February 20, 2008

Miru Kim & Urban Exploration

It’s surprising how you find something totally precious when you are not even looking for it. It happened to me last weekend right across the street from where I found Bubble Tea on Castro st. I was waiting at Louie’s Barbershop while Kingsley was getting a haircut. I was sitting on a broken barber’s chair and I decided to kill time going through some Esquire magazines and that’s when I came across Miru Kim.

She is 26, petite, creative and completely fearless. I am saying this because even though her medium is photography the dangerous lengths to which she goes to find the right picture is something else. Miru is an urban explorer. She takes naked pictures of herself in “hard, cold, sharp, and dirty (urban places where), everything is in ruins”. She goes on these missions completely unarmed, not even pepper spray, however, he feels her own nude body is her defense. In her words “If you think about it, if you see some woman naked in an abandoned building, it’s kind of scary”. I thought about and I have to agree.

Apart from having found a dead body once, things have been mostly eventless. She does mention an incident in an abandoned train tunnel, involving a squatter. “She came across a cool-looking section that she wanted to photograph, but the problem was there was a guy there who was taking up that particular space as a residency. He was sleeping and she didn’t want to wake him up, so later on when she went back — again by herself — to that exact spot and he was no longer there, she set up her tripod, camera, took her clothes off, and started taking nude photos of herself, and “he came in while I was doing this, he came in while I was taking photos of myself. I was totally alone, and this guy just completely walked in. I was so scared. That was probably the scariest moment. I saw a figure coming through the tunnel, and he didn’t have a flashlight or anything, so it was completely dark. So I see this dark figure coming toward me, then I saw that it was just this old guy who looked pretty harmless, he just lived there. So I dressed up and explained to him what I was doing — ‘I’m doing an art project, sorry to bother you’ — you know? Because it’s like his house, you know? So I told him, and he didn’t say much; he was just standing there like, Okay. So I took off my clothes again and did it in front of him and he was kind of sitting in the picture, so I was like, ‘Do you mind moving forward out of the picture, please?’ And he was just sitting around watching, so I did my thing, then dressed up. It was really filthy in there, real muddy, smelled like urine, and I was wiping off with baby wipes, and the guy was like, ‘Do you want my shirt to clean off?’ He looked probably sixty or so, I’m sure he’s younger than he looks, and really skinny. He was really nice. Afterward, we were sitting around talking about his life. He kept on talking about Rikers Island, and that he likes it down there because it’s quiet. I told him I liked that, too. And then he was like, ‘Let me walk you out.’ He thanked me for treating him like a regular person.””

Here’s her short film.


January 8, 2008

An Evening With the Man From Earth

A few weekends back at a birthday party, a friend of mine was talking about “The Man from Earth”. He was strongly recommending that I watch it, but would not say anything about the plot. All he asked was if I was religious… so moving forward, I finally got myself to watch the movie and I must say this is one of the best movies I have seen in the last year. I definitely don’t want to reveal the plot either, but I guess I can tell you it’s not sci-fi as the title may sound like but more of a narrative/ conversational movie.

Digging a little deeper (i.e. Wikipedia :P) I found out that the writer & cult figure Jeromy Bixby completed the screenplay on his deathbed, by narrating it to his son. Then it was given to director Richard Schenkman to finish it in a $200,000 budget, believable given that the whole thing happens in a living room with a fireplace. Even more interesting was that the producer of this movie, Eric D. Wilkinson had publicly thanked the BitTorrent enthusiasts who saw this film for taking it farther than the traditional scope would have allowed.

December 26, 2007

The Indigenous, The Pretentious, The Aphrodisiacs

I was excited when I began reading Wired’s piece on strange canned foods. But I have to tell you, some of them are not all that strange, in fact I’d like to taste a few, one I have already tasted.

We live in a time when chicken feet, pig ears or Cordyceps Sinensis (aka Chinese caterpillar fungus) are no more culinary shockers, so I was disappointed that Wired had not include some of the more weirder stuff. In all fairness, I’d like to bring to light Mopani worms, snail eggs, gold & pearl lollipops. While Mopani worms are fairly common in Southern Africa, snail eggs common in Europe, the gold and pearl lollipops are just pretentious aphrodisiacs.

I know we are running out of reasons to charge extra for a cup of tea, but “Monkey picked tea“? Turns out monkeys were trained to climb steep mountains and pick wild tea from there. This product comes from China at about $40 for 57g and if any of you gets to brew this monkey tea, I am not saying invite me, but leave a note on how you liked it. Or you could just invite me!

