we’ve moved!

we will be doing everything through our new site now, so please move your bookmarks over to WWW.MODERNINKMAG.COM . thanks for the love! ~MIM

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sneak peak!

drumroll please….isn’t the cover of our premiere issue a beauty? we think so!

be sure to check back with us as we launch our premiere issue on june 1st (just one week from today)! our new site will launch simultaneously (www.moderninkmag.com) …in the meantime, we really hope you plan to celebrate with us saturday, june 11th at the public house.  more info about the event can be found at: modern ink mag premiere issue party page! stay tuned!

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rainbow brights…

this weekend’s web-candies are our favorite designs by susan mccanless, modern ink’s wonderful graphic designer (she did the layouts for our entire magazine)…check out her talent!

Susan McCanless is a graphic designer, stationery enthusiast, and the principal designer/owner of J Press Designs. Her days are filled working with a range of clients: fashion designers, photographers and brides-to-be, whom she enjoys working with to help make the world a more aesthetically pleasing place to live. Currently living in Memphis, Tennessee, Susan also enjoys traveling, riding her bike and exploring the great outdoors with her husband, Jonathan.

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meet modern ink mag’s peeps (according to the urban dictionary…)

with our premiere issue being released two weeks from today, we think now is the perfect time to say thank you to our contributors, who have worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to help put our online magazine together…we look forward to publishing their work on june 1st for everyone to admire!

one catch: you’ll have to read their “for-real” bios in either the troupe section or the contributor section of modern ink magazine; these “bios” are how the urban dictionary defines them by their name…disclaimer: the urban dictionary isn’t always what we call “nice.”  we may have had to edit some of them for “appropriateness”…maybe.

allison sprouse (co-creator & creative director): "a woman defined by brains, beauty, class, and membership in the upper echelons of society...can usually be found wearing pearls or sorority letters"

rachel turner (co-creator & editorial director): "a smart, sassy and sexy young woman who knows things from fashion to film to literature, from manolo blahniks to mahatma gandhi."

claire balest (contributing beauty editor): "beautiful and perfect in every way..."

rob bennet (web development): "he will search for his own source of originality. it is important to this person for others not to confuse him with somebody else...usually, someone with this name is excellent at dealing with large amounts of stress and can be an excellent friend when times are tough for others."

austin church (contributing writer): "a very handsome man; a very cute man; a fun-loving guy; a genuine ladies man; a funny guy; a guy with many talents..."

cj isaac (contributing photographer): she's amazing and makes everyone feel safe and comfortable. she instills a feeling of trust in you that you just can't shake off."

tara kneiser (contributing photographer): "tara is the definition of the one woman who will ever exist who is the definition of sexiness, perfection...smarts, and extraordinary talent."

ilene liff mier (contributing writer): "the most wonderful, perfect, bundle of sunshine. she is mature, beautiful, and incredibly lucky..."

sarah martin (contributing photographer/writer): "a sexy little creature..."

susan mccanless (graphic designer): "susans tend to be wonderful girls. if you've got one hold on tight! susans are extremely fun, caring, intelligent, very funny, beautiful, and make the best friends and girlfriends ever. they are the epitome of classiness!"

gibson penn (contributing music editor): "after a high-five, a gibson is when going in for the first bump, opening your hand at the last-minute and grabbing your unsuspecting friend's fist."

lindsay saint clair (contributing writer): "a beautiful young woman who will never forget how to smile and love..."

michelle simpson (contributing stylist): "a kind of girl superior to the rest; the smartest, most beautiful girls in the world are named michelle."

alyssa sprouse (contributing writer): "everything a true best friend should be, someone who can always make you smile and knows her way around your head, one of those amazing people you meet in life that you should never let go"

kara werner (contributing writer): "perfection. flawless and beautiful. wonderful and kind. funny and lovable. completely undeniable"

daniel wiseman (web layout specialist & illustrator): "the coolest and most awesome person you will ever meet...he's cute and funny..."

graham yelton (contributing photographer): "men fall at her feet..."

FIND OUT HOW “URBAN DICTIONARY” DEFINES YOU! http://www.urbandictionary.com/

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shiny happy people…

we’re shiny…we’re happy…and we’ve been hypnotized by the abundance of glitz out there…our saturday picks for web-candy?

beaded mercury wedges source: anthropologie

br monogram nina sequin dress source: banana republic

perforated metal hurricanes source: west elm

diamond starlight ring source: david yurman

Balenciaga praline "milky way papier" crossbody bag source: bluefly

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all roads lead to [san francisco]…by megan zottarelli

Modern Ink is thrilled to have Megan Zottarelli as today’s guest blogger.  Megan is a wife and soon-to-be-mother. She has been a self-proclaimed bibliophile for most of her life, an outdoor enthusiast, and an eternal city dweller. Megan reflects on what brought her to, and kept her, in San Francisco. 

