Ryan Rocha is a thinker, which you can probably tell by the detail in his paintings. In our interview, the Sactown-bred painter and illustrator breaks down his journey, from skating and making flyers for punk shows, to hanging with Grandma, to setting up shop in Oakland.
A talented shooter with a keen eye for composition, Lauren Crew has turned her photographic instincts into fulfilling work. From lookbooks and commercial work, to poignant personal projects, Lauren walks us through her approach, and her journey so far.
From tats to tags, visual artist Jus Ontask takes us inside his creative process in a couple different mediums. Luckily, the homie and OnTask family member Veeejzilla was around to document, giving us a step-by-step look at these pieces coming together.
Ladies and gentlemen, FEELS II is in the books. Much love and many thanks to all the folks involved in bringing our first art and music festival to reality. Bringing together a host of musical artists, from Kool A.D., Teebs and Kreayshawn, to visual artists like Ryan Rocha, Bud Snow and more, FEELS II was one to remember.
On the heels of some exciting new releases and a Feels II collab, we caught up with indie zine gods Nighted Life and its founder Nick Garcia. He put us up on Nighted’s origin story, the back catalog, and which shooters to look out for in the 2015. Also included, some thoughts on tall tees and “knowing better, doing worse.”
For me it was Chief Keef that introduced me to the epidemic of violence that has been plaguing the city of Chicago. A couple conversations and news stories later, and I found myself wondering what was really going on in Chicago. Lil Snupe headlines, and Yeezy lyrics further fanned the flame, eventually leading me to click on the video above. When I look at it from afar it makes me wonder, why, why, why, and how, how, how? Why is it that that black on black violence seems so normalized across the country, and where are the leaders to say this shit ain’t cool? Were black men killing black men like this in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s? Where is Lil’ Mouse‘s father at, and how do we make things better?
In any case, at the very least, Chi Raq offers some firsthand perspective. Captured by U.K. born filmmaker Will Robson-Scott, the 13-minute documentary takes viewers through the neighborhoods of South and West Chicago, creating a vivid portrait of the city’s troubling dynamics. Seen through the eyes of those directly caught in the cycle of poverty, violence and retaliation, Chi Raq goes beyond the statistics, offering a close-up look into one of the country’s most destructive social diseases.
Celebrated in his time for his vivacity and unconventional approach to life and racing, the legacy of James Hunt tells an all-too-familiar story of success and its assortment of consequences. As one of racing’s most recognizable figures of the 1970s, Hunt’s colorful presence helped redefine the image of Formula One racing.
At a time when many public figures were noted more for their exploits outside of their profession, James Hunt emerged as one of Britain’s most charismatic celebrities. Winning the Formula One World Championship in 1976, Hunt’s star grew as his affinity for fast cars, women and experimentation came to the attention of the public eye. A product of the free loving ’70s, Hunt was notorious for his sexual appetite, sometimes sleeping with women until literally moments before a race. Naturally, despite his prowess behind the wheel, his antics off the track were just as legendary.
Hallucinations have always had an important place in our mental lives and in our culture. Indeed, one must wonder to what extent hallucinatory experiences have given rise to our art, folklore, and even religion.
Do the geometric patterns seen in migraine and other conditions prefigure the motifs in Aboriginal art? Did Liliputian hallucinations (which are not uncommon) give rise to to the elves, imps, leprechauns and fairies in our folklore? Do the terrifying hallucinations of night-mare, being ridden and suffocated by a malign presence, play a part in generating our concepts of demons and witches and malignant aliens? Do “ecstatic” seizures, such as Dostoevsky had, play a part in generating our sense of the divine? Do out-of-body experiences allow the feeling that one can be disembodied? Does the substanceless of hallucinations encourage a belief in ghosts and spirits? Why has every culture known to us sought and found hallucinogenic drugs and used them, first and foremost, for sacramental purposes?
When I was a young’n somewhere round four, five, or six, I used to play a game in the car with my parents. It was called, “Hoop.” There really wasn’t much to the game aside from the goal; to spot as many hoops as possible in a single car trip. When you spotted a hoop with a rim, you yelled out “Hoop!” And that was it. It was tight though. It went on for years.
Although those type of hoop games are long gone, cultural photographer Adrian Skenderovic has breathed new life into my childhood past time. Opting to travel the world in search of the compelling and memorable, Adrian’s most recent work unearths a collection of rural courts from around the globe. Intriguingly distant, Adrian’s photos also relate the transcendent nature of basketball, its global popularity, and its universal appeal.
I woke up last Saturday morning to the news that JJ Cale had died. We’ve been losing a lot of greats lately, but this one stung a little more. The moderate media coverage was better than I expected; many have never even heard of JJ Cale. I’m no Cale scholar myself, but what I do know is that his music made a profound impact on me. Piecing together various obituary segments this week, I began to understand the music I had so deeply connected with.
