stencil Stencil Pain

Just so you know, my life tends to revolve around stencil art. You know, those sidewalk paintings that you see all over the Mission (or maybe a street in your hometown). I make them, collect photos of them, have friends who make and collect them, and even go through withdrawal if I don’t carry my camera with me everywhere. I love them so much I tried to sell a book idea to several publishers back in 2001. No one took the bait, so I taught myself how to make a Web site and created Don’t bother checking out the link right now; the site is down once again.

Lately, stencils have been a painful part of my life. Before November of last year, I was working with a designer on a new redesign of the site. He assured me it was easy, is an activist, so gave me a great deal for his labor. I watched him design the new site and work the code. He sure as hell knew more than I did. All the features that I wanted, he found as “modules” with an open source code called PostNuke.

We worked weekly on the site. I watched him more than helped him, but eventually started uploading content to the new sections that I’d thought up. It was looking good, moving along, until the designer couldn’t make the album module work with my current host server. He suggested that I move the site to someone he worked with. The new host would work with us on allowing permissions that my old host wouldn’t open for security reasons.

I wanted the site to go live in October to crossover with the street art show I was co-producing. “For the People” had great art on the walls, and the scene showed up. It made no money and [content deleted due to accusations of defamation of character by the co-producer] So I never contacted him.

Stencil Archive went live on the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday for celebrating loved ones who’ve passed into the shadows. The site was live for a few days and then went down. It took my new host’s other sites down as well. They wouldn’t let my site up for weeks while they upgraded their server and security shell. At one point, it went live and was instantly hacked via the PostNuke source code. A temporary headache, but another headache nonetheless.

While down, I had to beg my designer to work with the host admin to make changes. I wouldn’t hear from him for days, and then he’d pull an allnighter to try to get the site up again. I can understand his reluctance. I wasn’t paying him much (the site makes very little money), and he’s got other things in his life going on. He was very supportive when he responded to my pleas and actually got the site up again about three months after it went down.

Stencil Archive went live again with little fanfare this time. It was about 80% complete, so I had to reinstall the FAQ and some links. I had hundreds of stencil pics backed up to upload and didn’t have permission to access the albums. I had to ask my designer to help me with permissions, and he finally responded with another allnighter. It took the host’s server down again.

Last week my new host admin officially took over Stencil Archive. Though I was impressed by my desingers coding skills, he is not a coder. Now my bill for hosting and design just got higher. The admin called Stencil Archive a hobby site, though I’ve always wanted to have a store on there to at least break even on the price I pay to support it. It’s still down, and now the admin is trying to contact the designer to see what changes were made to the code. So the pain continues.

About the same time last week, the For the People co-producer [content deleted due to accusations of defamation of character by the co-producer]

Soon after that, the co-producer started [content deleted due to accusations of defamation of character by the co-producer] I called him on it.

He threw [content deleted due to accusations of defamation of character by the co-producer] Just isn’t my thang.

Anyway, [content deleted due to accusations of defamation of character by the co-producer]…terminated.

So the moral of this story, and the story has only been partially laid out here, is to try to get things in writing. This isn’t the first or second time I’ve been burned by supposed verbal agreements. CELLspace learned this the hard way and I guess I am too. When money is involved in shady underworld art scenes, a handshake is usually the beginning of a road to pain. If you don’t get things in writing, at least save every last e-mail and typed notes you have. It may clear things up down the road, or in small claims.

dreams Stencil Board

I go to a local art store to buy some stencil board. The worker tells me that they have regulated that product due to its misuse by street artists. To buy some, I’ll have to sign a waiver saying that I won’t use it for illegal reasons. I agree to sign, thinking of a fake name (Wayton?), and the worker tells me that I have to sign with a manager.

I find the manager outside near a pick-up. I ask her what I need to sign and she hands me a piece of scrap paper. She isn’t paying any attention to me when I hand the paper back to her. “Excuse me, here’s the paper.” “What? Oh, sorry. How can I focus with that going on over there.” She motions to the street behind us, and I look over my shoulder.

Someone has be brutally run over. A rolled-up, mangled body lies in the middle of the road, and possessions are strewn about. I think it may have been a homeless person, and turn away in horror. The manager has walked out into the street, well away from the accident, and is crouched down, bawling and talking to herself.

sound LUMIN live new material special for you at 11pm

March.05 – ELECTRIC VARDO – Blue.Cube.sF

DAS COLLECTIVE = DJ Dragonfly ( + DJ Sep(KPFA/Dub Mission) + DJ Amar ( bring you an unique Global experience featuring Live Music, DJs, Dance, Visual Art and Culinary Delights. The focus of this opening night will be on the East: South Asia and Beyond, enticing the crowd with infusions of Ragas from the streets of Calcutta complemented by the spicy flavors of Bengal, moving into rhythmic motion with Bhangra dancers, Live Percussion and DJs spinning Tribal Breaks, Exotic House, Global Chill, Middle Eastern Drum & Bass, and rhythms & melodies from the far off saffron scented lands.

