The “O{+>” Edition :: Issue #082


Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff :: Issue #082 :: The “O{+>” Edition :: 04:27:2016

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #082 :: The “O{+>” Edition :: 04:27:2016

O{+> …

Along with the rest of the world, I’ve been grieving the loss of Prince. First Bowie, now the great Purple One. Absolutely shocking and unwelcome.

I’m reminded of this Amanda Palmer quote, “You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

While some may think it’s strange to grieve the death of an artist they’ve never met, I think it’s perfectly normal. Great artists, like Prince and David Bowie, touch people in deep ways through their work.

A gal named Juliette expressed this more eloquently in a Tweet, “Thinking about how we mourn artists we’ve never met. We don’t cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves.”

Ah, there it is.


Rusty Blazenhoff

p.s. My dear friend Dixie has started a new storytelling event In SF. It’s called Bona Fide and it will feature “groundbreaking, moving, funny, transformational stories.” She’s looking for people to share true stories, and an audience to listen to them on May 11 at SF’s Verdi Club.

“Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

Prince's Love Symbol purple guitar

This space intentionally left purple

As seen on the Internets


The Dutch Boy's Lead Party

:: An oldie but a goodie: “What Were We Thinking? The Top 10 Most Dangerous Ads”

:: Prince, the secret humanitarian


:: Chicken John’s upcoming book: The Book of the Un… dissertations on dystopia

:: The Black Dahlia will keep your weed fresh for years Thanks, Mark K.!

:: F.A.K.E.: Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express Thanks, Dan!

:: An amazing tribute to Prince by the cast of the Color Purple on Broadway

:: The Archie McPhee store in Seattle is hiring: No jerks!

:: “How To Respond When You Suspect Someone Is Flirting With You” Thx, Jessica!

Adventures in Blazenpuff: Stoned Yoga

Aya-Nikole Cook of Sweet Leaf Yoga in Oakland, California

Aya-Nikole Cook, founder of Sweet Leaf Yoga in Oakland, California, blazing up at the start of class

Folks, I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 20 years and, on Sunday, I attended my very first yoga class. Not just that, it was an “enhanced” class, enhanced by medical cannabis! I can’t make this stuff up, stoned yoga, people, stoned yogaCalifornia living is the best!

I had just met Sweet Leaf Yoga‘s founder, the amazing Aya-Nikole Cook, the day before at a meeting for cannabis leaders in the East bay (you may remember that I have started consulting in the industry). At some point, she explained her unconventional practice to me. I was blown away.

I thought to my weed-loving, exercise-challenged self, “I HAVE to experience this.”

Less than 24 hours later, there I was, sitting on a yoga mat with a fat spliff placed on it. The joint, we were told, was filled with Super Solar Haze, an organic Sativa-dominant flower from Native Seed. I took a check of my classmates, all women, of varying ages and all definitely 420-friendly. The stigma around medicating with cannabis seems to be on a sharp decline around here. Not one woman declined having her photo taken, even after I stated that I’d be publishing it online.

After checking our patient recommendations, Aya began the smoking ritual. As we all lit up, we listened to her share her thoughts about the dearly-departed Prince and his extraordinary life as a humanitarian and musician. Then, as we were feeling the buzz, we introduced ourselves.

I remember thinking, “It feels safe here. I feel so connected and present.” Normally, in a group exercise setting, I’m not so chill. I feel anxious and worry about what people are thinking of me. Not this time. Nope. I was eager to get started.

And, “get started” we did. The actual yoga was challenging for me, though I did my best to keep up. I didn’t feel “stupid” for not knowing everything or not being able to get into pose. The pot actually allowed me to tap into my inner child’s curiosity about the movements, and pushed out the judg-y “mean girl” voices. I medicate for many reasons, but primarily to combat symptoms stemming from PTSD, like anxiety.

This buzz-tastic Sativa did the Lord’s work, I’m telling you.

After a long, breath-focused intermission, we started in on a pre-roll from Grass Valley Farms. Filled with the awesomely-named Yeti OG, we learned it’s a “tension-relieving” Indica, something we’d be smoking to relax into the final, deeper movements. The room was warm and I really allowed myself to be in the moment. It felt… luxurious. Come to think of it, getting high and doing yoga in a nice studio near Lake Merritt in Oakland IS a luxury.

Fresh juice was served at the end of class, and we had the opportunity to smoke from a bowl filled with a hybrid named Three Kings. We also chatted, seated on our mats, as we drank our juice. One woman shared that she had never smoked a Sativa followed by an Indica, but offered, smiling, “They’re good sisters.”

