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ISSUE 10.1 March / April 2018 Silicon Valley’s Innovative and Creative Culture

Tech Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra Ginger Lab OhmniLabs Bitcoin



“More than skill, drive, or experience— great work is rooted in character."

Juan Sanchez, CEO & Creative Director Lily Nguyen, Design Director

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CONTENT ISSUE 10.1 “Tech” March / April 2018

The Makers: Cultivator Daniel Garcia Editors Elizabeth Sullivan Kelsy Thompson, Katherine Hypes Grace Olivieri, Vila Schwindt Samantha Tack Circulation/Distribution Elle Mitchell Communication Manager Julia Canavese Community Partnerships Kristen Pfund

Designers Elle Mitchell, Maggie Moore Jeff Gardner Photographers Gregory Cortez, Arabela Espinoza Scott MacDonald, Robert Schultze Jacob Martinez, Joey Pisacane Writers Tracy Lee, Brandon Roos Michelle Runde, Nathan Zanon Francisco Alvarado, Gillian Claus Daniel Codella, Tad Malone Johanna Hickle, Jeff Brummet David Ma, Allen Johnson Cathleen Miller

Publisher SVCreates Living in Silicon Valley, technology definitely affects us, and it affects more than our livelihoods and income—even the philosophical undercurrent that we can start our own businesses or companies penetrates our psyches. Thus, our TECH issue is not a typical look at all the new apps and gadgets. We do feature a few people that are in tech making the innovative changes, but we also feature those who left that industry or are working “that tech job” as they play with their passionate side hustle. Also, we have artists who are using technology in their music or engineering skills in their sculpture. And, yes, to be true to the theme, we feature a robotics start-up that’s using 3D printing technology to manufacture the parts—now that is TECH!

Enjoy. Daniel Garcia THE CULTIVATOR

IN THIS ISSUE Enoteca La Storia / South Bay Burners / Tea Lyfe / Casey Wickstrom / OhmniLabs To participate in Content Magazine: Subscription & advertising information available by contacting

CONTENT MAGAZINE is a bimonthly publication about the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley, published by


The School of Visual Philosophy provides artists a full catalogue of classes in a range of options. We offer one-day workshops in focused topics such as welding or intro to printmaking. We offer full-length courses for in-depth topics such as paper sculpture, bronze casting, and lithography. And we offer facilitated group studio sessions exploring a variety of media, from painting to stone carving to clay sculpture.

SCHOOLOFVISUALPHILOSOPHY.COM The School of Visual Philosophy 425 Auzerais Ave San Jose, CA 95126 831.239.7449


March / April 2018 San Jose, California

CULTURE 10 Bitcoin 12 If So, What?, Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler ART/DESIGN 16 Artist/Educator, Kelly Detweiler 20 Artist, Laura Johnston 28 Designer, Engineer & Artist, John Edmark 32 MAKINO MADE, Takashi Makino 36 Architect, Pamela Anderson-BrulĂŠ 40 Calligraphist, Chen-Lieh Huang 46 Cinequest, Michael Rabehl 49 Cinequest Survival Guide

John Edmark, pg. 28

TECHNOLOGY 51 Tech Profiles, Tracy Lee 54 UEGroup, Tony Fernandes 58 OhmniLabs, Thuc Vu, Jared Go, & Tingxi Tan 62 South Bay Burners, Debi von Huene FOOD/DRINK 66 Enoteca La Storia, Mike Guerra & Joe Cannistraci 70 Ginger Lab, Deb Chang 74 Tea Lyfe, Candy Gomez Bui & Caleb Bui MUSIC/STYLE 78 WIRED, Social Media Profiles, Brittney Buccat & Richard Ayala 84 Musician, Casey Wickstrom 88 Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra, Bruno Ruviaro 92 Band, Artificial Lavender 94 Album Picks, Needle to the Groove


96 Calendar 98 Contributors All materials in CONTENT MAGAZINE are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published, broadcast or modified in any way without the prior written consent of Silicon Valley Creates, or in the case of third party materials, the owner of that content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of this content. For further information, or to participate in the production or distribution, please contact us at

ON COVER: Richard Ayala by Arabela Espinoza for WIRED, pg. 78.

Laura Johnston, pg. 20

Enoteca La Storia, pg. 66

Ning Hou Oil Painting Exhibition 2





Silicon Valley Asian Art Center

Opening: 2:30pm, 2/24 Address: 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 400, Santa Clara, CA 95051 Contact: (408)248–2698 Website:

Design by: William Peng Contact: (626)552–6968 7

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Feb 27 - Mar 11, 2018

San Jose · Redwood City

Passes On Sale Cinequest’s IMPACT comes through discovery of the best new films, connection with fabulous people at events and parties, inspiration from legends, immersion in virtual reality, and celebration of art and technology. Tickets and Passes now on sale. Check website for complete line-up.


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

works is a creative laboratory where artists, audience, and ideas interact to expand the scope of cultural experience. now and next at works: eco/echo: unnatural selection march 2 through april 15 experiments in animation may 4 through 25 unity in diversity: design perspectives june 1 through 24 with san francisco design week works member exhibition august 3 through 19 applications open for future exhibitions see how you can participate! works/san josĂŠ 365 south market street exhibits and exhibit guidelines: facebook, twitter, instagram: workssanjose

Written by Daniel Codella Daniel Garcia Twitter ethereumprojectrk

BITCOIN tales of cryptocurrency The Great Recession during the late 2000s changed the lives of millions of people around the globe. Greed, the housing bubble, risky loans, and skyrocketing personal debt created the perfect storm, tanking markets from the US to Asia. Scores of people lost their homes, jobs, retirement savings, and worst of all, their hope in the future. Most of the blame was squarely pinned on US financial institutions. When the government stepped in to provide relief, the bailout came, not for the average Joe, but for the banks themselves. To many, this move was a slap in the face. People were angry, and the stage was set for a revolution.

THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND In August 2008, without any fanfare, the domain was registered. Shortly thereafter, a white paper was posted entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-toPeer Electronic Cash System” by a mysterious figure named Satoshi Nakamoto. In it, he describes the problems of the trust-based model that the traditional banking system is based on and lays out a solution to eliminate the need for trusted third parties: the blockchain. A decentralized and distributed public digital ledger or database, the blockchain is used to record and synchronize transactions across a global network of computers. The entries are public yet encrypted, allowing everyone to view them without being able to alter, revise, or tamper with them. The first use of this revolutionary new technology would be a digital currency. Bitcoin was born. A few months later, in January 2009, software was made public that enabled “mining,” the complex 10

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process by which new bitcoins are created and transactions are added to the blockchain. Satoshi mined the first block on the chain, the genesis block. Inspired by Satoshi’s vision, developers around the world downloaded the open-source software and began mining bitcoins, contributing to its codebase, and talking about its value on forums and in chat rooms. On May 22, 2010, a Bitcoin enthusiast from Florida named Laszlo Hanyecz offered 10,000 bitcoins to anyone who bought him pizza. A man in the UK took him up on his offer and had two Papa John’s pizzas delivered to his door. For the first time ever, Bitcoin was assigned real-world, tangible value. As quickly and mysteriously as he came on to the scene, Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s enigmatic and brilliant creator, announced he had “moved on to other things” and disappeared completely. To this day, no one really knows who he is or if he’s even a single individual. Despite Satoshi’s exit in 2011, Bitcoin continued to gain popularity and grow in value. In honor of its creator, fractions of bitcoins began to be measured in units affectionately referred to as satoshis or sats.

BLACK MAGIC Interest in Bitcoin reached a fever pitch in 2013, and its value surged to over $1000 for the first time. Serious traders were buying and selling bitcoins on exchanges like brokers on Wall Street, the most popular being Mt. Gox. At its height, Mt. Gox was handling 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions

worldwide. It was the brainchild of a talented programmer named Jed McCaleb. He initially wanted to create a site for trading Magic: The Gathering cards and purchased the domain—short for “Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange.” He read about Bitcoin in 2010 and decided to pivot the site to trade cryptocurrencies. As Mt. Gox grew so did its problems. After a series of hacks, lawsuits, and investigations, customers began complaining of long delays and poor service. It halted withdrawals in 2014, suspended all trading, and on February 24, 2014, took its website offline. By March they had filed for bankruptcy, claiming that 850,000 bitcoins, worth $450 million, were “missing.”

A CONTENDER TO THE THRONE Confidence in Bitcoin was in freefall. For years, it had been attacked by critics as a bubble at best and a magnet for criminality at worst. The corruption and failure of Mt. Gox only seemed to add validity to those claims. For years, Bitcoin declined in value and overall enthusiasm for the project died down to just a few pockets of passionate believers. One of them was a brilliant young Russian programmer named Vitalik Buterin. He first learned about Bitcoin from his father and would soon reinvigorate the cryptocurrency world and usher in the second wave. At the tender age of 19, Vitalik began drafting the white paper for Ethereum, a new cryptocurrency that would turn the blockchain into a decentralized application platform by adding smart contracts. These enable developers to program their own “autonomous agents,” programs that can control the transfer of assets between parties under certain conditions. Unlike a traditional paper contract, these smart contracts are programmed to outline the rules and penalties around an agreement and enforce them, eliminating the need for any sort of third party. The Ethereum white paper was published in 2013, and Ethereum quickly gained momentum throughout 2014. While it wasn’t the first to do so, Ethereum popularized the concept of the initial coin offering (ICO). Through crowdfunding, organizations raise capital by selling their new cryptocurrency or token. Ethereum was able to raise 3,700 bitcoins (worth $2.3 million at the time) in just 12 hours.

GONE IN A FLASH Despite a serious hack that resulted in the currency being hard forked into two, Ethereum rapidly broke $300 and was thought by many to be the new king of cryptocurrencies. But then, the unthinkable 11

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happened. A single trader’s $12.5 million sell order on a popular exchange called GDAX dropped the price of Ethereum down nearly 30 percent. This triggered a series of automated stop-loss orders and margin liquidations. In 45 milliseconds, the price of Ethereum plunged from $320 to 10 cents. It was the biggest flash crash in history, with Ethereum losing 99.6 percent of its value in the blink of an eye. Coinbase, the company who owns GDAX, as an act of goodwill, decided to reimburse all of their customers for their losses, and the price of Ethereum quickly recovered. The incident was not without consequence though: it sparked a new wave of what crypto traders refer to as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). An investigation by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission was launched, and for a time, it looked like the freewheeling days of wild west trading were over.

BURSTING THE BUBBLE Over time, both Ethereum and Bitcoin have continued their meteoric rise, with Bitcoin enjoying what was arguably the greatest bull run in history. In 2017 alone, the price of Bitcoin rose from $1,000 to nearly $20,000 for a short time. This has not silenced its critics, though, who are some of the most powerful people in the financial world. One of the most outspoken has been Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. He called people who buy Bitcoin “stupid” and referred to it as a “fraud.” He and others have likened it to the tulip mania bubble of 1637. During that craze, the price of tulip bulbs inflated to astronomical levels only to burst, leaving thousands in financial ruin. Warren Buffett, too, predicts “a bad ending.” But despite the naysayers and the near-weekly FUD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies continue to draw more investors, interest, and talent to their projects. In many ways, the public has already spoken. They’ve voiced their distrust of the current financial system and have demonstrated their willingness to try something different, something that could be better. It has become too big to ignore. Coinbase, one of the most popular Bitcoin exchanges, now has more users than Charles Schwab. The word “bubble” is still being thrown around in regards to Bitcoin. Many economists and bankers still broadcast their warnings—as they have for the last decade. The future is uncertain, and it does appear that we’re about to see a bubble burst, but in the words of Bitcoin enthusiast Freddy Callan, “Bitcoin isn’t a bubble; it’s the pin.” C

Written by Johanna Hickle


Photography by Daniel Garcia

Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler Instagram isw_ifsowhat

Imagine you’re staring at a blank canvas, holding a painter’s palette of primary colors. Sure, the red, blue, and yellow are lovely all on their own, but if you refuse to blend them, you’re missing out on a whole kaleidoscope of incredible shades. In a similar manner, if you don’t allow industries to interact and impact others, a whole lot of possibilities will never be realized. This concept is why Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler and co-founder Linda Helen Gieseke and their team have resolved to produce neither a typical art fair nor a typical design fair—but, rather, a combination of the two. Why choose one over the other when you can have both? In fact, why not add music and technology, too? Overlapping fields means each industry can be explored from fresh new angles. The event, titled If So, What?, will span four days in April, showcasing over 30 art and design galleries. It will include art and technology collaborations, music, food, and a speaker program. Some may scoff at Sho-Joung’s vision, convinced she’s overextending herself. “As you can probably imagine, the art world is not a place that is necessarily very open to other communities,” Sho-Joung chuckles. Add to this the opposition of those from Silicon Valley who are skeptical the area can truly cultivate a thriving art and design scene. “So what if we’re combining art and design?” Sho-Joung responds to these naysayers. “So what if we’re also bringing in music and technology?” That refusal to be hemmed in by a single field inspired the event’s name. If So, What? was prompted by the varied interests of its founder and CEO. After initially planning to study painting and sculpture in college, Sho-Joung wound up in business school, where she fell in love with finance. Later down her career path, she combined her two loves as head of finance at Artsy (an online platform for art collecting). “I feel that art was, and is still, and always will be a big driver for every decision that I’m making,” Sho-Joung notes. Creative entrepreneurship has aided her immensely in the business world. “I think in colors and pictures, and I start painting things in my head of where I want to be at, where my end goal will be,” she says of her approach to new projects. “Then I start building towards that vision.”


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“People create change, people create vision, people create differences, people create cultures.” – Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler


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SHO-JOUNG KIM-WECHSLER Co-Founder and CEO International finance, art, design, and tech executive with extensive experience in building, scaling, and exiting marketplaces. Former head of finance at Artsy, one of the leading online platforms for art.

