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Welcome, one and all, to the fifth issue of The Radvocate! As always, I like to use this space to introduce us to those who have never read a Radvocate before. We are an unsponsored printed forum for artists and writers to express themselves and showcase their work. Our hope is to promote their work and hopefully, give them a chance to gain some exposure. Why would we do this? Because we, too, are artists and writers who have no means to share our work with the world. Rather than throwing it onto the endless bonfire that is the internet, we feel that a printed forum makes the content much more meaningful. It’s one thing to post a link somewhere, but we believe putting a physical thing into someone’s hand will make them give a little more consideration to what’s inside. We have done our best to collect a diverse group of people to graciously contribute their work for this issue. Some of them you may know already from other projects; others you may be hearing about for the first time. But please, don’t think of us as some exclusive club that you need a blazer and Ivy League credentials to get into. As always, we invite our readers to contribute to our publication. If you think your work isn’t good enough? Send it anyway. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Any submissions can be sent to us by e-mail to, or through snail mail to: The Radvocate 3245 University Ave. Ste. 1430 San Diego, CA 92104 We would love to see what you come up with! Well, that’s enough from me. Enjoy issue #5!


Artwork by Victoria Paul

Strip clubs have always depressed me. Really it began with my eighteenth birthday, when a group of friends insisted that we visit the dilapidated Little Darlings in Lemon Grove. It was supposed to be a rite of passage, a commemoration of freedom, but it turned out to be an entirely abysmal experience. I couldn’t get into it. The woman who lurched around on my lap to Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” was dull and unattractive. She looked sad. She had stretch marks. She stank of cigarettes. The place felt bleak and wrong, and when I finally walked out bewildered with a forty-dollar hardon, so did I. I was the user and the used.

So it was totally unexpected when, a few years later at a Déjà Vu in Seattle, I fell wildly in love with Mimsy no more than ten minutes after meeting her. I was twenty years old at the time and worked as a lifeguard at a hot springs on the Olympic Peninsula. My roommate Mike was a pierced and tattooed eighteenyear-old punk from Port Angeles. He had just graduated high school and was ravenous for all things worldly and intoxicating. We got along fantastically. I ushered Mike into many first-time experiences including hitchhiking, urban camping, concert crashing, and Sonic Youth. Our decadence was synergistic and apparently boundless, so when Mike entreated me to join him for his virgin jaunt to the Déjà Vu über-plex on 1st Avenue, I couldn’t say no. I knew the place would ruin him forever, but we went anyways. There is no catcher in the rye. While Mike discovered Sudden Income Death Syndrome in the “shower room” (I’m still not sure what this entails), I positioned myself defiantly in the back of the club, determined not to spend a dime. I avoided eye contact, evaded a volley of graphic propositions, and somehow managed to circumvent the aggressively solicited seven-dollar cups of Sprite. Everything was going great. And then, Mimsy. “Everyone’s so mean tonight!” She exclaimed, loosing an exasperated sigh as she collapsed into the chair next to mine. Her face was lightly freckled and she smelled like reefer and rum. For whatever reason, she made me think of Boise, a place I’d never been to at the time. She struck me as different. Whereas others had assumed I’d instinctively resonate with their crude proposals, Mimsy ostensibly just needed to vent. “Oh?” I asked like a dweeb. “What happened?” Just then, “Sweet Jane” by the Velvet Underground came over the stereo and, as if it were the first time the thought had ever crossed her mind, she said, “Hey, you want a lap dance?” “No, I mean, uh, I’m just here with a friend.” I felt like a total rube. “Oh, come on!” She insisted. “I love this song. Hey, I’ll give ya two for one!” The circumstances charmed me somehow (really I just wanted to be able to say I’d gotten a lap dance to “Sweet Jane”) and I already liked her about a thousand times more than the maudlin zombie at Little Darlings, so we went for it. Mimsy spun around and kicked her high boots over my shoulders, all the while making easy conversation about nothing in particular, as if she were giving a haircut instead of an elaborate sex tease.We quickly discovered that we were both crazy to go skydiving as soon as possible. I told her I already knew that I wanted to be a tandem parachute instructor for a living – to lie about chute malfunctions and scream weird poetry into the ears of death-stricken patrons

