Goldfield’s Tattoo Studio- Last Day on Broadway

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April 30th,  2014 was an unseasonably hot day in San Francisco, the kind of day where the warm sea air fills you nose and sticks to your skin as soon as you cross over the bridge. The city was brimming with the wild, restless energy of impending change that was all too palpable on every street corner and back alley. We arrived at Henry Goldfield’s Tattoo Studio at 404 Broadway in the late afternoon, and already the street corner and small North Beach shop was packed wall to wall with friends, patrons, and well-wishers. People from all walks of life, from seasoned veterans and legends of the tattoo scene to curious onlookers had gathered upon this place to pay it one last visit and give their best to San Francisco’s oldest continuously running tattoo shop. Change was indeed in the air; after 35 years Goldfield’s was closing it’s doors for the last time.

When Rob Merrill had announced a few weeks earlier that on the last day they would be hosting an “all day all night get-what-you-want” going away party, I knew that we had to be there for it. This would be our last chance to see this amazing place as I remembered it, and like every visit to Goldfield’s, I knew it would be an incredible experience. Goldfield’s is an integral part of modern tattoo history; almost every event, character, and chapter in the San Francisco tattoo story involves or revolves around this shop in one way or another. It’s the sort of shop that exudes character, purpose, and culture; it feels like it’s been around forever, and it’s difficult to imagine a world without it.

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When we got to the decorated stoop some of the first wave of visitors were already heading out and leaving this stagnant city that was woefully unprepared for the first heat of the year. After saying our hellos and goodbyes we squeezed our way inside the doorway to the shop floor under the hand painted signs and bright tattoo flash to take in the scene. Goldfield’s was full of best-friends and strangers sharing laughs and drinks while reliving and retelling the great times they’ve had at this amazing place. Every wall, every corner, and every bit of the floor and ceiling of Goldfield’s has a story, and even if you had spent years there you’d always find something new and intriguing to hold your attention. The carpet was (as the story goes, at least) given to Henry by some crooked carpet layers that had taken it from an old movie theater, a fact revealed when they first rolled it out and it still had bits of popcorn in it. The water-damaged spots in the ceiling were either from a time when some junkie flooded their room in a dramatic suicide upstairs in the hotel or maybe from one of the fires over the years, it depends on the mood of the storyteller. The greatest thing about Goldfield’s (aside from the amazing talent of the tattooers, of course) is the caliber and volume of stories Henry could recant at the tip of a hat that would keep you entertained for hours.

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All night long, artists from all over the place and with all sorts of interesting and unique attachments to this shop were tattooing custom pieces as well as flash from Goldfield’s incredible collection in the back of the shop put together in one sheet for the evening by Adrian Sanchez. This night was everyone’s last chance to come to the shop to get a tattoo and great memory from this place, and I couldn’t put my name on the list fast enough. Henry’s warmth and sense of humor could be felt everywhere and through everyone. It was an amazing scene to be a part of on this last day on Broadway, and it could not have gone out on a more bittersweet note. One of the greatest things about the day was the wide range of people that would stop in to wish Henry luck. Everyone from people living in the neighborhood to bikers, strippers, and the local homeless would come in and give Henry a smile, a handshake, and a heart-felt “good luck” as they paid their respects to his shop one last time and wished him luck on his next adventure. I didn’t end up getting tattooed until about ten o’clock, and the night was still picking up and moving on after mine was finished close to midnight. I heard that people were still going until about 5am the next morning, tirelessly working so that everyone who wanted to could get one last piece from this incredible shop. As we said our final goodbyes, thanked Henry again for everything and made our way onto the still hot midnight sidewalk of Broadway, I had a tough time accepting that this would be our final night here. Even though the little shop at 404 Broadway was just a building, made of wood and plaster, it felt like we were leaving an old friend behind.

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Goldfield’s Tattoo studio on Broadway may be closed now, but my tattoos and memories from there will last a lifetime. Henry is still going strong, and will be brightening the days and skin of fortunate people for years to come. The memory and the spirit of Goldfield’s Tattoo Studio will have to be carried on by each of us lucky enough to see it and participate in this chapter in tattoo history. I cherish my days spent there getting tattooed and listening to Henry’s stories of a life well-lived, shared over the electric buzzing and whirring of a tattoo machine, and I’m fortunate to have been a part of this last day celebration. Thank you to all the great artists and wonderful people that came out and joined us in saying goodbye to this historic Bay Area landmark, and thank you Henry for all the work and effort that you put into keeping this place open for all those years. We look forward to seeing you on your next adventure and next chapter in your life.

 

Henry Goldfield will be doing several guest spots in the near future, be sure to follow him on Facebook to see where he’s headed next. Rob Merrill will be tattooing at One Shot Tattoo at 555 Irving St in San Francisco.