LINDA HELEN GIESEKE Co-Founder International senior strategy advisor specializing in business development, growth, and sales strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Former senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group.


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Sho-Joung’s vision for If So, What? is to create a space that encourages a conversation between art and design. She believes the very nature of art makes it the ideal vehicle for this objective. “Art has always been a social experience,” she says with a smile. “It creates this sense of communication and collaboration—even dialogue and discussion.” The end goal? Ultimately, Sho-Joung wants the conversation to lead to a celebration of new perspectives as well as collaboration. “We want to cross-pollinate among different communities, different industries, and different media,” she explains. If So, What? doesn’t just stop at bringing art and design under one roof. The various industries will be accompanied by a number of cultural lenses. Considering that Sho-Joung grew up in Germany, then traversed Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America for school and work, this multiethnic drive isn’t all that surprising. If So, What? has recruited curators with incredibly diverse backgrounds in order to secure a diverse offering of galleries. Among their ranks are Roya Khadjavi, a curator who focuses on the work of Iranian artists; Teriha Yaegashi, an art advisor who previously worked alongside Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami; Dexter Wimberley, a curator of contemporary art with an interest in African artists; and David Gryn, a London-based curator specializing in sound and technology. With this international team selecting the galleries, Sho-Joung is surely headed for success. When it really comes down to it, she recognizes that it’s the participants of If So, What? themselves who will champion her cause. “People create change, people create vision, people create differences, people create cultures,” Sho-Joung declares. “Inspiration is done by people.”...C

Where Where Art Art & & Design Design Meets Meets Silicon Silicon Valley Valley

  Showcasing Showcasing Leaders Leaders in in Art, Art, Design, Design, Music, Music, & & Innovation Innovation

April April 19–22, 19–22, 2018, 2018, San San Jose, Jose, Silicon Silicon Valley Valley 15

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  Join Join us us


Kelly Detweiler Written by Tad Malone Photography by Jacob Martinez Instagram kdetweilerart

Presenting the connections between nature, household items, and figures in an arresting display of sculpture and painting. Kelly Detweiler, whose spellbinding works meld sculpture and painting, first got into ceramics in high school. After that, he matriculated at Cal State Hayward, primarily because of the art faculty, and earned a bachelor’s degree in art. Still eager to continue his art education, Detweiler went to UC Davis, earning a graduate degree. There he was exposed to the likes of Wayne Thiebaud, David Gilhooly, and Robert Arneson, people Detweiler credits with bringing his understanding and mastery of art to a new level. After college, Detweiler taught art at a number of colleges, including the American River College. He arrived at Santa Clara University in 1982, where he’s been teaching studio art since. “I try to nurture an understanding and appreciation for art, even if they’re not going to be artists,” Detweiler says of his students and his goals as a teacher. Although he had previously worked mostly in two dimensions, applying paint to canvas, some 10 or 15 years ago, Detweiler began cutting his paintings out, eschewing a background for more kinetic space. “I did a series of paintings a couple years ago that involved a lot of overlapping forms that were very dimensional,” Detweiler recalls. One day he was looking at the work when he realized they would look better without backgrounds. “I just cut one out, and it snowballed,” he says. For his process, Detweiler usually starts with a series of little drawings, “often created during meetings,” he says, laughing. “When I finally arrive at a drawing I want,” he explains, “I know what the final piece is going to look like.” From there, Detweiler digitally projects the drawing into a larger dimension on a piece of wood, tracing the piece and painting a base sketch. Next, Detweiler cuts out the unneeded wood, drilling into the negative space to give the piece a three-dimensional feel. Finally, he goes back into the piece and paints the final rendering. The effect is fascinating. Combining a fine eye for the features of folk art—expressionist renderings of household objects and figures—with an understanding of larger perspective mural work, like that of Diego Rivera,


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“I did a series of paintings a couple years ago that involved a lot of overlapping forms that were very dimensional. I just cut one out, and it snowballed.” – Kelly Detweiler 17

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Detweiler brings together different techniques to create a welcoming hybrid of sculpture and painting. Working mostly in acrylic, Detweiler’s cutouts have a luring effect. Using a bright yet earthy palette, he combines seemingly disparate objects and forms—a tree, potted plants, a house, and a Picassoesque face, for example—to create singular meditations on the shared spirit of even the most inanimate of objects. Even his most crowded pieces have a visually harmonious effect and, moreover, give a sense of the hands and eyes that envisioned such creations. “I like my pieces to have the human touch, where they aren’t perfect,” Detweiler says. “Simultaneously, you don’t want something on there that looks like a mistake or something I didn’t do.” Detweiler’s imagination also takes him down the humorous path. Another passion of his is his satirical YE$ industries, an art-making organization that produces work to poke fun at business-based art. “It is supposed to be funny yet serious in a tongue-in-cheek way,” Detweiler says. Though most of his sculpture-paintings sit quietly in the new arts building at Santa Clara University, Detweiler is known across the world, with previous exhibitions in Japan, Germany, and Korea, to name a few. He also has completed a number of murals in the greater Bay Area. For his accomplishments, Detweiler was selected as a 2012 Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley. As for the future, Detweiler plans to keep showing his art and teaching. But he also knows his work with the sculpture-paintings isn’t finished and hopes to bring technology into his process. Detweiler plans to keep going and maybe, at some point, find a final resolution to his most captivating series. C


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LAURA Johnston

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Written by Tad Malone Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram

ARTIST LAURA JOHNSTON combines expressionistic techniques, a spontaneous time frame, and a deeply attuned sense of people’s psychological needs to create stunning, jarring portraits of women.


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“Expression definitely describes my approach to art in general. I use art as therapy and a way to express my energy and feelings.”– Laura Johnston

Originally from the coastal shores of North Carolina, Laura Johnston spent good portions of her childhood finding ways to express her innate creativity. From drawing portraits of celebrities to creating her own cartoons, Johnston always had a knack for the creative side of things but could never find her true artistic place. From music and subsequent forays into marching bands and then photography, Johnston channeled her imagination in every way she could. She eventually earned a degree in music at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. But it didn’t take, and she was soon moonlighting as a photographer as well as starting a sculpture business. “It was all a big accumulation of things,” Johnston says of her roundabout artistic journey, adding, “Something grabs my focus, and I can’t help but pursue it.” In the last year, though, Johnston has found something of a new muse. In a series that can informally be called Lovely Ladies, Johnston creates spellbinding portraits of women across the spectrum of humanity. They are quick, but no less thoughtful, renderings of women in various stages of presentation, feeling, and style. Laura Johnston’s art tackles the frailties of the human spirit as well as the perceived imperfections in our physical forms, transmuting them through these beautifully jarring portraits of women. Although her mediums are wide-ranging, Johnston works in mostly watercolor and ink, giving figures shape and singularity through their defining features. In terms of inspiration, Johnston finds the majority of it in her imagination, with a small mix of faces, from friends to strangers, etched into her memory. “At the moment, I consider the series my personal work,” she affirms. “With the ladies, I sit down and do them intuitively,” Johnston says. “I don’t try to make a specific lady; instead, I just sit down with a bunch of different mediums and start making marks.” This spontaneous process gives way to fascinating portraits of women in various stages of emotion and life, yet all unified in what Johnston rightfully sees 23

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as their loveliness. “Expression definitely describes my approach to art in general,” Johnston says. “I use art as therapy and a way to express my energy and feelings.” Her organic process of embracing the uncertainty in composition has given the Lovely Ladies series (which now numbers in the hundreds of portraits) a paradoxical cohesion, in which the disparate aspects of each portrait unify in a greater search for beauty in the imperfect. “I hope to get across that we are already enough as we are,” Johnston says about Lovely Ladies, adding, “I hope the work helps people unlearn harmful social expectations that often tell us otherwise.” Beyond the moody but inspiring portrait drawings, Johnston has created merchandise under the Lovely Ladies banner, including postcards and stickers that give further exposure to her thoughtful ideas. She also has created a collection of some of the women in the form of a 52-page zine, which follows a previous zine that compiles stories of sleep paralysis, with Johnston’s stormy but equally ethereal illustrations. Beyond drawing, Johnston also runs a successful online sculpture store called “le animalé,” where she sells tiny, thoughtful figurines of animals. As part of a grant awarded to her sculpture shop, Johnston plans on doing a “finders, keepers” project in the next year, where she will be sprinkling animal figurines around San Jose for lucky participants. As for the future, Johnston plans to go to graduate school, where she hopes to further combine her interest in psychology with her artwork. Johnston created a good portion of the Lovely Ladies series under the folds of depression, feeling she could “connect with people without connecting.” While Johnston’s work takes her in many different directions, now, with a better headspace, she intends to take the Lovely Ladies series to the next level of growth. She ultimately hopes to create an online community that uses the imperfect ladies as a catalyst for positive discussion about people’s perceptions of others and themselves. C



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ARK EDDMMARK OHN EEDMARK JJOHN Stanford Professor is Fusing Math and Nature to Create Art John Edmark’s career has taken him on a winding path from architecture to computer animation to product design, but he’s making waves on the internet with his beautiful video works that animate three-dimensional objects using math derived from Mother Nature herself. He describes himself as an artist, designer, and inventor, and his lifelong passion for the mathematics behind the beauty in our world has fueled a career of artistic investigation. The recent studies Edmark has been fabricating are what he calls “blooms.” Part stop-motion animated sculpture and part video art, blooms are generated by aligning a camera’s frame rate to a rotating object that turns at exactly 137.5 degrees per frame. This angle, known as the “golden angle,” mimics the rotation of growth outward from the stem seen in many plants—from the leaves on vines to the petals on flowers to the bracts of an artichoke. “Each petal, each leaf, has a unique birthday, and each one had its own moment when it came out,” Edmark explains. “Surprisingly, this simple algorithm of rotating the object 137.5 degrees leads to these very symmetrical, circular forms; and it’s been shown mathematically that this is the optimal method for placing leaves or elements such that they overlap the least possible amount. That’s the system that nature uses; it’s the system that I co-opt in order to create the blooms. What happens is that it reiterates the growth process. What you see is the objects seem to grow without growing.” After years of research, he was able to create visual representations of this growth as infinitely animated 10.1 John Edmark 29 TECHLeft:

loops by syncing the frame speed with the rotation. The result is a series of mesmerizing videos using both actual plants and manmade geometric objects created with 3D printers and laser cutters. “The fact that something like an artichoke or a pinecone or some cacti—the fact that they are intrinsically animatable natural sculptures was my discovery,” he points out. “Nobody knew that. We’ve had strobe lights and turntables for a hundred years, and nobody knew they had that animatability. And I’m very grateful that I got to be the one to discover that.” Before unearthing artistic secrets hidden in plain sight in the natural world, Edmark imagined he would become an architect. After growing up in the Northeast, he went to school for architecture—but soon became impatient with the career opportunities in the field and bounced around to several other areas of study, finally finding his way to the product design program at Stanford. His product portfolio includes designs for items in the home, a polarizing camera lens filter, and even a new take on the Rubik’s Cube. The mathematical precision of nature’s shapes are incorporated into many of these items as well as his artistic studies, creating complex forms that are beautiful, functional, and surprising. “Besides enjoying teaching, I’ve enjoyed being at Stanford and being around people doing interesting things—and having access to the facilities that allow me to work on my projects, which require precise tools. The exactness of it is very appealing, and it allows me to explore things that it wouldn’t be pos-

Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram john.edmark Facebook johnedmarkart Vimeo johnedmark

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Artwork photography by John Edmark

“It can all be done—you actually can run a state that’s united, that protects everyone, but also that’s innovative and drives the global economy.”

sible to explore if you had to handcraft things in the right shapes. In my case, those relationships are critical to the studies and sculptures doing what I want them to do.” For many years, Edmark’s work was largely confined to the Stanford laboratories, where he has been a professor since 2003. But more recently, his videos have been discovered on the internet, garnering him newfound attention. He was invited to serve as an artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s Autodesk facility and also served a residency at the Exploratorium, where he created a kaleidoscope installation. Early in 2017, his work was featured on NPR’s Science Friday in a video that has garnered nearly a million YouTube views. “It’s tremendously gratifying,” he admits. “I’ve basically been working alone, without a peer group doing the kinds of things that I was doing. I definitely had times where I was like, why am I doing this? I enjoy it, but nobody knows I’m doing it. So that’s why it’s gratifying to have the work get out there and find that I’m not the only one who finds the results interesting.” With his growing exposure, Edmark has made an increasing number of appearances at galleries and festivals—including an installation called Shadow Play at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2014, a showcase at the Future Fires festival in San Francisco, and a piece in a traveling show called WonderWorks. These exhibitions have given him an opportunity to expand his work to different areas of interest. The SJMA installation, for example, allowed him to 31

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play with multiple projectors using different colors of light in order to create the illusion of motion in an otherwise stationary hanging mobile (Alexander Calder’s 1959 work Big Red). This remarkable intervention presented yet another way math and nature come together in beautiful ways. “Color and light are actually of great interest to me,” says Edmark, while conceding that most of his bloom videos are monochromatic. “This allowed me to explore [color] in interesting ways.” Going forward, he would love to find opportunities to expand his body of work to more galleries and exhibitions. “I’m basically unknown in the art world. I certainly enjoy sharing the work. It’s fun to share it with people and see their surprise and delight. I’m very happy to have more people see the work.” Until then, fans of optical illusions, stop-motion animation, and even believers in sacred geometry can take meditative pleasure in watching the videos on his website. C

See artwork come alive with PhotoBloomAR App (top left and above)

