Party photographs by Rasta Dave
Five is the number that symbolizes harmony and balance. It's the number of seconds that can pass after you've dropped food on the floor and still eat it. It's the number of digits we throw in the air and slap as a celebratory hand gesture. To Coco Chanel it signified the pure embodiment of a thing, its spirit, and its mystic meaning. To Chrome the number 5 represents a key milestone, and we can't help reflect on where we started and where we're going. If the grand opening party of our Mission HUB on Valencia, our 5th Chrome HUB, was any indication of what's to come, we'd better break out some sunglasses because the future looks bright.
The Mission is a neighborhood that is near and dear to many in San Francisco, and the main drags have seen a lot of change in the last 10 years. For our grand opening party we asked our friend, and tireless San Francisco street portrait photographer Travis Jensen, to show his Mission District: Preserved Culture & Changes series. Travis has a natural way of capturing the timelessness of the Mission. See for yourself >>
- The idea behind the our grand opening party wasn't to hire a band, rage all night, get shit-faced drunk, and leave a mountain of empty PBR cans in our wake. Not that there's anything wrong with that, hell ... that's just a typical Wednesday! The idea was to give a little back to a community and culture that's and essential element to the city of San Francisco. All but five of Travis' 15 pieces were raffled off along with our Niko Camera Bags. All the proceeds went to CHALK SF, the only youth-run, peer-to-peer employment program in San Francisco that targets at-risk youth, placing them in jobs typically staffed by adults. Check out what their doing >>
Doors opened at the Mission 7pm, and the neighborhood was ready. A line formed in front of the store that went down Valencia, around the corner, and up the hill. We blocked off some parking spaces out front, hired a taco truck, and gave free tacos away to the first 100 people. What's better than tacos? Free tacos.
We set up a space to enjoy the food outside, because once inside the Mission HUB, the crowd was thick with folks jockeying to get tattooed by Nate Abbott. People put their names on the list and choose one of the five (sensing a theme here?) pieces of Chrome inspired flash ranging from a taco with wings to an SF branded U-Lock. All night long the distinguishable sound of Nate's tattoo gun could be heard over the huge crowd.
Speakeasy and PBR offered a steady supply of free beer that lasted all night, and as everyone knows; what's better than beer? Free beer, of course. So, so, so much free beer.
Members of CHALK SF were on hand to spread the word about the good work they're doing and to run the raffle. The tickets were $5 and all the cash went to CHALK. We were told later in the evening that they were robbed by jerks a couple days earlier so this raffle couldn't have come at a better time.
We decided we weren't going to do the traditional photo exhibition where all the pieces were lined in a row and if you bought one you had to wait a month or so to take it home. Instead, Travis clustered the pictures together with others from the series he felt had the similar vibe. Instead of selling off the photos, we raffled them, and instead of waiting a month or longer you only had to wait until the end of the party.
Around this time, just before we started the raffle, we handed out disposable cameras to party people and asked them to snap some shots for us. Two cameras disappeared, but the four we got back had some gems. Take a look.
To be honest we were expecting most of the cameras would be filled with dick pics and we were shocked to find none.
The evening was coming to an end so to close it out we started the raffle. Chrome's Papa Stokes picked the photo off the wall while Amanda called the number.
The beer ran out right when we finished the raffle and were bringing the party to a close. It was almost like we planned it. Our Mission HUB's first party was in the books. If you were lucky, you left with a keepsake. If you didn't, don't worry this party was the first of many to come.