s why things want to regress to the mean; people want to relax.” It’s this natural tendency “I realized over time being different was really important to be average that Neumeier wants his clients to conquer for my clients,” he says. “Look at every huge company: through innovation. He admits this can be difficult, but it they did something daring and different. Unless you can is necessary for a company to succeed. do that at will, you’re always going to be an also-ran. Neumeier has his eyes on the future as he helps people and “If you can make your brand do something that no one organizations innovate. “I predict what people will need else can, that’s valuable. You have to fight regression to know next given the trajectory of innovation culture.” towards the mean all the time,” Neumeier explains. “I’m He shares some of these findings in a weekly blog series, fascinated by excellence; it has this ego to it that says ‘I’m “The 46 Rules of Genius,” which will be released as a book going to be different.’ That takes a lot of work to keep in the fall of 2014. Until then, Neumeier will continue to write books on innovation, present keynotes, and lead propping up that ego.” workshops, all while looking ahead. Now, Neumeier is Liquid Agency’s unofficial thought leader. “I just thought, you know, ‘This is where I want to be.’” He splits his time working with clients (by special request only), writing books and articles, and traveling around the world conducting workshops and giving keynote speeches. Neumeier’s work as Director of Transformation helps companies come up with new ideas to stay relevant and compelling.
liquidagency.com twitter: MARTYneumeier
â€œFind your own voice. Know yourself and the type of art you really want to create.â€? Written by flora moreno de thompson Photography by daniel Garcia
Lippert film photographer
anja Lippert knows her way around a photo shoot. For ten years, Lippert worked in front of the camera as a model on sets across the US and around the world. After modeling, she became a stylist and makeup artist. While assisting on photo shoots behind the scenes, she was able to see photographers working from a completely different angle, and was often disappointed with the results because she had seen magical moments missed that she wanted captured. One day, Lippert decided to borrow her brother-in-law’s camera and give photography a try. “I wanted to see if I could do it any better myself,” she says. Lippert found she had great insight from her modeling days, but admits if she had known she would be a photographer, she would have paid more attention to what the photographers were doing.
“It snowballed pretty quickly into a full-time business,” Lippert says. “That was fourteen years ago, and I haven’t looked back.” Another way Lippert sets herself apart is that she exclusively shoots film. Digital cameras and all their buttons and dials are complicated. Since she began shooting “before digital was a thing,” Lippert found digital photography distracted her from paying attention to the most important part of image-making: the mood. “I need the tech part of photography to be simple, so I can focus on the creative part,” she says. “It is an entirely different mindset when shooting film. Instead of hunting for shots in the camera, I set the shot up, then pick up the camera to record what I have created.”
Aside from her photography work, Lippert teaches workshops and It’s this unique trajectory—from model, to makeup artist and stylist, speaks at conferences in the US and Europe, such as Wedding and to photographer—that provides Lippert with a perspective not Portrait Photographers International, and Boda F in Spain. many photographers possess, and it plays a great part in her success.
Tanja Lippert Photography
“I need the tech part of photography to be simple, so I can focus on the creative part” “I almost love teaching as much as I love shooting,” she says. “It is amazing to be a part of helping people transform not only their photography world, but also their lives. It’s rewarding to know that you’ve helped people.” Lippert is fueled by her philosophy of giving back. “I have had so many blessings, I really like the idea of paying it forward.” In 2012, all of her passions converged with the launch of a two-season web series, now available on YouTube, called Film Show. Lippert co-produced and hosted the series with fellow avid film shooters Ryan Muirhead and Tia Reagan. The three combined their passions, skills, and humor to design a show centered around a film photographer’s life that would educate, inspire, and entertain.
Lippert is always up for a challenge, and has begun styling again to spark more creative ideas. She is also looking to venture more into fashion photography, which she has dabbled in but kept on the back burner, as her wedding and portrait business had the higher demand. Admittedly, she sees how shooting with film can be a hindrance in the fashion industry, since most clients use the latest in digital imagery to view and approve images on set these days. Yet, Lippert is confident that there are clients who will appreciate her commitment to film, and without a doubt, they will benefit from her style. After all, she is following her own advice: “Find your own voice. Know yourself and the type of art you really want to create.”
As digital photography has become the industry standard, film production has waned. However, in recent years Lippert has seen more photographers returning to film or discovering film shooting for the first time. “I’m not saying it’s because of our show, but I think Film Show has helped film become a thing again,” she says. “Which is good for me, because I just want to make sure they don’t stop making [film].”
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Photographer: Jayson Dew Model: Camilo Dolorier & Alicia Osmundson Hair: Jade Deveraturda Make-up: Kayla Kruger
Image Challenge 2014 All photographs had to be taken within San Jose city limits, but not in a studio.
