Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Opening Ceremony

Last Friday night I accompanied Henrique and five of my other gay boyfriends to the launch party for Opening Ceremony's collaboration with Levi's at the latter's flagship store in Union Square. Henrique's friend hooked him up with a spot +1 on the VIP guest list. He and arrived a couple of hours before the event opened up to the public. This gave us a head start on the top shelf open bar. Indeed! Our posse yacked around the store's substantial five levels, dotting from bar to bar. My secondary responsibility was to keep the dudes from all of the junk for sale.

The party later filled up with many familiar faces (smallass town). We chatted. We ate cocktail weenies. We peaced out and went to Aunt Charlie's in the TL - but not before posing for a photo for the Chronicle's Social Diary and making a noteworthy impression on the reporter with our elusive single-letter surnames.

The OCxL was a rare occasion for me (and SF too) because:

1) San Francisco doesn't have shit for fashion - as underscored by the daily sartorial choices of my neighbors.

2) The 'fashion crowd' that does exist is downtown by the art schools or up on Filmore. I frankly don't like to leave the Mission.

3) Man, who really cares about that stuff - what about the WARs, etc??!

(me! sorta! as a hobby?)

I indulge in the sometimes refreshing, often excessively self-referential fashion blogosphere. It comes down to the thoughtful references in an outfit and an appreciation costumery - tracing the coiled dynamic between street style and the runway. It's social anthropology at its most attractive angle (!!!). I complain about San Francisco's startling deemphasis on style (especially in stark contract to New York) but can't deny that this factor affords the city its inhabitable, unhurried pace. SF consumes in a different way.

Hank and Bertrand, round

photo by Catherine Bigelow

I too frequently find myself here.
Note to self: UR DOIN IT WRONG (!!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Product Review: KOKO NTUEN SS 2010

Back in my Bed Stuy days I shared an apartment with two wildly creative wild and creative women. Allison and Koko were always juggling several projects at once, one of which included my cameo in a poop stool commercial. I'm thrilled to see Koko, now Founder/EIC of LADY GUNN Magazine, launch the first collection of her self-titled clothing line. The summery debut is patterned after the best of 1970s silhouettes - but cut from vibrant Nigerian cotton prints. Her dresses beg for a loud, sweaty July Sunday at Habana Outpost. Clicking through the lookbook, it's hard to imagine a frozen New York right now. This is the wardrobe for a mid-winter daydream of warmer months ahead.

I was super psyched to get my hands on Koko's stuff. In addition a reluctant penchant for whiskey and habañeros, my best friend Shrimp has bequeathed me a fondness for West African textiles (she's been swaddling herself in the stuff since her North African birth). I deliberated for some time on which piece to make my own; it isn't hard to envision a crucial scenario for every single item, especially for a New Orleans-bound San Franciscan. In the end, the Ud Romper in Marine Yellow was the clear choice. It best fit my look and lifestyle: hates bras, pallid skin, too lazy for separates, anti-LHB aesthetic.

I tried on the romper as soon as the package arrived, if only around the house on account of the rain. It looks just like the images on the website. The fabric has a nice weight to it. I'll have to get back to you on its structural reliability. Main concern: the strapless factor. To my delight, Koko included a few treats in her shipment: a NY Lotto card (I won $2!), a mix CD, a few sweet notes, and a pristine issue of an AUGUST 1994 BEVIS AND BUTTHEAD COMIC (!!!!!). This addition made my day in a major way - this was the Golden Year that informs my every frame of reference. DROOL!

Samantha Given-Dennis graciously took the following photos. I think it was a pity gesture after she found me in the living room wearing a gold Hannibal Lecter mask, trying to take a picture with my laptop rigged to the sofa cushions. I'll take what I can get!

Worn with 'model's' own belt, necklace, gold muzzle

Excellent fit - size L :( !!!

