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The San Francisco FogCam has been looming over the campus of San Francisco State University, in continual operation since 1994 and is the oldest webcam still in existence ....and we link to it just because that's pretty damn cool.

Cosplayer Chai Chen Revisited

Chai Chen was featured in my article on cosplay models of the Philippines back in March of 2010. Keeping in loose touch with Chai over the last five years (and having a hard time believing it had been so long), I saw that she was still very much active in cosplay and had developed and taken her costumes and characters to the next level. Of course, her being an avid PSP gamer is how she's developed an encyclopedic  knowledge of comic book superoheroines, game characters, and their roles.

Chinese by blood, with some Spanish and Indian mixed in, the naturalized Filipina describes herself as "a bit childlike but a hella workaholic." Her "day job" as a client services manager at a business process outsourcing (BPO) company keeps her busy, but Chai still makes time to attend events in and around her home country of the Philippines, with an eye on making it to San Diego Comic Con in the not-too-distant future. Above photo of Chai as one of her current favorites; Marvel Comics superheroine Black Widow, by Kira Hokuten Photography.

Hooters Girls - Behind the Breasts and Buffalo Wings

(The following is the first entry in which may be a mulit-part series of pieces on my interactions and candid conversations with current and former Hooters Girls ....but I doubt it.)

Hooters was founded in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. According to their website, to date, there are over 430 Hooters franchises in 28 countries. Multiply that by the number of servers (known as Hooters Girls) each franchise has employed over the years, and that's tens of thousands of current and former Hooters Girls with a story to tell.

Over the past few years, I've spoken candidly with several current and former Hooters Girls about their experiences as Hooters Girls and their reasons for working at the popular restaurant chain with the double-entendre name. I'm, in no way, implying that working at Hooters should be equated to working at a strip gentlemens club or go go bar. Hooters is a restaurant patronized by the general public. In fact, some may even consider it family friendly. I've seen entire families with young children come into Hooters and sit down for a meal. The girls even brought coloring placemats and crayons to the tables for the kids. However, you don't see servers like these ladies at Denny's or Applebees.

Of course, the girls do have to tolerate a certain amount of leering, sexual innuendos, and flirtation, but many have told me it's a small price to pay in exchange for the gratuities they receive. The tips the girls get at Hooters are much better than what they would get from working as servers at Denny's, Applebees, or even a upper scale restaurant, where the 15%-20% rule is usually followed. Any former or current Hooters girl will tell you that quite often, the amount of the tip will greatly exceed the amount of the check. In addition, the hours and schedules the girls work are more flexible than those at a "regular" restaurant. That's because many of the girls have outside careers they pursue, many in modeling and the performing arts. For example, "Julie," a tall, Asian-American semi-professional model when the above photo was taken in 2010 at the Dowtown Phoeniox Hooters where she worked and enjoyed a sort of celebrity status.

Caroline Blind

Singer and guitarist Caroline Bokman currently fronts the San Francisco-based punk metal band Dammit!, but she's probably best-known by most fans as Caroline Blind, from when she was lead vocalist of Sunshine Blind. Described as a "goth/trip hop/darkwave" band, Sunshine Blind was co-founded by Caroline in 1991. Over the next 12 years, they extensively toured clubs throughout the US and released four studio albums before breaking up in 2003.

These days, Caroline calls San Francisco home and she can be seen performing with Dammit! at many of the Bay Area's premiere hard rock venues, such as Oakland's Uptown Nightclub, Johnny V's in San Jose's and the City's own DNA Lounge, where she reunited with Sunshine Blind for a show just last year.

What casual fans may not know about Caroline, is that she holds a BA in psychology and worked as a marriage and family therapist intern. She tells me her goal was to counsel bands and artists, who often have the same issues and dysfunctions married couples face, and those of us who have been in touring bands sure can concur with that. Caroline talks about that and more here in my recent interview with her. Other topics we cover are, why she doesn't have a definitive home town, the possibility of further Sunshine Blind reunions, and her current gig with Dammit!, in which she now may be handling bass, as well as vocal duties, on a permanent basis.

