Retail Therapy

Betabrand Hires Doctors, Postgrads to Model Spring Line

Last time Betabrand made headlines it was for selling sweatpants cut like dress slacks (with or without pinstripes), because if you haven’t figured it out already, we’re witnessing the decline of Western civilization. But rather than cater to lazy men this time, the San Francisco-based clothier selected Ph.D.s and doctoral candidates to model its new spring line of women’s fashions.  Hopefully this can become a new line of work for postgraduates, who are facing declining job prospects even as they face mounting school loan debt, and some of those jobs - like adjunct professorships - are pretty terrible!  So go buy some clothes for the hungry, hard-working academic in your life.

Other local entrepreneurs that are making the news include beloved local chain Philz Coffee, which will be opening its first outpost outside of the Bay Area in sunny Santa Monica. The Atlantic sat down with artist Wendy McNaughton to talk about the changing city as she promotes her new book, “Meanwhile in San Francisco: The City in its Own Words.” And because an incredibly long line means it must be worth it, pop up Eastside Bagels will be back at Dear Mom with exactly 180 bagels from New York’s Russ & Daughters. Hopefully it won’t rain.

[h/t Leah Reich]

Fall on Shotwell Street

Shotwell Street between 21st and 22nd, arguably one of the most choice blocks in the entire neighborhood, is at the tail-end of its yearly show of fall foliage.  Get over there and take it in while you still can.

Youth, Beauty, Leisure and the State of Local Art

After nearly a year that's passed since I wrote a post mocking Rob Williamson's photography, I finally met the guy.

He introduced himself to me last night at Dear Mom (God help us) and asked, maybe a little confrontationally, if I still wrote about art for Uptown. When I suggested that he seemed angry or on edge, he said that he was not.

I mentioned, so as maybe to clarify my original intentions, that I didn't actually think he had taken those photos with his phone, and that I was really just poking fun. No harm intended.

He told me that I had shat on his life's work, which he clearly did not think was a good thing. I asked if he hadn't enjoyed a little public discourse over his series and he said he hadn't.

Rob then handed me a flier and challenged me to attend his friend's photography show tonight at Ritual. “If art is dead” (or “if art isn't dead”, I don't remember), he said, “then come see my friend's show. He's amazing.”

At the risk of opening up an old wound, here are some thoughts I have for Rob and other up-and-coming photographers:

If taking flattering photos of my cool-looking friends were my life's work, I would hope that someone in my life had the presence of mind to shit on it, so that maybe some day I could use my technical abilities (which seem to be in tact in Rob's case) to make something worthwhile.

The purpose of art is to challenge and inspire—to save our human minds from the mundane. The purpose of art is not to assure our attractive friends that they're doing a good job participating in this carefree, precious lifestyle young San Franciscans seem to be so obsessed with.

The prevailing culture in our fair sub-climate is undergoing a huge influx of wealthy young people who glorify the menial values portrayed in Rob's photography (youth, beauty, leisure, backpack ownership?). As a part of the shrinking creative demographic, it's the duty of Mission artists to challenge their audience's cultural view, imagination, and sense of beauty, rather than cater to the new money's bland, charming-ish taste.

I'm afraid that until Rob's process holds these intentions in mind, his photos will continue to be more or less as valuable as the Instagrams they so closely resemble.

I will not be attending Rob's friend's show at Ritual tonight, because, as much as I enjoy being hated by young photographers IRL, I've already checked out the photo series in question, and discovered that it's a series of photos dealing mostly with apartments as seen from the street—a view I will just as easily enjoy on my walk home from work this afternoon.

Full Frame Collective Book Release Party

Speaking of Potrero del Sol, here's the latest photo (shot at PdS) from Full Frame Collective, who'll be hosting their book release party next Friday at Book & Job Gallery in the Tenderloin.  And given FFC's long history of chronicling the Bay Area's skate, bike, and graffiti scenes, you can expect a long night of drinking paper bag-wrapped tall cans on the sidewalk. (In fact, we hear that the first 10 people to buy their book will be given a free tall can from FFC member Aaron Durand.)

Below, the flier:

Photo Booth Truck Takes Over Valencia Art Wall

As a city that loves trucks and putting mustaches on things, the Inside Out 11M project took over the Valencia Art Wall earlier this morning, snapping photos of passersby and pasting them high up the wall.

Here's how Inside Out describes the campaign:

Beyond any political debate about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., these portraits remind us that behind the numbers are real human stories. Inside Out 11M aims to represent the diversity and unity of people that can call America home.

The project takes part in Inside Out, a global participatory art project initiated by the award-winning artist JR to pay tribute to the power and dignity of individuals by displaying their portraits in public spaces around the world. People share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art.

According to Burrito Justice, the photographers have packed up and made their way to another location, so head over there now to get early dibs on the feast of mustache, devil horn, and googly eye drawing.

[via Burrito Justice]

Window Shopping Change

As you have no doubt seen/heard/read/watched, The Developers have begun the demolition that'll precede the construction of an eight-story '70s bowling sign-looking condo project.  Allegedly, the tear-down alone will take an entire month, because breaking shit is hard.  And whether or not you agree that this development is a good thing or not, at least we can all agree it'll give us a month of solid photography?

[Photo by Mission Local]

Life on the Rails

KQED's News Fix just published a killer profile on Mike Brodie, who spent years hopping freight trains and photographing others doing the same:

Brodie would spend months traveling, often sleeping on the side of railroad tracks or in the woods. Occasionally, he'd go home to Florida to visit his mother.

For years I’d come home and every time I would see my mom I would be wearing the same dirty shirt, have really bad B.O., I’d have the same pants with all the patches on them. Wouldn’t change my socks or underwear, not often, you know? So my mom just got annoyed. She was like, 'Mike! You’re such a good-looking man! Why are you dressed like this!?' And I was like, 'I don’t care!' “

Read on for more on helping out his mother, going to prison for train-hopping, his thoughts on internet fame, and living in West Oakland. (And be sure to check out his photos.)


San Francisco Streets Polaroid Poster

Polaroid SF has finally turned out their beloved city streets double exposure series into poster.  Here're all the details:

Did you guys know we have a poster? Our ‘Instant Streets’ series captures San Francisco’s most iconic streets and neighborhoods in glorious double exposure Polaroids. We collected 24 of our best and put them on this handsome poster. Want one of your own? We have them for sale in our Etsy shop. And for the rest of the week we’re offering free standard shipping in the US. Thanks for looking!

[Polaroid SF]