Photography, Travel

Picture Perfect Breakfast in Montana

If there’s anything I love more than breakfast food, it’s my friend Kate’s pictures of breakfast food.

In her reluctant hometown of Helena, Montana, Kate has captured some of the most delectable pictures of dark diners I have ever encountered. For years I have lusted over her beautiful photographs — which you can find on her blog Ze Photographist —  but it wasn’t until this summer’s road trip that I was finally able to experience her favorite haunts first hand.

Behold, No Sweat Cafe, with its handwritten menus, motown music and strict “no cell phones allowed” policy

DSC_1196

DSC_1197

This breakfast table was crowded with multiple cameras and good friends.

DSC_1198

DSC_1202

The most picturesque buttered toast I have ever seen.

DSC_1204

DSC_1206

DSC_1207

Walking away from the cafe, Kate pointed out downtown Helena’s restored brick wall advertisements and the spot where the used bookstore leaves free romance novels out on the street.

DSC_1211

DSC_1212

 

Advertisements
Standard
KQED

Ed Drew’s ‘Native Portraits’ Drawn from Talking Circles, Fixed on Tintypes

On July 21, Spayne Martinez walked into the California Historical Society at the corner of Annie and Mission Streets in San Francisco. As an Academy of Art University alumna, she probably walked past the building countless times on her way to class in SOMA, but never with a 12-foot picture of her on display in the front windows. Inside, Martinez enthusiastically greeted Ed Drew, the photographer of behind Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes, on view at the CHS through Nov. 27.

"Spayne"2014-2015 Tintype by Ed Drew. Courtesy of the artist and Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco.
“Spayne”2014-2015 Tintype by Ed Drew. Courtesy of the artist and Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco.

Martinez beamed as she pointed out her son strapped to her back in the portrait and her cousin’s portrait a few frames down. As a professional portrait photographer herself and a tribal community member of the Klamath Basin, Martinez has a unique insight into the photographic representations of Native people.

Continue reading on KQED Arts

Standard
KQED

Primer Stories Saves the Internet from Itself One GIF at a Time

When was the last time an animated GIF left you breathless? (And not just because you were laughing so hard you couldn’t breathe.)

Whether you pronounce the file format with a hard G or a soft J, the medium is undeniable. GIFs often feature a series of still images ripped from popular videos to create an animated loop. The result is easily shareable and usually hilarious, but rarely an example of fine design.

Joe Alterio. Courtesy Primer&Co.
Joe Alterio. Courtesy Primer&Co.
Tim Lillis. Courtesy Primer&Co.
Tim Lillis. Courtesy Primer&Co.

This is where Joe Alterio and Tim Lillis hope to challenge your idea of what the internet should look like. The designers created Primer Stories in 2015 to share thought-provoking articles that integrate text and visuals for an interactive dual narrative. Based in San Francisco and Seattle respectively, Lillis and Alterio both draw inspiration from the Bay Area’s fusion of art and tech culture. . .

Continue reading on KQED Arts

This article was originally published on KQED Arts on 27 June 2016.

Standard
Arts & Culture

So You Watched Stranger Things and Want to Play Dungeons & Dragons?

30 years from now, will there be a cinematic ode to childhood in 2016 that revolves around Pokémon Go? Probably not.

Here’s why: children staring into their phones is not a compelling visual. You know what is? The opening scene of Stranger Things, showing four boys animatedly playing Dungeons and Dragons.

stranger-things-netflix-dungeons--dragons-1

Stranger Things follows this group of boys as they grapple with supernatural happenings in their small town. Drawing heavily from D&D mythology and ethos, the entire plot of Stranger Things could have easily been a collective creation of these boys’ table top role playing.

But you don’t have to be a prepubescent boy living in the 80s to appreciate Dungeons & Dragons. If you’ve never tangled with a 20-sided die, there’s no better time than the present.

Dice_(typical_role_playing_game_dice)

Photo by Diacritica via Creative Commons

I began playing D&D in 2014 after watching Freaks & Geeks and listening to the Harmontown podcast. I even wrote an article for KQED Arts about how Judd Apatow and Dan Harmon have rewritten the roleplaying geek through their television characters.