before pulling the cord and having a good laugh about it all as we lilted toward the earth. Which was true. It really seemed like a great career move at the time. Anyway, the dance ended and I gave Mimsy $20 – a lot of money to a college kid working a minimum wage summer job. But I was entirely drawn to her. I assumed I was being played for an absolute fool, and I didn’t care. “Two more?” she volunteered. I eagerly agreed, so away she went, arching her back and negotiating the pole in our narrow booth while the stereo played The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock,” another insanely iconic soundtrack for the purchase of intimate arousal. Between maneuvers, Mimsy revealed that she was a student at a school of maritime craftsmanship. She was designing a cheap catamaran that people could use to outlast the impending Waterworld scenario (caused by meteorites) which she foresaw in a vision on a massive dose of LSD. That was the exact moment I fell in love with Mimsy. What else could one expect from a girl named after a fictitious adjective in “The Jabberwocky”? I had to find out. I ultimately spent $67 dollars on our first impromptu date - $60 on six half-priced dances and $7 on the Sprite which she was obligated to order when the cocktail waitress came around. To this day, it is probably one of the more expensive first dates I’ve ever been on, but it almost makes sense considering the accelerated pace of our acquaintance. To my absolute surprise, Mimsy called me after work that night and picked me up in her big white Vanagon. I will never forget zooming over the West Seattle Bridge, passing a pipe and blasting Aphex Twin while downtown shimmered on Elliott Bay like a Fritz Lang daydream. We ended up at her second-story studio overlooking the Puget Sound on Alki Beach. Everything she did drove me wild. Her left eye winked ever so slightly as she explained the meaning behind her paintings and the properties of her crystals and gems. We got drunk and jammed on exotic instruments. We got stoned and watched old Kung Fu films. We made sandwiches and messed with a Ouija board, which circled the letter “K” until we finally gave up and collapsed in her bed. When I woke up, she was wearing an Edwardian dress and holding her cat in the air so he could eat the mosquito hawks from the ceiling. Over the course of the summer, I hitchhiked out to Seattle several times to run around with Mimsy. The mood was always light and breezy. We would end up in parks, late night cafes, bike messenger parties, and rundown circus houses. When we eventually got around to having sex, it was fumbled and unmemorable, but it didn’t matter. I think we both acknowledged the transience of our weird romance, and a blunderous evening of Jägermeister-fueled coitus wasn’t going to change that. Our connection had more to do with conspiracy than carnality.

Artwork by Victoria Paul

At one point, I paid way too much for a bead and wire trinket which a dreadlocked hobo assured me was a talisman for true love. I weaved it onto a hemp necklace and presented it to Mimsy along with a ridiculous song I had written for her on guitar (

We went for a bike ride and, just like in a movie, I nearly broke my neck crashing into a boardwalk post while grinning at Mimsy like a goof. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended. Mike and I hopped a Greyhound to Portland and Mimsy disappeared in her camper van. Everything felt like a dream. Looking back, Mimsy has assumed a definitive role in my notion of romance. I’m not sure if I’ve since felt simultaneously so smitten by and unattached to a person. Maybe, as the hobo suggested, it was true love. Probably it was more of an isotope, an analog – pure Essence of Intrigue peppered with shared interests and dreams. We were the best of lovers, mostly because we didn’t have time to get it wrong. Time is the great masticator of worlds. It consumes and transforms everything. Time turns mountains into beach sand, dharma bums into dictators, and The Misfits circa Static Age into The Misfits circa Famous Monsters. Was it love? The truth is I don’t know, but it definitely was what love should be: spontaneous, intense, free, and ultimately, impossible. Mimsy, the dancer, took up a symbolic place in my heart. The notion was confirmed last year at Burning Man. A girl I had been running around with for much of the week revealed that she danced at a Déjà Vu in Minneapolis and I immediately liked her three hundred times more. Not because I’d ever wanted to see her in her element – meddling with some poor wasteoid’s natural instincts so she could afford her way to the next festival – but because in some roundabout and largely unconscious way, Mimsy forged the role of the dancer into a quixotic archetype full of wonder and mystique. This isn’t to say that being a dancer makes a woman automatically attractive or even interesting, because it doesn’t. In fact, the majority of exotic dancers I’ve seen make me want to join a church band and never entertain transgressions of the flesh again. (I’ve since been to two or three strip clubs, and invariably walk out feeling empty and depraved.) But our summer fling has come to represent an idealized form of passion which I’ve only approximated since. It’s like my fantasized skydiving scenario, except in reality we are all careening towards death without a chute, yelling our own strange life poetry into each others ears, laughing, and trying to make sense of it all before finally becoming one again with the earth. We don’t have time to get it wrong. Mimsy taught me how to love (or something like it) with no strings attached. And that’s been more valuable than all of the overpriced hobo amulets, cut rate lap dances, and seven dollar soft drinks in the world.

Artwork by Hayden Ball

Fast forward a day and a fitful night of sleep later to the semi-rural town of Strausbourg. Our group rolled out of the vans into the dirt parking lot and staggered, zombie-like, with the multitudes of locals heading towards the tiny, teeny-bopper action sports fest known as the NL contest. It was a community sports arena (which had break dancing and freestyle battles going on) with an outdoor skate park attached next to it. The skate park grounds were in full festival mode. At 10am, it was already filled with underage girls, drunken skaters, vendors with trendy wares, and some of the worst music I’ve ever heard. It’s what I imagined Warped Tour is like, only with more French people and less Dickies shorts. It was already blazing hot and the grounds were filled with kids tripping over themselves in rollerblades, scraping on the hot asphalt and running back to try again. It was weird, because it seems that in the states, no (male) kid would be caught dead on rollerblades in public unless he could true top acid a handrail or something. Blader Shame Syndrome runs deep, even in my own psyche. It was here that I must have met a thousand people, only maybe 10 of which I could remember by name. Even though this contest would be a long two days, the rest of the trip would make this time even more of a blur. I tried to skate, briefly, but the crowd was just too immense. I’d seen plenty of people unfamiliar with their territory get into nasty collisions at skate parks; the presence of bikes cemented the fear of this in my head. I wasn’t going home with a handlebar stuck in my eye. So instead, I acquainted myself with the confusing tickets-for-beer system and sat down to people-watch. Unfortunately, this place was packed with scantilyclad teenage girls, so it was difficult to do this without looking like a pervert. Etienne chilling.