MAKINO MADE Written by Michelle Runde

Sawdust and Spoons

Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram softknifemakino

Form meets function in Takashi Makino’s unique line of handcrafted kitchen goods. Makino’s creative spirit has driven him to become a musician, a fine artist, and a wood craftsman in more recent years. From sturdy cutting boards shaped like teardrops to delicate soup ladles inlaid with stones, Makino shapes kitchen utensils to be enjoyed by art and food lovers alike. Through his San Jose–based online business, MAKINO MADE, he sells his one-of-a-kind wares, order by order, across the country. The detail and care in each piece belies Makino’s relative newness to working with wood. “I got into woodcrafting around 2015. I was helping a roommate of mine make furniture for his furniture company, building and designing his stuff,” he recalled. “It was during some of my downtime, while I was hanging around the shop, that I started to make spoons on a whim. I started out just making little ones, then I started experimenting with their size and design.” About ten pieces in, Makino realized he was making something more beautiful than he’d originally expected and wanted to see if other people would also enjoy his work. After putting up an Etsy page and a website, he began to post some of his items online. Soon there was a regular flow of orders from customers that were eager to purchase his beautiful work, both as gifts and for functional kitchen use. Although carving semiprofessionally was new, Makino always had an affinity for the material. “I think the whole working-with-wood thing came from my love of the outdoors,” he explained. “I’m an avid outdoorsman. I’m inspired by everything that comes into my world.” Staying true to his local roots, Makino creates his products from locally sourced wood. Although he’s comfortable working with all types of wood, MAKINO MADE kitchen items are almost exclusively crafted from American black walnut, both for its functionality and appearance. “I love the color and the contrast of the wood,” he said. “Yes, it’s an expensive product, but in


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“It’s nearly unexplainable the feeling you get when making something by hand.” – Takashi Makino 33 TECH 10.1


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past work, I’ve used a lot of turquoise inlay, so the contrast of the wood and stone work really well together.” Ranging from sea-foam green to sky blue, these small turquoise stones add a subtle elegance to long-handled ladles and chopsticks and give a unique flare to serving boards and cheese knives. Makino has lived in the Bay Area all his life, pursuing various creative hobbies and careers. While known for his music, Makino has a variety of other artistic interests, using an array of mediums. “I’ve always been a creative person,” he reflected. “It’s what makes me. Right now I’m doing a lot of stippling (dot work) and wood burning, in addition to fulfilling orders.” With so many projects, writing and recording music, and a regular workweek job to pay the bills, he has little spare time to build up an inventory of goods in advance of orders. “I’m not too sure how people have heard about my woodenware. I haven’t advertised,” Makino admitted. Recently, he has been completing a large order from a customer in Colorado who owns a custom-built house with walnut trim and molding and was looking for a set of matching kitchenware to display. Makino doesn’t always know if his work will be used for display or everyday use, but as long as it’s being enjoyed, it doesn’t matter to him. “I never thought of this as something to do for monetary gain. I love doing it; I have fun making these pieces. It’s nearly unexplainable the feeling you get when making something by hand,” he added. Although business is steady, Makino is comfortable keeping his brand small for a while. Balancing his woodwork, job, music, and art, Makino wants to maintain the freedom to explore new projects rather than focus all his energy on one line of work. But there’s no doubt that MAKINO MADE stands out as some of his most well-designed and accessible work and is something that can be enjoyed right in your very own kitchen. C

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“I needed to try to do it differently.” –Pamela Anderson-Brulé, Co-Founder and Architect

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Anderson Brulé Architects

An architect challenges the status quo. While most of us don’t go on to achieve our childhood dream jobs, Pamela Anderson-Brulé is an exception to the rule. Anderson-Brulé first knew she wanted to be an architect after visiting a house at Stinson Beach designed by a family friend. “It was an unusual open space, a big fireplace, two stories high, luxurious, modern, contemporary,” she remembers, despite being only eight years old at the time. As her father listened to the architect explain the blueprints, it occurred to Anderson-Brulé that the architect had thought of that design ahead of time. Feeling inspired and motivated, she realized from that point on that she would enter the profession. At the beginning of her career, Anderson-Brulé spent time in France studying space through painting. It was here that she met and married her husband, Pierre Brulé. Four years later, the couple decided to move back to the States. “It was the ’80s, and it was difficult for a woman in France have the kind of freedom to practice the way I wanted to practice. I often said I was a type A personality living in a type B country. Nothing moved quite as fast as I wanted to move,” she concluded. But work in the States did little to appease her architectural itch. Though she tried working with three different firms, she was dismayed by the $9 an hour pay, disorganization, and complete lack of mentorship for young architects. “Architects weren’t really leaders at that time,” she asserts. “They had design skills, definitely. But their business skills were lacking.” Meanwhile, her husband, though a talented designer in his own right, was sidelined because he hadn’t yet mastered English. The couple founded Anderson Brulé Architects, Inc. (ABA) to supplement their income. Anderson-Brulé poured nights, Friday afternoons, and weekends into the firm while her husband invested full-time hours. Finally, she reached a breaking point. “I can’t keep doing this,” she recalls thinking. “There was a level of fatigue, a level of stress, a level of disappointment in how I was being mentored.” She was also discouraged by what she saw as an increasing number of cheaply made buildings fated for short lifespans. “I needed to try to do it differently,” she decided. Determined to be a catalyst for change, Anderson-Brulé embraced a design philosophy to mentor and facilitate her team rather than do ev-


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Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram theabaway

El Gabilan Branch Library, Salinas (above) Rendering by Anderson BrulĂŠ Architects

Santa Catalina School (this page and opposite) Photography by Bernard AndrĂŠ

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erything herself. She also cultivated leadership in others outside the firm, helping found the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Santa Clara Valley’s Women in Architecture Committee as well as creating and teaching a course on design thinking at her daughter’s high school. Another change Anderson-Brulé wanted to see was in the traditional approach to design philosophy. “A lot of architects are incredibly good at solving problems, but sometimes they don’t define the problem before they solve it. They jump in and start creating solutions.” Instead, Anderson-Brulé’s strategy is to first expose the problem before harnessing that information to construct a plan. “You have to understand your clients’ ecosystem,” she says. “You have to understand what inspires them. What’s their vision? But also, what stresses them out?” Take, for example, ABA’s strategy for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a single building holding the San Jose State University Library and the San Jose Public Library system. Before even contemplating designing, ABA asked a number of questions: What is the thinking of a librarian? How do you run a library? What are the operational issues of a library? They soon realized seamless service was key. “These librarians report to different institutions,” Anderson-Brulé explains. “They have different ways of working, they have different vacations, they have different titles.” ABA hosted 96 meetings to facilitate the relationship between the university and city librarians. Coming together was a huge influence on the eventual aesthetic. An aerial view of the library reveals the shape of clasped hands, and an avenue runs straight through the building—a portal between the outside world and campus. Today, ABA specializes in four service areas: strategic planning, master planning, architecture, and interior design. Anderson-Brulé outlines their objective: “We aren’t just looking to build a building that’s beautiful, but that’s beautiful and functional and sustainable and supports the future business model of the entity that lives in it.” C

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“We aren’t just looking to build a building that’s beautiful, but that’s beautiful and functional and sustainable and supports the future business model of the entity that lives in it.” –Pamela Anderson-Brulé




Chen-Lieh Huang Written by Tad Malone Photography by Daniel Garcia


TAKING TRADITIONAL MASTERY OF CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY AND transforming it in a way that’s accessible for people across the world. Chen-Lieh Huang spent much of the first half of his life mastering the ancient art and tradition of Chinese calligraphy. Now, Huang is attempting to bridge the gap between cultures by presenting traditional calligraphy in a radically different way. When Huang was young, he never liked studying. Huang struggled with school for most of his early life, mostly because he had an untreated eye condition that made it nearly impossible to read his school assignments. Eventually though, he found his calling and was schooled in the art of calligraphy as an adolescent. Originally from Taiwan, he emigrated to the United States in 1983, enrolling in the University of New Mexico, where he studied computer science. Not much later, he started working for Adobe, becoming a senior computer scientist and specialized in fonts—a harkening back to his days as a calligrapher. “I wanted to do something that blended both of my interests— electronics and typography,” Huang says. Not one to let his skills dwindle, in 1997 he started teaching Chinese calligraphy in Palo Alto. It was during this time the initial inspiration for his “translated calligraphy” arose, mostly from a student. The student, one of his best, was in his calligraphy class for almost five years, but time and again asked the same translation questions because she couldn’t read Chinese. “If you don’t read

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Chinese, it’s really hard to remember the forms and positions. You have no reference,” Huang says. To bridge the gap, Huang started tinkering with his own form of calligraphy, combining the fundamentals of Chinese calligraphic form with the English alphabet. All told, in three years time, Huang’s idea has been transformed into its own tradition. Huang’s idea is simple: give people across the world a chance to appreciate the beauty and long-held tradition of Chinese calligraphy without requiring a knowledge of Chinese. At first glance, there isn’t much difference between Huang’s special brand of calligraphy and traditional Chinese calligraphy. But upon closer inspection, the messages Huang creates in a given language—from Russian to English—come alive through typographic reverberations of stroke, form, and aesthetic. “It’s exciting to see people from different backgrounds come together and understand how calligraphy works,” Huang exclaims. Using everything from small aphorisms and sayings to the opening of the Gettysburg Address, Huang brings his creations alive with a traditional calligraphy brush, the precise marks and flourishes of his hand emblematic of a typographic master. Almost akin to graffiti, Huang takes the basic serif/ san-serif markings of English and gives them a


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“I retain the elements of what makes Chinese calligraphy beautiful, but write it in a very different way. So the longer you look, the easier it is to understand.”

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–Chen-Lieh Huang

newfound character. Huang distorts and contorts the English language (among others) to fit a design congruous with a Chinese calligraphic letter, and, moreover, in a way that anyone with basic literacy can appreciate. And like traditional Chinese calligraphy, Huang finishes each of his pieces in one sitting—a process which makes the brush strokes and composition come alive in seemingly one fluid motion. “In a way, I try to fake it. I retain the elements of what makes Chinese calligraphy beautiful but write it in a very different way,” Huang says, adding, “So, the longer you look, the easier it is to understand.” But Huang isn’t keen to take all the credit, as he credits both his students and the historic translations of the Hindi and Mongolian languages into Chinese script. “Hindi words for Buddha tended to be very long, so the Chinese would squeeze them into two or three syllable simplifications and write it in a vertical fashion, compared to the Hindi horizontal,” Huang explains. The “translated calligraphy” has some astounding applications, not least, a possible window into new historical discoveries. Besides an app that Huang has developed with his nephew that allows one to type digitally in his English calligraphy, Huang has taken numerous trips to China, where he was given the chance to study the original Chinese calligraphic stones. Using high-quality cameras, Huang has photographed the symbols and made impressive discoveries that seem to differ in form and shape from the ancient calligraphy derived from these stones. That’s still a work in progress, and regarding it, Huang stays characteristically humble. As for the future, Huang intends to continue mastering his own brand of calligraphy in a way that allows anyone to appreciate it. C 45 TECH 10.1

Cinequest’s Gatekeeper MICHAEL RABEHL

Written by Cathleen Miller Photography by Gregory Cortez Instagram cinequestinc Twitter cinequest Facebook cinequest

HE STARTED AT CINEQUEST as a volunteer, then worked part-time before becoming the “St. Peter of Cinema,” determining who’s allowed through the festival’s pearly gates. What does the program director who watches 800 to 900 films a year do in the evenings when he heads to his house in South San Jose? Surely not watch a movie. When Michael Rabehl first started watching films for a living in 1995, the submissions came in on VHS tapes. Then, for many years, they would show up at the Cinequest office on DVDs. Since Rabehl was The Man—the director of programming in charge of deciding who got into the festival and who landed on the cutting-room floor—sometimes these movies would be accompanied by little gifts—like the fraternity film that showed up attached to a six-pack. With the advent of streaming submissions, the bribes have disappeared. “Frankly, I hated it when they sent things, because then I had to feel even more guilty when I rejected their work,” Rabehl confessed. Besides, he prefers Balvenie Scotch after a hard day of movie viewing, so the brewskies provided little sway. Mike Rabehl’s family relocated to Campbell when he was four, and he’s lived in the Bay Area ever since. He attended Prospect High and later took classes at De Anza, which he praises for its technical course work in film education. But he received his degree from UC Santa Cruz, studying English, theater, and film—with an emphasis on film classics and theory—providing a base of knowledge which he puts to good use today. He started at Cinequest as a volunteer, then worked part-time before becoming the “St. Peter of Cinema,” determining who’s allowed through the festival’s pearly gates. However, in this case, the gatekeeper doesn’t wear white robes or have a long, flowing beard. Like all good creatives, Mike Rabehl dresses in black and sports a skull cap of dark hair with flecks of gray. As he discusses his views on moviemaking, his large, expressive eyes widen for dramatic effect, pushing up the arch of his heavy brows. If you’re wondering about the preferences of the man who programs Cinequest’s full-length feature category, here’s a list of his all-time favorites: the 1924 silent classic Last Laugh, Fellini’s 8½, Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Woody Allen’s Man-

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of Programming & Associate Director Michael Rabehl TECHDirector 10.1

When choosing content, Rabehl looks for high quality productions that, again, offer something original. For instance, last year he chose a comedy titled Quality Problems, a true story based on writer and director Brooke Purdy’s battle with cancer, and hosted the film’s world premiere in San Jose. Material which will also get the program director’s close attention is any type of documentary discussing Silicon Valley history. But whether or not the subject matter is relevant, the quality must be present.

