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The Maloof Money Cup (only the biggest skateboarding contest, ever) after party was held from July 11th all the way to the 13th at the Sutra Lounge, featuring an appearance by Travis Barker and a performance by crunkster Lil Jon. DJ Andy Rourke of Til along with The Smiths graced Cafe Sevilla in Riverside with their prescence on July 1st. The other Cafe Sevilla (Long Beach) threw its two-year anniversary party on July 18th and July 19th.
JENNIFER USELDINGER - At One With The Ocean Words: PJ Yatar Photos: Jonathan Ho JENNIFER USELDINGER - At One With The Ocean
Words: PJ Yatar
Photos: Jonathan Ho

People are often products of their environment, which is why after spending her adolescence traveling the world, sleeping inside bungalows in Indonesia, picking coconuts for food and growing up with the children in the South Pacific, Jennifer Useldinger is an island girl. Blessed with the surfing genes of her father and world class ability of her mother, Useldinger at an early age displayed world class potential. However this "free spirit" left the professional rankings at 19 to search for larger waves.  Transforming herself from a traditional tour surfer to a free spirited, large-wave thrill seeker, Useldinger finds faith and tranquility inside the sheer mass and beauty of waves that tower 20 ft tall.    
Congratulations on your recent success with Sports Illustrated.
Yes, I am going to be featured as an athlete. I am not sure if it is going to be the swimsuit issue or the one right after.

How did that come about?
Well my cousin is Marisa Miller the Victoria's Secret Model and she had gotten asked to do the swimsuit issue for a surfing magazine. They were doing a piece on her family up in Santa Cruz and she asked me to come up for that. Her husband is the owner of Cartel Management so when I found that out we had started talking a little about business. So he was interested in taking me on. And since then he got me in Sports Illustrated and I will be in the swimsuit issue for Surfing Magazine, which is real cool since there will be only four girls in the magazine.

Who introduced you to surfing?

Well I got into surfing from my mom and my dad. My mom actually surfed on tour back in the early ‘80s. She made the top five in the world, she did really well. She used to surf with me a week before I was born I guess.  She had me in the water since I can remember.

Rather than compete on the tour you are a big wave specialist. Describe the difference between your approach to surfing versus what one might see at the X Games or The US Open of Surfing.
What people see at the X Games or at the US Open or any competition is part professional tour made up of a group of women who trained all day long every day, day in and day out training for these competitions.  They basically travel the world and accumulate points so that they can win a world title.  As for myself I am constantly training everyday to push my limits. Not only do I live a healthy lifestyle but a mentally healthy life style too.

What do you mean by a healthy mental lifestyle?
When the waves are at 20 ft you have to know that you are at the right place with God because you can die out there and that is something I do come to terms with on a regular basis. I am not afraid to die because I believe I am at a place I need to be. It is a real spiritual thing for me.

When was that transformation from settling for average surf to almost thrill seeking on the bigger waves?

Pretty much when I was nine years old when Mark Foo had passed away at Mavericks I just always wanted to surf it. I was always a tomboy and doing what ever people told me I could not do.  And there were no girls that had surfed Mavericks so I said I am going to be the first girl to surf it.  I was actually the third girl to do it. I had been touring in competition and trying to beat my mom's ranking until about 19 years old when I kind of figured out it was not for me. That's when I ran into my good friend Jamiliah Star who holds the world record for riding the biggest wave by a woman. She told me "you can do it."

What was her role in your development?

She invited me to come out to the North Shore and to train her and her team. So I moved out to the North Shore when I was 19 just for a month. She kind of showed me the ropes by leading by example. Just watching her drop in on bombs, it was so inspirational.

Share the type of training you went through to prepare because in truth you were learning how to surf a completely different type of wave.
It is a lot of mental training, a lot of mind over matter if you are paddling over the ledge you got to believe that you are going to make it.  I do a lot of meditation and singing. (Pause) When you run you hold your breath and count your steps... underwater rock running.

