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Matt Kelsey, Printers’ Guild Member & Jim Gard, Chairman of the Printers’ Guild

For twenty-two years, volunteers at the San Jose Printers’ Guild have kept the art of printing alive.

In a world where books can be downloaded in digital format and sending messages is as easy as tapping on a phone screen, Jim Gard, chairman of the Printers’ Guild, and guild member Matt Kelsey, shed light on how the printing press serves as a reminder of the days when communication required a concentrated effort and skilled craftsmanship.

Jim, you have been with the Printers’ Guild since the beginning. Could you share a little history on how the Printers’ Guild came about?

Jim: The Print Shop exhibit opened in the ’70s, and although the San Jose Historical Museum had some volunteers, they worked independently and lacked organization. In 1992, the museum staff, as well as some of the printers, met and formed the Printers’ Guild to provide consistent printing demonstrations to the visiting public. From then on, the group has met monthly, maintaining a shop volunteer schedule, creating, printing exhibits, and repairing and acquiring equipment.

What types of equipment are used in the Print Shop?

Jim: Letterpress. We have small, table-top Kelsey presses, a Chandler & Price Pilot press, and some cylinder proof presses. But our main attraction is the F.M. Weiler Liberty press, circa 1884. This heavy floor model press gives visitors a close-up look at the workings of a treadle-powered “jobber.”

What are demonstrations at the Print Shop like?

Matt: Members of the San Jose Printers’ Guild continue to practice the skills mastered by printers of old, using some 200 cases of metal and wood type, including many rare and antique designs. The best experience, though, is when we put the Pilot press right up to the railing and let visitors operate it themselves.

Matt, you are the lead organizer for this year’s Bay Area Printers’ Fair, an event that celebrates letterpress printing and related arts. Does this event bring us back to the roots of graphic design?

Matt: Yes, the Printers’ Fair takes us back to the time when the printer was the graphic designer. The printer knew what sizes and styles of type were available in the shop and knew how to combine them to create the right look for the customer. A lot of graphic designers today really enjoy getting away from the computer and getting back to the roots of handling handset type and impressing ink into paper instead of manipulating pixels on a screen.

For visitors and Guild members alike, I am sure there is a bit of nostalgia that one feels when observing and participating in the printing process. What do Guild members and visitors take away from this shared historical experience?

Jim: The Guild brings together these enthusiasts with a purpose, which they can share with each other and the public.

Matt: Guild members enjoy keeping alive the “black art” using the same basic technology pioneered by Gutenberg over 500 years ago. I have taught a number of workshops at the Print Shop, and I am always energized by the enthusiasm and creativity of the students. In one day, they learn to handset type and arrange a short poem or quotation into an attractive layout. Everyone goes home with a feeling of creativity and accomplishment.

With technology constantly advancing, what does the art of printing serve as a reminder of?

Matt: The museum Print Shop replicates a typical print shop of the early 1900s, where local businesses would go when they needed flyers, stationery, business cards, labels, and myriad other forms of ink on paper. Now we think of a “printer” as a machine connected to the computer, that quickly produces copies on command; a hundred years ago, a “printer” was a skilled craftsman who consulted with the customer about their printing needs, found the right sizes and styles of type to design and compose the text from handset metal type, printed a proof for the customer’s approval, and then carefully prepared the job for press.

Jim: The art of printing serves as a reminder of the labor that was once involved in communication. With all this handset type, there used to be a lot more people involved: specialists in typesetting, press operation, proofreading.

Matt: It is a reminder that, back then, printing was an act of freedom. In the words of journalist A. J. Liebling, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

SAN JOSE PRINTERS’ GUILD
instagram: sjprintersguild
facebook: sjprintersguild
twitter: printersguild

Article originally appeared in Issue 6.2 “Device”
Print Version SOLD OUT

First united by a single rare song, Anthony Perez and Stephanie Ramirez, known as Flipside Lovers, are on a mission to share California’s oldies story with the globe.


The genesis of analog DJ duo Flipside Lovers can, coincidentally enough, be traced to a single 45 record.

Anthony Perez began playing “You’re Acting Kind of Strange,” a rare soul single by the Chappells, one evening while DJing at Caravan Lounge in downtown San Jose. Stephanie Ramirez, a regular at the soul and oldies nights where Perez played, was in the room and immediately approached the DJ booth, singing along. She asked how Perez knew about the record. He had the same response. This was a song you had to dig to find. How did she know it? 

“I met Anthony collecting records,” shares Ramirez, known on the decks as Ambitious Outsider (she’s a gigantic Morrissey fan). While they had orbited similar circles, it was their deep mutual passion for collecting vinyl that kick-started their connection, and eventual relationship.  


In the years since that first encounter, they’ve built a reputation for their deep collection of sweet soul 45s. Some of those records have traveled the world with the couple, helping them share the famous West Coast sound with listeners in Paris, northern England, Mexico, and throughout the US.
Asked if they classify their sound as oldies, both are quick to say yes. Defining that sound, however, can be tricky to those not familiar.


