Bay Area Life

Life through the viewfinder

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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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The Fillmore Summerfest Kick-Off

Fillmore Summerfest

The Village Project and the Bayview YMCA presented The Fillmore Summerfest Kick-Off entitled “Grillin in the ‘Mo” on Saturday. Village Project founder, Adrian Williams, headed up this gathering at the Hamilton Rec Center Park. This event kick starts the summer of free festivals and events in the Fillmore Jazz District.

The mission statement of the Village Project is “To bring together resources and programs to enhance the economic, educational, social and cultural well being of children. We promote community unity, cultural awareness, connectedness, and engagement amongst diverse populations. Our target demographic resides in undeserved communities such as public and subsidized housing.”

Event activities included three jumper castles, live music entertainment, live DJ, game area for the kids, eating, dancing, and normal fun in the sun. Williams with the help of many sponsors and community partners was able to put together this event and was able to provide a cooked meal to the surrounding community all for free, but donations were encouraged to help with the children’s program. Also free treats for all in the Kids Area with snow cones, cotton candy, and buttered popcorn.

The menu for the grillin’ BBQ event consisted of green tossed salad, potato salad, fruit and veggies, scalloped potatoes, spaghetti, beef or BBQ chicken, and various drinks. For the children, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers were the main staple. Festivities began at Noon and lasted until 5pm. The Village Project would like to thank Episcopal Charities, IF/X Productions, and Kaiser Permanente for supporting the Village Project’s summer camp.

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Fillmore Summerfest (1)

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The Village Project founder dances to music and eats food with guests

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First Annual Statewide API American Heritage Month Celebration

API American Heritage Month

The First Annual Statewide API American Heritage Month Celebration took place Thursday night under the rotunda at San Francisco’s City Hall. This event was produced by Steven Lee, the first Asian American nightclub owner appointed to San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission. The event was hosted by SF Mayor Ed Lee in which the event honored the Asian Pacific Islander American community.

Entertainment opening for the evening included a Polynesian music and dance performance by Halau Makana, a Korean Fan Dance performance by OngDance Company, a Vietnamese song and dance by Dao Tran and Danny Nguyen Dance Company.

The main program started with the National Anthem sung by a mother and daughter team, Melody Wang & Remona Ji. The event was emceed by Frances Dinglasan of ABC7 and Doug Lee formally of KSOL & KBLX. Special guest speakers included: Mayor Ed Lee, CA State Controller John Chiang, Congressman CA 15 Mike Honda, and APAPA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta.

Following the evening’s speakers, the program included musical performances by individuals that represented several Asian heritages. Billy Shen (Mandarin Americans), Lisa Wang (Taiwanese Americans), Sachiko Morino (Japanese Americans), Vivian Lee (Cantonese Americans), Maria Park (Korean Americans), Troy Reinhard (APA Youths), Boom WanvisaWattanadumrong (Thai Americans), and Margie Lao Williams (Filipino Americans). Musical accompaniment was provided by the band “Pulse”.

Guests were treated to complimentary food and beverage by Moonstar Buffet Restaurant.

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API American Heritage Month (1)

National Anthem sung by mother and daughter, Melody Wang & Remona Ji

National Anthem sung by mother and daughter, Melody Wang & Remona Ji

Mayor Ed Lee and elected officials

Mayor Ed Lee and elected officials

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SF Mayor Ed Lee

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Congressman Mike Honda

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CA State Controller John Chiang

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APAPA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient / Former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta

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8th Asian Heritage Street Celebration

8th Asian Heritage Street Celebration

The Asian Heritage Street Celebration occurs every Third Saturday in May. This year it was held again in the Little Saigon District and Civic Center of San Francisco. The Street Fair brings awareness to visitors about Asian culture, food, entertainment, and even brings health awareness and prevention to those that don’t know about such health programs.

The festival started off with a Thai Blessing ceremony (Wat Buddapradeem Temple). Next up was the Faces of Asia procession that had participants from numerous Asian ethnicities. Throughout the street fair there were live entertainers, musicians, marital artists, and cooking demonstrations live on four stages.

