Kevin Warnock

Entrepreneurship, ideas and more

Archive for the ‘ucla’ tag

Lusty Lady Theater closes its doors at 3am September 2, 2013 after 40 years in business in San Francisco, California USA

without comments

Bill Maffei, Damon Votour, Courtney Crimson, Sadie Massoch, Andi Baker and Tybalt on September 2, 2013 in front of the now closed Lusty Lady Theater at 1033 Kearny Street in San Francisco, California USA

Bill Maffei, Damon Votour, Courtney Crimson, Sadie Massoch, Andi Baker and Tybalt on September 2, 2013 in front of the now closed Lusty Lady Theater at 1033 Kearny Street in San Francisco, California USA

I photograph people.

My favorite subjects are young women.

When I was a young photography student as a teenager at Brooks Institute of Photography, there was no Craigslist or Model Mayhem. I photographed my classmates and friends outside of school, but I frankly didn’t know many beautiful women that would allow me to photograph them.

I was painfully shy back then, so I would not ask strangers.

I never thought to advertise in the newspaper classified ads, and I probably couldn’t have afforded their rates had I thought of it. What did occur to me was to drop off a mini portfolio of my work at the front desk of The Lusty Lady Theater at 1033 Kearny Street in San Francisco, California USA.

Lusty Lady Theater the day after it shut down after about 40 years in business. September 2, 2013. 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California USA

Lusty Lady Theater the day after it shut down after about 40 years in business. September 2, 2013. 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California USA

This theater was less than a block away from the music venues I went to back then, when I was an enthusiastic fan of punk rock music. The famed Mabuhay Gardens and the club named ‘On Broadway’ on the second floor over Mabuhay Gardens were on the street named Broadway, which intersects with Kearny. I suspect it was the punk rock that brought me to this North Beach neighborhood and put The Lusty Lady on my radar.

I lived in Santa Barbara, California USA at the time since that’s where Brooks was located. But my parents lived in San Francisco, and I returned home periodically. I loved to shoot outdoors in the industrial sections of the City. I couldn’t photograph my Santa Barbara friends, because they weren’t in San Francisco, which is a six hour drive from Santa Barbara.

The nude dancing stage at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Note the stripper pole and the square peep show windows that would open for USD $1. Millions of dollars were earned in this approximately ten by twenty foot room, for it was open to the public every day of the year for 4 decades. Photo taken September 2, 2013 - the day after the theater closed.

The nude dancing stage at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Note the stripper pole and the square peep show windows that would open for USD $1. Millions of dollars were earned in this approximately ten by twenty foot room, for it was open to the public every day of the year for 4 decades. Photo taken September 2, 2013 - the day after the atheater closed.

Amazingly, the nude dancers who worked at The Lusty Lady Theater seemed to like my portfolio because they telephoned me and volunteered to be photographed by me. I never paid any of the women I photographed — remember, I was a student and supplies were very costly. My large format view camera used sheet film that came to USD $.40 a shot for black and white and $3.00 a shot for color.

Two of the dancers I photographed were in their own bands, so I got to photograph these bands. Some of the images I created back then hold up well, and as soon as I get a scanner than can accommodate 4×5″ large format negatives, I’ll scan some of them and post them to this blog.

You may see my photographs of females models on my photography blog and on my Model Mayhem portfolio.

Entrance lobby to the Lusty Lady Theater, 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California USA, September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed for business. The counter is filled with the aftermath from an epic party and parade the evening of September 1, 2013.

Entrance lobby to the Lusty Lady Theater, 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California USA, September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed for business. The counter is filled with the aftermath from an epic party and parade the evening of September 1, 2013.

I used to get invited to parties the theater put together.

These parties were not at the theater.

One party I vividly recall was at a large private home about an hour outside of San Francisco. I took my then college roommate Tom Lounsbury there. There were topless women all over the place — dozens of them. It was like nothing I had seen before. Lounsbury, who has since changed his first name to Ishmeil, pushed me into the swimming pool with all my clothes on. I hadn’t brought swim trunks, and I certainly was not going to go skinny dipping like some of the women were doing. I remember being upset at Lounsbury because my wallet got soaked. But it was all in good fun, and it made the day even more memorable. Of course, there were no mobile phones back then, so I didn’t ruin a phone.

Another memorable party was at a nightclub at the Northwest corner of 11th Street and Folsom Streets in San Francisco. I could not find the current name of the property on Google Maps. At the time, there was a swimming pool in the club — a full size pool like you would find in a hotel. The pool would have a plastic translucent floor placed over it for dancing. But for special events, the flooring was put in storage and the pool was open for swimming. It was at such a private special event that I met Teanna Keller, a dancer at The Lusty Lady. Her stage name was Barbarella. I believe the year was 1986, the year I graduated college and moved back to San Francisco.