Content Magazine and Umbrella Salon have teamed up again for our second annual Image Challenge. We put a call out to photographers, models, makeup artists, and hairstylists to give them a chance to show what they can do under a bit of pressure and let the creativity flow.
Once teams were assigned, the hairstylists and makeup artists got to work. When the models were ready, the teams began to trickle out of the salon to take photos. The mission? Fourteen teams, each comprised of a model, An old motel, City Hall, a barn, an old water tower— hairstylist, photographer, and makeup artist—who had suddenly, everyday sites all over the city became backdrops never met each other before—were given just fourteen for fashion photo shoots for the day. hours to provide Content Magazine with three print-ready Check out these shots from Image Challenge 2014— images. and keep an eye out for more from these talented Participants arrived at Umbrella Salon on a sunny winter individuals who are shaping our creative community. Sunday morning in February 2014, and teams were chosen randomly by pulling names out of paper bags. Rules for Special thanks to all of the make-up artists, clothing, the day were pretty relaxed, which for some participants, and hair stylists. And thank you to the models agencies contributed to the challenge. Everyone had to show up that participated: Halvorson Models, JE Model & Scout ready for anything, including the weather. The teams Models. needed to come up with an idea for the photoshoot that everyone agreed upon.
Photographer: Chris Lovos Models: Morgan Murphy (L) & Brittnee Hollenbach (R) Hair: Anjelika Martinez Make-up: Helena Herrera
Photographer: Daniel Valencia Model: Jessica Gurewitz Hair: Dacia Carroll Make-up: Jenn Imbat
Photographer: Marcus Jackson Model: Jess Miller Hair: Danielle Make-up: Samantha Alvarez
Photographer: Alex Ho Model: Trover Figueroa Hair: Chloe Lomeli Make-up: Sinh Vo
Photographer: Rod Rosete Model: Ellie Marquez Hair: Rose Marie Corpuz Make-up: Janyl Moreno
Photographer: Stan Olszewski Model: Sara Eleatrice Hair: Adrian De Lozada Make-up: Iris Travis
Photographer: Gregory Cortez Model: Kerstin Tuning Hair: Vanessa Make-up: Christine Carrera
Photographer: Khiem Hoang Model: Bernadetta Fahmy Hair: Yanin Colmenero Make-up: Sarah Nicole
Photographer: Mark Grime Models: Danielle Hartono & Ian Innes (not pictured) Hair: Nathan Nguyen Make-up: Kimberly Gucurdiola
Photographer: George Cox Model: Blanca Araj Hair: Jan Michael Macutay Make-up: Sarah Nicole
Photographer: Jayson Dew Models: Camilo Dolorier & Alicia Osmundson Hair: Jade Deveraturda Make-up: Kayla Kruger
Photographer: Max Johnson Model: Jordan Johnson Hair: Jade Deveraturda Make-up: Sinh Vo
(Middle Right) Photographer: Raj Kumar Models: Anna Deh & Tyler Agajan Hair: Jennifer Singleton Make-up: Chelsa Dessy
Photographer: Adrian Godina Model: Lauren Blankenship Hair: Yanin Colmenero Make-up: Charlise Tran Stylists: Christina Jo & Rochelle Singh
photo graphers George Cox
Jayson Dew (Stand in)
FIRST TO MARKET Classic American Cuisine Comes to Downtown Written by Lynn Peithman Stock Photograhy by daniel Garcia
The 1,800-square foot restaurant seats 54 in the dining room with another 18 spots at the bar. Happy hour has its own rotating menu, which has included the favorite House-made Tots with Herbed Cheese Curds and Remoulade, Fried Chicken Bits with Honey Sriracha Drizzle, and Sweet Cheese Curd Hand Pie with Poached Pears and Pear Syrup.
ou won’t find any fusion entrees at the cozy First to Market in downtown San Jose. No tea-infused duck breast, no pumpkin seed pesto chicken, and no tofu, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts in a ginger-garlic Mandarin sauce. Not here.
Lots of thought has gone into every aspect of First to Market. “The idea of quality product and quality ingredients and quality service,” says Gradillas. “We’ve been in this industry long enough that service was a big part of it. Now, you really have to put that extra mile into it.”
At First to Market, you’ll only find comfort food, lovingly prepared, just the way manager Joe Gradillas’ grandmother would have served.
Gradillas and Lin have known each other for quite some time. Lin, who majored in music and has a degree in hospitality, had a food truck and the two had been talking about some day opening a restaurant together. Lin tired of working all day only to sell her creations for two hours at a time in the food truck business. “I don’t mind working all day, but I don’t like having to rush back and forth,” she says. This is the first brick-and-mortar restaurant she has owned.
