Oh, snap snap! Keeping it real with the Dummit duo
iPhone fails (turn your flash off!), ‘hero shots’ and spittin’ rhymes, son. Raven-haired roller derby queen Kelly Horner and former photog to the stars Stephen Dummit (a.k.a rapper Grim Ace) reside in a quaint Atascadero barn. Together, they own local photography business Dummit Photography. How did this unlikely couple wind up in Atown, you ask? They share an all-too-common story. You know how it goes: Kid grows up in rural Northern SLO County, teen rejects the area wholeheartedly, adult returns somewhat reluctantly at first, only to realize they’re ready to embrace the area and maybe even (shriek!) settle down. I know, because it happened to me, too. Aren’t the oak trees lovely this time of year? Before the couple became Dummit Photography (or even a couple at all), they did their own thing on opposite sides of the USA. In Silver Lake, Kelly studied special effects makeup. After graduating from Atascadero High School, Stephen moved as far away from California as possible, cutting his teeth in Rochester New York. This is where our story begins. I inter-
viewed the pair over stiff drinks at Black Sheep. Stephen: I went through one upstate New York winter and said ‘Screw this, I’m a California guy.’ Swap: For sure. How did you make it back to the West Coast? Stephen: I transferred to Art Center in Pasadena and got my bachelor’s of fine arts photography in 2006. From there, I bounced around the greater LA area for a while… Photography was becoming more and more difficult to get a steady income from, and I was also trying to do music at the time. I sold a single and a B side to Delicious Vinyl, but it wasn’t going to support me. Swap: Did you think if you kept on rapping your dream would come true? Stephen: Oh yeah, I lived it to the bitter end. I was full-fledged “in it” and even started selling photo gear to make rent. I went for broke, and went broke. That’s what really brought me
back to Atascadero. I never fully let the rap dream die though. “Grim” is my roller derby name as a referee for Atown Asylum roller derby team. Swap: What did you learn from working in L.A.? Stephen: Photography was an eye-opener. Everything from being the shooter to retouching, being a digital technician for other photographers, working as a photo assistant… a buddy of mine, Kevin O, got in with DUB Magazine, so they flew us out and we got to see 47 of the states. I got to see a lot of the nation. Swap: Sounds like you got the experience you were looking for, moving away from Atascadero! Stephen: I definitely lived it up for a few years before comPhoto by Dummit Photography
SHUTTERBUGS Kelly Horner and Stephen Dummit of Dummit Photography, pictured. They were as shocked and appalled as we were to find out reality TV is, indeed, not real.
ing back to Atascadero. I don’t regret leaving L.A., but I don’t have a drive to get back there. It was constant hustle. Now, if I want to go somewhere that’s a mile away it doesn’t take me two hours. I’m more of a laid back guy. Everyone wears a little more of a mask there.
you going to be all casual about that?!
Swap: You have some celebrity photos on your website. Are
Swap: What’s with the photos of Pete Wentz from Fallout Boy?
Stephen: I just wanted to shoot photos of real people doing real things. It worked in the music field. Some of the celebrities I have taken photos of are music people.
He’s in that band, right? I don’t know anything about him except that he dated Ashlee Simpson. And I don’t know anything about Ashlee Simpson except that she was with that dude! Stephen: Ha! It was for American Red Cross. Swap: That’s not very sexy.
See DUMMIT, pg. 2
BOO BOO RECORDS BOO BOO RECORDS BOO BOO RECORDS
cds/lps/tapes/turntables books/posters/tees downtownSLO booboorecords.com
Hayley Thomas, editor in chief firstname.lastname@example.org Reid Cain, ad media director email@example.com
Biba Pickles, Reid Cain, Nicky John, Laci Rogers, Ben Simon, DIY SLO, CT Scuttlebutt, Matt Foote, EmJay, Kevin and Meredith Coons, Martyn Provensen, Lakin Hamilton, Dummit Photography
Swap! is a free publication which began January, 2012 with the mission of swapping creative ideas within the SLO arts community. For more information or to read online, go to swapzineslo.com or e-mail swapzineslo@gmail. com.
ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST: Max Brebes has been drawing characters for years, and has only started drawing his series of portraits, (which includes the cover art, ‘Grease Monkey,’) in the last nine months. He intends to continue working with ink and expanding the series. Brebes is also planning to show his metal work in the Five Cities area, which includes a to-scale human made of wire and recycled metals.
DUMMIT, from pg. 1 Stephen: Sorry. I worked for their Pomona chapter and did photography for them. When celebrities get in legal trouble, they have to “pay” by doing things with non profits. They have to do their “community service.” Swap: Sorry Kelly, we will come back to you. But I do have to ask about celebrities, of course. Kelly: That’s OK. There’s a reason why we call it “Dummit” photography. I want him to tell you the Millionaire Matchmaker story.
about his “huge walk in closet” and a camera man opens the closet door and the woman trying to date “Kevin the millionaire” asks, “What are all these chick’s clothes doing in YOUR house?!!!!” Swap: That seems so douchey! Ha! Kelly: It has nothing to do with us, but it’s really funny. Stephen: In a nutshell, you get to see the “behind the scenes” Hollywood.
Swap: That’s a horrendous show.
Swap: Way different than hanging out at the Tastee Freez in Atascadero! Talking about the craft of what you do…how do you guys work creatively together?
Stephen: My friend Kevin was on the show as a “millionaire.” He’s the one who worked for Dub Magazine that I flew around with. That tells you a lot about the show…they create these characters. They build these lives up and rent the cars. They put him up in a huge house and called it his…it’s “directed reality.”
Kelly: I’ve learned so much from Stephen. I was never officially trained, but now, editing is one of my favorite things to do. Basically, he inspired me to learn and grow. I’m also like the huge bitch, because he takes really good photos, but he won’t notice the crap in the background, like the trashcan or dead bird. That happened!
Swap: That’s so fucking weird.