Keller mesmerized me by taking off all her clothes in the middle of the afternoon and diving into the swimming pool, while everyone else remained clothed. I had never seen someone do that, before or since. There were over 100 people at this private party.

We met for the first time later that afternoon, when she was again fully clothed. She and one of her girlfriends invited me to head across the street to The Holy Cow, a popular dance club that’s still there today. Eventually her friend just disappeared without saying goodbye, and I was alone with Keller. We dated for perhaps a month, maybe two… I can’t remember.

I ended the relationship, and I remember Keller being upset and crying. She had only recently given me the most impressive bouquet of flowers that any woman has ever given me. It was huge — around three feet high. I was shocked, since we weren’t ever that serious. She gave me these flowers during my lunch break from Newell Color Laboratory, where I worked for less than a year right after graduation from photography school. My work friends were impressed with those flowers. Yes, I got a bit of teasing.

Live nude dancing peep show booths at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed after forty years in business.

Live nude dancing peep show booths at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed after forty years in business.

I suspect Keller felt such a bond so quickly with me because I insisted we visit a clinic for the morning after pill. Condoms were new to me in 1986, and Keller was the first person that I had used a condom with. The condom broke because we were not using it correctly, out of mutual ignorance. I was panicked because my friend Lounsbury had just had an unexpected baby with his girlfriend, and at the time that seemed like a bad thing. I didn’t want this supposed bad thing to happen to me, so even though I had discovered the breakage within moments of it happening, I still wanted to play it safe. I took the morning off from Newell and took Keller to a clinic that specialized in female reproductive health. She was prescribed birth control pills with special instruction on how to take some of the pills more quickly than normal. If you use the pills this way, those pills mimic the functionality of today’s ‘morning after pill’ sequence. I don’t think one could buy a morning after pill advertised for that purpose at the time. Of course, Keller didn’t get pregnant, and probably wouldn’t have even without the pills. But she was super appreciative of my being so careful. She told her girlfriend — the one that had invited me to the party where I met Keller, and that friend of mine said how impressed Keller was with me for taking care of her as I did.

In retrospect, I sometimes wish Keller had gotten pregnant and that we had stayed together, because I would have a family now. I soon lost touch with Keller, and haven’t seen her for a quarter century.

I never photographed Teanna Keller, and I don’t even have a picture of her. She was thin with short blond hair, and stood about five feet five inches. I was certainly attracted to her, but I broke up with her because her work was too much for me to handle.

I never went to watch Teanna Keller perform at The Lusty Lady, so I was never her customer. I was poor, but I would have considered it to be poor form to show up at her work to see her without clothes when I could see her in my own home.

I once walked Keller to work from my work and said ‘have a nice day at work.’ She immediately asked me never to say that again when she was heading to her job.

She told me emphatically that she didn’t like the work.

Lap dancing booths at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013.

Lap dancing booths at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013.

Keller had a nice apartment in Fremont, California. The last time I saw her was at her apartment. We had already split up by then, but she had asked me for help fixing her record player. The phono cartridge was wobbling on the tone arm, and she wanted me to tighten the screws. Sadly, the plastic threads in the tone arm stripped and the cartridge fell off entirely. When I got there she could play records, though not optimally. When I left, her record player was fully broken and useless. I felt awful. Nonetheless, she gave me such a sweet big hug… I think she still wanted me to be her boyfriend. Sadly, I never saw her or heard from her again.

Keller was 19 years old and I was 24 years old.

When I read in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that The Lusty Lady Theater would be closing September 2nd, I decided to visit as a blogger. It turns out I was a day late.

The venue closed to customers at 3am this morning, September 2, 2013, with what sounded like an epic party. I probably would not have attended this party even had I known about it, since I don’t like strip clubs or peep shows, and I don’t know anybody at The Lusty Lady. But I am really glad I went this afternoon around 3:30pm as a blogger.

Refuse cans used to use to clean up after monumental closing night bash the night before this picture was taken on September 2, 2013 at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, California USA

Refuse cans used to use to clean up after monumental closing night bash the night before this picture was taken on September 2, 2013 at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco, California USA

The doors were still open. They can’t be locked because there is no lock that I could see. The place has been open continuously 24 hours a day since 1973, so there was no reason to lock the doors. I suspect the theater stayed open even on September 11, 2001 when most San Francisco businesses closed down after four airplanes crashed on the other side of the United States.