“We’re all about American food here,” says manager Jenn Lin—not fusion. “We wanted to bring that home and do it the way it’s been done for hundreds of years.” Gradillas admits he’s a “lover of eating,” so he knows what he likes. He remembers his grandmother making a rabbit dish, which he described to Chef Domingo Wolbert. Their chef nailed it. “It’s like being home again,” Gradillas says. “It’s perfect.” The item appears on the Large Plates section of First to Market’s menu: Elk Sausage-Stuffed Boneless Rabbit Leg with Cauliflower Mash ($24).
Gradillas, a business major, has been in the restaurant and bar business for 20 years and owns the Single Barrel bar underneath First to Market. This is his third attempt at opening a restaurant. When this space opened up, the two shared their personal visions of what their own restaurant would be. Amazingly, those visions were the same. “Hey, that’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Lin said of their dream restaurant conversations.
All of the menu items are made from scratch, Lin says, and presented as a beautifully finished product. Food at First to Market doesn’t cost an arm and a leg “but it still has an upscale air about it,” she adds. In addition to the nostalgia-inspiring rabbit dish, Gradillas’ favorites include the Sauteed Brussels Sprouts—“I’ll eat bowls of it.” Lin’s are the Shrimp and Sharp Cheddar Grits, and Pimento Mac and Cheese with Broadbent Kentucky Country Ham.
They decided to give it a go and brought in Chef Domingo, who has worked in kitchens for eight years, mostly in the East Bay, Oakland, and Berkeley. The menu will change quarterly. “I can’t wait for tomato season,” Chef Domingo says. On tap: homemade bloody Mary mix. The chef ’s ultimate compliment? When someone says, “This reminds me of when I was a kid,” he says. “That’s actually what I’m going for.”
“We make everything our own here,” Gradillas says. The veggies come from Watsonville and Salinas, and the bread and ice cream—the only items not made inhouse—come from blocks away in San Jose.
With Cinequest in full swing at the California Theatre on the same block during First to Market’s first month, the restaurant had a welcome infusion of curious diners right off the bat.
On the libations side, you won’t find any international beers here. Only American-made craft beers are served. “I’m a beer snob,” says Lin, who handles the beer selection. Gradillas admits, “I don’t have that kind of beer palate because I’ve always focused on liquor.”
“The response is always the same,” Lin says. “‘We’ve been waiting for a place like this to come into the area.’”
Like many new restaurant owners, Gradillas and Lin went through lists of names before deciding on First to Market. “It’s a running joke because we’re between First and Market but it really has to do with the way we’re putting out food,” Lin says—cutting down large cuts of meat and making their own stock. “Minus harvesting the vegetables ourselves, everything back there is done by hand,” Gradillas says.
399 South First St. San Jose408.600.2120
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Sunita de Tourreil and the Chocolate Garage
Tucked away on a side street in Downtown Palo Alto, the Chocolate Garage is a small one-room shop. The walls are painted a cheerful green, couches and chairs are clustered in a cozy circle, and cupboards line the walls, all stocked with artisanally-crafted chocolate bars. The store is the labor of love of Sunita de Tourreil, for whom the phrase â€œHappy Chocolateâ€? is more than a marketing motto. Equal parts business model, mission for global equality, and social experiment, the Happy Chocolate philosophy is changing the chocolate industry one bar at a time. Written by Leah Ammon Photography by daniel garcia
“Every maker we work with we work with in a different way, because they each have different needs and different products.” If she slips into scientific language, it is not surprising. Nearly a decade ago, de Tourreil (who holds a Master’s Degree in microbiology) was employed at UCSF as part of a clinical research team studying the effects of Mad Cow disease on the human brain. At the same time, she spent all of her spare time to researching sustainable development, fair trade, and green business, “and I started to see,” she says, “that my true passion was what I was doing on the weekends.”
“People sometimes ask me ‘Isn’t all chocolate happy?’” says de Tourreil. “Of course, eating delicious chocolate gives us pleasure, but there are some truly ugly aspects to commercial cacao production.” By this, she means exploitative pricing models—large chocolate companies that pay farmers in Africa and South America a pittance for low-grade cocoa beans—and their consequences, including extreme poverty and child slave labor. De Tourreil considers this an extreme example of the traditional for-profit business model. In contrast, she says, “Happy Chocolate is a business model that adds value along the entire supply chain, making sure that the people who are growing the cocoa and eventually eating the chocolate are happy, and everyone between—the harvester, the maker—are happy, too.”
Leaving the lab in 2004, she devoted herself entirely to her new interest, attending conferences and making connections. “One thing led to another. I met really inspiring people, and it seemed that craft chocolate could be a wonderful vehicle for me to address the issues I cared about in an accessible way.”