You are an attractive young lady. What is the balance between promoting yourself and not losing your identity as a surfer?
It's something that you have to call quits sometimes. It is something that I have been able to do my whole life because I had that love, trust and commitment with the ocean. Sometimes I wonder how did it get to this point. You do something your whole life, it's naturally going to progress.

What's next ?
I am going to be going out to Papa New Guinea February 22. I am going to spend about a month down there kinda' traveling around looking for new waves on a film called Isolated. It should be pretty fun. That's what really captivates me; the whole adventure of things. So I am really stoked on that.

+ Shaved her head at 19.

+ Her cousin is Victoria's Secret Model
    Marissa Miller.

+ Is an active environmentalist.

+ Her mother is former professional surfer
    Anne Bayly.

+ Home schooled by her mother.  She lived in
    Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia.

+ Does not own a television or iPod.

+ Sponsored by Roxy, Future fins, Ocean Earth,
    Plantronics, Stretch Surfboards, Dick Brewer
    Surfboards, Mendo Mate Tea and Mana Pearls Tahiti


2008 MAVERICKS SURF CONTEST Words: Don Stefanovich Photos: PEter Buranzon 2008 MAVERICKS SURF CONTEST
Words: Don Stefanovich
Photos: Peter Buranzon

Although winter generally is a season of snow sports, it also brings with it massive swells to certain coastlines, perhaps most famously the region known as Mavericks between Mendocino and Santa Cruz California. On January 13th, 2008, 24 of the world's best big wave surfers arrived in Half Moon Bay on a mere 24 hours notice for the legendary Annual Mavericks Surf Contest. San Clemente, California native, Greg Long would emerge as the champion after riding an unprecedented perfect 10 in the 30 foot swell. His historical run would come shortly after all six finalists agreed to evenly split their shares of the prize money in an inspiring show of camaraderie. Grant "Twiggy" Baker (ZAF), Jamie Sterling (HAW), Tyler Smith (Calif.), Grant Washburn (Calif.) and Evan Slater (Calif.) took home even cuts after a day which prior to Long's run was full of lead changes and was mostly too close to call. Long also took home a one-of-a-kind high performance Reactor watch and a hand shaped Jeff Clark surfboard and Jamie Sterling was honored with the Jay Moriarity award for the intense spirit and passion he exemplifies for big-wave surfing. Clif Bar presented Grant "Twiggy" Baker with the Clif Bar Green Room Award, for getting the biggest, deepest barrel of the day, which is vied for and voted for by the surfers themselves. A record number of surf fans enjoyed the action at the beach as thousands descended on Pillar Point, more than 250,000 viewed the free-live webcast on and more than 1,000 people watched the competition on the big screen at the live viewing party at AT&T Park in San Francisco as some of the world's best surfers descended upon one of the most infamous and dangerous breaks on the planet and made history once again.


UFC 79 - Nemesis Words: Hans Fink Photos: Josh Hedges UFC 79 - Nemesis
Words: Hans Fink
Photos: Josh Hedges

Originally welterweight champ Matt Serra was to fight Matt Hughes but pulled out due to a back injury. Georges St. Pierre stepped in on short notice to fight for the interim welterweight title. Meanwhile, the energy in the event center was palpable as the years-long anticipation for the showdown between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva came to a head.

Georges St. Pierre defeats Matt Hughes
Armbar 4:54 Rd 2

Chuck Liddell defeats Wanderlei Silva
Unanimous Decision

Eddie Sanchez defeats Soa Palelei
TKO 3:24 Rd 3

Lyoto Machida defeats Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Head & arm choke 4:20 Rd 2

Rich Clementi defeats Melvin Guillard
Rear naked choke 4:40 Rd 1

James Irvin defears Luis Arthur Cane
* Cane disqualified for kneeing to the face of a downed opponent 1:51 Rd 1

Manvel Gamburyan defeats Nate Mohr
Heel Hook 1:31 Rd 1

Dean Lister defeats Jordan Radev
Unanimous Decision

Roan Carneiro defeats Tony DeSouza
TKO 3:33 Rd 2

Mark Bocek defeats Douglas Evans
Unanimous Decision


THE MARS VOLTA - Quantum Entanglement and the Unseen Muse Words: Brett "Felix" Ulery Photos: Ross Halfin THE MARS VOLTA - Quantum Entanglement and the Unseen Muse
Words: Brett "Felix" Ulery
Photos: Ross Halfin