Artists for the night include: the DAS Collective (DJs Dragonfly-Amar-Sep), Live Asian percussion ensemble TABLA RASA, Live middle eastern drum & bass masters LUMIN, Guest DJs SOULSALAAM, JIMMY LOVE and members of the DHAMAAL Collective, Dance performance with DHOL RHYTHMS Bhangra Dance Troupe and FREDERIQUE of Belly Groove, plus a special evening Dinner Lounge with live performances by KITUNDU + SUKHADIA on Phonoharp and tabla, and TEED ROCKWELL performing Hindustani Ragas on Chapman Stick. Visuals by DAS Collective Residents, Art installations by JIMMY LOVE, Guest Chef AMAR, and in house Chef STERLING with Liquid Diva SALIE behind the bar.

Cover: $12 after 10pm, $10 before 10pm or with advance purchase (no cover for dinner guests)

Doors: 7pm – Happy Hour 7-8pm (free entry before 8pm)
Dinner w/ live music: 8-10pm, dinner menu will be posted on new website:
Call 415-259-8629 for dinner lounge reservations ($25 prix fixe menu, walk-ins welcome)
Polo’s Blue Cube is at 34 Mason St. in San Francisco.
Event time: 8pm-4am
info., advance tix, dinner reservations: 415-259-8629
Online tix at

Sat. Wanderings

smoke Walking in the rain, back in the Mission to this fancy joint called Medjool (A fancy lounge in a fancy hostel? In the Mission?). Going to meet strangers for a stanger’s birthday gathering. She’s Lars, and the Russian hostess is no help in pointing her out. I recall her image, buried deep in her Tribe profile, and approach her at the bar. She’s cool in black, wearing a fuzzy Kangol hat, and a nice smile She gives me an appreciated hug.
Continue reading “Sat. Wanderings”

dreamsMicrofilm and Riot

In a cafe, Deborah anxiously shows me a long strip of microfilm. As I look at the tiny writing on red film, she tells me how this is a paper that she hasn’t finished yet. I ask her what the paper is for, and she tells me that it is to graduate from a class. Two women behind Deborah are listening to our talk, and one turns to speak with me after Deborah goes to the back of the cafe to be with friends.

The woman tells me that she submitted a hand-drawn comic book to the same professor and passed. She invented an enviromentally-friendly cleaning product, made a comic book about it, and passed the class. She then offers to replace Deborah. I don’t quite understand but then realize that she is offering to be submissive for me. I decline the offer and go visit Deborah.

Deborah has already forgotten the microfilm paper and is hanging with friends. I say goodbye and head out into an imagined city. I’m walking through a poorer part of town to head home, thinking about how I’ll be watching DVDs tonight since I’m so broke. I walk buy a few buildings with quick-tag graffiti, and turn a corner to cut through a wide street that passes a high school.

Sometihing’s just ended in the street. Could be a riot, a drive by; I’m not sure. Upset parents are getting pushed back by plain-clothes security and what looks like armed-school faculty. A group of riot cops, dressed in thick-striped zoot suits, take their clubs off and load in to a van. A janitor opens a metal door out of the street, and then drops it.

Curious, I walk on home, almost going up an alley. Once home, I turn on the TV and watch the news. The female anchor happily says “Newsteam 4 didn’t catch the last violence at our local high school, but we were prepared this time.” They show footage of police beating back students. The first line of students are in wheel chairs, and there’s a second line of students holding chains connected to the chairs. The cops beat the shit out of them.

The news report never says why the protest started, and covers the police fashions instead. One group had nice sweaters under their green protective armor. They interview one of those cops, and I notice that he has no badge number (his sewn badge looks like a logo). The reporter speaks with the principal who, with a holstered gun, acts like nothings wrong. He compares the students to terrorists and admits that his people are well-trained to handle these situations.

dreamsMorning Dreams

I’m working in a corporate environment, but seem to be a temp. People know me, but I am in a different area of the floor from the two guys that need my help. On top of that I have a young girlfriend (I could be younger in this dream) who seems to be spending the day with me at work. She physically resembles my friend J.

The two guys have given me a presentation file to work on. Not hard considering I could do this with my eyes closed, but I am constantly distracted by my girlfriend. She knows people that I work with better than I do (one is a young blonde-haired surfer type), and I am a little jealous. I finish the job and it prints out on a spool printer. I cut out the individual pages to give back to the two guys.

Other dream fragments consist of foreplay with my girlfriend that always gets interrupted. Scenes include a park by a fountain, a condo or hotel room, and the place where I worked. Everywhere we go she knows people or is distracted by other people.

Over the Weekend

Dream fragments from this weekend:

My wife and I are on a boat in the ocean. Neither one of us knows how to drive it, so Joel S. shows up just in time to get us to safety. He immediately drives the boat into a wave and we get sucked in to it. My wife and I are OK but Joel has disappeared. I take the wheel and get us out of there.

My wife and I are in a building and unable to get out. There is something prowling outside and we do not know what it is.