DEPT The Good Life
ISSUE Fall 2012
AUTHOR Kanara Ty
PHOTOS Interior photo by Mohammad Gorjestani, all other photos by Jennifer Yin.
In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area’s culinary scene has grown beyond the local-produce-loving-community it has become recognized for. In fact, it is steadfastly becoming the playground for renowned chefs to create some of the region’s most creative and innovative dishes. Of course, this all comes at a hefty price — many folks will find themselves breaking the bank to eat at some of the Bay Area’s most coveted restaurants. While this may be an exciting time for food enthusiasts, the accessibility to such experiences is another matter.
ISSUE WINTER ’12-’13
AUTHOR KAREN DATANGEL
Think what you will of Filipina American underground hip-hop artist Hopie – she embraces the “weird,” law degree and all.
Raised on rock music, classically trained in her elementary school years, and influenced by the eccentricity of musicians like Björk and Gwen Stefani, the artist known as Hopie is one-of-a-kind in the independent hip-hop world. The Manila-born, San Francisco-raised musician (real name: Kae Hope Ranoa) is creating her mark with
her funky style, edgy beats, profound lyrics and confident stage presence — she even has a law degree to boot.
Describing her sound as “underground hip-hop from the ’90s mixed in with pop music and hyphy music,” Hopie acknowledges that her difficult childhood, her experience as an Asian American woman, and the underrepresentation of her demographic in hip-hop music are driving forces behind her lyrics. “In real life, I’m really shy to talk about stuff like that — my childhood, my socioeconomic status, my frustrations
as a human being — but in my music, I like to explore that,” she says.
Though she has been dedicated to her craft for a while now, releasing her debut album The Diamond Dane in 2008, Hopie recognizes the ongoing challenges and is motivated to meet them and grow in her artistry. Along with Björk and Stefani, she also mentions Jim Morisson, André 3000, and Del the Funky Homosapien. “People might consider them weird or off-the-wall, but I really admire how little they seem to care,” says Hopie. “When I think of myself as an artist and I compare myself to those people, I always feel like I’m not doing
enough. I can always go explore something and challenge myself more creatively.” But Hopie knows that there will always be people who do care about the weird, and not in a good way. “As an artist, you really put yourself out there for a lot of criticism and you have to develop a thick skin,” she says. “Sometimes I’m scared of the stuff I make because I have to prepare myself for criticism and people might not really understand [my music], but that’s the beauty of being an artist. It’s a challenge that I accept.”
Then again, there are the people who genuinely enjoy the music. Hopie recently landed a spot in the Bay Area Freshmen 10 Class of 2012, a yearly top 10 by 106.1 FM KMEL and Thizzler.com recognizing up-and-coming local artists and chosen by a panel of regional professionals and tastemakers. Though such acknowledgements
are exciting, to Hopie, the more personal impact of her music is what means the most.
“No accolades could compare to how it feels when someone tells you that your song makes them want to do music, or your song helped them through a tough time, or they understood you when you were trying to say something through song,” says Hopie. “I started writing music as a kid because nobody really understood me — I felt weird or alone. So when I put music out and someone responds to it, like ‘I totally understand what you’re saying’ or ‘I’ve felt this way before’ or ‘I just appreciate your point of view’ or ‘I appreciate that you wrote this,’ it feels really good. Your experience is validated.”
Hopie plans to put out a couple of new releases in the near future as follow-ups to her 2011 albums Dulce Vita and Raw Gems. Oh, and she’s going to take the Bar Exam next February — just further proof that this unique performer is motivated to do it all.
STORY Olivia Ouyang
ISSUE FALL 2012
Go On, NBC
Suzy Nakamura plays teacher’s pet to Matthew Perry’s class clown in the highly anticipated return of the Friends’ star to NBC.
Matthew Perry (Friends) returns to NBC as Ryan King, a sports newscaster who loses his wife in a texting and driving accident. Ryan thinks he’s ready to go back to work, but his boss, played by John Cho, is insisting that he go to therapy. Ryan reluctantly complies, wreaking havoc at the group meetings led by a woman whose only training is her previous work with a Weight Watchers outreach program. Among the group therapy members is annoying teacher’s pet Yolanda, played by Suzy Nakamara.
You may know Korean American actor Tim Jo as the sweet, innocent alien teenager Reggie Jackson on the ABC sitcom The Neighbors, but what happens when you switch out his character’s signature polo shirts and khakis… and dress him up like a Korean pop star?
In the meantime, some Audrey Behind-the-Scenes Extras: Tim Jo’s self-described “incredible” story of how he got to Los Angeles.