More awesome graphics appearing promoting Mr. Nobody’s Spookeasy. This nice poster is by Casey Castille. Looking forward to being part of the puppet cast for this run.

 

I was backing up my computer yesterday (you all back up your files, right???) and saw a great photo of some black light fun with the Professor at the 2013 Edwardian Ball. While paying more attention to this blog, I realized that I didn’t have any photos of my prop manipulations of the recent past….

Edwardian Ball puppet magic

Mystic Midway 2013 at the Edwardian Ball

This was an ensemble performance so I cannot recall which floating object is in my hand. This is a great photo though!  Read the rest of this entry »

For the past year, I have been scaling back my online presence. This includes deleting email addresses, unsubscribing to lists, ending social site profiles, and now – taking down StencilNation.org. Since the site went live in 2008 after the Manic D Press book was released, it stood as the site least updated (Stencil Archive is always first).

Antonio Gomez did an awesome job with the Flash animation, which was standard back then. Now the standard is anything that works on an iPhone or iPad (HTML5, CSS, Java), which is NOT Flash. I never had a static version of the site that mobile devices could default to, and I didn’t want to update the site here in 2014. I still see Flash sites but they don’t work on phones, which is what everyone uses now.

The book is now out of print. It had four successful printings and Manic D’s Jen Joseph always has good things to say about the book. I haven’t sold a copy via the site in months. I may have sold ONE copy last year when I sent someone to the site.

I still have copies left for sale! 

The address stencilnation.org now redirects to the mothership Stencil Archive. You can still buy a book via PayPal on the Stencil Archive site. You can also buy a copy via this site.

At some point I may put the Flash site back up on this site for archival fun, much like I do for the 2004 version of happyfeettravels.org. For now, I am keeping it simple. One less site to pay for, worry about, and update.

Old School pic of Frank “12 Galaxies” Chu.

Leon lookin’ mean at Cell.

Ooooh…. 2004. Blogs were exploding. Flash drives were a rarity. Bush’s wars drug on. And good ole’ Happy Feet was on the webstreams. With the recent backing up and rooting around the site, I realized that I still keep a copy of the old version of this site (I call it 2.0) up and running. That’s Jacqueie Ben-Eliezer in the masthead (RIP), Frank “12 Galaxies” Chu with the sign, and Mr. Leon Rosen looking all mean with the sticky note (that says “Leon has a posse”). There’s also my fun “@bomb” favicon, the secret <3 (did emoticons exist in ’04?) link on the masthead, and links to all the other pages I had running at the time. Once blog tech got easy to install and use, I basically took the same themes and used them as categories on this version (WP v3.0). Guess this is my #TBT post a day late….

Stencil Nation on Cross Currents (2009)
(Click link to access player)

I’m in the process of saying farewell to StencilNation.org. The book is officially out of print and the website was designed (by Antonio Gomez) in the heady days when Adobe Flash was du jour. With the rise of mobile phones and HTML5 (and the whole responsive site mania), it is time to retire the Stencil Nation site and redirect to Stencil Archive (the mothership).

While backing up Stencil Nation one last time, I saw a random mp3 file on the top level of the site’s backend. I clicked listen and it was a Cross Currents interview I did while on the book tour. It was a great experience and it actually riled up a listener who felt that all public art was vandalism. Fun!

I guess I was worried about taking up too much memory back then. Good thing the cloud revolution caught up and now memory is practically infinite. The interview mp3 is on this site’s cloud, and WordPress even allows super easy linking via its “Add Media” button.

Here’s my original post about the interview:

Had a great bike ride over to the KALW studio near McClearen Park this morning and interviewed with Penny Nelson for Cross Currents. The engineer, a bike commuter, told me another route that sent me through the park and then down Mission St. in the Excelsior District. Found some stencils along that ride home! They posted the show early so here’s the goods. Fast forward in about 3 and a half minutes to hear my segment. About 10 minutes long total.

I’m going to miss bike commuting the first few blocks of Sansome St. in San Francisco’s Financial District. That’s right – the nonprofit that I work for is going to move to downtown Oakland in the next three months. We are fleeing the booming high-rent space ($52/square foot in our current building) in order to grow and have the extra funds to support the growth. I may write more about my first ever desk job in Oakland, but for now – the poetic chaos of Sansome Street.

The yellow highlighted area marks the main stretch of my commute that fascinates me twice daily.

The yellow highlighted area marks the main stretch of my commute that fascinates me twice daily.

I frequently discuss traffic with a friend who happens to drive for Lyft (and Uber) and write freelance. During one of these discussions, I shared a story about how an Uber limo driver decided to drive around a Muni bus and the three cars stuck behind it. You may see a driver make this maneuver in other parts of San Francisco. On Sansome St., the Uber driver drove into the oncoming lane, into a gridlocked intersection, and only had an option of turning right (Muni buses can turn left and then zag right onto Market St. while all other traffic must turn right onto Sutter St.). Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween with Mr. Nobody

Author: Russell

The Spookeasy Website is UP!

Mr. Nobody's Spookeasy, Halloween 2014!

Mr. Nobody’s Spookeasy, Halloween 2014!

Just a teaser for now: Over the past few years I’ve been working with Scott Levkoff making very fun adult-themed puppetry events. This is only a sliver of the fantastic vision that Scott has for interactive play, but I have been a minion for his swamp-god Mr. Nobody (black light puppetry… a dream fulfilled at last!), Mr. Nobody himself (and VERY hungry), as well as animated black-light objects, and part of an “animatronic” puppet fortune-telling bit. It’s always a pleasure to work with Scott, so always hard to say no to his invitations.