Even if you are ready for it, what seems like half a second before you press play, The Bedlam in Goliath screams to life: "HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIVING, TIRED OF THEIR OWN SHELLS!" The fourth studio album from the unclassifiable, jazz-infused / Latin-influenced / progressive / experimental rock group, The Mars Volta has a sound that can only be described as otherworldly. As if their previous efforts didn't already dive head-first (almost literally) into death-related themes, depending on who you ask, Bedlam… has numerous hands touching, if not in direct contact with some unseen influences. During a trip to Jerusalem, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, guitarist and leader of The Mars Volta, picked up an antique Ouija-style talking board and brought it back to singer-lyricist, Cedric Bixler Zavala. Unknowingly, they unraveled the story of a sordid love triangle between a mother, daughter and an abusive man who collectively referred to themselves as Goliath. Entranced by the story, Cedric found inspiration in the tale and began incorporating passages, phrases and names into the lyrics and song titles for their newest album. Creative, passionate, and completely uncompromising, the masterminds behind The Mars Volta, Cedric and Omar are determined to create albums that sound nothing like their predecessors and will do just about everything to do so, even if it means knocking on a few unwelcome doors. Armed with a new drummer, a blind devotion to their creative vision and thousands of loyal fans,  The Mars Volta is about to unleash an epidemic onto the world. That is, if you believe everything The Soothsayer tells you.

In the liner notes for Amputechture
(2006), The Mars Volta is described as a musical partnership between Cedric Bixler Zavala and Omar Rodriguez Lopez and that The Mars Volta Group plays the compositions. Can you explain the reasoning for this type of arrangement?
Well Omar is the main leader; he's the spine and glue behind the band. Like a year into the band being a band we started doing it that way. So we just took everything by the roots really and decided to get rid of the whole idiotic notion of there being a democracy in the band.
We learned our lesson long ago by trying to have a fake democracy, which most groups try to have.  We learned that in the end you just have compromised art and that both parties think it's OK and nobody says "that sounds fuckin' awesome, that's exactly what I want."  So we learned from that experience and it's made it so that we love what we do and if we end up not liking it, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Creatively, what inspires you? What drives you?
Everything.  This is how we understand ourselves in the context of the world.  Whether it's a nice film or a nice conversation or being embarrassed in a grocery store and you trip and you fall on your face... all of these things are inspiration for what ends up in the music.
Well it really depends. From novelists to moviemakers to kind of some of the unsung heroes from the ‘80s as far as the skateboarding world goes. I had a lot of pictures of Mark Gonzales in my vocal booth while I was tracking because he reminds me of what I think the modern skateboarder should be, which is sort of like this mutated Basquiat on four wheels. If it's got soul and we can recognize it, it's got soul and we'll recognize it.

There are essentially nine members of The Mars Volta. What does one need on their musical résumé to be in the band?
They need to be sharp and on their toes about recording material, like getting material 10 minutes before you go in the studio and then playing it right there. Also, what's required is blind faith in our leadership.

Thomas Pridgen finds himself a new addition to The Mars Volta on Bedlam...
Where did you find him and how did you decide on Pridgen as the new drummer, ultimately replacing Jon Theodore?
Thomas was suggested by our bass player. It was impossible to get a hold of him so we got a hold of his grandmother, then we found a YouTube clip and asked him to come hang out. Omar beat boxed this beat to him and said "we're going to improv, are you down?" and that was his audition and he passed with flying colors.