Stephen: It was a dead seagull on the beach during a wedding shot. You can edit that out. It’s all digital now!
Stephen: So, he’s borrowing a friend’s house, and his friend is married with kids…but here Kevin is pretending it’s his house. Now, they didn’t want to remove all of the real female clothes in the closet, so they tried to lock the closet door. At one point, they’re doing some thing
Kelly: I don’t shoot the same stuff that he’s shooting…but I’m right there behind him telling him what’s wrong. Ha!
Stephen: I’ll see a frame and look at the lighting and think it’s so epic, and she’ll say “Move the bright orange cone in the background!” Swap: I saw the magic first hand working with you guys… there is a pull and tug to it. Stephen: The “hero shots,” as we call them, come together when we have that dynamic. Kelly: I don’t feel like we’re “a couple” when we’re working together. I am very firm! Swap: What do you guys like to shoot most? Kelly: I love portraits. When you look at our photos you can sort of tell. We both have that same style. Not that it’s depressing, but no one smiles in our portrait photos. It’s more real. Our portraits have the same vibe… Stephen: It’s hard to put your finger on it. [The vibe] is edgier and not what people would consider classic, but the images can be iconic in the end. You can do the “hand to the chin” portrait for a yearbook, but when you do a real portrait session, you can get that one moment that’s real and it’s them. That’s when you get a really good portrait. Kelly: I love that! And when people say they really love our photos. That means so much to us.
Swap: Everyone has a high quality camera on their iphones. What is everybody doing wrong with their stupid camera phones? If you could give advice to all these armature instagramers, what would you say? Stephen: TURN YOUR FLASH OFF. That’s the main one. Phone flashes are just terrible. It’s usually close range and it does the crazy evil haunted eye thing. Swap: You can tell more about a person from the photos in their iphone than anything else…isn’t that weird that we live in a world like that?! Kelly: It is weird. But I do Instagram too, so I don’t want to make fun of them! Swap: OK, so we won’t make fun of Instagram. Was there anything you guys wanted to “bullet point?” Stephen: We both do photography in our own right and have history with it, but we just started talking last November and thought, ‘Let’s do a photography thing.’ My job kind of sucks, hers kind of sucks, so this would be fun. Kelly: We both inspire each other, so it made sense to do this together. Dummit Photography is available for weddings,
DIY SLO WAREHOUSE
Because SLO is our town, too! When I first got wind that a group of local musicians, artists, KCPR DJs and community folk were forming a nonprofit venue, I was ready and willing to help in any way possible. My main contribution at this point is providing these upstanding youth with the media coverage they deserve. Read on to get involved with the new music/art/community space, located at 759 Francis Avenue in SLO. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Word on the street: they need volunteers, monetary donations and soundproofing materials. -- H.T.
purpose( expression and entertainment) while promoting competition and greed. Yes, there are people that enjoy being part of this, but there are always people in every community yearning for something more, something that feels right. The DIY SLO warehouse feels right.
SWAP: What was the need musicians and artists saw in the community and how does this space hope to fill that need? Where is the venue located?
DIY SLO: There are a lot of legal steps we need to take to make this a sanctioned space. There are a lot of licenses and permits that we need to acquire, including insurance and fire marshal inspections. It’s going to be tough making this fully legal, but right now we are speaking with a lawyer, starting the non-profit steps, soundproofing and talking to other spaces like Bridgetown DIY in La Puente and Gilman in Berkley.
DIY SLO: The DIY SLO warehouse is located at 759 Francis Avenue in San Luis Obispo. What brings us together is the need for a space we can all use and that no one profits financially off of. We needed a place for touring bands to play that isn’t in risk of being shut down by cops, doesn’t have a $500 a night fee and is all ages. The bands that DIY SLO books are for the most part bands that wouldn’t want to play bars and look for more of an open and intimate atmosphere where they can make friends with attendees. Also, there will be free school type classes and workshops, screen printing days and hopefully, down the road, we will start working with developmentally disabled people by offering a free space for music and art. We all need and want different things from this but it’s really about freedom, expression and equality. The element of money being involved for any other reason than to support the art and keep the business afloat tends to convolute the execution of the art or music further and further away from its original
SWAP: What are the first steps in working towards securing and using this space? What are the specific goals that are being worked towards within summer/fall 2013?
SWAP: What are the general policies of the space and what vibe will it have? Who will be allowed to play, what are the logistics for touring bands etc? DIY SLO: A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age; a place where the rules guard each person’s self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others. How this See DIY SLO, pg. 8
Swift-boated in the big ditch
A RELATIVELY HAZY RECOLLECTION OF ONE OF THE YEAR’S LEAST IMPORTANT DRUNKEN CONVERSATIONS Nicky Jon I’m standing out back of Bill’s Place in A.G. spitting long spurts of Griz Green more or less in the direction of a leaky trashcan on a cool spring night. Inside the bar, King Walrus is doing the blues thing but I’m out here locked in a tussle with Pat Hayes and Dickie Cross of the Dead Volts. We really should be in there sweating through our flannels with all the other kiddos but instead we’re arguing over pop country—yeah, I know. More specifically, we’re arguing about Taylor Swift. In fact, Pat and I always do this—it’s like a compulsion; he razzes me about my mythical Fanclub pajamas, and me thinks he protesteth too much and shit. This time we’re brawling over whether she indeed writes her own songs; Pat puts on his veteran producer pants (which, if they were real, would likely have mustard stains and a perennially gaping fly) and waxes prolific on the trixiness of songwriting credits, a point which I concede only because I don’t want to admit that she actually sucks bad enough to have written the dogshit burger which is “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Dickie adds, unhelpfully, that she is also likely odiferous in a certain southerly region, and then puts the creamcheese on the muffin, as it were, by doing his impersonation of a horny Dirks Bentley discovering said malodor in a backstage tryst: turns out, Dirks don’t care! This all started with what Dickie felt was an irresponsible comment from an American Dirt fan concerning the “fakery” of “California Country” (which, quite honestly, makes us wonder why she likes A.D. in the first place); real country music, it seems, must only come from the south. Dickie registers his offense to this notion with a leftward sway and a hyperbolized stumble, shouting “Buck Owens” over his shoulder like the last inebriated patron in the Crystal Palace at closing time, sloshing dark beer from the pint glass he holds in one hand into the PBR tallboy he clasps in the other, then launches into a lengthy list of California’s spangle-suited finest starting with the Bakersfield set and including expletives denoting their importance (“Merle
FUCKING HAGGARD!”) “Don’t forget Korn,” I remind him. Pat tells me to piss off, which is fair, and then claims that in essence, all musicians are fakes; Cali born or swaddled in the stars and bars, “we’re all just washed up old fat guys pretending to be rockstars.” “Jesus, Pat,” I tell him, “you sound like my wife.” “Now, don’t get me wrong” he stammers, “any goddammed one of us would turn to jelly if someone handed us a Paisley Tele, but even that guy ain’t country.” I counter that Brad Paisley is one hell of a guitar picker, country or not, as Dickie begins to snort out short bursts of laughter between slurps of beer—“Pat Paisley!” he shouts. “You’re Patty Paisley!” This becomes Pat’s name for the rest of the evening, and, as far as I’m concerned, for the foreseeable future.