All day events at the fair were the food booths/truck vendors serving delicious food, wine tastings, arts and crafts booths, an import/exotic car exhibition, a kids zone, a healthy living pavilion, and the Asian Art Museum open to the public sponsored by Target.

New to the street fair this year was the cooking demonstrations that took place at the cooking demo stage on Larkin and Eddy Streets. (There was no Muay Thai Exhibition and Tournament this year.) Special guest chef, Martin Yan, began his program at 2:30pm. He created a delicious noodle dish and entertained the crowd with his humor and his quick knife cutting skills. He also brought along with him his sidekick noodle chef who stretched out fresh dough while dancing. He used the noodle dough as if it were a lasso, spinning and twisting and turning it in the air.

I had the privilege in eating Martin Yan’s noodle dish and I can say that it was delicious, it is not just a show that he puts on, but he can sure cook. The noodles were fresh and delicious (silky smooth), chicken and shrimp were cooked to perfection, and all the vegetables provided great texture and aromas to complement the dish. Chef Martin Yan even fed me shrimp, which I think is pretty unique. I don’t think he’s ever fed anyone else other than his family. I guess I’m that special. He did this in front of a crowd which photographed me, I felt a little funny, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I just went with it.

Other chefs demonstrations were presented by Kayne Raymond,Andrea Nguyen, Mari Takahashi, Charles Phan, and Steve Cortez.

At the end of the day, the whole event was a great success. I think this was the most foot traffic at the festival that I’ve ever experienced in its 8th year. Hopefully, next year will bring more people and much more activities and culture. Until next year AHSC.

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8th Asian Heritage Street Celebration (1)

Faces of Asia procession down Larkin Street

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Korean Culture

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Indonesian Culture

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Johnny Hi-Fi

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Martial Arts Demo

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Thai Culture

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A guest is tested at the Hep B Testing Tent

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Larkin Street looking north

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A volunteer pours wine at the Wine Tasting Tent

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Joel Del Rosario

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Guest Chefs at the 8th Asian Heritage Street Celebration

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Martin Yan tells the audience how to quickly remove the seeds from a red bell pepper

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Martin Yan fillets a red bell pepper, and then continues to fillet the skin twice more.

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Martin Yan shows the audience how to quickly julienne vegetables

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Master noodle chef from China, literally whips his noodle around.

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Martin Yan shows off his Asian noodle dish

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Martin Yan feeds me some delicious shrimp

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Car exhibition

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Volunteers at the Hep B Testing Tent

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Collectors wine glass at the 8th Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Other featured performers include: Arianna Tolentino, Chloe Yu, Johnny Hi-Fi, One Hunned, The Seshen, DJ Mike Nice, Native Elements, Beach Blanket Babylon, Kenneth Ronquillo, Sheryl Ann Padre, Brian Lee, Celeste Ignacio, DJ ToneDef, Rocky Rivera, US Wing Chun, Parangal Dance Company, Francis Wong Unit (Asian Improv aRts), Joel Del Rosario, GenRyu Arts, Au Co Vietnamese Cultural Center, Burmese Youth Association, CARA’s Cambodian American Dance Troupe, Richmond Temple Music Group,Traditional Performing Ensemble from Thailand, Mari Watanabe “San Francisco Sailor Moon”, Gadung Kasturi Balinese Dance and Music, GoldenVardo Tribal Bellydance, Ms. Margot Lederer Prado’s Dance Group (Indonesian Consulate), and Diwa Kulintang Circle.

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45th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Parade

CBF 2012

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Parade hit the streets of San Francisco yesterday. Starting at City Hall, sharing space right next to this year’s Earth Day San Francisco, and finishing off in the heart of Japantown. The Grand Parade caps off two weeks of live entertainment in music, cultural dance performances, cultural arts, martial arts, education, and so much more.

The weather seemed to cooperate with San Franciscan’s this weekend. Saturday having hot and sunny skies, while Sunday brought dense fog early and then broke apart a bit towards the later afternoon. As long as there was no rain, it’s perfect weather in San Francisco and a great day for a parade.

