Category Archives: Photography

SF Zinefest 2016

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Many of you old fart punk rockers out there will remember the days of cut-n-paste collaging in order to create an eye catching and status quo challenging advert for your old band’s basement gigs. Usually containing crude imagery, shocking content in black and white with ‘ransom note’ style text cobbled together from various sources. Many of you will also remember the next level DIY collaged zines that were painstakingly assembled late at night in a 24 hour Kinkos that your buddy worked at…

The content usually involved coverage of a regional or more accurately, ‘micro-regional’ underground music and/or art scene, covering shows and events with occasional short fiction or comics and music reviews. They were xeroxed and collated and stapled manually upon completion and subsequently given away to anyone remotely interested. Seldom did they charge for these. If anything, 25cts or a trade sufficed.

A lot of these ‘rags’ also travelled to other micro-regions via snail mail and this was before the internetz, so this was a lifeline for people seeking out new and exciting happenings in places other than their own. It went hand in hand with the burgeoning DIY music scene as this was also how bands contacted each other as well as venues to put together tours and find places to stay while out on the road, especially in smaller areas off the beaten path where folks didn’t have access to a big city to see shows of any level. Black Flag is a good example of a band that mastered this and in fact blazed a trail that is still used by bands today. Check out Spray Paint the Walls for a more detailed read about how they did it.

These were really small run, handmade and practically ephemeral which makes zines an interesting literary niche that is still going strong to this day.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE ZINE

Some zines that I know from back in the day started out as crudely xeroxed and stapled handmade affairs but eventually evolved into full-on mags with excellent content and credibility. A couple of examples that come to mind are Ugly Things run by Mike Stax out of San Diego Ca. who’s focus is 60’s garage and psych music. His staying power is a result of really thorough sourcing and in depth coverage of really obscure bands. He is really good at finding surviving members of these long forgotten groups and interviewing them at length which usually reveals some fun and interesting behind the scenes happenings we would never hear about anywhere else.

Early Ugly Thing’s (circa early 80’s)

Ugly Things Issue 2
UT #2 (1983)

 

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Ugly Things #9 (1990)

Current Ugly Things

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Ugly Things #42 (2016)

The Big Takeover

Also very in depth with lengthy articles to get lost in…as you see the early issues were very text heavy.

Early Big Takeovers (circa early 80’s)

The Big TakeOver #7 Part 1
The Big Takeover Vol 1, issue #5 (1981)

 

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The Big Takeover issue 9 (1983)

Recent Big Takeover

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The Big Takeover issue #77 (2015)

 

Another example that I hold close is Bomp magazine created and maintained by Greg Shaw who started making zines by hand as early as 1966 with Mojo Navigator, an inspiration for Rolling Stone Magazine. He made Tolkien related mimeographed zines in the 60’s also, a very early representation of zines not music focused. His real legacy though lies in Who Put the Bomp which I’ve mentioned before as one of my old record store bosses Gary Apollo, who recently passed away also worked with Greg for a few years in LA on the magazine. Even the infamous ‘Powerpop Issue’ which looked really polished and professional was all done by hand! Cut-paste for days…

Early Bomp (circa 1971)

Bomp Jan 71
Who Put The Bomp (Jan 1971)

1978 issue

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Bomp ‘Powerpop Issue’ (1978)

 


I had just read this article the day before in the New York Times: “No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book, Most People Still Prefer Them”  and on our way to the event there were 2 separate people sitting across from us reading books, so as far as I can see, books and printed media are still important to people and if you think otherwise, you’re sadly mistaken and likely missing out on a lot of information you will not find online. It’s also similar to the Record experience in music, the desire to hold something in your hands crafted by artists through painstaking processes to create something significant and tangible which helps drive the experience deeper into your psyche…

This was further driven home when we entered the festival and saw how many people turned out to look at and buy these mostly tiny handmade mags! There were artists, musicians, printmakers, poets and authors, lefties, activists and anarchists and a wide array of items to be had. In addition to xeroxed zines, self published books and underground comics were t-shirts, posters, bags, buttons, some musicians had small run cds, cassettes and even vinyl all DIY and small runs. There were too many artists to mention but I’ve included links where possible and SF Zinefest has it’s own site at sfzinefest.org as well as an instagram and twitter where you can explore and discover a large group of artists both young and not so young! There were some OG’s in the house which leads me into some pics from the event.

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

First I had to catch up with V.Vale of REsearch Publicatons who is known for his zine Search and Destroy going back to 1977 and his Industrial Culture Handbook and coverage of all things weird and subversive under the REsearch imprint. I purchased this collated, unfolded printing of ‘A Visit From Monte Cazazza’ which I look forward to devouring.