Yes, good sisters, indeed.

The Nitty Gritty: Sweet Leaf Yoga happens every other Sunday upstairs at 3215 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. It’s open to medical cannabis patients holding a valid recommendation. $25 covers the yoga, high-grade medicine, fresh juice, and warm camaraderie.

Save the Date: The next class happens on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8 from 2-4 PM. [RSVP]

:: If you’re curious, check out all the photos I took of the class [[here]]. ::

Tiny (Traveling) Book Show

This is MAUDE (short for “Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone”), the gorgeous circa 1965 vintage trailer of Creativity Caravan’s Maya Stein and Amy Tingle. It’s currently home to the Tiny Book Show, which they describe as a “mobile museum of miniature books.”

These aren’t just any books, mind you, but delightful ones that have been handcrafted by artists and writers from around the globe. In fact, I learned about this neat traveling library from my talented pal Carolee Gilligan Wheeler who posted the cool book she created for the show, How to Lighthouse, on Facebook.

You can get a digital taste of the books that will be on tour this year here and here. But, I highly suggest you check the books out (and meet the ladies behind this badass bookmobile) in person. MAUDE and her crew have already hit the road from their East coast starting mark of Bernardsville, New Jersey. They will make their way to the West coast and back over the course of the summer. Check out their entire tour schedule (Alameda on July 25!).

photo by Bella Cirovic
photo by Bella Cirovic

Artist-in-Residence: Carollyne Yardley


Anonymous Family Portrait by Carollyne Yardley

Anonymous Family Portrait, inkjet of Moab fine art paper, 2014
It’s the last week of April and that means it’s Carollyne’s final week as Artist-in-Residence at Rusty’s Electric Dreams. It goes by so fast, I tell you.


I always have so many questions for the A-i-Rs and Carollyne was no exception. Here’s what she shared with me…

RB: Who is your muse? 

CY: In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. Today, a muse is a person who serves as an artist’s inspiration. If I’ve been inspired by a particular person for a piece, I’ll reference them in a blog post about the artwork. Same as if I’m inspired by an object, like the masks created by Archie McPhee.

If the question was, “What is my muse,” something I ponder about often, it would be my fascination with human nature, identity, and absurdity.

RB: Breakfast for dinner?

CY:  I used to have breakfast for dinner before I became allergic to eggs and gluten, the two main staples of standard North American breakfast. However, I like eating meat and cheese for dinner, which is breakfast for dinner in Switzerland.

RB: What’s the backstory on using those funny Archie McPhee masks in your work?

CY: The backstory includes the power of the web and Rusty Blazenhoff!

Initially, I had been painting the real life squirrel face for my transgene characters, and was calling them secret squirrels. The term Secret Squirrel takes it’s cue from a Hanna Barbera cartoon show that was a parody of the spy genre; one of the characters was a squirrel.

In 2012, my friend Alexander Kaiser of Silly Hats Only sent me a link to a blog story written by the one and only Rusty Blazenhoff, former Managing editor at Laughing Squid. The article was about a group of people meeting for brunch wearing squirrel masks. After reading the article, I messaged you through the Twitter-verse, and said something along the lines of, “If you like squirrels check out my paintings.”
From there, you looped in squirrel lover David Wahl, Director of Awesome at Archie McPhee.

Long story short, as a result of that Twitter conversation, David and his wife collected three of my paintings. A few months later, David sent me a squirrel feeder, squirrel coffee-mug, squirrel underpants, and my first Squirrel Mask, along with a note saying it was time to up my game.

I now have several masks by Archie McPhee, including a crow, pug and a horse. There is one other Archie McPhee mask in my collection, but am keeping that as a surprise until I post my next finished painting.

Reference Links:

RB: Why do historical paintings have so many squirrels in them?

CY: At least one answer is easy to find. Squirrels were kept as pets in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as Kathleen Walker-Meikle notes in Medieval Pets: Even if it came from a species that had little intrinsic monetary value, an animal could be transformed into a pampered pet of exalted status by adorning it with elaborate accessories. Such is by adorning it with elaborate accessories. Such is the case of the squirrel, a popular medieval pet, which is almost always described and depicted as being fitted with a collar and chain, usually finely crafted in silver– the practice of keeping pet squirrels on chains still prevailed in the sixteenth century, as observed in a dialogue in John Lyly’s play Endymion:

Tophas: What is that the gentlewoman carrieth in a chain?
Epiton: Why, it is squirrel.
Tophas: A squirrel? O gods, what things are made for money!

