Marion Smallwood: Band Manager, Writer

Spotted at: Hayes Valley, SF

Occupation: Band Manager, Writer

What are you up to today?

Right now I'm grabbing lunch with my good friend Glen. We used to work at SFJAZZ together.

What's your occupation?

Well I'm actually looking for work but at SFJAZZ I was an artistic assistant—I assisted with programming and booking. I studied jazz in school.

How did you get into that?

I studied English Literature with a concentration in Poetry and Jazz in Popular Music at Penn in Philly. Then I moved to the west coast and found a home at SFJAZZ.

What do you do in your free time?

I go to a lot of shows. I think I go to at least one live performance every week, which is pretty cool. A lot of jazz, a lot of music. I also write. I write poetry. I'm working right now on getting published. I love to eat good food and I love to drink delicious beer.

Any performances lately that have stood out?

Yes. The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park actually has a NightLife series where they have bands come and perform in the evening. I thought it was kind of weird because it's a science museum but it was amazing. I saw this really cool jazz trio there last week—BadBadNotGood—they're a Canadian jazz trio, really experimental stuff. They performed for NightLife and it was incredible. They had all these cool scientific extra ghosts and jellyfish parading around. It was really awesome.

Where are your favorite places to eat and drink?

I live in the East Bay and love Awaken Cafe in Oakland—they have a cool vibe. They also have live music there. I also really love Cafe Van Kleef—delicious Greyhounds. The Rock Steady is a cool DJ bar I used to work for. And Hayes Valley of course! Around here I go to Dobbs Ferry. South at SFJAZZ also has a really awesome cocktail list.

How would you describe your style?

I wear a lot of black. I have a lot of tattoos. They're blackwork tattoos.

These are really interesting patterns! How did you go about getting these?

I got the one on my arm done at 2Spirit Tattoo, which is right around the corner at Market & Pearl. The one on my calf I got done at Scholar Tattoo by Ben Volt. Scholar Tattoo is also in the Mission. But yeah, I wear a lot of black, I wear a lot of vintage.

What are your current inspirations?

Right now I'm kind of inspired by sacred geometry. I got this tattoo recently—last week. So that's really inspired my style just as far as balance, having the sacred geometry match the way I dress. As for my hair, I just shaved the sides a little bit to give myself more of that balanced look. I also like to incorporate a little vintage type of appeal, sort of accenting my spirituality through my clothes.

What is the idea behind sacred geometry?

Basically the artists who did my work specialize in blackwork tattoos that are angular or circular but very symmetrical. They sort of adorn the body's physique naturally. It's not just about having a tattoo stamped on your body, but having a tattoo that complements your physique. I've been really inspired and fascinated by that whole approach. And from the perspective of the artist, too, letting them sort of have their own creative freedom. I didn't plan these out at all. I just let the artist do whatever they wanted. It's really a great way for the artist to connect to the client and for the client to connect to the artist.

So it's more collaborative—it's great that you have that trust in the tattoo artist!

Well, I know them very well so I totally trust them, and they gave me really beautiful tattoos. I'm actually going to get the other leg done really soon.

The pattern of your tattoo even matches your shoes so you have a whole theme going on!

Oh yeah, I like it all looking cohesive.

The shoes are great—where are they from?

I actually got them from a little shop right across the street from SFJAZZ called Mixed Nuts. They have really cool clothes they have really awesome knick knacks. I think their tagline is somthing like "precious junk.” They have a lot of vintage clothes and shoes, a lot of cool jewelry.

Your coat is really beautiful too.

Thanks! That's inspired by a vintage look but I actually got it from a newer store. I wish I could find a vintage fur coat I could afford that is similar to it! I think I got the earrings from the same store—Pixie Market.

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