Remember The Art of Gymkhana? Well, Ken Block is back– but this time he’s on the streets of San Francisco. Oh, my, god. You will not believe this happened.
Utilizing a tricked out Ford Fiesta with 0-60 MPH capabilities in just 1.8 seconds, thanks in large part to its 650 horsepower engine, the city streets are the stage for a variety of maneuvers usually reserved to a child’s imagination. Shot over a period of four days, every nook and cranny of the Bay is seemingly used for this expansive follow up to a series that draws spectators from numerous different worlds.
Local bike shops (LBS) are the life-line of the cycling world. When you find a good one, you will have both a resource and a community. Unfortunately, in my experience, a visit to the LBS is something I often dread, rather than look forward to. That’s why I am continually impressed every time I hear about Northern Californian bike shop Studio Velo. I’ve come across the name in various cycling blogs, but only recently sat down and took a good look at SV and what sets them apart.
Studio Velo has humble beginnings as a mobile repair shop nearly 10 years ago. Scott Penzarella offered mobile bike repair and fittings to cyclists around the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years. He drew on his experience in Spain as a premier cycling retailer and injected that European flair into the retail operations once the Mill Valley location opened up. SV is first and foremost a premier cycling shop. It specializes in high-end bikes for demanding clientèle, running the gamut from road to touring bikes. Scott wanted to replicate the European experience where slow and steady and craftsman ship wins the day. SV carries Time and Cyfac, two European companies that hand-make their frames. Similarly, you’ll see Chris King, White Industries, and Paul Components on the shelves; all American companies that represents the best parts and accessories in cycling. On the service side, you’ll often find the employees sipping coffee or even going on lunch rides with customers, rather than rushing them out the door.
The service doesn’t stop once you purchase your frame and gruppo. A good bike is one that fits. Bike fitting has always been more “feel” than science, so I was impressed and surprised to learn that SV employs the Retül fit system to achieve what every cyclist wants – the gray line between performance and comfort. I know first hand how an improper fit can make riding uncomfortable and, frankly, dangerous.
Not content with their incredible brand partnerships and specialized building and fitting services, Studio Velo started offer cycling tours. The SV: Travel arm was formed three years ago and takes clients on adventures all over the world including scenic destinations such as Spain and Italy. Last, but not least, Studio Velo has an entire stand-alone store dedicated to their women clients. called SV: Women. I know many women cyclists and because of their unique physiology, the proper fit on the bike and in cycling attire is often a challenge. SV: Women carries the largest selection of women-specific clothing in the industry and is operated and managed by women. They offer specific clinics for women, catering to their needs.
We all should be supporting our local bike shops but when you have a bad experience, it gives you pause. I have always heard great things about Studio Velo and when I had the chance to interview Scott, I jumped at it. It’s great to see a store that gives the attention and focus that the sport of cycling deserves and to act as a true one-stop-shop for Bay Area cyclists. Next time you are in the area, be sure to check them out.
The folks at All Day Buffet just launched an interesting new venture (and experiment) called By/Association. They’re seeking to reinvent the traditional notion of “networking” by enabling substantive interactions and long term relationships to people like you. After you apply and are accepted, you’ll receive one monthly introduction to another remarkable person in your city– all based on complimentary interests, goals, passions, and skills. And naturally with each introduction your own personal network will begin to grow.
The application process asks things like “What’s something you put into the world that didn’t exist before?” and “Describe the most recent time you had fun.” Only 125 words are allowed per answer, so you must be short, sweet, and interesting.
Creative submissions have beenÂ extended until midnightÂ on Monday for Friday'sÂ Slideluck Potshow, a collaborative artistic slideshow presentation and chance for food, drink and conversation sharing atÂ San Francisco's South of Market photography center LeftSpace. Area and international creators alike present thought-provoking creative work around a theme. As this month's theme is "nourishment," participants are encouraged to bringÂ a dish to pass (suggestions include seven-layer dip, lobster ravioli, barbecue tofu, or Meyer lemon bars"”it’ss a foodie group, after all). Photographer Michael Jang will serve as the guest curator for the event, which is a collaboration with the community and food movement organizationÂ Eat-Ins.