“To me, ‘oldies’ is specific to California. It’s not defined by a genre, or even a decade. Call it a collective playlist that’s been growing since the 1950s,” explains Perez. “My dad listened to these same songs. I can’t think of another genre or movement where it’s so connected generation after generation. The classics are the classics, and we never get tired of them.”


The two pay tribute to that distinct tradition through the records they collect and play. They also take part in events where oldies are still a staple, cruising around San Jose with other lowriders as they show off their recently purchased white 1962 Chevy Impala named Blanquita.


“That’s inherently a San Jose culture—Lowrider magazine, King and Story,” points out Perez. “We’ve traveled the world and been able to show that culture to other people. I feel it’s important for us to try to do that.”


Their individual stories as collectors start at San Jose’s flea markets. While in elementary school, Perez remembers driving up from Gilroy and begging his parents to buy him rap tapes. His DJ name, Akro1, stems from his days as a graffiti writer. 


Ramirez started her collection by picking up records, five dollars a box, from people who were simply trying to get rid of them at the Capitol Flea Market. “I never knew collecting people’s trash would later be something you played out for people,” she shares. “I feel very lucky because if I tried to start collecting records now, there’s no way I would get a lot of stuff I have.”


“I’ve had the bug since I was very young,” notes Perez. “I would take anything and everything that anybody was giving away.” When his dad noticed his collecting habits, he gave Perez lists of records to track down. Once he did, Perez would record tapes for his father to play in his car.


Surprisingly, both admit they never collected records with the goal of becoming DJs. 
“I always just bought records because I loved records,” Perez says, though he adds “eventually it almost becomes a responsibility to share them.” After a few sets on local college radio, knowledge of his collection spread, and his gigs picked up.


Ramirez started by recording vinyl mixes purely to share her music collection with others. “For me, every single 45 that I own means something to me. It’s very personal, which is why I don’t like saying I’m a DJ. I’m a collector at heart,” she admits.


While they’ve performed together under their individual names for years, a few years back they coined themselves Flipside Lovers, an ode to the often slower “flip side” of a 45 record single. The two recently returned as resident DJs at Park Station Hashery, where they perform twice a month as part of the restaurant’s Two Wheel Tuesdays. They also play monthly at True Brew along The Alameda.


Their drive to share history and celebrate San Jose’s local culture seems to ground their pursuit of the next elusive 45 they’ll add to their collection. It also inspired an idea to upload some of their rare records to YouTube during lockdown. That gesture allowed them to directly connect with the families of those artists, some of whom had never even heard the music before.


“It’s like a piece of history we own,” says Ramirez when speaking about her reverence for the records in her library. “We’re archivists. We care about what’s out there,” concludes Perez. “You might just die tomorrow, and it could be trash, but I feel some weird responsibility to build this library. At this point, we’re 20 years in. Hopefully, there’s another 20 or 30 to go.”

Instagram
flipsidelovers
akro1
ambitious0utsider
Youtube
flipsidelovers

This podcast is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and YouTube.

Jonathan Borca is a San Jose community leader, performer, and rapper. He is currently the Deputy Director at the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza and the San Jose District 5 Arts Commissioner. He performs poetry and rap as ‘The Francis Experience.’

From his early days in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to his nomadic childhood following his father’s Air Force career, Jonathan Borca’s journey is one of determinant care for the community. Settling in East Side San Jose at the age of seven, Borca’s progressive mother, who introduced him to hip-hop albums from Tupac and Arrested Development, ignited his passion for poetry and the transformative power of music.

Borca attended Bellarmine College Preparatory High School in his teens through an East Side pathway program. Reflecting on his time at Bellarmine, he holds two realities to be true: the program did not do enough to support the students from under-resourced backgrounds, but it also was beneficial in developing his interest in pursuing a career in nonprofits. Throughout his journey, music, performance, and storytelling have always been a common thread, sometimes for himself and, more recently, a craft to share with others.

Under the moniker ‘The Francis Experience,’ Jonathan Borca has crafted a unique storytelling platform. His live performance projects, such as ‘Color Me Gold,’ are a fusion of storytelling and various performance genres. These curated performances, featuring a blend of poetry, rap, dance, and jazz, serve as a platform to showcase local San Jose talent.

Most Recently, Borca secured a 3-part residency at the San Jose Museum of Art funded by California Humanities. The project, currently preparing for part 2 on April 5, 2024, is titled First Friday: Hip Hop(e), Jazz, & Storytelling that will offer students and diverse audiences community members new ways to engage with exhibition themes of migration, identity, self-love, and inclusion through written and spoken word. The series is presented in partnership with Francis Experience Quartet, with co-founder Gabby Horlick (drums), standout musicians Bennett-Roth (keys, vocals), and Miguel “Frunkyman” Leyva (bass). Together, the quartet blends rap, poetry, and storytelling, which will be augmented by SJ Storyboard’s digital art and will showcase with a monthly featured poet).

The residency will be offered on SJMA’s late-night “First Fridays” with open galleries, held from 6–9 p.m. on April 5, 2024 (Rasanna Alvarez) and May 3 (Tshaka Campbell).

