Archive | Travel

Photos & Stories from Hoodslam

One of the most memorable experiences I had on my recent trip to the Bay Area was Hoodslam, a monthly underground professional wrestling event in Oakland. It’s hosted at the Oakland Metro Opera House and features a dozen or so wrestlers performing theater on stage. It is incredibly self-aware and entertaining. Here’s the flyer from the event that I went to on March 6th, with video and photos further below:

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Highlights from Hoodslam

  • The local hero is a wrestler named Drugs Bunny, a Prohibition-era gangster wearing a bunny mask who does fistfuls of cocaine on stage. The crowd chants “Drugs, drugs, drugs” to show support for Drugs Bunny.
  • A wrestling match between The Predator and a wrestler playing Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Arnold character comes out first amidst ambient music, red lights, and helicopter sound effects, as he creeps into the ring with a giant gun. As he gazes into the crowd, the Predator emerges silently behind him and sits poised atop the edge of the ring as the crowd goes nuts.
  • A bowtie-wearing referee chain smoking joints in the ring
  • Link of Hyrule (Legend of Zelda) versus Obese Gamer, a 300-lb shirtless slob. Obese gamer is invulnerable to Link because he pulls out a golden Zelda cartridge with a Game Genie plugged into it. Link overcomes this obstacle by throwing the stoned referee at Obese Gamer, which stuns him.
  • Scorpion Junior wrestling against Mexican Batman. Scorpion Junior is a pregnant adult male wearing a Scorpion mask (Junior is a 1994 film wherein Arnold Schwarzenegger gets pregnant). During the fight, as fans chant “Miscarriage” Scorpion Junior gives birth on stage and throws a tiny Scorpion at Mexican Batman with a rope attached while yelling Get over here!.  Scorpion Junior becomes the first wrestler in Hoodslam history to be disqualified for breaking the only rule of Hoodslam: “Don’t bring your f’ing kids”. This is a slogan that appears on some of their apparel.
  • Ken from Street Fighter wrestling against Juice Lee, or Bruce Lee on steroids. Other events have featured Ken & Ryu from Street Fighter as a tag team duo.
  • The band featured at the event, called Arnold Corps, features a lead singer that looks and sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The band is described on the flyer as “Pioneers of Austrian Action Adventure Rock ‘n Roll”.
  • Hoodslam is promoting an upcoming show called EnterTania

The entire production is ridiculous and a real joy. It’s filled with references to 1990’s American pop culture. If you are in the Bay Area or you visit there, I recommend you check this out. Here’s a link to their official website: BirdsWillFall.com

Hoodslam Video

Below is a video I found on Youtube describing Hoodslam and featuring its founder, a Persian American wrestler named Dark Sheik.

Photos

And finally some of my photos from the March event, which are part of the San Francisco 2015 set:

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Visit the official Hoodslam website
Published on March 18, 2015

Photos from San Francisco, 2015

I got back from San Francisco just a few days ago and have posted all my photos online here. Here are a few of them, with another link to the full set at the bottom of this post.

Tommy's Joynt

ROTC Rapper

SF Park

Qbert

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See more photos from San Francisco, 2015
Published on March 13, 2015

Photos from Xinjiang: Urumqi & Karamay City

I just returned from a week in China’s Northwestern Xinjiang province, which borders Pakistan and Kazakhstan. There is a world of difference between Xinjiang and the rest of China: aside from being home to the majority of China’s Muslim population, it’s a desert oil-producing region made famous by violent protests in 2009.

Thousands were killed in May of that year when a failed uprising attempted to create a new country out of the region, called East Turkmenistan. Since then Xinjiang has become an oppressive police state as China struggles to stabilize the region and its marginalized Muslim population. It is a fascinating but tense place to visit.

Below are a handful of photos from my trip. The entire set of photos is available here, and there’s another link to this page at the bottom of the photos.

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More Photos from Xinjiang
Published on February 27, 2015

Photos: Weekend in Chongqing

Spending the weekend in Chongqing has become an annual summer tradition. This last weekend I played at the new Nuts Club in Chongqing along with Jovian. A handful of photos from my trip are below, the rest are on a page dedicated to the photos, which you can access by hitting the button at the bottom of these photos.

Chongqing

Chongqing

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More Chongqing 2014 Photos
Published on September 3, 2014

Photos from San Francisco

I went to the states recently and spent some time in San Francisco and the East Bay. A few photos are below and the rest are here: Photos: San Francisco 2014

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Published on April 21, 2014

One Night in Qatar

On my recent flight from Washington DC to Chengdu, I had an 8-hour layover in Doha, Qatar. I had never been in Qatar before but knew it to be a newly-rich Arab nation attempting to challenge Dubai’s ostentatious reputation with their own over-the-top luxuries. Although I was only in the city for an evening, it was eye opening and not like anywhere else I’d ever been.

For starters, it seemed that most people I encountered fell into two categories: fantastically wealthy and clutching a gold iPhone in pristine white robes, or a poor immigrant.

I passed the time by exploring the sprawling Souq Waqif market, drinking mint tea, and smoking peach shisha in the hot evening air. Here are a few photos from Souq Waqif:

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif

Published on April 17, 2014

Visiting Beijing’s 798 Art Zone

I recently visited Beijing and spent an afternoon in the historic 798 Art Zone, which is set amidst 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings on the outskirts of the city. Now it’s a collection of art galleries, studios, and exhibits by local artists. Local specialties are painting, graffiti, and sculpture, and the star of the Art Zone is Ai Weiwei, China’s most respected, and notoriously anti-authoritarian, rebel artist.

Here are a few photos: Beijing 798 Art Zone 2014

798 Beijing

798 Beijing

Published on April 17, 2014