RB: What are you working on now? 

CY: I’m working on a new series with a few different animal masks, not just squirrels. The content of new paintings is in the vault, but if your readers follow my Instagram feed they can get a sneak peeks of paintings in progress.

Aww, so thrilled to be part of your work’s history! Thank you so much for being part of my “art baby,” this inbox zine! —Rusty.

Events of note


Altered State

[5/7] [Inside the] Zoltar machine, available to bid on at Michaan’s Auction, Alameda, CA
United States
[Now until 8/19] Tiny Book Show, a touring bookmobile of little books handcrafted by artists and writers


[Various dates] 420 Games

Alameda, California
[4/30] Whimsy Fest, 1 PM – 6 PM at Alameda Point

[5/13] 2nd Friday Alameda Artwalk at Studio 23, 6 PM to 9 PM

[3/2017] Spannabis

[6/4-6/5] Chicago Redhead Days, 11 AM to 5 PM, City Hall Park

Cold Spring, New York
[6/10-6/13] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults

East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, California
[5/20-5/26] Camp Tipsy, an “annual rotten boat building contest and camp-out”

Lake Iseo, Italy
[6/18 to 7/3] Christo’s Floating Piers

Las Vegas
[Ongoing] Akhob, an immersive “Ganzfeld effect” experience by artist James Turrell at Louis Vuitton [by appt only: 702-730-3150]  HIGHLY recommended!

Desert beyond Las Vegas
[4/29-5/1] Further Future Festival [Tickets]

Lisbon, Portugal
[11/7-11/10] Web Summit 2016

[July 2016] EVA London 2016

Los Angeles

Cool Places to Buy Weird Shit in Los Angeles

[Dates through 4/30] Mojo Maps, Interactive Theatre and Urban Adventure created by a former Disney Imagineer

[Until 5/12] Hooray for L.A.A full Marionette Musical Variety Hour at Bob Baker Marionette Theater [Tickets]

[5/29] E.T., the Extra Terrestrial screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

[8/14] BrunchCon LA at The Reef, 9 AM to 3 PM Thanks, Josh!

[10/1] Dolly Parton at Hollywood Bowl [Tickets]

[12/5-12/8] Henry Rollins at Largo

Marble Falls, Texas
[10/7-10/10] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults

Melbourne, Australia
beinArt Gallery opens in early 2016

New Orleans
[2/28/2017] Mardi Gras
[2/13/2018] Mardi Gras
[3/5/2019] Mardi Gras
[2/25/20] Mardi Gras

New York City
Quirky NYC by Oriana Leckert:
“From Bumper Cars to Torah Taxidermy: A Guide to 25 of Brooklyn’s Most Unusual Museums”
“From Elevators to Outsider Art: A Guide to 16 Under-the-Radar Museums in Queens”

[4/30] BEAVER: an exhibition, performance, and discussion event Thanks, Mirabelle!

[5/16] Psychic Dogs Lecture and Slideshow, NYC! With Dr. Paul Koudounaris! in Brooklyn

[Until 5/26] Then She Fell, a “fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which only 15 audience members per performance explore a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into a lushly designed world”

[Ongoing] Sleep No More at The McKittrick Hotel
[Ongoing] Jungle-Ized by Sound Collective, Free
[Ongoing] The Ferry Play on the Staten Island Ferry, $1.99
[Ongoing] More NYC events

Northern California
[5/20-5/23] and [5/27-5/30] Camp Grounded, summer camp for adults


[Until 9/25] Altered State: Marijuana in California at OMCA

[4/28] The 2nd Annual OutOfFocus Video Festival, a showcase and celebration of music videos, animations, and shorts produced by local video artists at New Parkway, 9 PM to 11 PM [Tickets]

[5/2] An Aural History of Femme Punk at Golden Bull 10 PM to 2 AM, Free

[5/6] Oakland First Fridays, on Telegraph Ave. from W. Grand to 27th St., 5 PM to 9:30 PM

[5/6-5/8] DadaConf 0.1 at Nimby [Tickets]

[5/8] Sweet Leaf Yoga, yoga enhanced with high-grade medicine at 3215 Lakeshore Drive, medical cannabis patients with ID only, $25

[6/25-6/26] Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park [Tickets]

Palm Springs, California
[7/8-7/11] Yes and Yes Yes (YxYY) at the Ace Hotel, a “summer retreat for anyone who considers themselves a thinker, maker, creator, nerd, or weirdo.” [Tickets]

