Jessica Wolfrom

New designers show their stuff at this weekend’s Asian Heritage Street Celebration


The annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration and fashion fever may not be automatically associated in the brains of Bay Areans. But then, most Bay Areans probably are unacquainted with the work of Runway Couturier — the group behind this year’s festival finale, featuring local designers from all across the SF fashion world, on Sat/18.

The show is what Runway’s executive producer Fritz Lambandrake dubs a “little fashion show that could.” But in actually, this is one catwalk that’ll help small-scale fashionistas to realize large-scale dreams. Presenting various Bay Area designers, Runway Couturier promotes young hopefuls free of charge — and even supplies them with fabric, courtesy of sponsor Linda Blake of Discount Fabrics. It is Lambandrake’s goal to “to use fashion as a bridge between cultures and communities”, as he told the Guardian, which explains the show’s presence at this weekend’s Asian Heritage Street Celebration. The fair will also feature cooking demos, live musical performances, a car show, craft market, a blessing by Thai monks, and food galore.  

Although Lambandrake’s heritage lies elsewhere than the Asian continent, he says he feels honored to be a part of the event. San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim was the one responsible for hooking up Lambandrake and Asian Week Foundation, who produces the yearly street fair. “You should see her stiletto heels!” says Lambandrake of his well-shod politician connection.

Making their debut at the show three new designers: Sam Shan, Tina Maier, and Huab Vue. Shan, a 21-year-old Burmese political refugee, shows a collection inspired by the folktales of his homeland. Maier, a self-educated fiber artist, is a master manipulator of materials, and her collection is sure to be high-minded yet grounded, with a mishmash of thrift store finds, unique textiles., and re-purposed upholstery. Check out the AHSC site for a full list of designers. 

A preview of Tomboy Tailors‘ highly anticipated genderqueer debut collection will stalk the catwalk, and there will be a competition for the best designs of the day, judged by a discerning panel including drag mistress Donna Sachet and Supervisor Kim.

Runway Couturier at the Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Sat/18, 3:30pm

Larkin and Eddy, SF


Girls-only hackerspace teaches critical thinking through crafts


Get out your glue sticks girls, it’s time to get crafty. Turns out, all that glitters really is gold for summer campers who will wind up at the girls-only craft camps that Curious Jane is hosting in Marin County this summer. Young women aged six to 12 will glean a wealth of knowledge from DIY-centered classes aimed towards not just inspiring creativity, but cultivating critical thinking skills through projects — costume design, storyboarding graphic novels, toy design, and more.

The Brooklyn-based company, which employs all female camp counselors, is bringing its contribution to girl power to the West Coast for the first time this summer. Curious Jane founder and mother of two Samantha Razook Murphy wanted to provide her daughters with a space to create collaboratively in an high-energy, girl-powered environment — so she made it herself. 

Curious Jane is celebrating its cross-coastal arrival with what it’s calling a hackerspace for girls on May 19, followed by a three-week summer camp session at the San Domenico School in San Anselmo starting July 29. That camp will include the workshops, and a place for girls to engage in hands-on, project based classes exploring basics in design, building, and science, fostering a sense of individual empowerment in a group setting.

The camp’s marketing director Melisa Coburn was eager to hype the arts ‘n’ crafts-a-rama. “My daughter attends the programs and I can tell you from the “mom’ perspective that girls LOVE the programs”, she tells the Guardian in email.

Keep your daughters off the couch this summer — this camp looks great, and the May 19 event would be a great chance to give it a test run. 

Make It/Take It hackerspace for girls

May 19, 12:30pm – 4pm, $20 or $15 if you bring a friend

Marin Art and Garden Center

30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross

Yuh look good


STREETS Only our deep-seated disinclination against street harassment prevented us from hollering at these sterling examples of the Bay’s blazing style sense. We respectfully snapped their pics instead: the trio of gents in town for their 50th high school reunion sporting pencil mustaches and monochrome, Agathe Guttuhaugen’s surreal ombre locks and coordinated cap brim, Amber Asaly’s midriff. All good excuses to take to the sidewalk this season in search of fashion stimulation.


Alex Pingis. Photo by Cortney Clift

Amber Asaly. Photo by Stephanie Sesin

Brian McGrath, Jeffrey Tucker, and Donald Owen. Photo by Cortney Clift

Elena Miska. Photo by Jessica Wolfrom

Virgil Gabaldon. Photo by Jessica Wolfrom

Agathe Guttuhaugen. Photo by Cortney Clift

Food for thought: 18 Reasons’ class series encourages the slow chew


Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. The axiom certainly sounds nice rolling off the tongue, but curative qualities aside, you’ll never stick to healthy if it doesn’t taste good. Luckily here in the Bay Area we have Carley Hauck of Intuitive Wellness, who proves in her “Mindful Eating and Cooking” series at community food hub 18 Reasons that comestibles can indeed be medicinal, and that medicine can taste amazing.

