Monday, July 28, 2008

Gilroy, CA: Garlic Festival: Big Freaks in a Small Town

After months of impatient waiting and some last minute planning, Cake, Katie and I finally made it down to Gilroy yesterday for the tail end of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. In the spirit of the event, we donned the finest vampire costumes available for purchase in July (note: both Party City, Daly City and Party City, Pleasanton DO NOT sell vampire costumes until August). This was a big hit though it garnered a few unpleasant jokes, solicitations, and mean stares from the Garlic Princesses aka sorority-sisters turned Garlic-Pageant-runner-ups.

Gilroy is a small farm town (pop: 50,000) about 30 minutes south of San Jose and boasts "Garlic Capital of the Nation" as it main and only attraction. Its biggest and only event is the Garlic Festival, which brought 100,000 spectators this year. I was impressed with the capacity of the town's human and industrial infrastructure for an event of this size. The logistics of transporting thousands of people from a fairly distant parking lot to the fairgrounds appeared to run smoothly, thanks to the help of hundreds of festival volunteers.

The fair was wearing out when we got there but still crowded with drunks and bad breath. Most of the booths sold different kinds of heavily seasoned food or novelty garlic tsotchkes. We helped ourselves to several servings of soft-serve garlic ice cream - it was pretty tasty and not too garlicy (despite having been provided by the evil BigFarm-a, ConAgra).

The highlight of our visit was the olympiad between the 2006 Garlic Festival Queen and staff reporter Josh from the Gilroy Dispatch. Josh beat Queen in the rock wall climb. Queen beat Josh at garlic braiding contest. Then it got sticky. The final challenge was to see who could shake up the tallest flame at the wok station. The judged called Queen the winner but many in the crowd disputed this. Queen was ultimately named as the champion of the games. Conspiracy theories ensued.

Gilroy is bumping; Roomie and Bone


2006 Garlic Festival Queen competes with Dispatch writer; Festival Princesses with former Queen

Closing down the festival!; man proves Festival with accordion soundtrack

We made the local paper:

Three women from San Francisco came dressed as vampires.
"As a vampire, it's hard to watch all of this. It makes me feel like a mortal," said XXX XXXXX, who went under the name "Ruby Fuerza."
The three women - who donned black, bore fangs and sported red make-up dripping from their ruby lips - stood out, but the garlic treats brought them together with the other festival-goers.
"The garlic ice cream was delicious," Katie Lerin said. "It's easy to eat with these fangs, too."

This may not have anything to do with the fact that we are friends with 3/5 of the reporters. Sheesh.

Felt Up in Hayward

In the spirit of Ruby Fuerza's unending quest for all things in their industrial, manufacturing, or otherwise means-of-production phase, I took a trip with Roomie down to Hayward to the great felt warehouse. Hayward, CA, as one would imagine, is full of places like felt warehouses - and not much else.

Roomie is building a commission piece to be fashioned out of felt so she need a lot of it. Like 50+ feet worth. We jammed the car full until every spot was blind.

This is what thirty feet looks like (left); and several hundreds of dollars (right)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

TOR Application - Check!

I just delivered my application for this years Tease-O-Rama burlesque festival. TOR launches in Seattle, trickles through Oregon, then lands in San Francisco from October 2-4. I submitted my Frida number - I thought it befitting as the SFMOMA exhibit will be ending just as the festival begins. I also applied to be a staff volunteer in case they don't select my performance so I can still participate in some capacity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Notes from Cuba: Slowly Getting There

It's taken me a while to get to this, half on account of the accumulation of life's daily responsibilities, half due to the information overload that I am still trying to process from the trip. There is so much to say – how could I possibly take this ADD and make it sit? How can I fit all of my “I’ve got something to say!!” into a lame little post?? Oh, how prose wrestles with emotion. Et voilà: good news/bad news! I am now procrastinating my Tease-O-Rama application that is due on Thursday so it looks like this entry happening after all. Bear with me.

Girls running to the karate recital in Cental Havana, Havana City

Buildings in Barrio Chino, Havana City

Salsa! at camp in Caimito

Havana City

Kids at House of Culture in Jibacoa, Santa Clara

Old Cars (there are new ones too) in Havana City

Making textbooks in Santa Clara Province

Abel and his band playing at Jazz club in Havana

Protest in Buffalo at US-Canada Boarder

Notes from Cuba: More Photos

"The Venceremos Brigade is a solidarity brigade that has been traveling to Cuba to work alongside the Cuban people and challenge the United States blockade since 1969. We are united in our beliefs that it is our constitutional right to travel to Cuba, that the United States government has no right to restrict our travel with mandatory licenses or fines, that the economic blockade on Cuba is wrong and destructive, and that it is the right of the Cuban people to determine and direct their own future. We recognize the Revolution as the choice of the Cuban people, and we fight for their right to maintain it without U.S. intervention, invasion or sanctions."

