Scarlett Dark

Scarlett Dark is the lead singer, keyboardist, and a founding member of the San Francisco Bay Area rock band, Lipshok. Their music is described as "progressive symphonic metal that is unique, gothic, haunting, melodic, ethereal, and highly commercial." At one time a cover band, they now have three albums behind them with a fourth due out later this year, in which most of the songs are penned by Scarlett.

In the mundane world (as she puts it) Scarlett is known as Debbi Douglas; wife, mother, and tennis pro. No kidding ....and her tennis credentials are impressive. As a competitor, Debbi (as I'll refer to her when I'm talking about her tennis career) was ranked as high as number 4 in women's singles in California. In college, she reached number 7 in the NCAA, and was a two time All American. She was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Cal State Hayward, just last year. Even though many of Debbi's colleagues and students at the Harbor Bay Tennis Club (where she works by day) are aware of her alter ego, Scarlett Dark, this revelation will probably come as a "shok" to Lipshok fans reading this. Just read on to learn more about the Lipshok frontwoman. Above photo of Scarlett performing at the Mojo Lounge in Fremont, is courtesy of Scarlett, herself.

Cosplayer Chai Chen Revisited

Chai Chen was featured in my article on cosplay models of the Philippines back in March of 2010. Keeping in loose touch with Chai over the last five years (and having a hard time believing it had been so long), I saw that she was still very much active in cosplay and had developed and taken her costumes and characters to the next level. Of course, her being an avid PSP gamer is how she's developed an encyclopedic  knowledge of comic book superoheroines, game characters, and their roles.

Chinese by blood, with some Spanish and Indian mixed in, the naturalized Filipina, who's been into cosplay since late 2008, describes herself as "a bit childlike but a hella workaholic." Her "day job" as a client services manager at a business process outsourcing (BPO) company keeps her busy, but Chai still makes time to attend events in and around her home country of the Philippines, with an eye on making it to San Diego Comic Con in the not-too-distant future. Above photo of Chai as one of her current favorites; Marvel Comics superheroine Black Widow, by Kira Hokuten Photography.

Hooters Girls - Behind the Breasts and Buffalo Wings

(The following is the first entry in which may be a mulit-part series of pieces on my interactions and candid conversations with current and former Hooters Girls ....but I doubt it.)

Hooters was founded in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida. According to their website, to date, there are over 430 Hooters franchises in 28 countries. Multiply that by the number of servers (known as Hooters Girls) each franchise has employed over the years, and that's tens of thousands of current and former Hooters Girls with a story to tell.

Over the past few years, I've spoken candidly with several current and former Hooters Girls about their experiences as Hooters Girls and their reasons for working at the popular restaurant chain with the double-entendre name. I'm, in no way, implying that working at Hooters should be equated to working at a strip gentlemens club or go go bar. Hooters is a restaurant patronized by the general public. In fact, some may even consider it family friendly. I've seen entire families with young children come into Hooters and sit down for a meal. The girls even brought coloring placemats and crayons to the tables for the kids. However, you don't see servers like these ladies at Denny's or Applebees.

Of course, the girls do have to tolerate a certain amount of leering, sexual innuendos, and flirtation, but many have told me it's a small price to pay in exchange for the gratuities they receive. The tips the girls get at Hooters are much better than what they would get from working as servers at Denny's, Applebees, or even a upper scale restaurant, where the 15%-20% rule is usually followed. Any former or current Hooters girl will tell you that quite often, the amount of the tip will greatly exceed the amount of the check. In addition, the hours and schedules the girls work are more flexible than those at a "regular" restaurant. That's because many of the girls have outside careers they pursue, many in modeling and the performing arts. For example, "Julie," a tall, Asian-American semi-professional model when the above photo was taken in 2010 at the Dowtown Phoenix Hooters where she worked and enjoyed a sort of celebrity status.

Caroline Blind

Singer and guitarist Caroline Bokman currently fronts the San Francisco-based punk metal band Dammit!, but she's probably best-known by most fans as Caroline Blind, from when she was lead vocalist of Sunshine Blind. Described as a "goth/trip hop/darkwave" band, Sunshine Blind was co-founded by Caroline in 1991. Over the next 12 years, they extensively toured clubs throughout the US and released four studio albums before breaking up in 2003.

These days, Caroline calls San Francisco home and she can be seen performing with Dammit! at many of the Bay Area's premiere hard rock venues, such as Oakland's Uptown Nightclub, Johnny V's in San Jose's and the City's own DNA Lounge, where she reunited with Sunshine Blind for a show just last year.

What casual fans may not know about Caroline, is that she holds a BA in psychology and worked as a marriage and family therapist intern. She tells me her goal was to counsel bands and artists, who often have the same issues and dysfunctions married couples face, and those of us who have been in touring bands sure can concur with that. Caroline talks about that and more here in my recent interview with her. Other topics we cover are, why she doesn't have a definitive home town, the possibility of further Sunshine Blind reunions, and her current gig with Dammit!, in which she now may be handling bass, as well as vocal duties, on a permanent basis.

What would have been Elissa Dowling's interview

As stated in a few previous posts; sometimes, despite good efforts, some interviews just don't pan out. However, I'm not going to let the time I spend researching the interviewee and coming up with good and pertinent questions, go to waste, as one can see from viewing all the incomplete interviews that have been published at this site.

I published this brief piece on actress Elissa Dowling back in March, as sort of a lead-in to the interview she'd agreed to. Since it didn't happen, here are almost all of the questions I'd planned on asking her. I say "almost" because, after she previewed them, she informed me she'd pass on answering a couple for privacy reasons, which was fine with me. At left is where her photo would have gone and I would have given photo credit to the photographer here.



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