Paris, France
Editor’s note:
Last January I had the good fortune to spend the night in an artist’s yurt. My photos from that visit will be included in this show…in PARIS!
[Until 8/29] Habiter le Campement, Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine au Palais de Chaillot

Portland, Oregon
[8/11-8/15] World Domination Summit [Tickets]

Provincetown, Massachusetts
[8/13-8/19] Carnival 2016: Back to the 80’s

Riverside, California
[5/20-5/22] Beyond Brookledge at the Galleria at the Mission Inn

San Francisco
“Best storytelling events in the Bay Area”
Upscale vs. Frugal SF
[Ongoing] Elsewhere Philatelic Society
[Ongoing] More SF events

[4/27] Mermaid Swim San Francisco

[4/27 The Big Quiz Thing at Codeword, 7 PM to 9 PM, 21+ [TicketsThanks, Mark K.!

[4/29] Pretty Witches: A Ladies Only No Alcohol Dance Party, 8 PM to 12 AM [Tickets]

[4/29] The Racket, a neo-noir adventure game at an underground location near 16th St. BART

[4/29-5/1] stARTup Art Fair at Hotel del Sol

[4/30] Mark Growden’s Quintet At The Mission San Francisco de Asís, 8 PM [Tickets]

[4/30] Less Than Three <3 Film Festival at Stage Werx Theater, 6:30 PM to 10:15 PM [Submissions]

[5/1] How Weird 2016: The Cosmic Stew, [Tickets]

[5/3] Odd Salon: Folly, “stories of failure and fortitude, bad ideas, rotten luck, lunatic ambition & the glories of ridiculous invention” at DNA Lounge, 7 PM

[5/5] Jason Mecier’s “Celebrity Trash” at 111 Minna

[5/6] Retrograde: Art by Winston Smith at Mule Gallery, reception 6 PM to 9 PM

[5/11] Bona Fide Storytelling, a new storytelling event by Dixie de la Tour at Verdi Club, 8 PM [Tickets]

[5/11] Fireside Storytelling: “Gotta Bail” at Chez Poulet, 7:30 PM Doors, $15

[5/16] SFMOMA to reopen

[6/5] Space Age slide show with Charles Phoenix at Grand Star Theater, 3 PM [Tickets]

[6/11] Wild Kingdom, an art car and fire art festival, 2 PM to 4 AM [Tickets]

[6/11-10/2] Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad [pdf]

[6/12-6/13] Season finale of Calling All Choir at Mission Dolores Basilica

[6/12] Mac Sabbath at Slim’s, 8 PM, all ages [Tickets]

[6/24-6/26] New Games with John Law

[7/10] Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge at DNA Lounge [Tickets]

[7/17] Dark Garden Annual Corset Rummage Sale

[7/23] The Murray Invitational. A Bill Murray Art Exhibition and Golf Party at Public Works

[8/5-8/7] Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park

[9/21-9/22] Dent: Space at Innovation Hangar

[10/1] Release party for Chicken John’s The Book of the Un at 111 Minna

[10/13] Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary, 8 PM [Tickets]

[10/2017] 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love

San Jose, California
[7/23] Blacklight Slide

SF Bay Area
[Ongoing] Best swimming holes in the SF Bay Area

San Diego, California
[8/18-8/21] Tiki Oasis: “Monster Island”

San Mateo, California
[5/20-5/22] The 11th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area [Tickets]

San Rafael, California
[5/7] David Sedaris at Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 8 PM [Tickets]

Santa Fe, New Mexico
[Ongoing] Meow Wolf [Read this] [Tickets]

The Obscure, the Charming and the Odd: Mark Pahlow’s Guide to Seattle

[7/4-7/10] Nowhere

Sun Valley, Idaho
[4/19-4/22] Dent 2017 (highly recommended)

If YOU would like to co-curate an issue of Rusty’s Electric Dreams, I’d love to hear your idea! Please email me: about a cool event? I can’t be everywhere or know about everything, so share it with me! I’ll do my best to include it in the next issue.


Foma Labs, Immersive Experiences

The Houndstooth Glitch by Doc Pop for Betabrand

“A strong spirit transcends rules.”


“I am interested in people who swim in the deep end. I want to have conversations about real things with people who have experienced real things. I’m tired of talking about movies and gossiping about friends. Life is crunchy and complicated and all the more delicious.”

Amy Poehler in Yes Please

“I never meant to cause you any pain.”
photo by Paula Wirth, shot at Feel Good Bakery in Alameda, California

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff. These personally-curated missives are beacons to signal and celebrate the global tribe of weird, wonderful, and unconventional people (“the Others“).

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