In our Conversation, we discuss Jonathan Borca’s Background as a youth growing up in East Side San Jose, what led him to a career in nonprofits, and the vital role music plays in his life.

You can follow Jonathan Borca’s on Instagram @francisc_experience

Featured in issue 14.3, “Perform”

SVCreates Content Emerging Artist 2023

Fish swim, birds fly,
and human beings create.

In an unassuming suburban garage in South San Jose, a music studio is tucked in parallel to a parked car, storage totes, and hanging bicycles. Often, you can find a poet getting active in the studio, chipping away at refining his craft, hoping to carve Corinthian columns from a career in acting and music. This creative headquarters is home to Davied Morales, AKA Activepoet.

Davied Morales is a San Jose–born actor and rapper who has worked for numerous Bay Area theater companies, appeared in television shows, commercials, and various short films, and amassed tens of thousands of followers across social media. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed Davied to focus on the “why” behind his work. He explains, “I was able to learn more about the business and understand why I want to do this work. I want to inspire people who look like me, and let people know that they can do it too.”

Raised by a single mother after his father’s untimely passing, Davied had to grow up quickly at a young age. He notes, “I know what a bad day looks like. I always try to be extra positive because I know life’s hard.” His work’s light-hearted joy and humor can be traced back to the shows he watched as a kid. He observes, “Shows like Kenan and Kel were huge for me. They represented a space for being goofy on TV. I loved it because there wasn’t as much violence or the huge political problems you see in our community. We’re always getting killed on TV. We can be anything we want, so why can’t people of color just have friends and tell cool stories about what we can do?”

“Everyone deserves to be creative. Creativity is a fundamental truth for all of us. We say in our work that fish swim, birds fly, and human beings create. That’s what we do.”

Along with manifesting positivity through his craft, Davied also works as an improv facilitator for San Jose’s Red Ladder Theatre Company, a social justice company with whom he leads workshops for men and women experiencing incarceration. When talking about his work in California prisons, Davied adds, “Everyone deserves to be creative. Creativity is a fundamental truth for all of us. We say in our work that fish swim, birds fly, and human beings create. That’s what we do. The best feedback we’ve received was from an attendee who said that for two hours, it felt like they weren’t in prison. I want our participants to know they’re still in touch with their childhood selves. There are bright spots in this world, and I want them to see that.” Moving forward, Davied is developing a catalog of music and content focused on sustainable production and consistency that fans of his work can rely on. The work he puts in now is meant to create an infrastructure that will support more extensive projects in the future. You can follow Activepoet on all platforms for valuable information, a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, and something to make you laugh. Davied Morales continues to prioritize art in his life and wants to make art a priority in the Bay Area.

activepoet.com

Instagram: activepoet

Also featured in issue 9.3 “Future” 2017

Pick-Up Party 16.2, “Sight and Sound,” was the 12th anniversary celebration of Content Magazine featuring the innovative and creative people of Silicon Valley. The party was an ambitious collaboration among venue host Creekside Socials, event designers Asiel Design, Filco Events, and Illuminate SJ Now!!!, along with supplied food by Barya Kitchen ,and the dozen or so creatives featured in the magazine, who displayed their work.

Creekside Socials is a Google project managed by Jamestown, activating San Jose’s Downtown West. They have a full lineup of community events and workshops scheduled for 2024.

Our Pick-Up Party was the first event of its kind held inside Creekside Socials and was a fantastic opportunity to activate the warehouse at 20 Barack Obama Blvd. With support from our partners, we brought in a stage, lighting, and projectors that illuminated the sights and sounds of Issue 16.2. We even introduced our partnership with Needle to the Groove Records, which made our long-dreamt-of flexi-disc magazine insert a reality.

Guests were treated to a live studio pop-up hosted by Brittany Bradley, a wet plate collodion photographer, performances by 2024 Poet Laureate and Creative Ambassador Yosimar Reyes featuring Ivan Flores of Discos Resaca, Srividya Eashwar of Xpressions Dance, singer-songwriter Amara Lin, Needle to the Groove Records, and Kid Lords who closed out the night. In addition, six visual artists featured in the magazine displayed their work, including 2024 Creative Ambassadors Deborah Kennedy and Rayos Magos, Shaka Shaw, and Girafa. 

This evening brought together various genres and mediums of music and visuals, exposing individuals to creativity they may not have been otherwise exposed to. Our goals of creating a magazine real-life experience were highlighted by our fantastic community of creatives, supporters, and partners who are essential to Content Magazine’s future.

We at Content Magazine are grateful to all the artists, partners, members, and community for your support in this project to give visibility to the artists of Santa Clara County.

We hope to see you again on May 17th at the West Valley College School of Art and Design for Pick-Up Party 16.3, “Perform.”