My grandmother grew up in the Bronx, and after moving to a small town on the central coast of California, yearned for city noise. Maybe it’s in my blood…

I grew up somewhat poor in a small town, and when our limited means allowed for adventure, we’d set about on a much-needed “creative” vacation, typically meaning camping close to home. Our biggest trip was when I was twelve, when my mother, sister and I drove up Highway 1 to Oregon to visit family friends. Passed the endless blue of the Pacific, through the soulful redwoods, my eyes glimpsed San Francisco for the first time. I peered out the window to the fog-filled horizon of Victorian archetypal homes seemingly squished together, the financial and banking buildings grasping the heavens, and a bridge which indeed appeared to be made of gold. I was enchanted, a welling of sensation arose from within me, and I yelled to my mother from the backseat: “I’m going to live here some day!” I was a world away from its bright lights, its tasty cuisine, its artful beauty. But I was gonna get there.

Years later as I became untethered from the threads of my childhood, my travels began. I studied art in Florence, Italy, and became accustomed to the fast pace of the renaissance metropolis. Once I returned stateside, I didn’t want to linger in one place. I moved to Santa Cruz for a brief stint working for the state parks among the redwoods I had driven passed years ago on that fateful road trip. Then I moved in with my grandmother while I figured out how and where to finally finish college. She was indeed influential in my choice. To the south lay San Diego, where a sunny life of flip-flops and tanned skin appeared not such a harsh fate. To the north: San Francisco. Immediately my tan turned pale; my vision turned to a hazy fog–cold, but intoxicating. The fog opened its arms to me like an unveiling, and suddenly I knew that my life simply wouldn’t work anywhere else. I could see myself bundled in mittens and a trench coat in July, running through the city streets with full command, yet I couldn’t see any details of where I was headed. My grandmother recalled her youth in New York. I remembered the self-pledge of ten years prior as a revelation of my life to come. The mystery lay before me, thrilling as my prior days of art and travel: San Francisco it was.

I moved quickly, arriving to the splendor of concrete grass and rolling hills. I studied maps of the city to navigate the confusing grids and numbered avenues. I drove my beater car, winding through the oneway streets with no left turns allowed, memorizing paths to my favorite cafe and shops. Then after receiving more parking tickets than the beater car was worth, I traded it for the faulty buses, bought a MUNI pass and attempted to live like a “local,” which essentially means someone who has lived there for more than five years, as the born-and-raised kind are a diminishing lot.  I reread On the Road and The Dharma Bums, and in the typical early 20’s rite of passage fashion, became obsessed with the poetry that the heavy smoking Beats had created in North Beach decades before. I learned bartenders’ names and picnicked at Alamo Square. I went to shows and saw obscure bands that I could never see in my small town. I saw as much art as I had in Florence.

I lived in an apartment building heavily occupied by young enthusiasts like myself, and we became a quick family. We’d touch base daily as I’d often done with my own family, and meet on the back communal stoop for a smoke and glass or five of wine to recall our busy days. We forged a friendship through neighboring homes literally stacked on one another, with no privacy but with no opportunity for loneliness in a new city. I finished college and suddenly felt like I needed to settle. Some friends couldn’t traverse from being a college transplant to getting a job and affording the lifestyle of a city resident. I did what many young women in their 20’s do in San Francisco and became a nanny to a wealthy family in Noe Valley to help pay the bills.

One day I attempted to walk through the door of my favorite local bar and was halted by my future husband who asked for my ID, clearly unimpressed that I tried to come in like I owned the place. After we started dating, I better learned the daily perks of living urban: the bike rides around the city (avoiding the hills whenever possible, of course), the barbecues in the park, the Giants games, perusing old book stores, the date-nights at our favorite restaurants or trying a new spot.

Did I mention the food? Yuuuum. My grandmother and I used to argue for hours about San Francisco vs. New York cuisine. When I moved to San Francisco I embarked on a crash course of good eats. The city laid its best plates out for me like a feast of bounty; I had only to be brave enough to try it. San Francisco doesn’t lack for creating a true dining experience, whether it’s in a five-star restaurant or from a food truck. Now when friends or family arrive for a visit I take them on eating safaris, navigating the city’s restaurants one meal at a time on a campaign to learn about the neighborhoods through their food. Even in a city of seven by seven miles, there are endless possibilities.