stood under the march moonlight in the back parking lot at last call, rocking ever so slightly on his heels, hands shoved deep in polyester pockets, cheerfully humming soft and low to himself, the melody broken only by the occasional gentle belch; “Our song is the slam of screen doors…”
And that is, unfortunately, how we get to Taylor Swift; the Bering Straight of musicians-who-actually-pen-their-owntunes rises from the cold Northern Pacific of Patty Paisley’s diatribe against, well, everyone (including, strangely, John Lennon) leading us to eventually set foot on the Alaskan mainland of T-Swift, her songwriting credits, and, of course, her Ry Cooder (who IS from California, as opposed to Dwight ‘motherfucking’ Yoakam, who is incorrectly included in Dickie’s list at this time as well.) The whole thing ends just like you’d think: at an impasse. I refuse to concede that Swift is entirely without her merits (I mean, I did, at one point, have “Tears on My Guitar” set as my ringtone, which I don’t feel I have to justify to you, dear fucking reader) and Dickie seems largely to have confused her with Katie Perry. Inside, Magazine Dirty have started to sound check, or maybe that’s just their set, so I chuck the rest of my dip, Dickie drains his now warm PBR, rolls his eyes while Patty pretends to pull a middle finger out of his gas station attendant shirt pocket, and we head back in to the roiling, beer-misty chaos of a Mag Dirty mosh pit. And really that’s about all that happened. Unless you count the scene I just made up where a solitary D. Cross
The Lit Invasion! By Ben Simon Four literary buffs from three of the four corners of the country (California, Connecticut, and Washington State) have united under the name Fialta to record 12 songs of “Central Coast literary pop.” Fialta consists of Beth Clements, Sarah Shotwell, Mike Leibovich, and David Provenzano, the latter two of which were members of the successful SLO rock band Sherwood, which broke up last year after ten years together. In the aftermath of Sherwood, the four started collaborated via Skype. Collaboration is key to Fialta, because in the tradition of bands like Queen and Broken Social Scene, all four members are lyricists. In addition, the band features both female and male lead vocalists, and a variety of instruments, including bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet, ukulele, and the seldom-heard glockenspiel. Over the past few years, they have played a cavalcade of shows in San Luis Obispo. As Sarah quips, “Our favorite show may have been our debut local show at Linnaea's in 2012. “The whole place was packed out and
it was a warm, memorable welcome from the community. Our other shows have run the gamut — we've taken on a few five-hour winery sets. That is fun, but it's a really, really long day. We haven't had a truly terrible show yet, but we just started playing live; we're sure we'll have to eat it at some point. In the past, Mike and Beth also hosted a so-called hootenanny where local songwriters could come over, pile down on the floor, and share what they were working on.”
k c ro s e c n re fe re y r ra te li re u Obsc
Local culture itself is another huge inspiration on the band, and their sunny, summery indie pop sound is largely influenced by SLO. “We love SLO!” proclaims Sarah. “Although we are all transplants, we moved here because we were passionate about this place and excited to get plugged back into the
However, the same cannot be said for their lyrics, which are much more dismal and dissonant. This musical contradiction is the reason they named their upcoming album “Summer Winter.” Of course, Beth, a native of Glastonbury, Connecticut who studied at
UConn, and Michael, who hails from Seattle, were referring to the cold snowy winters of the East Coast and Pacific Northwest, which are not unlike those which Nabokov undoubtedly experienced in Russia. SMARTY PANTS: From left to right: Sarah Shotwell, David Provenzano, Mike Leibovitch and Beth Clements of Fialta.
Both Mike and Sarah are graduates of Cal Poly, where Mike, a former child actor who auditioned for Freaks and Geeks, DJ’d for KCPR while Sarah majored in history, later getting her MFA in English and creative writing (her first novel is in the works). They named the band after a short story by Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov called “Spring in Fialta,” about a fictional Mediterranean small town which bears many similarities to SLO. Further examples of their literary enthusiasm include the song “Porphyria’s Lover,” named after a Robert Browning poem, and using a narrative form rather than traditional song structure.
Take A Chunk Outta My Heart
Misadventures down the SLO CVS Family Planning aisle with Criminy T. Scuttlebutt
Chonk is a man’s man from Berkeley, Calif. who is on a mission. I’m not sure what that mission is, or if he even knows, but I know he loves his Ghost Fiddler. Chonk and The Ghost Fiddler are in search to stay fresh in their music (without a douche).
Who uses plastic, lady-contraceptives anymore? Don’t men bear the burden of the coital raincoat pretty much universally these days?
