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Artist Interview: Lady Millard

July 18, 2010 art, peeps Comments Off on Artist Interview: Lady Millard

“They look like fashion illustrations”, I said to my self the first time I encountered the art of Lady Millard. The pieces were rather impressive. Larger than life canvases, giant images of women being depicted as astrological symbols, and a flurry of color. I was amazed at the balance between raw and refinement in these pieces. Those characteristics possibly stemmed from the collaborative effort between Lady Millard ( Diana Smith ) and her art partner. Or it could have just been the nascent beginnings of this creator. Since that first encounter with her work I get updates via facebook ( ahh technology ) of her latest pieces. The work has gone from whimsical to a more precise polished graphic style that is reminiscent of the contemporary illustrative styles of today.

I recently caught up with Lady Millard and asked her some questions about art, life and everything between. Here is what she had to say.

Why art? I was born with a talent and my mother helped me to recognize it.

When did you first start? I started painting professionally after I was diagnosed as bipolar in 2002. It was a way not to get fired.

Do you use your art to chart your life, or in other
words, do most of your pieces have a significance to you
personally or are they just streams of consciousness?

Who inspires you? Jeremy Fish and Shepard Fairey and Damien Hirst.

You ( as am I ) of Jamaican decent. Do you know of any thriving artists or art scenes on the island?
I have never met someone that was a Jamaican Artist. It is an anomaly an occurrence that is strange, unusual, or unique.

Were you born there? Yes.

Does Jamaica inspire your artwork? I am inspired by my heritage because out of nothing there can be something – and out of many there is one. I love being Jamaican.

Your work is tagged with a gentleman in a mask. Who is he? or What is the story behind the Millard name? The story behind the name is simple my dad, Millard, gave me my name, Diana, after the princess. Lady Millard is homage to him ( and her ), but it also has a secondary meaning The Sex of God or Lai di Millard.

Do you have any shows coming up? I am writing a book called Nicolette the Avenger the book of Light.

Recently Erykah Badu released a video where she strips naked. Do you fell that there is a double standard when it comes to women making an artistic statement with their bodies? No. I think people take themselves to seriously when it comes to sex and their bodies.

When you are not painting, what do you do? While in New York I play hand ball and call my surrogate mom Hyueng Kim she is Korean. I also like to work on my relationships with friends. While in California there is only work.

If you could let the world know about someone/something,
who/what would it be?
I would let the world know that I could save it if given the platform. Step one, more communication. Step two, more art.

Where can someone purchase your work? my website http://millardboutique.com/

Nitelife in San Francisco: Favorite Bars

April 22, 2010 Latest, peeps Comments Off on Nitelife in San Francisco: Favorite Bars

So it’s 11pm and you jet-lag has finally wore off. You had a great meal and you are ready to hit the town. But where do you go? No worries, DOPEMAG has a few suggestions for you. In no particular order here are some of our favorite spots in town along with helpful Hook Up Factors:
Fat Chance: Look but don’t touch
Chit Chat: Drinks and conversation
Let’s Dance: Respectful body movement
Bump n Grind: Full contact dancing
Kisses in the Corner: One thing lead to another…
Future Baby Momma/Daddy Drama: DOPEMAG assumes no liability and will pay no child support

Hood: Mission
Location: 3192 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 503-1670
Hook Up Factor: Bump n Grind

This is one of those rare places where you can’t go wrong. If you are a fan of good hip-hop music pick a night and you will be satisfied. The crowd is often a cross section of adventurous Marina girls, Mission hipster and everything in between. The dance-floor gets crowded which, last time I checked signified a good time. While you may not have room to do the cabbage patch or running man if you are patient a circle might open up and then all eyes will be on you as you bust a moves. If you have to use the bathroom during peak hours you are better off wearing some kind of adult diaper as it can be very difficult to get to the restrooms at the end of the dance-floor. Drinks are not too pricey and you always get your money’s worth. Overall from the bouncer, to the bar staff to the DJs that rotate on various nights Double Dutch is a civilized good time.

Hood: Mission
3121 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 252-7740
Hook Up Factor: Chit Chat – Let’s Dance

If you are looking to get a taste of life in the mission Dalva is a great place to start. This is a long narrow bar that is best experienced with a small group of friends. From Wednesday to Saturday it can get a little loud and rowdy ( in a good way ). There is often a movie projected on the back wall that may include boobs ( a plus in my book ). While the music is often fantastic you really like this place for its close quarters and intimate gatherings with friends. If you do show up solo, sit at the bar, order a stiff drink and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. They may not become you BFF but you will likely be intrigued ( which goes great with being buzzed ).