When I arrived and introduced myself this afternoon, there were still half a dozen now ex-employees hanging out drinking mimosas. Andi Baker, second from the right in the group picture above, graciously allowed me to photograph the interior of the peep show, including the famous nude dancing stage, a mirror lined room about ten by twenty feet in size.

The Lusty Lady was a peep show. I understand from interviewing the staff today that this theater was the last live peep show in the United States. The theater charged no admission fee to step inside. Instead they made money by offering phone booth sized private rooms that had a motorized panel at eye level. When paper money was inserted into the bill receptor on the wall, the panel would slide out of the way, revealing a glitzy room mirrored on all surfaces other than the floor. Even the back sides of the panels were mirrored. These bill receptors used to be quarter dollar coin receptors a quarter century ago, and the theater used to distribute their own coinage, like many game arcades used to do, to thwart thieves that wanted to profit from breaking into the coin boxes in the private booths.

I forgot to ask how long the window is open for a dollar.

There were two other money making parts to the theater.

The first was a private pair of rooms called ‘Private Pleasures.’ In this set of rooms, a nude woman would sit in one room, and a customer would sit in the other. There was a glass divider between the rooms.

The second was a lap dancing area, something new from twenty five years ago. I suspect the theater was trying to compete with the many nearby traditional strip clubs that feature lap dances. One such club, the Hustler Club, is in the basement of the building The Lusty Lady is housed in, and the entrance door is adjacent to the entrance door to the Lusty Lady, as can be seen in the exterior picture of both clubs that accompanies this post. I was told that Hustler Club will be moving into Lusty Lady’s former space. The landlord for Hustler Club also owns the space The Lusty Lady rented, I was told.

The Lusty Lady was forced to close because the rent of approximately USD $16,000 was too much for the employee owners to afford. Yes, this club was employee owned and unionized. A feature length movie — Live Nude Girls Unite — was made about the long path the dancers took to achieve this apparently unique in the world ownership structure for a strip club. The movie is available in the US over the streaming service of the movie website Netflix.

Private Pleasures booth at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater, 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, September 2, 2013. I was told this is a pair of rooms separated by glass. A nude woman sits in one room, and the paying customer sits in the other room.

Private Pleasures booth at the now closed Lusty Lady Theater, 1033 Kearny Street, San Francisco, September 2, 2013. I was told this is a pair of rooms separated by glass. A nude woman sits in one room, and the paying customer sits in the other room.

The six staff I spoke with were shaken over the closing. They were heartbroken from what I gathered.

Courtney Crimson — I’m not sure if this is her real name or her ‘stage’ name — said she was the Theater Madame, which I presume meant she was the general manager. She used to be a dancer at the club, and started work there seven years ago. Her boyfriend Andi Baker also works at the club. They were a couple before they moved to San Francisco, and they both took jobs at the club, though not at the same time. I am impressed a romantic couple could work together at an adult entertainment club for years. Baker and Crimson were very welcoming to me today, and I sensed they were really pleased that I had come there to seriously and respectfully cover the demise of ‘their club’ on my blog.

I don’t know what the current dancers think of their work as dancers. I suspect most of them liked the work and that some, like my girlfriend Keller, disliked it.

My view is that most sex work should be legal.

I think the United States military should set up brothels near or inside its facilities the world over, perhaps even subsidizing the sex workers to encourage their participation. I suspect that sexual assaults that are apparently out of control in the military would drastically drop if there were affordable prostitutes conveniently available all the time. The Japanese reportedly forced women to service its solders during World War II. How much better it would have been for women to be allowed to set up business nearby or even inside military installations. Sex work is legal in advanced countries like Switzerland and Germany. The US should change its laws at the Federal level to override any state law.

I also believe all drugs should be legal, including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and Oxycontin.

But even though I think sex work and drugs should be legal, I don’t want anyone I am close to be a sex worker or a drug user. I don’t use drugs, strippers or prostitutes. With the exception of the reporting for this blog post and my years ago visits, I do not go to any adult entertainment establishments, and I never plan to in the future. I think sex work is bad for the workers, and I have seen it destroy and harm lives to shocking degrees. But in spite of this, I think such work should be legal. I also think the social stigma should be lifted, since the stigma itself contributes in my mind to the harm caused by the work.

I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, even though both are legal. Even if sex work were legal and without stigma, I would still not be a customer.

The folding sign that had been outside on the sidewalk presumably for decades now sits folded up against a mirror in the lobby of the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed business.