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Sacramento Autorama 2013

Another year, another show, another rust bubble penetrates my rocker panel. It was great to be back up in Sacramento for the Autorama this year. It’s been a while since I’ve been out to a big show like Sacorama, and I was impressed by the quality of unique customs that are still being built despite it all. I’ll get right to the good stuff, here are my pics:

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He’s still got it. Seeing D’Agostino and Zocchi’s new builds is always the highlight of this show. These guys bring it like none other, and they bring it consistently. Their cars aren’t always my first choice of what I’d consider custom fodder, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen one of their builds where I’d make all the same decisions, but I am always excited to see what they come up with. Stuff like this makes Sacramento a truly special place for me, and it’s an honor to get to see these guys in their prime still putting out amazing cars.

Yes, in case the license plate didn’t give it away, the chop top pink mopar is the Zocchi car and the flawless Caddy is John D’s, how could anyone have guessed?

Meanwhile, in the Suede room, some beatniks had reappropriated Tom “The Giant” Nye’s Art Attack booth sign. This is what Sacramento is all about for me, a goofy, strange place where everyone is on neutral territory. Jack’s still got it too;
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Oh shit, did I mention that a clone of one of the best Econolines of ALL TIME was there?

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Now, purists will note that this version has a few details different than the original, and that it has a slightly different spirit. To me, this is why Gene Winfield has surpassed custom King and is now something of a Custom deity. Take a second to step back and look at your current build. How would you do it differently fifty years later? Would you make the interior more comfortable? Would you change the exhaust? Did you really love the trim? To me, it reinforces Gene’s genius and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the real deal. I was honored to get to check out the new Pacifica!

Take a minute to admire the fascia:
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They, despite the radical custom treatment decided to reinstall the stock emblem asymmetrically, making this radical custom look like it may have been just an oddball production prototype. Genius!

Again, at the rear:
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Very few cars pull of this level of customization but somehow still seem conservative. The window treatment exemplifies this:
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Burnouts on the carpet? Why the hell not?
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The exhaust, I am not a fan of. However, I am a huge fan of risk on customs, and I respect the hell out of this decision. Like the dude in Bucket of Blood said, repetition is death:
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Nash!
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This 1960 Dodge from AUSTRALIA blew me away. I love the details, brightwork, interior; it’s a home run!
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Yes, I’m imitating the Watson shadow. Spend some time on Riksters album if that reference doesn’t make sense.

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Too much crowd in this building, I couldn’t get a full pic of Noteboom’s wagon. I’ll remind you that this is a free blog, check the HAMB or something it’s out there. Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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There was, of course, those giant corn dogs and those wacky cars that this show is known for too:

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Purists will note that it’s the wrong year, but I’ll allow it.

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Yup.

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And so ended one day. The next was Drive-In day at the Autorama, and this very impressive 54 Ford from Australia showed up to brighten the scene. You could still smell the paint drying, this was fresh. Apparently the owner flew in to the US and painted the car himself just a few days ago. I really dig the spirit of this car, even though there are some things I’d do differently this car held my attention for quite a while. I love the drip rails and the chop in general. As a fellow owner of an awkward roof to chop I love the little details of how they made it all work. Also, call me crazy, but my former four-door spidey sense is tingling… I could be way off but something very interesting is going on at the sail panels. I love the heart of this car, and congrats to the owner on a job well done!

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Very very nice chop on this:
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This is very smart custom work:
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Snip snip!
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I really dug the panel layout, lots of twists an turns:
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And that’s all I got. Congratulations to the award winners, and thanks to everyone who made the show happen.

On a personal note, this is the last post from my tired iPhone 4, and I think it’s a fitting place to close this blog. I imagine I’ll be back on the web in some way, shape, or form in the future, but it’ll be in another format that’s a little less clunky and hard to work with. If you’re still reading this, thank you. It’s been fun.

-Nic

Billetproof 2012


Ten years. It’s been ten years since my first Billetproof. Ten years ago I was just a kid, eager to be able to hop out of the booth long enough to take enough shots with my old Pentax to fill my proof sheet. Now I walk through the show between customers to try and take a few pics on my iPhone to have something to put on the blog. Time, what a strange thing.

Enjoy:


Inside this rad scooter:


Excellent flake coverage:

The Strangers BBQ July 8th, 2012. San Jose CA

I haven’t been doing a great job keeping this blog up to date, I realize that. It’s been a busy summer, and unfortunately to balance all the great progress I’ve been making on cars, life, and things in general my writing/blogging has declined. But hey, the blog is free!