Health nuts and epicureans alike can revel in Hauck’s multi-layered, multi-course classes, in which students learn a comprehensive approach to mindful eating and cooking. This means all hands on deck — as well as all eyes, noses, mouths and minds — everyone in Hauck’s seminars are required to take a participatory role in this adventure for the taste buds. 

“In graduate school, I was teaching a weight-loss class and realized there was something missing,” Hauck told the Guardian in an email interview. When not teaching at 18 Reasons, she’s the president of Intuitive Wellness, where she works as a integrative life coach and wellness consultant in San Francisco and Berkeley.  

“I added the mindfulness component and saw that it really was the missing link,” she continued. “It’s not so much about looking outside of ourselves — adding up calories and exercising — but really about tuning in and understanding physical hunger but also emotional hunger.” Hauck is part of a research group at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine that is pioneering research, and looking at the long-term benefits of mindful eating in relation to stress reduction and weight loss. She also works with with corporate organizations like Pixar and LinkedIn, teaching mindfulness classes to corporate eaters.

“That’s the type of work that I do,” she wrote. “But the piece of work that I love is teaching classes which integrate these same practices into the broader community.”

You don’t have to be a downward-dog yogi to approach the dinner table with a sense of mindfulness. In the most pragmatic sense, Hauck defines mindful eating as the simple process of slowing the mind to pause the mouth from our oft-unconscious snack-shoveling. It’s about bringing intention to the processes of cooking and consuming, cultivating an appreciation for each ingredient’s unique feel, flavor, and smell. From morsel to mouthful, being mindful is about slowing down and savoring, rather than inhaling. 

The first class in Hauck’s 18 Reasons series was held on April 2, but if you missed it not to worry. There are two more on the way, and according to Hauck, each session “is created to be a stand-alone class which builds on techniques in mindfulness.”

Session two, “Food as Medicine”,  takes place on Saturday, and is focused on the healing properties of super foods. The antioxidant-charged menu, which Hauk was putting together right before our phone conversation, is geared to re-invigorate the body and stimulate the mind.

The goal is to “create really healing food varieties and also bring an intention into the process of cooking.” said Hauck. “It’s very experiential. We’re doing guided meditations, having great discussion, and we’re saying ‘Hey! Pick your knives and chop!’”

Hauk’s series opener “Intro to India” turned up the heat, focusing on Southern Indian cuisine while tackling the kitchen-borne insecurities of the average chef. “I hear from people that they are very intimidated by cooking” said Hauk, a fact she intends to put on ice. “This is a cooking class where we’re really teaching them about mindful eating and mindful cooking, but were also teaching them to be good cooks. I want to get people comfortable with something that they may think is hard.”

This love has brought her into the community at 18 Reasons and in a sense, full circle. Her lifework is not only corporate, but it is also deeply rooted in community. The common thread here of course is food — mindfully approaching food as a medicine and taking pleasure in all its gastronomical variations — and you shouldn’t need more than 18 reasons to eat amazing food that is good for the body, mind and soul.

The Mindful Eating Cooking Series: Food as Medicine

May 21, 6:30 pm, $50

18 Reasons

3674 18th St., SF

The new Exploratorium opens — are the piers as good as the Palace?


As someone who was practically bottle-fed on the old Exploratorium space, I was hesitant approaching the science museum’s opening day at its new home on Pier 15 and 17. Like many other SF natives, I was attached to the old world charm and neo-classical elegance of the Palace of Fine Arts location, opened in 1969 by physics professor Frank Oppenheimer.

But consider me a convert. Where the Palace of Fine Arts’ physical layout seemed to dictate the content of the old museum, the new building, extensively rehabbed to house the famously hands-on exhibits, allows them to exist more organically. The new site now houses the largest pod of solar panels in the city, holds a magnificently vista-ed observatory, and harnesses as a heating source the Bay waters it sits above on 1800 wood and concrete pilings built around a century ago.

Paul Doherty the self-proclaimed “physicist, teacher, author, and rock climber,” has worked at the Exploratorium for 26 years, making the senior staff scientist the perfect person to lead me on a tour through the two-story space yesterday.

“We wanted it to be open, so a flood (of people) could come in, but then,” Doherty says pointing towards the Atrium, the first space visible to museum visitors. For long-time Exploratorium fans, the result is a comforting mix of the familiar and new, and as Doherty tells me for new visitors, it’s meant to be a good intro to what lies beyond. “This space here features classic Exploratorium exhibits that will show people who aren’t necessarily San Francisco natives the kinds of things that they will be experience while they’re here,” he tells me. “We wanted to showcase the best of the best.”