The folding sign that had been outside on the sidewalk presumably for decades now sits folded up against a mirror in the lobby of the now closed Lusty Lady Theater. Photo taken September 2, 2013, the day after the theater closed business.

One reason I can take this resolute position is that I have lost my shyness nearly completely. Thus, it is now relatively easy for me to meet women, both to socialize with them and to photograph them. I photograph far more young women now than I did 25 years ago, and I still photograph volunteers most of the time. I may hire perhaps one model a year, but that’s not to photograph them but to hear their stories about traveling the world as a model. Such models that really do travel the world while supporting themselves exclusively by modeling don’t volunteer, so to hear their stories and interview them, I have to hire them. I met glamor model Jessi June this way.

I met and photographed many self described Lusties decades ago. Maybe one day I will post their pictures. Right now those pictures are locked away on film negatives, and I don’t have a film scanner.

Many dancers will likely find this post in the coming days. It would be a lot of fun to do a large group picture of as many former Lusty Lady dancers as can be gathered at one time. If a dancer or other theater employee would like to help me organize such a shoot, please contact me via Facebook here. We could do the shoot outside, perhaps in North Beach, South of Market or even in front of the theater before its recognizable facade is replaced. I also have a studio we could use. I can’t pay anyone, but I can promise hundreds of quality photographs, and I will give everyone that models the pictures on DVD before they leave. This is a project that should get done, by me or by someone, before the dancers scatter across the land and can’t be gathered together easily, like they can right now. The male employees should be in the photographs as well, because the theater employed many men. They are part of the family I am certain.

The other dancers I photographed were just friends of mine. I stayed in touch with one for years. I can still find references to her music online. She settled down on a farm, got married and had children. Her name was much more unique than Keller’s name, so out of respect for her privacy, I will not name her on this blog.

http://lustyladysf.com website screen capture, September 2, 2013

http://lustyladysf.com website screen capture, September 2, 2013

The too easy accessibility of pornography will probably see to it that no business like The Lusty Lady will ever start again. In 1973 when this theater opened, people didn’t even have video cassette players, and adult movies were shown only at public movie houses like the California Pussycat chain, where I saw my first adult movie while I was going to UCLA, before Brooks.

The dancers I met were always very nice to me. I liked them. The two dancers I met today were nice to me. Saddie Massoch introduced herself to me before I had a chance to introduce myself. None of these half dozen people I met had any idea what my blog is about, yet they all treated me as if I were writing for The New York Times. Their enthusiasm for The Lusty Lady was genuine, and I suspect their hearts will be heavy for months to come, if not forever.

I hesitated a bit before writing this post. Admitting I once briefly dated a stripper is not something I thought I would do — ever. But Teanna Keller was sweet and we didn’t meet at her work. Everyone likes sex, and the story of The Lusty Lady, with its employee ownership and union representation, is one of the most interesting stories I have encountered. That I have a personal connection to this theater through my hobby of photography makes the story worthy of a blog post. And, look, even The Atlantic Magazine wrote about The Lusty Lady Theater closing!

Here’s a screen shot from The Atlantic website. Be warned, there’s a bit of nudity in the accompanying photograph. Again, this story is in The Atlantic.

Screenshot from TheAtlantic.com showing article 'What it was like to work at the Lusty Lady, a unionized strip club.' Article written August 31, 2013. Screen capture September 2, 2013.

Screenshot from TheAtlantic.com showing article 'What it was like to work at the Lusty Lady, a unionized strip club.' Article written August 31, 2013. Screen capture September 2, 2013.

I took the photographs that accompany this post, except for the shots inside the screen captures. I uploaded my pictures at full camera resolution of 21 megapixels. To see the full size versions, which are much larger, click on the pictures. I used a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera with a Canon 16-35mm L zoom lens. Most of the interior photographs are long time exposures. I may have the subject names in incorrect order in the caption for the team shot at the top. I had the subjects write their names down for me, but I forgot to have them put them in left to right order for the caption.

If the large group photograph I propose can’t be organized, I am willing to photograph smaller groups or individual dancers. Just message me via Facebook.

In other news, the replacement span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge opened to public vehicle traffic today for the first time.

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA

without comments

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture 2

When I was 23 years old and a student at Brooks Institute, the scam for-profit photography college in Santa Barbara, California, USA where I spent three wasteful years, I had the incredible fortune to be photographed by one of the few students I thought was a good photographer.

Alice Marie Smith was not only the most attractive woman at Brooks, but her work stood out.