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Yours Truly with V.Vale and Monte C.
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The REsearch Table

PM PRESS

PM Press had a table. The previously mentioned Black flag  book Spray Paint The Walls can be obtained through them as well as some other important punk lit.

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PM Press

SPITBOY RULE

It was really cool to meet Michelle Cruz Gonzales from the SF all girl band Spitboy who were around from 1990-95. We grabbed her book Spitboy Rule  also available through PM Press, but it was nice to be able to get one directly from her and she signed it. This will be a welcome read next to our recently obtained copy of Alice Bags book Violence Girl as these are the voices of xicana women from the old school punk scene, there were very few!

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Michelle Gonzales and Monica

TEAM PRINT SHOP

I also ran into an old friend who worked for a t-shirt print shop I also worked at for awhile in Oakland. He’s since broken off and started his own thing called Team Print Shop

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Team Print Shop
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Team Print Shop

UNITY PRESS

Pretty randomly, I walked past this one table and had to stop because I recognized the curious artwork on the t-shirts first, then the table also had zines with these similar cartoon-like characters in weird homoerotic poses I remembered from some show posters I grabbed from the bulletin board at my band’s rehearsal studio (images below) they were posters for a show that had already passed, so I wasn’t hindering the band’s progress!

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Found Art 1
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Found Art 2

Turns out these guys rehearse down the hall from us in Oakland and the band is a bit of an artist collective that release zines under Unity Press and the creator of these weird ass images are by the artist Jeffrey Cheung.

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Jeffrey Cheung (Left)

I was also stoked to hear they recorded their debut record in their studio on a 4 track and released to vinyl via the Oakland based label Digital Regress. The DIY ethic instantly endeared them to me and we also have the same name…Jeff’s Rule!

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Jeff signing the poster for my record

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I gave the album a whirl and it’s really good for a 4 track recording! The style is very 90’s indie rock but without the pretentiousness of a lot of that stuff and it also lacked the noisy angst ridden aspect that turns me off to so many of those bands. There are some nice melodies here and simple arrangements and nicely played!

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“Thanks Jeff for the support, glad you took the fliers! Jeff”

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This table caught my eye also but we were on our way out, so I didn’t get a chance to say hi, but here’s a shout out to Bagger43 they had some nice looking stuff and I dug their aesthetic.

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Bagger43

 

EVENT PICS

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This guy was working during the event!

SLIDESHOW

There were 2 rooms full of tables and plenty of people milling around!

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Panoramic

We walked out of the event quite sated and it was great to see so many people out there just to celebrate the printed word, and of course to support art and artists operating on their own terms! Get off the internet and go read a book now! We came home with plenty of stuff to read and enjoy!

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‘The Booty’

All pics by Jeff K. 2016 (except Bomp, Big Takeover and Ugly Things covers)


 

 

 

Strandbeest (Theo Jansen) at The Sf Exploratorium

STRANDBEEST: THE DREAM MACHINES OF THEO JANSEN

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My wife and I had the rare opportunity to see Theo Jansen’s work up close. I’ve been following the Dutch physicist/artist for 7-8 years now and you can imagine how excited we were to hear that The SF Exploratorium would be hosting some of these curious sculptures. This is the first ever appearance in North America of these kinetic creatures originally designed to turn the sand and maintain dunes in the face of rising sea levels. They are generally kinetic and propelled by the wind but there are also crude air pressure systems he designed to help them move and they have evolved to essentially have ‘lungs’ a ‘brain’ and a ‘nervous system’. They’re entirely made of pvc pipes and zip ties and the air pressure systems are made from plastic bottles. This is also an important part of the project, to utilise recycled material.

The following video is from a TED talk from 2007 with some video examples of the many different varieties of ‘Beests’ and some explanation of the process and ideas behind them. Following that are my pics from the exhibit and a short video of the demonstration we saw as part of the exhibit.

The photo’s included in the exhibit are by Lena Herzog

 

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Detail 1
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Detail 2

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fossil bone yard
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PVC Dating

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DEMO

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Strandbeest waiting to be activated

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THEO JANSEN’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL

All pics and video shot by Jeff K. 2016


Ed Ruscha and The Great American West at The De Young SF

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My wife’s dad came out to SF from Florida for a visit and we had the chance to all go see the Ed Ruscha exhibit. Ed Ruscha is a Pop Artist who has worked in many different mediums. Represented here were some works in pencil, oil, acrylic, gelatin silver prints, lithograph prints and even a few ‘odd medium’ pieces, works in Pepto, Caviar and Metrecal which was a weight loss beverage from the 60’s which he used to screen images of Hollywood, so there’s a bit of cynical social commentary in his work also.

