Bay Area Life

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National Pancake Day 2014

Miss California on National Pancake Day (1)

Miss California Crystal Lee with a short stack and bacon.

Miss California 2013 Crystal Lee (aka Miss America 2014 First Runner-Up) made two appearances at two Bay Area IHOP locations, one in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf and the other in South San Francisco near SFO. Crystal spent her time at these locations greeting customers at the door, meeting with customers at their tables, and thanked those that made contributions. Crystal even ate a pancake at the San Francisco location.

Photo of Miss California digging in from her Facebook Fan Page.

Photo of Miss California with a pancake mountain from her Facebook Fan Page.

About National Pancake Day

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP restaurants have raised $13 million to support charities in the communities in which they operate. On March 4, 2014, guests from around the country will once again celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP restaurants and enjoy a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In return for the free pancakes, guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals© or other designated local charities.

Miss California Crystal Lee with IHOP staff members.

Miss California Crystal Lee with IHOP staff members.

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations – including all those made on IHOP National Pancake Day – stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. Its fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children’s hospitals need community support, and learn about your member hospital, at CMNHospitals.org.

 

Follow Michael Jeong on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf 

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MISS CHINATOWN USA 2014: A New Queen Is Crowned

Miss Chinatown USA 2014 Karen Li.

Miss Chinatown USA 2014 Karen Li.

Hailing from the great state of Texas, 17 year old Karen Li was crowned Miss Chinatown USA 2014 earlier this month. Karen Li being one of the youngest in the pageant’s history plans to attend Harvard University in the Fall. Miss Li with high academic achievements and an extra-curricular schedule that keeps most teens overwhelmed, she’s doing all of it and working part-time as a tutor. Her journey to the stage started about a year ago and all of her hard work has surely paid off. Li took control of the stage with her graceful poise, wowed the audience with her amazing violin performance to Spring in Xin Jiang, and her response to the Q&A portion went without a hitch and because of that the judges had awarded her with not only the Miss Talent title, but also the title of Miss Chinatown USA.

In a quick look back, the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant began with twelve young ladies from six states embarking on a journey that would forever change their lives. For some delegates this pageant has been their very first on stage experience and for others this pageant has been something highly trained and anticipated. Having arrived six days prior to competition the twelve ladies took part in constant practice and dress rehearsals in preparation for the big show at the Palace of Fine Arts.

On the night of the pageant the ladies were judged on Introduction and Poise, Fitness and Form, Talent, and Question and Answer. The theme for this year’s pageant was Quest for Beauty / The Spice of Life with guest performer Angela Pang. Prior to each contestant and their opening introductions, each created a short cooking demonstration video about a favorite dish that is liked to have during the Chinese New Year. Although the judges were not given these dishes to taste, all twelve dishes looked very appetizing.

The day following the pageant, Miss Chinatown, her court, and the other delegates trekked up and down the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown to visit several family and benevolent associations. These associations have family and cultural ties back to China. In a couple of the visited associations the ladies and members of the visited associations paid respects to ancestors of the host association and engaged in ancestral worship (i.e. bowing, burning incense and symbolic paper money, and food and drink offerings).

Over the next several days, the ladies toured tourist attractions throughout San Francisco, visited and gave fruit to some patients at San Francisco’s Chinese Hospital, met and greeted the elderly at the On-Lok Senior Center, and made a few media appearances with KTSF, Sing Tao Daily/Radio, World Journal, and Fong Brothers Printing.

Two major events that followed the Miss Chinatown Pageant were the Coronation Ball and the Chinese New Year Parade. The Coronation Ball took place this year at the Hilton Union Square. Mayor Ed Lee gave a brief speech before the ladies received their trophies. Miss Chinatown Karen Li was awarded with AT&T’s Miss Innovation Award because she won the title of Miss Talent and received the LG G Flex smartphone. Macy’s also honored Miss Li with a monetary gift. In addition to all the awards that were granted, the Coronation Ball is when Miss Congeniality is awarded. She is selected by the delegates of the pageant. Miss Congeniality for 2014 was awarded to Tiffany Au representing San Gabriel, CA. Having the formalities of awards and speeches out of the way, Miss Chinatown and the other delegates each danced a song with local dignitaries and the ball continued as open floor dancing went on throughout the night.

The following night Miss Chinatown did not have her parade rained upon as it occasionally happens during the Lunar New Year. The Chinese New Year Parade, one of the top viewed parades in the country, is the #1 leading night parade. Millions watched in person and on the air the parade’s 100+ units as the parade celebrated the “Year of the Horse”. As soon as the parade concluded, the skies wept a little, but did no help to California’s drought.

Miss Chinatown USA with the other delegates.

Miss Chinatown USA with the other delegates.