Can you explain what The Soothsayer is?
It's an antique board game that in my opinion, served as a prison for this love triangle that happened. It was the female spirits that contacted us and it was the male spirit that threatened us the most. It's all their slogans and threats and challenges and one-liners and names that we used for everything lyrically. The music came first, but it was playing the board that was a gigantic muse for the album.
In terms of pure physical occurrences, I got it on my trip to Jerusalem and to me it was a very beautiful antique piece. I gave this particular thing to Cedric and we started to mess with it. Even though from my upbringing, I should have known better and it sort of for Cedric became the central metaphor, the central force for his lyrics and [he got] some from the poetry that we found on the board, which was dilapidated and falling apart. So we hired two people to translate this poetry and one of them didn't want anything to do with it.
I just know it was something that we played out of naivety and boredom and we got a fun record out of playing it.
For me, I found it to be kind of a negative influence on him so I took matters into my own hands and disposed of the thing and what ensued is what those of us who believe in spirituality and things beyond the unknown call a curse or punishment or bad luck or penance. Or what Rich Costey our mixing engineer who is a very scientific man would call "quantum entanglement," which is a scientific way of saying "that which cannot be explained."

Can you summarize the story that was told to you without giving away too much?
Well it's this love triangle that happened between a mom and her daughter and this kind of abusive guy that ended up with people trying to get revenge on each other where murder became the outcome. Because I think the mom was pretty hip to black magic, it worked against her like most black magic tends to do with the user and it not only affected the male, but it affected the daughter and her and she had essentially trapped herself in this prison, which is a board.
All the more straight-ahead lyrics that are not so much stream-of-consciousness, which is what Cedric's work usually is, and song titles come directly from the board, like "Goliath" and "Tourniquet Man".
The more I look into it, the more I realize it was this marriage that went wrong and this kind of Muslim honor-killing and keeping women under foot.  To me it was the female spirits trying to use us as antennas and utilize the fact that we have the courage to talk about this kind of thing because most Muslim societies don't want you to know about this kind of thing because it gives them a bad name.

Who is Goliath? It's not Goliath of Gath from the Old Testament, is it?
Not at all. Goliath was what it kept calling itself. It was kind of like the schizophrenic combination of the  two women and the man.  That's the thing with our band. Nothing is ever as obvious as it seems. Everything about this band, even the dynamics of the family orientation of the band is really complicated and really deep and there's always hidden meanings behind everything. It's always a gigantic riddle, which is what forms the root of our audience participation.

The recording process seemed to be cursed. How did The Mars Volta manage to overcome these obstacles?
I had to convince everyone not to give up. I played the board a lot by myself and I think it used the closest flesh around me as an example. So I had this notion that since it wasn't affecting me directly that I could convince everyone around me to go through with it.  A lot of convincing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Omar, John Fruscante played a majority of the guitar parts on Amputechture
so you could record and produce the songs a little more objectively. How much of this process was used on Bedlam... or did you find yourself playing more on this album?
By the time we got to Bedlam... I was so starving to play guitar and [before] I gave myself the excuse, "oh I can be more objective and blah, blah, blah." But by the time I got to this record, I learned to not take it for granted that I can play, so the way I utilized him on this record is I had him double the guitar solos. He memorized entire passages of guitar solos and he doubled them. So on this album it's two completely different hands. On the left it's the original solo, which is mine, and on the right is John. He learned the solo note-for-note and plays it perfectly every single time.

Cedric, your lyrics tend to be very descriptive yet very vague at times. Do you feel you leave room for interpretation or that you have definitive meaning in your words if people are willing to look for it?
I have definite meaning, but I prefer individual interpretation. Some of the times there are some things in there that I've tapped into that are very private. I just want people to dig a little deeper and not be so obvious about some stuff.

The album art for De-Loused... and Frances... was done by the legendary Storm Thorgerson specifically for those records, but on Amputechture you used existing pieces by Jeff Jordan. Was the art for Bedlam... created solely for this album?
These were created by Jeff for the album and he finished these pieces even before we finished the album. We sat with Jeff before we went to record this album and gave him demos but we didn't tell him anything about The Soothsayer and clearly he got his own image of exactly what we were going through because to me, the art couldn't reflect more the record if we had told him everything.