Open hours at the Chocolate Garage are limited— Wednesdays, 5 to 9pm; Saturdays 9am to 1pm—but they are an opportunity to enjoy a unique salon-like atmosphere. De Tourreil offers six different kinds of chocolate to sample, and customers often bring their own bottles of wine or whiskey to share and pair with the tastings. “There are so few places left for people to gather as a community,” says de Tourreil, “and the Chocolate Garage turns out to be just that. People come from very The relationships that de Tourreil develops with chocolate different walks of life, and they’re able to engage with each makers allow her to make innovate arrangements other.” De Tourreil also hosts tastings for private parties with them, including her Future Chocolate program. and corporate team-building. Customers pay a lump sum of several hundred dollars up front, and apply it to their Chocolate Garage purchases At its heart, the Happy Chocolate project is one with a over time. This allows de Tourreil to raise funds to invest focus on fostering empathy. “People who grow cacao in the makers’ businesses, whether that involves financing may seem very different from average Americans,” de the acquisition of an extremely rare batch of cocoa beans Tourreil says. “They speak different languages, they eat or commissioning a special chocolate line. “Every maker different foods. But mostly, they’re families who want their we work with we work with in a different way,” she says, children to do well. My hope is that in making all of that “because they each have different needs and different transparent, I’ll succeed in making people value things differently and value others differently.” She continues, products.” “And It’s been lovely to see people sense there’s something Customers pay more for Chocolate Garage chocolate different and real about that and want to be a part of it.” than for grocery store candy—the average cost of a bar is around $12—but have the satisfaction of knowing their purchase supports responsible industry. They also have the pleasure of enjoying exquisitely delicious, complexly flavored chocolate, which will reward mindful tasting. “Mass-produced food—chocolate included—is bland and oversimplified, and you eat more of it in order to feel satisfied,” says de Tourreil. “But the lovely thing about high-end chocolate is how nuanced the flavor is. You only need to eat a square or two. There’s a neurologic component: you’re binding certain receptors to achieve a thechocolategarage.com sense of satiety.” facebook:TheChocolateGarage For the Chocolate Garage, she seeks out chocolatemakers whose dealings with growers are equitable, with a preference for chocolatiers located in the same country where the beans are grown to maximize the capital kept in the local economy. De Tourreil then pays these makers nearly twice the commodity price for their bars. “That is, in the long term, both the sustainable model and the model that will create change in people’s lives,” she says.
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Eric Johnson_General Manager
KFJC Home Grown Radio Written by gillian claus Photography by scott macdonald
From self-confessed skate rat to his current job as general manager, Eric Johnson has enjoyed KFJC since the 1980s.
or many teens in that decade, 89.7 FM was the only place you could listen to punk rock on your radio—hard-to-find imports as well as local bands. As it turns out, 1980 was the year that the station increased its power from 10 to 250 watts. Maybe that was why so many Bay Area kids first tuned in. (That’s why I used to trek up the hill to the tiny station broadcasting up at Foothill College, to scrounge stickers and try to catch a little cool.) Now that Johnson (Grawer is his on-air moniker) manages the non-profit, he takes pride in showing visitors around the studio. Everything is produced in-house for KFJC with their team of volunteers, from their website to promo spots, and they use every inch of their space wedged in between classrooms at the community college. “It’s all home grown.” There are High Fidelity-style libraries of vinyl and CDs lining the walls here, although the recent cassette uprising is also visible. The A Library contains their primary resources for all kinds of music—jazz, underground, experimental noise, and psychedelia. This is the library for all those bands you have never heard of, the bread and butter of the KFJC listening experience. The B library is the mainstream. The names are more familiar. For example, you’ll find Hendrix here. Down the stairs is the “pit,” their space for live recordings. Johnson says it is not unusual to have five or more bands playing here in a week. The room is lined with floor to ceiling archival shelving which translates into 5-10 years of storage. A large wooden cabinet, custom built by DJ Sluggo, houses all their 7” records. Having made a definitive name for themselves as the source for sound, KFJC receives a lot of albums, both from labels and direct from bands themselves. Which ones make the cut? Johnson says that each week, the station adds 35-40 new items—hence the need for archival elbow room. They split these items up amongst the staff and each volunteer reviews them, describing the sound, instrumentation, or band history. Every Wednesday, they reassemble for a staff meeting where the reviews are presented. When the items are catalogued into the database, they include a review on the front of the record to aid the DJs in making playlists. When asked if anything ever goes missing, Johnson grins and shakes his head. Because so many of the staff of local used record shops work with or even on air at KFJC, stolen items never make it far before being returned home.