December 25, 2007

Mario Unclogged: Christmas Day

I had no idea the section reserved for Mario Batali in the Serious Eats website was called “Mario Unclogged” as in he is not wearing his clogs. Glad they put a picture of those little orange clogs, it’d have never struck me otherwise.

December 18, 2007

Heroes of the Design World

Filed under: Art,Business,Reviews — Dee @ 4:15 pm

I know a lot of people, including myself, who have a weakness for great design and bubble tea. While this post has nothing to do with the latter, I wish to bring some of my favorite brands, artists & products to light. This time around I will leave out mainstream-underground artists like Banksy. So here goes the list of heroes:

Bike Furniture: Located in Marquette, Michigan, Bike Furniture Design designs and manufactures furniture made from recycled bicycle parts like aluminum bicycle rimes, handlebars, frames, etc.

Viktor Koen: He is a graphic design & illustration genius. Born in Greece and design schooled both in Jerusalem and NYC, Viktor is a faculty member at the Parsons School of Design among other things. Some of his customers include Rolling Stone, National Geographic, IBM, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Records, Harper Collins, Los Angeles Times, etc.

Shift Racing: Shift is part of Fox Racing, one of the world leaders in racing gear. With it’s cult following, Shift manages to stay ahead of the motorsports game through sharp and stylish designs that do not compromise on comfort and functionality. It manages to be leader of the pack in the most tortuous and demanding world of motocross. Turns out motocross racers are fitter than athletes on track or American football and soccer players given the high heart rate that they maintain for over 30 minutes, twice a day.

Upper Playground: My pet brand with a ton of attitude and street cred. These guys not only sell, clothes and accessories, they also sell films (DVDs of artists, their life, love, & passion), furnitures and books. On top of that, they also have a cool blog. No wonder Yelp is going crazy with reviews.

December 14, 2007


Filed under: Art,Fashion,Reviews — Dee @ 10:13 am

Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza is now playing in San Francisco till Jan 20th. I watched it a few days back and I am so hooked and impressed. It combines two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and clowning. It has balancing on chairs, unicycle duo, solo trapeze, charivari, juggling, contortion, teeterboard, wheel of death, highwire and of course neat costumes. The characters are so diverse and individually memorable, especially the Trickster played by Ross Gibson. I’d definitely encourage you to watch it!

December 13, 2007

Road Kill Toys

Filed under: Art,Reviews — Dee @ 5:51 pm

Kingsley sent me this link today for a site that sells road kill toys. The designers, who call themselves “toy terrorists”, claim they love to mess with toys, inspired by the urban toy movement that started in 1997 in Harajuku, Japan. They get their kicks out of Urban Vinyl and Street Plush spanning from Harajuku to San Francisco. I love the idea of having roadkill stuff toys, can’t wait to see more. It’s so cutely morbid and extremely stylized. I wish they also included road kill magnet for my fridge.

Step aside Gothic Lolita, here comes the road kill.

Gordon Terry

Filed under: Personal,Reviews — Dee @ 5:26 pm

They have Existed, At Least In Some Way, Hidden From Comprehension, 2005, Acrylic on acrylic panel, 72 x 96 inches
For more of his work.

November 13, 2007

All things bacon beautiful!

Filed under: Food,Food in San Francisco,Personal,Reviews — Dee @ 11:18 am

Have you had this experience when everyone loved something and you didn’t. It happens to me with bacon, yes that’s right I don’t care for bacon. If I have to I will eat it, I won’t if I can avoid it. The only bacon I like is Brandy Ho’s  hunan ham stir fry! But the more I try to avoid it the more bacon hits me in the face. So in the spirit of excessive eating the holiday season, I have decided to give in and bring to light some bacon specialties.

Bacon Scarf: 100% Acrylic for $35            Bacon Salt: 100% vegan for $4.49             Bacon Soap: 100% soap for $24.95

If you aren’t nauseated satiated yet, you passed the first round here is something more delish, bacon wrapper turkey from Chow. If you still want more there is always Grateful Palate.

September 18, 2007

Wired’s Geekipedia

Filed under: Reviews — Dee @ 9:26 am

Via Wired – “Wikipedia doesn’t distinguish “need to know” from “didja know?” — and it’s lousy for browsing. That’s why we created Wired Geekipedia. Godwin’s law, Guitar Hero, Gates Foundation — you may know their definitions, but we tell you what they really mean.”

Faith Smackdown: In the Collins (former head of the Human Genome Project) vs. Dawkins (well, Dawkins) argument about the existence of the Divine element, you can click on their heads to vote for each round. Very cool.

If you are at the Wired site anyway, you might be interested in this – Direct Brain-to-Game Interface worries scientists.

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