I had a crush on Smith, but I was too shy to do anything about it.

My how my life has changed over the years — my shyness has evaporated, and I can now approach even the most beautiful women wherever I encounter them, even at the grocery store or on the street or on public transportation.

I don’t recall how Smith asked me to model for her, but I do remember it was her idea — I did not ask her to photograph me. I was actually very surprised to be asked, since she was not in my class and we didn’t know each other well.

We did the shoot one evening in one of the deserted on campus school studios. That the studios were deserted in the early evening should tell you something about Brooks Institute and its students. A real educational institution would have been humming with activity well into the night like I routinely see at University of California Berkeley, where I volunteer.

Smith used a 35mm camera with infrared film, something I never tried, and something Brooks should have insisted every student try.

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture3

Smith gave me three lovely signed 11 x 14″ fiber based gelatin silver prints. I have kept these prints safe all these years, and yesterday I scanned them to present to my readers. The images are in perfect condition. I scanned these prints at between 300 and 600 dots per inch. Click on the pictures to see them at full size. You can see the distinctive grain pattern produced by 35mm infrared film.

In the second picture above and the picture below, I am wearing a green wool army surplus trench coat. My head is nearly completely shaved, as I was going for the punk rock — but not skinhead — look at the time.

In the first picture above I am wearing a Burberry brand tweed trench coat. This coat was surely quite costly new, probably over USD $1,000 in today’s dollars, like this one sold by Bloomingdale’s department store. I bought my Burberry coat at a thrift store for pennies on the dollar.

While at Brooks I took a self portrait of just my legs and feet, with a wingtip shoe on one foot and a combat boot on the other. I still have my feet in two worlds as you can learn from my writings on this blog. See that self portrait at the bottom of this post. This is also a scan of a silver gelatin fiber paper print. I still have the original 4 x 5″ negative, but I don’t have a film scanner. I do plan to scan many of my negatives once I get a scanner — I have hundreds of publication ready shots from when I shot film, and since many of my best shots were taken with a large format view camera, I will be able to present some very high resolution images.

Keep in mind that infrared film produces a dramatic but inaccurate rendition of subjects. These pictures make me look severe, but in reality I was not. I was fresh faced and cute back then, which was a good thing or I wouldn’t be so youthful looking today.

If you are considering attending a private for-profit art school, I implore you to forget it!

If you are already a student at a for-profit art school, drop out today without giving them another penny, and consider your already paid tuition the cost of a valuable life lesson.

If you have no idea what art school is like, watch the movie Art School Confidential, written by Daniel Clowes, who went to Lab School a couple of years ahead of me. I didn’t know Clowes while we were both at Lab, but I have met him several times, since he’s married to the cousin of my friend Mariana Cartwright.

I dropped out of University of California Los Angeles to go to Brooks — perhaps the biggest mistake of my life. It was such a mistake I periodically consider resuming my education there. Since I withdrew following the rules, I can resume classes at any time by filling out a one page form, according to a University of California admissions employee I am friends with. What’s keeping me from going back is that I am busy starting a new Internet company, and I just don’t have the time to spare right now. Once I establish my new company and I can turn over  management to employees, then I will probably go back. I hope that I go back. The energy I feel when I am on the UC Berkeley campus is infectious, and I am sure I would now appreciate UCLA far more than I did as a painfully shy 17 year old.

I did make some good friends at UCLA, including Jennifer Babineaux, who asked me to be her roommate our second year. I sure wish I had taken her up on that kind suggestion, for she probably would have talked me out of Brooks. Babineaux earned a 3.96 grade point average in high school, and is exceptionally smart. Babineaux got an MBA and later became Dr. Babineaux once she completed veterinary school at University of California Davis.

While I think of myself as a smart guy with a fair amount of wisdom, I know little compared to both my parents and my brother who got solid liberal arts educations and then went on to earn advanced degrees. My few years of education from a poorly regarded art school is laughable by comparison.

I believe I turned out shockingly well given my curtailed studies, and for this reason I can say conclusively that college or university is not a requirement for success.

Peter Thiel may be on to something — time will tell.

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture-1

I have become a moderately good photographer, but that is not something Brooks may take credit for because my major was Color Technology, not portraiture or fashion. I taught myself how to photograph people well by taking tens of thousands of pictures after the per exposure cost of photography dropped to near zero with digital cameras. You can do the same. Taking good pictures of people is more a function of communicating with people, not technical details. Brooks spent almost no time emphasizing the interpersonal aspects of being a photographer. Frankly, their education was shameful, and I am glad they have had to pay millions in fines for their transgressions.