The DJs come from the community. Interested applicants must first complete a ten week class. After they pass the final, they are matched with a DJ for on air training. Besides learning how to speak on air, the trainees need to learn about the FCC rules, including those concerning obscenity. The station no longer provides a degree program. 2008 was a difficult time for the non-profit when the state wiped out zero unit classes normally taken by community members. Now all community colleges are more focused on AA and transfers. KFJC radio classes are now classified as Community Education. Listed under Foothill College’s Fine Arts Division, they are no longer an academic program. One of the first stations to stream back in 1996, KFJC has now added HD cameras and a live cam on their website. They have broadcast from New Zealand, Japan, and all over the US. Johnson even considered heading to Morocco for a festival at the beginning of 2014. Technology has accelerated, making the station scramble to keep pace. Thankfully, their fundraising goes well and Johnson is pleased to confirm that they meet their goals. With a modest operating budget of around $90K a year, due in part to the generosity of the community college, they maintain all of their own equipment including their transmitter atop Black Mountain. With live streaming and archived playlists, it is hard to define exactly who is listening and to what, says Johnson. “Some people just listen to Robert Emmet’s ‘Norman Bates Memorial Soundtrack Show’ on Saturday morning, for example, but other people listen to it all—cool jazz and Norwegian Death Metal, interspersed with show tunes and noise.” Station events are extremely popular. The Psychotronic Film Festival is so big they may need to find a new venue and the Battle of the Surf Bands draws huge crowds. In the modern digital age, why listen to college radio? “We are one way to discover the new stuff that you can’t find on iTunes,” says Johnson. “Because we’re out there looking where iTunes is not. Our long-term relationships with bands and listeners give us relevance.” There are still alternatives out there to commercial radio. Recent studies have indicated that brains actually grow when exposed to different types of music. So why not dial up 89.7 FM and treat those grey cells to something new?
On the Corner Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by daniel garcia
Jeff Evans has a passion for sharing music
"Vinyl is just something that has managed to stay current and classic at the same time." Jeff Evans, owner of On the Corner Music in Campbell, is a busy guy. An LA native and San Jose State graduate, he has been around the San Jose music scene for years, usually using the stage name Jeff Jagged. He has played in a number of bands, notably Betty’s Love Child, The Entertainment Committee, and The Bang; his current project is the two-man difficult-to-categorize rock duo Dirty Pillows, and he can also be heard DJing in his regular gigs at Blackbird Tavern and Cinebar as well as other events. A longtime collector of vinyl (his first two records were Men at Work’s Business as Usual and The Police’s Synchronicity, which he received as Hanukkah gifts as a kid), Evans opened On the Corner in 2006. It was around the time of Tower Records stores closing across the country and digital music overtaking CD sales in the industry. But vinyl has always had its own niche audience, beloved by collectors, hipsters, and DJs no matter what other formats music becomes available in. “Vinyl is just something that has managed to stay current and classic at the same time,” Evans says. “I think more people are discovering the pleasure of things like Side 1/Side 2 as dictated by the band, not the shuffle option.” On the Corner is, as one can guess, on the corner of East Campbell and Dillon Avenues, just outside of downtown Campbell. It has a cozy feel, decorated with quirky vintage art and album covers, and features a fairly modest collection of well-curated records that helps Evans maintain a loyal customer base. He describes his process in simple terms: “Find music I like, understand what other people like, find the best combo of the two.” On the Corner also offers turntables to customers so that they can listen to the music before they buy. It’s a model Evans wanted to emulate from DJ specialty shops he would frequent in the late 90s. “You could listen to anything before you bought it, and they trusted you to treat the vinyl properly,” he says. “I continue this in my place because you should be able to preview records, either for condition or hearing something new before purchase. It’s like trying on clothing; it shouldn’t be a hassle for a vinyl shop to do this.
shop, for God’s sakes,” he laments, while admitting that he does love it, despite the grind. And his various other interests continue to inspire new ideas. Something of a Renaissance man, his passions range from baseball to fashion photography to food. “I would love to figure out some kind of vinyl/coffee/beer pairing,” he says, with no further explanation.
“Every good shop I’ve been to has the same qualities,” he continues. “Killer selection, friendly/knowledgeable staff, listening stations, and playing great tunes while you’re shopping. I try to emulate all of these in some way.” Evans can rattle off a list of favorite stores—including a bunch in SoCal, plus Groove Merchant and Rooky Ricardo’s Records in San Francisco—but when it comes to gathering records to sell in his own shop, “private collections are where the real gems are at.” As soon as new stuff comes in, he shares a few pics on Instagram (@33sonthetable) and “they just get swooped up fast.”