hattan, Night of the Hunter, Miller’s Crossing, Goodfellas, and Godfathers I and II (he pretends III doesn’t exist). Does a taste thread connect all these titles on his A list? “They’re all pretty dark, I guess. Even Manhattan is a dark comedy,” he confessed. When choosing selections for Cinequest, he strives to round out the schedule with a variety of genres and moods. Choosing entertainment for the local audience keeps the programming director on his toes. “The Silicon Valley audience is highly educated, and we have to take that into account,” he explained. “We’ve been told by filmmakers that our audiences ask the best questions they’ve ever heard.” He believes additional factors about Cinequest drive local patrons to mob theaters for 13 days straight. “We’re a discovery festival. Last year we screened the premiere of 132 films, and this spirit of the fresh and new appeals to the startup culture of Silicon Valley.” This focus on the new can also be seen in Cinequest’s Maverick Spirit Award, acknowledging a filmmaker who’s an original thinker, like past recipients Werner Herzog, Ben Kingsley, and Neil Gaiman. The festival’s sense of innovation can be seen in some of the numerous talks presented as part of the programming. “In 1997, we were discussing digital filmmaking, which was unheard of at the time.” Likewise, Cinequest leaps ahead of other film festivals by including virtual reality as a major component. Of course, these innovative concepts could be influenced by the individuals advising Cinequest—the type of technologists who understand what new tools are available before they make it to Hollywood or New York— since the festival’s leadership council is populated by representatives from Intel, Apple, Adobe, HP…oh, and Steve Wozniak. Other factors make Cinequest unique: today it’s ranked the number one film festival in the US and one of the top 10 in the world, bringing over 100,000 people to downtown San Jose annually. “Here we strive to create a film community. We’re not big on using the velvet ropes to separate the artist from their fans.” In support of this last statement, Cinequest has just launched, an interactive website allowing fans to communicate with filmmakers. 48 TECH 10.1

Luckily, Rabehl offers some suggestions to fledgling filmmakers hoping to launch their careers. What are the most common factors he sees that sink a movie’s chance of making it into Cinequest? “There are so many good actors out there, you don’t have to put your friends in a film,” he quipped. Evidently, post-production can fix many flaws, but not bad acting. About 70 percent of the films Rabehl sees are works in progress, with filmmakers rushing to meet the cutoff for submissions. “The film has to be finished enough to give us a sense of your story. If your story is a mess in the rough cut, wait another year,” Rabehl advised. Have a knowledge of film history, yet innovate beyond your inspiration. Many novices are making a film that’s been done before but aren’t saying anything new. Just as Cinequest has evolved during its 28 years from VHS tapes, it continues to morph as a result of the influences of its leadership, the artists, the region, the fans, and the filmmakers’ toolbox. Trends to look for on the horizon are for the festival to continue to grow and add more films each year and for more muscle from Mavericks Studio, the production arm of Cinequest, which will be creating its own original works. This emphasis on moviemaking—not just viewing—will fuel more how-to talks at the festival. On rumors swirling around the cocktail circuit last year—like ice in a rocks glass— that Cinequest would be leaving town after the demise of Camera 12, Rabehl said, “We’re committed to being in San Jose. We receive a lot of support from the city, our offices are here, and we all live here.” So, what does the program director who watches 800 to 900 films a year do in the evenings when he heads to his house in South San Jose? Surely not watch a movie. Well, the Scotch is waiting in the cupboard. Or he heads out for walks with the dog. Or takes his two teenage daughters out for dinner. The youngest dreams of becoming an actor, but her father is not terribly keen on this idea—even though he acknowledges she has talent. “I’ve seen this system eat people up, and I don’t want my daughter to go through that.” While his artistic preferences may tend toward darker fare, for this family saga, he prefers one with a happy ending. C

CINEQUEST Survival Guide The Cinequest Film & VR Festival is February 27-March 11.

The Cinequest Film & VR Festival is 13 days of movies, parties, celebrities, and memorable experiences. But if you want to attend for the first time (or for the 25th time), the schedule can be a little bit daunting. Not to worry: here’s a handy survival guide that gives you all the highlights you won’t want to miss. 1. OPENING NIGHT Two Cinequest Maverick Award alumni return, with the opening night film, Krystal. Directed by William H. Macy and featuring Rosario Dawson in the titular role, this unconventional comedy stars up-and-comer Nick Robinson (Jurassic World, The Kings of Summer) and will be followed by a discussion with cast and crew members. 2. 3BELOW DEBUTS Joining the California and Hammer theaters as screening venues in downtown San Jose, the newly renovated 3Below Theaters & Lounge (formerly Camera 3 Cinemas) will be an official venue of the festival. Camera 3 was the first theater to host Cinequest, so this is both a homecoming and the exciting debut of a new, stateof-the-art theater. The Century 20 in Redwood City returns as the fourth screening venue, giving easy access to the festival to residents on the Peninsula. 3. VIRTUAL REALITY RETURNS Where better than the Silicon Valley and Cinequest to showcase the latest experiences, games, and films of the immersive entertainment scene? A scheduled VR Cinema Program and a VR Experience Lounge return this year, offering access to exciting experiential content and educational workshops from experts in this emerging art form. 4. MAVERICK SPIRIT AWARDS Cinequest continues its tradition of honoring icons, legends, and risk takers in entertainment with its Maverick Spirit Award. This year’s attending recipients include John Travolta (Pulp Fiction, American Crime Story), Andie MacDowell (Sex, Lies and Videotape, Four Weddings and a Funeral), and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, Stronger). 5. OSCAR-CALIBER CINEMA Academy Award winning and nominated actors and directors are well-represented in this year’s program. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Milcho Manchevski returns to Cinequest, with his provocative film Bikini Moon, and Academy Award winner Jan Svěrák will premiere his feature Barefoot.

6. SHORT FILM PROGRAMS From animated to documentary, comedic to dramatic, you can see nine distinct shorts programs in this year’s festival. Cinequest is an Academy Awards short film qualifying festival, and this is one of the few opportunities to watch these outstanding mini-movies on the big screen. 7. WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION This year’s festival features a new partnership with Lunafest, a nationally touring film showcase that features award-winning short films by, for, and about women. A special screening on March 7, in anticipation of International Women’s Day, is followed by a panel discussion led by writer and blogger Carly Severn, co-host of KQED’s podcast The Cooler. 8. SILENT FILM IN THE SPOTLIGHT Experience the annual tradition of seeing a masterpiece from the silent film era, accompanied by live music on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, in the spectacular California Theatre. This year’s screening is the classic 1928 film The Wind, starring Lillian Gish. 9. SOIREES, MEETUPS, AND PARTIES Each day and night of the festival, cinephiles can flock to special events and meetups to discuss, debate, and celebrate Cinequest’s program—often with the filmmakers themselves. With social venues in both San Jose and Redwood City, there’s always a place to go to connect with fellow film lovers. Passholders also get access to the VIP Lounge, while attendees of the Opening and Closing Night film screenings are invited to enjoy an epic after party to kick off and close out the festival. 10. CLOSING NIGHT More than 30 years after the award-winning Platoon was released, director Paul Sanchez—who also starred in the film—has assembled the cast and crew to recount their personal experiences making the film in the new documentary Brothers in Arms. Film lovers won’t want to miss it, and it’s the perfect way to cap off an amazing two weeks of remarkable cinema. 49 TECH 10.1


21 ©Cory Richards



Cory Richards: #LifeNoFilter 7:00 pm

Cory Richards is renowned for exploring the remote corners of the world. Along with his photography, he will share stories from an expedition to Antarctica..

Steve Winter: On the Trail of Big Cats 7:00 pm

Spend an evening daringly close to tigers, snow leopards, jaguars, and cougars—through unforgettable stories and photography.

©Steve Winter



©Brian Skerry



Brian Skerry: Ocean Soul 7:00 pm

Brian Skerry has documented the oceans’ complex ecosystems. He provides a look into the lives of ocean creatures and offers hope for protecting the vitality of the oceans.

Ami Vitale: Rhinos, Rickshaws and Revolutions 7:00 pm

Award- winning photojournalist Ami Vitale’s career has brought her face-to-face with violence and conflict, as well as the enduring power of the human spirit.

©Ami Vitale




13 For Tickets and More Information Visit us at: Box Office: 408-924-8501 101 Paseo de San Antonio San José, CA 95113



ElevenPlay 7:00 pm

ElevenPlay is a Japanese dance troupe known for using projections, drones, and multimedia in their performances, which gained attention on America's Got Talent in 2016.

TeatroCinema 7:00 pm

Combining digital compositions, 2D and 3D video footage, animation, and stylized theatrical staging, Chile’s TeatroCinema offers audiences unforgettable works that explore historical, cultural, and social landscapes.

Bella Gaia

7:00 pm

To explore the relationship between humans and nature, director-composer Kenji Williams uses NASA satellite imagery of Earth with cultural heritage and music.

TECH Profiles The technology nurtured in this beautiful melting pot has many faces and many stories. Whether it be about a new technology rising, an artist using code for a creative outlet, or a mother coding part-time while caring for her children, each story is unique and special in its own way. In the heart of our city, we find a mix of motivations for those who choose to code the future for mankind. The following stories explore everything from the edge of innovation with a new technology called WebAssembly (wasm) to how an artist-turned-coder-turned-artist-again is able to create art through innovative technology to a stay-at-home mom who gets to work on cool projects while her kids take afternoon naps. This is the wonder of technology: it does not discriminate based on gender, age, or lifestyle. Two stories inspire the rest of us to consider how technology can change our lives, too. C


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Written by Tracy Lee Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram ladyleet

SOPHIA SHOEMAKER Software Engineer

Twitter wisecobbler

The era we live in allows many to pursue lifestyles that may not fit a traditional nine-to-five mold. With a growing demand for developers and increased opportunities for remote work, developers are able to work while traveling or even while caring for children.

She never thought it would be a great degree to have as a mom. Over the past few years, as programming work has become more flexible, she has realized she could work from anywhere, anytime. So when her children are taking a nap or at school, she is able to work and be a part of cool projects.

Sophia Shoemaker is a Bay Area resident and software engineer focused on React.js. But first and foremost, she is a mother to two children, ages three and six. Sophia is lucky enough to have chosen a software engineering career and now gets to work 20 hours a week while focusing on her family. “Not everyone’s situation is the same as mine, and I feel lucky that financially we are able to make it work with me working part-time,” Sophia says. “I’m always concerned that if I leave the tech world for an extended period of time, the skills I’ve gained will become irrelevant. I’m thankful to have a job that lets me keep my foot in the door and stay up-todate while still being able to make time for my kids.”

“Being a freelancer gives me the freedom to choose projects I’m passionate about,” Sophia says. Her most recent project is creating software for www., which helps get statistics on orphans in Ghana. She is also the editor for the Fullstack React weekly newsletter (newsletter.fullstackreact. com). She encourages moms who are looking to pursue part-time careers to consider programs like, a part-time bootcamp for moms that provides childcare while moms get to advance their development skills. “There are so many companies out there that could use someone who can write code and these are the perfect opportunities for stay-at-home moms who find passion in coding,” she says. C

When Sophia chose to major in computer science, she made the decision based on her desire to code. 52

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L U K E WAGNER Senior Staff Engineer Twitter luke_wagner

The web has continuously evolved to become a more global platform this past decade, but engineers are still working on expanding its abilities. One of the biggest problems is how to make all applications run with equal performance in the browser.

WebAssembly is a binary format for code compiled with another language, such as C++ or Rust. Because wasm can quickly compile to machine code, it stands as the best solution to date for running ported applications in the browser.

Over time, many have passed over the web as a viable platform to run their applications. Much of this is due to performance constraints and the tedious task of rewriting applications in JavaScript. Even though Alon Zakai’s Emscripten, which gave birth to asm. js (a subset of JavaScript), allowed non-JavaScript applications to run at near-native speeds, there was still room for improvement. Such improvements could only be made by creating a new web standard. Two years ago, browser engineers began working together to design a new web standard allowing code to be compiled directly to the browser.

In fact, because most C++ codebases are in a portable state, with abstraction layers to run on mobile or desktop, using Emscripten to port applications over to wasm without many changes has been astoundingly easy. Multimedia and 3D applications can now run smoothly in the browser without complete rewrites.

One of the solutions posed today is WebAssembly, or wasm. Luke Wagner—a senior staff engineer at Mozilla—has been working on the implementation of wasm. He is also a member of the WebAssembly Community Group and WebAssembly Working Group under W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). 53 TECH 10.1

Just this year, wasm was standardized in modern web browsers. Conversations are now turning to how the standard affects those building for the web. How can wasm be optimized to work with JavaScript frameworks? Can the computational pieces of JavaScript frameworks be replaced with wasm to optimize for speed? Can wasm make hybrid apps faster? This is just the beginning of how the web is likely to evolve in the next few years, and anyone can get involved. C


Interview by Gillian Claus Photography by Gregory Cortez Willow Glen 1165 Lincoln Ave #221 San Jose, CA 95125 408.297.2445 Twitter uegroup

Tony Fernandes

The Invisible Future of UI Tony Fernandes, usability expert and chief instigator at UEGroup, has a long history of user interface (UI) design, stretching back to Netscape Navigator. He founded the Apple/Claris Human Interface Group and organizations at Lotus/IBM and Xerox PARC. After a near-fatal accident, he set up his own user experience company, UEGroup, in Willow Glen. What does the future of user interface look like to you? Access to information is going to become increasingly invisible. It is going to become literally built into the fabric of our everyday existence. How will increased global participation change user interface design? There is an element of monotony that technology can empower. Not enough has been done with tech to make it uniquely suited to different cultures. I think there is a lot more that could be done to keep the uniqueness of cultures alive in the form of this technology. How will that affect developers? Every new company is being built on top of one of the major companies’ technology. It gives the big companies power and influence over what new companies can do. We are not really building something all the way down to bare metal anymore. What sort of materials will be used in new technology? There is a lot of stuff going on in labs: digital tattoos that you apply to the skin with a molecular-level memory powered by the acid in your natural oils, a technology that allows you to add material to existing material. Touch a corner of a table, and it could light up and do things—an entirely chemical reaction rather than LCD [liquid crystal display]. I see the material science world being the clearest place that the next evolution is going to come from. Material science has a lot to do with how you make wafers and silicon. Applying things onto existing materials, that is a different way of looking at the problem. We are working on a weird bodysuit for a company that stimulates muscles in an interesting way so you don’t have to work out. The human body is a low-voltage electrical system just like a computer. One of the biggest successes is cochlear implants—a direct digital-to-nerve-ending interface. It is just an electrical stimuli, but that is what the brain knows about.