 

The results of the program are as follows:

  • Miss Chinatown USA; in addition to Miss Talent: Karen Li /Houston, TX
  • Miss Chinese Chamber of Commerce/1st Princess: Ka Man Lee / Seattle, WA
  • Miss San Francisco Chinatown: Mengying Liu / San Mateo, CA
  • Second Princess: Seun Seun Yim / Pasadena, CA
  • Third Princess: Judy Lee / San Francisco, CA
  • Fourth Princess: Kristen Hee / San Francisco, CA
  • Miss Congeniality: Tiffany Au / San Gabriel, CA

The Miss Chinatown USA Pageant has been a part of San Francisco’s history since 1958. The pageant presented by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce continues to provide young ladies the platform to promote self-empowerment through public speaking, acting, dancing, singing, etc. The pageant also strives to keep the preservation of Chinese culture, and allows the young ladies to participate in the community through various services and actions of goodwill.

Karen Li performing Spring in Xin Jiang.
Karen Li performing Spring in Xin Jiang.
 
Mengying Liu elegantly dances for her talent.Mengying Liu elegantly dances for her talent.
 
Jessalyn Lau demonstates her martial arts skills.Jessalyn Lau demonstates her martial arts skills.
 
Ka Man Lee sings her heart out to "I Dreamed A Dream".Ka Man Lee sings her heart out to “I Dreamed A Dream”.
 
Jessalyn Lau from Hawaii generously receives personalized gold jewelry and she offers her association with a gift in return of leis and treats.Jessalyn Lau from Hawaii generously receives personalized gold jewelry and she offers her association with a gift in return of leis and treats.
 
 Miss Chinatown and the delegates at an association visit.Miss Chinatown and the delegates at an association visit.
 
Miss Chinatown Karen Li and Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Kenny Tse with the first dance.Miss Chinatown Karen Li and Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Kenny Tse with the first dance.
Local dignitaries and Miss Chinatown delegates with their first dance.
Local dignitaries and Miss Chinatown delegates with their first dance.

Follow Michael Jeong on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf 

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An Exclusive Interview: Miss California 2013, Crystal Lee

Miss California Crystal Lee

Crystal Lee, crowned Miss California 2013, dazzled America in September as she vied for the coveted title of Miss America 2014. This year’s competition was brought back to the place where it all started, Atlantic City, after having been hosted in Las Vegas for several years. Lee made it look so easy, and I learned through her that the journey to the competition had not been easy for her. In fact, it took three attempts on the state level before she was able to reach the national stage. Although Lee went through periods of disappointment and self-doubt, it forced her to accept failure, come up with a new perspective and plan of attack, and to develop an attitude of determination.

Lee was born in San Francisco to an American-born Chinese father and Taiwanese mother. She was educated through San Francisco’s public school system and graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Human Biology and M.A. in Communication last June. She likes sashimi and enjoys outdoor activities such as backpacking, hiking, and camping. She also loves to read up on the latest technological developments and dreams of starting her own company one day by developing a great product or service.

Miss California Crystal Lee (3)

Ever since Lee was a young girl, she was always interested in pageants. She remembers moments like watching the Chinese New Year Parade and seeing Miss Chinatown wave from her float. Lee started her years in pageantry at the age of 15 when she entered the Miss Teen Chinatown 2007 competition. The following year was crowned Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2008. A couple of years later, Lee was crowned Miss Chinatown USA 2010. Determination in mind, Lee had her eyes set on Miss America, but the road to get there proved quite challenging. Crystal was crowned Miss San Francisco 2011, but placed in the Top 12 of that year’s Miss California competition. The following year, Lee was crowned Miss South Counties and had another attempt at reaching the national stage, but came extremely close as she was runner up to 2012’s Miss California Leah Cecil. Lee’s persistence paid off on her third attempt as she was crowned Miss Silicon Valley and was on her way to compete for Miss California again in Fresno, where she was finally crowned Miss California 2013.

Throughout the years, several role models have influenced Lee for various reasons: Rose Chung, pageant director, for her ability to organize the community and mentor hundreds of young women across the SF Bay Area. Jan Yanehiro, broadcast journalist, for pioneering the Asian American face in the media. Lastly, Lee’s mother has always been a huge support for Crystal as she encouraged her to dream big, aim high, and work harder than she could have ever thought possible.

Oftentimes, people tend to think that pageantry is not a sport, but in fact it is more than a sport. It requires not only the physical and mental demands of a sport, but also includes developing  a mission for society or the community, showcasing a talent, and the ability to answer on the spot a question that could be extremely difficult, and most obviously, very stiff competition.

Entering a competition with a large pool of other competitors can be seemingly daunting knowing that the odds to place are slim and the stress unimaginable. How did Lee deal with the preliminaries? Well, Lee was faced with over 60 contestants at the Miss California competition, but at Miss America there were 52. With that being said, she wasn’t as stressed in the Miss America competition; however, Lee did have to increase her level of competitiveness because the caliber of competition was greater knowing she was up against the best from each state/territory. Nevertheless, Lee was mentally prepared to do her best, no matter who she was up against.