Biba Pickles: How long has Chonk been a thing in your life? Chonk (Brian): It’s been a thing in my life since I was very young, like around elementary school. Chonk has been an entity, something I had adapted into an identity around middle school, but I also used it as a funny fill-in-the-blank nonsensical word as a substitute for a vulgar word for most of my life. I would say like “I’m going to get chonked up tonight” or “I’m going to chonk your mom in the chonk hole.” It sounds almost worse than the original. BP: When did you start making music? Chonk: I started with this two-cassette deck and I recorded one to the other, then flipped the cassettes and did it on the other side so I could do multiple takes and multi-track. I started doing that around 11 years old or maybe at 12. I wouldn’t call what I was recording music per say, but I would bring out pots and pans and bang on them, then play a couple of strings on a broken guitar, which I didn’t know how to play, and then sometimes I’d slow down the tracks after I was done. One track was really bad. I think it was just whale noises. Eventually I got into writing songs later.
BP: When did you meet the infamous ghost
See CHONK, pg. 8
Aren’t the archaic times of the female diaphragm far behind us? When I ventured down the “Family Planning” aisle of our San Luis Obispo CVS (accidentally, I assure you), I was bewildered not by the array of colorful, yet discretely packaged, vibrating dildos for sale. Nor was I given pause by the oodles of neatly arranged, contemporarily shaped, latex cocksheathes and dental dams. It certainly was not the dazzling rainbow of fertility-boosting, boner-inducing pharmaceutical concoctions available behind the chemist’s counter that stayed my leaving... no, ‘twas a simple diaphragm caught my eye. To think! Not just one, but several multimillion dollar rubber concerns all over this great nation must compete annually for profits garnered from loyal customers, dishing out their petty cash and eagerly scurrying home from the market to jam these sterile, mini-toilet plunger heads up their twats, with glee. The things look uncomfortable, though I must admit to never having worn one. I picture thousands, maybe millions of women across the globe, fastening these plastic gravy boats securely around their cervixes to hold the line against their invading paramour’s seed. Don’t
Spoiler: there’s not one. I deign to actually take the item in hand, wondering with macabre fascination, and what sort of woman would actually pay to take this contraceptive cornucopia home and actually breach her perimeter with the thing.
they watch television? Have the Internet? Don’t they know there’s another way? The pill? The shot? The staple? Hell, just letting the guy knock you up seems almost congruently user-friendly when compared to the stretching one must endure to encapsulate this monstrosity (which is, of course, colored pink- no purple, no “hello kitty” print... just pink). Curious, I inspect further. The artifact has gathered little dust — at a glance it seems to be as regularly stocked an item as its prophylactic neighbors. Someone must buy these things. “Siri, how effective is a diaphragm?” “WHAT?” Twelve out of 100 fail? Well Siri, that’s just not good enough if you copulate with any sort of youthful regularity... even if you don’t mind having dish-network setting up a relay in your snatch. “You mean I put myself in a bowl like I was salsa on Cinco de Mayo and we still got pregnant?” What’s the selling point here?
Sure enough, upon closer scrutiny, these relics of 1970s vaginal architecture are even priced, indicating a fee the companies intend to extract from the wary wearer. I’ll spare you the banal economics — needless to say, the ticket-price did not seem worth the ride. Nothing’s free these days: not even a genital-numbing, largely ineffective rubber cup. The idea gives new meaning to the phrase: “poorly conceived.” With chagrin, I replace the Russian-roulette style baby-making guard on its hook, next to which spermicidal lubricants, jellies and foams abound — and it’s a good thing, too: the poor girl will need them, I muse. Oh well. Not my problem. After all, it serves the harlot right for listening to her greatgrandmother about what sort of fuck-rubber to use. So callous! “For shame, for shame!” the angel on my shoulder whispered in my ear. Reproaching myself, I go back to pick up the device and its compatriots on display and, with a sharpie marker,emblazon the packages across the front panel with my foremost warm wishes for its eventual user: “Best of luck — Don’t get stuck!”
PLAYING DRESS UP with Lady Lakin Hamilton of H & G Boutique
Pretty Talk & Flirty Junk with special guest Dr. Cain, Esq. Dr. Cain is a fake doctor/ lawyer from scenic San Luis Obispo. He answers your hard-hitting questions in this month’s Swap! Magazine Q. My Parents wait up for me after every single date. What can I do to make them stop treating me like a baby? J.S., Dayton Ohio A. Well it sounds like you need to show a little courage and man up to your overbearing parents. If you lack the courage you need, you can buy some in a bottle. May I recommend Night Train “wine?” It will give you the strength to really speak your mind. If you are unable to find Night Train, be sure to ask your neighborhood liquor store clerk what he can recommend. Don’t let him sell you the expensive stuff though. After half a bottle you can’t tell the damn difference anyway. Before you know it, the only one waiting up for you will be the moon! Q. Must I send a present to a shower if even if I can’t go? J.M., Rockford Ill. A. I will assume you mean a bridal shower or baby shower. I guess it depends on if they have ever bought you something. If they’ve ever given you anything, say, for your birthday or Christmas, then most likely you owe them. It’s called “keeping score” and is very important to a healthy social life. If they have never gotten you a gift, screw them. If they have, remember this little tip: Don’t overspend! Spend just enough so they think you care. If they were nicer, they would have scheduled the shower at a time that was convenient for you. Q. What is the proper way to file nails? K. B., Rochester, NY A. Seriously? Is there a wrong way to file nails? I have no idea. I can’t really imagine a wrong way. Have you heard of the website Google? You should try that. They know a lot of things you don’t. Q. My Bridesmaids will all be wearing ice blue. What color lipstick could they wear with that? P.M., Portland, OR A. What is with all these bride fashion questions? You should go to the lipstick store in your dress and try some on. See what looks nice or something. Doesn’t that seem like a good plan? Damn! Q. At a party, I met a boy I’d like to go out with. He said he was going to call, but he hasn’t. Should I call him? S.P., Des Moines, Iowa A. Hecka Yes! Guys love that crap. They are usually super busy playing video games and don’t have time for this kind of flirty junk. He may have forgotten you. What kind of party was it? Dudes like beer and beer makes it hard to remember stuff. Also, you could follow him on Myspace and like all his posts. Guys always think that’s really cool. Maybe he’ll even “friend” you, which is code for sex. Q. My Boyfriend hates made-up girls, but I need to hide my broken-out complexion. Should I or shouldn’t I wear make up? L.C., Pittsburg, PA A. Only if you want him to hate you. Pittsburg sucks. You should probably move somewhere where guys are less hateful. Q. I have heard that Paul Peterson is in love with Wendy Turner. Is this true? How can I write to Paul and get an answer? D.D. China Lake, CA A. What? This is a very strange question. According to Wikipedia Wendy Turner married some dude named Gary Webster in 1999 and that Paul guy is married too, though it doesn’t say to whom. I would suggest minding your own business in this particular instance.