The parade had the usual units that attend annually, but what makes this parade a great one is that so much of the Japanese culture is shown all in just a two-hour span, from music to dance. Highlights of the parade are seeing the little children march down with their classmates supporting their schools or community centers, visiting pageant queens and their courts from Seattle, Honolulu, and LA, the past year and current reigning queens and court of San Franciso as well, demonstrations in martial arts or sword weaponry, taiko drumming, and the carrying of different Japanese shrines.

The one unit that surprisingly brought back memories growing up in San Francisco was an old Muni bus that drove down the route. It was of the old days, though freshly painted, and I can still remember riding it to and from home. My earliest memories on that style of bus was that you can ring the bell to inform the driver to stop multiple times. Now you can only pull the string for the bell once or “push” a button. The time that I can remember the most was ringing the bell almost eight times before I almost got in trouble because I was so excited to hear that chime, the driver was nice enough not to yell at me and traumatize me for life. Ahh those were the days. One more thing, I just remembered, do you even remember when the bus windows would rust or get stuck and they’d never open or close? Do you also remember that they seem to have stronger engines and drove faster than the ones that we have today? They broke down a lot more back then than they do now and less pollution are the benefits of a new fleet.

Anyhow, going back to the parade, the parade was lots of fun seeing familes and friends enjoy themselves and myself also being able to see friends that I’ve met throughout the years. It’s just a fun and exciting place to be every year and that’s one of the main reasons why I attend.

Following the parade, music entertainment resumed, the annual anime fashion show took to the stage, and the food booths were constantly busy. My mouth waters just thinking about the good eats.

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Pageant Queens and their courts, and distinguished guests
The President of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Northern California, Pageant Queens and their courts, Consul General of Japan, and Festival Co-Chairman

2012's Miss San Francisco, Miss Golden Gate, Miss SF Outstanding Teen, Miss GG Outstanding Teen
2012′s Miss San Francisco, Miss Golden Gate, Miss SF Outstanding Teen, Miss GG Outstanding Teen

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2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Queen of Honolulu

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Do you remember riding these buses? I even think they're faster than the ones today!

Do you remember riding these buses? I even think they're faster than the ones today!

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2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and her Court

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Miss San Francisco & Miss Golden Gate 2012

Miss San Francisco 2012

Eight young ladies competed at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco for the coveted title of Miss San Francisco and Miss Golden Gate. This year the scholarship pageant had the privilege of having Alissa Anderegg, 2011′s Miss Golden Gate Outstanding Teen, sing the National Anthem to start the program. Emcee for the evening was Nicole Honaker, Miss SF 2010.

The ladies competed in five segments:  Question and Answer, Physical Fitness, Talent, Evening Wear, and Interview (which took place prior to the on stage performance). Special Entertainment was provided by the Shan-Yee Poon Ballet School and the current reigning title holders of Miss SF Outstanding Teen 2012 & Miss Golden Gate Outstanding Teen 2012.

The Miss SF and Miss GG program had the privilege of having visiting delegates from various counties introduce themselves and introductions of the young 2012 San Francisco Princesses. Before the crowning and sashing of the 2012 title holders, the past 2011 title holders gave their farewell speeches. Many thanks go out to 2011′s title holders Miss Crystal Lee, Miss Holly Heiserman, Miss Jasmine Lee, and Miss Alissa Anderegg for their service in the community throughout the past year.

Family and friends cheered in support of their loved ones as the winners were announced and with complete surprise and shock to herself, Miss Vivian Wei was crowned Miss San Francisco 2012 and gave her walk across the stage in awe and happiness.