Meanwhile, Evans enjoys performing at the various small venues that San Jose has to offer, applying his own experiences as a small business owner as reference point. “Enjoy these places that do live stuff whenever possible,” he explains, “they are definitely going out on a limb.” Dirty Pillows has played recently at the Blank Club, Caravan, Cafe Stritch, and others; Evans seems okay with that club circuit. And in keeping with what he calls the “DIY” approach of South Bay music, the band’s new album will be released soon—on cassette. Because why not mix things up? It’s what a DJ does.
This is not to say that this business is easy. Tracking down these collections is a lot of work, and keeping the shelves stocked means constant searching for new sources. “I don’t know what disease has caused me to want to run my own business, especially a record
On the Corner Music 530 E. Campbell Ave. Campbell, CA 95008
No MOre Waiting Shamina Music
Written by Victoria Felicity Photography by Delbarr moradi
Singer-songwriter Shamina Khangaldy’s latest EP While We’re Waiting playfully engages the listener with soothing melodies and storytelling lyrics about life and love. Tell me a little about your background. What got you initially into music?
I grew up in a musical household. My dad plays guitar. He writes, sings, and dabbles on the piano. He was actually a full time opera singer for a period of time in Iran. My uncle is a composer, he was my first piano teacher. There are a lot of creative people in my family.
What are some of your creative inspirations?
My parents for sure. One of my first musical memories was with my dad listening to Yanni and Celine Dion and I used to think that my dad and Yanni were brothers—I think it was because they had matching mustaches.
My dad had a lot of exposure to different types of music as an opera singer in Iran. He was also in a folk band My dad and my uncle noticed I had an ear for music really that performed really complicated beautiful Assyrian folk young. I started playing piano when I was eight years old music. My father exposed me to a lot of different styles of but didn’t really fall in love with it until I was 15. I picked music growing up. up guitar a few months before I turned 13. I started writing really young. I wrote my first song when I was nine, it was absolutely terrible. I started writing singer-songwriter stuff a few years ago. A lot of my first music was more personal reflective worship stuff. My faith still informs my songs, but the lyrics have changed a lot.
Music has always been a part of my life. Music is the only thing that has really made sense to me.
I have been singing in church for as long as I can remember. Music has always been a part of my life. Music is the My parents’ story of coming to the US from Iran is another only thing that has really made sense to me. big inspiration. I am first generation American, and wtih that comes its share of struggles, but I think about my Having such grounded roots to the church, why did you choose to go the singer-songwriter route instead of cre- parents coming here when they were in their early- to mid-twenties. They gave up so much; they have worked ating music for the church? so hard. They have always been my biggest supporters. Well, I am a Christian and I am an artist. I listened to Without them and their story I would not have a story. Christian radio for a season of my life, but as I got older Remembering that colors my songwriting and gives me I didn’t personally connect with the music. I love what perspective when I sit down to create something. Without Michael Gungor and John Forman have to say about them I would have nothing to share. music: “There is no such thing as ‘Christian music.’ There are Christians who play and write music.” I am a follower I have a lot of different musical inspirations who I think of Christ, my faith is still a part of my songwriting process are complicated and intelligent musicians. The goals they because it’s a part of who I am. help me set for myself influence my music. I don’t sound
like any of them—but their approach to the music is what I love my city and the people in it and I wanted to create a I admire. When we were in the studio it was more about mix of sweet light-hearted love songs and reflective songs pulling inspiration from the way that these people think that a lot of people could relate to and enjoy. about the music. I basically told the guys, ‘okay, think Darren King on drums (drummer of MuteMath) mixed You funded the recording for While We’re Waiting EP with Reign of Kindo and go for that...’ and some really through Kickstarter. What was that experience like? cool things were created. I thought it was a really great way to reach out to people. You ultimately need the support of other people, be it vershaminamusic.com bal or financial, you need that to get to the next level. facebook: shaminamusic Last spring I decided that I was just going to go for it. I twitter: shaminamusic launched it in June of 2013 and I was really scared because instagram: shaminamusic if I failed, I failed publicly. email@example.com
It blows my mind how supportive people were. It was a very vulnerable experience, maybe a song will come out of it. It’s an experience that reminds you of the community that is around you. Whether they know of your music or not, they believe in you and there is no amount of money that can take the place of that. www.briterevolution.com/artists/shamina - 2 free mp3 downloads
Aki Kumar A harmonica player from Bombay is breathing new life into the South Bay blues scene Written by nathan zanon Photograhy by Stan Olszewski
On Aki Kumar’s