The neighborhoods of San Francisco, I learned, are as defined by their food and shops as they are by their cultural aesthetic: among them, the Mission, a Latino community and growing home for hipsters and the otherwise hip; the Castro, an oasis for the gay and lesbian community; the Richmond, an Asian melting pot of Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, and Korean communities assembling their home-style restaurants on Clement Street, which some of us like to call the real Chinatown. And then there’s the Western Addition. Ah…home. It’s a community of neighbors, most everyone knowing each other from the local bars and a few establishments that have more recently defined it as a destination spot. The last ten years have seen major developments in this neighborhood. The Western used to be seen as a “high risk” neighborhood, with restricted liquor licenses and a warning to outsiders that they may be mugged. For me, the experience was quite different. I saw friends at every corner, the regulars at Fly, 821, and Chances bars or the cafe simply known as The Cafe. I learned the history of the Western Addition, the residences built on bedrock which became a quick refuge after the 1906 earthquake, and the mid-century jazz awakening that brought greats like Billie Holiday and John Coltrane to the area regularly.

I moved into my husband’s massive rent-controlled flat and transformed our backyard plot (which is hard to come by in the city) from a sand pit into an urban oasis with shade loving plants and a fire pit. We got a rescue dog and joined the dog-lover subculture of San Francisco, meeting people at the dog park for play dates and writing community boards to argue for canine rights and access to the city’s great outdoor spaces. I learned that, not surprisingly, there are more dogs than children in the city.

Nonprofits flourish here. I went from working for preschools in low-income, under-served communities, to working for HIV education, and then on to working for a veterans’ rights organization. Unfortunately part of living urban is seeing a convergence of homeless, and in San Francisco, many are veterans. And sadly working in service means seeing firsthand the way the community survives. My job is at the heart of the community, close to 6th street with its gritty residential hotels and vagrant drug addicts (although there are some great bars and restaurants too). Every city has one of these neighborhoods, a plot for the beggarly, and often where the city planning “urban revival” or “beautification” begins. But often those terms are also associated with gentrification.

San Francisco is a walking city, believe it or not. I walk the two miles to work every morning, each neighborhood revealed through the hills; leaving the Western Addition, on to Hayes Valley, then SoMa, enjoying a cup of coffee and waking my mind for the tasks of the day. Luckily living urban affords a somewhat “live global, act local” lifestyle. Although the city has one of the worst public transit systems, I’m able to go without a car (although my husband must often commute outside of the city with one), most restaurants and grocery stores feature local and organic foods, the small mom-and-pop stores still exist here, and we’ve done our best to keep out many major chains that drive away business from the smaller operations. In essence, the Bohemian individualism, the cultural diversity that San Francisco has in its roots, makes for a city with staunch durability.

Living in San Francisco is almost like living in Neverland. People here may age but they often don’t act their age. In fact, it’s more like they have a slower scale of development. I didn’t realize this until I had lived here for a few years, and I would visit my hometown to find old friends settling down and having children when I was still partying till 3AM most nights. To them, I was immature, but to San Franciscans, I was just right. Many of the juveniles are artists, designers, and people in the restaurant and bar industries. San Francisco is an eternal rebellious teenager.

As I’ve grown older in the city, I’m learning about different ways to enjoy it. My husband and I are expecting our first child this fall, a child who will learn the world through the lens of San Francisco. And I’m going to relearn the city through the lens of a parent, visiting all of the amazing children’s museums, walking to parks, paying an arm and a leg for daycare so that I can maintain my professional career, and even despising the lousy public school system. Luckily, although I have to pay more for it, I’m able to treat my future city kid to a life of cultural richness in a place of true beauty.

And now, my favorite neighborhood bar where I met my husband has a daycare center next door. I see this as a symbol of my life in the city, the old and new paired together. At any age, I’m bound to enjoy it.

Megan & Gus at home

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to our moms…

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
— Agatha Christie

To the women who bore us, raised us, and love us still: Marianne Wood (Rachel’s mom) & Debbie Henn (Allison’s mom)…we love you, both! ~Allison & Rach



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the groove: indie-rock style

Picture an unmarked warehouse, a bit out of the way, in an unlit downtown New York City or San Francisco.  The doorman is far less concerned with seeing your ID than in whether you know the “password.” As you walk in, the muffled bass gives way to the full spectrum of music unheard in the commercial, mainstream clubs everyone else is at tonight.  This club is packed with casually dressed, PBR swilling hipsters, vintage sneakers tied tightly, ready to get-down to the latest Indie dance music.

This playlist will give you a taste of music that’s casual, unassuming, and made for the type of dancing you do when no one is watching.

