On May 9, 2009, Cal basketball player Jamal Boykin showcased his Barack Obama art at the Alphonse Berber Art Gallery right across the street from campus. Boykin's art was entirely of the President and his family. Although some pieces were his work alone, most were combined with a magazine cover or photo. Look at this piece for an example:
He took the magazine photo, tore out a portion of it and then recreated that portion. An interesting meld of his work with other parties work. I asked him about that later and he had some interesting answers.
When I got there (at about 6 PM), the place was buzzing. It would get a lot more packed later in the evening, but there was still a goodly amount of people there. I was interested in maybe seeing some Cal b-ball players besides Patrick Christopher and Jamal Boykin.
So, imagine my surprise when I nearly walked RIGHT into Jerome Randle as soon as I walked in the door. He was just standing right by the door:
Some players, as I'll later make very clear, stand out in a crowd. Jerome Randle is not one of those players. Maybe its better for him that way, fewer people like me harassing him for photos etc etc etc.
But I managed to NOT run smack dab into our point guard and enter the building. At the entrance, they had a big TV running a video about Jamal Boykin's creative process (more on that process later).
Theo Robertson was also there.
Also, these two guys were there, but I'm having trouble putting names to vaguely recognizable faces:
I'll intersperse the stories with some photos of the art-work. I'll leave you guys to express your own beliefs as to the art.
I was hoping to get some of the players to answer a few questions. I was very nervous about going up to talk to them. I do not often get nervous about talking, but certainly I'm not a perfect man (albeit, I am quite close). But Patrick Christopher was so very nice. I just walked up, introduced myself, and asked if I could ask a few quick questions.
He said, of course!
I asked if he had any poems on his sneakers (related to his sneakers, not written on his sneakers). His love for sneakers is well known. He told me that he did not. He said that if I were to ever see his apartment, it's just sneakers everywhere, so he wanted to write on something different. I asked him what his creative process was like. Does he try to sit down and write or does he just keep paper on him for when ideas arise? He said that he just writes it on his phone (a Sidekick). He told me he used to write it down on his computer, but that crashed. He was able to save a lot of it, but now he just uses his phone.
He later actually read straight from his phone when reading his poetry, which was interesting. Kids these days.
I then asked him if players at the other schools were aware of his poetry. Do they ever talk trash to him like "Hey, you gonna write a poem about how bad we kill you today?" I even asked if Taj Gibson ever did that. He told me that he was friends with Taj Gibson and, even though Taj Gibson does talk some trash, he never talks trash to him.
I should note that Patrick Christopher was totally, unabashedly, without any apology, rocking the double denim. It was fairly epic. I know that the Canadian Tuxedo can be a risky choice. But I am not in a position to judge considering a)jean jackets are back this season, apparently and b)I've been known to rock the double denim before. Although I have some other photos of his outfit later during his reading, I want to save those for then.
But I do have this photo. I've cropped myself out, except for my arm, which you can verify against that photo of me honking the Stanford Tree to prove that a)it is me and b)I am Jewish. Just check out that fur! Fur and double denim.
Then, I went to try to catch Jamal Boykin to ask him a few questions. He was also incredibly nice. He was working the room really well. Made me feel a lot less nervous about speaking to him or the other b-ball players on the team.
He was very busy, being mobbed by all his admirers, so I tried to minimize the questions. I asked him about his creative process, also. He told me that doing art was a New Year's resolution for him. Similar to Patrick Christopher, I asked if he tries to sit down and create or does he just keep paper on him for when ideas arise? He told me that things come to him spiritually. He told me he loves to have people around him, because they give him the energy. People would give him a magazine or something like that and he would view it as a sign to work with that.
I again asked the same question about whether other players talk trash about his art Something like. "You gonna paint a picture of me dunking on your ass?" He said no.
Next season, however, who knows.
Jamal Boykin was dressed very well. Full suit with a purple thin-ish tie.
At this point, Berklium showed up. So, we hung out for a bit. Now, Rishi had posted that he was coming. But we really didnt know what he looked like. So, we werent sure if he was there yet. So, we looked around and there was only 1 Indian guy in the place that we could find. So, we wandered over right by him. I had Berklium keep an eye on him, while I yelled out "Rishi" randomly.
Turns out it wasn't Rishi! But it was a marching band dude, who was friends with Goldblooded. So, it wasn't all bad. And he got entrance into the TwistNHook Honking Hall Of Fame. It was really win-win! I had a decent line on another friend of Goldblooded who was there. I asked him his name and he said (for the sake of internet anonymity) that it was Jim. So, then I said, wait whats your full name. He said "Jim Smith." I went "YOU'RE JIM SMITH!??!?!?!" and immediately left.
Maybe Spazzy is right and I do need a warning sign.
Then, some more of the B-Ball team started to show up. Max Zhang made a quickly noticed entrance. This guy is HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!
I kind of like that photo, because it looks like Max is talking to the mannequin and he is SO much bigger!
Even the guy videotaping had some trouble with Max.
So, thats good for now. In Part II, we'll have some questions with Jorge Gutierrez, more photos of players, including Coach Montgomery, and photos/video of Patrick Christophers poetry and Jamal Boykin's speech on the show.
The whole event was a charity drive to help benefit Malcolm X Elementary school. I am not entirely sure how to donate there, but I've linked to the official website, so maybe it is in there somewhere. Go Bears!