Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fabula Tea





Growing up in traditional Asian families, we frequently feel pressured into conforming and fitting in, even though deep down we knew we were different. Coming to the SF Bay Area was a turning point for both of us, as it provides a safe place for us to reconnect with our true selves. Discovering the magical Gregangelo Museum was icing on the cake, as it is a place where we can really free ourselves and explore our imaginations. This is why we have been enjoying a truly rewarding partnership over the past 2 years!  In light of Summer Solstice and Pride Month, we hope you can join us for an enchanted Tea In Wonderland experience at the incredible LGBT-owned  Gregangelo Museum .

Yshel & Kenny, Fabula Tea co-founders

Thursday, May 24, 2018

'OMNI- ABLED' 


Today’s guests who journeyed through the Portico Portals of the Museum were a mother and her 10 year old boy named Jahari . He has extreme autism and tourette's compounded with several other Disabilities. By the end of the experience, I was inspired to rename his so called disabilities- 
Omni-abilities ‘ . The boy rocked .
On entry to the Portico, his hat was pulled over his eyes, and he was bluntly exclaiming “ I don’t care about any of this, For Christ sake Just open the fuckin door and let me in , This room is shit”. (This kid is speaking a language I get- intentionally testing me, with 0 filters ) Over the next magical 3.5 hours , I let him lead the experience at his own pace and interest through all 27 differing realms. He awakened and communicated clearly , even laughed more and more as he progressed through each portal - and so did I!


 On view of the Candid Civilization install in The Eclipse Room, he shouted 'Even Hitler thinks Trump is an ass!'


In The Green Room, bursting with life, after my explanation of some lesser known astrophysics, he looked me in the eye and said :
‘I'm not here to fuck spiders, mate’
( an Australian colloquialism which apparently means - Obviously Yes) .
He repeatedly told me , ‘I want to die’, to which I assured him he would, eventually -just not today ,

(except figuratively in The Death Chamber). So he set his death date for 2086 . Reasonable .


Between all of his blunt , yet poignant profanities , ticks , and reactions , was a boy with profound revelations , intelligence bordering on genius, a virtual living internet . 
Humanity can certainly learn to love, accept, nurture and listen to what we so quickly label ‘disabled’. Many of us have the ability to somehow, within our own means, take better care of those who may not be so quickly ‘able’ to make decisions according to the limitations of the status quo.


Jahari’s single working mom, aided by the State to take care of her son, genuinely insisted on paying the full price / minimum 4 guests for the experience here, which profoundly connects guests through the arts .

Meanwhile, we spend many of our days as artists haggling with self proclaimed ‘ billionaires ‘ who insist what a ‘great opportunity’ it would be for us to donate our artistry to them for free, and at our own expense.

Who truly contributes meaningful riches to this world ?

Gregangelo
Artistic Director
whirling dervish 
Velocity Arts & Entertainment
Velocity Circus 
The Gregangelo Museum 
415 664-0095
San Francisco

Thursday, May 3, 2018

VERTICAL, VIBRANT, VOLATILE , VIRTUOUS Personal Memories of San Francisco from the 1970’s


As a genuine native San Franciscan , Powell St is one of the hills I grew up on.I went to school from K-8 here on this hill , Learned how to skate down and up this hill (still do), had my first job as a teenager in the arts at a contemporary gallery on this hill , honed my work skills at a cafe/catering co which serviced the suits in the financial district, and performed my first show at a super club near the base of this hill. 


I have vivid  memories of me, brother, sisters and friends as small unsupervised children helping the charismatic Cable Car drivers to push the cable cars around at the end -of-the-line turnstile and than waiting for them to roll away only to chase after them and jump on board while in motion on the way up the hill to school. 

We used to frequent the ‘Woolworths’ in the Flood Building . It was a magical place where you could watch glass blowers , printers , and other crafts people making their wares for sale . You could buy gold fish off a shelf or glazed donuts at the breakfast counter . We were not too interested in the basement linen dept.


As kids, our school ‘NDV’ was rite next to the gates of Chinatown. We would explore the streets and alleys of old SF China Town , buy edible rice paper covered candies and trinkets, look into the windows at apothecary shops which displayed pickled snakes and other Chinese medicinal herbs, tinctures, and other anomalies. 



