January 30, 2017

Into the Light @ the Gray Loft


a juried photography exhibit

image: Styrous®

Show dates: February 11 – March 18, 2017
Juror:  Judy Walgren, Editorial Director, ViewFind

former Director of Photography, SF Chronicle

 Reception, Saturday, February 11, 4 - 7pm
(note new opening reception date and time)
2nd Friday Reception, March 10 11, 6 – 9 pm

Closing Reception and wine tasting: 
Saturday, March 18, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

Gray Loft Gallery
2889 Ford Street, third floor
Oakland, CA 94601

About the Gray Loft Gallery:
Gray Loft Gallery has been referred to as a hidden gem in Jingletown, and noted by Kenneth Baker, former art critic of the SF Chronicle, in his Visual Arts Don’t Miss Column as “…A space gaining prominence in the Bay Area…”   and was voted “Best Art Gallery” in the 2016 Oakland Magazine Best Of Oakland issue. The mission of the gallery is to provide exhibition opportunities for artists in a setting that is an alternative to the traditional gallery model. We hope to inspire, engage and celebrate artists in our community and beyond.  We acknowledge the achievements of emerging, mid-career and established artists – with an emphasis on those who live and work in the Bay Area.
GLG is a non-traditional art gallery in a converted warehouse located on the 3rd floor in a large, well-lit space in one of the oldest legal artist live/work buildings in Jingletown.

Styrous® ~ Monday, January 30, 2017 

Into the Light articles

Into the Light @ the Gray Loft   
Into the Light memory 1 ~ Pagano's 
Styrous abstracts          
Into the Light opens            
Into the Light opening               
Into the Light memory 2 ~ Opening 
card image: Styrous®   

Show dates: February 11 – March 18, 2017
Juror:  Judy Walgren, Editorial Director, ViewFind
former Director of Photography, SF Chronicle

 Reception, Saturday, February 11, 4 - 7pm
(note new opening reception date and time)
2nd Friday Reception, March 10 11, 6 – 9 pm
Closing Reception and wine tasting: 
Saturday, March 18, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

Gray Loft Gallery
2889 Ford Street, third floor
Oakand, CA 94601

January 28, 2017

Chinese New Year, 2017 ~ Year of the Fire Rooster

iPhone photos by Styrous®

papercut in window with the character written in 100 different ways  

When displayed as a Chinese ideograph, is often displayed upside-down on diagonal red squares. The reasoning is based on a wordplay: in nearly all varieties of Chinese: the words for "upside-down" (倒, Pinyin: dào) and "to arrive" (到, Pinyin: dào) are homophonous. Therefore, the phrase an "upside-down " sounds nearly identical to the phrase "Good luck arrives". Pasting the character upside-down on a door or doorpost thus translates into a wish for prosperity to descend upon a dwelling.     

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year which is also also known as the "Spring Festival" (simplified Chinese 春节; traditional Chinese 春節; Pinyin: Chūn Jié) in modern Mainland China

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year is on Saturday, January 28, initiating the year of the Rooster.   

The Rooster (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: /) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac (and similar zodiacal systems) related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch character . The name is also translated into English as Cock or Chicken. Rooster is the only bird included in the Chinese zodiac. However, the Chinese term is more generic, as it applies to barnyard fowl of either sex.     

Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness" ( (About this sound , Unicode U+798F) ), "wealth", and "longevity".        

9th Street, Oakland 

According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. One year, all the villagers decided to hide from the beast. An old man appeared before the villagers and said that he's going to stay the night, and decided to get revenge on the Nian. The villagers thought he was insane. The old man put red papers up and set off firecrackers. The day after, the villagers came back to their town to see that nothing was destroyed. They assumed that the old man was a deity who came to save them. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.    

Hongjun Laozu with the Nian 

Most importantly, the first day of the Chinese New Year is a time to honor one's elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. What a marvelous culture! 

Gung Hai Fat Choi!

Styrous® ~ Saturday, January 28, 2017


January 25, 2017

Tracey Snelling ~ Selling It on Market Street

 iPhone photos by Styrous®

Tracey Snelling ~
     Transcendent, ”Best Sellers" series.   

Tracey Snelling has had her series, ”Best Sellers", featured in an art in public places project in the Downtown section of San Francisco. The posters are on the bus stop kiosks along Market Street from the Embarcadero to 8th street. I took the walk today to photograph them. Only found 4 in the series of 6, unfortunately, and I got reflections in the glass in a couple. They would have looked better at night but that's the way it goes. 

Tracey Snelling’s Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series, Best Sellers, is a response to the changes occurring in San Francisco’s physical and cultural landscape. The posters offer idealistic visions of Market Street that combine cherished aspects from the past with the new and innovative ideas that are reshaping the City’s identity. They will be up from October 28, 2016 to February 13, 2017.   

Tracey Snelling ~ Hetoic, ”Best Sellers" series.       

Tracey Snelling ~ Daring, ”Best Sellers" series. 

       Tracey Snelling ~ Radical, ”Best Sellers" series.    

The Art on Market Street Posters are for sale for $50 each. There are a limited number of posters available for sale. 