new album, Don’t Hold Back, the track “Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh” begins with some sitar chords before Kumar interrupts: “Hey, you’d better cut that Bollywood shit out! That ain’t the blues...this is the blues!” The music restarts, now bluesy-sounding: a cover of a 1960 tune by Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. The song can be interpreted as an announcement of Kumar’s arrival on the blues scene, but in reality the Indian-American harmonica player has been building to this point for years. In addition to the album, he currently leads a weekly Thursday night “Blues Jam” at Little Lou’s BBQ in Campbell and headlines gigs at a variety of local venues. Born in Bombay, Kumar grew up with very little musical education, aside from studying some Hindustani music theory and playing around on a Casio keyboard and harmonica. He enjoyed it, but music was more of a hobby. “I gave up on it,” he says, shrugging. “In India, arts are secondary.” At age 17, he came to the US to study computer science at Oklahoma City University. He stayed for only a short time before transferring to San Jose State, but it was an important stint: he developed an ear for American music thanks to an oldies radio station, and he met his future wife Rachel, who shared his musical taste and is now a songwriting collaborator. After graduating from SJSU, Kumar got a job at Adobe, working on products like PDF and Flash. “A few of the people in my group decided to start a band, just for fun, and they invited me to play a little harmonica.” The other musicians caught wind of his interest in classic American tunes and turned him on to blues music from the 1960s. He was hooked. “When I hear authentic blues, that just brings out an emotion,” As for the current blues culture, Kumar is careful not to disparage Kumar explains. “The lyrics are great. They’re very real and grounded. his peers, but it’s clear that he has a specific idea of what he likes. Anybody in any walk of life can relate to it.” “Blues has turned into rock,” he laments. “I can’t find on the radio that plays blues, just rocked-up stuff or funked-up stuff. But there’s Inspired by what he was hearing, he enrolled in courses at the School something called essential blues. Right now, the only time you can of the Blues in San Jose. Founder David Barrett is a Grammy- hear that is on a Viagra commercial where they play “Howlin’ Wolf.” nominated harmonica player, and he became Kumar’s private It’s sad. But when people are given a chance to hear the real stuff, instructor and mentor. Kumar also began attending local shows and they enjoy it—which is why doing live shows is important. Blues has introducing himself to performers, eventually reaching a point where never been a big audience, big arena kind of genre; it’s an intimate he would be invited on stage for a song or two to jam. Improvised thing.” jams are part of the tradition of blues, because most of the music is based on a 3-chord foundation that forms a sort of “language” and Sustaining a career is a challenge when the audience is small, even allows people to perform together even if they have never met or if they’re a passionate bunch. “Unless there’s a way to break into heard each other play. the younger market without compromising the music, I don’t know what the future is. But I don’t think it’s going to fade away and die, Kumar soon joined a vintage blues group called Tip of the Top, because it’s just compelling music.” which toured successfully for four years and released three albums before the musicians decided to move on. Now, Kumar’s name And people are finding it. Invited to teach a master class in England carries recognition, and he plays shows as the bandleader. “I’m at a recently, Kumar traveled across the pond to discover he had fans point where I’m able to summon the best players I can to back me there who knew his music thanks to YouTube. “This show I did at up.” He’s even left his job and is trying out music full-time. the little barbecue that nobody knows about...there are guys in the UK spreading those videos.” On stage, Kumar is electric. Always impeccably dressed in a suit, he exhibits an energy that pulls you in, much like the musicians he Kumar is well aware of the complex, transnational history of the wants to emulate. “If I look at the guys I’m inspired by—Muddy blues, from its roots in the Deep South and segregated music clubs to Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy [Williamson], the whole Chicago its reinvention in the 60s by white British guitarists like John Mayall blues scene from the 50s and 60s—those guys were showmen!” to its influence on modern popular music. So why shouldn’t an Indian-born harpist serve as blues ambassador to a new generation? Maybe that is what “Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh” is really about. akikumar.com
“Blues has never been a big audience, big arena kind of genre; it’s an intimate thing.”
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LAURIE HATCH Laurie’s academic and career background is in music and art. She transitioned from ceramic art to photography in the early 1990s when she moved to the University of California’s Lick Observatory on the summit of Mt. Hamilton. Although she left the mountain in 2010, it will always be ‘home’, and continues to be a favorite photographic subject. lauriehatch.com
Daniel Garcia used 4x5 Trix to create the portrait of Film Photographer Tanja Lippert for this issue. Processed at richardphotolab.com
KRISTINE YOUNG Kristine is a Bay Area-based individual who looks to the world with wonder and excitement. Graphic design is both her life and her passion. Currently a student at San Jose State University, she looks forward to seeing what the creative world has to offer her and what she has to offer it. kristineyoung.me
STAN OLSZEWSKI Stan is a San Jose-based editorial, wedding, portrait, and corporate photographer. Stan has photographed nearly 1,000 editorial assignments with publications including The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth StarTelegram, and The Christian Science Monitor to name a few. SOSKIphoto.com
HEATHER M. DAVID Heather is a cultural historian and freelance writer. She is the author of the book Mid-Century by the Bay and numerous articles on American popular culture and historic preservation. A third generation San Francisco Bay Area native, Heather is committed to celebrating the region’s unique history.