The atrium houses well-loved classic exhibits like “The Turn Table”, originally a physics Ph.D. thesis intended to show how a ball rolls across a spinning metal disc. When the ball crosses the “turntable”, it takes a chaotic, almost torturous path before it unexpectedly exits the table parallel to the point at which it entered.

Doherty said museum attendees, not staff, were the first to wheel coin across its surface. He picks up one of the plastic discs now part of “Turn Table” and wheels it across the moving table. “As you can see, the visitors taught us what this exhibit was really about. We watch our visitors, and we learn from them.”

Traversing the museum floor, we pick up new listeners gravitating towards Doherty’s excitement, almost as tactile at the Exploratorium’s most famous “Tactile Dome” (which will be up and running by Summer 2013). It’s enough to make you a little envious that your own workspace doesn’t inspire raptures like those of Doherty in his new digs.

For another atrium exhibit entitled “Moving Objects” (2012), by Exploratorium artist in residence Pe Lang, suspends rubber rings on vibrating rods, giving the illusion that the rings are passing through each other. “Drip Patterns” is a staff-made offering which illuminates the oozing drip of mineral oil. The effect is surprisingly artsy, and demonstrates the existence of caustics, which in differential geometry are “envelopes of rays either reflected or refracted by a manifold.” True to the spirit of the Exploratorium, no PhD is necessary to enjoy the installations — even to the uninformed onlooker, “Drip Patterns” looks cool, dispelling the idea of science-art dichotomy,

The new space’s innovations are enough to make me wish little Jessica could have seen the space. All the old favorites are present: the giant bubble-maker, live tornado capsule, artist in residence Ed Tannenbaum’s “Recollections” (1981), which freezes your image via a large scale projector in oh-so-’80s-music-video manner. These exhibits — all made in-house, as Doherty reminds me — trick you into learning, entice you into participating, and invite you to interact. I’m not eight anymore (dammit) but they made me feel like a kid again.

According to my guide, over the years, Exploratorium staff has made 2,000 exhibits. 600 are in the new space, 450 classics carried over from the Palace of Fine Arts, refurbished. 150 are brand new.

If you’re going to brave the crowds this weekend — or tonight’s continued opening ceremony celebrations — be sure to bring comfortable shoes and an open mind. If you can catch Doherty passionately explaining the mysterious behaviour of dry ice on water or the density of mineral oil suspended in light, all the better. 

The Exploratorium Piers 15 and 17, SF. (415) 528-4360,

CAREERS AND ED: Top 10 careers


CAREERS AND ED “Looking into the future is difficult” says Larry Bliss, the director of academic advising and career education at California State University’s East Bay campus. “Ten years ago, would we have been very supportive of a student who said that she wanted to make a career out of designing web pages for businesses? I think not. But today, that’s a pretty handsomely paid job.”

The best advice Bliss tells the Guardian he can offer to college students is to pick a major they like and think about the transferable skills that each course of study will impart.

According to the Bureau of Labor’s predictions, not all of the US job markets with the largest projected growth (outside of the medical field) require a significant academic resume. If you’re after high salary jobs, stay in school — the nursing, technical consulting, and computer system jobs predicted to see salary increases all require a little more educational incubation. 


All figures in parentheses reflect predicted growth through 2020

1. Personal care aides (70.5%)/home care aides (69.4%)

2. Medical secretaries (41.3%)

3. Medical assistants (30.9%)

4. Retail sales (26%)

5. Physicians and surgeons (24.4%)

6. Receptionists and information clerks (23.7%)

7. Construction (21.3%)

8. Landscaper/groundskeeper (20.9%)

9. Heavy truck driver (206%)

10. Childcare workers (20.4%)

11. Accountants, bookkeepers, auditors (15.7%)


1. Home health care aide (61%)

2. Management, scientific, technical consultants (4.7%)

3. Child Daycare Services (2.6%)

4. Nursing and residential care (2.4%)

5. Computer systems design (3.9%)

6. Construction (2.9%)

7. Architectural engineering (2.5%)


Can’t stop fashion: Style, as always, at Oakland’s First Friday


We’re stoked on next week’s Oakland First Fridays, where the style is weird, wild, and exactly what you would expect to see any time Bay Area folks, art, and mingling collide. In March, despite the previous month’s tragedy, looks were lively as ever. Attendees and vendors alike seemed to have all received the same memo: throw on some sort of headwear and layer up in as many different patterns as possible.

The fair usually takes over Telegraph Avenue from 17th Street to 27th Street. During last months’ edition, the shooting that occured at the street fair in February had wrought a few changes — the event was considerably smaller, still running along Telegraph Avenue, but only from West Grand Avenue to 27th Street, and about half the usual size. The evening came to a close an hour earlier at 9pm, and public drinking was prohibited. The community paid their respect the shooting victim with altars and peace vigils. 