(NOTE: Laura and I proudly dug this mask out of the bottom of the costume bin at a drag queen's garage sale on 19th and Guererro last spring. My face is totally tingling with psychosomatic acne right now.)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HOMEROAST! How to Roast Coffee at Home

This blog has a true DIY quality to it (Exhibit: A, B, C, D, E, F, and so forth). Ruby is full of ideas! Our kitchen adventures have lessened with the departure of our industrious vegan housemates (save the mulled wine a reefer deserts at Yuletide 2009), still behold a quick and easy instructional on roasting raw coffee beans at home. Pete found Sweet Maria's website to guide us through our first roast. It covers the gamut of small batch roasting techniques.

This is how we do it:

STEP ONE: Gather raw green coffee beans (found at hippy stores like Rainbow or online - preferably Fair Trade Certified) kitchen scale, hot air popcorn popper (we used a Goldstein Family heirloom), pasta strainer, and a bowl. Open nearby window.

STEP TWO: Measure the raw green beans on scale (4 oz.).

STEP THREE: 4 oz. was too much for our popper so we poured about half of that amount into the machine, as if we were popping corn.

STEP FOUR: Turn popper on (ours has no on/off switch - just plug in/out). Expect smoke! Chaff (flakes of bean skin) will blow out of the popper. It takes about 3 minutes for the "first crack" to sound. Then keep it going for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on desired roast. According to Sweet Maria's, use 4 minutes total for a lighter roast and continue for up to 6.5 minutes for the darkest roast.

STEP FIVE: Pour the brown beans into the pasta strainer and shake to cool the beans and to also filter any remaining chaff.

STEP SIX: Let the beans settle (emit CO2) for several hours. The flavor peeks between hour 4 and 24 after the roast. Coffee will stay fresh for 5 days.

We also made a video (notice the abundant chaff!):

It's funny for me to work with coffee. It has been up in my grill for a while but I had never really thought about it until now. My three best SF buds Christy, Laura, and Shriii each work at major Mission coffee houses. It's all coffee all the time! In 2005 spent three grant-funded months in the outskirts of Bochil in Chiapas, Mexico, working at an indigenous coffee cooperative. I was there helping with preparations for Organic and Fair Trade Certification. 104 local families comprise the cooperative. They work their ancestral land to harvest, roast, and distribute coffee to the developed world. The co-op is self-governed and each member family gets a share of its contribution. Environmental factors compound the tense political, economic, and military conditions, presenting constant life-or-death challenges to the organization. Yet they make it happen with an overwhelming sense of dignity. It was sort of a funny time for me so I tend to stick the experience to the back of my mind. But our roasting project brought back warm memories of all of the friends I made in Bochil. Strange: nothing like a little Sunday morning hangover DIY project to strengthen a gal's interconnectivity with humankind. Sheesh.

I close this post with some never before seen photos of the cooperative:

Heading with some co-op cafeterleros to their mountain parcels for pre-harvest inspections

Each parcel of land has a family behind it and a share of the profits - this was quite the task for your dyslexia-prone, technology-favoring yanki

Each bean hand inspected for quality before roasting

Good beans (right) vs bad beans (left)

Work hard/play hard: every family member chips in to the effort

The schnazzy roaster!

Green beans in....

...Brown beans out

Jaja! (well technically not since '86)

Friday, February 12, 2010

In the Meantime -->

My wacky and tacky friends Bobby and Michelle are running this art/project this weekend in Dolores Park:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Wow. I'm really sucking at blogging these days. I would to like to chalk it up to the timesuck of all of the work and homework (started two of my RN pre-recs!). Nope. I must cite the backlog of unfinished posts as the true point of emotional blockage in the 2010 spirit of getting real. I'm not even at the point where I can work through this yet (I AM SO INTO PROCESS RIGHT NOW). I guess I mean to say - or lament - that it isn't like fun bloggable adventures aren't happening all the time. I just can't get back into the rhythm of blogging while leaving so much unfinished. I don't mind letting down all nine of my faithful readers (sorry!). I DO mind because I need this thing to function as my little memory basin. Sigh.