Hood: Union Square
25 Maiden Lane (between Grant Ave & Kearny St), San Francisco, CA 94108
Hook Up Factor: Let’s Dance

Otis is the most posh hole-in-the-wall you will ever step into. This is one of those places that you happen upon ( if you are an out of towner ) go back to your hometown and tell everyone about it. At Otis you will likely chill with local artists, entrepreneurs, hipsters and politicians. Despite its posh decor Otis is not pretentious, stuffy or expensive. The bartenders are very friendly and the music makes you feel like you are at home. If you are there at the right time you may even share a drink with the owners Damon or Phil. Aside from being a great spot to grab a drink it is also a great place to network and meet like-minded professionals. Otis is always a great place for happy hour and things get interesting after 10PM Wednesday-Saturday nights. The music is always soulful weather it’s hip hop, funk or house spun by some of San Francisco’s top Djs. This spot does not have lot of room for dancing but that never stops anyone from getting down. Located on historic Maiden Lane ( Union Square, Downtown ) Otis is easy to get to and equally easy to overlook ( Hint: open the wooden doors at the end of the alley ) but once you find it you will be rewarded with all the happenings on the inside.

Neighborhood: Western Addition/NOPA
500 Divisadero Street (between Fell St & Hayes St), San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: (415) 241-0202
Hook Up Factor: Bump n Grind

So you want to go out for drinks with friends, do some dancing, in a not non-downtown location. Solution, Madrone Art Bar in NOPA/Western Addition. This bar is great for those who don’t want to go downtown to pay high downtown prices. Great art, good company, great music, and of course great drinks. If you are a fan of mixed drinks there is no better place than Madrone. Depending on when you go ( usually after 10PM ) there is a $5 cover. Compared to the $25+ cover charges at some places downtown this is definitely worth it. Madrone has a solid roster of great DJs and live performers throughout the week ( especially I ♥ the 90’s…every fourth friday of the month :-). After you have danced your ass off, given a guy your fake phone number and peeled your drunk girlfriends off of the bathroom floor head to Little Star some late night pizza to satisfy your hunger. Treasure hunt items: Electric Chair, Burberry Guns, mural with little bit of penis and Mickey Mouse Jesus ( together at last! ).

R.I.P. Keith Elam aka Guru

April 20, 2010 peeps, Video Comments Off on R.I.P. Keith Elam aka Guru

One of the great voices of hip hop is in a better place. Keith Elam better known as Guru was one half of Gangstarr along with DJ Premier. Guru leaves behind a healthy catalogue of pure hits from his days with Gangstarr and then solo with the critically acclaimed Jazzmatazz series of albums. There he collaborated with jazz greats from Donald Byrd to Roy Ayers and more contemporary artists like Erykah Badu and N’Dea Davenport. While hip hop had always sampled from jazz Guru took it a step further and worked with that genres living legends to create new tracks destined to become classics. Back in 1998 I had a chance to meet and have a lengthy conversation with Guru at a friends house. Aside from being completely shocked that he was there I was pleasantly surprised with his demeanor. He did not pull the “yo Im a rap superstar kid, I can’t talk to you” routine. Instead we stood and talked about jazz and hip hop fusion and I was asking him if he saw similarities ( to jazz ) in Drum n’ Bass and furthermore if hip hop would embrace it as it had jazz. We had differing opinions ( and for the record Guru was correct after the Goldie and KRS 1 collab I have not heard anything else by way of hip hop and DnB collabs ) but still managed to agree on other musical tastes and topics. I feel fortunate to have had that personal memory of someone I listened to on a regular basis. Gifted. Unlimited. Rhymes. Universal. Rest in peace Keith Elam.

UPDATED: Just read the letter Guru allegedly wrote to his fans. He goes out of his way to exclude DJ Premier from any future dealings with Guru’s namesake, image, music etc… interesting. Something not right about that.

In no particular order here are my top 5 Guru/Gangstarr tracks ( song titles are direct links to iTunes ):


Le Bien, Le Mal

Living Legend


You Know My Steez