But fashion pressed on. In a more conventional environment, the excessive use of prints at First Fridays would likely have appeared overdone, but amid street musicians jamming on homemade instruments, ambient street lamp lighting, and a general creative atmosphere, the spirited look fit in just right.

The vendors selling mostly handmade and thrifted goods made an obvious effort to dress in the style of their products. Tua-Lisa Runsten sported a pair of leopard leggings, a tweed jacket, and naturally some gigantic, neutral-toned earrings from her Etsy line. 

We saw blue hair, pink trench coats, and even a dangerously daggery necklace, but the steampunk-inspired style of the “Window Lady”, otherwise known as Janay Rose, topped them all. Rose wore a patchwork skirt, a furry collar, and a festive fascinator while her partner looked equally as dashing in a pair of worn-in overalls and a black bowler hat. 

The bundled up merchants adorned in polka dots, animal prints, and floral anorak jackets proved to us that busier is better. So what sartorial lesson did we take away from this bustling street fair? Go ahead, throw on two pieces that don’t match whatsoever. Mix blue and black. Sport a festive mini skirt with a pair of sequined Ugg boots with for a comfortable nighttime look. Wait no …don’t do that. Please never do that. But this for sure: even in trouble times, fashion braves on. 

Oakland First Fridays

First Fridays, 5-10pm, free

Telegraph between 19th and 27th Sts., Oakl.

FEAST: 5 stoner cookbooks


FEAST If that joint’s got you jonesin’ for some serious grub, look no further. We’ve rolled up the latest and greatest in stoner cookbooks, perfect for any discerning bud lover’s taste test. No, we didn’t include any weed-infused recipes in this list, but hey, feel free to augment the recipes in the brownie cookbook. Whether you’re a marathon midnight toker or a one hitter-and-quitter, we understand your need for accessibility, availability, and general ease in eating after that smoke sesh. But move beyond Pop Tarts — even the most gourmand of pot heads could use some guidelines for grilling up goodies every once in awhile.


Get your mac on. Allison Areval and Erin Wade, co-owners and authors of The Mac and Cheese Cookbook dish out 117 pages dedicated to one of America’s most beloved dishes, based on the crowd pleasing specialties dished up in their Oakland restaurant Homeroom. The book is an homage to Homeroom’s endless variations on the classic orange variety. That’s good news if your cravings leave you hankering for a variety of tastes. Basic bechamel sauces figure on the pages alongside smoky bacon, blue cheese, sriracha, and jalapeno poppers. There’s even a section on desserts suitable for your post-mac munch.

Ten Speed Press, $16.99


This self-proclaimed “erotic” cookbook sinks its teeth into all things bacon. Bacon au gratin, bacon-wrapped asparagus, bacon Alfredo (just to name a few) — this pork-inspired parody cookbook has all the seductive appeal of its sexy, silly source material. But instead of a half baked S&M narrative, Johnson and Myhre’s book gets you off with five different carnivorous sections of easy-to-follow recipes. A seductive succession of events unfolds with chapters entitled “Foreplay,” “Multiple Orgasms,” “Morning Wood,” and “Bondage”, where bacon bits, bacon jam, bacon martinis, and bacon peanut stoke your stoner flames. And even if pig parts don’t get you off, they’ll almost certainly taste better when you’re high.

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, $19.95


We’ve all done it. Remember that time when you were so high, you thought putting chocolate sauce on canned jalapeños was the most genius concept ever? Until, of course, you made that dream reality and were left with a wounded mouth and sobering regret. It turns out, however, that unlikely pairings aren’t always painful. Top Chef: All Stars winner Richard Blais proves it to us in this cookbook. From root-beer basted lamb-shanks to coffee butter pancakes, the chef’s recipes do flavor exploration the right way — 125 right ways, to be precise. Go forth and concoct creatively.

Clarkson Potter Publishers, $30


Lucinda Scala Quinn takes on take-out. Her mission in Mad Hungry Cravings is to reconcile the almost unbeatable deliciousness of fast food with the nourishment and nutrition that a home kitchen can produce, without a lot of work. Can good for you also be good for munchies? Damn straight. While raising three boys in NYC, where street food beats about anything found in the fridge (particularly if you’re a ravenous adolescent), Quinn had to create home-cooked meals capable of competition with street dogs and shawarmas.

Artisan, $27.95


Stoners, perhaps more than most, know that not all brownies are created equal. If you have ever tried to make a batch of brownies with your favorite herb, you know it requires a careful balance of elements and timing. This book’s sugary-sweet offerings are winners, and recipes are composed with chocolate and without for more innovative pastry pleasure. The pages start with the standards and segue into non-traditional options, like cocoa-avocado, pumpkin pie, and nonpareil brownies. If you’d rather stick to the classics, try whipping up chocolate walnut brownies or Cooking Penguin’s ace pecan blondies.