Photo by Ballad’s Photography
UNIQUE BOUTIQUE Lakin Hamilton (middle) is pictured with fellow models donning H & G Boutique fashions in San Luis Obispo. The stylish gal about down, artist and sometimes model talks about H & G’s interesting collection of baubles, threads and scents and more. Swap: The shop is so eclectic. What makes up H & G Boutique? Lakin: It’s a variation of different styles. Not only are we a clothing store, but we pay attention to the lifestyles that people live in SLO. Swap: What kinds of lifestyles are we talking about here? Lakin: For example, there’s a bohemian style, and it has its own variations depending on the person. But there’s a general look: Flowy, lots of jewelry, earthy. Then, we have edgier style with a lot of dark tones, stripes, vibrant neon colors. Then, we have a very eclectic, vintage style that captures that sweet, innocent girl. It’s really about who YOU are. Swap: There’s definitely an artistic/creative slant to everything you carry, too. Lakin: This is an art form for the store’s owner, MaryAlice Hamilton, myself and my coworkers. We all have a “passion for fashion.” We really do. We have a passion for this community as well. Our staple is to carry what’s in, what’s cool — as well as to carry what the people are making in this town. Swap: What are people making that the shop is carrying? Lakin: San Luis Soap Company is one, and the owner is a fantastic scent and soapmaker who does really well with natural oils. We have Karen Wilken, a pretty prestigious artist in town. Her craftwork with her jewelry is just awesome. We have so many different vendors and they are always changing weekly or monthly. Swap: Where do you find these local artists? Lakin: Some are friends; some are customers that come in. We also order from people off etsy, so we are keeping that “home made goods” feeling flowing. We are ordering from the small mom and pop shops and doing our best to be the true essence of a small business.
Predominantly, the clothes are all bigger labels, with a few handmade silk and velvet shawls and we do buy from smaller companies like unique vintage. As far as homemade, it’s really the jewelry and bags and scarves — the accessories. Swap: Tell me about the fashion show you guys had a few months back. Lakin: It was extremely fun. It was a really fun night where we all got to play dress up and walk down a runway and show off H & G Boutique’s clothes. What girl doesn’t want to pretend she’s a super model for the day? Swap: You represent the store in your own way. What are your artistic/fashion inspirations? Lakin: Whatever is moving me at the time. My wardrobe is constantly changing and I feel like I can tap into each and every one of those niche styles and do my own thing. Right now, I am going through what I call “my goth phase.” Swap: Ha! That’s cool. I get flack for changing up my style all the time depending on what band I’m playing in. Lakin: I think [change] is more of an expression of who you are than being just one thing. Who is just one thing?! I have many interests and tastes, and people who think that’s fake, with their one cubical style, are less apt to be outgoing about who they are. I get to play dress up everyday when I go to work. You can be who you want in this store and there’s no judgment whatsoever. Swap: And you guys aren’t mean! Lakin: We are there for everybody, it’s great. It’s a form of therapy for women and some men, and we like to help as much as we can. Every customer is our doll and we love to dress them and help them in any way we can. H & G is located at 956 Higuera St. St in SLO. Find them on Facebook and Instagram for more!
The Van Diaries: Part I: The secret to fame is being crazy Emily “EmJay” Jawoisz
out there, you are going to get mad props — even from just a few people — who are as excited about your art as you are, and they will be excited they discovered you first. When people get excited about something, they tell other people. Like I said, we are animals of communication. Word of mouth is one of the most impacting forms of marketing; and that’s because of the sincere emotion that backs it up.
Six months ago, my band, which consists of my boyfriend and I, packed everything into a van and decided to hit the road. It was a strange sort of American dream: to give up all security and be homeless in our van. It was a nerve-racking move. We were completely putting ourselves out there as artists and perhaps wouldn’t be liked by these new people. They didn’t know me, and unlike my friends, who might have enjoyed my art back home with a loving bias, this new community didn’t have to. These are all concerns that arose in my head at the beginning of our journey. For those that have had similar experiences to mine, they know the satisfaction that comes with just “going for it.” It sounds like there might be a catch, but it really is that simple. That’s what separates garage bands that don’t last two months from indie bands playing the festival circuit for two years. These bands may not be millionaires, but they are pursuing their dream and making a living from it for now. That’s what most of America wants: to be able to make a living from their passion. The secret to fame is being crazy. For the record, my definitions of “fame” and “crazy” must first be clarified. “Fame” doesn’t mean playing stadiums to thousands of topless chicks, (sorry) or even blowing up overnight like Mackelmore. ”Fame” means gaining group support. “Crazy” doesn’t mean setting yourself on fire on stage or selling your current car to invest every penny in a tour bus. Being “crazy” it is simply about taking risks. I’ve read a lot of articles that pussyfoot around self- exposure. You have to put yourself out there. Networking is a big part of any career. We are animals that rely on communication. Most people aren’t psychic and haven’t given your music a chance because they haven’t heard about it. Be excited about what you do. I personally have respect for EVERY artist because their courage to share with me the innermost emotions of their soul is flattering. That’s pretty gutsy — and sharing that, even minutely — is pretty gutsy. I get it: a lot of people are shy about performing in front of
It seems impossible sometimes to combine traveling with our passion, but we know it’s not. There are people with dream jobs who are photographing for National Geographic, touring cross the country or teaching in Cambodia. How do they do it? They let their passion determine their location, not their location determine what they do.