The giant Rasta sunglasses I bought in Paris came in handy. When Etienne came by a bit later, he mentioned that Freddy and his friend had finally arrived in the parking lot. With a shock, I remembered my food. I had bought 2 stalks of broccoli, a bunch of bananas, and some apples when I first arrived, and left them at Freddy’s bibliophile apartment. He promised he would bring them with him to the contest, so I wouldn’t be stuck eating the meat-and-french-fry baguettes a.k.a the only food they sell at these kinds of events.

What a time to be alive.

I made my way out to the dirt lot and found Freddy in the very back. He was sprawled on the lifted trunk of a hatchback, while another guy I didn’t know was asleep in the front seat. “Hey asshole, did you bring my food?” I called out to him. A weary voice spoke from under a t-shirt covering his face. “Sorry, I forgot” “God dammit! Come on, man” I seethed. “Take it easy. We’ve been driving for 20 hours straight” He sounded like he had aged fifty years. “Yeah, and I spent the night surrounded by creepy ceramic animals. Are you coming in?” He shifted into a fetal position. “I’ll be in there later” I took the time to check out the rest of the grounds and see the other stuff they had going on. It seemed like today was the day to have a contest for everything in Strausbourg. In different sections of the park, they had competitive cone skating, girls roller derby, bike launching, spring-loaded stilt racing (am I in the future?), and freebiking. Obviously this was the weekend to let the alternative sport freak flag fly, so the town could get it out of its system and return to normal.

The skate park was filled with the bikers, rollerbladers and scooters (scooter-ers?) but surprisingly few skateboards. In fact, I think I only saw one older guy on a skateboard the entire time, who only skated the course once the contests were over. With everyone on the sidelines, he dropped in and skated around like he was wandering without a purpose. Seeing him in the midst of the chaos was like watching the last, toothless polar bear on a giant ice flow, unsure of what to do now in the midst of all these penguins.

Farside Crasch in his natural habitat

The skate park was filled with the bikers, rollerbladers and scooters (scooter-ers?) but surprisingly few skateboards. In fact, I think I only saw one older guy on a skateboard the entire time, who only skated the course once the contests were over. With everyone on the sidelines, he dropped in and skated around like he was wandering without a purpose. Seeing him in the midst of the chaos was like watching the last polar bear on a giant ice flow, unsure of what to do now in the midst of all these penguins. Anyway, skating happened. I thought the entire contest was only that day, but apparently it was a two day event. Only preliminaries today, they said. Finals tomorrow. We retreated back to Jon’s parent’s tchotchke-filled apartment to relax with half-euro beers and joints. I met Julian, a Remz rider who had bushy hair pulled back into a ponytail and a scraggly beard. As we watched a CSI episode about narcocorridos, I told him about El Pozolero, a notorious drug-gang accomplice that had just been captured in Tijuana. When the police searched his property, they found evidence that he had dissolved dozens of people in sulfuric acid barrels in service to the narcos. But this was just the tip of the iceberg; he confessed responsibility for the disappearance of over 200 people. He was a little shaken when I told him I lived thirty minutes away.

Black and yellow, black and yellow

The next day would prove to be the busiest of the contest that weekend. First, there was the contest; but thankfully I had time to grab a bag of cherries, some oranges and a box of cereal from the local corner store. A man cannot live by carbs alone, even though many try. This was the day that I first saw the fellow Americans, who I had in fact met before, that we would be practically following across the country. I saw Brian first, and he was practically swarmed by tiny people asking for autographs. I think he even had some Armani shades on. I smiled because I hadn’t seen him treated like a rock star before. Then there was Dre, with his trademark laugh and extroverted charm spilling around the course. Horn and Jacob Juul also appeared, with a young blond girl in tow. It was weird, because I only expected to see Kato, from what I’d been told. I went up to each of them and was greeted with the same phrase: “What are you doing here?!” or sometimes “What are you doing here?!” I’m sure they didn’t mean it to sound insulting; it’s just one of those quirks people don’t realize until they reflect on it. I simply told them that I was on vacation. The pro contest went off. Everyone, including our host Jon Matter, skated very well. I think Aragon won and Franky did a soul-to-drop on some fucked up piece of shit. The best part was watching the side contest happening on the top deck, where a shallow ramp was converted into a vert wall. This one tall guy was skating it with an amazing, lanky style; I christened him as the French Chris Neima.

As the contest wound down, everyone congregated and bullshitted for a few hours until the sun went down. I discovered Mathieu Dosso’s penchant for phrases like “what it do” when he mimicked a freestyling Dre behind his back. Also the popular “black and yellow, black and yellow!” The guys on tour were crazy about this song, because the translation of “black and yellow” is the slang used in France for tar-like hashish. Instead of heading back to the apartment, Jon had us go straight to his girlfriend’s tiny apartment on the other side of town. There, we all got to take showers and watch the Barcelona v. Manchester United soccer game. Charlie, with whom I had spent the most time with since Paris, was making a homemade vodkasangria in a giant water bottle. I think Barcelona won. For some reason, I have a real problem with remembering who the winners are.