My neighbor Kevin Lee didn’t go to art school but he has established himself as a well paid and competent professional photographer, with an elite client list and a collection of camera equipment that is world class. He’s in his early 30s and has a long career ahead of him, without the crushing cost of an art school degree.

Self portrait by Kevin Warnock in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA

Ellen Campesinos! says that female rock musicians rarely get laid on tour

without comments

LOS-CAMPESINOS! the band. Photograph from WikiPediA.

LOS-CAMPESINOS! the band. Photograph from WikiPediA.

I have been thinking about the life of musicians. I just finished writing a post about the band Peligro.

Peligro is D.H. Peligro’s current band. I’ve known D.H. for over twenty years, having met him through my good friend from high school Willy Lipat that was in a band with him.

Peligro always had gorgeous models or model types around. I was a painfully shy photography student that hoped to become a fashion photographer so I could hang out with beautiful women. I was envious.

I imagined that rock stars got a lot of sex while on tour. I still imagine that.

Thus, it was with surprise that I learned touring is not a sex fest — at least not for female rock musicians.

Ellen Campesinos! of the indie-pop collection Los Campesinos! (sic) wrote a powerful piece for Nerve magazine that shattered my illusion about the sex life of traveling musicians. Before I get into what Ellen wrote about road sex, have a look at what WikiPediA has to say about her band, for context:

“Los Campesinos! are a seven piece indie pop band from Cardiff, Wales, formed in early 2006 at Cardiff University. Although the band formed in Wales, none of its members are Welsh. They released their debut album, Hold on Now, Youngster…, in February 2008 and followed this up by releasing a record titled We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, in October that year. Whilst many consider it to be an album due to its length, the band have always referred to it as a ‘record’ or EEP (Extended EP)[1] due to contractual and artistic reasons. Their second official album, entitled Romance Is Boring, was released on 1 February 2010. Their fourth full-length release, Hello Sadness was released on 14 November 2011. The band has announced US & UK tour dates for 2012.[2]

All of the members use the word ‘Campesinos!’ as their surname, even though the members are not related. The exclamation mark is part of the last name. The real name of Ellen Campesinos! is Ellen Waddell, and I will refer to her as Ellen in this blog post, even though I usually refer to people by their last names once I first identify them by first and last name. It’s too confusing to use Ellen’s last name when all her band mates use the same last name.

Ellen quickly catches the reader’s attention in her Nerve article with this eye opening paragraph:

Neko Case recently claimed via Twitter that “Ladies in bands don’t get ANY action,” and as a female musician with a frustrated libido, I can sympathize. I’ve been playing bass in a touring band for five years, and I’ve had intimate relations on the road four times. (I class intimate relations as third-base-plus, but even if I counted kissing and over-the-clothes fumbling, it would still be a pretty low number.) I’m lucky enough to be in a job where I get to tour the world and meet interesting people, but in my experience, musicians  especially females  get a lot less then you’d imagine.”

Ellen colorfully boils sex on the road down to these four points:

  • Time and space are limited on tour since tour vans and buses are cramped and really are there for the band mates to work in, not play in.
  • It is awkward and unsatisfying to seduce a fan from the audience because fans put musicians on uncomfortable pedestals.
  • It creates workplace stress to seduce the musicians from bands touring with your band.
  • Friends of fans that are attending the show out of their support for their friend rather than their knowledge of the band make the best targets for lustful connections.

Why am I writing about Ellen’s provocative story?

Ellen is an actual rock star. Ellen is beautiful. Ellen is young. Ellen writes well (she studied journalism). Ellen is a founding member of a well regarded band that tours the world. I would not expect that she would have any trouble in the sex on tour department. I would expect that she could point out to a roadie a guy that she is interested in, and that roadie could do the tough work of approaching the guy and explaining a deal of quick sex with Ellen in exchange for not stalking her or trying to attach long strings to her. I would estimate the success rate of such an approach would be around 90% or greater.

Ellen Campesinos! playing bass guitar. Photo from http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/dc9/2009/01/the_indie-verse_is_streaming_o.php

Ellen Campesinos! playing bass guitar. Photo from http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/dc9/2009/01/the_indie-verse_is_streaming_o.php

But Ellen is shy, like I am. And shyness just sucks. It has messed up a good part of my life. I am absolutely determined to not let it mess up the rest of my life, and by writing about sex and Ellen, I am drawing your specific attention to a subject dear to my heart these days.