Event Photographer: Kinley Lindsey 

Event Videographer: StageOne Creative Spaces

Event Musicians: Kids LordsAmara 林Xpressions-Dance of India, and Needle to the Groove

Featured Artists: Britt BradleyVictor AquinoSteven Free, GirafJulie MeridiaDeborah KennedyRayos Magos, and Shaka Shaw

Event Partners: Creekside Socials,  Asiel DesignFilco Events, Illuminate SJ Now!!!, and Barya Kitchen

Issue 16.2, “Sight and Sound” Featuring

Musician – Amara 林 | Videographer – Victor Aquino | Photographer – Britt Bradley | Rapper – Chow Mane | RecordLabel – Discos Resaca Collective | Dancer – Srividya Eashwar | Artist – Girafa | Rap Crew – Kid Lords | Photographer – Josie Lepe | Artist – Julie Meridian | Record Shop and Label – Needle to the Groove Records | Illustrator – Shaka Shaw | 2024 San José Creative Ambassadors – Dancer – Alice Hur – Artist – Pantea Karimi – Artist – Deborah Kennedy – Artist – Rayos Magos – Storyteller – Yosimar Reyes 

SVCreates Content Emerging Artist 2023

Putting Pen to the Past

A shoulder-hung tote swings in the mid-morning air as Keana Aguila Labra approaches a sanctuary of creative inspiration. Depending on the day, that sanctuary may be a cafe, a public garden, or a library. Wrapped in the canvas tote are tools for building historical foundations and deconstructing generational curses. Along with writing instruments to translate pain and promise into poetry and prose, you may find books written by authors such as Victoria Chang, Therese Estacion, or Janice Lobo Sapigao—literary figures outside the canon of white literature sharing stories with which Keana can relate.

Keana wears many hats and explains, “I see myself mostly as a poet, writer, editor, and creative. I am also co-director of the Santa Clara County Youth Poet Laureate program and co-founder of Sampaguita Press, an independent publishing house.” Keana’s work focuses on sharing cultural, historical, or personal knowledge to foster representation and safe spaces for readers and creatives unseen in society’s cultural hierarchy.


“I hope that I can share the knowledge that I have obtained and disseminate it freely to folks who might not have access to the education I have had. Education is power.”

Keana is a Cebuana Tagalog Fil-Am poet, and writer in diaspora. Her parents, who immigrated from the Philippines, wanted a better life for their children in the form of Americanization and careers in science. Interested in creativity and ancestral roots, familial friction fueled Keana’s interest in developing forms of self-expression. “My mother can be my biggest role model and enemy at the same time. I hope she sees I am breaking generational curses,” she shares. “I empathize with my mother a lot. The trauma of immigrating alone when she was 15 is her generational curse. Poetry is a vessel to work through the things I couldn’t articulate to my mom, not because I couldn’t share what I felt with her, but because I knew she was carrying her own weight. Our parents aren’t just parents; they’re people too.”

Keana’s poetic process is captured in a quote from William Wordsworth: “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” Keana’s poetry typically begins with a thought or emotion that crystallizes in a moment and is jotted down as a note for later interrogation. “I try to sit with myself in a kind of meditation, write down snippets, and continue coming back to them. I think of them as my children,” she explains. “I don’t rush a piece if it is about very intimate emotions. I like to keep the original snippets to see how I refined them over time, thinking about craft, intention, negative space, and the flow of line.” Keana, a self-described poet-historian, writes poetry in both English and the Bisayan language of Cebuano, a regional language in the Philippines and her grandparents’ native tongue. 

Keana hopes to expand Marías at Sampaguitas Magazine from a digital to print publication, pursue an MFA in creative writing, and obtain a teaching credential while writing a book and screenplay. Keana concludes, “I hope that I can share the knowledge that I have obtained and disseminate it freely to folks who might not have access to the education I have had.
Education is power.” 

keana.journoportfolio.com

Newsletter: pamalandungon.substack.com 

Instagram: keanalabra

SVCreates Content Emerging Artist 2023

Such is Life

A wheat-pasted poster on a San Francisco sidewalk may be commonplace for 99 percent of passersby. For photographer Dan Fenstermacher, the details caught his eye from across the street: an ambiguous lower body clothed in shorts and walking shoes—leg tattoos exposed—standing on a trail with marketing copy that read “on the path to zero impact.” Dan also noticed a burly, shirtless man thirty feet away walking towards the poster; he had patchy body hair on his chest that shared an uncanny resemblance to a smiley face. Dan hurried across the street to catch the convergence of the two. The photo he captured juxtaposes a hipster on a hike with a shirtless man on a city street—both of whom are uniquely getting in touch with nature—and puts a humorous spin on the sustainability marketing technique of showing people experiencing the outdoors. The composition plays with body level, placing the lower body on the poster in line with the man’s upper half. While any similarity between those two figures could be viewed as an abstract coincidence, Dan sees potential in layering and capturing dissimilar details with eye-catching composition to create something new, authentic, and often funny. 

Dan Fenstermacher is a burgeoning photographer with internationally recognized work. He’s also a professor and chair of the West Valley College photography program, a contributor to The San Francisco Standard, and a volunteer photographer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Dan’s projects blend street photography and photojournalism with clever juxtaposition; his photos are most known for their vibrant colors, use of flash, and humorous composition.