The Euro Niema The general plan was to bike to the center of town and meet everyone else for an after party. Thankfully, Jon had enough bikes for us to borrow (noticing a trend here? Thanks for your kindness, Jon!) After some finagling and Charlie’s hulk-like strength (which I think he got from his potent cocktail), the seat for my bike was low enough for me to ride. It was a bad ass green Peugeot with a Life Plus sticker on it!

Rep the set This would be the second time I got an exhilarating feeling while riding through a foreign city, this time by bike. It felt good to whizz by on the byways past historical buildings in the cool spring nighttime. I was pushing the pedals through cobblestone streets to keep up with the group, and I’m surprised I did, because it sounded like the bike was going to fall apart under my feet. Our first stop was a kebab shop, where we would load up with shawarmas to soak up all the alcohol that awaited us. While we ate, Charlie asked me about food in the U.S. and what the fast food situation was. I had to explain to him that fast food is so ubiquitous (ESPECIALLY in the south – literally a restaurant every ten feet) that it was unavoidable. Along with the recession, this created a vicious cycle where people who don’t make money are forced to eat cheap & unhealthy food, and then go into debt paying off the healthcare needed to keep them alive. In order to stay healthy in the U.S., you not only had to afford food that was good for you, but go out of your way to teach yourself how to prepare it. “Many people don’t bother” is what I ended with. Charlie translated this to Jon and Mathieu, who acknowledged it with sobering glances. What I was loving about France the most was the ‘drinking in public’ policy. As the authorities know, a bunch of assholes getting shitfaced in a public park or some other abandoned-at-night structure would pose no more threat than said assholes in a bar. In fact, it may separate the people who would be fighting each other in a bar situation.

So, unless you were breaking windows or flipping over cars, drinking in the street was tolerated. This worked out fantastic in this instance because when we arrived at the after party ‘club’, the line was gigantic and it cost an unholy 18 Euros (almost $25!) to get in. Are you fucking kidding me? Is fucking Jay-Z in there or something? Etienne and I agreed this was unacceptable. So, we walked across the street from the club and proceeded to get trashed on the steps of a building. We met these two random nutcases drinking box wine, who were personalities to boot; the archetypal French tramps. Soon we were joined by Mathieu and Jon, and then Charlie. Our little group grew and grew until almost everyone who was at the contest was sitting on these steps with us. We caterwauled and cat-called, having an awesome time while douche bags across the street paid too much for drinks and got rejected. C’est la vie!

Jacob getting rad The best part of the night was the bike ride home, when we found Jacob. He was one of the judges at the event and had been with us on the stairs for a while, but wandered off a while ago to go buy beer. At the end of the night, we pedaled down the barely-lit street until we saw two figures at bus stop. It was Etienne, trying to lift a barely conscious Jacob, who was sleeping on a bench. I didn’t understand why Etienne was so intent on getting Jacob home. I found out later that he’s Etienne’s cousin, so that probably had something to do with it. Needless to say, it provided a lot of laughs and photo opportunities. It was the perfect end to a perfect night.

Battle my crew We woke up the next day and stumbled, bleary-eyed, back to the skate park. With the festival gone, it was an empty, sun-baked skeleton of its former self. We gathered underneath a shanty roof next to the park, and one by one I was introduced to other members who would be joining us. Two of them I had met before; Max Kind and Clement B, who stayed at my house during Freddy’s visit to California. There was also Farside Crasch, a tall guy who kinda looked like Shock G from digital underground and was renowned for his disgusting antics; Remy, who was as animated and energetic as Sonic the hedgehog; Vladimir, a friendly guy whose language and nationality I never quite figured out; Thomas from Lyon; Gaston Roux, an orange man who would seem immortal. There are too many to describe for the moment: Salim, Mouton, Rabi, Vincint, Lilian, Antoine, as well as Etienne, Freddy, Jon, Mathieu and Charlie from before. Rest assured, all their stories will be told. When we gathered for a group picture, Remy ripped open a carton of milk and christened our namesake on the burning asphalt below: TOUR NIQUE. The journey had officially begun. God help us all. To be continued in Issue #7!

There’s no better reason to bring up God than when you’re trying to prove a point. Earlier this month, our prestigious House of Representatives voted 3969 that our national motto should remain – as it was similarly affirmed in 2002 and likewise in 2006 – “In God We Trust”. This noble cause was voted on following something extremely heinous that we, as a united country, needed to flaunt our unwavering devotion to the Almighty – the liberal in the White House said in Indonesia that, quote, “In the United States, our motto is ‘E Pluribus Unum’ – out of many, one.” Well, that happened over a year ago, but members of Congress needed to prove that our Commander in Chief was, in fact, WRONG! How disgraceful that he would say our nation’s slogan, the one on the national seal, has been changed and he didn’t know it. Yes, E Pluribus Unum was our original motto, but like all smart changes, this one came during the Cold War and on the heels of McCarthyism. Up until the mid-1950’s, the U.S. was a hedonistic, lubed-and-ready, sexuallydripping den of fabric made directly from Satan’s loom. At least, that’s the way my Grandmother used to tell it, but she always had a flair for the dramatic. In 1956, Congress stopped the devil’s party by alerting the masses that God was going to be weaving us a much more devout motto. It was a pretty significant change because we had been putting our trust in God, at least on our money, since 1864. That, too, was an important time because we were split on whether the states had the right to consider black people as farming equipment. Our Secretary of the Treasury at the time, Salmon Chase – still an important last name in banking today – had this notion that the best way to pay homage, literally, to God was to put his name on our money. If you go to church on Sundays, you know how popular the topic of money is from the pulpit. Jesus said, after all, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” in reference to the Roman dictator’s image on all currency at the time.