MORGAN SMAIL Morgan is a designer focused on the captivating power of storytelling. He works for and with many local organizations like Content Media Collective, Liquid Agency, Duarte Design, and San Jose Jazz for branding and promotions. Morgan pursues his love for directing by collaborating with local filmakers to produce music videos and other films. MorganSmail.com
KEVIN ZITTLE Kevin is a California-based photographer and designer. He’s an artist at heart and a maniacal technical genius to those who don’t know better. In his spare time, Kevin volunteers in the community, collects fine guitars, brews fine craft coffee, and criticizes bad typography. @kevinz
DELBARR MORADI Delbarr specializes in weddings and lifestyle photography. Her name means “to steal your heart” and her hope is to capture your heart with images that tell a story in an inspiring and authentic way. She was recently named a top photographer by Martha Stewart Weddings and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and daughter. delbarrmoradi.com
Picks by Local Mohammad Gorjestani Picks by Local Mohammad Gorjestani
“Top Ten Favorite Vinyl Albums (Original Pressings)”
A. Funkadelic: Maggot Brain
F. Trex: The Slider
No exaggeration here—An epic funk/rock/ psychedelic masterpiece brought to you by George Clinton and company. The first track and last track will freak you the f out, but it’s the middle tracks that are pure melodic genius that should calm you enough to make it through—the cover says it all.
Big. Bombastic. And a truly joyful rock n roll noise. Marc Bolan delivers the over-the-top but always charming goods on this seminal ‘72 masterpiece. They DO NOT make them like this any more. No one does. Get the original and enjoy some UK glam/rock bliss.
DAy Job Owner, On the Corner Music 530 E. Campbell Ave. Campbell, CA 95008
B. David Bowie: Aladdin Sane
Why original pressings? They sound better. They look better. And damn if those kool points don’t go through the roof as opposed to if you bought a reissue at Urban Outfitters. Which is fine, if they even stocked any of these. But seriously, take some time, do some crate digging, and you’ll be surprised what else you come up on while hunting for these gems…
Peak era Bowie; exceptionally confident and stylish. This album is the epitome of “concept,” but never feels pretentious (unlike that last statement). The first track “Watch That Man” is glam rock n roll perfection. I promise you’ll be hooked. c. The Meters: Rejuvenation The fifth album by this legendary New Orleans quartet, stretching out their unique syncopated funk sounds with vocals and a true song-writing sensibility. Still a ton of hip-hop samples and head nodding moments going on here, but a wonderfully complete funk/soul album from start to finish. d. Muddy Waters: Electric Mud A vinyl sampler’s dream, a blues collector’s nightmare, an ultimately heavy blues/rock album. In 1968, Muddy was at a low point in his career, and this attempt at a “psychedelic” blues album to re-establish his stock had completely polarizing results. Find it and judge for yourself. E. The Stooges: The Stooges Well, it has “I Wanna Be Your Dog” if you’re looking for “hits”, but that’s not why you got it. Just the rawest of RAW rock n roll albums to come out in 1969, you Detroit dirthead. The album sounds like nothing else. Iggy sounds like nothing else. He croons, he screams, he pleads, and he gets you hooked. No brainer here, really. Rest in peace, drummer Scott Asheton.
G. Toots and the Maytals: Funky Kingston Toots live is an amazing funky-reggaegospel-experience, and this studio album encompasses that sentiment perfectly. Not just another 70’s ode to “Jah”, but true feel good music meant for everyone. H. Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas Get nostalgic during the holidays. You may even cry like a sentimental sap, and that’s ok. The beauty of Vince’s gentle piano keystrokes and childhood holiday melodies make this album indeed an all time classic—unless you’re the Grinch. And even he may throw it on at a cocktail party. I. Stan Getz: Getz Au Go-Go A live bossa-nova album by arguably the king of the genre, saxophonist Stan Getz. Along with chanteuse Astrud Gilberto, this wonderfully laid-back romantic session will go great with a good bottle of wine and pretty much any evening occasion. J. Television: Marquee Moon Possibly the most exquisite melding of art and punk in this 1977 debut album by the New York quartet. Edgy yet melodic, epic but never overbearing. For fans of Patti Smith, Talking Heads, and the romance of a New York that may or may not have existed, here is proof that love, lyricism, and real musicianship triumphs whether we were actually at CBGB’s to hear it or not. 37 years ago!
INNOVATIVE & CREATIVE CULTURE
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