I was lucky enough to have not one, but two amazing Dungeon Masters in my life, but not everyone is so lucky. So how can you start playing Dungeons & Dragons?

If you start talking about D&D, friends and family may come out of the woodwork to show you their old character sheets and pass along their materials and wisdom. Maybe no one has ever given them the opportunity to share their nerdom before!

qVFd3MK

But if you and everyone you know is removed from nerd culture (AKA too cool for school), you can bet there’s a comic bookstore or hobby shop in your area that has its finger on the pulse of the local D&D scene.

Often, these stores have a bulletin board where you can find calls for D&D players and Dungeon Masters. This is a great way to join a campaign or game or seek a seasoned Dungeon Master.

v0QojlD

But if even this fails, buy a Dungeon Master Guide, a Player Handbook and a Monster Manual and start your own campaign from scratch. It’s definitely not easy, but if 12 year-olds in the 80s could do it, so can you!

Here’s A Step-By-Step Introduction D&D for Total Beginners. It includes 7 articles that cover the following:

“Article 1: Introduction – Deals briefly with game philosophy, the basic mechanic, the adventuring party, and some important terms

Article 2: Character Creation: Mechanics – A step-by-step guide to building a first-level character

Article 3: Character Creation: Story – Some tips to building a well-rounded and interesting character

Article 5: Leveling – A check-list of things to remember when leveling up

Article 4: Basic Combat – The basics of combat: attacks, damage, armor class, movement, saves, skills

Article 6: Advanced Combat – More advanced combat techniques, spell usage, situational modifiers

Article 7: Beyond the Core – A brief discussion of non-core classes and systems (psionics, Tome of Battle, Magic of Incarnum, etc.)”

Have fun and try not to summon a Demogorgon!
649c40e0-3499-0134-0660-062f3a35be5f

 

 

Standard
Arts & Culture

The Fan Art That Made Me Watch Stranger Things

As an unabashed scaredy cat, I willingly admit that I had reservations about watching the “thrilling” Netflix original series, Stranger Things. And while I knew the series was inspired by Spielberg’s PG movies, do you remember how much scarier PG movies were in the 80s?! So I hid from my needling Netflix suggestions.

But that didn’t stop Stranger Things from infiltrating my social media channels. Scrolling through Instagram I was snared by the charming illustrations of Laura Manfre, who I recently started following.

 

I liked this post without realizing it had anything to do with that creepy show I was intent on avoiding. I do like cute dresses and Eggo waffles! *Especially* when I was a eleven. How did you know?

 

Next, I assumed this was a portrait of a dear friend of Laura’s. That Barb certainly has a flair for fashion, doesn’t she? So retro!

 

It wasn’t until I scrolled back through Laura’s feed for more of these delightful illustrations, that I began questioning the context. A walkie talkie? Christmas lights? Headwear? What could these things possibly have in common?

STRANGER THINGS.

That’s when I knew, I had to watch.

If you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet because you’re afraid it might be too scary, put some Eggo waffles in the toaster and get ready for a treat. Maybe just leave the lights on . . . especially if they’re Christmas lights.

 

Follow @laura_manfre on Instagram. She posts lots of pictures of her cats, which would be another good thing to look at if you’re a scaredy cat like me and need some help falling asleep after watching Stranger Things!

Standard
Arts & Culture, Books

Love Stranger Things? Read Paper Girls

Rage_of_demons_-_Demogorgon_-_D&D_5

If you’re like me, then you started Netflix’s original series, Stranger Things and couldn’t help but binge-watch it in one sitting. And while those 8 hours were certainly glorious, now there’s a demogorgon shaped hole in our lives.

PaperGirls_Vol01-1Luckily, Paper Girls, a comic written by Brain K. Vaughn and drawn by Cliff Chiang offers similar 80s nostalgia and sci-fi intrigue — but with the added bonus of multiple strong female protagonists!

I don’t want to give too much away, but walkie-talkies and bicycles are just as important in this story, which all begins with a paper route in the wee hours after Halloween night.

The first trade paperback, or Volume 1, of this comic is available and well worth purchasing from your local bookstore. If you enjoy Paper Girls, you should also check out Vaughn’s award winning Saga comics, which offer more hours of sci-fi meets fantasy entertainment.

Standard