Here are some beautiful photographs for which I can take no credit:

Photo by Dan Rodriguez

El Malacón, Havana City - photo by Dan Rodriguez

La Colmenita Playhouse, Havana City - photo by Dan Rodriguez

Photo by Dan Rodriguez

Photo by Dan Rodriguez

School children in Caimito, Havana Province - photo by Tracy Smith

Playa del Este, Havana Province - photo by Geo

Playa del Este, Havana Province - photo by Geo

Jibacoa, Santa Clara Province - photo by Geo

Che Monument, Santa Clara, Santa Clara Province - photo by Geo

VB Banner marching toward US Customs, US-Canada Border, Canada - photo by Geo

American Interests Section along el Malacón, Havana City - photo by Geo

Finally some glamor!, Caimito, Havana Province - photo by Dan Rodriguez

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ambassador of NorCal: Bolinas, CA

Surfers; Germ

Playing horseshoes (Locals: 12, Outoftowners: 0)

Roomie and I accompanied Laura on her weekly pilgrimage to the Gods of the Ocean (aka Sunday Surfing) in Bolinas yesterday. We ended up kicking it with a motley crew of ten local dudes and one lady as they engaged in their own Sunday ritual: tallboys, etc on the beach. We were won over for a few hours by their poetry, kind hospitality, and steel stomachs (one fellow named "Germ" ate a seagull feather to our delight). Laura got some quality surf time in and Roomie and I ate fish sandwiches.

I have a lot to say about this but I must get to the airport!

As per wikipedia:
Bolinas, California is an unincorporated community in Marin County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located along the coast and accessible only via sometimes unmarked roads, Bolinas is perhaps best known for its reclusive residents; historically, any road signs pointing the way into town on Highway One have invariably been torn down by local residents

You get the idea.

Happy Birthday Laura (and Matthew)

the collective WE has been getting very lazy with the pictures these days

Back to Dolores Beach on Saturday ALL DAY except this weekend was Laura and Matthews massive sixty person/seven hour marathon BBQ.

It was more or less an ASGF/ASBFfest, save an appearance that must be reported to friends back east: Chris Bone rolled up with half a handle of vodka and a Styrofoam cup of OJ, stayed for a few hours - and then went missing.

Happy Birthday Laura!

Guerilla Pictures in Motion

Print by Martyna; C.C.C

projection; (above photos+film gracias a Karl Dotter)

JennSu and some pals hosted a sneak movie screening in Golden Gate Park on Friday. Roomie and I biked to the Haight for dinner/drinks then caught Elana and Katie before Hasel&Greteling our way though the park.

The directions were vague but we eventually found the horseshoe area which was by then filled with about sixty spectators awaiting the show. Jenn and co. had a screen and projector set up on the south side of the area so that the audience could sit on the varied levels of the terrain that borders the horseshoe park. Everybody ran into everybody they knew - a familiar cast of the SF/Oakland characters who do this kind of weird, word-of-mouth stuff. We opened up show on Roomie's hippy blanket and hung out until dusk passed.

After dark Nat Baldwin and the Extra Life provided improvised musical accompaniment to the short films on loan courtesy of Canyon Cinema, a film distributor geared toward the "experimental and avant-garde film making movement from the 1930s to the present." Truth be told, this is not my favorite genre nor can I say that I had not caught some z-z-z by the end of the second reel. I cannot lie!

Everyone packed up at the end of the show and we all poured out onto Stanyan and disappeared (back into the Mission) into the night.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Barbary Coast Burlesque

Here are some shots from last night's show. Thank you to Kate(ie) and Elana for coming out - and also poor Phillip, who was heckled by SBB for several moments before I went on stage. Tsk tsk for texting during a performance!

This is a very exciting time for Bunny Pistol - not only is she producing the monthly Barbary Coast show at Annie's but she just announced that she is taking over at Hoouse of Burlesque at Benders too.

The cast clockwise from left: Bolla Fire, RF (w/ new "anti-capitalist" haircut),
Odessa Lil, Madame Chartreuse, Lily Le Rouge, Sparkly Devil, Dottie Lux,
and Bunny Pistol covering the very naked Scotty the Blue Bunny