So putting God’s name onto all currency got around that loophole in dogma. Then again, Mr. Salmon Chase used his flawless logic to not only add God’s name to the currency, but also his own image; not to claim that all money should be rendered unto him, but so that his face would be easily recognized when he made his push for the throne during a presidential run in 1864, which, as you recall, is the same year he added God to our money. Instead, President Lincoln made Mr. Chase the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a good seat for him to vote on matters of the Union, including banking legislation and the unconstitutional legal tender provisions, for which he wrote a passionate dissent. For more than 90 years, God had his place on every bill and we remained united under “E Pluribus Unum.” But that, of course, was not good enough. Not for good, Godfearing men. The phrase “In God We Trust” was proposed as a national slogan in Francis Scott Keys’ Star Spangled Banner, but it’s in a verse we don’t sing, even though it has been our national anthem since 1931. The poem, set to very patriotic music, states: “…and this be our motto: ‘In God We Trust.’” Again, there was a bit of a lag in making things all official-like, but since Mr. Keys wrote it in there, we made the effort to support his idea.

In 1956, we were no longer a country out of many to be one and left everything up to God. We had, in fact, added God to the Pledge of Allegiance two years prior, so long as we had every child reciting God’s name before they started their daily school lessons. We needed to affirm to all the adults that, yes, we were all doing it for God. All of it – the wars, the capitalism, the political divide, and so on. We trusted in God – officially now – so everything was up to the big guy. We gave him our money, our allegiance, and since 1956, a nice mission statement.

Every so often, we need to reaffirm that. Especially when our President is out trotting the globe, telling other countries we are a nation of one, made of many. No, Mr. President, we are a nation in God’s trust, and I’m sure that is working out pretty well for us. It only took a poet, a narcissistic banker, every bill we have, ninety years, an act of Congress, and three more after that to let us know that we can trust in God. I, as one of the many that make up this country, really hope God is pleased for all that we do for him, especially when the First Amendment (which as a writer is my personal favorite) states we are all free to have any religion we want.

I trust God likes it, too.

Zak Pearson discusses his soon-to-be released project * Images by Sam Cooper "METRONOMES" deals with the science of ectoplasm, metronomes and the things they can do if they were able to be controlled in a certain way. "METRONOMES" concerns a septuagenarian entrepreneur named Gartley who has made a business out of past/future life regression & hypnosis through the science of ectoplasm & the synchronization of two metronomes. The clients that Gartley and his associates deal with are corrupt people within the law, politics, science, religion & organized crime. The film focuses on Gartley and his old age, because I'm not interested in telling a story about young men. I'm far more interested in the perspective of an old man who is tired of his current life but too afraid to "let go". Gartley & his associates have a god complex, as understood in some lines from the film – "As God sleeps, we build cities within the cells of the rheum in his eye" "We are the people that took over from where Gods architect left off" "I AM AWARE" "I want to be the man who shot Gods architect & took over the foundations"

I'm looking to shoot the film in Manhattan, NY and ideally in a snowy, mountainous location. There will be scenes involving over 100 extras. The film has gained the interest from some great actors {I sadly cannot divulge anymore than that at this point}. The film has many genre styles including the Heist genre, Science Fiction, Espionage, Horror, and Action, as well as Lo-fi Indie Horror. There will also be a number of major action scenes incorporated into the film. I would like to shoot it on a very grand scale and I’ve written two stunts for the film that have never been tried/filmed before. Check out the movie and updates at

“Lights Out” by Sam Cooper – Sam Cooper Photography

Interview by Lord Brian * All images copyright of Shardy Nieves

Shardy Nieves has made a name for himself in the NYC photography scene within a year’s time of his introduction to the craft. Now that he has hit his groove by putting his own personal style on what he captures, he is on his way to create a living with his newfound passion. Often experimenting with new cutting-edge shooting techniques, he is already separating himself from the sea of just anybody with a camera. – Lord Brian