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“Access to information is going to become increasingly invisible. It is going to become literally built into the fabric of our everyday existence.” –Tony Fernandes, Chief Instigator


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How do you see AI evolving? Well, one company found code that was produced by the AI [artificial intelligence] itself that they didn’t know was there. The scariest part is this whole area of big data beyond human comprehension. We are entering a phase when we don’t know what these devices are doing. We can’t see the data, so you just have to believe them when they say it is this number of votes, or medical diagnosis, or admission into college. The more we put into these intelligent processes, the more we have to believe and completely trust this technology. But if you are going to design something, you want to build trust into it. You do want to build trust, but there is no longer one person that knows all the code that has been written anymore. Any individual programmer cannot guarantee you that there aren’t errant things that someone else is doing. Ultimately, we are dealing with human behavior—and there are good people and bad people. You don’t know anymore. Will this bring changes to online privacy? As head of design for the browser in Netscape Navigator, I saw how accessible all that information was and still is. People don’t think about the fact that the internet is a set of computers to go from point A to point B and has to go through tons of computers to get to you. At every one of those junctures, you could have bad actors. What is an example of beneficial use of implants? We worked with an implant in the brain for patients with Parkinson’s. With the device activated, they can walk without tremors. Our job is to figure out how you structure that experience so patients and surgeons know how to use it. What does a remote control for a device that is inside your body look like? Are you excited about the future? There is a lot of really cool future stuff to come, but with all the positive potential come dangers as well. Heading into the future, we will need much better checks and balances to make sure that we as humans are still in charge of our own information, of the knowledge that we are gathering, of the technology processes around us. I think that will have to happen. We will have to develop a new language for a deeper trust in technology. As it stands, there is too much that can be done to break that trust. C 57

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Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by Daniel Garcia Social Media ohmnilabs


Robotics company OhmniLabs has a mission: to improve the lives of everyday people.

Co-Founders Jared Go (L) , Thuc Vu (R), and Tingxi Tan (not pictured) 58 TECH 10.1

“We need a new paradigm of robotics.” – Thuc Vu

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“Because we 3D print, we’re not afraid. There’s so much design flexibility with 3D printing to iterate quickly.” – Jared Go OhmniLabs is working hard to finally bring usable robots into homes around the world. The startup launched last year via an Indiegogo campaign to fund their first product: a scaled-down telepresence robot targeted for the home market. Founders Thuc Vu, Jared Go, and Tingxi Tan set up shop in a small space in San Jose that they call a “microfactory.” Creation and assembly of their devices is done inhouse, including printing of parts on an array of 3D printers (which their own team has modified to suit production needs). Their first robots began shipping early this year. The device, called simply an Ohmni, is designed to be lightweight, quiet, versatile, and relatively inexpensive. It’s a simple concept: a screen at about eye level attached to a long, narrow neck and a wheeled car at the base. The screen acts as a video chat device, and the person calling in can control the motion of the robot, moving it along the floor and tilting the screen to look around the room. In practice, it has the feel of an autonomous incarnation of the person on the other end of the line. “The idea is to make it super simple and easy for the remote side to control the robot,” Vu says. On-screen controls are intuitive and straightforward; using a mouse and arrow keys with the ability to point-and-click your way to any spot in the room is coming soon. Along with the printed plastic elements, Ohmni has a bamboo core, and it collapses into a compressed shape that is easy to lift and transport. “We designed our robot from the ground up to fit into the home,” Vu explains. Many similar products are geared toward office use, but the OhmniLabs team is hoping to connect families and friends who are scattered across the globe and, in particular, link people to their elderly family members, who often suffer from feelings of loneliness and abandonment when living in care homes and hospitals. “Some recent studies show that [loneliness] is actually worse than obesity in terms of increasing the early death risk,” Vu says. “So we believe that our


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robot can bring a lot of value for families, allowing them to walk in and drive the robot around and interact.” The Ohmni itself, however, is just the start of the team’s vision. They’ve built the software for the device on an open platform called Kambria with the hopes of spurring development of additional features by outside creators and hobbyists. Possible additions to the base unit could include simple software hacks to add filters or gameplay to the screen—all the way to more complex hardware, like programmable arms that would accomplish tasks. The OhmniLabs team is open to possibilities, and their in-house printing could make production of innovative add-ons quick and easy. “We want to move fast like a software company, and try to stay lean and bring a product into the home to use as soon as possible with a very affordable cost,” Vu says. And Go adds that “because we 3D print, we’re not afraid. There’s so much design flexibility with 3D printing to iterate quickly.” To encourage this product expansion, they are in the process of teaming up with robotics and software engineering programs in Asia, at Stanford, and at Vu and Go’s alma mater, Carnegie Mellon, where they first met as classmates studying artificial intelligence. They are hoping to provide robots to these classrooms and resources for students to learn the language and innovate. “We need a new paradigm of robotics,” Vu explains. “If you keep the cost low enough and have a really compelling value proposition to the user, then people will embrace new technology. The open platform will allow more collaboration around the world. We have a very lean and local way of prototyping the robots that allows you to iterate very quickly on different designs. We need all the pieces to make it a thriving ecosystem. And right now, our task is to sort out all the cases in this big picture, which is very exciting and very fun for us.” C

Written by Nathan Zanon Photography by Scott MacDonald Facebook sbburners Meetup south-bay-burners

South Bay BURNERS Bringing Burning Man to Silicon Valley In 2003, Debi von Huene, a program manager in the Silicon Valley tech industry, was invited to a backyard party that was attended by a small group of people who had just returned from Burning Man. “There were people wearing fairy wings and costumes, fire spinners. And I was just really intrigued,” she recalls. Soon after that, she had attached herself to a large-scale art project that was heading to the next year’s festival. “It felt like a good way to plug into the community.” Working on the Burning Man project with the South Bay Art Collective led von Huene to volunteer with a local chapter of Burning Man enthusiasts, the South Bay Burners. They help sponsor art projects, provide resources to those attending the festival, and organize off-season events to keep the community engaged and growing. By 2006, she had stepped up as the regional contact for the organization, using the Burner name RealGirl. Today, she coordinates the network with two other organizers, who go by the monikers Manea and DirtyCurlie—and who also come from the tech world and use Burning Man as their creative outlets. “I never thought of myself as a traditional artist because I don’t draw or anything,” von Huene says. “I was inspired by all the creativity and imagination I saw. That I could be involved in an art project and become an artist by doing something so physical was exciting to me. That first year, I worked on a structure that was 32 feet high, made out of wood, and was burned. And it was a team effort. So I really learned a lot about community and becoming part of something—I became an artist.” Burning Man has grown into a massive cultural phenomenon in its 30-year life span. For a week and a half each summer, Black Rock City, which is otherwise an empty, dry lakebed, transforms itself into a 70,000-person metropolis of tents and trailers (during the event, it’s the sixth-largest city in Nevada). The culminating spectacle of the festival is the burning of “the Man,” an enormous effigy in the center of the encampment, but throughout the festival, smaller “burns” also take place—with various other wooden artworks lit ablaze. This included the piece von Huene worked on the first time she attended in 2004.

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Debi von Huene

Community building and creative expression are central to the appeal of the festival, with many groups attending together as camps and artists from all over the world bringing their work to showcase. Thousands of attendees come from the Bay Area, and dozens of art projects are created by South Bay artists. “The South Bay Art Collective has taken art out there for the past seven years now,” von Huene says. “In January or so, we put out a call to the community. It’s very collaborative and very much a team effort. Every year we have new people who join the team, and this year, I think about half of our crew of 20 people were people who were going to Burning Man for the first time—just like my experience.” Burning Man Regional Network is a worldwide umbrella that works with groups like the South Bay Burners to plan the logistics of the festival and grow the Burning Man community in different regions. In addition to the main event in Nevada, this network has allowed smaller events to spring up around the globe for people who are unable to make the trip—from as far away as South Africa, Israel, Australia, and Ireland. The South Bay Burners work to keep the local community engaged throughout the year, with happy hour socials, informational meetings, and other activities. This year, they helped to coordinate a new program in collaboration with the City of San Jose called Playa to Paseo, in which art that originated at Burning Man will be installed at City Hall, along the Paseo de San Antonio, and in other San Jose locations. The first of these, Sonic Runway, created by artists Rob Jensen and Warren Trezevant, was unveiled in November. Additional installations will appear over the next three years, and von Huene says she is working on similar collaborations in other cities. “I’m super excited about it,” von Huene says. “The real point of Burning Man art is to have it be interactive and something you can touch or influence. That’s different from a two-dimensional painting or a piece in a museum where you can’t even get that close. You can directly touch this art, and by having that experience, it becomes more personal.” Burning Man art has been influential in its embrace of technological advances and its opportunity for experimentation. Kinetic sculptures, interactive 64 TECH 10.1

works, and bold use of LED lights are hallmarks of the festival, and public commissions around the world are increasingly incorporating these elements. Von Huene sees the Playa to Paseo program as a great way to expose the public to some of the creativity she sees at the festival. But she also encourages anybody who is interested to give Burning Man itself a try—and to use South Bay Burners as a resource. “One of the principles of Burning Man is to be ‘radically inclusive,’” she says. “So anybody who wants to can join in. There’s really no barrier—just be interested and find a way to plug in.” She suggests that people plug into their local community, whether it’s to get information or go to a meet-and-greet, and find a way to connect to the kind of people you want to hang out with. She says there are all different kinds of people, including those who are really into meditation or massage workshops or hosting a bar, adding that people can tap into a broad spectrum, with lots of variation in between. Von Huene’s enthusiasm is inclusive, “Some people say, ‘Oh, I would never go to Burning Man because I can’t take a shower.’ Of course you can take a shower—but you have to plan for it.” She explains that you’ll have to bring water and be able to capture your gray water. And that you need to ask yourself if you really need to shower every day or if sponge baths would work. One purpose for the monthly get-togethers is so Burners can share that kind of information. Understanding the range of opportunities will help people decide how they want to experience Burning Man “because there are many different ways.” Looking forward, von Huene would love to see both the art and the principles of Burning Man continue to expand. To start, she thinks a maker space large enough for artists to create at the scale of what she sees at the festival would be a great addition in the South Bay. But beyond that, she thinks the festival provides a blueprint for a new kind of social experience. “The way people treat each other there—with radical inclusion—I think more people can have that near-epiphany experience. Everybody yearns to be creative, to truly express themselves, to have meaningful conversations with others, and to respect people as they are. Anybody can practice that, whether they’ve been to Burning Man or not.” C

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ENOTECA LA STORIA Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Daniel Garcia

Enoteca La Storia Downtown 320 W Saint John St San Jose, CA 95110 408.618.5455 Los Gatos 416 N Santa Cruz Ave Los Gatos, CA 95030 408.625.7272 Instagram enotecalastoria_downtown Twitter enotecalastoria Facebook elsdowntown

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Co-Owners Mike Guerra (L) and Joe Cannistraci (R)

Benvenuti! Welcome to Enoteca La Storia, an Italian wine bar run by Mike Guerra and Joe Cannistraci. The combination of the word “enoteca” (or “wine library” in English) with “la storia” (“story”) is as thoughtfully paired as the pasta is with the pinot noir. Fittingly, the focal point of the main room is the wine cabinet shelves. Bottles like oddly shaped books stock this “library,” waiting their turn to be selected and savored; they serve as a reminder that this place is a resource overflowing with knowledge. Providing thoughtfully crafted menus and a wide selection of offerings, Guerra and Cannistraci cultivate their customers’ palates, effortlessly easing guests past the chardonnay toward a sangiovese with muscular tannins. Both co-owners agree that you can appreciate that bottle of zinfandel on a deeper level if you know where it comes from and the process vintners undergo to produce it. But although both co-owners share this affinity for the vine (as well as Italian backgrounds), their personalities are about as different as white grapes from red. Cannistraci used to be a plasterer, Guerra a social worker. Guerra describes Cannistraci as “an idea guy” and “good with his hands,” crediting him with hunting down the materials for their interior decorations. “As we speak, he’s putting a door in,” Guerra says, explaining that his partner is currently across town, executing the finishing touches at their recently opened second location (part of a project to recapture San Jose’s Little Italy). Guerra makes sure his partner gets the recognition he’s due, praising his drive most of all. To illustrate, he refers to when Cannistraci first resolved to grow tomatoes. After tapping into a number of resources—books, internet, other growers—he became the local expert. “It went from him having a few plants in his yard to ‘Mike, I think I’m going to plant a few extra plants, and I’ll get a crop, and we’ll make something out of it at the enoteca’ to ‘Mike, I’m going to put in irrigation in the backyard, and I’m getting this special organic fertilizer, and I’m doing worm castings, and I’m buying a water filter.’ ” He’s now on the board of the World Tomato Society, and every May and June, regulars start asking after the latest crop. 68 TECH 10.1

“We’ve got very different personalities, but underneath it, we have the same values: your word is your bond. You treat people with respect.”– Mike Guerra