You guys intended on releasing this album in order to somewhat relieve the band of some unseen burden. How do you feel about some of your fans that might take it upon themselves to use Ouija boards to try to summon Goliath?
At first there was a discussion that this was our experience and why don't we just invent something to tell people what it's about to throw them off the track. But I don't know why it didn't even occur to us that the young people that are very impressionable and very naïve would try and do things like that. But for me, I think what they're doing is in vain because I feel like by actually completing the record we just sealed this thing once and for all, but maybe I'm completely wrong.

What is The Mars Volta not ready to admit?
Omar: Defeat? Yeah. That's a good one. We'll die fighting for what we believe in so I guess that's a good thing that we're not ready to admit.


This being an election year, whom do you favor for the big job?
+ Cedric:
None of the above.
+ Omar: I don't favor anybody because there's nobody up there that speaks for me, and while I  think it's an exhilarating milestone in fucking history that it only took however many hundreds of fucking years for there to finally be a Goddamned minority candidate and a Goddamned female candidate, at this point, it's too late. I don't believe it.

+ Cedric:
   Vic Chesnut.
I haven't felt the need to cry at a performance in a long time and he really dug that out of me.
    Beth Ditto from The Gossip
    Ellen Page. I consider some actors to be artists and I think she's pretty fuckin' awesome.
+ Omar:
    Frita Carlo
's paintings are unbelievable.
    Marcel Duchamp.
    Luis Buñuel
. The Milky Way

+ Cedric:
    Grant Morrison
. Always Grant Morrison.
    Helena Blavatsky, but she's not modern
+ Omar:
    Harriet Jacobs
. Incidents in the life of a Slave Girl
    Frederick Douglass
. A Narrative of the Life of  Frederick, an American Slave
    Pablo Coelho.
    Pablo Neruda.

EMERY - Breaking the Scene Words: Jeffrey Easton Photos: Jerad Knudson EMERY - Breaking the Scene
Words: Jeffrey Easton
Photos: Jerad Knudson

Emo, screamo, pop punk (or whatever you are calling the scene this week) has just received a punch in the teeth. Emery, the band that continues to break barriers, has taken the wheels off of the band wagon and left a trail of parts in their wake. Devin Shelton, the voracious bassist/vocalist of Emery, is adding fuel to the pop/rock fire that is their career. His bass playing is driving, not just playing to the music but adding to the music, shaping the twists and turns.  When you pick up their enigmatic album I'm Only A Man, the first thing you see is a bathroom sink and a mirror. "I am in the bathroom in the morning seeing who I really am, stripped down and bare," Devin comments.  "I am just a human and I know that, I make mistakes just like everybody else, hence I'm only a man." My personal take on the album cover is that it is the true reflection on the human condition, that we do indeed take ourselves too seriously and sometimes we need to quit making the MySpace poses and actually look at who we really are.  

I'm Only A Man
is just not another scene album, it is a scene-stealer. It's very possible this album could be remembered past the demise of the screamo scene, if listened to and interpreted for what it actually is.  The diversity from track to track is too great not to notice and according to Devin, many fans have expressed their opinions. "At first the fans did not know what to expect from our third record but for the diehards it has grown on them," contended Devin. "Some who are casual listeners who just want to hear screamo will probably not give this a chance after one listen though."  It is the opinion of this journalist that the kids who have followed Emery up to this point should look deeper into the new album than just the surface sheen and discover something new, not just what MTV is driving down your throat.  The album is that different.  The textures from track to track drift from guitar driven, scream laden tracks such as "Rock N Rule" to the melodic and acoustic "From Crib To Coffin" to the introspective nature of "What Makes A Man A Man." The masses that listen to music want something different and we wanted to expand our sound but not far out that people would not recognize us," states Devin.  "We do go through different dynamics on this album, one song might be super heavy and another might lean to a more poppier direction.  We have been around for several years now with three records now so it would be unfair to our fans to make the same record again although as I said some fans have grown comfortable with our old sound."

