Masculinity, made mobile
By Raymond Flournoy
On Valentine's Day, why not allow celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz to deconstruct the concepts of masculine and feminine with his new iPad app, Pretty Masculine?
The app is a reinterpretation of his 2011 book of the same name. The book sold out quickly after release, and now Ruiz is leveraging modern technologies to bring his fantastical images to readers in a new, augmented way.
"My goal ... is to introduce a new way for people to consume art. The app is unique in the way that it combines a photography showcase with interactive functionality. It is the first of its kind to be released by a photographer," stated Ruiz in a news release.
The app includes a large selection of images from the book, and Ruiz anticipates adding new images every few weeks. Moving beyond the static format of a book, the app also includes behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, information on the models, and links to social media.
Readers can join in on the creative fun by uploading images to the app and applying special Pretty Masculine filters, makeup and lighting effects, and props. The images can then be saved or shared on Facebook and Twitter.
When asked his thoughts on romance and Valentine's Day, Ruiz let his work speak for itself.
"When you look at my entire body of work, the overarching characteristics in it are beauty, fantasy, and empowerment. Within those elements are traces of the romantic in me. So yes, romance is definitely a big part of my work," Ruiz said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter .
And how is this romantic spending his Valentine's Day?
"Like the good soldier, I'm working that day. I have a commercial shoot and will also be shooting some more models for the app. After that, I plan to have a low-key dinner with [fiance] Martin [Berusch]," said Ruiz.
The Pretty Masculine app is available on the iTunes App store for $4.99. Ruiz can also be seen on the premiere episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, season 5, currently streaming at www.logotv.com.
Tip top Tomboy
On February 2, Tomboy Tailors (50 Post Street) opened the doors of its elegantly appointed showroom, offering a new choice for women who prefer the look and fit of traditional men's suiting.
Tomboy Tailors is the brainchild of Zel Anders , and was born out of Anders's own dissatisfaction with the suit-buying experience.
(Photo: Steven Kasapi)
"I've always liked the look of a suit, and because I'm a tall, bigger woman, it's difficult to find suits for women my size," said Anders, an out lesbian who lives with her wife in Sausalito.
"But even in San Francisco, I had a hard time with customer service when trying to shop for a man's suit. And of course, proper fit was also an issue."
So Anders decided to create what she calls "a space that is ours" – where women can shop for shirts, suits, and accessories with a masculine flair, and receive the style advice, fitting, and tailoring to complete the look.
Currently the shop only carries bespoke suits, which are created by partners in Massachusetts and Hong Kong. But soon Tomboy Tailors will also carry ready-to-wear choices, along with Anders's own line of shirts, bowties, and pocket squares.
Anders plans to begin monthly events partnered with local nonprofits, and is also considering occasional weeknight classes on various style issues.
Right now Tomboy Tailors is working toward a March fashion show, produced by local event organizer Runway Couturier . The SF-based company creates quarterly fashion shows highlighting local designers, with the aim of propelling local labels to nationwide wholesale contracts, according to executive producer Fritz Lambandrake. The shows are free, supported by various outside sponsorships.
To begin a fitting or style consultation, visit the Tomboy Tailors showroom in the Crocker Galleria or online at http://www.tomboytailors.com.
With bicycles or relationships, there are three types of people in the marketplace. There are people looking to find their perfect bike, ready for the lifestyle changes that will come with the purchase. There are people who already have a long-favorite bike, but who are looking for a tune-up or maintenance to keep things rolling smoothly. And then there are people who are just looking for a little fun for an hour or two.
Regardless of which category best describes you, the new business A Tran's Bay Bike Shop ( class=st>1 Avenue of the Palms, Building One, Suite 021, Treasure Island) may have the answers you need. (About bicycles, not about relationships.)
Owner Tammy Powers class=st> is ready to help you pick out a new bike, but as a former automotive mechanic Powers is also ready to service your current ride. And within the next few weeks, the shop, located on the beautiful Treasure Island waterfront, will begin renting a fleet of bicycles for visitors to the island.
"Treasure Island is so much fun, and once people finally see it and its beautiful views of the city, they see it's a great way to spend the day," said Powers.
The cheeky name of the shop refers to Powers being a transgender woman.
According to Powers, it was important that her trans identity be a strong element of the business' identity as well. "I wanted to be out there representing transsexuals, and showing that we can be capable, that we can be successful in business too," she said.
A Tran's Bay Bike Shop is currently in soft opening, with a full grand opening celebration featuring a vegetarian feast coming in May. During February, Powers is offering a complete tune-up for $35, with mention of this column.
For more information on sales, service, and rentals, call A Tran's Bay Bike Shop at (415) 573-4797.
Two years of style
Sui Generis Illa class=st>(2265 Market Street) invites the public to celebrate its second anniversary Saturday, February 16, from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy a free mimosa and see how to attain high style at affordable prices, thanks to the Sui Generis consignment boutique.
Have your cake and Yigit, too
Tout Sweet Patisserie class=st>, the creation of local celebrity chef Yigit Pura class=st>, has announced two new tasty offerings.
Beginning with Valentine's Day, the shop, located on the third floor of Macy's Union Square, will begin hosting monthly dessert tastings. In a news release, the event is described as "a three-course dessert menu featuring a rotating selection of seasonal offerings, each paired with local artisanal wine and beer."
The cost is $55, and reservations can be made by calling (415) 385-1679.
In addition, Pura has debuted a line of wedding cakes, examples of which are on his website at http://www.toutsweetsf.com. The cake creation process begins with a consultation, where Pura works with couples to find the perfect pastry for the important day. According to posts on the store's Facebook page, the openly gay Pura has already created a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Eatery seeks support
Castro bar/coffeehouse/restaurant Cafe Flore (2298 Market Street) is looking for help from the community and City Hall to keep its food service operation running.
On February 21 the Planning Commission will be considering legislation authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener class=st> that will effectively grandfather in an unpermitted, off-site prep kitchen for the Castro hotspot.
A website has been created to muster up community support for the zoning change for Cafe Flore, located at http://www.helpcafeflore.com class=st>. The website encourages supporters to write letters to the Planning Commission and to attend the February 21 hearing.
Open and shut cases
The past month has seen the closing of the Diesel store at the corner of Castro and Market streets, as well as barbecue restaurant the Dancing Pig (544 Castro Street). A notice is posted on the door of the former Dancing Pig that a change of ownership and transfer of alcohol license is under way. A handwritten note adds, "We are making improvements. Thanks for your patience!"
Moving in to fill the void, two new restaurants aim to open this month. As of press time, Fable class=st>(558 Castro Street) was targeting opening on February 12. Pica Pica Maize Kitchen (3970 17th Street) is the third location for the local chain, and the first tenant to move into the space that was created during renovation of The Cafe (2369 Market Street) over three years ago. Pica Pica's media representative informed the B.A.R. that unnamed delays have moved the expected opening to the week of February 25 at the earliest.
Look for profiles of both new eateries in next month's column.