In contrast, Guerra identifies himself as more even-keeled. “I’m a little bit more thoughtful, a little quieter,” he says. “I like to think about things first and then do.” When a fired-up Cannistraci surges into the enoteca and ambushes his employees with a bunch of exciting new ideas, it’s Guerra who calms down the shell-shocked staff and steers them through a smooth transition process. It’s also Guerra and his expertise as a professional sommelier that members of the enoteca’s wine clubs have to thank for high-quality selections and for rotating regions and varietals. “We’ve got very different personalities, but underneath it, we have the same values: your word is your bond. You treat people with respect,” Guerra asserts. “We really want to do things well.” To stay true to the enoteca spirit, everything Guerra and Cannistraci serve is either local or Italian. Guerra admits they’ve been tempted at times to add menu items that don’t fit either of those categories. “What’s kept us on the narrow path always comes down to ‘Is this who we are and what we’re about?’ ” he explains. “That helps us avoid pitfalls. We’ve got a good friend that says she always knows that a business is in trouble if it’s a retailer, but they bring in a slurpee machine.” And this fealty to their values influences just about everyone they come into contact with. Not only do customers come away with a deeper understanding of wine, but the employees also experience benefits. “This gentleman here,” Guerra nods at a young man as he strides past, “he started out as a busser.” Enoteca La Storia slowly dissolved his initial shyness and replaced it with a newfound confidence and a promotion to server. “And now he’s a manager,” Guerra smiles. “We watched him grow as a person and as a professional. And we’ve had a bunch of people like that.” Is your interest piqued? Come enjoy the bruschetta and a glass of syrah, and let Enoteca La Storia work its magic. C

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Creator and Owner Deb Chang

GINGERDebLAB Chang Made fresh and preservative-free, Ginger Lab’s ginger beer adds a kick to any drink. If you’ve ever noticed the unique spice in a Moscow mule or a dark ’n shady, you’re probably tasting ginger beer. Naturally carbonated and nonalcoholic, ginger beer is used as a key ingredient in specialty cocktails but is often overlooked as a delicious beverage on its own. For those who don’t enjoy commercially made ginger beer, laden with sugar and preservatives, there have been few options. Enter Ginger Lab, the Mountain View–based, smallbatch brewery that uses only fresh ingredients. Creator and owner Deb Chang, a Bay Area native and self-described purveyor of all things delicious, has set out to give each one of her drinks a spicy kick of fresh ginger and lemon and minimal sugar in every sip. Deb brews small batches in a local commercial kitchen, juicing pounds of ginger root and lemons each day. While the classic ginger flavor is a best seller, she also brews guava-flavored ginger beer year-round, a personal favorite of hers. In addition, Ginger Lab has rotating seasonal flavors such as spiced apple, blood orange, strawberry, and white peach. Customers can order their favorite drinks online and have them shipped to their door, or they can refill their growlers with Deb at the Mountain View Farmers’ Market every Sunday, year-round, as well as at Los Altos’ and Santana Row’s farmers’ markets in the summer. Prior to founding Ginger Lab in 2016, Deb had no idea that she would ever be making ginger beer for a living. Working first at Google for eight years, she left for DoorDash in 2014 to get a taste 71

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of startup life. “At a bigger company like Google, you have all these different competing products and competing new ideas,” Deb explained. It was at DoorDash where she learned how to work with limited resources without a safety net. “It set me up for being able to handle anything,” Deb said. “If I had never gone to DoorDash, I probably never would have done Ginger Lab.” At the same time, Deb was creating specialty cocktails at home, inspired by a mixology class she received for her birthday a few years ago. “We learned the properties and chemistry behind making a balanced drink. It’s not just a gin and tonic; it’s all the different ingredients that go in to make it balanced,” she explained. While crafting drinks at home, it soon became apparent to Deb that one ingredient was not living up to her standards. “A lot of the cocktails I liked had ginger beer in them,” she said. “But I realized the ginger beers at the store were too sweet and didn’t have the punch I was looking for—that spiciness you get from fresh ingredients.” Deb began experimenting with making ginger beer at home for her mixed drinks, using only fresh ginger, organic cane sugar, fresh lemons, and purified water—the same base used for Ginger Lab drinks today. Deb soon realized her ginger beer was just as good to drink on its own as it was in a cocktail. Wanting to be sure other people liked it as much as she did, Deb put it to the test of public opinion. “A friend of mine was serving sandwiches at a food truck event, so I joined him and served my ginger beer

Written by Michelle Runde Photography by Daniel Garcia Instagram drink_gingerlab Facebook drinkgingerlab


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“I knew if I was going to do this, I needed to be 100 percent into it, because, otherwise, I wouldn’t know why it failed if it did.” – Deb Chang to do some market research and get feedback.” Receiving rave reviews and demands for more, Deb decided the time was right to make Ginger Lab a real business. “In March of 2016, I really committed my thoughts and energy to this, leaving my fulltime job at DoorDash,” she said. “I knew if I was going to do this, I needed to be 100 percent into it, because, otherwise, I wouldn’t know why it failed if it did.” On her first day of sales at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market a few months later, Deb sold out in the first hour. From that point on, she didn’t question that the demand was there. For 2018, Deb’s dream is to have a brick and mortar store in downtown Mountain View where people can enjoy cocktails and pick up orders for home. Until then, you can meet Deb and try a sample at the Mountain View Farmers’ Market. But be warned: one taste and you’ll be hooked on Ginger Lab forever. C


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TEA LYFE From Horchata to Vietnamese Coffee

In a sea of conventional milk tea shops, Tea Lyfe revels in its differences. Curious about the story behind its fusion drinks, local artwork collection, and open mic nights? Meet Latina owner Candy Gomez Bui and her Vietnamese husband, Caleb Bui. As you settle in to listen to their story, set the tone by ordering a vietchata (Mexican horchata blended with Vietnamese iced coffee) and a coffee churro waffle (Hispanic churros and Vietnamese coffee mixed with waffle batter). Taste that commingling of cultures? Candy and Caleb embraced multiculturalism before they crafted the menu—and before they’d even met each other. “It’s not something you can avoid in San Jose,” Candy laughs. As your typical poor college student, Caleb haunted the affordable taqueria close to campus. Meanwhile, Candy’s coworkers at her old job bribed her with popcorn chicken and milk tea when they were late for their shifts. Fittingly, the two met at a multiethnic church that offered English and Vietnamese services. Later, after they were married, Candy noticed an empty unit at the plaza they visited weekly. Situated in Little Saigon’s Vietnam Town and bordering a Latino neighborhood just across the 101 overpass, the location harmonized perfectly with the Vietnamese/Latino drinks she had in mind. “We’re neighbors,” Candy explains. “There should be more unity with the people you live around. They don’t have to necessarily share the same language or look the same for me to feel at home.” Caleb remembers his initial response when his wife first came to him with the idea of a milk tea shop. “I was a little bit skeptical, but I thought, ‘If this is what she’d like to do, we’ll give it a try,’ ” he says. “I just really wanted to support her.” He continued working full-time as a software QA engineer at Apple, while Candy managed the shop. To decorate Tea Lyfe, the resourceful couple recycled weathered wood, succulents, and bare lightbulbs from their wedding (which took place at a Chinese restaurant with chips and salsa and a mariachi band). To further enhance a natural, campground-like atmosphere, they brought in moveable stumps and 75

TECHLeft: 10.1 Caleb Bui (L) and Candy Gomez Bui (R)

Written by Johanna Hickle Photography by Arabela Espinoza Social Media tealyfedrinks


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painted their bear logo on the far wall. The camp theme resulted in not only a whimsically woodsy interior design but also established the store as a space for families to come together away from distractions. “Lyfe,” an acronym for “love your family every day,” celebrates a value that transcends race. “In both of our cultures, family is so important,” Candy says. “My grandma had eleven kids. Whether you get along or not, you always end up together.” It’s why Candy uses a family recipe for her horchata and why she integrated Vietnamese coffee into the menu after finding out her mother-inlaw and aunt sold the beverage from a little stand during the ’70s. Art is another unifying force at the shop. Tea Lyfe opens its doors to local artists, offering up its walls to painters’ canvases and providing space for musicians’ open mic nights. As a musician himself, Caleb was particularly excited about supporting the musical community. “I wanted this place to be a platform for musicians,” Caleb says. “I know it’s really hard to find places where you can display your talent.” Over the years, they have welcomed everything from blues to rock to R&B. Besides the live entertainment and unconventional menu, Tea Lyfe’s customers come for the quality. This refusal to take the easy way out when it comes to ingredients was first instilled in Candy when she was pregnant and seeking organic, pesticide-free foods at the farmers’ market. “We go against the grain of typical boba syrups,” Candy says. Instead of the typical honey-flavored syrup offered by most milk tea shops, Tea Lyfe embraces local raw honey. Instead of powdered milk, they bring in organic half and half straight from the Straus Family Creamery in Petaluma. They use real fruit and whisk the ceremonial-grade matcha green tea by hand. “I wouldn’t want to create something that I wouldn’t want my family to drink,” Candy states. With customers receiving treatment usually reserved for relatives, is it any wonder that so many regulars consider it home? C


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Two Social Media Influencers

Richard Ayala

Brittney Buccat


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Black velvet t-shirt, Crossroads; leather jacket, Scotch & Soda; velvet one-piece, Crossroads; leather shorts, Crossroads; sequined jacket, Crossroads; studded rain boots, Crossroads

Written by Elle Mitchell & Arabela Espinoza Photography by Arabela Espinoza

Stylist Mariana Kishimoto Production + Art Direction Elle Mitchell Hair Erin Willson for B SOCIETY MUA Renee Batres Location BLiNK Creative Agency Wardrobe Crossroads San Jose + Scotch & Soda

Technology is a huge part of society—from the moment one wakes up via a phone alarm to the hours one can’t fall asleep after a late-night scroll through a newsfeed. Technology has become so integrated into people’s lives that most can’t even imagine a world without it. Social media has changed the way people interact and has led to a whole new path to fame. Instagram has become a platform for people such as Richard Ayala and Brittney Buccat to connect with others and share different aspects of their lives. These two young social media influencers have grown significant followings and have experienced firsthand how it feels to be famous online. With this fame comes many perks but also specific challenges they have had to navigate at a young age. People who feel protected by the anonymity that the internet provides can leave hateful comments, bully, or make unwanted advances. Despite the negative, social media has 79

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provided Brittney and Richard with opportunities to work with brands and make new friends. This shoot is both a celebration and a critique of technology and the hold that it has on society. There is a contrast not only in the black and white colors but also in the outdated technology and the new way in which technology users are communicating. Headphones, CDs, and a desktop monitor were painted white to blend in with the environment— just as they do in everyday life. Wrapping around bodies as well as being consumed, the wires represent the grasp that technology has and the way that information is fed. While all of these things can have negative effects on society, technology ultimately brings people together in ways that will continue to evolve as time goes on. dia has provided Brittney and Richard with opportunities to work with brands and make new friends. C

RICHARD AYALA “Technology for me is a tool I use to connect with many people across the globe—spiritually, emotionally, and for business. I started using social media as an escape from reality. When I was in high school, I would blog on Tumblr often. It got to the point where I would spend hours at night blogging and connecting with people from all over the world who struggled with similar issues. Being gay in a religious family was very hard for me at the time and to have a support group that understood my problems was a therapeutic outlet. As more social media apps became popular, I started to convert my followers to other apps to maximize my reach. I received a lot of love from people; however, with a large following base, negative energy emerged. Online bullying is a huge issue, and I believe it is still not taken seriously. I’d like to be an advocate for cyberbullying, because I know firsthand the impact it has on self-esteem. In addition, I would like to work with tech companies to help combat fake accounts, because I’ve had people tell me that they’ve been catfished by someone using my photos. Overall, I love technology and social media because they helped me create experiences with people I normally would not have been able to if social media never existed. All of 2017, I traveled to many places and got to meet so many people I’ve created connections with over the years. I am thankful that I got to have those moments. I am now in a place in life where I want to be more creative, so I am excited to see where the new year will take me.” instagram: therichardanthony

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“Online bullying is a huge issue, and I believe it is still not taken seriously. I’d like to be an advocate for cyberbullying, because I know firsthand the impact it has on self-esteem.”


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– Richard Ayala

“Expressing and embracing myself through social media has truly opened so many doors for me, both in social media and outside of it too.” – Brittney Buccat

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BRITTNEY BUCCAT “Social media has been one of the biggest tools for me to find myself, especially since I began college. I’ve always loved fashion styling and wanted an outlet where I can talk about it. That’s when I decided to turn to social media and begin my journey of fashion blogging. It is my creative outlet where I can channel my love for fashion and styling. In all honesty, I was embarrassed about the whole thing and didn’t tell anyone about it. I obviously couldn’t keep it a secret forever and people eventually found out. However, after that, expressing and embracing myself through social media has truly opened so many doors for me, both in social media and outside of it too. It’s given me confidence to be myself and allowed me to grow into the person I am today. One of the best parts about social media is the ability to connect with people around the world that share the same passion as me. Truthfully, social media can seem narcissistic, but I’ve met with so many humble and amazing people that I can truly call my friends. What’s great about the fashion community is that the women all support other women. Instead of tearing each other down, the community is always being encouraging, engaging, and supportive. With all of that being said, social media has definitely been a positive aspect in my life. It’s given me so many opportunities to do things and meet people that I wouldn’t have been able to without it. Since social media and technology are constantly changing, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of blogging.” instagram: missxbo

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Casey Wickstrom

CAS E Y W I C KST RO M Singer-songwriter survived his twenties. The theme appears repeatedly in conversation with Casey Wickstrom: making it out of his twenties, settling down after his twenties, feeling at one time that he didn’t expect to make it through his twenties.

scene; here, it has stylistically set him apart from other Bay Area acts, as has another weapon in his musical arsenal: a three-string cigar box guitar that he coaxes into a fuzzy ferocity one would hardly expect to emerge from such a tiny contraption.

One could chalk it up to the wave of self-discovery that can accompany your third decade of existence. But in Wickstrom’s case, his words aren’t a playful dig at self-reflection. He almost faded from this world yet lived to tell about it, which likely makes the texture of existence feel that much more fragile.