I discovered him a handful of years back; we were lounging around the apartment, flipping through Bundy’s many downloaded tracks, searching for the perfect sample. We happened across “Cherry” and looked at each other, understanding immediately that we were hearing something special–a stolen, serendipitous digital archive, discovered if not by fate, by good luck. Soon after, the discovery prompted both of us to look further into the man they called JJ Cale, and the album that had spawned “Cherry”, 1976’s Troubadour.
In February of 2010, aquatic trainer and performer Dawn Brancheau lay beside her 12,000 pound colleague, Tilikum, at the end of their SeaWorld Orlando show. In a few inches of water, Branchaeu affectionately stroked the orca, letting her long blonde hair drift into the water and unknowingly into Tilikum’s mouth. Suddenly, Tilikum yanked Branchaeu deep into his performance pool, shook her violently, and repeatedly dragged her under when she tried to break free and swim to the water’s surface. Meanwhile, families who had gathered around the huge glass tank for a photo-op instead watched awestruck as Brancheau body’s endured drowning, blunt force trauma, a severed spinal cord, and fractures to her jawbone, ribs and a cervical vertebra.
Brancheau was the third death involving Tilikum in his 27 years in captivity, after drowning a previous trainer and one particularly bright park-goer who snuck into Tili’s tank after the park closed one evening. Each of the victims suffered severe beatings at the Tili’s hands (fins?), but none of the casualties was quite as shocking as Brancheau–a highly skilled and professional trainer who had carefully coaxed Tilikum into his adulthood as a performer while providing for his needs as a member of the wild animal kingdom.
Ever since Percy Miller started something called No Limit Records, and completely changed the way rap is marketed and distributed, there has been an unwritten but all-important rule of rap: you get on and then you put the rest of your people on – all of them. And few current rap collectives have stuck to this blueprint as faithfully as the A$AP Mob. Yams let us in on the plan about six months ago and now it seems as though everything is coming to fruition. A$AP Ferg, the member of the team who’s been anointed “next up”, has been owning the summer. It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing “Work” and the first single off Trap Lord, with a hook paying homage to Mr. Trailor-Load-A-Girls, is poised to make the same kind of impact.
As Rocky experiments with the pop sound, Ferg has picked up right where A$AP’s frontman left off, sonically combining strains Three 6 Mafia, DJ Screw, and Bone Thugs, all delivered with the Uptown bravado of Bigavelli. The most recent Trap Lord leak, “Hood Pope”, sticks faithfully to the formula. The Very Rvre-produced track lends itself perfectly to Ferg’s nostalgia-rap ballad, a near perfect Bone Thugs imitation. Only time will tell how many other A$APs get a solo shot, but right now, it’s clear that Ferg deserves our attention. Trap Lord drops August 20th; looks like there’s even a proper collaboration with the various Bones on there too.
One day we’ll have our own neon signs, but in the meantime let us marvel at the work of Meryl Pataky. A San Francisco based mixed media artist, Meryl’s work consistently revolves around elements found on the periodic table. From silver and copper to neon, iron and carbon, Meryl creates a variety of abstract works that relate to her concept of universal connectedness. In doing so, Meryl combines technical expertise–from welding to glasswork to metalworking–with her own personal narrative, building complex pieces that invite the viewer to guess at what thoughts and experiences influenced her process.
Most recently, Meryl’s work has been featured within the walls of The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco. In her exhibition entitled Cellar Door, Meryl recreates the elemental symbol of the noble gases: helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr) and xenon (Xe) pumping the glass tubes with the material they represent. Also juxtaposing her neon pieces against natural outdoor backgrounds, the artist effectively alters the character of the neon, placing it in unfamiliar territory, and thus giving the signage and accompanying words new meaning. Cellar Door is currently running at The Shooting Gallery until August 10th, but keep up with Meryl here to follow her artistic exploits.
Before you think my chest cavity lacks a beating heart, I was in love once. At the time, the thought of being with anyone else was physically off-putting. But I was 15, and the only person to have given me an orgasm was me. Now that I’m 25 and have been single for 5 years, I’m finding the thought of giving up promiscuity more difficult than the thought of finding “the right one.” Are our ideas about chastity, purity, and sexual commitment not grounded in millenia-old ideals of mythology and religion? Even those ideals are bullshit, since we all know that people have been sleeping around since we had full-body fur. Monogamy, to me, is historically held up as an ideal for women to live up to. Some men do it, too. But the women are the ones who are punished more severely for sleeping around, both culturally and religiously.