LB: You seem to have exploded onto the NYC photography scene out of nowhere, how long have you’ve been sitting on this photographic talent? SN: Well, February 2011 made 1 year that I have been shooting photography. Before that, I never had an interest in it to be honest. LB: You may not have had an interest in it before but people seem to have an interest in your work right now. “Your Daily Juice” blog is doing pretty good with creating awareness of your work. Have you received any outside-ofblading opportunities recently which came from someone falling upon your site? SN: I have participated in a few shoots from people who have viewed the blog which were pretty interesting but overall I just do my own thing. I did receive an email the other morning from a very well-known photographer who complimented me on my work and progression. It was pretty sweet. LB: Speaking of doing your own thing, is there a preference in what exactly you shoot or do you take pics depending on what inspires you at that exact moment? SN: I shoot whatever inspires me at the moment. I do enjoy strobist shooting (Off camera flashes) but I tend to mix it up every now and again. LB: When did you first decide that this is something that you want to progress and grow with? SN: I bought my 1st camera, a Nikon D70s from fellow NYC Photographer Drew Humphrey to take my mind off of personal issues that were going on in my life at the time. After shooting every day for almost 6 months my hobby became a passion which keeps me balanced to date. LB: Are you aware that if you type in a porn site pops up? I did this by accident one day when I forget to add the word “blog”. SN: Yea, when I bought the URL for the blog I saw it was taken by the porn site and I wanted to try and buy out the URL. But now the “Blog” at the end kind of grew on me.

Š Shardy Nieves Photography

LB: What is your current camera set-up at this exact moment or if you have more than one which is your favorite to use for shoots and why? SN: My current setup is a Nikon D90 with batter Grip, Lenses ate 50mm 1.8, 70-200mm 2.8 V.R and 10.5mm fisheye. I have been experimenting with 35mm Film so my daily camera is a Nikon N80 with 50mm 1.8 shooting HP5 400 Film.

LB: On the message board tip, what does BIG BLUE FONT mean to you? SN: Individuality, when I 1st started posting in Be-Mag I was ridiculed for the Big Blue Font but now it’s what I’m known for…that and talkin’ crap via message board. I always look to stand out in my own way with anything I do. Shout out to the Be-Mag family. LB: Any last words or shout-outs? SN: Thank You to everyone who supported and continues to support . Shout outs hmmmmm…let’s see, my Beautiful Daughter Rhayne, FlipTheScript, Jon Julio, Tri-State area Skate scene, Band Aid 2000. Honestly, there are too many people to shout out, I’ll be here all day. Thanks Lord Brian and Shut Up & Skate for the interview. (Reproduced with permission from

© Shardy Nieves Photography

Love was seeing you, see me. It was me laying myself down (a deliberate choice) Onto the dark, wet earth and willfully undressing while you, unmoved and feigning patience, watched me place each piece of clothing around my body While you watched me unbutton and surrender To you All while I watched, as long as my eyes were still my own to claim, You, watching me Unzip my flesh and gladly peel My ribs open. I desired to show you every part of me, although I didn't exactly. My flesh and bones lay around me as a worn and deflated, discarded costume with the faint impressions of a life once lived within it. Then Love was you, I thought, gathering what you could of me (what you thought were the most important parts) and wrapping the sullied, cold heavy pieces of me in your jacket and carrying them to a place you called Home Where I would never consider pulling myself open that way again. Where you painted onto my tongue, a story that was never meant to be mine. Where you pieced me together with your purpose. Then Love became me, handing you your worn, familiar jacket

and sweetly kissing your forehead walking naked from the waist down wearing only a sodden wool cloak, soaked through, into the ocean this time to become a solute dissolved into the salt water Not really knowing what would become of me but knowing that the dark and quiet expanse of that unknown felt the more desirable choice. Death and love are as real and inescapable intangible and infinitely changing infinitely beginning and ending as the mist that becomes the cloud that shades the sun that releases the rain that feeds the herbs and the rivers that become the tea water I sip as I sit alone in one piece and waiting to begin again.

“Dan” by Sam Cooper – Sam Cooper Photography

RAD: Who are you, and what is your occupation? C3: My occupation is making music. I’m not currently employed, but I have been going to the Conservatory of Performing Arts in order to get Pro Tools certified, and . I don’t work right now, but I push this music thing 100%, that’s all I’m really focusing on right now. I want to start a business in recording, like ideally renting out a studio for recording. I do have some investors and that idea is slowly coming together. We have the equipment we need, now we just need to find the place to do it. There’s a lot that goes into engineering n’ shit… I mean, I guess that’s not relevant, but it’s crazy shit. The place where you actually mix and listen is called the control room, and typically in a studio you would get your room tuned to get the correct sound. That’s basically what I’m doing, striving toward my own business in the recording industry.

RAD: What is the Zoo Krew? Who are the members? Where did the name come from? C3: Alright, Zoo Krew’s original members are me, Exay, Louie C, Verse, Shure, Goon… Verse: That’s pretty much the basic of it, right? C3: Yeah. For the Zoo, I came up with the name. When we first started doing this thing, I was the group’s engineer, making all the beats, making sure it’s on point. I came up with the name, you know, ‘cause we’re all kids from the Zoo Esco Zoo - and we’re all on the same page with that shit. We started saying it and using it, and Zoo Krew just stuck – Verse: And me and that cat Shure, we had our own thing, Raw Liver, going on at the time. That was our side crew. But when it comes down to it, we all come together and that’s Zoo Krew. Exay: That shit originated from a long time ago, man. It wasn’t like a year ago, or two years ago…we’ve been making music for almost five years. RAD: When and how did Zoo Krew start? C3: Basically it started on the corner of Mission & Astor Street. That’s the hood right there. That was my old house (but my Dad still lives there) and that was the meet-up spot. We turned part of the house into a little studio. We started - before we were even making music - we would go there to freestyle, you know. That’s how it started, just us freestylin’ and chillin’. We all love hip-hop! Before any music was made, we were all big fans of hip-hop already. Verse: Even before came together, we already heard of everybody here around town. Everybody was already doing their thing, making their music. We all knew someone from someone. C3: I was getting drugs for a friend of mine, and that’s how I met these cats. A friend of mine, AASCO, I called him to get something for my friend. Next thing I know, this cat (Verse) came up and was like, “Oh, you rap?” and he brought his squad with him, and we linked up through that.