Coming up, I will be animating objects/puppets for Scott at :::: The first-ever San Francisco Spookeasy Halloween Extravaganza is a new, daring, bold and sophisticated multi-evening experiential destination party that will transform Chinatown’s Great Star Theatre into a scintillating circus-like, madcap séance soiree beckoning back to life ghosts, spirits, and specters from the raucous and rollicking red hot era of 1930’s Burlesque and Barbary Coast Vaudeville in a decadently opulent Max Fleischer-esque ‘ToonTown’ parallel universe’s haunted Prohibition-era Speakeasy.

Sounds fun, right?! More details and pics coming in the following weeks….

Join in on the fun!

Join in on the fun!

XLt SF: Seeing Double

Author: Russell

Pod just booked a second Citizen Kino event at Noisebridge for Sept. 19th. I’m expecting two different shows for the Bay Area viewing citizens…

Getting stranger by the minute with XLt analysis.

Getting stranger by the minute with XLt analysis.

Friday, September 19, 19:00: CiTiZEN KiNO with The XLterrestrials, This is a tactical media platform, a hybrid of curated screening, theater performance, lecture/faux lecture and heated discussions. We also call it “cinema hacking” or Media Selbst-Verteidigung (media self-defense). Come for two hours cinema hacking with The XLterrestrials and a possible afterparty with “Btropolis” dj(s).

Had a great time for a few hours with this journalist and her crew. I chose CELLspace to give a tour and film the shots. Good to see some final clips of murals that have already been taken down before the wrecking ball takes the rest. On and off camera, I spoke of my reservations with the share economy. Called it a euphemism as well as a warning about how one sees work and the ways that the share economy’s work ethic leaks into personal and private time. I also spoke on how AirBNB does NOT pay into the Hotel Tax Fund, which funds the arts here in San Francisco.

Watching this piece, with almost no French comprehension, feels fluffy. Maybe the butterfly and flower animations gave it away. Those are still beautiful shots of the art at CELLspace. And the journalist and crew were very nice, lefty Europeans.

A King Who Waits

Author: Russell

With a crown above my head,

full of millions of sparkling stars,

I am a king who waits.

 

Sitting on a throne

in a brightly lit room –

Contemplating loses,

Counting laurels –

I am a king who waits.

 

My kingdom resides

where birds fly, bears hunt,

and galaxies spin.

All for me another

I

and a king who waits

7-3-2014

The Internet look is all about flat. So I cleaned up the Stencil Archive logo for the 2014 redesign

The Internet look is all about flat. So I cleaned up the Stencil Archive logo for the 2014 redesign

HappyFeet’s sister site, Stencil Archive, continues to thrive amongst the street art webstreams. HappyFeet began  in 2002 when my stencil photograph selection grew to a point where I felt the need to scan and upload to share and share alike. Last week, Stencil Archive saw the 20,000th uploaded photo, which has been dwarfed in size by corporate sites like Flickr. Back in 2002, a simple Google search brought up maybe 6 sites, none of which were covering the growing, pre-Banksy scene.  Stencil Archive met the need and many sites soon followed. Now they are all vaguely “street art” sites. Stencil Archive is still 100% all about stencils!

While the photo uploads ticked to 20k, I was working on a site redesign with Justin Fraser at Mission Web Works. No one buys computers or laptops anymore, right? Then why the hell isn’t Stencil Archive easy to see and navigate for all the smart phones and tablets out there? Justin and I took care of this major barrier to enjoying the site. Apple’s Jony Ive really pumped up the flat design craze with iOS7, so I redid the Stencil Archive logo, favicon, and homepage icon (yep, you can save a cool app-like button on your phone’s homepage to easily access the stencils) for this 2014 reboot. Read the rest of this entry »

I spraypainted Scot t Williams's huge gorilla on the back door of CELL.in 2010. It is gone (as is the piece that replaced it) due to tagging.

I spraypainted Scott Williams’s huge gorilla on the back door of CELL.in 2010. It is gone (as is the piece that replaced it) due to tagging.

Almost to the day today, I arrived in San Francisco in 1997 with two suitcases (one full of camping gear) and a vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish in the City by the Bay. The words that kept bouncing around in my head were: diversity, creativity, and adventure. I had no idea there as a dot com boom and that the vacancy rate was under 1%. I didn’t even know what a vacancy rate was! I did know that I wanted to be part of something amazing, and if possible, somehow create amazing cultural bits that others enjoyed.

In 1998, I started volunteering for CELLspace, which at the time was a funky underground artist warehouse with folks who had a similar vision that the one I was chewing on. Years later, I tried to move on and open my time and life up to other amazing projects. So CELL got put on the backburner, until 2008. That was a crucial year for CELL, now a nonprofit with paid employees. While on the road touring for the book and for the Conscious Carnival, word started getting back to me that CELL was financially imploding. I wasn’t surprised.

Then I got a call from Jane and Tony Verma, two long-time Metal Shop artists, asking me to help them curate a stencil exhibit on the facade of CELL. Things were bad at the time and CELL’s doors were shut (all the employees and most of management were very far away from the space) due to no one being there to maintain and run things. But the Metal Shop was still holding their cluster together. The Metal Shop designed and built an amazing metal window-covering mural, complete with space in the bottom for showing art. They had reached out to a few artists in Stencil Nation, but needed more. Stencilada was born, and thus began my final run of volunteering for CELL. Read the rest of this entry »