I only got to see one film at this year’s San Francisco LGBTQ International Film Festival. It was a documentary called Game Face, and it told the story of two contemporary LGBTQ athletes, MMA fighter Fallon Fox and college basketball player Terrence Clemens.
After the film, I got the chance to meet Terrance, and he allowed me to photograph him for this portrait series. Terrance was kind and humble and wonderfully accommodating. Here’s wishing this bold, brave Black athlete all the success he’s ever hoped to achieve.
Brooklyn, New York, April 2015.
The brothas and sistas inside and outside the Brooklyn Museum were so very well dressed. When I’m away from New York, I forget how stylish NYC folks can be. In places like California, people put a lot of their street style creativity into their vehicles, since folks are so much more likely to drive than to walk.
In New York, most people walk and take public transportation. As a result, a lot of their street style creativity goes into their outfits; and such style it is. We sat out in front of the museum for about half an hour, eating frozen yogurt and watching the parade of New York fashion go by.
Manna’s Soul Food, Harlem, New York.
Manhattan, New York.
This is one of many people I passed as I searched for an alternative lunch spot, once I realized that Carnegie Deli had beenclosed (perhapstemporarilypleaseihope) by the City of New York. The accusation: Stealing electricity from the establishment next door.
If you look up the Carnegie Deli on Yelp, you’ll see a lot of praise and a lot of criticism. Many people believe this classic dining spot has become a mediocre purveyor of a New York-style tourist experience. Others believe the establishedment still serves up some good quality, classic deli food.
To the negative Yelpers, I say, “Haters be damned. Carnegie’s Chicken & Bacon Whoopee sandwich is food of the gods.” To the City of New York, I say, “Carnegie Deli is as paradigmatically New York as Bodegas and Sabrett’s. Please don’t take my Whoopee sandwich away.
The yellow in these guys’ clothes represents their construction safety vests. There’s a lot of construction going on in the East and Southeast parts of Oakland. I’m not quite sure what they’re doing to Highway 880, but the overpass at High Street near Home Depot hasn’t looked right for months. Then there’s the construction on the Oakland Airport BART extension. That’s the construction project depicted in the photo I’ve incorporated into drawing. These guys were working on the extension at the point where it will run along Hegenberger, I liked the way their hairstyles and beards seemed to be complimentary–short hair vs. long hair, headband vs. no headband, full beard with no mustache vs. goatee with a mustache. It might seem like a silly reason to remember someone, but I love patterns and pairings, even in human beings. Of course, these guys were like a magnet for my nerdy pattern-loving gaze.
I passed this guy on my way into the High Street Walgreens. It was his eyes that I noticed. It might sound like a cliche, but there seemed to be something in his gaze that was wise, worldly and a little bit sad, and that’s not something I often see in the eyes of someone so young. He seemed to be about 18 or 19, but his gaze seemed to suggest a lifetime of experience. I always associate the late teens with feelings of hope and invincibility, but he looked less hopeful and more vulnerable that I am accustomed to and even comfortable with seeing in young Black men. I’m going to have to think about why that might be…
Here’s another drawing from my 2012 Comic-Con sketchbook. This year’s Sid and Marty Kroft panel included guest panelists David Gerrold, co-creator of Land of the Lost and writer for the famous Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” and Wesley Eure, who played the role of Will Marshall on Land of the Lost. The Kroft brothers were witty and entertaining, Gerrold was humble and whip smart, and Eure seemed genuinely happy to be there. In fact, the most impressive thing about this session was how truly gracious all four of the panelists seemed to be.
At the end of the panel, they stuck around to shake hands and snap photos with the attendees. This drawing depicts one of the many fans who rushed up to the front of the room to snap pictures of the Kroft brothers and their special guests. Did I already say that one of the best things about Comic-Con is the sheer volume of Black folks who attend? The volume of African American comic, fantasy, and sci-fi fans is absolutely thrilling for a Black nerd like me…and all of the cosplay, gaming, autograph seeking, and general geekery is undertaken without even the slightest hint of irony. This conference might be the safest space for unapologetic nerdiness and geekiness in the western hemisphere. If you don’t believe me, ask the guy in this drawing.
For this drawing, I took a man I saw at Zocalo Cafe and I replaced the wooden tabletop with a formica tabletop. This man was interesting to me because he was wearing what I like to call an Ajuan outfit. Mix 1980s preppy with 1990s geeky chic, with the costumes from the activities fair scene in Chariots of Fire, and you’ve got an Ajuan outfit. I always like it when I see people dressed like this because it reminds me of my childhood on the East Coast.
On a slightly different note, I used a formica tabletop in this drawin, because I’m still feeling a little sad about having recently replaced my vintage formica and stainless steel dining room table with a brand new Scandinavian style wooden table. The new table is nice, for sure, and I’m glad we got it; but there was something I really liked about that old formica table. It had history and a unique style all its own. I’ll be trying to sell it soon. I hope it goes to a good home.
Every time I go to the men’s Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square, I see some incredibly stylish shoppers. This man in this picture was sporting a lovely cashmere sweater and the most awe-inspiring sideburns I’ve seen in a long time. His sideburns were accentuated by the fact that he had no other facial hair except for a modestly-sized beard at the bottom of his chin. The sideburns were the perfect complement to his extra high and rectangular Afro. I’ve never seen anyone with quite the same coif as the man in this drawing, which it exactly what makes his style so very awesome!