Verse: I was actually a member of Lyrical Surgeons – LC: Yeah, LS! Verse: Me, Shure and Goon were the main heads of that. Then I broke off and did my own thing. That’s just how it happens sometimes. But eventually I linked up with the Zoo Krew here, and once we came together it was like ‘Boom!’. It lit the spark. RAD: What is the hip-hop scene in North County like? Where does Zoo Krew fit into that? Verse: Damn, Escondido has talented rappers that people need to know about. C3: Yeah, there’s a lot of cats in Esco doing their thing. We’re definitely a big part…there’s also Holiq and Manifesto, and Depraved; but Depraved’s not from Esco. Holiq is a major factor in the Escondido hip-hop scene. I mean, Esco’s basically a lot of hood, gangster, cholos n’ shit…we kind of broke off from that. I grew up right in the midst of all that - all of us did - and to see people getting shot, getting killed…seeing a cat one day, and the next he’s gone. That’s how it goes around here, it’s fuckin’ random, you know? With all that going on, we chose to stick with the music and stay positive. To stick to the positive music and duck all that drama and gangster shit going on. Any of us could have gotten into that shit. Just the other day, a cat we know got stabbed, and even though we’re not associated with them, we all got the green light. And now apparently, we’re all dead men walking. But that’s irrelevant bullshit, but just to help you understand in the midst of all that shit, we’re still doing our music thing. There’s a lot of haters out there too, that are trying to fuckin’ tax us.These mother fuckers see you doing something in their hood and they want a piece of it. So that goes off point, but getting back to the question…other that Holiq, there’s 33rd Infantry, you gotta mention them. They’re the fuckin’ homies right there, they’re down for Esco. Verse: We’re pretty much the younger dudes in all this. We’re the younger generation, but we’re still holding it down. RAD: What’s your personal history and experience in music?

C3 (left) and Verse (right) making beats and writing lyrics. Exay: Man, I’ve been making music since I was like 4 years old – C3: Talk about your Dad! Exay: The way I was growing up, my Dad would take me get a haircut when I’m 8 years old, and I don’t know what’s going on…and I remember, my Dad threw on Gangstarr in the tape deck and we cruised down to his old hood in San Diego. He started smoking’ a J, and that’s the first time I smoked with my Dad; I was like 8 or 9 years old. I was just high, listening to Gangstarr on that radio and thinking, ‘Man, that shit’s ill!’. From then on I was hooked on hip-hop - Gangstarr, Rass Kass, Inspectah Deck - and I’ve been rapping since then, for at least 10 years now.

My Dad still has a tape of me rapping in my garage, with little kid shit (laughs) but now, our raps are what people want to listen to. Instead of dancing in the club, people want to listen to our shit. And everyone’s different in the Zoo, that’s what’s so sick - everyone’s got their own style. C3: We’ve got people of every different color, every race, every background. Basically with me, skating - you know, rollerblading - was the start for me. Back then, when rollerblading was poppin’ off with like, Coup De Tat and shit, hip-hop was really shining as well. Verse: Don’t forget Elements, man! C3: Rollerblading and also my older sister - she’d bump Fugees and that kinda thing. From that, I used to just freestyle, a lot. Me and that guy Rat Kid, we’d roll around the streets, sharing an ipod, with one in each ear, listening to beats and loops, just freestylin’. I ended up being more serious and dedicated later on, got a mike and shit, doing stuff at my house.

Verse laying down a track in the homemade studio.

Verse: For me, I started really rapping in 6th grade, 7th grade. I used to write poems a lot and I started getting my own rhythm, even performing to the class for extra credit! That was pretty cool, that’s what kicked it off. I had an older cousin named Dism (RIP), he was a big motivation for me. He was a sick hip-hop cat. I was always freestylin’ everywhere I’d go. When High School came, I dropped my first solo song, called ‘Save Me’ and I still go back a listen to it, thinking ‘Damn, that’s pretty sick!’, it gives me the chills. Even though I recorded it on - not even a microphone, it looked like a little ET finger, man! - it sounded like garbage, but I saved up for that microphone. It cost 99 bucks, and it was called a Blue Snowball, from Guitar Center. Then I formed a group with Goon and Shure, called Lyrical Surgeons, but broke off from that. I was also in a side thing with my boy Arab, called Two Thumbs Up, but that ended too. Later on, me and my boy Shure clicked back up, and we joined up with these guys (Zoo Krew). Louie C: I’ve always been into rap music. I would see these guys sometimes freestylin’ before school and shitExay: This fool and me used to meet up every morning, just to freestyle. We’d be late to class just ‘cause we were spittin’ too much! Louie C: All these cats really influenced me. I’m the youngest one – C3: Yeah, Louie’s the baby of the crew, note that! Verse: Comin’ hard, though. Louie C: You guys really got me out of all that shit. Got me out of, you know, the gangsters – C3: I think that could’ve, probably would’ve, happened if you didn’t come across us. If you didn’t come across me, you’d probably be trying to tax us right now! (laughs) He would’ve been the little loc’d out one, with the gun n’ shit. Verse: Scratch that, though, dude’s a sick ass MC! I wish the other cats were here to speak for themselves - I’ll give Shure a shout out right now, my main rider Shure’s one of the illest cats, even the older (rappers) are singling him out.