One can browse the on-line archive to view the posters and then contact Justine Topfer at (415) 252-2584 or justine.topfer@sfgov.org about availability. The posters are 6 feet high by 4 feet wide and laminated on both sides. All the funds collected from the sale of the Market Street posters go back into the Market Street Program.  

Great work, Tracey!

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tracey Snelling articles/mentions

Tracey Snelling is an American contemporary artist. Working with sculpture, video, photography and installation, and deriving from sociology, voyeurism and geographical and architectural location, her work gives her impression of a place, its people, and their experience     
photo by Styrous®

Viewfinder links:  
Asphault Jungle      
Birth of a thousand shacks     
Contemporary Jewish Museum       
One Thousand Shacks opening       
Selling It on Market Street   

Gray Loft Gallery ~     
Los Vecinos      
There Is a There There ~ ArtSlant profiles


Tracey Snelling ~ Birth of a thousand shacks

Tracey Snelling ~ 1,000 Shacks
photo by Styrous®

The latest sculpture by Tracey Snelling, 1,000 Shacks, is monstrous, very exciting and last, but certainly  not least, exquisitely beautiful. I was fortunate to have been around to see it being constructed.   

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, December 1, 2015



January 24, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 76: Klaus Nomi

photos by Styrous®

Klaus Nomi vinyl lp
front cover photo by Michael Halsband

Klaus Nomi, was born, Klaus Sperber on this day, January 24, in 1944, in Immenstadt, Bavaria, Germany. He was a countertenor who had an astounding vocal range and whose stage persona was visually elegant and ethereal. He only produced two studio albums but they are stellar in their unique interpretations of standards and rarely heard music. His second album was called, Simple Man. More on that album in a future article.   

Klaus Nomi vinyl lp
  back cover

This is the first album I bought by Nomi and it is my favorite of the two albums he produced. One of my favorite songs on it is his interpretation of The Cold Song from the Baroque opera, King Arthur, by Henry Purcell. Purcell wrote the song for a bass, but numerous countertenors have performed the piece in homage to Nomi. Sting recorded it on his 2009 album, If on a Winter's Night... (links below to music on YouTube).   

 Side 1

Another one of my favorites is his rendition of the aria, Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix ("My heart opens to your voice"), from the Camille Saint-Saëns 1877 opera, Samson et Delilah. In interviews with Page Wood, Ann Magnuson and Kristian Hoffman, from "The Nomi Song" (2004), they describe about Nomi performing the song. (links below).   

                            Klaus Nomi vinyl lp
                                       side 2       

His take on Lightning Strikes by Lou Christie is striking (pun intended) and his version of, The Twist, written by Hank Ballard and made famous by Chubby Checker, is, well . . .  twisted.    

Then there is the powerful song, Wasting My Time ("I'm wasting my time on you, on you!") What a terrific song this one is! It has a moderate-speed but determined beat that thrusts with force his statement about, well, the title says  it.  

Of course, there has never been anything like, Keys of Life! VERY short and VERY weird, it is slow, dreamy and scary, as it could describe what is happening today. The lyrics . . .

From ancient worlds I come
To see what man has done
What's fact and what is fiction
To judge the contradictions

The future has begun
Much work has to be done
You're running out of time
Beware the silent sign

Exploring new dimension
New lifestyle my intention
Do not ignore advice
You hold the keys of life 

Klaus Nomi

Klaus Sperber, ca 1960
photographer unknown

In the 1960s, Nomi worked as an usher at the Deutsche Oper in West Berlin where he sang for the other ushers and maintenance crew on stage in front of the fire curtain after performances. Around that time he also sang opera arias at the Berlin discothèque Kleist Casino. The Kleist Casino, often abbreviated as KC, was a gay bar in Kleiststrasse in Berlin. It was founded in 1921 and existed until October 2002, interrupted only from 1933 to 1950 as a result of the closure by the national socialists. During its existence, the KC room offered the opportunity to live out gay sexuality and was also the meeting place for prominent guests such as Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler and Stefan Wolpe.    

Nomi moved to New York City in 1972 and his big break came in 1979 when David Bowie caught him and fellow NYC performance artist, Joey Arias, at the Mudd Club in TriBeCa. Bowie was so impressed with them that he hired them as his back-up singers for his December 15, 1979 appearance on Saturday Night Live (link below). Bowie, flanked by Klaus and Arias, performed three songs that ultimately marked a turning point in Bowie's career. New wave was the genre du jour, so Bowie was keeping up with the times. It was time to get weird(er), and Klaus' eccentric aesthetic was perhaps the greatest entrée (and cosign) for Bowie into that world.   

December 15, 1979
video still

It was a mutually beneficial relationship that lasted just one evening. Klaus was enamored with the giant plastic tux Bowie wore during the performance, and later made it his own. The exposure also garnered him a record deal with Bowie's label RCA. As for Bowie, he had a new muse, but the adoration would come from afar. Convinced that Bowie would deliver upon a loose promise to work together after their first and last time on stage, Klaus waited for his call. His phone never rang.  

photographer unknown 

The Nomi Song is a 2004 documentary about the life of singer Klaus Nomi, written and directed by Andrew Horn. The film debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2004, where it won a Teddy Award for "Best Documentary Film."

