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Articles By: vanessa chan

Born in Malaysia and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Vanessa lives in San Francisco and makes a yearly pilgrimage to visit her restaurateur family in Melbourne, Australia. Vanessa moonlights as a dancer, an off-key karaoke singer and a documentarian of provocative human exploits. On off nights, she can be found sipping a gin and tonic in a Tenderloin bar or curled up in bed with Somerset Maugham.

Asexual David Jay in San Francisco

San Francisco is a town that celebrates people in all their quirky, peculiar, and eccentric forms. The Urban Profile column tells the stories of the colorful characters that make San Francisco–well, San Francisco.

David Jay, or DJ as he likes to call himself, looks much like your typical Mission hipster — tall, brown-haired, on wheels. He’s a good looking guy, and I notice one or two heads turn as he bounds into the coffee shop for our interview. “I’m so sorry I’m late,” he murmurs, flashing a disarming smile. Studying his profile as I buy him a cup of coffee I’m reminded of Rock Hudson, with a twist of Topher Grace from That 70s Show. DJ has the kind of looks and demeanor that would turn heads, start bar fights and generate cat-calling from Castro gays and Marina girls alike.


It’s a small world we live in. Urban dwellers in San Francisco may soon find that adage a reality as one Bay Area-based developer wants to take minimalistic living to a whole new level.

Let’s face it. Every San Franciscan has at least one cringe-worthy horror story about apartment living. Every one of us has, at some point, crammed our lives into expensive, closet-sized apartments in sketchy neighborhoods with very horrifying roommates. San Francisco’s vacancy rate is now close to zero and with rents up more than 23 percent year on year according to online real estate listing company Zillow, things are looking far more dire than they ever have.


San Francisco is a town that celebrates people in all their quirky, peculiar, and eccentric forms.  In this  Urban Profile column we tell the stories of the colorful characters that make San Francisco….well,  San Francisco.

I met Jacki at a dance class three years ago. I remember noticing two things about her right off the bat. The first was a large, u-shaped scar on her chest that she made no effort to hide, and the second was just how open and upfront she was about…well, everything. Within minutes of meeting her, I learned that Jacki is, in her own words, a fetish video producer (more on this later), and that a few years prior she had had a life-saving lung transplant (hence the scar) born of a rare respiratory illness.


Last month the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown played host to the 10th  annual SF MusicTech Summit. Founded by entrepreneur Brian Zisk, the summit defines itself as the “world’s leading business-to-business idea marketplace on the confluence of Internet, technology and music,”  where thought leaders in music and technology gather to share ideas.

Here are our roving reporter’s three favorite panels.


Something quiet, even subversive, is creeping into the sensibilities and consciousness of fashion’s most eminent. Curvy women, bosomy women, women size 12 and above, once relegated to muumuus and shapeless elastic sweatpants are suddenly more than relevant, and dare I say, closing the gap that exists between the runway and the regular woman. Perhaps it’s born of a Mad Men-esque nostalgia heralding back to an idealized femininity from a different time. Perhaps it’s the fact that the majority of women are not a size 0, 2 or 4 but actually a size 14 and above. Women the world over are taking a stand. They are speaking with their blogs, voices and dollars and forcing the fashion industry to respond. Unlike a few years ago, curvy women are being released from fashion’s  fringes.

Christina Hendricks’ role as Joan Holloway on the series hit Mad Men has helped curves become vogue again.


On Pulse, articles are grouped by publication in a tidy grid with a headline and an image to lure the reader.

I’ll admit it. For my age, and the generation I was born into (the Millennial generation, in case you’re interested), I have the technological know-how of an ant. I don’t know how to use Skype. I revel in the yellowed pages of old books. I only got a Twitter account last month and last week learned that the verb associated with vocalizing something on Twitter is to “tweet” -not to “twitter”  (how this is intuitive, I don’t know). I enjoy taking notes by hand with…yes, a pen. In fact, I acquired my first smartphone only six months ago. With the exception of one vanity photo editing app, for months that phone contained only  the apps that were preloaded on it.