Possibly one of the reasons for the dramatic shift in sound is the choice of producers.  They enlisted the help of the very diverse producer Ryan Boesh, who has produced artists as far reaching as The Cure to the Foo Fighters.  For a scene band to get such a diverse producer is often unheard of, usually only one sound is needed. Is it possible that the renowned Boesh helped sculpt the band's sound for this album in the studio or did they have the direction already, with Boesh merely acting as fascilitator? "Ryan brought a really good ear for sound and that helped as we are not usually very good at picking out our sound," Devin admitted.  "He found the tones we wanted and he was very hands on with getting the sounds in our head onto tape." Devin went on to add, "Our drummer, Dave Powell, is an incredible drummer and we wanted to bring the drums to the forefront, give them a Led Zep type tone to them."  

With all of the diversity that we hear on this record there must be something that best represents the band and Devin felt that it was "Rock N Rule."  "‘Rock N Rule' has an edgier sound and it translates well in the live setting as well as ‘After The Devil Beats His Wife'." Devin maintained.  "From Crib To Coffin" closes the album on a 10 minute note of melancholy which is unusual for a band of their supposed ilk. "We wanted to end our album on a serious and powerful display of musical ability," related Devin.  "We are usually jokesters having a good time but we wanted to be serious this time, show that we have goals in our music."

Scenes usually do not last a few years with only so many bands transcending the genre, just look at glam and grunge, the end of those killed untold bands with a few stragglers gasping for air.  Where would we see Devin in five years or more?  "I think screamo is almost over, in fact I hope it is, I am tired of it," Devin asserts. "I think bands that keep going even though they are done are sad and I do not want to be that band.  We are getting older and some of us might want to start families and I do see myself writing songs for other people or some other role in the music business," continued Devin.  The current scenes have had their share of good and bad bands but when it is all over only a few will prove to have timeless staying power and if it is based on last albums then I predict Emery and I'm Only A Man
to fall into that category. I'm Only A Man is more than skin deep; see if you can follow.


JIME LITWALK - From Motor City to Sin City Words and Photos: Hans Fink JIME LITWALK - From Motor City to Sin City
Words and Photos: Hans Fink

"I came out of Detroit about a year ago, been tattooing there pretty much my whole career. It was time for a change," says Jime Litwalk (pronounced "Jimmy"), Hart & Huntington's most recent standout artist.  "Detroit is in kind of a dying state for me; all the automotive companies are leaving. It's one of those things where the opportunity to come out here and work at Hart & Huntington arose," he says, relating the story of how he had tattooed artists who would go on to recommend him to the prestigious tattoo shop; and with good reason, considering Jime's vivid style, easy-going demeanor and over all professionalism. In spite of Hart & Huntington being the focal point of the reality TV show Ink'd, Litwalk found the transition from Detroit to the desert easier than expected.  "I guess when I first started here my perception of the shop was a lot different.  You see it on a TV show, inside of a casino, in Las Vegas, but the environment, the core of the shop is the same.  We got a great bunch of guys that we work with so there's friendships in here, we joke and laugh just like we would at any other shop. So really it's no different than any other place I've been to. It's kind of like a second family." Litwalk has a flair for making a still piece of art pop at the eye as if it were animated. His style seems to incorporate the big gun, go-for-broke style of the "Big Daddy" Roth hot-rod era while simultaneously borrowing from a graffiti artist's aesthetic and the incorporation of realistic shading techniques.  "When I was a kid my whole ambition and dream was to be an animator," confides Litwal.  "All through high school I used to airbrush and the place I worked at was next door to a tattoo parlor. So it was always cool in high school to say that ‘I hung out at the tattoo shop,' it was the cool thing to do and just so many years of just being there and hanging out, actually getting to learn about the artwork. I grew a real interest in it." Ink and airbrush would prove to be worlds apart from each other. "There's so much more that actually went into tattooing that I didn't know about," Litwalk recalls. "There's blood born pathogen classes, cross contamination, there's a whole ethic, certain people skills you're taught also, there's a lot of behind the scenes stuff before you actually get a hold of the machine. In theory you could basically teach a monkey to tattoo. But to do a proper, good tattoo and being able to read your client and give them exactly what they're looking for, that's a whole other trait. It's a whole other skill." Litwalk's passion for his career stems partially from the social aspect; "Everybody's got a different story. It's like I'm a bartender but without all the dumbasses. I mean we get drunks in here but I don't have to serve them," he muses. But an even greater allure is the wealth of experiences Litwalk has from traveling. "Tattooing [has] taken me all over. I've tattooed in so many different environments. I've tattooed in third world countries... when I was in Brazil, I worked this little tattoo shop, they had a dirt floor. I was just baffled by it. I've tattooed in Japan where you have to tattoo barefoot. I've tattooed in London, I've tattooed in Mexico, I've tattooed in Canada, I've tattooed pretty much all over the United States. I definitely owe a lot to tattooing."

