• A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper

    Animator Kate J. Miller has created a highly accurate ode to the shelter-in-place experience using our most precious commodity: toilet paper.

    "Two Ply Over The Cuckoo's Nest" is the grand prize winner of KQED's Homemade Film Festival. I worked on this festival, which was conceived as a way to inspire creativity and connection during shelter-in-place. Filmmakers were asked to submit a movie under 10 minutes long, created entirely at home. We expected a few entries, but, wow! We were hit with a cinema tsunami! A veritable tidal wave of amazing submissions. From an animated documentary about racism to a heavy metal ode to hamsters, there was really something for everyone. See for yourself here:

  • Michelin-starred inn uses mannequins to make things less weird

    History tells us that nothing has ever been made less creepy by introducing dolls into the mix, but that's not stopping The Inn at Little Washington, D.C.'s only 3-Star Michelin restaurant. In an attempt to comfort shell shocked diners returning to their half-capacity restaurant after shelter-in-place is lifted, they've decided to fill the void with mannequins. You know, to make it less weird. They're partnering with a local theater company to build the sets and servers are being instructed to pour wine for the mannequins and ask them how their night is going. Chances of animatronics appear low, but all the same, I salute this melding of a fine dining experience coupled with tourist attraction flourish.

  • When bread goes kawaii: Rainbow sourdough

    Sheltering in place has transformed a nation into a legion of makeshift Betty Crockers. Baking supplies are sold-out on shelves across America. Sourdough starters are being exchanged in back alley hand-offs and in some cases even being distributed via telephone pole  (pro tip: never eat anything you found in a ziplock bag on a San Francisco city street). But what happens when you love bread, but you love psychedelics even more? Oakland-based baker Ashley Shotwell, who is known for her imaginative vegan custom cake creations, decided to find out. The result is a rainbow-swirl masterpiece colorful enough to make Lisa Frank blush. Did it taste like unicorns and heart-shaped teardrops? No. But it was "soft, chewy, and sour-tasting perfect". Watch the process videos on her Instagram channel and feel instantly soothed (recipe included!).

  • Rest In Peace, Fetish Artist Namio Harukawa (1947 – 2020)

    Beloved Japanese fetish artist Namio Harukawa passed away last week. Harukawa's gorgeously-rendered thick women were perpetually cast in positions of casual dominance, going about their day riding the subway or reading a book, la-dee-dah. Meanwhile, a helpless man was being smothered by their voluptuous buttocks or choking on a high heel. Whereas fellow big butt aficionado R. Crumb always positions himself at the center of his erotic narrative, the men in Harukawa's illustrations are inconsequential, their faces commonly obscured by ample butt cheeks.

    If there is a heaven, I have a pretty good idea of what Namio Harukawa's looks like.

  • '80s Mascot "Bleachman" Wants You To Shoot Up Safely

    Recent reckless comments from the president about injecting disinfectants have spurred urgent press announcements from health professionals and cleaning product manufacturers alike about the dangers of shooting up bleach. In San Francisco, it has also summoned visions of a noble helper from bygone days who wouldn't have suffered such foolishness about shooting up. A local superhero who was dedicated to educating civilians about the proper use of bleach and injections. One who sought to prevent the spread of HIV and fight the stigma of drug use, all while wearing a cute outfit.

    Armed with a Ringling Brothers-inspired oversized needle and festooned with a jug of bleach for a head, "Bleachman" was the official mascot of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation during the late '80s. Not only was his image plastered in advertisements on bus stops and free papers all over town, like all great superheroes, he had his own comic book and catchphrase too. "If you use the drug, you gotta use the jug," Bleachman would quip before demonstrating the step-by-step process for cleaning needles. The "live action" costumed character made personal appearances too, patrolling the streets of San Francisco to educate IV drug users on the best way to prevent contracting HIV, stopping to take photos with fans along the way.

    Witness him in all of his celebrity glory in this surprisingly candid PSA on late night television.

    Needle exchanges and safe injection sites may have reduced the need for Bleachman's services, but in these current dark times of misinformation, perhaps he will swoop in to save us once more.

    Image: Better World Advertising