Here’s some pics from the Stranger’s show last weekend in San Jose. I had a great time. It’s strange for me to be in a place where I can feel somewhat comfortable entering my car in a car show, and I’m still figuring out what that whole world is like. It’s strange and pretty anticlimactic. I still say the best part of a car show is the drive, but it’s nice to be able to pause briefly between drives in good company and see what everyone else has been up to.

Enjoy!

The new look for the Buick, my wife lovingly refers to this iteration as “Purple Drank”
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How’s this for wackiness:
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Cruise To The Bay #5 6/10/12

My god, it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I haven’t had the luxury of time lately, but I’ll make an effort to log this summer’s craziness to the best of my ability. This summer is going to be a good one. I’ve been working on the car like a madman. I’ve been fighting through a handful of mechanical issues, and it’s been a struggle to keep it on the road while working long days and finishing up my last year of school. This past week was particularly intense, I’m in summer courses now, and in order to get the Buick in good shape I’ve been burning the candle from both ends. I think it’s paid off. I got a new coat of paint on the roof before our Cruise to the Bay last weekend, and I’m really happy with it. The rest of the car still needs work, but it feels great to be driving something I can be proud of. The cruise had a pretty decent turnout, all things considered, and I’m happy that other people have been coming out to the pier to help make this a regular thing, the Bay needs it. Here’s my pics:

Scarlett Fever 2012

From the HAMB:
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=670723

Scarlett Fever is an annual benefit that exists to give support to Scarlett James, an incredibly brave eighteen year old Bay Area native who is leading a very difficult life. At a young age, Scarlett was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that leaves it’s victims, almost exclusively girls, unable to walk, talk or feed themselves. They need twenty-four hour a day care because of the horrible seizures and breathing difficulties associated with this only recently officially recognized affliction.

Luckily, Scarlett is part of an amazing family, as well as an entire subculture that knows how to take care of their own. She is an official member of The Road Lords car club, who boast over 50 members with 5 chapters spread out over both coasts. They truly function as a family, and Scarlett is very much everyone’s adopted daughter or little sister.

Scarlett Fever benefits take place on both coasts, The San Francisco show is always held at the DNA Lounge in March, while Scarlett Fever East is held in June at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and is hosted by the New Jersey and New York Road Lords chapters. The outpouring of love and support for these successful events has been nothing short of miraculous and awe-inspiring. So, while Scarlett Fever is indeed a benefit, it feels much more like a celebration. While there is no cure for Rett Syndrome and those affected do lead tremendously diminished lives, Scarlett’s parents Bob and Rosa decided long ago that they were going to give their daughter the best life possible, and this event is the living embodiment of that pledge.

Top bands, burlesque performers and even authentic Hawaiian dancers all line up to contribute their unique talents, and the auctions at these events have become the stuff of legend. Mike Ness, a long time friend of the family and Scarlett’s Godfather, dutifully sends autographed guitars to both shows. Local builder and co-sponsor Skoty Chops spends the months leading up to the event building custom bicycles and pedal cars to be auctioned off. Top kustom kulture artists and pin stripers like Keith Weesner, Mr. Wim, Jeff Norwell, Egge, Jeff Allison, Speedcult, Rich Luna, Steve Caballero, Dirty Donny, Pizz, Terry T-Bonez and countless others have contributed art, while The Rodder’s Journal, Mooneyes, Gambino Customs, Trophy Queen, Behind Bars Inc., Cole Foster, and many other car clubs including the Burbank Choppers, Dragoons, Poor Boys, Rumblers, and Piratas M/C have also sent in various contributions, all proceeds generated by these donations go to much needed therapy and medical supplies.

In the end, that may be what makes Scarlett Fever so unique. With any other charity, you never really know where your donation is going. Here, you not only meet Scarlett, you become an extended member of the family yourself, and can truly see her progress. You are making a difference in this very special person’s life, and you’ll have a great time doing so, a win/win situation if there ever was one. – Mike LaVella

It’s a great show for a great cause, I’ll be there. You can buy tickets online:
http://www.dnalounge.com/calendar/2012/03-11a.html

It’s at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco:
375 Eleventh Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

See you there!

Los Boulevardos Cruise To The Lake 2012 3/3/12

I started the week pretty upset that my car wasn’t going to be ready for the show. I had been working like crazy to make it, stressing every little detail, and trying to get every last thing dialed in but ultimately I didn’t make it. This was going to be my first big show as a Boulevardo, and I was going without a car. Nevertheless, Josie and I opted to make the drive to Southern California in my dad’s pickup truck, and we headed down I-5.