In an interesting twist of fate, another Crystal Lee from the state of Hawaii entered the picture. She was crowned Miss Chinatown Hawaii 2013 earlier this year and was eligible to move on and compete in the 2013 Miss Hawaii Organization program. In June, she was crowned Miss Hawaii 2013 and also competed in the Miss America Pageant. So with two Crystal Lees in the Miss America competition things must have been pretty interesting…, how well would they mesh.

MJ: Were you shocked/amazed/amused that you were competing against another Crystal Lee of Hawaii? How did you both get along?

CL: I found out a few weeks before I became Miss California and was thrilled to discover what a sweet, genuine girl she is. Interestingly enough, she was the contestant before me during preliminary competition so we sat next each other in the dressing room, and also stayed in the same hotel.

MJ: What was your platform and why did you chose that?

CL: I chose my platform, Women in S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for a few reasons: 1) it aligns with the Miss America mission to empower women and 2) it’s an issue that affects us all more than we realize. Young girls often think they’re less competent in science and math as the boys in their classes. As they grow up they tend to veer away from these majors, and it’s unfortunate because they lead to jobs that they need their perspectives, pay well, and solve crucial problems. Getting more Women in STEM would improve America’s industries. Everyone wins when we have more women leaning into these fields.

MJ: What was your talent and why did you choose that specific talent?

CL: I chose to perform a ballet en pointe piece called, “The Swan” and it depicts the final moments of a swan’s life. It’s a tragic and dramatic selection considering this was for the Miss America pageant, where most dancers chose high-energy, exuberant, and cheery talents. I wanted to share an experience of something deeper- the inevitable end that all creatures face, and the passion with which we cling on to life.

After a couple eliminations and after all the segments of competition, there left two standing. Both remaining in the competition were Asian American.

MJ: When Nina Davuluri and yourself were the last two contestants on the stage, what was going through your mind? Did that fact that both of you were Asian cross your mind as being a momentous part of history?

CL: In those final moments, I was focused on the announcement of results and didn’t think about us being Asian. We’ve had a Chinese-American in the Top 2 before, but perhaps not an Indian-American, which may have been why Nina said something about it. I’ve always thought of myself to be just as American as I am Asian. Our country has always been composed of immigrant backgrounds- whether or not your appearance reflects it. The order in which one’s forefathers arrived doesn’t make their descendants more or less American. But stepping out of the competition, I now realize what a huge step this is for all Asian Americans. I can’t wait for the day we have a Chinese-American Miss America. I hope she’s bilingual, too!

Although Lee did not take home the title of Miss America, she did become Miss America’s First Runner-Up. Following the competition, hateful comments were said over social media about the results of Miss America, what kind of effect did this have on Lee.

MJ: What is your response to all the negative and racial comments that were said about Miss America Nina Davuluri? Did you receive any racial comments as well?

CL: I haven’t received too many racial comments. I’m trying to be a lily pad this year- letting criticism roll right off like water off a lily pad. It’s sad that so many Americans don’t know how much they don’t know. It shows how far we have yet to go as a society. I’m glad the media publicly called out the perpetrators for their ignorance. It reinforces our commitment to acceptance and understanding.

Miss California Crystal Lee (4)MJ: Also being of Asian decent, what do you think it will take for Americans to be more unified and to put aside our differences?

CL: It will take time, and seeing movers and shakers of all ethnic backgrounds do great things. It’s easy to become complacent with the way things are, but the fact is we’re becoming a global world and the emerging generation seems more ready to put aside differences as we solve pressing problems. We need to encourage people of all backgrounds to step up and be leaders and role models. Once this becomes the norm, our so-called “differences” won’t seem so different after all.

Now that the Miss America Pageant had concluded, what lies on the horizon for Crystal and what was her overall experience with the Miss America Organization.

MJ: What’s next for you in the remaining year and/or years to follow?

CL: I plan to continue traveling throughout the state for appearances and making the most of my reign. I’ve heard this year flies by quickly so I’m already getting the ball rolling on a few exciting projects related to STEM in Silicon Valley. I ultimately want to work in technology/startups so this is fitting preparation for my career ahead.

MJ: What encouragement do you have for young girls and young women in America?

CL: I’d encourage more young women to compete in the Miss America program. It’s an incredible opportunity for personal growth, scholarship money, and tons of lifelong friends and benefits. You get what you choose to get out of it- and the best part is, it combines the controllable with the unpredictable! It’s the best life preparation.

MJ: How has the Miss America Pageant impacted your life?