a crowd. If you just can’t bring yourself to become a front man, start by just playing guitar or designing flyers for one of your friend’s bands. Making a music profile online can be beneficial, too. You don’t even have to directly communicate with anyone, but if you need, you can seek active critique as well as listen to what other musicians are doing. It’s also a great way to collaborate with other musicians nationally. The point is, a fish gotta be in water to survive. Just by getting a feel of the scene and surrounding yourself by what you love, you’ll gradually begin to feel more comfortable. The “fame” you begin to develop from networking will pay off. Your core group of friends will most likely be your first fans — and vice versa. Your new fans will most likely become new friends too. They will be ecstatic they found someone with heart who is pursuing a dream. Getting involved in your local music scene is a great way to get your feet wet. I can guarantee that by the time you work up your voice to play your first open mic, your new friends will be happy to reciprocate the support you’ve given them. By just getting
We arrived back in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday afternoon, but only after surviving a jankity knucklebuckler of a plane flight through rough air in what felt like a tinfoil toy plane, nuanced by a sassy stewardess and the goofy older Bako grayhair that got drunk and tipped said stewardess a hundred bucks on the way out and all along the way embarrassed the shit out of the large extended family that was traveling with him. The next night we wound up at a place that we’d decided we hadn’t visited recently enough—it was in fact the first business that we’d ever wandered into when we first moved to Slotown: The Black Sheep — the name says it all. We were going to town on the “daily special,” a pastrami sandwich, when at some point, the guy that had sat down next to us at the bar, Kris Blaze, turned to and said, “Hey, were you on the plane here from Tucson yesterday? I recognize your Dickie’s hat. We were sitting behind you.” He looked momentarily bewildered. “Uhhh… Yeah. I think I came in from Phoenix…” “Yeah! Well, we were coming from Tucson, but we connected through Phoenix. I just recognized the ponytail thing and the ballcap. I think you sat in front of me.” It turned out the dude was actually from New Jersey. The company he worked for had done some of the signage for the new Solar Ranch project out by the Carrizo Plain. And it turns out that, not only was this his first time in California, it was also his first time on a real trip away from the place he was from, ever! Of course, we got to talking about his home in New Jersey and the effect that the “Hurricane Sandy” had had on it. He said that he was pretty much out of his home for at least the next eight months. The water had gotten almost up to the second floor. “Did you have insurance?” “Yeah… thank god for that… but there’s just shit you can’t replace.” A few pauses…. “So sorry ‘bout that,” says Kris. “Yeah… thank you for that… It is what it is…” Kris mentioned how her company payed for employees to fly out and volunteer their services for the relief efforts. Lee
then talked about how for weeks, people were coming from EVERYwhere to help out. All over the east coast, west coast, Canada and other places. And then he asked a funny question. “Where can I get a, you know, ‘medical prescription’ around here?” We told him that if you look in the back of the New Times newspaper, there are always a couple of ads for doctors who can write prescriptions. “What about, like… the stores? Dispensaries or whatever?” “Naw. Here, they bring it to you. Delivery service. The ads for them are on the same page as the doctors.” “Whaaaa…?” And then it turns out, over the course of another long story, that in New Jersey they wouldn’t let his best friend’s mother, who was dying of cancer, have access to any kind of cannabis medication. Not even the synthesized kind. So he, because he has a beating heart, would get her medication on the street. And he got busted for it, apparently, and he said he was still on probation for it even though it had been a few years. He was the kind of guy that makes you irritated with the local government when you have to pay taxes for their “rehabilitation” programs and/or young non-criminals serving in prison for dealing a few grams. Whatever… “Even if the license wasn’t valid in Jersey, it would still be cool to take home and show people,” he said. “So, you’ve never had ‘prescription’ grade before?” We asked. “Naw, man, the stuff we get in Jersey is shit. If you could show up with some Cali bud, you’d be the king in my town.” We didn’t want to burst his bubble that you needed a California Driver’s License or ID to get a scrip. He could figure that out later. But we were about ready to go anyway, so I said, “Well, we’re gonna swing back by here in a minute to get a tomato at the Farmer’s Market, so if you’re still here we might have somethin’ for ya to kickstart your quest.” We went back to the car and drove up around to where we’d come from and I jumped out and went back into the Sheep. I usually keep a little pre-packed tin around somewhere. He actually looked a little surprised and relieved to see me come back in. Slippity slappity secret handshake. “The budlet is called ‘Blue Cheese’ and the pre-ground is ‘Mango Kush’.”
You don’t have to work in the tractor factory just because it’s the biggest thing in your hometown. Even if you are working fast food for temporary work, saving up for a few months in regards to the big picture can have a huge payoff. Trust me, the big payoff is well worth the wait. So start saving up, start getting out there locally and preparing yourself for travel, because we are about to go cross country! We first rolled into San Luis Obispo in February. In the three months we stayed in the Central California area, we went from playing an open jam night at Frog and Peach (what’s up Toan?) and busking on the street to playing wineries and local ale houses; eventually opening up for the world famous band, the Flobots! The response was terrific. I looked out into the crowd and saw people who had supported us since we had first got into town. There were friends from local open mikes, friends we met on the street from busking who made the trip from Fresno, kids that I had chatted with at the local cafes, and various members of my drummer’s family who are scattered around California. My bass player to the left was a new good friend I had met at an open jam. To top it off, we were hanging out in the greenroom with one of my personal favorite bands. Everything had come together and I was validated that chasing my dream wasn’t in vain.
