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December 2013

Tim Wenzel, affectionately known to some as the honorary Mayor of Belmont, has a new show up this month entitled Ride the Snake, full of his iconic visual work. Much of Wenzel’s music and art is rooted in humor and the absurd, but it’s also poignant, heartfelt, intuitive and really, really good.WenzelCafe-halfnhalf

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His visual art is in the same spirit as Dadaist photomontage work of artists like Hannah Höch, Max Ernst and Raoul Hausmann. It’s rare for artists to make work like this by hand anymore, but his pieces remind what magic can come from the limitation of found images and utility knives over infinite internet archives.

Wenzel’s process is unlikely to change anytime soon. “For one, I hate sitting,” he says, about his aversion to digital media. “I don’t like computers because they frustrate me and I just never found them very interesting.”  He’s only recently started using the internet at all because he discovered YouTube. “Now I love YouTube”, he laughs. “Like 10 years past the fact, I’m like ‘YouTube rules!’ Of course, I’m like a 5-year-old kid typing in ‘daddy farted.’”

He’s worked for Stumptown for 12 years and is somewhat of a legend around these parts. (You may remember some of his work from amazing Stumptown Ads of the past.) He has also just released a new record under the moniker White Glove, a band he plays in with another long-time Stumptowner, Deja Sparks. White Glove is a departure from his last project, a well-loved Euro-Casio-techno project called MSG, which featured life-affirming dance cuts like “Macchiato” and  “Do You Like to Party?” Both records are the kind you unearth in a record store years later and feel as if you’ve struck gold.

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We stopped by his bright house for breakfast and a tour of his basement studio, walked through his winterized pepper patch, and talked to him about his new work.

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NMcK.dillard.webOn view December 15, 2013 – January 20, 2014
Reception Sunday, December 15 (5-7p.m.)

For Legends of the Game, Nathan Mckee’s new work on basketball, the artist has visited some of his favorite moments in the NBA. Using just an X-Acto knife and paper, McKee hopes to reproduce the excitement of the game and to share his admiration for the court’s already established legends, as much as for the young up-and-comers.

Nathan McKee lives and works in Portland, Oregon. His illustrations and paper cutouts utilize simple lines and flat color, and are inspired by comics, sports, music, and other elements of popular culture. His works have been included in the Adidas Dikembe Mutombo campaign, as well as exhibitions in Portland, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Boston, and Switzerland. McKee has studied at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and currently runs the website www.fakeyrowndeath.com.

More of his work can be seen on www.nathan-mckee.tumblr.com

For more information and images, please contact may@stumptowncoffee.com

Join his facebook event here.

Jenny Simmons_PCOn view December 2nd – January 6th
Opening Reception 4 – 6pm Sunday, December 15th

 

My first camera was a cheap little point and shoot given to me by my uncle. I was 8 years old and on my first trip to Taiwan, the birth place of my mother. Receiving this gift while visiting a new and foreign land sparked an early compulsion to document my explorations through photographs.

Having traveled the world I decided to spend this past year focusing on places closer to home. States with which I have a personal and spiritual connection. Documenting them through the eye of the camera much the way I have with my travels since early childhood. I took a second look at landscapes I thought I knew. This journey has brought me closer to what I already cherished and what I consider “My Coast.”

The concept of a nature study is dear to me as it focuses on the beauty and appreciation of one’s surroundings rather than the scientific formalities. I liken this to my methods of photo taking – the technical side being less important than the composition of the subject and the connection I feel whilst taking photos. I choose to be informal and uninhibited by rules. It is more about an idea and an art rather than a science, keeping it free and unrestrained, right where I like it.

- Jenny Simmons

Join the facebook event here.

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Sharon Wang is the chef/owner of Sugarbloom bakery and is responsible for the myriad of swoony Instagram pastry photos posted daily from our LA cafe. Her masterful and inventive baked goods are very photogenic and sound crazy good — Kimchi Spam Musubi Croissant, anyone?

You’d never guess that this is Sharon Wang’s second career. She seems completely born to do it. She started Sugarbloom only months ago — the name a nod to a process that occurs when making chocolate — and her food inspires followers to come far and wide to see what she’s got cooking.

One of those devoted Sugarbloom patrons was one of our first dudes on the ground in LA, Evan Dohrmann, who caught wind of her pastry pop-up at Taza and stopped in for weekly bites.

“Stumptown actually drove me to wholesale.” she says. “I wasn’t even ready! But I made it work.”

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Before pastry was film: Sharon worked as an art director in the film industry for 10 years. She needed a life change, left the company on sabbatical, went to a ‘bootcamp’ at the Culinary Institute in Napa, and never looked back.

From there, she helped three-star Michelin chef Thomas Keller open all of his bakeries. She was the bread baker for Per Se and managed the chocolate room for both Per Se and Bouchon Bakery.  She eventually worked her way up to pastry chef at Bouchon Bistro and Bakery Yountville and Beverly Hills.

She decided to take on a new challenge and her friends at Taza Coffee House in Arcadia invited her to do a bakery pop-up on the weekends.

“Sonny, the owner who’s Filipino, said to me, ‘Try whatever you want to try.’ So I started experimenting.” For the first time in her career, she explored all the wild ideas she had dreamed up while working in someone else’s kitchen. Which is where the Spam Musubi came in.

“I decided to take a kind of Asian-Pacific spin on things. Instead of a ham and cheese croissant, we went with the Spam Musubi, which is a Hawaiian delicacy. It’s like teriyaki-braised Spam. The kimchi adds a spicy pickled element. I say it’s kind of like Asian pigs in a blanket.”

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She makes the kind of food she craves and prefers the savory and salty side of things, like pretzel croissants and maple bacon scones.

“Pastries enhance your life,” she says. “Taste is subjective, but there is an element of craftsmanship to this. And you can change somebody’s day.” Her pastries in our Stumptown LA cafe merge her classic French training with a bit of whimsy.

She tries to think of things to fit in with the times, not only based on what’s in season but also what people are doing in certain months.

In October, in honor of Oktoberfest, she started making a Hairbender Guinness Cake, “a hangover cake,” she calls it. When fall arrived and people started drinking more hot coffee, she created a pumpkin brioche designed to complement it. “It’s a must” she says. “You have to have coffee to complete the experience of eating it.”

With winter descending, she’s thinking about chestnuts, mint, and winter citrus.  We’re looking forward to any- and everything coming out of that kitchen.

Thanks Sharon!

Photos by Benjamin Biros.