Posts Tagged ‘bay area’


This week the family of Alex Nieto started their federal civil lawsuit in his police shooting death, one of a handful of cases in the Bay Area that have drawn significant protests in recent years over police brutality. It has also brought in discussion of San Francisco’s gentrification, with Nieto a Latino born and raised in the Mission and Bernal Heights. On the trial’s first day a couple hundred people gathered in his family’s support outside the courthouse. Here’s a video I put together.

Nieto, 28, was killed March 21, 2014. He was at Bernal Heights Park on a Friday having a burrito before work as a nightclub security guard when passers-by called police and reported a man with a gun. Police responding said he pulled a Taser at them, causing them to fire, including reloading their handguns and shooting him more until he was no longer a threat. There is no video, as has become the standard in the current outrage over police shootings, but a witness said he was not a threat. There’s debate over whether his hands were in his jacket pockets when he was shot, and many other specifics that are being followed by multiple local media outlets daily.

The officers involved were long cleared of criminal wrongdoing, with some promoted, without any big visible change to police or window smashing protests in reaction. But with the Black Lives Matter movement continuing, with Beyonce’s dancers giving a nod to the Mario Woods shooting with an off-stage video at the Super Bowl, the outcome will have an impact on both the movement locally and community at large. The fact that it is getting daily media coverage, while many lawsuits against police reported at their conclusion, if at all, shows how closely this discussion has become one of the nation’s top issues.



By Eric Louie

Yesterday I worked for Ruptly news getting video of Betty Chu, a Morgan Hill, California resident and retired economics professor from San Jose State University who is also a prize-winning rabbit breeder.

Known for her French and English angoras, she breeds them for their long hair. She both enters them in competitions and makes scarves, gloves and other items from their wool. She said there is no money to be made, as it will typically cost $6 to enter a rabbit competition only to win a few dollars in return, but she enjoys the friendship and camaraderie of others. She was born in Shanghai and also lived in Hong Kong and Taipei where there was little space to raise animals before coming to the United States and having the space to raise them.

Chu started with French Lops, and moved to her current breeds the following year. The American Rabbit Breeders Association has about 23,000 members. The video I got was on Sunday, July 13, 2014 when she competed in a California Rabbit and Cavy Shows Inc. competition at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in nearby Watsonville.


Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!

I’m happy to also say I recently finished a video production certificate from the Bay Area Video Coalition, learning the basics of operating cameras, sound, lighting, editing and producing a final product. It was paid for through the California Training Benefits/Workforce Investment Act to help displaced workers from when I got laid off as a newspaper reporter at the Contra Costa Times.

In thinking about the end to the year of the snake, which happens to be my sign, I realized the value of laying low. It was a tough year for many around me, and there were higher expectations in the post-2012 apocalypse. But like the snake, you can overcome limitations by being set up for big things to happen, and striking when the opportunity arises. Besides the video program and working in journalism in ways I never imagined, including shooting for an internationally broadcast TV station, this year also brought other opportunities to look forward to in the next year. I picked up more work as a fine food catering waiter to fill the gaps of being a freelance journalist, and became a bartender. I started playing in a band again, and have a lot of other things going that I don’t want to jinx. I’m also glad to just be here, as just making it to the next day is an accomplishment for the opportunities of tomorrow.

With that we ride into 4712, the year of the horse.

By Eric Louie

Demonstrations were held nationwide on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 to support higher pay for fast food workers. This demonstration shut down the McDonald’s at 14th and Jackson streets in Oakland, Calif. during lunch. Workers were asked to join, and some did. Protesters said the $8 or $9 per hour workers get is not enough. Recently the state minimum wage was approved for a rise to $10 an hour by 2016, but labor advocates say it should be $15 an hour.

The Rockonigles-June 29, 2013-Day On the Dirt

Here’s another video I made of my buddy Alexis’ band The Rockonigles on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Revolution Cafe in Oakland. The first one is here. This was their record release show for “Out of Pocket.”

Happy Valentine’s Day! Earlier this week these recordings of legendary San Francisco band Hickey came my way. It included a 1997 recording of a Valentine’s Day show at Komotion, which I thought would be a cool present to you.

It also reminded me of the time my band played with them in Concord. I tell this story a lot, so I thought I put it on my blog.

By Eric Louie

In the years after high school I had a band, 3 Hunglo. One of our early shows was at the Time Out Sports Bar in Concord where a guy named Tony was trying to have shows on off nights. We ended up getting a Tuesday show with Hickey. It was 1997, I think.

A local hard rock band called Toxic Love was the third band. Despite even Tony’s suggestions, they insisted on playing first, which sucked, since us and Hickey were from San Francisco. No one from the city is going to Concord, especially on a Tuesday night, even if it is free. But that’s what happened, and the bar was essentially empty when the rest of us played. I remember the Toxic Love folks, whose bassist/singer used a wireless connection for his instrument, and the friends they brought left while we played.

So when Hickey played, there really was no one but our band and a couple guys at the bar. I remember thinking Hickey talked a lot between songs. It included mentions of mullets, which the Toxic Love guy had. Too bad he wasn’t there to hear that. In a joking threat, Hickey said they would play a 20-minute song about the creation of the world, which I later learned was “In the Beginning.”

One of the guys at the bar, who really was in a cowboy hat, then got pissed and said he didn’t want to hear that in his bar. I guess noisy, loud punk doesn’t mix. He wanted to fight, but his friend calmed him down before anything real happened. He would have had to walk across an empty bar, and never got out of his chair. Not like anyone wanted to fight anyway.

That was the first I had seen Hickey, and we talked to them after. The next week or so I saw them in a packed San Francisco Mission District warehouse. I think it was Komotion, on 16th near Harrison street. I mainly knew places by location rather than name, and also only remember going there a couple times. Soon after Hickey broke up, and there were other bands the three members made that I saw.

I then moved to Stockton, so I wasn’t around a lot. Then I heard Matty Luv, Hickey’s singer/guitarist, died. I didn’t know him really well, but I was really sad to hear that. I knew a lot of my friends were close, and also that it was a big loss to to the local music scene that is still a big part of my life.

There’s a Web site with Hickey and other Matty Luv music free at