“Thanks so much! Can I at least buy you a shot or something?” “It’s all good,” I said. “My ol’ lady’s hangin’ outside so I gotta go… just consider it a California welcome present.” Later, when we got home, I thought perhaps this is what outsiders expect to happen when they touch base in California, especially in Slotown. Just like in Hawaii, where you expect to get leied the second you get off the plane, or Las Vegas where you expect to get laid the second you step off the plane. It seems like, in a parallel world where someone could serve time in jail for getting basic medication for an ailing grandmother on the street, in the same country a few thousand miles away we can walk into a store or make a phone call and get consistent, legal access to that same medicine… I think Slotown’s legacy looks pretty good in comparison. -- Artwork by Matt Foote
Riding With the Ghost Remembering Jason Molina
Kevin Coons I used to believe in a lot of beautiful, ultimately stupid, things: that the right combination of pined words and electric guitars, ringing through old tube amplifiers, could lift people up and carry them; that the only true art was born from suffering. As if that would be all anyone could hold on to, once they reached down deep enough inside themselves. I thought the world itself would blush and lie down in the arms of thin, lonely poets. I believed all of these things when I first encountered Jason Molina’s music, several years ago. From the opening slide part on “Farewell Transmission,” which kicks off the Songs: Ohia album Magnolia Electric Co., I knew I was reckoning with something big and powerful. After hearing that album, I started going through the rest of his catalogue and it was truly rewarding. The thing about his music is that it’s not terribly original, owing a lot to Neil Young, and he was never as lyrically inventive as someone like Bill Callahan, for example (though he could certainly write some beautiful and heartbreaking lines). What stands out to me is how pure
his music is. There was never anything pretentious, overly clever, or cute about anything Molina did. It was just him: an immensely talented, but troubled, Midwesterner who left himself nowhere to hide in his songs. This past March, Jason Molina passed away due to alcohol abuse-related organ failure. It hit me hard when I read the news. I never got the chance to meet him or even to see him perform live. I had missed the couple of chances I had gotten over the years, assuming more tours would come. Two years ago, his record label issued a statement saying that he was taking a break from touring and recording to focus on his rehabilitation and improving his health. I meant to write him a letter about how much his songs affected me, how they got me through tough times, how much I loved playing his albums on long drives, how I want to name my future daughter Josephine, etc. I never got around to writing that letter, and while I am sure he heard that from many of his fans, he never heard it from me, which is something I will regret. In the past few years, I’ve grown a lot with this music.
CHONK, from pg. 4
Chonk: I think we met about 3 or 4 years ago. I’m going to say about 2006, no….I don’t know. I’m going to say 2008.
I’ve since lost some of the artistic idealism I once had, and I know now how dangerous it can be to romanticize selfdestruction. There is nothing beautiful or artistic about alcohol abuse. In real life it is disgusting and ugly, like any other disease, and it took this man well before his time. Throughout his prolific discography, Molina often returned to certain lyrical themes, concepts such as being lost, the battle between dark and light, and the color blue continue to pop up. One thing he consistently came back to is the use of ghosts, as metaphors for memories or thoughts haunting us. I can’t help thinking about this, remembering Jason Molina. Wherever he is now, there are traces of him still left here on the earth. For those of us, like me, who did not know him personally, Molina now is his art. I can still carry his voice with me: on long car rides, spending time with friends, or during quiet nights at home. In that sense his ghost is still with us; guiding us through hard times, gently reminding us that we are not alone. -- Portrait by Meredith Coons
reason for many years, then someone said “You guys should play a show,” so we said “OK.” Then, after that, someone said that we should record an album, so we said, “OK” to that. That’s the story.
BP: When you met and became friends did you just hang out first, or did you guys start doing music together right away?
Chonk: We just played out of our own entertainment at first, and some people started to take to it, so we started to do shows. We just decided to keep doing this, and Bo makes my songs sound better. It just works.
The Ghost Fiddler (Bo): We were both playing with a different band.
BP: Since you guys are from Berkeley, I’m curious if you guys DJ at KALX.
Chonk: Yeah, there was another band. Our mutual friend, Robb Whiting had a band we were in at the time. We were called Jack and The Jackets, and we still actually play with them, but now we call ourselves Kindergarten Communists. I just play drums in that project.
The Ghost Fiddler: I did a news show on KALX where I had to practice annunciating every word so the listeners can hear you very clearly. I also accidentally stood in front of the relay antenna that broadcast the KALX signal from the building up to the mountain where the broadcast tower is.
BP: So from this band did you guys decide to form your own project?
Chonk: Did it interrupt the signal?
Chonk: That turned into a one off thing, and I was trying to figure out how to start presenting my own songs because I had a lot of songs. So I wanted to start a band or something, so my roommate Dan and I started inviting Bo (The Ghost Fiddler) to play with us. The Ghost Fiddler: We can make the story very simple. We screwed around playing together for no
GF: It didn’t interrupt the signal, but while I was standing there, I said to my friend, “Do things feel weird to you?” And my friend said, “You’re standing in front of a directional radio emitter.” I actually didn’t know it was there, so I thought I just felt weird for no reason. Chonk: Now you won’t be able to have babies. GF: I guess I’ll just have to be into college radio stations to pass the time.
BP: How did you get your start? Like how did you get your foot in the door, because you have a video on The Real UHF. Chonk: I don’t know if we have our “in” yet. We have three videos, one is for the song “Distortion,” then there’s “Boggled Whiskey Dream” and “Carousel.” We have an album that’s coming out sometime in summer; we’re going to be doing a small tour, and overall, we’ve been getting a lot of shows in the last six months somehow. As for The Real UHF, my friend Zack came up with it. He’s a crazy guy, he’ll come up with a wild idea then he does his damnedest to make it
happen. Then, he usually moves on to something else pretty quickly, but it was cool. We got Dr. Demento to do the opening for our music video. I got to meet Tim Heidecker, and I met Neil Hamburger a couple of times. Zack also shared a studio with Green Jello. BP: Do you have any last words? Like before you die. GF: Either this wallpaper goes or I do. Chonk: Rock on with your socks on. If you would like to know more about Chonk, the new album, and tour dates, go to chonk.org.