After screening at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, the documentary filmÂ "City of Borders"Â about the patrons of Jerusalem's lone gay bar has made its way to theÂ festivalÂ currently running in the City by the Bay. Director Yun Suh tells the story of Sa'ar, the city's first openly gay public official and owner of Shushan, the dynamic underground sanctuary where Palestinians and Israelis gather for entertainment and community. Simone Nelson, the film's co-producer and the president ofÂ Bay Area Women in Film in Television, explains, "We in the Bay Area (and the U.S.) sometimes live in a bubble and cannot imagine that there’s a place where there is only one location for gay people to meet openly. The participants in the film shared their stories at their own personal risk to help remind us that tolerance, peaceful existence and acceptance in our homes and cities should be basic human rights for all of us.”
When emerging designers submitted hundreds of furniture pieces to Thursday's Modern Design Function exhibition at San Francisco's Design With Reach, judges from Dwell Magazine and the SF Museum of Modern Art selected not one but three pieces from local applicant Dylan Gold. Gold used plywoods, plyboo and other responsible materials to create Stink Tree, the Cornered Table and Twisted. The latter is a reaction to Gold's observation of how regimented people can be. "I like things that fall out of line and definitely buck the trend a little bit, but not so far as to lose balance," he said. "I wanted to see something hard like wood used in a way that people were not used to seeing it, like crossing a plane into the spatial boundaries of another piece."
The 2,200 square feet of work space that Gold shares with seven other creators is blocks away from the Potrero Hill DWR where the showcase will take place. (Talk about knowing where your purchases originate.) The wood and metalworking shop is also a network for the tenants' artist and fabricator friends "where just about anything can be made," the designer says.
Literature and multimedia-loving San Franciscans will enjoy Wednesday's Pop-Up Magazine, a night of live presentations from contributors to Wired, All Things Considered, Harper's, et al. Award-winning artists and authors on stage at the Brava Theater will include New York Times Magazine contributors Michael Pollan and Peggy Orenstein; The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva; and photographer Todd Hido. Lest you be upset that the Pop-Up Magazine is a one-night only event, This American Life Live will be shown at theaters around the country on Thursday to provide your smart independent culture fix.
At first glance, interdisciplinary Oakland-based artist Desirée Holman’s burqa and bikini wearing women bear little resemblance to the pencil-drawn character wearing a Liza Minelli-esque mask that opens Holman’s website, so much so that you may wonder if they were created by the same person. Alas, the work is all Holman’s: the former sculpture student has received nationwide acclaim after getting early attention from the University of California at Berkeley’s creative Eisner Awards in both video and photography. She says she’s primarily influenced by sociology and psychology, fantasy-based cultures, online gaming, and music videos. Elements of each can be seen as her newest work, the drawing and video series “Reborn,” opens at San Francisco’s Silverman Gallery this Friday night.
San Francisco-based photographer Geoffrey Ellis’ photo journal blog Sadkids is aptly named: its coverage can be as blue (with posts entitled “Sometimes, progress can suck it” and “Burn Santa burn”) as it can be lighthearted and youthful (“Easter valley of the sun” and “Hawaii + Halloween = Hawaiiloween” come to mind). But no matter the mood, the imagery featured has the same lovingly cluttered, colorful aesthetic as Ellis’ self-published photo zine of the same name, now in its fifth edition. The winner of the Bay Area’s Phelan Award in Photography, Ellis chose the name for his photo collections as a tribute to 1960s paintings featuring large-eyed kids, cats and dogs in the style of Walter and Margaret Keane. When asked how he chooses where to point his lens, the photographer said he likes to shoot “old signs, antique shops, junk shops, flea markets, bars and record stores (unpolished America). My wife [author Sarah Lacy] doesn’t let me bring junk home anymore, so I have to photograph it instead. It’s a good compromise. She’d much rather see a photo than a bunch of crap on the dining room floor.”
Today's Equinox Event at San Francisco's 111 Minna will be the most recent SF Beta event and program from Virgance, the for-profit activism campaign management company whose primary tool for encouraging change is online networking. They're the brains behind 1 Block Off the Grid, a community effort to make solar power available in bulk to neighborhoods, and consumer network Carrotmob, which invites people to reward companies that make socially responsible purchasing decisions. Promoted as "the biggest beta ever," today's Equinox Event is co-sponsored by cloud hosting company GoGrid and GOOD Magazine, and promises cocktails with entrepreneurs and activists to celebrate Virgance's upcoming first anniversary.