When you really get down to it, I left UCLA for Brooks Institute because I was shy. UCLA is a big school, and the second year, when I did not get a slot to live in the dormatories, I had to live about a mile off campus in a soulless apartment building without any other students. Most of my classes had 500 people in them. There were no cell phones or texting. It was difficult to ever see the same students even twice.

Friendships were difficult to form.

Brooks at the time seemed so much better. Classes were small, at around 20 students, and I made and kept a lot of friends.

Trading the opportunity at UCLA for friendship at Brooks is not a trade I should have made.

I deeply regret leaving UCLA.

I regret it so much that I am seriously considering returning, especially since I recently learned I do not have to go through the admissions process of a new student, because I properly withdrew and I have the original stamped paperwork in my fire proof safe. I have learned that all I need to do is fill out a one page form, send in my Brooks transcripts and I am in.

I have lost most of my shyness, but not all of it.

I still am hesitant approaching women for dates. I can approach them painlessly for anything else, including to model for me. I can handle a roomful of women. I can direct one or more women in front of the camera with confidence and authority.

But when I ask a woman on a date, I feel vulnerable because I am signaling to her that I find her sexually desirable. I am in effect telling her that I want to have sex with her, even if I am a perfect gentleman asking her for coffee with her grandmother. I should not feel awkward. I feel less awkward about asking women for dates now than at any point in my life, so I am making progress. But for me to be most effective, I should dispatch all fear and nervousness, for I fear that women pick up on that and are less likely to accept an invitation.

I thank my lucky stars that I have taken care of myself and am only 10 pounds heavier than I was at age 16 when I got my driver license (155 then and 165 this morning, in pounds). I feel attractive and sexy which I think women are also good at decoding.

I will conclude with a crazy story from my youth.

I used to love DNA Lounge. It’s still there, and it’s still cool, from what I can tell from afar. It’s open late. When I was a regular, it closed at 4am.

I had been there dancing by myself at about 3am, and found myself dancing with a solo woman, as often happened. We danced together until closing, but didn’t exchange numbers or keep in touch. It was fun but she was one of many women that I had ‘met’ and danced with late at night. She did tell me a bit about herself, including that she worked at Levi Strauss.

About two months later I was at DNA for a concert. The bar was in the center of the main room, about 15 feet from the stage. I was standing facing the stage and leaning against the bar. It was extremely loud because the band was playing.

A woman slid in next to me at the packed bar, to my left. I glanced briefly at her and it was the woman from the 3am dancing the other month. We hadn’t kissed or anything when we met, but I thought she was very attractive. At the bar at the concert, I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and she immediately, within five seconds, leaned in towards me as if we were a couple. We watched the show like this for at least ten minutes, not speaking, as that was essentially impossible since the huge speaker columns were just 15 feet away.

Live music at DNA is much louder than the recorded music the DJ plays.

At this point, it was around midnight. Without worrying about anything, I leaned to the left and kissed this woman. She kissed back. Soon, we were upstairs on one of the couches making out. This is before the days of bottle service where the nightclubs charge big dollars to sit down.

After about an hour of making out, still comparatively early, I asked her if she still worked at Levi Strauss. She replied that she didn’t and had never worked there! This woman was a complete stranger, and I had not danced with her for an hour some two months earlier!

She was a student at UC Berkeley.

I still wonder what she thought of me being so bold with her that I put my arm around her and start kissing her without even saying hello or asking her name.

I have never done that again, but I sometimes wish I could. No, I don’t want to kiss women I don’t know, but I would like to be able to be so confident that I can attract a woman so powerfully that she would agree to kiss me, even if we never did so in such haste.

Ellen of Los Campesinos!, talk to strangers after your rock shows. Don’t wait for them to get up the courage to say something. You’ll be waiting a long time most of the time, as a guy alone at the bar upon seeing a hot band member is extremely unlikely to approach you because he’ll assume your boyfriend is going to be by your side any moment. You don’t look like the type to want to have casual flings either, which particularly works against you.

I am not interested in picking up women in nightclubs or bars, and I haven’t been out dancing by myself since 2005. The woman I am looking for is not likely in a nightclub or bar in any event, so I don’t feel that I am missing anything. But I did want to share this outlandish story from my past as I think there is much to be learned from it.

You might be wondering why I write this blog. I don’t make money from it. It costs me a lot of time and a little bit of money.

What I am doing here is making my own luck.

The women I want to meet are much more likely to be reading this blog than to be looking for me in some dark nightclub at 3am.

By sharing my life, dreams, secrets, ambitions and ideas, I am also setting the stage for my next marriage and starting a family with children, since I am single now.