Well before striking it solo, Wickstrom started his first band, The Shoes!, out of high school with good friend and bassist Dustin Krupa and drummer Austin Vidonn, who the two met randomly after skipping school to jam in a nearby town. The group’s music occupied a “mellow groove, acoustic roots kind of vibe,” and they recorded their debut, It’s the Shoes!, in 2005. Vidonn was later replaced by Nick Angiono, and the group was renamed Strange New Shoes.

Wickstrom’s music is informed by the rugged, metallic riffs of the Delta blues, the modern slide stylings set forth by guitarists like Ben Harper and Jack White, and the airy fingerpicking and detailed lyricism of his beloved Paul Simon. His words carry a remarkable honesty, with songs like “Orange Grove” and “Sleep” showcasing a bared soul that doesn’t emote at the expense of astute songcraft. He recalls growing up listening to Johnny Cash, the Beach Boys, and Chuck Berry. In particular, Wickstrom remembers Paul Simon’s Graceland, which his mother would play as she rocked him to sleep. He moved from the Bay Area to mountainous Durango, Colorado, at age three, where bluegrass made a large musical footprint. This detail helps contextualize a defining feature of his live act—his use of lap slide guitar, which he picks away at, face up, while seated. The instrument was common in Colorado, since the twang of lap slide paired well with the rootsy sounds of the 85 TECH 10.1

The new trio moved to Boulder to make a larger splash, but Wickstrom admits that the band may have been a bit too cocky for its own good. “When you have such a set goal of this elusive rock star status, and you think ‘if I don’t get that, I’ll never be happy,’ that’s setting yourself up for such a hard time,” he points out. “We were playing five shows a week sometimes, passing out flyers in the snow, and no one would come.” The hard work and slim results burned them out, fueling the group’s rampant partying. After a year in Boulder, the band fell apart, and Wickstrom moved back to California to clean up and start over. Back in the Bay, he recorded his self-titled solo debut album in 2010 and started to develop a repertoire as a one-man band. After building a performance circuit that included gigs in LA, he

Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Joey Pisacane Instagram caseywickstrom Twitter caseywickstrom

“When you have such a set goal of this elusive rock star status, and you think ‘if I don’t get that, I’ll never be happy,’ that’s setting yourself up for such a hard time.” – Casey Wickstrom

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made the decision to migrate south permanently. Then on August 21, 2011, two weeks after uprooting, disaster struck. At around 9pm, while exiting a freeway off-ramp, he rounded a blind turn to encounter the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. He woke up at UCLA Medical Center with 28 staples in his stomach, no spleen, a liver that needed to be soldered back together, and a litany of broken bones. His severe blood loss required a transfusion. Wickstrom and his girlfriend were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Despite the crash, he was back to writing and playing guitar two weeks after his accident. His musical routine returned, but so did his drug indulgence. After two years of sobriety, he fell into opioid dependence. “I was in a death spiral for four years,” he shares, noting that his dark state of mind spurred on his creativity in a very grim way: “I thought, ‘I need to record all the music I can, because this is all I’m going to have left to my name.’ ” Desperate Times, which came out in 2013, chronicles this turbulent period. A year and a half after his move, and nursing a fresh breakup, he headed to Cupertino to straighten out once more. His choice, at least at first, backfired. “The drug use just escalated, and the depression got worse because I wasn’t in LA anymore,” he says. He still craved success, but his relocation took him hundreds of miles away from the land of stardom. It further ignited his self-hatred and hatched a lethal plan. He was going to overdose on painkillers after releasing his song “Surf Zombies!” Then he could join the “27 club,” a list of beloved musicians gone too soon. “I put the single online for all to hear…then, I took all the pills that I had saved and fell asleep, hoping that I would never wake up,” he shares in his blog post “The Making of Surf Zombies!” He overdosed, but didn’t die. Four months and no pills later, suicide no longer felt like an option—it felt like the only option. As a last-ditch effort, he checked himself into the psychiatric ward at Stanford Hospital a week before his 28th birthday. Wickstrom latched onto meditation and yoga as therapeutic outlets during his stay, and the latter has stuck with him regularly ever since. Today,


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caffeine is the only drug he grants himself, and he was recently certified as a yoga instructor, now sharing with others a practice that delivered him immense peace in the immediate aftermath of his time at Stanford. With a renewed outlook, Wickstrom started to revisit musical moments he was previously too scared to touch up. In that sense, his latest project is both progression and retrospection. He launched a Kickstarter to fund a new album, then successfully raised over $8,000 for the making of Bleed Out, due April 2018. He reunited with Vidonn during the songwriting process and recorded the 12-track album in Durango this past August, reconnecting with the engineer who worked on the Strange New Shoes album. Both were aware of Wickstrom’s work ethic, so it was no surprise to either when they had to power through a four-day marathon recording session, logging takes for at least 12 hours each day. He says the album covers a ton of stylistic ground, touching everything from blues and punk to shades of funk and heavy metal. “There was a need to get this out,” he says. “It was like an exorcism of the past in a lot of ways.” Having trudged through such darkness, there’s an air of prophecy to “Pasadena,” from his 2010 debut. Among his stark, tell-all takes, the chorus stands out as a rare sliver of hope: “And I’m alone, but I’m not lonely / I’m not prepared, but I’m not scared / I’ve been lost, without direction / ever since I was a kid / but I know it’ll lead to something / yes I know I’ll be alright / ’cause I know that one day / I will see the light.” With those lyrics in mind and everything he’s made it through, has he finally emerged from the darkness? “I don’t feel like I’ve seen the light,” he says, “but now I’m getting glimpses of it.” C

SCLORK Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Arabela Espinoza Twitter brunoruviaro SoundCloud scu-electronic-music

MERGING MUSICALITY AND CODING, the Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra is part of a worldwide movement to open ears by challenging traditional notions of instrumentation and composition. Imagine this: The presidential primaries are in full swing, and the Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra (SCLOrk) has chosen to mark the occasion with a tragicomic piece on the state of democracy through the lens of Mozart’s “Musical Dice Game.” Ensemble members vote frantically to decide what the next measure will be, responding to prompts like “Transpose prettier?” and “Make Mozart great again?” All the while, a supposedly fair conductor counts their votes at will. The melody accelerates until the ensemble’s onstage speakers build to a collective whirr, then collapse into silence. The system has crashed. “It was just insane button mashing mixed with social commentary. I loved it,” raves former orchestra member Sarah Olive-McStay, reflecting on “Mozart and the Elections,” presented at SCLOrk’s spring 2016 concert. It’s fair to say that their output may not be what you initially envision as a musical composition. SCLOrk’s work does involve traditional music and musicality, but coding plays a significant part as well. The ensemble utilizes SuperCollider, a programming language with an emphasis on audio synthesis, to develop pieces. Electronic music professor Bruno Ruviaro and his students aren’t just crafting harmonic unity; they’re constructing new musical worlds to inhabit and to cohabitate in. Their work builds upon the shared experience of similar ensembles, among them the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk), and Virginia Tech’s Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork).

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Ruviaro, a native of São Paulo, outlines an eclectic musical upbringing, where Bach and Bartók entered his ears alongside Brazilian bossa nova. “I’m told that as a toddler, I’d grab vinyl records from lower shelves in the house and literally scratch them on the floor as if they were toys on wheels,” he shares. He double-majored in piano performance and composition at Brazil’s University of Campinas, before his burgeoning interest in electronic music led him to Dartmouth, where he pursued graduate studies in electroacoustic music. His experience was similar at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, where his PhD studies granted him his first experience with a laptop orchestra. In 2010, SLOrk performed his composition “Intellectual Improperty 0.6,” a piece culled from hundreds of micro samples he conducted by sending players instructions via instant message. Ruviaro was eventually lured down the road to Santa Clara University, which presented him with an enticing opportunity to build an electronic music program from scratch. He formed SCLOrk with his students in spring 2012. “It is very different,” explains Ruviaro when asked how composing for laptop orchestra differs from traditional composition. “It involves sound imagination in a decentralized way…I can’t just write notes. I have to imagine the sounds, the playing interface, the performative actions, and train the player on all this.” As his academic work articulates, the laptop not only opens up new musical possibilities, it challenges the very definition of what constitutes a musical instrument.

10.1 89 TECHAssistant Professor of Music Bruno Ruviaro

Performance photos on this page by Joanne H. Lee/Santa Clara University 90 TECH 10.1

Recordings from SCLOrk’s spring 2016 performance showcase a wealth of diversity. “SCLOrkestra Blues” is the most traditional, sounding like a computer sharing its mechanical woes over skittering drums and plunky keys. “Ave Theremin” follows a singer as she attempts to teach an outer-space visitor Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” resulting in a surprisingly touching galactic exchange. “I loved the idea that a composition could be structured as a game or a set of rules rather than a page of perfectly replicable sounds,” recalls Olive-McStay, who was tasked with teaching her alien counterpart how to sing. “Participating in laptop orchestra opened my ears and mind to recognize music potential in everyday objects,” adds former SCLOrk member Tina Traboulsi. Her point is well-founded: she played an amplified watering can during the ensemble’s performance. Traboulsi’s sentiment also offers an optimistic counterpoint for those who may write off SCLOrk as too high-concept. Ruviaro’s personal SoundCloud page seems to support this take, with field recordings capturing the clanks and clatters of a Caltrain passenger train leaving a station and the varying pace of drops of hot tea returning from steeper to cup. In that sense, SCLOrk furthers the idea that anything—even that which people experience daily without a passing thought—offers potential for musicality. C


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“It involves sound imagination in a decentralized way…I can’t just write notes. I have to imagine the sounds, the playing interface, the performative actions, and train the player on all this.” – Bruno Ruviaro

ARTIFICIAL FOUNDING INSPIRATION THROUGH THE GIFT OF MUSIC and thanks for the close friendships that have come with it.


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L to R: Sahana Krishnamurthy | Raven Winter | Kyra Shinobu | Sami Taylor

It’s a Friday afternoon, with the school year in full swing, yet that doesn’t deter any of Artificial Lavender’s band members from being right on time for rehearsal. They comb through their set list, facing one another in a circle, and the presence of a stranger in their practice space does little to detract from their collective focus. The group is rehearsing in drummer Kyra Shinobu’s room, with a partition separating a bed from a drum set and a handful of large amp cabinets. The gray-blue walls are adorned with signed Loudermilk and Motion City Soundtrack posters. After playing through their originals, they cover The Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” then close out with an improvised take on Weezer’s “Undone (the Sweater Song),” finishing the attempt with a collective laugh. It’s a joyful conclusion to a musical exchange between four teenage girls, who openly express in conversation how lucky they feel to be in a band together. School of Rock, whose performance-based music education program centers around classic and alternative music from acts like Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, proved to be the bonding force for the four band members. Bassist Sami Taylor, currently a sophomore at Branham High School, joined the program in sixth grade. Shinobu, a senior, joined

The group’s dream pop/shoegaze–inspired sound comes through Shinobu’s father. “I grew up listening to stuff like Ride, Lush, and Cocteau Twins, dream pop/shoegaze bands from the ’90s, because that’s what my dad listened to,” she says. “My dad’s a musician too, and he was in shoegaze bands when he was in high school. Within the past couple of years, I fell in love with the sound again and wanted to try to emulate it.” Taylor and Shinobu handle most of the group’s lyrics and lead vocal duties, but Artificial Lavender’s music is an ever-evolving group effort. The five demos on the band’s SoundCloud page were recorded at West Valley College, where Shinobu’s part of the recording arts program. She’s been busy mixing touched-up versions of the demos alongside new tunes they hope to release shortly. The demos are rooted in everyday experiences: “Streetlight Moon” revisits the idea of friendship through reflections at a house party; “Cool Curtain” is Shinobu’s direct response to a fashion diss on Instagram; “Everything I Need to Know” finds Shinobu imploring others to ultimately trust their intuition when dealing with internal struggles. Artificial Lavender is the only all-girl rock group in

“I’ve gotten to know these girls over the past two years, and I have a very specific and special connection to all three of them because I’m creating music with them.” –Kyra Shinobu in 2014. The two had experience playing together in small groups at the school, so when her former band ended, Shinobu reached out to Taylor to start a new group. Their first gig as Artificial Lavender—a combination of two of Taylor’s favorite words—was as a duo, but they soon decided to add more members. The two asked Sahana Krishnamurthy to play lead guitar after they were impressed by her School of Rock group performance. She joined during the school’s Beatles season at the end of 2015, and the group gained a member with a decade of classical guitar experience. Though Shinobu knew of Raven Winter for years through school, they didn’t get to know each other until Winter entered the program in spring 2016. When she joined the band, she became their final piece, taking up rhythm guitar. Winter’s choir experience helped inform and shape the group’s four-part vocal harmonies, a hallmark of their ethereal sound. Roles soon shifted: Taylor moved to bass and Shinobu taught herself to play drums.

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their scene, and it’s a badge they wear proudly. “I’ve gotten to know these girls over the past two years, and I have a very specific and special connection to all three of them because I’m creating music with them,” notes Shinobu. Winter recalls early rehearsals at Shinobu’s house and admits she was worried they weren’t going to click, then shares about an evening after practice when all four were Snapchatting in the backyard, cracking each other up. Music plays a definite part, but they also stress how this journey has also helped them find one another—and themselves. “It changed the person I am,” explains Krishnamurthy when reflecting on what she’s gained being a part of the band. “Now I focus less on the little things and more on just trying to enjoy life.” C

Written by Brandon Roos Photography by Arabela Espinoza Social Media officialalband

ALBUM PICKS Curated by Needle to the Groove Instagram: needletothegrooverecords



From the depths of Austria’s late ’60s psych scene came a single album by the band Paternoster. Originally released in 1972 and since reissued by NowAgain Records, Paternoster is a leading example of psychedelic kosmische musik (sometimes referred to as “krautrock”). With just seven songs, the band takes the listener on a ride through a gloomy dream of vivid organ-led melodies, fuzzy guitars, and sparse panning vocals. Heralded by many as a prog holy grail, the best moments are not the least bit progressive, but more heavy, reverberating guitar riffs backed by pulsating drums, a groovy baseline, and a haunting, heartfelt organ. The band flows in and out of somber cathedral-type bits into trippy, echoing leads and distinctively lo-fi whirling vocals. One standout cut is “The Pope Is Wrong,” with a melodic organ as the foundation for an evolving soundscape of far-out fuzz; gusty, echoing special effects; and an inexorable rhythm section pushing the tempo. Paternoster is a creative masterpiece of beautifully morbid, slow-burning rock, giving us just a glimpse of Austrian kosmische musik.