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Dan obtained a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Idaho before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in marketing. While there, he realized that advertising has less to do with creative ad concepts and more with market research, data analysis, and spreadsheets. Dan recalls, “I hated it. I started taking photography classes at night through a local community college while doing those advertising jobs. I had a roommate at the time who went off to Korea to teach English, so I figured I could do the same thing.” Dan went on to use his community college photo credits to teach fine art in China, aided by student translators. Later, he enrolled in a graduate photography program at San Jose State University.


“Traveling makes me feel alive. When you experience a new culture, it’s like getting to experience life again for the first time.”

Dan’s photography is rooted in detail and captures reality at the core of often misunderstood situations. “I have always been an observer,” he says. “I tend to notice things that most people wouldn’t consider. I like to combine street photography with journalistic documentary themes.” Each of Dan’s projects captures a range of topics and manages to juxtapose conception with reality. His project documenting seniors in Costa Rica contrasts American society’s fear of aging with the joy and experience seen on the faces of the elderly. His “Streets to the Dirt” project documents Black cowboys in Richmond, California, and shows that cowboys are not just White men in movies. Dan continues to broaden his photo expeditions, explaining that “traveling makes me feel alive. When you experience a new culture, it’s like getting to experience life again for the first time.” Dan’s career as a photography professor allows him to embrace his passion while surrounded by inspiring up-and-coming student artists. Dan aligns his trips with his school schedule and plans to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, to document mariachi culture. His next goal is to produce his first self-published photo book. 

danfenstermacher.net 

Instagram: danfenstermacher 

Dalia Rawson is the South Bay’s authority on all things ballet. A longtime performer with the now-defunct Cleveland San Jose Ballet Company, the Saratoga native has performed for numerous companies in addition to holding backstage management positions with the Silicon Valley Ballet. With the closure of that company, Rawson founded The New Ballet School in March of this year. Less than a year later, the school has grown to over 300 students and is the only school on the West Coast that’s been certified by the American Ballet Theatre. The New Ballet School’s first production this winter, featuring Rawson’s choreography, will be a San Jose–inspired rendition of The Nutcracker

“It’s been since 2006 that I last danced professionally. Of course, I miss it, but the career doesn’t last forever. I was just really lucky to work with people I looked up to. It’s been 11 years now, but I certainly get a lot of joy and inspiration from teaching young people and working as a choreographer and director. Our newest production is the San Jose Nutcracker, which tells the classic story with local inspiration. Set in the city around 1905, it will feature a glowing replica of the historic San Jose Electric Light Tower, as well as the historic skyline. It’s something I’m really excited about.”

newballetschool.org | Instagram: thenewballetschool

Podcast with Dalia in 2020

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Podcast

The Cultivator and Developer of Content Magazine review a year of publications. Daniel Garcia founded Content Magazine in 2012 and has cultivated the longest-running South Bay Arts magazine ever. David Valdespino Jr. Joined the Content team full-time in January 2023 as a production manager and writer.

In this conversation, we discuss highlights from the year, some magazine design and layout details, hidden aspects of the production process, and contributions from some writers, editors, and photographers that make Content possible. Episode #108 is the first time our team has offered a behind-the-scenes look at producing Content Magazine. 

THANK YOU to the writers, photographers, editors, partners, and creatives that make Content Magazine possible. 

Issue 15.2 Featuring:

Tattoo Artist – Danny Fernandez | M.A.N.O.S., Jimmy Castañeda | Visual Artist – Trinh Mai | Painter – Angela Johal | Photographer – John Todd | San Jos Photo Walk – Julie Chon, Diana Mae, 35mmallie, Yvonne Yeh, Sheldon Chang | Stylist – Kelly Peters | Gathering Artisans Collective – James, Clarice, & Jafar Green | K-Cafe – Kayla Dinh | Mama Kin – Andrew Saman | Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus | Flautist/Teacher – Azeem Ward | Raue – Paige Kalenian & Jax Huckle | Album Picks – Needle to the Groove

Issue 15.3 Featuring:

Dancer – Alyssa ‘Ms. Mambo’ Aguilar | Chancellor of the West Valley-Mission Community College District – Bradley Davis | Designer – Carlos Pérez | Photographer educator – Dan Fenstermacher | Actor and rapper – Davied Morales, AKA Activepoet | Singer/Rapper – Ervin Wilson | Scholar and dance ethnologist – Farima Berenji | Hip Hop Record Label – F.R.V.R. Records, Aldin Metovic, Brevin Rowand, Vanessa Vindell | Aspiring Photographer – Iris Zimmerman | Writer/Poet – Keana Aguila Labra | Painter – Leslie Lewis Sigler | Musician – Mike Huguenor | Artist Educator – Mitra Fabian | Artist Rubén Darío Villa – Mr. Fuchila | Album Picks – Needle To The Groove | San Jose Earthquake – Niko Tsakiris | Emerging Fashion Designer – Nyr Acuavera | Graduating Architecture/Landscape Architecture – Onna Keller | Painter – Renée Hamilton-McNealy | Tattoo Artist – Sefa Samatua | ShaKa Brewing

Issue 15.4 Featuring:

Tattoo Artist – Abraham Ortega | San Jose Storyboard – Bertrand Patron Paule | Nonprofit organization – B.L.A.C.K. Outreach San Jose | Poet – Elodia Esperanza Benitez | Painter – James Mertke | Filmmaker – May Yam | Developer – Michael Messinger | Multidisciplinary Artist – Pantea Karimi | Muralist – Paul J. Gonzalez | San Jose Museum of Art Curators – Senior Curator: Lauren Schell Dickens, Assistant Curator: Juan Omar Rodriguez, Curatorial and Programs associate: Nidhi Gandhi | Artist & Illustrator – Suhita Shirodkar | Together We Create | Elba Raquel, Mesngr, Wisper, Roberto Romo | Meraki by Yaya Fashion Design – Yaya Bautista | Data Artist & Professor -Yoon Chung Han | Poet & Storyteller – Yosimar Reyes | D.J. – Weezmatic, Aaron Aquino

Issue 16.1 Featuring:

EPA Center, Nadine Rambeau | Tai Zhan Bakery, Wendy Chan | Gallerist, Pamela Walsh | Artist, Ignacio “Nacho” Moya | Musician and Painter, Ben Henderson | Artist, Miguel Machuca | Arts Los Altos, Maddy McBirney & Karen Zucker | Clothing Brand: Exhilo, Curtis Ying | Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí, Arturo Magaña | DJs, Soulmat3s | Musician, Will Sprott

The South Bay arts community rallied in Los Altos on November 30th to celebrate the release of Content Magazine Issue 16.1, “Discover.” Hosted at the stunning State Street Market food hall on the corner of State & 3rd Street in Los Altos, we invited the artists, musicians, organizations, and contributors featured in issue 16.1 to create a ‘Magazine-in-real-life’ experience for guests.

Creatives featured in the issue, such as Gallerist Pamela Walsh, Artist Ignacio “Nacho” Moya, Painter Ben Henderson, Artist Miguel Machuca, and Clothing Brand Exhilo by Curtis Ying, displayed their work in the center of State Street Market. Tucked between entrances, DJ Duo Soulmat3s performed throughout the night, spinning original mixes of eclectic genres, responding to the energy of the large crowd, and keeping the vibes right. Halfway through the party, guests were treated to performances by Will Sprott, followed by Ben Henderson with Wax Moon on drums and bass. Having made a long journey from his home in Grass Valley, Will was always within arms reach of his young son, Oz, even while performing. Will performed versions of songs from his new solo album, Natural Internet, that featured harmonica solos by Oz. Ben Henderson, backed by members of San Jose’s Wax Moon, filled the hall with warm folk music that garnered everyone’s attention.

Each of the nine food vendors hosted in the food hall generously provided delicious samples to content members. From ice cream and fried chicken to mocktails and matcha madeleines State Street Market hosts a diverse array of International cuisine.

As the night drew to a close and artists began wrapping up, you could see new connections and old friends leaning on the bar, waving farewell, or lending a hand. In the 12 years Since Content Magazine was founded, this pick-up party was the furthest distance from our home office in San Jose. We were overjoyed by the warm welcome of Los Altos, the willingness of folks from as far as Gilroy and Grass Valley to join, and the familiar air of kinship the arts community often provides. 

State Street Market often hosts community events and is open to the public Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 am to 8 pm, and Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am to 9 pm, with the bar open late until 10 pm. State Street Market also offers space reservations for groups of 15 or more. You can plan your next party or meeting with no reservation fee or food and beverage minimum. Pre-order from amazing food hall vendors and invite up to 150 guests.

Thank you to everyone who joined us and our Event Partners for making these events possible!

State Street Market & Murdoch’s Bar. Bibo’s Pizza & Pasta, Ikuka, Konjoe Burger, Little Blue Door, Little Sky Bakery, Orenchi Ramen, The Good Salad, and The Penny Ice Creamery. 

Issue 16.1 Features:

EPA Center, Nadine Rambeau | Tai Zhan Bakery, Wendy Chan | Gallerist, Pamela Walsh | Artist, Ignacio “Nacho” Moya | Musician and Painter, Ben Henderson | Artist, Miguel Machuca | Arts Los Altos, Maddy McBirney & Karen Zucker | Clothing Brand: Exhilo, Curtis Ying | Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí, Arturo Magaña | DJs, Soulmat3s | Musician, Will Sprott

Pamela Walsh is an artist of a different sort. As a gallerist, her work lives in the margin between artwork and art buyer. A gallerist’s art is not just curation but creating a space that brings people to artwork and telling those stories-becoming a conduit between artistic expression and the community that is engaging with it.

Pamela Walsh Gallery is a contemporary art space in Palo Alto’s Ramona Street architectural district. The historic building housing the gallery was designed by Stanford architect Birge Clark in 1929.

Having opened in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Pamela was able to weather the turbulence of unprecedented times and is set to celebrate the gallery’s ⁠4th anniversary with a group exhibition⁠ opening in December 2024.