 Homeless people, mentally ill, and cults were always present in the streets of the city and very much part of our daily navigations and awareness. They were so present that as kids, we even assigned names to them. A few of the many individuals who stand out are : The ‘Burn Lady’ who would scream in agony on one of the bus lines as if she were on fire. She said she was victim to an inferno, but there were no burns on her. There was the ‘Gamma Ray’ lady who would wear a blond beehive wig that must have been five 5 high and she would tell all of us kids that her husband was an astronaut and was shooting toxic gamma-rays into her brain from outer space and the wig was to protect her. There was the ‘no name’ guy who would publicly masturbate on the street cars. I remember my mom wisely and casually telling us to let the girls sit on the outside seats so that they could get away from him quickly. 

And than there were the cults publicly recruiting in the streets. There were The Moonies, The Church of Satan , and the one we would encounter on Powell St every day- The Hare Krishnas. We would approach them often and buy strawberry incense ( I still remember that sweet smokey smell) and flowers from their street kiosks.

We saw their transparency and basically battled all of these characters with our childish senses of humor and opposing morals installed into us by our parents, who also gave us freedom. We never succumbed, and we were never molested in any way. It was through this worldly exposure that by the ripe age of 7, we were already liberated and self-realized enough to stay on our own paths and together remain safe.


Looking back, ultimately we learned compassion and acceptance.


I recall sneaking into scenes as ‘extras ‘ during filming of The Streets of San Francisco ‘ a popular TV 📺 Show at the time staring Michael Douglas and Karl Malden. The City was very violent at the time. There were drug lords who invaded after the Summer of Love, gang warfare in Chinatown, we had sniper drills at our school, the Zodiac  , Zebra and Trailside serial killers were on the loose in the city, the Jonestown Guyana incident occurred , the Patty Hearst /Symbionese Liberation Army saga was playing out, and the George Moscone/ Harvey Milk murders occurred. This hit particularly close to home as the Moscone family kids and our clan of young friends were all classmates and close family friends. Nevertheless, as kids we all navigated together, and unsupervised, through the streets of San Francisco with savy, intuition and street smarts.


One day I was with a group of kids on the Market St streetcar which was held up by a rooftop sniper a block ahead of us. We got off, went to a payphone and called my friend’s dad with the grim news. He simply said  “Don’t worry, we’ll save you dinner”. We got home safe. He knew that our intuition was keen and that, though young,  together we made choices which protected us from harm.



I experienced the surge of the Queer, Sexual, and Female Liberation revolutions simultaneously on this hill.
As kids, we’d sometimes quickly sneak in and out of the Nob Hill male review show, into various Adult porn shops and innocently giggle as we were promptly thrown out! Public nudity on the streets and even on Billboards was commonplace at this time. Polk Street at the base of the hill and Castro Street up Market transformed into global meccas of the queer community.


My Lebanese mother lived on this hill till the end of her life. During the plight of the SF AIDS epidemic , a human crisis ignored by our USA government , she left her Nob Hill apartment sometimes 5 nights a week to go down the hill to the seedy Polk Street as part of a local outreach program that helped educate and guide male prostitutes to engage in safe sex and for drug users to adhere to clean needle practices in the streets. This awareness helped stop the spread of the deadly virus, which wiped out so many of our friends, relatives and loved ones. She was an at-face cantankerous, yet Just woman, with a mixture of conservative and very liberated and accepting ideals.




One day, I remember approaching her apartment which was just above a public courtyard on the California Street Cable Car line across from Grace Cathedral. She was in the window table training a few ladies how to put condoms on a  banana with their mouths- a practice she employed to train the male street prostitutes to protect them from their often violent and careless ‘Johns’ who she said were typically well-to-do suburban and financial district men. (*I jokingly noted that, though a noble cause, she might consider demonstrating away from public view) 


I also learned first hand the truth of this demography while I was working entertaining interactively face-to-face at corporate events before the digital age of sex apps. Conventioneers away from their wives and families would always approach me (regardless of what ridiculous or sacred costume I may be wearing) and ask first off "Where can I find sex in SF?”. I’d always offer up more profound conversation which proved to engage. To this day , decades later , event planners and organizers have 0 idea of who their guests actually are and continue to insist how conservative they are. I’m still in the field and know the truth. Archaeologists in ancient cities find underground tunnels that secretly lead from noble libraries into a rowdy brothels. Nothing has changed.