  • “Time to Pretend”                              MGMT
  • “Little Secrets”                                   Passion Pit
  • “Burn My Shadow”                            UNKLE (feat. Ian Astbury)
  • “Drugs”                                                Ratatat
  • “Not In Love”                                     Crystal Castles (feat. Robert Smith)
  • “One Month Off”                                Bloc Party
  • “Dawn of the Dead”                           Does It Offend You, Yeah?
  • “Riot Rhythm”                                    Sleigh Bells
  • “Empathy”                                           Crystal Castles
  • “Falling Stars”                                    UNKLE (feat. Gavin Clark)
  • “Cameras”                                           Matt & Kim
  • “Heartbreaker”                                  MSTRKRFT (feat. John Legend)
Be sure to click the pop-out menu in the top right corner in order to hear this month’s playlist…it will be up for the month of May for your enjoyment!
May’s playlist was compiled by Modern Ink’s contributing music editor, Gibson Penn. Gibson is a self-proclaimed loaner who enjoys nothing more than reviewing, critiquing, and producing music.  Other interests include (in no particular order: Star Trek and alien costumes, Lord of the Rings battle reenactments, Dungeon and Dragons miniature detailing and collecting, and Brazilian jiujutsu).  He also enjoys irony, sarcasm, wit, and people who smile genuinely and speak their minds. Feel free to contact Gibson at gibsonpenn@gmail.com .
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a room of her own…

Modern Ink’s creative director, Allison Sprouse, takes us into her home office for a quick look around…

After relocating my office to my house, I was determined to carve out a space that was entirely my own.  I needed to design and style a place to inspire me for the creative aspects of my work and allow an escape from the mundane duties of home. Now I love going to work…this very personal space always lets me forget about the dirty dishes and the impending laundry piles multiplying downstairs. What can I say?…for me, this office is magical!

Martha Stewart paint in Rainwater adds a soothing feel to the office (www.homedepot.com).

Brad Johnson, of Willow Creek Gallery, created a custom desk from an old door, which happened to be from the office building my husband’s grandfather used to work in (www.willowcreekgallery.com)!

Architectural salvage is a wonderful way to decorate a large wall. We transplanted our old store sign onto the wall of my office. To discover some amazing salvaged items, visit Olde Good Things at http://www.ogtstore.com.

The Remington typewriter and the ampersand pillow (see below) pay homage to the world of the editorial! I also learned how to type on a typewriter, so it reminds me how “seasoned” I am!

Happy Wednesday to all of you! I hope you find yourself inspired in your place of work today – get out there and conquer the world! ~Allison

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a rap culture in pictures: atlanta

“The first thing you do when you get to town is turn on the radio” says Michael Schmelling in the notes to his latest book Atlanta. It all started with the music. During his frequent photographic assignments on the hip-hop scene there, Schmelling began to formulate an idea for a book. One he says, “reflected both the content of an album and the context in which the record was made.” Keeping an ear out for an album or artist whose work he wanted to capture, he hit upon OutKast’s 1998  record Aquemini.  “It’s an album packed with imagery, characters and narratives,” says Schmelling. “It plays like a map of Atlanta, gives you the lay of the land, the accents, and even tells you what the weather is like”.

Of course Atlanta rap history goes back much earlier than 1998, but for Schmelling,  Outkast was his introduction to Atlanta hip-hop and to the city itself.  Atlanta – the book – began as an attempt to look back on the making of Aquemini. Over the last three years, Schmelling has photographed the city’s ever-shifting hip-hop landscape. His pictures of Atlanta artists, their fans and various up-and-comers reminded me of Robert Altman’s film, “Nashville:” full of intense beauty, grubby corners and players playing. Schmelling explains: “Music in Atlanta filters up through the strip clubs, local radio and roving parties. It’s a self-sufficient, regional scene that drives a huge part of American popular music and culture.”

There’s a quote on the first page of Atlanta from Andre 3000, where he’s talking about the day that Big Boi and he went to go see Rico Wade at a hair salon in a strip mall near Headland and Delowe in East Point. The story is legend in Atlanta – and in rap history – but it feels good to hear it straight from Andre: “When we met Rico from Organized Noize in front of his job–and Gipp from Goodie Mob had his truck out there and was playin’ a beat–Rico said, ‘Let me hear how y’all rhyme’…”

Atlanta is published by Chronicle Books, and Schmelling  continues to expand the project on his site atlbook.com. There you’ll find a free mix-tape to go with the book, photo outtakes, posts about hip hop in Atlanta, short video clips, links to some of the artists’s myspace pages, unguided tours of the city, maps, tattoos and more. Michael Schmelling is also the author of Shut Up Truth and The Plan.  

This review was written by one of Modern Ink’s talented contributing artists and writers, Sarah Martin.  Sarah is an interdisciplinary artist, professor and the Director of Communications for the L.A.F. Project. She has been teaching photography and filmmaking since 2003 and is currently teaching photography and social practice at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Sarah received her MFA in Photography from Yale University in 2002 and her BA in Media Arts from the University of Tennessee in 2000.

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