CL: The Miss America program offers young women endless opportunities for growth, and the experience is unique for everyone who participates. The values of the Miss America crown are specific enough to give every contestant a concrete roadmap for how to be “ideal” yet broad enough for every woman to essentially write her own story. Through the 6 years I’ve spent in this program, I have won over $60,000 in scholarships, overcome my initial fear of public speaking, competed on national TV, made friends and mentors all over the nation, learned leadership and confidence, the list goes on…

MJ: What were a couple of memorable experiences that you have gained with the other representatives of Miss America?Miss California Crystal Lee (2)

CL: You might think the most memorable experiences would be the most well-documented ones (such as the telecast), but it’s actually the quiet moments that stand out most in my mind. The two weeks at Miss America are like being in a pressure cooker; we get to know each other really well because we’re together every waking moment. I’ll always remember how in awe I was hearing about the other girls’ community service projects. Miss South Carolina created a program to get more high school students applying to college. Miss Michigan, who lost her father when she was a child, has spent years helping other children cope with grief. I was really inspired by how committed these girls were to giving back.

MJ: What is something most people don’t realize about the Miss America pageant?

CL: We are essentially athletes. It’s just as mental as it is physical. Most onlookers think it’s all about how you look- but having been on the inside, let me tell you that how you think and how you act is equally important. At the national competition, every contestant is gorgeous and at her peak physical condition. Onstage, each girl can be as beautiful as the next. Where the judges select the winner is the interview. A magnetic personality and inner beauty takes you much farther than just having the prettiest face.

One thing that would stay with me from my interview with Lee was her philosophy on her overall character. “It’s important to always be presentable, to give others energy and respect, and to behave knowing that you represent something larger than just yourself.” Nevertheless, not only is Lee’s philosophy a great motto, but a selfless act we should all put into practice.

*Some portions of this interview has been omitted and order rearranged.

Follow me on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf 

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46th Annual Cherry Blossom Queen Program

Cherry Blossom Queen 2013, Kelly Yuka Walton and her court.

Cherry Blossom Queen 2013, Kelly Yuka Walton and her court.

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival hosted its 46th program this past Saturday at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema. The theme for this year’s program was Back to Basics. Returning to the stage to emcee the event was Jana Katsuyama of KTVU and George Kiriyama of NBC Bay Area.

To honor and remember the earthquake and tsunami that occurred two years ago in Japan, the five queen candidates each wore teal ribbons and the festival’s 45th year pin to symbolize that their thoughts are still with the victims and survivors.

Queen candidates each presented their own speech, conducted an impromptu interview, and each one graced the stage with their creative expression presentation. For their creative expression segment, three candidates performed dance, one created and presented a short film, and one candidate drew using inspiration from the audience.

The results for this year’s program are as follows:

  • Cherry Blossom Queen Kelly Yuka Walton
  • First Princess Jamie Sachiko Martyn
  • Tomodachi Award Recipient Tiffany Sieu Okimura
  • Prince Kimberly Miya Sasaki
  • Prince Michiko Marie Maggi

 

Cherry Blossom Queen Kelly received a kimono and accessory set courtesy of Fujiyasu Kimono Company. She also received a trip to Japan courtesy of Japan Airlines and the Queen Award presented by Allen Okamoto.

Cherry Blossom Queen, Kelly Yuka Walton, along with her court will be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Parade on Sunday, April 21st at 1pm.

Follow me on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf 

Cherry Blossom 2012 Queen and court.

Cherry Blossom 2012 Queen and court.

The 2013 Cherry Blossom Queen’s Kimono created by Fujiyasu Kimono Company.

The 2013 Cherry Blossom Queen’s Kimono created by Fujiyasu Kimono Company.

The candidates display their kimonos during the opening routine.

The candidates display their kimonos during the opening routine.

Kimberly Miya Sasaki gives her individual speech.

Kimberly Miya Sasaki gives her individual speech.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn bows to the audience after her individual speech.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn bows to the audience after her individual speech.

Kelly Yuka Walton gives her individual speech.

Kelly Yuka Walton gives her individual speech.

Emcees Jana Katsuyama of KTVU and George Kiriyama of NBC Bay Area present candidates with questions to answer during the individual impromptu interviews.

Emcees Jana Katsuyama of KTVU and George Kiriyama of NBC Bay Area present candidates with questions to answer during the individual impromptu interviews.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn answers her question during the impromptu interview.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn answers her question during the impromptu interview.

Michiko Marie Maggi explains her film.

Michiko Marie Maggi explains her film.

Tiffany Sieu Okimura performs an Odori dance.

Tiffany Sieu Okimura performs an Odori dance.

Tiffany Sieu Okimura performs an Odori dance.

Another image of Tiffany Sieu Okimura’s Odori dance.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn freely draws using inspiration from the audience of what to draw.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn freely draws using inspiration from the audience of what to draw.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn is crowned the Cherry Blossom First Princess.