I am so grateful to make a life in this hilly city as an artist who also employs and motivates so many other artists of varying mediums, international cultures, and inspirations. We all contribute as we earn, bring beauty & kindness where there was once bleakness & indoctrination, and share our dreams & laughter with those who may have veered off their path and lost them. In SF, you can get it back.


I don’t recall ever seeing any expanse of flat ground till I was 6 or 7 years old and it seemed so strange. Still does.


The smell of the burning wood brakes on steel of the Cable Cars mixed with the pungent aroma of pot, and the sweet scent of Candy being crafted by Confectioners at ‘Judy’s’ on Powell Street are the prominent urban smells of home to me.
It was a different time and I am grateful to have grown up with such independence that gave us keen realizations of both the grit and splendors of life. We were not sheltered , never felt fear of the unknown, intuitively new when to run or stay , and were confronted by a range of life lessons. Ultimately we lived and thrived in the comfort and love of our SF family homes in the hilly , friendly, and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods. The San Franciscans I speak of have all grown to be genuine and individual people who contribute to the world in their own way. 

 And my brother’s response to this post: 
 Great memories!

We used to designate one person to race the cable car up this hills, starting on Sutter. After some prodding the cable car operators would let me ring the bell, some of them were very good at ringing out complex rhythms...

The best thing about wearing a school uniform that was a sailor suit... It was the perfect disguise for drinking and smoking out in public (+ the chicks dug them). I got in trouble for smoking in front of the Chez Paris strip club on Mason St…

*The reality of living as an urban youth in SF in the 70’s
There were no ‘Helicopter’ parents in our periphery- but we knew they were there!  


Gregangelo
Artistic Director
whirling dervish
Velocity Arts & Entertainment
Velocity Circus
Gregangelo Museum
415 664-0095
greg@gregangelo.com
www.gregangelo.com
San Francisco

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Bridge to Your Imagination

Original Velocity costume design painting for our character Ms GG Bridges,
Guardian of the Golden Gate
By artist: Stephan


We hope that your year is off to a genuinely gratifying start.

We are so grateful to you, our longstanding, new, and potential clients, for choosing our artistry to help bring your events, experiences and shows to life! In turn, you have supported an economy of local and dedicated multi-disciplinary artists, who richest currency is to contribute their unbridled inspiration back into this beautiful city which we continue to call home.

A very special thank you to the never ending flow of fascinating visitors who contribute by coming to explore the labyrinth tours of our Velocity Headquarters aka The Gregangelo Museum.
We'd love to see many of you back again!

We are perpetually delighted with our core group of wonderful collaborators, directors and performers of every discipline from aerial mirth-lings to zebra clad contortionists who add in bringing every vision to full bloom.

And of course, cheers to our team of highly skilled artists in residence, artist managers, and crew here who are the prolific "X-Men and Women" who make everything work!

Our purpose this year is to continue to produce new and meaningful experiences  which connect people, encourage bridging culture clashes and link divides here in SF and anywhere in the world.

We sincerely look forward to joining forces with each and every one of you in welcoming our new SF residents and entertaining our diverse visitors with our 'only in San Francisco' brand of genuine, exemplary and customized hospitality ….

Gregangelo's Velocity Circus | 415-664-0095 velocitysf@gregangelo.com  www.velocityartssf.com

Thursday, August 3, 2017

SEEN AND DONE IT ALL? A REFLECTION OF OUR CURRENT POLITICAL / ECONOMIC TIME?


I rarely if ever talk about my professional work as an artist, the lifetime job I’ve created and shared with so many other artists.
Perhaps because it is undefinable, ephemeral , or that my eloquence is limited. Though the true reason is that I am too consumed and impassioned in just doing it and living it.
In my line of work there is a vast amount of rejection. This rejection in the world of arts and entertainment is typically derived from a multitude of useless fears (currently of gluten and clowns- so we created the character - Gluten The Clown! ) , indecision, insecurity , lack of $, and many other harmless , unintentional  yet never-the-less, disappointing decisions from our potential clients. After three decades+ in this wonderful entertainment industry , I am fairly calloused to the rejection, though it still stings a bit. But, I’m soon immersed in the next great project, collaborating with a more visionary client , and the extraordinary team of artists here at Velocity. This action of creative work quickly erases any previous disappointment as we move together with full inspiration through the multitude of magical and technical details in every new work from concept to completion.