168 Publishing, $12.95

Light-up wonders, deep sea explorers, jelly apps: Marine biology at the Bone Room


You don’t have to travel far to enter foreign waters. Just a few miles off San Francisco shores lies a world more alien to us than anything dreamed up by the likes of Ridley Scott or James Cameron. And as Doctor Steve Haddock of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute told us in his lecture, entitled “No Bones About It: The Diversity of Gelatinous Invertebrates in the Deep Sea” at Berkeley’s Bone Room last Thursday night, this world — otherwise known as Monterey Bay — holds 4,000 meters of uncharted underwater territory , miles of yet-to-be-discovered ecosystems, organisms, and almost unimaginable possibilities of new life.

Monterey Bay is one of the most biologically diverse bodies of waters in the world due to the massive sub-oceanic Monterey Canyon, one of the deepest of its kind off the coast of the United States. It stretches about 4,000 meters in depth, surpassing the depth of the Grand Canyon. 

Bioluminescence and zooplankton expert Haddock came up for air from his research to tell tales about the diversity of the underwater world, not to mention his discoveries regarding siphonophores, ctenophores, and various other classes of jellyfish — which turned out highly mysterious creatures, as far as science is concerned. 

Through his dedicated and highly specified research, Haddock is shedding light on what lies beneath. Reconsidering previous discoveries and challenging everything previously known about these deep-sea and open-ocean ctenophores, siphonophores, radiolarians, medusae and deep-sea gelatinous zooplankton, the scientist has discovered many new species, and has put out a call to realign and redefine some of the branches on marine biology’s tree of life.

He offered us a simplified glimpse into the world he is slowly but assuredly helping to piece together, proving that sometimes, all it takes to reach a sound conclusion is to turn off the lights.

More specifically, the lights on his submersible, which allowed Haddock to see the light, meaning bioluminescence.

This became the highlight of Haddock’s lecture on Thursday. He closed his talk with video slides of various jellies lighting up the layers of sea where the sun don’t shine, using a chemically-produced mechanism to hunt prey, defend themselves, find mates, and survive in the unfamiliar world of the deep.

Want to help Haddock and his team put together a more comprehensive look at the behaviors of jellies? There’s an app for that. (And it rocks). Next time you see a jelly, a bloom of jellies, or an an unidentifiable invertebrate washed up on a beach, snap a pic and upload it to Jellywatch — it’s available on iTunes for free. Happy jelly-watching! 

The Bone Room 1573 Solano, Berk. (510) 526-5252,

Pressure, two ways: Academy of Art and Project Runway at NY Fashion Week


While hyperbolic coverage of what many news pundits called the ‘storm of the year’ raged across the Tri-State area, Manhattan’s would-be-mammoth blizzard arrived in the Big Apple as a pint-sized flurry that the Weather Channel dubbed Nemo. Nemo did little to deter the stilettoed, snow-shoeing pack of fashion-forward who started the morning of Feb. 8 filing into the tents at Lincoln Center for New York Fashion Week hullabaloo around 6 am.

This is the world of fashion, where a steel backbone is required. Plus, “this is New York, we have noreasters,” said a publicist with whom I scored post-show beers. “This is not a some kind of apocalypse blizzard. This is a snow storm. Put on your big girl boots and get over it.”

The action outside the white-tent runway shows of NYFW has become something of a spectacle recently thanks to the hyper-documentation of show attendees by bloggers, fashion journos, and Instagrammers. The evolution of the street scene has become almost as hyped as the collections themselves — outside-the-tent has converted into a place where writers, buyers, and industry professionals rub shoulders with blogosphere self-starters and editorial wanna-bes. Once you’ve crossed the threshold, however — moved past security and secured your seat — the herd thins out. Inside the shows, attention shifts from the amateur peacocking out front onto the belabored fashion lines themselves.

I attended two shows on February 8 — Project Runway‘s, and that of my Bay Area peers from the Academy of Art University. 

Project Runway: Lacking any true designer start that has emerged from this TV series, the jury is still out on whether reality show competition breeds success or mediocrity. Regardless of who will sink or swim in Project Runway’s 11th season, fierce competition certainly yielded entertainment at NYFW.

Usually by Fashion Week, the Project Runway panel — composed of designers Michael Kors and Zac Posen, fashion editor Nina Garcia, and supermodel host Heidi Klum — has winnowed competitors down to the final three. This season, NYFW crowds were treated to the work of seven. The normal Project protocol was thrown to the wind, each designer remaining anonymous, a move that forced them to compete solely on the strength of their garments, without the crowd bias based on on-air personality.