“Hey there, I have to try to get published for my high school English class and wouldn’t want my story published by any enterprise other than Swap!. Please take me into consideration here is my story:” -- Martyn Provensen The Man loved using his puppets. He could handle them with complete power; he could order them to do anything he could think of. The puppets were loyal, brainwashed and without creativity. In his free time, the Man forced his puppets to partake in futile endeavors: wars one day, treaties the next. The dolls were neutralized and had no complaints, for the Man governed his puppets with an iron fist. The marionettes were not intellectual; they were not creative. They hardly even communicated with each other The Man liked it this way, because he was a control freak, but could not control much other than his puppet people. He didn’t have a very good life outside of his imaginary world; the Man’s wife cheated on him regularly and although he lived an exemplary life (his income was high, his friends were rich, and his two-faced wife was very pretty) he was not satisfied with his situation. He would wake up in the morning with a normal routine in mind: He would go to work, sit in his upper-level office and drink dark coffee and then go home and play with his little pieces of string and wood and fabric. This play was extremely important to him, since he felt it compensated for his lack of control over the people around him (which he felt he needed). The Man would distribute laws and judgments onto his puppets according to skin color and dress
DIY SLO, from pg. 3 will run is as a direct democracy dependent on people showing up to meetings and voting. If you have an event in mind, show up to a meeting and we will vote on it. Essentially, anyone can play here if they get a majority vote at a meeting. We are not sure what will give you voting ability, but other spaces require volunteer hours. For the most part, DIY SLO books touring bands within the DIY community. These networks also include artists and otherwise handy people that have some valuable things to share with us. All in all, whatever we can make happen to cause an exponential growth in the reach and diversity of the SLO arts scene. SWAP: What are the major challenges moving forward? DIY SLO: Money, legalities, and maybe differences in people’s beliefs. The important thing is that we are all together now doing this and have the warehouse. I firmly believe that we will encounter a lot of opposition from the city and within the scene even. But the biggest thing will probably be sticking to our guns while keeping an open mind. It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly all the bands and artists the people involved with DIY SLO work with have in common; the easiest way I can put it is authenticity. I think it will be hard if and when the majority doesn’t end up on the support side of an idea but as long as everyone remembers that all involved have been tried and true in support of the venue, and the common goal is to expose ourselves and the area to a variety of arts, I think the pace and direction will develop from there. SWAP: What are the funding goals and how can the community work towards helping with that cause? DIY SLO: The rent of the warehouse is $1,200 a month. The landlords are great and willing to work with us; we feel like we are in an almost ideal situation. There are a few efforts all in the community currently (again if you really want to get involved come to a meeting, or check the events calendar on the wordpress to see what’s going on/where we need help) are working on such as benefit shows, swap meets, some music compilations just whatever can get us that much closer to making the initial last rent/deposit.
SWAP: Where can people access more information including benefit show dates, etc?
DIY SLO: For now people can visit diysanluisobispo.wordpress.com for updates on events, meetings, and how you can donate. SWAP: What physical materials can people donate to the space? Where can they donate money? DIY SLO: We need soundproofing material (carpet, foam, egg crates, old mattresses), neutral colored paint, couches and chairs, scrap wood and metal, tools. We are working on setting up a crowd funding site. For now, showing up to events and donating is the only way to financially support this. You can find these dates on our wordpress. SWAP: Why should people care? DIY SLO: We hope to achieve excitement in the community, a space where people can see a band otherwise they might have to travel 300 miles, pay $20 for a ticket, and brave a crowd of hundreds, even thousands just to be able to get the experience. The area is small, so the spot will harbor familiarity between regulars further strengthening those bonds by making those interactions more about respect and support than jealousy and status. Eventually, the space will be 100% sustainable by the monthly events being hosted there as well as by the generous donations of those who support enough to donate on a monthly basis. The arts will also be nurtured by an educational library and workshops, which will even then come around in the cycle and add right back into the space itself by enriching the lives of those in our direct community with information and skills that apply to the goals and mission of the place. I’d hope that we could even have a little fun with the local scene by matching up different musicians and giving them a month to put together a showcase for the space and have a full bill of bands playing their first show. The possibilities are endless, sources of energy can dissipate without a catalyst, and if this spot catalyzes a creative venture, or ends up being there for someone in a rough time of their life, or teaches them something they didn’t previously know, or introduces them to art and music they wouldn’t have otherwise looked into but end up liking then I consider it all worthwhile. For now we need to keep our heads up and realize that this is going to be very difficult but once again if we believe in it then it will happen. SLO is our town too.
caliber. He would punish them, lock them away in a cupboard in isolation for committing a crime that he made them do. He had fun controlling and administering his people. One day, the Man’s wife deserted him. Devastated, he quickly turned to alcohol. He started slacking off at work and spending more and more time directing his puppets. The dolls were beginning to realize how boring their days were, involuntarily following a schedule set down by a man they did not even know personally. Meanwhile, the Man started flooding his body with the euphoria of Benzedrine alongside the alcohol. His iron grip loosened, and he didn’t notice that the puppets were starting to stray away from his stone-set routines and starting, instead, to create wonderful murals and even beginning to socialize. The figurines had never known such ecstasy as the joy of creating, as the Man had never known such ecstasy that came from his drugs. The Man started noticing, through the haze that was his vision, disgusting colors on the walls he had built from nothing, diverse clothes on the “people” he had controlled so perfectly and an all around feeling of happiness radiating from his puppets. He was furious. The Man set stricter rules and punished every doll for using their own minds. But it was much too late: the puppets had already started the “evil work” of individualism. They broke the prisons and swarmed the neighborhood, painting the buildings all hues and talking and enjoying themselves. The Man wept and screamed at the marionettes, but they didn’t listen to him. The Man climbed into his study and drowned himself in bourbon.