The gallery’s focus on contemporary art is on creating a platform for diverse creative expression or establishing emerging artists. Having spent 20 years before opening her gallery, Pamela sold works from historical artists. Still, she decided to move forward with contemporary art as a fun and inspiring way to work with artists who are currently practicing. Small local galleries like Pamela’s are crucial to the arts ecosystem by encouraging artists, providing opportunities, and fostering a culture of art.

In our conversation, Pamela shares what it means to be a gallerist, her background in art and working in galleries, her journey toward becoming a gallery owner, and the role her space plays in the broader arts ecosystem. 

Join Pamela Walsh this Saturday, December 16th, at Pamela Walsh Gallery for the opening of their ⁠4th Anniversary group exhibition⁠

Follow ⁠Pamela Walsh Gallery⁠ at ⁠@pamelawalshgallery⁠

Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcast

In this follow-up to Podcast #81, we reconnect with Marcus Lyon, artist, photographer, and founder of A Human Atlas, after completing his Silicon Valley project entitled De.Coded, which launched in October 2023.

In our conversation with Marcus, we talk about what he learned from his time with Silicon Valley change makers, how this project differed from previous experiences, the philosophy and design elements of the physical book, and what is on the horizon for A Human Atlas.

De.Coded is available to ⁠⁠⁠order⁠⁠⁠, and a companion app is available by searching De.Coded in ⁠⁠⁠Google Play⁠⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠⁠iTunes App Store⁠⁠⁠.

Some key takeaways from his time spent with the 101 Silicon Valley change-makers featured in De.Coded are the importance of Latino/Chicano culture and history in shaping the region, the rich diversity of cultures that have come together among various waves of immigration and migrations, themes of belonging, and a constant emphasis on refining the process behind A Human Atlas with a focus on context, equity, and authenticity.

Having completed A Human Atlas of Brazil, Germany, Detroit, and now Silicon Valley, Marcus Lyon is still grounded in what inspired his first project. As an Englishman married to a Brazilian with “Brazinglish” children, his initial concept, Somos Brasil (2016), which told the story of 104 extraordinary individuals creating social change across Brazil, was intended to develop a deep cultural immersion for his family. Originally intended as a one-off endeavor, Marcus began receiving requests for similar projects after its publication and recognition.

Currently, Marcus and his crew, including Joe Briggs-Price & Camila Pastorelli, are working on a new A Human Atlas project based in Los Angeles, entitled Alta / a Human Atlas of Los Angeles. 

Keep up with A Human Atlas and their team on Instagram and at their website:A Human Atlas@ahumanatlasMarcus Lyon@marcus_lyon  Joe Briggs-Price@joebriggsprice Camila Pastorellicamila_pastorelli 

Funding for De.Coded was provided by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Nomination & fiscal support was provided by the American Leadership Forum (ALF).

_______________________

Human Atlas projects are research-based, interdisciplinary explorations of the people of a specified geography. They are built on extensive nomination processes. A carefully curated group nominates individuals who are championing and driving social impact in all its forms: from public servants to entrepreneurs, from non-profit leaders and activists to artists and scientists. The projects then map these remarkable humans through photographic portraits, app-based oral histories, info-graphic mapping, and ancestral DNA. Human Atlas projects take on many digital forms but always begin as a published limited edition book and an interactive exhibition.

Check out Episode #81 on our ⁠blog⁠ or ⁠Spotify⁠ for full background on Marcus and his Career

Pictured: (L to R) Marcus Lyon and Camila Pastorelli⁠

Book images provided by Human Atlas.

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     If your Christmas season has become packed with tinsel-clogged, holly-infested Hallmark films, it’s time to shake things up with a good murder. A holiday whodunit at the City Lights Theater Company seems suitable for the season. After all, what December is truly disaster free?

     The Game’s Afoot (also known as Holmes for the Holidays) written by playwright Ken Ludwig and directed by Mark Anderson Phillips, shows at the theater from November 16th to December 17th. City Lights invites theatergoers to a Connecticut castle in the ’30s—home to American actor William Gillette who garnered fame playing the character of Sherlock Holmes.  While entertaining his theater friends on a rainy December night, William discovers one of his guests fatally stabbed. He must channel his role as Holmes to crack the case. Hazardous and hilarious circumstances ensue.

     William is played winningly by Actor Damian Vega who brings candor and heart to his performance. This marks Damian’s 8th time working with the theater company. “My favorite productions to date are all with City Lights,” asserts Damian, who has been acting ever since he scored the lead in a vegetable-themed play in the 4th grade—and has since gone on to perform in not only a number of theatrical productions but also in commercials and independent films. “I keep coming back because they really treat you like a family member while you are working there—and once you’re initiated into the family, it’s always a wonderful feeling of homecoming every time you get a chance to come back.”

     Damian is joined by a strong cast. Standout performances include Alycia Adame (who thrives in the role of eager and eccentric Inspector Goring) as well as Gabriella Goldstein (who takes the role of Daria and embraces the character’s fatal dramatic bent with such evident delight that her energy is contagious). There’s also Tom Gough who plays our hero’s roguish best friend Felix. Tom’s flustered reactions and impeccable comedic timing are sure to amuse. “[Tom] teaches acting for a living, so he’s definitely a mentor that I study while I’m working on my own character,” Damian says. “Plus, Tom has an extensive background in improv so watching him bring that out in his work has given me the courage to try it in my own.” And the two actors do a great job feeding off each other on stage. “[Director] Mark mentioned that William and Felix have an Abbott and Costello vibe to their relationship,” Damian chuckles.