Jamie Sachiko Martyn is crowned the Cherry Blossom First Princess.

Kelly Yuka Walton is crowned as the 2013 Cherry Blossom Queen.

Kelly Yuka Walton is crowned as the 2013 Cherry Blossom Queen.

 

Kelly Yuka Walton is crowned and presented with the kimono from the Fujiyasu Kimono Company.

Kelly Yuka Walton is crowned and presented with the kimono from the Fujiyasu Kimono Company.

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SF Giants Chinese Heritage Night 2013

CYC members perform on the field for Chinese Heritage Night 2013.

CYC members perform on the field for Chinese Heritage Night 2013.

The San Francisco Giants played host Tuesday at AT&T Park for Chinese Heritage Night. Pre-game ceremonies started out wonderfully as the beautiful warm weather filled the park. On the field, the Community Youth Center (CYC) performed a drum routine with 20 percussionists while 15 youth were carrying a green orb followed by a 40ft long green snake in celebration of the “Year of the Snake”, this year’s Chinese New Year Zodiac year.

During the game, on the View Reserve level honoring Chinese Heritage Night guests who had purchased special tickets were allowed to receive a Collector’s Edition Giants themed “Year of the Snake” figurine. Partial ticket proceeds benefited local Chinese based charities.

In addition to the special give away for Chinese Heritage Night, in community partnership with the SF Giants were representatives of the SF Hep B Free campaign, whose purpose is to bring awareness to the community of the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and encourage those to get tested and vaccinated.

In support of the SF Hep B Free, local pageant title holders greeted and took pictures with fans. Some of the fans of these lovely ladies ranged from little youngsters to the elderly. It was fascinating to see the many smiles that these ladies brought to the ballpark.

Meanwhile, with all the hoopla of Chinese Heritage Night, the San Francisco Giants trailed the Colorado Rockies 6-2. The Giants scored two runs in the first two innings, while the Rockies were rocking Tim Lincecum by scoring five runs in the 2nd inning and then another in the 5th inning.

Bruce Bochy allowed Lincecum to pitch only 6 innings, giving Tim 7 strikeouts for the night. He allowed 6 total runs on 4 hits. However, the Chinese Zodiac Snake was going to bite back and benefit the SF Giants by bringing great luck and fortune as they would eventually turn things around.

The crowd came to life in the bottom of the 6th inning when the Giants picked up a base runner after Gregor Blanco was walked by Adam Ottavino. Immediately following, Hector Sanchez was walked also, moving Blanco to second base. On a wild pitch with Brandon Crawford batting, both runners then advanced to scoring position, but that wouldn’t matter because Crawford hit a three run homer to left field. A fourth run would come in as Hunter Pence singled to right allowing Nick Noonan to score. The Giants tied the Rockies 6-6 after the side was retired.

Two innings passed with no Rockies scoring. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Andres Torres doubles to right field. Angel Pagan next up at bat hits a single line drive to center field as Torres comes in to score. Marco Scutaro singles to left moving Pagan to 3rd. Next Pablo Sandoval singles scoring Pagan and moving Scutaro to 2nd. Hunter Pence lines out. Brandon Belt grounds into a force out to Sandoval at 2nd with Belt and Scutaro on the corners. Gregor Blanco with two outs on the board takes the chance with a bunt to first base, as it was going to roll foul, pitcher Wilton Lopez decides to play the ball and tries to throw out Blanco at 1st for the third out, but with no luck. Scutaro ends up scoring, while Belt moves to 2nd. Hector Sanchez strikes out swinging and the Giants take the lead 9-6.

In the top of the 9th inning, Sergio Romo with 4 saves this season entered the game for a save opportunity. Reid Brignac faced Romo first, but hits into a ground out as Romo puts him out at first base to Belt. Next two batters, Eric Young and Dexter Fowler strike out swinging. Romo picks up his 5th save of the season and leads MLB in saves so far. Final score: Giants 9 – Rockies 6. The Giants picked up their largest deficit (4-runs) come-from-behind victory since Sept 11th, 2012 vs. Colorado. The Giants win also marked the eighth-straight victory over the Rockies, which is the longest current winning streak for any major league team against a current division rival. Lincecum luckily gets by with a no-decision as Reliever Santiago Casilla picks up his 1st win of the season. Rockies Matt Belisle picks up his 1st loss of the season.

The SF Giants win on Chinese Heritage Night leaves the Giants in a 3-way tie for 1st in the NL West with a record of 5-3. They are tied with the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although the season is just beginning, it looks very promising for the SF Giants to get back into the playoffs and then hopefully onto the World Series for a repeat.

Follow me on Twitter at @MJPhotographySF or Facebook at www.facebook.com/mjphotographysf

Mother and daughter at the game with their “Year of the Snake” bobblehead.