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It has been way too long since the two of us took a trip together, and it felt great to be on the road again, even if it wasn’t in the coolest vehicle. We left town in such a frantic rush that I had forgotten why we were leaving in the first place, that is, until I heard the familiar rumble of an old Lincoln in the distance…
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We cruised alongside Memo for a bit, never quite sure if he realized it was us in this unfamiliar truck. All of a sudden I didn’t feel like we were alone in this, having people to share the freeway with made the long and boring drive feel like just another cruise. We debated slowing down for a while to cruise together but ultimately decided to keep our pace and make it to LA as quick as possible. It was great to see his car in action, but we were in a hurry.
The drive down I-5 past there blurred together, as it always does, as an endless chain of orchards, fast food, and truck stops from Tracy to Bakersfield, but before long we were over the Grapevine and heading quick towards our destination. It had been hours since we saw Memo’s headlights fade in the rear view, and we had been alone again on the freeway for some time now.
We made it over the Grapevine, and after a while we started seeing road signs for streets that are legends in our world; Downey, Whittier, these streets have become bigger in our collective minds then anyone ever could have imagined. In the (surprisingly light) Southern California traffic I saw the unmistakeable roofline of a 60’s American car down the way, but couldn’t quite make it out. As we got closer, the shape became a little more familiar, and when the bellflower tips let out a loud rap as it let off the gas there was no mistaking it– that was Bob’s Buick in the distance! We were here.
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We had made it, we were amongst friends again. I chased and weaved through traffic like a mad man to catch up, and quickly saw Eryk’s 53 Olds was leading the cruise.
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It’s a hell of a feeling to be six hours from home, surrounded for hours by nothingness in complete anonymity and then to suddenly find yourself barreling down the freeway in good company. Even though I was in a modern truck, I still felt like I was a part of something. To cruise with my friends and my club down the Los Angeles freeway, listening to the Santa Ana winds carry the rap of straight pipes through into the stratosphere, I felt at home. We followed Eryk and Bob to SoCal Burger, where we were met by even more familiar faces and cars in the parking lot.
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We hung out for as much as out we could handle after the long drive from the Bay Area, then called it a night and headed back to the hotel for a few hours sleep. It felt great to be amongst friends in an otherwise strange and foreign place; seeing those guys on the freeway had made me feel right at home.
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The next day, after a little confusion, I found myself at the gate to the Santa Fe Dam with Alex and Nick waiting for the Park Rangers to open up and let us take over.
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After a bit, the rest of the LBCC crew was in the park and we started setting up, ready for a long day of good times with the bonus of raising a little money for the Children’s Hospital of LA.
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Apparently, even tough we had cleared the BBQ with the park, since the Dam is county property, there’s an entirely different permitting process for a “car show”, so after a bit of arguing with the “period correct” dickbag LA County Sheriffs, we compromised and moved the club merch and raffle prizes to the trunks of cars and the bed of a truck.
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Apparently, it’s ok to sell things without a permit in a county park so long as the process is entirely inconvenient. Either way, we didn’t let the police presence put a damper on our day, and despite some harassment and egregious fines for some participants, the Sheriffs let the show go on sans music and hood-popping (seriously– there was a threat that they’d clear the parking lot if they saw hoods popped. Welcome back to High School.)
The weather was amazing, the sky was bright and open, and if you looked up long enough you could ignore the bullshit on the ground and take in some killer scenery in the background of some amazing cars. I love this show, and I hope we can find a home for it that’s as deserving of these peoples cars and presence. The crowd at this show was amazing, not the type of stereotypes you hear about at “LA” car shows. Well, for the most part– a Rap Troupe of some sort rolled through at one point and shot a video amongst our cars. Aside from that, it was a chill weekend with friends, and we raised a good deal of money for a good cause.
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This car has recently undergone a massive transformation and really looks great. Nice work guys:
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One of the highlights of the show was handing out the Club Pick award to the white and gold 56 Chevy from the Auto Butchers Car Club that everyone knows so well by now. I didn’t get a chance to take it’s picture this time (in fact, from looking at other peoples show coverage I missed a TON of cool stuff), but the look on the face of the owner really made my day.
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This is the type of guy that we all aspire to be like some day, an aged vetrano that still takes his car out and drives it hard and consistently no matter what the flavor-of-the-month trend is. I love this car, and I love that I see it at almost any show from here to the East Coast.
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After the raffle, Josie and I ducked out quick to make it to an art gallery in Hollywood before they closed to pick up some amazing prints.
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We also got to stop into Kat Von D’s “Wonderland” shop, which was pretty damn cool despite all the Reality TV hubbub that surrounds it.
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After all that, we hopped back in the truck, and headed home up 101, looking forward to getting the Buick back on the road and daydreaming about driving it down next year. Thanks to everyone who came out and made this weekend so memorable, we had a great time. Thanks for reading.