The Nomi Song poster 

Lady Gaga drew fashion inspiration from Nomi

Klaus Nomi died on August 6, 1983 at the Sloan Kettering Hospital Center, New York, one of the first celebrities to die of complications from AIDS. His ashes were scattered over New York City.     

Klaus Nomi vinyl lp label details  
sides 1 & 2

Track listing:

Side one:
  1. "Keys of Life" (Klaus Nomi) – 2:26
  2. "Lightning Strikes" (Lou Christie, Twyla Herbert) – 2:59
  3. "The Twist" (Hank Ballard) – 3:10
  4. "Nomi Song" (Kristian Hoffman) – 2:47
  5. "You Don't Own Me" (John Medora, David White) – 3:39
Side two:
  1. "The Cold Song" (Henry Purcell, John Dryden) – 4:03
  2. "Wasting My Time" (Klaus Nomi, Scott Woody) – 4:16
  3. "Total Eclipse" (Kristian Hoffman) – 3:29
  4. "Nomi Chant" (Man Parrish) – 1:53
  5. "Samson and Delilah (Aria)" (Camille Saint-Saëns) – 3:43


Klaus Nomi on the net: 
After the Fall: Klaus Nomi 30 Years Later    
The Curious Career of Klaus Nomi      
"The Nomi Song" (2004) interviews               
Links to music on YouTube:    
Henry Purcell - The Cold Song       
Henry Purcell - The Cold Song (concert film)
Henry Purcell - The Cold Song (TV video)       
Nanette Scriba sings The Cold Song             
Camille Saint-Saëns, Samson et Dalila  
                                    (TV broadcast with interview)    
After The Fall (concert video)      
After The Fall (1981 video)                    
Wasting my time         
Keys of Life       
The Twist        
Lightning Strikes          
David Bowie, December 15, 1979, Saturday Night Live   


photographer unknown

"Elvis Presley is my spiritual father and 
Maria Callas is my spiritual mother.” 
                    - Klaus Nomi

Styrous® ~ Tuesday, January 24, 2017 

January 23, 2017

Dear President Obama and Mrs. Obama,

The other day I saw an open letter on Facebook to President Obama and his wife, Michelle. It was written by California College of the Arts (CCA) professor Mark Eanes. It was brilliant; everything I would want to tell the President and more! I contacted Mark to ask his permission to share his letter and he said, yes. So, here it is, unedited (except for links I've added). 

Dear President Obama and Mrs. Obama,

My name is Mark Eanes. I am 64 years of age and live in California. I am an associate professor of art in San Francisco. I am glad to have this opportunity to write to you both, and hope these words will reach you someday.   

I am a life long democrat who, at the age of 18, placed my first vote for George McGovern, a man of great distinction. He lost that year to Richard Nixon and that chapter changed me forever as a young man yearning to place my belief and faith in a leader I could trust and respect. It was a clarion call for me to remain informed and engaged....not to let my guard down.   

I have lived through many challenging chapters and witnessed great upheaval in this country throughout my lifetime, but still I sought out certain political leaders, men and women, whose voices and messages could offer me a shred of hope in difficult times.  

Then you came along....
When you gave the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, I did not know of you. I was driving home from work that evening, listening to the radio...and heard your opening remarks.  

Your message was so clear and heartfelt I immediately pulled my car over, parked, and listened to your entire speech. I was moved deeply. Your words touched me.  

The next day I called a close friend and remarked " I heard the message of a man last night, a senator by the name of Barak Obama. And I believe he will be the next president of the United States of America." 

From that day forward I have been your biggest fan, your most loyal citizen. I have not always agreed with your positions, which is to be expected from any informed citizen, but I have always trusted your heart, your intelligence, and your capacity to lead this county with grace and dignity. 

I am saddened beyond words that you have left the Oval Office, but am heartened that you will return to Washington DC as a citizen to continue the good fight and lead this nation still. 

Your wife, Michelle, has been a beacon for all citizens who look to the first lady as a model for what is right and true. Her intelligence, passion and compassion has been a gift to all Americans. 

Together, and here I speak for many millions...you will both be missed. And remembered, always.

Mark Eanes.   

Thank you, Mark. 

Styrous® ~ Monday, January 23, 2017 

January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington ~ 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Women's March on Washington is a grassroots movement with a rally to take place in Washington, D.C., today, January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump. According to the event's website, the march aims to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights." Sister marches will be held in other major metropolitan areas around the world. However, it excludes Pro-Life Feminists according to some news agencies (links below).   

Net links: 
Women's March on Washington           
Washington Post        
New York Times    
USA Today           
Rolling Stone    
Newsweek ~ Pink Pussycats   
Atlantic ~ Pro-Lifers    
Daily Wire ~ Pro-Life Feminists       
National Review ~ (Some) Women March on Washington          
Huffington Post         

Styrous® ~ Saturday, January 21, 2017    


January 20, 2017