Let’s just go ahead and state on the record that Smino is the future of St. Louis hip-hop and R&B. His inherent street trap swag works perfectly with his southern, soulful R&B vocals. From Slick Rick, Lauryn Hill, and André 3000 to Devin the Dude, Drake, and Anderson .Paak, there are too few vocalists with the skill to succeed in both hip-hop and soul music. However, there’s simply no denying that skill in Blkswn—you just haven’t heard anything quite like it. A few highlights include the choppy, Dilla-esque “Spitshine,” showcasing Smino’s silky falsetto seamlessly fused with his uniquely southern rap cadence. Next up is the uber catchy “Netflix & Dusse,” a slightly dub-riddim groove, where Smino gives another example of his vocal skill with some beautiful harmonies. In another highlight, the slow burner “Anita,” producer Monte Booker chops up a distinctively neoteric beat and Smino entices us with his state of the art rap-sing style. Smino fuses hip-hop, soul, jazz, swag, and funk like only a few others—ever. Yeah, the guy is undeniably that smooth. Let’s say, future smooth.

Favorite track: “The Pope Is Wrong” NOWAGAINRECORDS.COM Twitter: nowagain

Favorite track: “Spitshine” ZEROFATIGUE.COM SoundCloud: sminoworld

Paternoster (Now-Again Records) Rerelease date: June 10, 2016

Blkswn (Zero Fatigue LLP, Downtown Records) Release date: March 14, 2017

Written by Allen Johnson Written by Allen Johnson

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Sunny and the Sunliners

Seattle’s Dreamdecay has put together this collection of subtle yet pummeling noise-rockpsych songs to create a listening experience like none other this year. The initial big-riff-age sound melds into kosmische musik (also referred to as “krautrock”) repetition and makes YÚ a varied, complex listen. Haunting and murky, bellows echo from singer/drummer Justin Gallego’s gruff voice, all D. Boon rants and shouts, but buried under layers of primordial sonic ooze. More concise and direct than their previous releases and less focused on atmosphere, YÚ’s title track announces this newer Dreamdecay sound. The razor sharp, entwining, dissonant double guitars by Alex Gaziano and Jon Scheid lock in and hammer away, and that, added with the intricate and thick basslines, makes it a pleasant assault, a terrifying groove. Jason Clackley on the bass plays like a faster David Sims from Jesus Lizard—these guys can all really play their instruments. This, mixed with Justin’s loose yet powerful drumming, makes for a unique and dark palette. “Ian” starts with a slowly building guitar line, repetitious and menacing, lulling you in until the tension is released with a battering stomp. It’s almost like an arthouse Black Flag. “F.R.A.N.K.,” another stand out track, is maybe the best instance of the Neu!-meets-Suicide world the band is inhabiting— inhabiting but still creating their own thing. Truly one of the more inspiring and memorable releases in a while.

Sunny Ozuna was a high school senior in the late ’50s and was on the verge of both graduation and superstardom. Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, the Latin crooner matured on healthy doses of the Beatles, Bessie Smith, and Buddy Holly. He’d eventually tally impressive accolades, notably being the first Latin performer on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Songs like “Forever,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” and “Smile Now, Cry Later” are shimmering paragons of Tejano music—a subgenre that evolved through Spanish speakers in Texas who imbued songs with traditional Mexican elements and American soul, blues, and some folk. With this year’s Mr. Brown Eyed Soul, a compilation of garage rock–tinged soul by Sunny and the Sunliners, the small Brooklyn imprint Big Crown Records shifted their aim toward reissuing overlooked cultural recordings. Harboring some of Sunny’s best known hits, the release is a curated collection of best songs, ditties, originals, and covers. Most of the cuts have textured melodies and soft basslines that usher vivid, uncomplicated heartache, love, and worry along. It’s interesting to note that “Smile Now, Cry Later” was a celebrated track first heard on East Side Story Vol. 12, one of San Jose’s most celebrated and rare contributions to vinyl culture. At best, this is a concise and carefully chosen intro to Sunny’s long and colorful catalogue; at worst, it’s the most soulful record released in recent months. Or, says Sunny on the album’s lead single: “Put me in jail…if I fail…to give you all the love that’s yours.”

YÚ (Iron Lung Records) Release date: March 3, 2017

Mr. Brown Eyed Soul (Big Crown Records) Release date: September 22, 2017

Favorite track: “Ian” DREAMDECAY.BANDCAMP.COM/MUSIC Facebook: dreamdecaymusicgroup Written by Jeff Brummet

Favorite track: “Put Me in Jail” SUNNYOZUNA.COM Facebook: sunnyozuna Written by David Ma

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Flogging Molly



Content Meet-Up


The Parting


A Touch of Tech


Poppy Jasper Film Festival

MAR/APR Arousing Biophilia


Hop ’n Vine Festival & Market


Engage(dot)Next 5.0



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Shannon Amidon curates an exhibition that promotes deeper exploration of the natural world and environmental stewardship by bringing the wonder of nature into focus. 3/2–4/22 Art Ark Gallery

This second annual event features tastes from some of the amazing wineries and craft breweries located in Santa Clara County, as well as small bites and entertainment. 3/10 Santa Clara County Fairgrounds

This conference features Nina Simon of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History sharing insights on relevance, audience engagement, and community participation in the arts. 3/16 School of Arts & Culture @ MHP

Flogging Molly is a seven-piece Celtic punk band from Los Angeles. This concert is part of a tour celebrating both St. Patrick’s Day and their new album, Life Is Good. 3/20 The Catalyst

Emerging culture creatives connect with each other as well as with established professionals working in various design fields for portfolio reviews and coaching. 3/21 AC Hotel

This new work inspired by true stories from witnesses of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan will blend theater, dance, music, and visual design. 3/23–3/24 Hammer Theatre

Melody and rhythm meet algorithms, melting glaciers, and electronic interventions in the new music of Vivian Fung, Thea Musgrave, Judith Shatin, and William Susman. 3/25 Trianon Theatre

Independent short and feature films are presented in intimate settings where audiences can interact with emerging filmmakers and view films they might not otherwise see. 4/5–4/8 Various Morgan Hill & Gilroy Venues

SUN 10AM–2PM SoFA Brunch Each participating eatery at this downtown San Jose food hall offers its own special brunch menu items. SoFA Market

WED 9PM The Caravan Lounge Comedy Show Comics from all over the Bay Area and the world perform, hosted by Ato Walker. The Caravan Lounge

THURS 9PM The Changing Same This excursion keeps time with the future of soul, R&B, and jazz through guest DJ sets and live performances. The Continental Bar

MON 7PM–9:30PM Red Rock Open Mic Night A family-friendly open mic experience that welcomes people of all talents to share and perform their art. Red Rock Coffee

THURS 7PM–9PM Live Lit Writers Open Mic This casual open mic offers a home for poems and stories in all languages over pastries and beverages. Caffe Frascati

FRI 7:15PM–12AM Friday Night Waltz Although the focus is on waltzing, this friendly class and party also includes polka, tango, swing, and cha cha. First United Methodist Church


Silicon Valley Comic Con


If So, What? Silicon Valley


Legacy of Poetry Day


Bless Me, Ultima






Adrift in Macao


Printers’ Fair & Wayzgoose


10.2 Content Pick-Up Party at SJMA’s Third Thursday


SoFA Street Fair

Presented by Steve Wozniak, this convention features top celebrities, comics, independent artists, cosplay, video games, consumer electronics, music, and apps. 4/6–4/8 San Jose Convention Center

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian will headline this year’s celebration. There will also be a reading featuring the best of local community and SJSU-affiliated poets. 4/12 Hammer Theatre

Sonido Clash’s Selena Tribute Party will feature music from cover band Selenamos, Que Madre of Chulita Vinyl Club, and DJ Sizzle, plus live art and a Selena look-alike contest. 4/13 Back Bar

With a drop-dead funny book, shamefully silly lyrics, and lethally catchy music, this fast-paced musical lovingly parodies the Hollywood film noir classics. 4/13–5/6 Theatre on San Pedro Square

In partnership with SJMA and Poetry Center San José, Content Magazine will celebrate the latest issue release, poetry month, and art. 4/19 San Jose Museum of Art

This inaugural event creates immersive experiences with an international roster of art and design galleries, cutting-edge innovative projects, and some of today’s best music. 4/19–4/22 Various San Jose Venues

The West Coast premiere of Héctor Armienta’s new opera, based on the acclaimed novel by Rudolfo Anaya, is a beautiful way to experience this classic coming-of-age story. 4/20–4/22 Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater

Kander and Ebb’s classic musical sets romantic relationships against the backdrop of the sordid Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin, where the Nazi Party is coming to power. 4/20–4/29 West Valley College Main Stage

Print enthusiasts, students, educators, graphic designers, typophiles, artists, and printers will enjoy the demos, tours, and array of vendors and exhibitors at this fair. 4/21 History Park

South First Street transforms to host an allday music festival with multiple indoor and outdoor stages, featuring dozens of musical acts, artists, and vendors. 4/22 Various SoFA District Venues


Events are subject to change. Please confirm event details with the presenting organization or venue.

1ST MON 8PM San Jose Poetry Slam Slammaster Scorpiana Xlent leads this spoken word competition that features tasty food, brews, and poetry. Gordon Biersch

2ND & 4TH WED 6:30PM–8:30PM Open Space at Eastridge Hosted by Lorenz Dumuk, all are welcome to bring words, music, movement, and art. Eastridge Center eastridgecenter

3RD FRI 8PM San Jose Bike Party This themed ride is a place to make friends and have a good time. Riders without lights can get free lights installed. Announced 24 hours prior

3RD TUES 7PM–10PM Two-Buck Tuesday The gallery hosts $2 art sales, along with a combination of performances, live painting, and/or art-making activities. KALEID Gallery

1ST FRI 7PM–11PM South First Fridays This walk highlights eclectic art exhibitions and performances at galleries, museums, and creative businesses. Various SoFA District Venues

2ND SAT 6PM–9PM Songwriter Saturday Showcase Coffee is served while local songwriters perform. New Crema Coffee songwritersaturday

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

Contact us at:

JOEY PISACANE Joey is an actor, musician, writer, and photographer. Based in California, he has worked in films, theatrical productions, music and performance art, and published photo and poetry zines. instagram: boyuomo

CATHLEEN MILLER Cathleen Miller is a bestselling author, director of the Center for Literary Arts, editor-in-chief of Reed Magazine, and was named a 2017 Artist Laureate by SVCreates. Her books include Champion of Choice, The Birdhouse Chronicles, and Desert Flower, which has been adapted as a feature film. facebook: authorcathleenmiller

DANIELLE HAYDEN Danielle is a freelance writer and editor. When not working with words, she can be found enjoying other art forms, learning new things, traveling (insofar as her modest budget allows), or spending time with her husband. website:

GREGORY CORTEZ Gregory is a Bay Area Creative Artist and Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about cultivating the creative arts in our society and growing his company, Cortez Media Group; a firm that focuses producing visual media for business and publications. instagram: grgry

SAMANTHA TACK Samantha is a contributing copyeditor for CONTENT who is passionate about consistency and developing content. She is also the copyeditor for GRØSS Magazine and works in online content operations. In her free time, she enjoys all things crafty, weekend road trips, and country music. instagram: its_sammyyyyy

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

GRACE OLIVIERI Grace has many hobbies, but her true love is reading. Her dream is to spread this passion to everyone she can by helping writers share their work with the world. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Biola University. facebook: grace.olivieri.1

KRISTEN PFUND Kristen oversees CONTENT’s events and builds community partnerships. In her downtime, she can be found exploring local trails and trying to pet the un-petable wildlife. instagram: kristen_pfund

Be a part of the CONTENT community.



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Photography by Adrien Le Biavant

Sonic Runway

Artists Rob Jensen and Warren Trezevant 440’ long dynamic sound and light installation Located at San José City Hall Plaza, 200 E. Santa Clara Street 5 pm to Midnight daily through March The City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with Burning Man Project present Sonic Runway as the first installation of Playa to Paseo, an innovative program that presents art from Burning Man to downtown San José.


California Theatre 1,122 seats

City National Civic 2,850 seats

Center for the Performing Arts 2,608 seats

Montgomery Theater 468 seats

California Theatre Lobby

In Silicon Valley, fortune favors the bold, and the bold find inspiration in the beauty around them. Stage your next meeting in our historic theaters where electric-punch was drunk, iconic tech devices were launched and Broadway’s best is belted. INNOVATION • NATURE • CREATIVITY • CULTURE


ENGAGE(DOT)NEXT 5.0 Audience Engagement & The Art of Relevance

The day will include a special opportunity to hear from Nina Simon as she reflects on her book The Art of Relevance and her recent work on audience engagement and community participation in the arts. Presented by SVCREATES

March 16th, 2018, 9:00am - 2:00pm School of Arts & Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza Learn more & register at

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silicon valley’S


CULTURE made in san jose, ca


Sight & Sound 10.2 SAN JOSE 2018

WWW.CONTENT-MAGAZINE.COM social media: contentmag



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