The FunkZone Podcast with Ted Mills







November 2014
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Welcome back funky peeps!

In this episode I sit down with the enigmatic (and very tall) Skye Gwilliam and we talk about street art, gallery art, and whether there’s really any difference.

Skye owns a gallery in the FunkZone called Gone Gallery and occasionally he’s let me set up shop in the main space and record some of these podcasts. Gotta give him a big thanks for being one of the people that helped this podcast ship sail.

Skye’s style is easily identifiable when it turns up in galleries here or on the sides of buildings. His simple line, Leger-meets-Haring works are always inventive, and his work habits are to be envied. (Like Haring, he’s unstoppable, always working.)

This was a casual, laid back chat, and I hope you groove on it.

Topics discussed include:

The origins of Skye’s studio space
How the FunkZone changed rapidly
The evolution of Skye’s “sad businessman” tag
Skye’s work ethic and how his loss of vestibular function has focused him on art
The etymology of Gwilliam and his family tree
Growing up in Ojai
The punk rock and hip hop influence in Skye’s work
How Skye started drawing in public and leaving his work out there
The PetroChem oil refinery, one of Skye’s first places to “work”
Street artists vs. gang members
Negative responses to street art in the FunkZone
The Danny Swan “beef”
His high school years
His brief time in hotel and restaurant management
Skye’s writing vs. his art
John Federico, Skye’s friend who pushed him into art
The influence of Keith Haring, Basquiat and David Choe
Ribbon-ism, Skye’s all-white paintings
The transition from street art to gallery art
How Skye cast someone else to play him at an art opening
His trip to Greece
A list of inspiring dilapidated places
Skye’s best times to work
The art of the social

His website is here and his Tumblr is here

If you can’t see the embedded podcast above, here are other ways to listen:

  • Listen to it on iTunes
  • Download this episode here

You can also follow me on Twitter
Or read my arts writing at
Or check out my art here (warning NSFW):
ALSO! Repeal Day is coming up, would you like to celebrate with us? Well then:

Subscribe to our show on iTunes (still working on this! Both iTunes and Libsyn have not been helpful!)

Or for non-iTunes people out there, subscribe to our RSS Feed

Lastly, our theme tune is brought to you by Raw Vegan.

Include photo of businessman

Direct download: 006_Skye_Gwilliam.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 10:35pm PDT

Welcome back Funk Zonerz!

This episode we sit down with beer and brewery columnist Sean Lewis, who not only writes a weekly column for the Santa Barbara News-Press, but has just released a book on microbreweries in America and the people behind the craft, called "We Make Beer" from St. Martin's Press.

I know that I like beer, but apart from that little else, so the book informed me a lot, as did this hour long chat about the writing of his book and Lewis' many thoughts on the craft, the industry, and his cross-country drive that led to his first book agent and deal. It's a chat that's guaranteed to make you thirsty! Santa Barbara has a lot of exciting breweries, and we talk about them too.

Topics discussed include:

* The end of Pabst Blue Ribbon's trendiness
* Sean's move to Boston and its beer history
* His evolution from Keystone Lite to better beers
* His first attempts at home brewing
* Writing for Beer Advocate
* The learning curve for writers and for brewers
* Firestone Walker using wine barrels to ferment wine
* Jeffers Richardson
* New Albion Brewery, Jack McAuliffe as the birthplace of microbrewing
* Sam Adams, Pete's Wicked Ale, and Anchor Steam
* How Sean Lewis pitched his book to publishers
* Sean's cross-country trip and remote breweries: Brew Kettle in Cleveland, OH and Nebraska Brewing Co.
* Brewmaster Paul Kavulak
* Levels of competition in the beer business
* Tom Acitelli's "The Audacity of Hops"
* Maureen Ogle "Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer"
* How Budweiser is actually good in terms of consistency
* Why it's impossible to recreate century-old beer
* How Sean made his book more marketable
* State by state tax laws, and how that affects brewing
* Santa Barbara's brewing scene and its growth since 2006
* Kevin Pratt, A.J. Stoll, Paul Rey, James, David, Bucky and Diana Burge
* Why Firestone Walker Pale 31 is Sean's favorite
* Whether brewers are good business people
* Why there aren't tech bros in microbrewery
* Why cool labels are a bad sign
* Sean's least favorite beer trends
* German, British, and Belgian beers
* Five breweries across the country you have to try

