I don't think before I type's Posts
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.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
Tonight’s Wood Shoppe show at Brick and Modör is going to be great for San Francisco’s early to bed/early to rise constituents, and poses the question: Shouldn’t all musical lineups be arranged in descending likability?
First on the bill is San Francisco’s own bittersweet sweethearts, Magic Fight, who exude both charming self-effacement and gut-wrenching tenderness live. Despite the fact that their lineup includes a ukulele, a Casiotone keyboard and exactly zero guitars, they are not even a little bit annoying and don’t sound like pussies live or otherwise.
Aww, and just look at these guys…
After Magic Fight, Kan Wakan will take the stage and play what will almost certainly be a very pretty, heady set. Deep, smoky girl vocals, strings and tasty bass riffs, yes - please sign me up. Thanks, Silverlake.
Finally, once we all go home, (since it is a Tuesday!), a bland called Vanaprasta will play using an instrument whose main feature is that it lights up, and maybe an electric firebird mandolyn. This five minute live video assures me that I’ll rest easy laying down to go to sleep as they begin their second song.
Want Free Tickets? RSVP HERE, silly.
If you’re experiencing gentrifier guilt or feeling a little sluggish today, it might be a good idea to kick things into gear with a ticket to Z Space’s Innovation Thursdays with YD Industries, an ingeniously deadpan mock seminar designed to ignite innovation in even the dullest of us. Have a laugh at the kind ridiculous vernacular that you probably utilize constantly at work and support an art space in the neighborhood you’re probably homogenizing.
Here's how Z Space describes Innovation Thursdays:
As an extension of the YDIIIG (YD Industries Innovation Igniter Grant), YD Industries is hosting a series of innovation evenings that will be free and open to the public, but simultaneously monetized. Forward leaning individuals are invited to join for an evening filled with innovation, disruption, game-changing, revolutionizing, focus grouping, creativity insourcing, product development acceleration, net casting, bootstrapping, design sprinting, networking, problem solving, succeeding though failing, and beer. With dynamic PowerPoint slides and the occasional guest speaker, YD Industries moderator Steve Musselman will guide participants through the YD Industries developed products, techniques and methodologies designed to ignite the inner innovator. It’s fun, exciting, and will fundamentally change the world.
Tickets for tonight's visionary 8pm tech talk are $15 at the door, or you can save yourself five bucks and get yourself a free beer if you pre-order online.
Tomorrow is the 3rd annual Phono Del Sol festival - the biggest festival in SF that isn’t across town in dirty Golden Gate Park or invisible. Conveniently located in the kneecap of the Mission, Phono Del Sol brings us some of the West Coast’s most wonderful up and coming artists and Marnie Stern, who is and will always be a precious slice of heaven.
Though there are some real heavy hitters (Thee perennial Oh Sees to name a few) on the bill, the band I’m most excited to see at Phono is Radiation City, a Portland quintet whose white girl singers get motowney and soulful in the best way. Some festival officials have expressed concerns as to how this band from the arctic tundra of Portland will acclimate to the mild summer afternoon forecasted for tomorrow. The festival's medical tent is said to be keeping ice packs and freezer-pops at the ready should weather conditions exceed balmy.
From the conspicuously surfless Stockton California comes Surf Club whose two releases this year boast exponentially higher rates of dark wave. It’s easy to assume that within the year, Surf Club will become as surfless as their hometown. In a way, this makes sense. Their music is definitely sweet.
And speaking of sweet, keep an eye out for San Francisco’s own Cool Ghouls, a charming young band whose new self-titled LP is sure to win a place on the soundtrack of your summer soundtrack if it hasn’t already.
Anyway, that’s what I’m most stoked to see tomorrow. BYO pasty legs.
Tickets are still available. Get some.
2. Frontwoman Sarah Negahdari is a certifiable babe. See?
While you guys were out crowding my favorite bars on Friday night, I attended an event where I sat still in the dark and appreciated people more talented than myself for ninety minutes. In the Tenderloin. Jealous of my grownup weekend activity? You can get cultured too by checking out Do It Live!’s production of Dark Play Or Stories For Boys by Carlos Murillo. What’s more adult than off-off-off-off Broadway theater? Actually nothing.
The play is basically a first-person narration from a teenage boy who fabricates an online dream girl in order to seduce and entangle a slightly older boy on the internet. Of course, the main character gets in way over his head to the point that his impulses surpass his initial intentions and chaos ensues.
I was strictly skeptical and quick to judge the heady play and its overt narration style until about half-way through when it started to make me extremely uncomfortable and even embarrassed. Only then did I realize that the story brings to light the complexities of the misguided, emotionally charged adolescent online experiences of which I (and probably lots of other young people) have weird repressed memories. It was hard not to think of the pimply UK teenager with whom I once shared passionate and clunky online romance so many years ago. But enough about Jack.
After coming to the realization that Dark Play is challanging and conceptuatlly strong, I became pretty invested in the characters and thoroughly enjoyed myself through the wonderful, if completely indulgent climax of the play.
Enough about me though. Do It Live! is a small SF-based theater company made up of very young, very talented people who are just as worthy of your audienceship as they are the bright future that undoubtedly lies ahead of them.
If you’re interested in having your own grownup weekend night this coming weekend, I strongly suggest getting tickets for one of the two remaining shows. Please visit Do It Live!’s website for tickets and details.
Thought I'd share with you guys the newest video from Date Nite, the ladies who brought you the ever divisive "Shit San Franciscans Say" video. They're back and they want to remind all you dummies to plant your feet, shake your ass, and stop trying to make small talk on the dance floor, dammit.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
As seen on the insane flier above (courtesy of the lovely Sam Bartos), I'm hosting a free in-studio performancerecording at Studio SQ with The Secret Secretaries and Demimonde. The show will take place at 7 this Sunday and the good people at Lagunitas are bringing us all of the beer in the world. Did I mention free beer? There'll be free beer.
Since it's a semi-private party and you guys are my best friends, you can totally come but you must RSVP by emailing me to get on the list or the door guy will laugh and laugh and laugh once more right in your face and tell you to go fart on your own hands at home.
As you might recall, The Secret Secretaries recently received rave reviews from Uptown commenters "Everything Sucks" and "frisco music isn't all bad", who noted "this is actually good" and "I thought SF music had hit the shitter, replaced by tech dorks. apparently not."
BYO tech dork.
Previously on Uptown Almanac
Hey guess what, the green energy elixir from Sidewalk Juice is totally a great coffee replacement. April fooools..
But seriously, you guys. SF dirtwave band The Secret Secretaries released a single today that sounds, as my friend Ryan put it, like if Kurt Cobain was the singer for Hum. Behold:
Pretty sick. Good thing they're playing at Bottom of the Hill tonight. They go on at 9. I'll be the one in the front row with the rubber chicken.