(What would have been Elissa Dowling's interview)

As stated in a few previous posts; sometimes, despite good efforts, some interviews just don't pan out. However, I'm not going to let the time I spend researching the interviewee and coming up with good and pertinent questions, go to waste, as one can see from viewing all the incomplete interviews that have been published at this site.

I published this brief piece on actress Elissa Dowling back in March, as sort of a lead-in to the interview she'd agreed to. Since it didn't happen, here are almost all of the questions I'd planned on asking her. I say "almost" because, after she previewed them, she informed me she'd pass on answering a couple for privacy reasons, which was fine with me. At left is where her photo would have gone and I would have given photo credit to the photographer here.

Midori Amae

At exactly six feet tall, with 34-26-36 stats, it could go without saying that top fashion model Midori Amae has walked runways for some of the biggest name designers and appeared at some of the most prominent  events in the fashion industry, such as those staged during the semi-annual New York Fashion Week. Fans of America's Next Top Model can look forward to seeing Midori on the show's upcoming Cycle 22. She'll go into that competition as the number two fan favorite. She tells me she wasn't planning on auditioning for the show, but did because she happened to be at home and have the day off when auditions were being held in nearby Arlington, Virginia in January. (As of this writing, no air date has been announced for Cycle 22, but the show's Facebook fan page will post it as soon as it's set.) She was also recently named creative director for i-Fashion magazine.

Despite her hectic schedule and frequent traveling, I was fortunate enough to be able to speak to Midori at length earlier this month. And to dispel a sort of myth about high class fashion models; I found her to be very down-to-earth, with a great sense of humor and not pretentious, at all. Besides her modeling, our topics included sports, food, one of her favorite charities, and her mild obsession with wearing glasses with no lenses. Above photo by Steve Bennett.

The Ladies of The Last Beautiful Girl

Over the last few years, Austin, Texas-based Twitchy Dolphin Flix has become known for producing movies featuring some of the brightest young actresses in independent films. One of their latest productions, The Last Beautiful Girl, is no exception. With a cast that includes alumnae from other award-winning Twitchy Dolphin productions such as Snatch 'N' Grab, Abram's Hand, Goin' Guerrilla, and DisAssociationVille, it's a good bet that The Last Beautiful Girl will be garnishing accolades at independent film festivals around the country. The script is said to already be on the film festival circuit and has made it to the finals in two of those festivals.

Described by the film's writer and director James Christopher as a "romantic dramedy exploring the first time you fall in and out of love," the The Last Beautiful Girl is currently in the pre-production stages. With all of the parts cast, and trailers shot, the film is slated to begin shooting in May. At right are 3 of the 16 ladies who'll be appearing in the film; Shelby Cullinan, Morgan Floyd, and Shelby Surdam, who have featured roles as sisters. Read on to see the entire female cast and a little info on each of them.

Kimmie Yan

If it weren't for Arielle Brachfeld, a talented actress I interviewed last month, starring in a film that's currently in production entitled Day For Night, Kimmie Yan  might have slipped under my radar. Kimmie is one of the producers of Day For Night (which is not a remake of the 1973 film of the same title), and to say she's excited about the project is an understatement.

Even though Kimmie tells me Day For Night is the first feature film in which she's been one of the primary producers, she's far from a novice when it comes to producing and the behind-the-scenes workings of films and show biz. A graduate of Boston University, Kimmie has an impressive resume that includes music supervisor on 2014's Dawn Patrol, associate producer on 2012's The Devil's Carnival, and less recently, a stint as operations manager at West Hollywood's (in)famous Viper Room.

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Kimmy about her recent projects, as well as the many unglamorous behind-the-scenes jobs and tasks she's had, the possibility of someday producing her own cooking show (she's a self-confessed foodie) and her mild obsession with Star Trek: The Next Generation. The above photo from a very recent shoot with J. Michaels, is courtesy of Kimmie.
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