Flashback: the 2004-era HappyFt

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….

NoMeansNo Take it to the Next Level

I feel sorry for the Canadian trio NoMeansNo. Backstage at Bottom of the Hill, which is outside where everyone was smoking, I sipped a beer and met a group of folks who are big fans of the band. They were all lamenting about the horrible technical problems NoMeansNo was having on this tour. Last night in Oakland, Bassist Rob Wright’s amp went out right at the top of the show. They took a 15 minute break to try to fix the problem. The story of drummer John Wright’s problem followed, which was a busted drum that had to be replaced for the night by an opening band’s piece. That happened in Oakland too.

I tried to encourage these big fans that maybe the show tonight in San Francisco would be perfect. No problems at all. An unease settled across several faces, and the subject changed. Before going into the opening number, Rob told the audience that “the gods are testing us!” Sure enough, his bass amp started going out at the beginning of the set. Frustration set in as they finally got the first song going on the third try. The aptly placed song was “Old,” which is what all the band’s equipment was feeling like at the current moment.
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NBC Catches a Phish(head)

Had to head down to the Shoreline a few weeks ago to check out the 3.0 version of my favorite 1990s band Phish (they’ve broken up two times prior to this). They’re much better than the last time I saw them (the mud-mired Coventry, VT festival), mostly in part to lead guitarist Trey Anastasio’s going clean and sober (addicted to Big Pharma pills). Delicate show that kicked out the jams, and played the one song I wanted at the top of the show (Golgi Apparatus).

Josh Keppel, a photo-journalist from a local NBC Web site, snapped this pic of me for his cheeky “Jam Band Parking Lot” spread. I have to remind folks that “jam band” wasn’t a term when I started going to Phish shows. I think jam bands suck anyway.

Russell Howze from San Francisco wore his hat from the 1995-1996 Phish tour saying, “it’s vintage you know,” when asked about his ensemble. A fellow Phish fan tried to explain to me the significance of the name “Wilson” embroidered on the arm of Howze’s marching band coat, but my eyes glazed over at the lengthy explanation. Something about Gamehendge Wilson…?

Stencil Nation Tour: the table

Just posted this up in the HFt Productions page, and thought you all might like to see the final listing of all the tour dates from the past year. Every thing adds up to 60 stops, with only two cancellations. THANKS again to ALL the people who helped keep me on the road, in the air, and in the spaces with all these fun, stencil-related events. Things I did this year: digital slide presentations, skillshares, street art tours, stenciling demos, book signings, stencil VJ’ing, exhibits, interviews, window displays, budget stencil art sales, and much more!

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Toronto Street Art Bike Tour

Up on my domino soap box (as Tino displays Stencil Nation), I explain how bikes and stencils taste as good together as peanut butter and chocolate. Last Saturday, forty people came along for Tino’s two-plus hour tour of the city’s cut-out wonders.


Originally uploaded by rtlechow

May 14 KALW Interview…

Stencil Nation on Cross Currents

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.

So Nice, The People of Stencil Nation

Not enough time in the day for all the amazing things that can be experienced. Must figure out how to expand the concept of time to fit it all in. Wanting to share with you all the continued good times and amazing hospitality that I have received on the Southern leg of the California tour. And after sitting in the blazing car for six hours, driving to the Tempe, AZ burbs to meet up with Koleszar and see his mighty spray painted fortress (my room has stencil art on the walls), I am wondering if it is at all possible to dictate a blog entry to an application that can type it all out to post? While driving. Woah. That was a bit geeky on my part. Apologies, but I am sitting at the School of Spray Paint here in the urban sprawl.  Thinking geeky thoughts. And thinking about Koleszar’s neighbors: cows and horses and cacti. Oh, and a scorpion or two….

So April 30 finds me saying goodbye Swiv Tackle and hello UC San Diego. I show up to find my very own parking space, reserved with my name on the sign. In all of my stencil geekdom, I think I have now achieved a level of uber-geek, thanks to my very own parking space.

I find Groundwork no problem and land into a group of energetic and active young college students there. Who have great books to look at and free pastries to munch on. The food coop next door closes and a group of workers there come to the presentation. Some artists are there too, one of which wanted us all to tag his skin with Sharpies (“You know you’re gonna soak up all the toxic ink, right?” “Sharpies say they aren’t toxic on the label.” “Yeah, right.”) Great crowd, even though they don’t get my sarcastic Swine Flu joke I told. And still a great crowd after the food coop people leave to see a friend snowboard on a hill of fake snow (sponsored by Red Bull), because I sold a pile of books at this stop. Best in a while. And the Groundwork crew hung out while I put up some stencils on their counter. And then I got invitations for dinner and invitations to check out UCSD’s Graff Hall. So humankind’s amazing capacity to host and be sweet and supportive continues on this tour. I think I love this experience more than anything (even stencils).

The Graff Hall is a stairwell of the UCSD Arts Building. Stencils are around this building too, so we wandered up the stairs hunting stencils. And found a bunch. I even found a cut stencil that said “Zeus,” which most likely fell out of an artists portfolio. Adding it to the Archives. Later, I found the Free School house no problem and met the great people there. While hanging out for my host Brian to show up, we watched/listened to YouTube (There’s a definite trend here). We watched a hilarious video as we waited. The guy speaking is supposedly in a dark closet on acid saying all this crazy, sometimes offensive stuff. I can deal with the offending bits because this guy goes into insane visions soon after. “No way!”

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Skylight LA Pics

Great presentation tonight at Skylight Books on Vermont St. here in LA. Submit and Ripper1331 showed up, as did a few other local artists (if I surmise from some reactions I got from a few things in the presentation). My friend/hostess Christine Marie took some photos of the event, and was great for support, assistance, and yet another diner visit (this tour is turning into the Diner Orgy Tour). Several people in the audience had a pile of questions, so we spent a good deal of time discussing stencils and elaborating on my small bullets for the presentation. Getting our stencil geek on. woo hoo!

In the big marquee lights in LA. Well, in the chalk on the sidewalk at least.
In the big marquee lights in LA. Well, in the chalk on the sidewalk at least.
OK.... No marquee name in lights, but on top of the heap at least!
OK.... No marquee name in lights, but on top of the heap at least!

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Attracted to the Tag Cloud

Warning: GEEK Zone Ahead

Another WordPress upgrade, another new look for good ole’ HappyFt Travels. Jumped a whole .5 versions to 2.7 tonight, and was mostly interested in beginning a fun tag cloud for the site. What’s a tag cloud you ask? Well, it’s a jumble of words with the ones used the most being the largest. It’ll be interesting to see what stands out the most. The old Vistered Little theme still seemed to work in 2.7 but I couldn’t find any new versions of it on WP sites. And the font seemed to be a bit off once I finished the upgrade. I found this new theme and like it for the most part. Seems that my photos are too big for the column, so are hanging off the side. I can live with that. Reading white text can be a pain, but this seems OK for now. Some of the WP themes are just plain awful for one reason or another. I wish I had the time and skills to make my own theme, but I say that everytime I change or upgrade the site. Vistered lasted a while and I have waited for support and updates, but finally gave up today. Hmm, I wonder if this counts as yet another version of HappyFt? Naw…. not a major overhaul of things, so I guess this is still 3.0 or 4.0. OK, must stop web/blog geeking and get back to working out the Stencil Nation tour. Sleep will be next on the to-do list.