RAD: The hip-hop scenes in San Diego, like the ones in South Bay, seem cursed to gain notoriety in places like LA, Bay Area, Phoenix - but not San Diego. What do you think is needed for the hip-hop community to grow and get recognized? Verse: Keep bringing that real music! If people like us and we’re only bringing okay stuff - I don’t want to hate on the mainstream or anything - but a lot of cats aren’t bringing that real hip-hop. C3: Just to get recognized, all you need to do is bring the mainstream shit - unless you’re really sick with it. There’s only one way you’re gonna make it ill - if you come on that hip-hop shit, you gotta make it ill. There’s no middle ground. You need to be ready, prepared - it’s like warfare! You need to do shows with your artillery, you need to come with your people ready to go - you need to come hard as fuck. Good rhymes, good onstage presence… there’s a lot that goes to it, man. The clothes you wear, your style, the way you talk, the way you move your arms - they all have a part to play. Just do you, really. Exay: You’ve got to be ill, basically. C3: Not just ill, but you’ve gotta be comfortable in your own skin. Otherwise, it’s never gonna pop off because people can sense that. People can put up a track and be like, ‘Oh, it’s okay’ but that’s not the way to do it. When you put something else, you’ve got to be like, ‘this is the shit right here!’. Every track we’ve put out, we know we’re bringing it hard. Verse: Just us bringing that real hip-hop and vibing off of that…then they’ll get the hint, that this is what it’s about. Exay: We don’t rap about fuckin’ chains and Lamborghinis and dumb shit, we rap about relevant shit. It’s what all of us have seen, shit that’s happened to us… Verse: And also your imagination, man. I use my imagination in a lot of it, I call myself the Drunken Monster! Stuff like that, people like that and want to hear it again. But the hip-hop scene…it needs to come back, it needs to grow. Some people have said it’s dead, but we keep it alive through us. RAD: What advice would you give someone getting involved with the local music scene, based on what you’ve been through so far?

Verse (left) and Louie C (right) Verse: Be real, man. Be yourself. Louie C: Don’t fake the funk… Verse: Yeah, yeah. Do you. What helps me is to keep a lot of love for my people, my fans - what helps me get through is to talk about the people I love and how I’m going to take care of them. C3: You gotta come correct. Honestly, if I were to give any advice, I would say do your homework. Know what your talking about, be relevant. I’ve been into hip-hop since way back when, and I wouldn’t just listen to it. I would break down what they’re saying, break down the beats, all that shit. Do your homework! Understand what the fuck you’re saying! Before anyone comes in this game, they’ve gotta know where this game’s been. Verse: I would tell them above all, don’t give up. Exay: You’re gonna have haters, man. Someone else will want to see you fall. Someone else is gonna want your success. Wherever you go, in whatever you’re doing.

C3: The one thing that’s made me a better artist is knowing hip-hop. Exay: Yeah, stay consistent, and be prepared. I like to go to the studio and have everything: beats, bars ready, instead of wasting time and bullshitting. C3: That’s kind of another topic…we were never prepared when we were coming up. Exay: Yeah, but if someone comes up with those habits and is prepared, it’s a lot easier. C3: Yeah, but what does being prepared mean? Exay: Have your shit on point, you know what I mean? C3: Yeah, true that. I would say that, if your buying studio time, but yeah, someone coming up probably wouldn’t. And in addition, just do your homework and stay consistent. Try and be as ill as possible. Verse: Reading too, reading’s a big part of it. Gaining knowledge and vocab through that. C3: Just do that shit, man. Get knowledge wherever you can and networking at shows, all the behind the scenes shit, that helps. No one’s gonna hear you’re shit if your not promoting it, you know? Be willing to go through it. Honestly, we sucked at first, our first tracks were bad… Verse: I still think they’re tight, though! You can listen and learn from your mistakes. But for sure, just keep pushing. Look to each other for help, look to us for help. We’ll do what we can. We’re local artists too, you know? You can check out Zoo Krew’s music online at or on Facebook at the Zoo Krew fan page. They also have a music video up for the song “Thru us” at If you’re in the San Diego area, they will be playing at Ruby Room on May 11th 2012, with Rugged.

Exay listens to a finished product.

Artwork by Todd McInerney

The Radvocate Issue #5

The Radvocate Issue #5