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Ad for Metrecal

One of the reasons this exhibit was special is that my wife’s dad used to collect art some years ago and had some lithographs  of Ruscha’s of which he only did a limited number of. Awhile ago he gave us one as a gift and he passed on another to my wife’s brother. The one we got was similar to this one titled ‘Time is UP’ (ours is in storage)

Time Is Up 1989 by Edward Ruscha born 1937
Time Is Up 1989 Edward Ruscha

The one her brother got we always just called ‘The Sign’. This one was represented in the show and there was an artist print titled ‘Untitled’

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Ed Ruscha ‘Untitled’ 1989 litho

There were a few pieces related to this series that I’ll post below as well but it was cool to see this piece in a gallery when we’re so used to seeing it hanging in the background when we go visit my wife’s brother.


I especially enjoyed the Hollywood stuff since I lived there for quite some time. I also enjoyed the ultra wide panoramic stuff, they really pull you in and give you a sense of that ‘American expanse’.

(The pics are all mine, so I apologize for the incidental selfie reflections in some of the pieces, there are pro images of this stuff online) I also didn’t catch all of the titles.

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Untitled from Circus/Dwarf 1958

Ruscha 600

Ruscha 596
America’s Future 1979
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Well, Well 1979
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Two Similar Cities 1980
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Home with Complete Electronic Security System 1982

There were these variations on an image of a gas station:

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Standard Study #3 1962
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Standard Study #3 1962
Ruscha 591
Standard Station Amarillo Texas 1963
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Burning Gas Station 1965-66
Ruscha 620
Station 2003 (2003)
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Roadmaster 2003
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Ghost Station 2011

Ruscha 623

Ruscha 608
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Ruscha 607

Ruscha 604

Ruscha 631
150 Miles 1989
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Untitled 1989
Ruscha 624
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Ruscha 636
Pahrump Signage 2003
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Untitled 2004
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Blank Sign #1-4

 

Ruscha 641

Ruscha 645
Pool #1-9 1997
Ruscha 642
The Fourteen Hundred 6753 Selma Avenue
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Doheny Towers
Ruscha 650
Tool and Die 1993
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Mufflers 1996
Ruscha 647b
Tech Chem 1994
Ruscha 647a
Telephone 1993
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Blue Collar Tires 1992
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The Old Tool And Die Building 2004
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The Old Tool and Die Building 2004
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Buffalo 1989
Ruscha 687
Asphalt Jungle 1991
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Western 1991
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Indian Study 1994-95
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Coyote 1989
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Coyote 1986

Hollywood

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Sunset-Gardner Cross 1998-99

Ruscha 702

Ruscha 696
Hollywood Study #8 1968
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House of Hollywood 1982-86
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House of hollywood 1982-86
Ruscha 706
Hollywood in The Rain 1969
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Hollywood 1969
Ruscha 703
Hollywood With Observatory 1969
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The Back Of Hollywood 1977
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Fruit-Metrecal Hollywood  1971
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Pepto-Caviar Hollywood 1970
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The Whisky 1966
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Gazzarri’s 1966
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Schwab’s Pharmacy 1976
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Filthy McNasty’s 1976
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Liquor Locker 1976

Most of the rest of the exhibit consisted of assorted typographical pieces

Tex 1990
Tex 1990
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Rustic Pines 1967
God Knows Where
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Busted Glass

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Texas 1962
Adios
Adios 1969

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The End 1991
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The End #54 1994
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The Final End 1991-92
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The Absolute End 1982

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For anyone visiting The Bay Area, the exhibit is up through Oct 9th/ Info available via The De Young’s website: Ed Ruscha and The Great American West


August 16th 2016 Updates

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On the rails somewhere in the Midwest 2015 

I haven’t posted over here in a few weeks but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been actively blogging. I’ll also be out of town for a week or so as we’re gonna take the train down the coast to Camarillo Ca. to visit fam. About a year ago we took the train across the country  from Cali. to New York via Chicago and we loved it so much we had to scratch the itch albeit with a shorter trip this time.


MUSIC

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Meanwhile I’ve been ripping it up with my band and we recently appeared on Radio Valencia. We are also working on new material and we offer a sneak peek of one of the songs during that visit.


PHOTOGRAPHY

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I’ve also been posting pretty regularly on my photoblog alphastarephotography so do follow that if you haven’t already.

Last year I posted quite a few photos from the train via my Instagram so if you are into that, you can follow our adventure there!

See you when I return!