So why are people monogamous? We all have different reasons. To many, there is no stronger display of commitment than being physically intimate with only one other partner. Yawn. Don’t get me wrong; I know that sometimes love has a funny way of giving us tunnel vision, and that isn’t inherently something bad. But wouldn’t life be more fun if, instead of showing each other we’re committed by sleeping only with our significant other, we were free to have healthy, anonymous, and sometimes dirty sex with others? It totally would. Why can’t we redefine what it means to be “monogamous” to mean we only love one person? Even that would prove to be difficult, because humans are capable of loving several people at once. Why don’t we just get rid of the word and its constraints altogether, and redefine our relationships in the ways which fit us best?
There are very few Antwon songs that don’t involve some dick sucking. There also aren’t too many without a healthy amount of distortion, or oblong, fuzzy noise. Some tend toward cloudy and atmospheric, some ’80s groovy, and others, just plain grungy. “Dying in the Pussy” though, more than anything, just sounds big. Massive. Big enough to accomodate that outsized personality, all that griminess, and then some. If there’s an intersection between weirdly sexy and morbid, “Dying” finds it, runs it through seedy VHS quality, and blows it up to big screen proportions. And yet, still, like most of the best shit off of Antwon’s tapes, all that punky grain only serves to add color to a song that’s deceptively straight ahead approachable. For the folks like me, that thrive off finding ways to make strange shit translatable, I guess you could say I’m just happy Antwon’s doing him. Cop “Dying” on rare-ass 7″ marbled white-and-black vinyl from Suicide Squeeze here.
Saturday night was too real. Someone told me it was the 2014. Really one for the books if you ask me. Everything just came together, really can’t be mad at too much. Whole lotta superstars in the building Saturday night. Whole lotta positivity in the building Saturday night. It was hard not to notice.
Whole lotta thank you’s to throw around too. First and foremost to the folks that stepped inside our doors, thank you. It’s really all about you. You make our celebrations what they are. We also got a lot of help this time round from a few unsung heroes, namely CP and Morgan who lent their time and effort to ensuring that things flowed smoothly. Undoubtedly though, the most love goes to Yung_smh, who threw down a marathon set for the ages.
Bruce Davidson’s seedy, soulful Subway. Jamel Shabazz‘s nostalgic portraits of high-top fades, shell toes, and dookie rope chains. Mary Ellen Mark’s teenage runaways. Ricky Powell’s classic, impromptu shots of Chuck D or the Beasties. Too many great photographers to name have found inspiration in the hyperkinetic cluster of urbanized energy that is New York. Images shot on the streets of the big city have shown us some of the ugliest, most serendipitously beautiful moments imaginable, most of them shot purely out of instinct.
Three years in the making, director Cheryl Dunn’s Everybody Street collects interviews, archival footage, and of course, treasure troves of iconic street-level imagery, to paint a broad-based portrait of an art form that evolved along with the city itself, turning the endless possibilities of the street corner into a canvas for something transcendent. Some of these images speak for themselves, even out of context–the grisly aftermath of a streetfight, a junkie shooting up, Brooklyn kids busting fire hydrants open–but hearing the folks who were there to snap them talk about that moment takes on a whole new level of realness. If the trailer is any indication, this one ought to be something special, for shooters and non-shooters alike. Hit the MORE for a few interviews from the film, with Ricky Powell, Mary Ellen Mark, and Bruce Davidson.
A lot of you have been with us for a long time now. In the four-plus years since we started this thing, things have changed plenty, and mostly for the better. In a sense, this was a long time coming. Tonight marks the opening of the Wine & Bowties Online Shop, our first foray into online retail, and yet another extension of this experiment, and what this thing can do. We may be taking on a new platform, but the mission is essentially the same: to promote the creative work we’re excited about, and to build out what we do on the computer screen into the tangible world. In the months to come, we’ll be featuring a curated selection of products and one-off items, both from Wine & Bowties and our extended family–including artists, brands and individuals that reflect the scope of what we do here.
For now, we’ve chosen to roll out a brief selection of limited edition items. First and foremost, the Wine & Bowties Pyramid Tee is now officially for sale online. Hand-designed, 100% cotton, and conceived in Oakland, California, the Pyramid Tee serves as a cursory introduction to the shape of things to come. Additionally, we’re now featuring Wine & Bowties letterpress stationery. Hand-printed in Oakland, these cards feature a minimal design by Max Gibson, geared to encourage quality communication without the use of a screen. Lastly, to commemorate our Spring exhibition at Warehouse 416, we’re proud to offer a limited number of copies of A Dangerously Curious Eye, Barry Shapiro’s timeless portrait of life on the fringes of San Francisco in the late 1970s. To everybody that’s been with us since day one, thank you for everything. We couldn’t do this without you. Onward and upward.