Congratulations to the following title holders:

Miss San Francisco 2012: Vivian Wei

Miss Golden Gate 2012: Sara Choi

Miss San Francisco Outstanding Teen 2012: Elyse Vincenzi

Miss Golden Gate Outstanding Teen 2012: Grace Lee Grant

Miss San Francisco 1st Runner-Up: Marcy Chun

Miss San Francsico 2nd Runner-Up: Lindsey Nakashima

Miss Congenialilty: Marcy Chun

Miss People’s Choice: Anna Lisa Matias

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San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival 30

SFIAAFF (1)

The Center for Asian American Media hosted the 30th Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival for the past week and a half. The festival is the largest Asian American Film Festival in the United States and draws thousands of supporters every year. The red carpet is pulled out for famous celebrities and those that are up-and-coming. The festival honored Joan Chen for her great achievement in being a pioneer of Asian American media.

This year kicked off at the famous Castro Theatre, with the world premier of “White Frog” directed by Quentin Lee, with a great supporting cast. The feature starred renowned actress Joan Chen, BD wong, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum Jr., and Tyler Posey. After the premier, guests headed over to the Asian Art Museum to enjoy the always fun and festive Opening Night Gala to mingle, eat and drink, and dance the night away.

Over the weekend, the festival held a program called Directions in Sound, where artists can display their talents through music. The festival also hosted the Festival Forum, which is the festivals largest free program, where guests can watch local artists, performers, and other media. The forum was held in Japantown’s Peace Plaza. The Centerpiece film for the festival was “Yes, We’re Open” by Richard Wong and H.P. Mendoza.

The festival held surprisingly the most entertaining program that I have ever been to at the SFIAAFF, that program came last Wednesday when Tadashi Nakamura brought his documentary about Jake Shimabukuro to the big screen in its premier. The well written and captured scenes throughout Jake’s tour around the world playing the ukulele was one of the best documentaries that I’ve ever seen. Following the documentary was a special live performance by Jake Shimabukuro. Throughout his performance he was joined on stage by The Dominator, who won a contest giving him the opportunity to play live on stage.  Jake then followed up by playing alongside his brother and his mother who sang. The program at the Castro Theatre was a sell out and I cannot remember a time when the whole building was filled.

The SF Closing Night program, Prison Dancer: The interactive Web Musical, was very unique and different, where the audience took participation in this interactive experience. The web musical is based on the Philippine prisoners who were known for dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. The program featured the web based media that was made alive through a karaoke-styled performance by the characters themselves. The characters also got the audience to move and dance along to one of the created dances. The web series will be updated about every two weeks on their website.

Finally, as the festival closed out their week in San Francisco, San Jose became the heart of the festival as the last remaining three days of the festival moved about 50 miles south. The San Jose Opening Night feature was Michael Kang’s “Knots” with actors, such as Sung Kang and Illeana Douglas. The movie was followed up by a gala at the San Jose Museum of Art.

The SFIAAFF Jury Award Winners for 2012 are:
In The Family: Comcast Narrative Award
A Lot Like You: Best Documentary Award
Director Patrick Wang (In The Family): Emerging Filmmaker Award

Loni Ding Award: Mina T. Son for Roots and Reality

If you would like more information about the festival please visit their website at www.caamedia.org

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Laugh For Lives (a comedy show benefit)

The Asian American Donor Program presented the 5th Laugh For Lives last Friday night, a comedy show benefit at the Palace Fine Arts to help raise money, awareness, and to get people registered in the Bone Marrow Donor Program. The event featured 5 comics; Mark Zhang (guest comic emcee for the evening), Shawn Felipe, KT Tatara, Danny Cho, and Eliot Chang. DJing the evening was DJ RJ “kool raul” with a special appearance from Flower, a donor who was able to reach out and supply bone marrow for her intended recipient.

Throughout the evening, guests were given the opportunity to register to be a bone marrow donor in the lobby of the auditorium. With nearly all of the seats being sold out and being a great turn out, the awareness of this program reached many.

The evening was filled with non-stop laughing that had people at the edge of their seats with jokes from Japanese, Korean and Chinese comedians. Though some of the jokes were dirty, a majority of the audience related to them and had a good time. The attendees ranged in age and so despite some of the off-the-wall jokes, I believe everyone left feeling happy and pleased to support a great cause.

If you would like to know more about the Asian American Donor Program, please visit their website at http://www.aadp.org

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