Stay posted to learn how my life progresses.

You may subscribe by leaving your email address in the upper right corner. I also encourage you to friend me on Facebook, where I post status updates for each blog post.

And if you’re a woman you think I might like after you’ve read a dozen or more of my blog posts, please introduce yourself to me, OK? Remember, I’m still a little shy.

Final Space Shuttle launch today

without comments

Final space shuttle launch, July 8, 2011

Final space shuttle launch, July 8, 2011

Today the final Space Shuttle launched successfully. Even though the launch happened just hours ago, there’s already a full Wikipedia article about just this final shuttle launch.

NASA, the United States agency that runs the shuttle program, prepared and distributed this comprehensive press kit, as a PDF.

Thirty years ago, in 1981, I was studying astronomy and computer programming at UCLA.

I didn’t have a television, like most students, but my friend Marcel Samek did, so a group of us hung out in his room in the Sproul Hall dorms, where we both lived.

Samek was extremely interested in the first launch, more than anyone else on the floor. I remember having to stay up all night to watch the launch, but I can’t remember why we couldn’t wake up early to see it. Was there a last minute delay? Anyone remember the launch time? According to Wikipedia, the first shuttle launch was April 12, 1981.

Final space shuttle launch cover for NASA press kit, July 8, 2011

Final space shuttle launch cover for NASA press kit, July 8, 2011

I credit Samek with particularly sparking my interest in computers and writing software. He went on to be CTO of Electronic Arts in Los Angeles, California, and now is CEO of his game startup Machinima Magic. I haven’t spoken with Samek in about 25 years, but we’ve exchanged a few emails in recent years.

Samek taught me a lot about UCLA’s IBM 4341 minicomputer, which is what I learned to program on. I just learned at the Wikipedia link I just cited that the maximum memory for the IBM 4341 was 16MB. This computer supported dozens of simultaneous users I recall, and that memory had to be shared among all of them.

I still remember the Televideo brand black and white character only dumb terminals. These monitors I viewed as a sumptuous luxury, because some of the older students were still using punch cards, like my father Robert Warnock used to use when I was a kid. I can still remember the substantial racket the punch card readers would make. Each card contained one line of programming code, so if you dropped your deck of cards it was a problem.

Watching the first shuttle launch was very exciting, even as exciting as watching the first person walk on the moon. I was so young for the moon walk I don’t remember much about it. My main memory was it was the first time we ever got to watch television at school. A teacher brought in her personal flip up portable black and white TV, with a screen about 10 inches across. Dozens of kids gathered around that screen for the event.

http://www.nasa.gov home page July 8, 2011

http://www.nasa.gov home page July 8, 2011

Written by Kevin Warnock

July 8th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Is college is too easy?

without comments

New York Times, May 14, 2011

New York Times, May 14, 2011

The opinion piece published May 14, 2011 in The New York Times newspaper entitled Your So-Called Education makes a good case that university and college students are being cheated by their schools.

I have several friends that graduate this month from University of California, Berkeley. I hope they see this blog post and can comment publicly or privately whether they agree with the authors.

I certainly feel that the classes at University of California at Los Angeles, where I went, were too easy. The only classes I recall that really challenged me were Astrophysics and Computer Programming. The Astrophysics class was an AP level course, and I really had to work hard. But I remember a lot from that class today. The Computer Programming class was not an AP level class, but it was also really hard work. That class was the single most important class of my life, as it laid the groundwork for me to become a programmer.

All the other classes were forgettable and not challenging.

I’m nearly certain I learned to write in high school, not at university. The classes at Laboratory School, where I went to high school in Chicago, were harder than most of the classes I took at UCLA.

When I was at Brooks Institute, after UCLA, the classes were a joke. I could and usually did pass them with only one day a week of work. I regret I didn’t instead attend Art Center, in Passadena, CA, which reportedly required that an assignment be turned in 5 days a week. This would have been painful at the time, but beneficial to me in the long run.

If you are thinking about enrolling at Brooks, save your money. It was a full fledged economic scam. Yes, I learned to take pretty good pictures, but that was because of my talent for it that I developed after graduation. They could have compressed their ‘4 year program’ into six months of actual hard work and saved my parents a fortune. A Brooks Institute degree used to cost about what a Stanford University degree used to cost. I should have gone to Stanford. I’m certain I could have kept up with and done the work, given what I know of my Stanford graduate friends. In fact, I have a strong and powerful suspicion that even most of the classes at Stanford aren’t particularly challenging.

Comments?

Written by Kevin Warnock

May 15th, 2011 at 5:00 am