Mother and daughter at the game with their “Year of the Snake” bobblehead.

Community Youth Center (CYC) youth perform on the drums.

Community Youth Center (CYC) youth perform on the drums.

The CYC youth drum in unison.

The CYC youth drum in unison.

The CYC youth carry a 40ft. long snake while chasing a green orb.

The CYC youth carry a 40ft. long snake while chasing a green orb.

Lou Seal shows off his two World Series rings.

Lou Seal shows off his two World Series rings.

The Collector’s Edition Giants themed “Year of the Snake” figurines.

The Collector’s Edition Giants themed “Year of the Snake” figurines.

The first 20,000 fans at the game received a promotional 2012 World Series snow globe.

The first 20,000 fans at the game received a promotional 2012 World Series snow globe.

The SF Hep B Free table with brand ambassadors and local pageant title holders.

The SF Hep B Free table with brand ambassadors and local pageant title holders.

Local pageant title holders pose with SF Giants towels.

Local pageant title holders pose with SF Giants towels.

Tim Lincecum on the mound allows for 4 hits and 6 runs. Lincecum strikes out 7 for the night.

Tim Lincecum on the mound allows for 4 hits and 6 runs. Lincecum strikes out 7 for the night.

 

Marco Scutaro’s hitting groove is coming back as he hits 3 for 4.

Marco Scutaro’s hitting groove is coming back as he hits 3 for 4.

Hunter Pence with his seventh game hitting streak.

Hunter Pence with his seventh game hitting streak.

 

Brandon Crawford is welcomed home after hitting a three run homer, which marks his second career home run at AT&T Park (coming on his 363rd plate appearance at AT&T).

Brandon Crawford is welcomed home after hitting a three run homer, which marks his second career home run at AT&T Park (coming on his 363rd plate appearance at AT&T).

Santiago Casilla picks up his 1st win of the season.

Santiago Casilla picks up his 1st win of the season.

Sergio Romo picks up his 5th save of the season.

Sergio Romo picks up his 5th save of the season.

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SF Giants Sweep The LA Dodgers

Beat LA

“Beat LA, Beat LA, Beat LA,” was the chant heard around the stadium for the three game series and guess what? That is exactly what the SF Giants did to the LA Dodgers. Leading in the NL West the LA Dodgers had been in the lead of the division up three games, but that soon would all fade quickly.

The Giants hosted the Dodgers on Monday night after losing an away game at the Oakland A’s in their pursuit of possibly sweeping the A’s for the Battle of the Bay interleague baseball 3-game series. Down on their luck of sweeping the A’s, but winning 2 of 3, the Giants started off the first of a three game series against the Dodgers with Barry Zito pitching. With much run support and great pitching the Giants went to win the first game 8-0. An awesome shutout game. Only 2 games back from 1st place in the NL West.

On the second night, Giants put Ryan Vogelsong on the mound paired against Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. A night where both pitchers duked it out, but the Giants struck first with two runs in the 4th, but that’s all the Giants would need as Vogelsong pitched 7 scoreless innings, followed up with Affedlt relieving and Casilla closing. Another awesome shutout game. Only 1 game back from 1st place in the NL West.

For the third game, the Giants hosted the Dodgers for an afternoon game at AT&T Park. Giants led the way with putting Tim Lincecum on the mound against  Chad Billingsley. Both pitchers were struggling having a poor season, but Timmy especially having a bad season after having several great seasons with the Giants. Lincecum had some type of inspiration going into the game because he pitched wonderfully. I don’t know what got into him, perhaps he had some smoke or something, but he did a great job on the mound with some great stuff and nice movement on the ball. Throughout the game talks of shutting out the Dodgers three times in a row and sweeping them were the topics of discussion as the game was played. How much of this talk could result in jinxing the team? It’s something that usually is never said allowed, but always lingering in our minds. Nevertheless, Lincecum was able to hold out above the Dodgers as he pitched 7 scoreless innings. The Giants by the 5th Inning scored 3 runs and this was all they needed to have scored as they went on to shutout the Dodgers once again.

From chants of “Beat LA” circulated throughout the stadium and even around the city of SF, the chants turned into “Sweep LA”. And for the first time in Giants baseball history not only do the Giants sweep LA, but they shut out their opposing rivals, the LA Dodgers, in all three games. Never have the Giants been so vibrant since the 2010 World Series Championship. However, on this day things were to change fast. The Giants not only sweep the Dodgers and shut them out, but they come to tie with the Dodgers for 1st place in the NL West. Tonight the Giants will play the Cincinnati Reds who are currently in 1st place in the NL Central Division. Can the Giants hold onto first? Only time will tell.