Today, I experienced a new reason for this stinging rejection- Cruelty , a force that I find to be intolerable. And a force that is now at the helm and core of our government , and of many world governments. It is apparently trickling down fast into the acceptable workings of business. I find it to be unacceptable.

To preface, much of our artists earned income is derived from creating new and unusual experiences for corporate events of all sorts. Regardless of if we agree, disagree or even understand various corporations policy and practices-  we actually love to bring the impactful humanity of our work to these very human audiences, who do not expect us. They are often a bit timid at first ,but by the end of the arc of an experience become awed , playful, and full of wonderment from each and every artist, crew, performer, and entertainer which they encounter from us. We have to earn their trust to ‘ignite their imaginations’ , and I enjoy the challenge and often leave feeling that we mutually contributed something empowering . The corporations and all event professionals involved succeed on a very satisfying kind of personal-and-up-close-level.

When I listen to, or approach a client or artist, my instinct is to be unapologetically straight forward, which comes from a genuinely deep care and passion in wanting to learn the truth and understand every new client, artist, venue, audience, concept, and in turn create and deliver the most poignant, beautiful and meaningful experience for the guests - period.

Recently , among many projects , our creative sales director had been in negotiation for 2 months for a large live entertainment project. As artistic director, I was assigned to meet with a regional team from the respected international corporation. As always , I showed up eager and ready to learn. They turned out to be the most lackluster and intentionally cruel team who I have ever encountered. This standard meeting and walk through of the venue was simply meant to inspire, hash out, solidify and enlighten us of the ‘elite' event mission, audience, etc, so that we could get to work building and rehearsing the ultimate experience.

When asking for insight into the guests, I simply received  the highly un-intelligent,  condescending , slam-the-door-in-your-face words:
"They have seen and done it all” (What the heck does that even mean?!)
Of course, I’ve heard this a few times in the past and take it as my cue to either leave, or to humorously turn it around. I choose the latter-  which has been successfully accomplished many times. This crew had no humor or warmth and clearly - no vision. No sense of humor in my experience is basically- the demise of the human spirit. However, the creative meeting lasted 2.5 hours and though tedious, progress was made.

When leaving the dry meeting, I was in fact against all odds- still inspired, even hope-full - and had a shared vision to deliver .
Below is what was written in our 'inspiration column', from the meeting notes. These are the only very enthusiastic words spoken direct from the lips of the corporate team leader (I am replacing the proper name with ‘founder’ and the occupation with ‘worker’ ): “The founder hated women, he despised his wife and was intentionally cruel to her, he did not care if his workers died, in fact he preferred that they died so they could be replaced with better workers...."
To which I earnestly replied: “Is this the concept you would you like me to weave into the guests' experience?”

Of course he had no reasonable answer to this or any other question, so we shifted focus and came up with a beautiful concept gracefully woven through the evening and departed on a handshake and agreement.
After 2 months of negotiation, about 15 revisions imposed by them, hours of meetings and travel time, disrespectfully depleting our many resources and tapping both our internal trusted relations and event professional relations to the maximum - they dropped us 2 weeks before the event, no explanation, no additional creative direction.
Velocity is not entitled to the job, and perhaps we did not present well enough for them to understand the vision- a challenge we often face creating new site/audience specific works. The clients actions do not surprise me , but it still hurts and disgusts on so many levels.

Typically, the next revelation with these types of clients is that they take all, or part of our concept and farm it out to others to produce it for ‘ cheaper ' . Of course, this is not how any inspired or great art is accomplished, but they do not care.
To me , Care is the only force which bonds anyone personally or professionally with each other.
It is despicable that operating with a lack of care is becoming the normal model of large companies doing business with artists, two disparate entities who have so much to offer to support one another.

In any event, we’ll continue to find new strategies and battle to keep the arts and artists afloat for the many people and businesses who do care.

To any friends out there who give a shit- remind me to run next time I hear the lofty, ambiguous, careless words “We’ve Seen and Done it ALL’ !!!
How can anyone seriously even speak those words? I think I feel a comedy act coming on…

Glad to be in the memory making business, rather than the $ making business- though a few bucks helps!!.

Off to higher grounds...