Sean Lewis' book can be found here:

His website is here and his Twitter is here

Direct download: 005_Sean_Lewis.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 1:49am PDT

Episode 004: Alvaro Rojas

Welcome back Funketeers! It's hard enough in Santa Barbara to run one restaurant but restauranteur Alvarado Rojas ran up until recently three of Santa Barbara's funnest restaurants: Alcazar on the Mesa, Milk & Honey downtown, and the Bourbon Room out in "No-Leta" the area east of Goleta. The latter he just recently signed over to his partner. All three are warm, cozy gathering places with great cocktails and menus that bop between tapas, hearty main courses, and comfort food like pizza and hamburgers (at Bourbon Room especially.)

In this episode we sat down with Al to talk about his history of creating restaurants in Santa Barbara and his remarkable success rate. After the interview, Al made me a fan-freakin'-tastic duck carnitas slider as a thank you. I can't send that out to our listeners, but I can include his father's recipe for carnitas below.

Topics include:

* A rundown of Al’s current businesses
* His recent Europe trip, including thoughts on Berlin, the Latin Quarter in Paris, and his favorite meal of the trip
* Growing up son of Mexican immigrants in Palo Alto
* His dad’s history of cooking and comfort food
* How carnitas is the cousin to duck confit
* Learning the kitchen at his dad’s restaurant
* Living in Isla Vista
* Dropping out and opening his first restaurant in Santa Barbara
* The learning curve as a young restauranteur
* What closed his first business, Chilangos
* What led to his next tapas-based restaurant
* What he learned about tapas only by going to Spain
* The joy of Spanish culture
* How the more restaurants you open, the more intimidating
* The major changes in Santa Barbara’s culinary scene since Chilangos
* The secret skills of Dutch Garden’s owner
* What will be trendy in five years in Santa Barbara
* Why restaurants fail and why you shouldn’t trace trends
* The reasons behind the wood-fire pizza glut in SB
* Where Al funnels his creativity and dancing salsa
* The brief reign of LOFT in the FunkZone
* Al recommends his menu favorites

Direct download: Episode_004_Alvaro_Rojas.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:11pm PDT

Episode 003: Wallace Piatt

Howdy, FunkZone Podcast listeners! I'm really excited about this third episode because I got to have a sit down with the wild man of Santa Barbara art, Wallace Piatt. (Pronounced like Hyatt Hotels with a P).

As you'll hear, Wallace came in to art at a weird angle, having owned a cool used clothing store "True Grit" with his partner Jill Johnson for years on State Street. That led to screenprinting and that led to art and his current pop art style that borrows liberally from Lichtenstein and Warhol, but with his own complex spin. He incorporates cultural icons, Native American history, and advertising ephemera into his colorful work. In his heyday, he probably could have drank Peter O'Toole under the table, but despite a heart attack, he's still with us and focused on creating art these days, non-stop.

He does not suffer fools gladly and speaks his mind. Yes, there's a lot of swearing in this episode. Buckle up!!

Topics include:
    •    Life in the Container Village
    •    Growing up Catholic in Santa Maria
    •    His dad's life as a school building, his mom's as a real estate agent
    •    Mathematics and poetry before art
    •    His trip to Europe, the rave scene and seeing Warhol for the first time
    •    The evolution of the FunkZone
    •    Waiting tables in Santa Barbara, especially Palminteri's
    •    The Japanese man who helped Wallace and Jill kick off True Grit
    •    How State Street changed over the years
    •    The legacy of True Grit, and Santa Barbara's lack of fashion
    •    The art of trashing T-shirt
    •    How a broken heart and bitterness started his painting career
    •    Getting in drugs and drink later in life
    •    Gay clubbing in Santa Barbara back in the day
    •    Marijuana as the worst drug ever
    •    Sobering up and making art
    •    How to sell (or not) art in Santa Barbara
    •    The problems of gallery representation
    •    The lessons of retail
    •    The benefits of Instagram, the death of Facebook

You can find Wallace at his website:

Direct download: Episode_003_Wallace_Piatt.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 9:15pm PDT