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AT&T Park

Melk Maids

Melk Men and Maids

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Alice Summerthing 2012

Alice Summerthing 2012

Radio Station Alice put on their annual free Summerthing Concert in Golden Gate Park at the renamed Hellman Hollow (formerly known as Speedway Meadow) Thousands came to check out the lineup featuring Vicci Martinez, Graffiti6, Scars on 45, Boys Like Girls, and Adam Lambert.

What more can you ask for on a Sunday afternoon, picnic? food trucks? giveaways? quality time with friends? live music? and girls screaming at the top of their lungs? I can do without the screaming. It always boggles my mind as to why people actually scream when they see their favorite musician or singer. Maybe clapping is a good response to saying that some musical artist has done a good job is good, but screaming, I could never understand. Please spare my ears so I can actually listen to the music.

The performances were lively, but unfortunately the artists were out of my element of familiarity. At most each artist performed only one of their more popular hits. Nevertheless, the show was entertaining and seeing that the crowd was really into it gave proof that the show was great.

Alice Summerthing 2012 was cool, now let’s look forward to Alice’s Now and Zen Concert 2012 later this year.

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Alice Summerthing 2012 (1)

Do you like bubbles? There were plenty at Alice Summerthing 2012.

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Vicci Martinez photographing with a fan after her performance.

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Jamie Scott on the acoustic guitar at Summerthing 2012.

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Pete Cherry of Graffiti6 on the bass.

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Graffiti6 duo (TommyD and Jamie Scott) jammin' at Summerthing 2012.

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Danny Bemrose of Scars 45 on lead guitar and vocals.

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Scars on 45 Chris Durling bangin' the drums.

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Stuart Nichols of Scars on 45 lays down the bass beats.

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David Nowakowski on the keys.

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Vocalist Aimee Driver of Scars on 45

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Vocalist Aimee Driver of Scars on 45.

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Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls on lead vocals and electric guitar.

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Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls feeling the energy from the crowd.

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Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls better be wearing some Speedos because it can get chilly in SF.

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Paul DiGiovanni of Boys Like Girls generating energy for the crowd.

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Boys Like Girls Morgan Dorr on the bass.

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shhh listen...

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Adam Lambert's bassist and drummer rockin' it at Summerthing 2012.

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Hittin' the keys for Adam Lambert.

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Love the reflection on Adam Lambert's shades.

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Tommy Joe Ratliff on Electric Guitar for Adam Lambert.

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Adam Lambert and his fierce stare.

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58th Annual North Beach Festival

North Beach Festival 2012

The 58th Annual North Beach Festival took to the streets of historic North Beach, also known as “Little Italy”, this past weekend with Saturday being the extreme scorcher of the two day festival. The festival occupied the busiest streets of the district with Columbus Street, this year, completely closed off to through traffic from Broadway to Green Streets with the overflow of festival-goers inhabiting Washington Square to relax and enjoy the company of friends and the weather.

The festival enjoyed its greatest weather on Saturday with many people taking to the streets in shorts, skirts, dresses, and of course sunglasses. People enjoyed the festival while grabbing drinks at the many beer gardens scattered throughout the festival. The largest beer and wine garden was at the Green Street Stage where guests inhabited the normally parking lot by day location. Here guests mingled with each other while enjoying a beverage or two with live performances by upbeat bands. The Filbert Street Stage was a smaller scaled stage with a different calmer atmosphere with bands that played soothing jazz.

Similar to other street festivals in San Francisco, the streets were filled with arts and crafts booths, sponsor booths, food and drink booths, and live music. However, what sets this festival apart from the others in San Francisco is the street chalk artwork that takes place at Grant Ave. and Vallejo Street. This year five artists constructed chalk art with many onlookers watching the artwork being created on Saturday to the final finishing touches by the festival’s end on Sunday. Organizers of the festival also allowed the public to take part in chalk art on the sidewalk for a small nominal fee.

Also observed during the festival is the annual “Blessing of the Animals” held by the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. Hundreds of people and their animals occupied the building over the course of two days with Fr. Gregory Coiro presiding over the animal blessings.

Having been to this festival several times, a trip to the North Beach would not be complete without having tried pizza from the area. I had some this year and it was good. I won’t tell you where, so you’ll have to discover it on your own. If you want some delicious pizza, come out to this district and try the different styles that this area has to offer. Pizza comes in all sorts, thin crust, cracker crust, thick crust, and also Sicilian styled pizza. I haven’t come across a deep dish pizza in the North Beach, but then again it’s not a traditional type of pizza originating from Italy. Deep dish is synonymous with Chicago and though there are some deep dish pizza joints in San Francisco, I think this district has yet to see one. There are rumors though that one will be coming soon.

Until next time, Ciao.

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North Beach Festival 2012 (1)

Festival booths line Columbus Street.

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The crowded Grant Avenue facing south.

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Looking north on Grant Avenue at the North Beach Festival.