+ Hometown
- Detroit

+ Movies
- "I like comedies more than anything."

+ Music
- "As of lately I like a lot of old NY hardcore; Sick Of It All, Orange 9mm, Agents of Man, Killswitch Engage... I've tattooed Pete from Sick Of It All before. I grew up listening to them."

+ Favorite Food - "Brazilian food. Also I like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My wife is from Brazil and having home cooked Brazilian food every day doesn't suck by any means."

+ Vices
- "Work is my vice. I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't gamble... I hang with my kid, watching him grow up is another vice. Drawing, painting and traveling..."

+ Worst Airline
- "All of them."

+ Artists looked up to
- "Gunnar, Joe Cappobianco, obie Hughes who also plays in the band Rumble King, Rocky Jellybean, Chris Sanders... Dennis McPhale taught me how to paint."


CHOLO - Making Art, One Piercing at a Time Words: Kristie Bertucci Photo: Malachi Banales CHOLO - Making Art, One Piercing at a Time
Words: Kristie Bertucci
Photo: Malachi Banales

Body art has become so popular that it's almost impossible to walk down the street without seeing someone with a piercing or tattoo. Often viewed as an extension of one's personality, piercing has become more acceptable in today's culture, with everybody sporting the usual lip, eyebrow and belly button piercing. However there are those who see piercings as more than your average body modification but as a work of art. Enter Cholo, the ultimate body piercer, who currently works out of Artistic Element tattoo parlor in Yucaipa, California. Known for his outrageous facial tattoos and numerous body piercings, Cholo is the go to man for all things pierced, having been in the industry for more than 10 years.
Cholo first became interested in body modifications when he was younger and used to hang out at random tattoo shops in San Bernardino. He got his first tattoo at 14 and since then, has almost accomplished tattooing every place on his body.  "I got my first tattoo out of a garage by some cholo guy," the 31-year-old piercer recalls. "My first piercing was my tongue.  The funny thing about that was, I would tease my brother because he had one. I'd tell him it was for fags... and look at me know.  That first piercing started my love for it." From there, he dabbled in doing tattoos but later found his calling with piercings.  "I just fell in love with it," he says. While he still likes to draw and create art in other mediums, Cholo won't ever go back to doing tattoos, even when specifically asked for.  "People still want me to do tattoos but piercings are my calling," Cholo explains.  "I leave the tattoos to my best friend Roman, owner of Artistic Element. I just don't have the same feeling for tattoos that I have for piercings."

Cholo's passion for piercing is what helped his name circulate around the industry and has gotten him the recognition he deserves for his impressive piercing work. But don't think he basks in all his glory; Cholo is as humble as they come. "I've just been in a lot of shops and have been around a lot of great artists," he explains.  "Plus, having my whole face tatted up kind of helped, too. People know me for my face tattoo." Besides his obvious face tattoo and whole bodywork, Cholo also has numerous piercings. Not only is he addicted to doing them; he's also addicted to getting them.  While he can't exactly pinpoint just how many piercings he has, just know that it's a lot! "I'm pierced from head to toe and everything in between," he says. "I've done every kind of piercing. From tongue splitting to dermal anchoring and implants. I hope to get more in the future."