    You’ll enjoy not just the cast, but the castle. This glamorous old-world manor house will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a game of Clue (it even features a secret passageway)! What’s more, there’s a foreboding wall bristling with weapons. It calls to mind those familiar questions: Was it Miss Scarlett with the revolver in the dining room? Mr. Green with the knife in the study? “Oh, we’re nice and cozy in here, but we’re cut off from the world in this horrible storm, and it’s not really that cozy because there’s a dead person in here,” Director Mark comments mischievously.

     Set designer Ron Gasparinetti’s attention to detail is also remarkable—from the textured stonework and old-timey radio, right on down to the glowing embers in the fireplace. The extended wood ceiling beams seem to draw you into the stage world. Also take a moment to appreciate the collection of black-and-white photos on the wall—which on closer inspection, you’ll find aren’t family portraits, but the faces of the many actors who’ve played Sherlock over the years (from Basil to Benedict).

     Which brings up another point. This play is wonderfully meta—meaning it’s a story that emphasizes the devices used in storytelling. And it does this from scene one: the production opens with a play within a play. You also have a City Lights actor (Damian) who performs the character of William—an actor known for his character Sherlock. What’s more, Director Mark has also played the role of Sherlock in a previous play. This blurs the line between reality and fiction. And the intimacy of this 100-seat theater takes it a step further. The audience’s closeness to the characters makes us feel like we’ve joined them in the room.

     Though The Game’s Afoot is a fairly recent script, it’s one we hope to see circulating for years to come.“Many theaters tend to stay with ‘safe and proven’ shows because they know that they’ll get a built-in audience,” notes Damian. “City Lights is willing to take a chance on new work or controversial topics. They know the value of sharing those stories with the audience. Those of us lucky enough to witness that or be a part of that are changed for the better.”

     Ready for a glittering comedy mystery during this season of twinkling lights?

Treat yourself to City Lights’ little crime before Christmas.

Tickets and show details at City Light Theater Company

Founder and CEO of The Good Salad, Sanad Al Souz, is on a mission to shake up mealtime by offering healthy and delicious signature chef-crafted salads.

Coming from high-tech engineering, Sanad noticed his colleagues’ interest in nutritious lunches in a corporate cafeteria setting and got to work on an online salad offering that allowed the public to order custom salads. Since scaling to 3 brick and mortar locations in Santa Clara, Los Altos, and Palo Alto, Sanad has formed a team that reflects the values of making good food for good people so that they can feel good. But they don’t stop there; they make it taste good, too.

For more info, visit https://www.thegoodsalad.com/

Try @the.good.salad at Pick-Up Party 16.1 on Thursday, November 30th, 6p-9p at the State Street Market. Content members will receive a complimentary taste as a toast to their support of South Bay Creatives.

Look out for our next video mini-profile on @I.ku.ka, which will drop next week.

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Video by Nirvan Vijaykar @whosnirvan

Listen and watch on Spotify | Listen on Apple Podcast

As a jazz bassist, composer, and arranger, Ken Okada has spent his life finding the groove. Unlike in other genres of music, in jazz, bass is the glue responsible for holding the group together. When composing music, Ken is less concerned with being credited with a beautiful melody and more so leaving room for other musicians to join and create.

Born in New York to Japanese parents, Ken also spent time in Brazil and New York in his youth as his family followed his father in business. His ear for music came from his creatively inclined older sisters, who played piano and influenced his taste in music. Video game soundtracks also inspired Ken. He began learning to produce music electronically and playing in multiple bands throughout middle and high school.

After attempting law school at university, Ken began sitting in with the historic Keio University Big Band, where a friend went. That was a huge turning point for Ken, who would soon dedicate his life to music while beginning a tech career, starting his businesses to support his family, and moving to the United States.

Over the years, Ken has composed music as part of the Ken Okada Group and performed in jazz combos and big bands featuring artists such as John Worley, Leon Joyce, Yankee Taylor, Destiny Muhammad, Eric Colvin, and Rick Vandivier and numerous jazz clubs and festivals around the world.

Most recently, Ken has recorded and performed with a percussion phenom, Yoyoka Soma, a 13-year-old Japanese musician living in America who went viral in 2018 for renditions of Led Zeppelin. Together, the group has released the album “Square One,” now available on Spotify and Apple Music.

In our conversation, we discuss Ken’s approach to jazz, his upbringing as a Japanese musician, the influences of jazz in San Jose, and his most recent project featuring Yoyoka.

Join Ken this Friday, 11/10, at 8 pm at the San Jose Jazz Break Room as the Ken Okada Group Featuring YOYOKA engages audiences with stunning rhythm, high-flying melodies, and original arrangements by Ken Okada.

Follow Ken at @jazzr777

Listen to the Ken Okada Group on Spotify:

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