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A crowded Washington Square.

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Quest brings his slacklining to the park and allows others to try the sport.

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The jam packed Green Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

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Columbus Street facing the Transamerica Pyramid.

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One of many Italian flag painted poles in the North Beach.

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Customers compare their choice colored t-shirts.

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Chalk artists design artwork on the streets of North Beach.

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Amos Goldbaum captures the old Embarcadero Freeway on a t-shirt. Does anybody remember this freeway pre-1989 earthquake?

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Can you believe this is her real hair?

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North Beach Festival is enjoyed by all. He particularly enjoys the No Stopping signs on Columbus Avenue.

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Two lovely ladies enjoy their puppets.

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A trip to North Beach is not complete without taking home a pizza.

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Two people enjoy a game of chess outside of a cafe at the North Beach Festival.

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Father Gregory Coiro blesses animals inside the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi.

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SF Giants are represented at the North Beach Festival

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Two ladies enjoy gummy worms while selling hats at the North Beach Festival.

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Italian inspired clothing and tattoos.

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Jammin' on the electric guitar.

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Gettin' down with the music.

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Playin' jazz with Carol Doda in the background before she sings.

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The North Beach Festival is a family affair.

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The completed chalk artworks on Vallejo Street.

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35th Annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair

Haight Street Fair 2012

Ever feel like a sardine in a can? Well that’s what it felt like to be at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. The ever so popular HASF had so many people that you couldn’t help not bumping into someone. The 35th annual street fair ran for several blocks from Stanyan St. to Masonic Ave. The weather that day was just perfect. Just another beautiful sunny summer day in San Francisco.

Walking down Haight Street was like walking through a time warp. There were a lot of people out in bright and colorful clothing, some tie-dyed shirts, and a few smoking that herbal plant. HASF’s crowd for the day was a mix of hipsters, hippies, young adults, with only a few families with children. Lined to the sides of the street were food vendors, art & crafts booths, information booths, and a few side show acts.

Two main stages built on opposite ends of the fair, played music that fit the Haight psychedelic genre. At both stages crowds packed even more tightly towards the fronts of the stages with even crowds lined up on the sidewalk. In the Kids zone, a smaller stage was placed on a side street near the fair’s center that brought families together for entertainment surrounded by face painters, balloon artists, and many more.

Although this street fair was only for one day, it seems like everyone came to party. However, many fair-goers had to hide their booze in bags as this SF street fair was a “dry” event.

At the end of the day, the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair brought in people from all over to come check out where Peace, Love, and Happiness resides. Bringing together whoever and whomever, the HASF did a pretty good job of uniting people for this one day celebration.

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Haight Street Fair 2012 (1)

Two ladies sportin' the products from the Dirty Pigeon, SF Giants colors represent

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Woman carries a well made monkey balloon

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Monkeybutts drummer sets the tone for the kids

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Lady gets a henna tattoo of an owl

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Vendor reaches out to pet dog

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Lovely couple spends the afternoon together

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Friends enjoying a wonderful sunny afternoon

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Jam packed street fair

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Peace

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Singing to a lively crowd on Haight and Stanyan Sts.

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ChalkedTees owner with his artwork

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Hittin' those keys

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Jammin' on the electric guitar

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Rockin' the bass

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Kid runs toward the bubbles or MJPhotography, you should too

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Sidewalk string quartet violinist

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Double the Peace

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Now I understand why Cookie Monster ate the way he did

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"Oh Kermie"

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Matt Cain Pitches A Perfect Game

Giants World Series Parade 2010 Matt Cain

Unbelievable game pitched by Matt Cain as he pitched against the Houston Astros. Matt becomes the first SF Giant to pitch a perfect game, which includes the time the Giants franchise was in New York. Matt Cain pitched 14Ks and allowed for an awesome game. He received a lot of run support with the Giants picking up 10 runs, the most runs this season at home. Cain becomes the 22nd player in major league baseball history to pitch a perfect game.

Also pivotal moments of the game was the wind, spin of the ball or something that prevented Astros catcher Chris Snyder from hitting a homerun. Also another great play was when Gregor Blanco performed a remarkable catch in center field preventing a base-runner in the top of the 7th inning. Lastly, the final batter of the game, Jason Castro, hit a bouncing ground ball to Giants third baseman Joaquin Arias to first baseman Brandon Belt.

As much as a traditional “torture” game goes in San Francisco, the last play of the game couldn’t have been more of a torture situation as it had gotten.  The play could have made it or broke it for Matt Cain, I wasn’t sure if Arias had enough on the throw fearing that his throw might have reached first base on a short hop, but the ball surely made it into the glove of Belt and just in time.

The Giants celebrated with showering Cain on the field with whatever beverages they had on hand. This is one moment that Cain will never forget.

I am proud to be a GIANT!