Fashion is an exhibitionist’s sport, but flashiness is not always effective when it comes to style. Some collections at the show came out swinging, trying too hard to define a point of view. Others showed up more quietly, using complicated shapes and silhouettes without appearing self-indulgent. Most resisted the urge to disguise imperfect results with fluff. Michelle Lesniak Franklin’s collection hit the highest note, with several structured pieces rendered in soft quilted fabric, giving way to an ethereal easiness. It appeared elfin or even Zelda-esque, but retained it’s modernity in the silhouette and layering. She took the road less traveled, mixing 1980s-inspired jacket shapes with earth tones, rendering their severe structures soft in wools and knits.

In short, the show was a mixed bag, and no one went home a true winner.

Academy of Art University:  Pressure is an odd catalyst. Some respond to it favorably, combining time and tension to yield extraordinary results. For others, pressure works against success, internal combustion evident in the resulting design.

Where Project Runway’s contestants are forced into a pressure cooker for 12 weeks to design, shop for, sew, and style their collections, San Francisco Academy of Art University students are incubated in a better-paced program. Here, years of planning and months of preparation produce the impressive work that the school has come to be known for. These student-designers are not working for cheap airtime or a bump in ratings for their network television handlers, but instead are putting in the hours of work for genuine academic recognition, fashion futures the old-fashioned way.

As an Academy fashion journalism student myself, I have witnessed the rigorous, extremely exhausting, but equally rewarding process firsthand. In last weeks leading up to the end of the semester, there is a pronounced hush in campus design studios, the only audible noises come in deep hums of the sewing machines, the incessant clicking of mechanical needles, and the hissing of industrial-grade irons. Each student, earbuds in, rips, measures, presses, tapes, pins, and repeats. One feels guilty even walking past such determination on the way to the bathrooms, so intense is the creative process.

This year, the collections from AAU’s multi-national student body were marked by a range of culture fusions. The show’s focal point was the visual negotiation between student, fabric, form, and heritage.

The runway sequence ebbed and flowed between moments of sparse minimalism, as in Yuming Weng ‘s simple monochromatics and plays on texture and structure, in Chenxi Li’s over-sized crushed velvet coats, rendered unique by combining elements of ‘50s Americana with traditional Chinese armor. Knitwear student Heather Scholl’s sexually charged, gender-explorative neon psychedelics stalked the lane.

Stand-out collections included show openers Janine M. Villa and Amanda Nervig’s marriage of tailored suiting and free-falling knitwear, which gave the rigid geometric patterns that adorned both fabrics fluidity, and embued the suiting with an astonishing sense of movement. Inspired by traditional Welsh blankets, Villa and Nervig’s work felt eclectic and free-spirited on the runway, the print-on-print combinations of chunky knits and embellished tailoring gave the collection an exciting and unexpected visual depth.

Heather McDonald took taut silhouettes to new heights with soaring shapes that defied gravity. These exaggerated forms were rendered in deeply-saturated angoras and wools, which brought the avant-garde down to earth. The final act was perhaps the most impressive. Qian Xie’s crystal-encrusted coat dresses and lattice-woven leather overcoats followed her apt theme “50 Shades of Grey”, and the results were lust-worthy.


Is your cat the Devil? Learn its historical precedence at demonic kitty lecture


Has your cat spit fire recently? Exhibited fluency in multiple languages simultaneously? Levitated? Flown? If so, your furry feline may be experiencing the troublesome symptoms of housing a demon. And fire can really do a number on those expensive drapes.

Luckily for you, occult expert Paul Koudounaris is coming to SF this Friday, and as part of David Normal’s “Crazyology” art exhibit will be shedding light on the dark world of demonry in his lecture series, looking at both historical and modern accounts of devilish domestics.

Koudounaris stumbled upon this cryptic world of bedeviled kitties during research for his upcoming book Heavenly Bodies. Initially seeking evidence of angelic cat spirits, like the fluffy white Swiss apparition rumored to protect both the town Bürglen and the remains of St. Maximus, Koudounaris realized that the wealth of information on supernatural kitties was located on the dark side.  

Even the goddess Bast, one of the most enduring Egyptian cat figureheads, was revered for her dark side. According to records from Herodotus, Koudouanris explains in an email interview with the Guardian. “Debauchery was part of the celebration of Bast. One source I found indicated that rapes and assaults were totally acceptable during the celebration of Bast, because it was believe that the spirit of Bast had taken over the perpetrators during the festival. ”

While the how’s and why’s of cats becoming possessed remain unexplained, accounts of these Luciferian faring felines are centuries-old.

And given the responses to Koudounaris’ lectures, still relevant today. “I started doing this lecture as a kind of series” he says, “People who had not been to it would come to me and say, ‘oh, you should talk about my roommate’s cat, that thing is a total demon.’ But [they didn’t] mean bad kitty, [they meant] possessed by demons, or at least suspected of it.” Throughout his research Koudounaris has seen enough bones that he doesn’t spook at just any apparition.