Having been in the industry for while, Cholo has seen his fair share of piercings.  "I've pierced just about every body part on a human body," he says.  "Nothing surprises or shocks me anymore. I've pierced everything from balls to guiches and every other bizarre body part you could imagine." To most, all the body modifications Cholo does might seem extreme, but not to him. It's just another day at the office for Cholo. "To me body modifications aren't the most extreme thing a person could do," he explains.  "It might be to some, but body building in general is more extreme than body modifications." While many might not share the same sentiment as Cholo, most agree that you have to be committed if you're going to get some type of tattoo or piercing.  "I never regret anything I've done to my body. But, I can't say that I'll think the same when I'm older," he adds.

As for the latest trend within the piercing industry... it's all about tongue splitting. It's not a procedure he does everyday (as opposed to belly buttons, lips, labrets, eyebrows, etc), but Cholo has been getting many requests for the daring body modification. "Dermal anchors are also trendy right now," he says. "They are gems anchored under the skin. I get a lot of stuff other shops don't really do.  The industry is progressing, I'm really excited to see what will be possible to do to the body in the future." We just want to see what else Cholo can do to his already over-modified body.

+ Working at Artistic Element
- "There isn't one day that's boring. Everyday has a story in here. I have the greatest time keeping the place alive and on its toes."
+ Music
- "Punk."
+ Hobbies
- "Drinking."
+ Pet Peeves
- "Going to gay bars and people who don't drink."
+ Hang Outs
- "I like going to bars all over. My favorite one is Liams, an Irish bar in Colton."
+ Favorite Food
- "I really don't eat much because I'm on a liquid diet... JACK! Nah, I'd have to say pizza."
+ Random Injury
- Cholo's left earlobe was stretched to the point where it blew out. It was repaired on the show Dr. 90210, resulting  in one lobe being smaller than the other.


BARAK SCHURR - One-Way Ticket to the Top Words: Donald C. Stefanovich Photos: Michael Vincent

BARAK SCHURR - One-Way Ticket to the Top
Words: Donald C. Stefanovich
Photos: Michael Vincent
"I started taking flights out to different cities and acquiring other accounts," says Barak Schurr, sounding much like the Tyler Durden of the ticket world.  "It wasn't until we actually got some of the bigger accounts in New York City that my current partners approached me about purchasing the site." Barak, the founder of, recalls the turning point of his site and ultimately, the beginning of his success. He single handedly founded the largest primary online ticketing outlet second only to Ticketmaster and he's now a major partner in Track Entertainment, whose holdings include,,, and But his story goes back a bit farther.  "I was in a band at the time and I ended up scrapping all my scholarships and moving out to L.A. to do the music thing. I moved to L.A., did the band thing off and on for about 10 years. After my last band broke up I decided I needed to get my shit together.  The music thing wasn't paying the bills and I was sick of sleeping on the floor." Barak would inevitably find himself grasping at the coattails of the dot-com boom.  "I ended up trying to do a website that was a clothing site.  At the time a buddy of mine had a shop on Melrose called Booth 7," says Barak. Little did he realize that things would eventually come full circle, reuniting his career with the world of music and nightlife but in a way he least expected.  "The whole idea of selling clothes kind of fizzled out and didn't work so I had to go figure out another way to make this thing work. I bought this beat-up old tent and I put some stickers on my truck and I got a few guys to start taking photos and we turned into a nightlife site." became a nightlife staple in the Los Angeles area but Barak's greatest revelation was yet to come.  "I noticed that when we were at these clubs, every time there was a big DJ playing, there were these big-ass lines outside the club," Barak says of the moment the proverbial light came on. "I approached some of the promoters and I was like, ‘I'll promote your club for free basically if you let me sell tickets.' They all loved the idea." A few partnerships later, he changed the name to Wantickets. It wasn't long before he had accounts all across the country and even attacked untapped markets in Canada.  "It wasn't easy getting this thing started, I had to put up all my savings.  There've been times when it looked like it wasn't going to work out and I was going to lose everything." His deal with Track would prove to be his saving grace and now, is an internationally successful, one of a kind online-entity. "Our system is completely self administrable. Someone can get an account with us and post their own events and admin their own events and be able to get all their customer information. I would compare us to the MySpace of ticketing." Needless to say, he's made his savings back.



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