After completing his Ph.D. in art history at UCLA in 2004, Koudounaris was left waiting for some kind of otherworldly inspiration to direct and supplement his extensive training. Inspiration struck in 2006, in the seedy lobby of a Czech hostel.

“I had spent a day in Melnik , where I visited an extraordinary charnel house in the crypt under the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul,” wrote Koudounaris on his website, “It was gritty and dirty — decidedly not sanitized for tourists — but the arrangements of the bones showed genius, not just in formal artistic principles, but also in their understanding of philosophy and theology.”

For the next four years, his interest in the bizarre left him mausoleum-bound and underground, photo-documenting his journey into innumerable holes, crypts, and churches around Europe.

The Empire of Death, his recently-released book, documents this journey in rich color printed photographs, visually raising from the dead the largely forgotten history of ossuaries.

While he’s by no means a bone collector,  Koudounaris, is certainly an archaeologist of sorts, exhuming the forgotten, the unbelievable, and even the seemingly bizarre. His work breathes new life into forgotten chapters of history, like that of devil cats.

One such chapter belongs to the United States, and a cat that haunts the Presidential homestead.

D.C., short for the District of Columbia (but also Demon Cat) has been purportedly haunting the White House since the Civil War days. Legend has it that General Nathan Bedford Forest, who was also the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, was responsible for invoking this common cat with demonic duties. D.C. was “initially related to the death of Lincoln,” says Koudounaris, “hence the suspicion that the confederacy was involved, apparently as an attempt to undermine the Union through a decidedly guerrilla tactic of sending in a demonically-possessed cat.”

D.C.’s historic haunting’s have even garnered him his own Wikipedia page. According to Koudounaris, D.C.  “has a tendency to reappear and presage national disasters — the last account of it was right before the 9/11 attacks. It also appeared before Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, when it appeared and told JFK to “go fuck off.”

Koudounaris muses, “Do you think they have to brief every new president? ‘Sir, now that you have taken the Oath of Office, there is something we must tell you. If you happen to see a black cat that metamorphs, disappears, and speaks to you in tongues, it’s a demon, sir.'”

Humor is clearly unfiltered when one deals with darkness daily.

A cat owner himself, he notes that chances of actually encountering a demonically-possessed cat is rather rare, but rogue demons have been known to take form in even the most docile of kitties. ‘I don’t consider this something most of us should be worried about. But if your cat starts spitting fire–well, get the hell away from it.”

Paula Koudounaris demonic cat lecture

8pm, free

1000 Van Ness, atrium, SF


Here’s the deal



Lash Lab 2166 Union, SF. (888) 406-5274, Full set of eyelash extensions (normally $219) for $150.

Gentle Star 14 Mint Plaza, Suite 110, SF. (415) 618-0108, On Mondays, get $100 microderm treatment (regularly $150), or $25 off a facial.

Population Salon 537 Divisadero, SF. (415) 440-7677. First-time clients get haircuts for $40 men’s styles, $55 women’s styles.

Waxing 4 Men 500 Sutter, SF. (415) 640-1414, Get “Four Layer Hydration Facial” (regularly $95) for $40 during the month of January. First-time clients can get a Brazilian wax and trim for $65 (regularly $95) through Yelp deal.

Fringe Salon 322 Hayes, SF. (415) 255-3036, Yelp Deals users pay $75 for a haircut and gloss treatment (regularly $140).

John Brody Salon 2338 Market, SF. (415) 252-0782, Yelp Deals users pay $200 for a Bumble and Bumble hair smoothing treatment (regularly $400).


Bikram Yoga Seacliff 6300 California, SF. (415) 751-6908, Seven-day trial for $20. Buy a drop-in or single class card, get free towel and mat rental.

Dance Mission Theater 3316 24th St., SF. (415) 826-4441, Through Jan. 21, get 15 classes for $150 (good for one year after purchase.) Drop-in Fee: $13.00/class. $44.00 for four classes, or $100.00 for 10 classes, good for three months

Earthbody 534 Laguna, SF. (415) 552-7200, Pay $89 membership fee, receive one massage a month (regularly $115), special services and promotions, 10 percent off all retail products. First time clients get an essential foot therapy, facial massage, or heated neck therapy treatment for free.

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center 1200 Arguello Blvd, SF. (415) 681-2731, 90-minute classes start at $12 drop-in rate, 60-minute classes $10. Sign up for “Beginner Yoga” and “Meditation I” classes together and save $30.

Balance the Clinic 3303 Buchanan, SF. (415) 440-4033, Get massages this month for $50 (normally $95).

Baby Boot Camp Various locations, SF. New moms can try Strollfit and Strollga, yoga-inspired stroller fitness classes, for $96/month. Get eight classes for $128. First class is always free.

San Francisco Community Acupuncture 220 Valencia, SF. (415) 675-8973, Treatments available on sliding scale, $25–$45. Yelp Deals users receive $40 redeemable voucher for $25.

Mission Massage 3150 18th St., Suite 551, SF. (415) 954-2180, During month of January, get three one hour-long sessions for $175 or three 90-minute sessions for $265.

EOS Lymphatic Massage and Aromatherapy Bodywork 450 Sutter, Suite 2011, SF. (415) 971-9373, Yelp Deals users pay $149 for a two-hour session of “holistic, realistic life-coaching.” Regularly $225.

Juicey Lucy’s Available online and at SF farmer’s markets. (415) 786-1285, “Mean Green for 2013” cleanse package for $40/day, including restorative tea and soup.

Green Chiropractic Clinic 1406A Valencia, SF. (415) 702-3311, Yelp Deals users receive $99 worth of services for $79.

Skin Space 323 Geary, Suite 720, SF. (415) 577-0982, New customers enjoy $15 off Brazilian wax or $20 off facials.

Planet Granite 924 Mason, SF. (415) 692-3434, New customers can skip the initiation fee in January (regularly $35).

Life Chiropractic 5330 College, Oakl. (510) 594-9994, Yelp Deals users pay $100 for $150 worth of services.

Energy Matters Acupuncture and Qigong 4341 Piedmont, Oakl. (510) 597-9923, Receive $70 worth of treatments for $120 when purchased through Yelp Deals. Six-treatment acupuncture package available for $432 (regularly $480).

SKYEFiT 864 Folsom, SF. (415) 992-3110, First session of boot camp or personal training is free. This month, pay $89 for one-month unlimited training or two personal training sessions (regularly $150). Regular boot camp classes are $175 for a month.

Body Mechanix Fitness 292 Fourth St, Oakl. (877) 658-4757, Get one month of unlimited group training for $99 (regularly $190) when purchased through Yelp Deals.

Phoenix Aerial Art and Pole 1636 University, Berk. (510) 504-5065, Phoenix is offering a Yelp Deals promotion of $50 for $75 on classes.

Purusha Yoga 3729 Balboa, SF. (415) 668-9642, Free yoga at 11am on weekend mornings (check website for locations). New students get one week of unlimited classes for $25, one month for $49. College students receive 10 percent off any regularly-priced membership, class. or package.

Pop Physique 2424 Polk, SF. (415) 776-4678, First-time customers receive 30-day unlimited class pass for $100. New moms get three months of unlimited classes for $375.


Bloombastic: It’s magnolia season at the SF Botanical Garden


As we speak there are budding booms in Golden Gate Park that will have even the greenest of thumbs tickled pink. Yes, it is magnolia season, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to check out the flowers’ arrival — the Garden is home to nearly 100 rare and historic magnolias, all erupting in aromatic array. In fact, the collection is the most comprehensive and long-standing one of its kind outside of China. We’re talking 51 species and 33 cultivars, all assembled by the Garden in the name of varietal preservation.

The star of the year’s show is undoubtedly the cup and saucer magnolia, or the Magnolia campbellii. Nicknamed for its distinctive shape, it first bloomed in the United States in 1940, born from a transplanted cutting from a tree in the Lloyd Botanic Garden of Darjeeling, India. The cup and saucer is considered the flagship flower in the SF Botanical Garden due to its size, shape, and vivid coloration.

“Magnolias have long been the signature flower of San Francisco Botanical Garden,” says Don Mahoney, the garden’s curator. “Everyone loves them. They are an unforgettable sight of great beauty, and it turns out that the mild and foggy climate in San Francisco is the perfect environment for Asian magnolias, so we’ve been extremely successful cultivating them here.” His Garden’s collection was born in 1939, when director Eric Walther planted the first bloom.

To commemorate this signature flower’s peak season, the Botanical Garden is assembling a full bouquet of special programs dedicated to the occasion. There will be moonlit docent-led tours highlighting the evening beauty of the flowers, bloom-inspired drawing classes, . The magnolias will also star in the Garden’s celebration of the Lunar New Year — tai chi and lion dance performances will twirl through the weekend of Feb. 16-17 at the Garden, and you’ll be able to make a plant lantern from the petals of the fair blooms.

And like any decent event series, there’s a mixology course scheduled: on January 31 you can join Elixir owner H. Joseph Ehrmann for a hands-on craft cocktail class inspired by the Garden’s magnolias. You’ll be using herbs and spices picked from the Garden itself to make drinks, an intoxicating lead-in to spring. 

Magnolias by Moonlight tour

Fri/25, 6pm, $15

Magnolia Mixology

Thu/31, 5pm, $125

Family Lunar New Year celebration

Feb. 16, 11am-3pm; Feb. 17, 9:30-11am, free

San Francisco Botanical Gardens

1199 Ninth Ave., SF

(415) 661-1316