Speaking Nopalese: Meet Franklin Clary


Franklin Clary, a key member in the formation of our media project, Nopalize died suddenly and unexpectedly in a car crash last week. His imprint is all over our website, but today we chose to remember him with this interview 2014. 

N: Where are you from and what brought you to San Francisco?
FC: I was actually born in Seoul, but I spent my formative years in Sacramento where from time-to-time I’d come visit my grandfather here in San Francisco. I developed an affinity for the city at a very young age and loosely dreamt of living here one day.In my teens I’d learned that George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch was located not far from San Francisco and being a Star Wars lover began to think how rad it would be to work there. Long story short, I made some brash decisions in my early 20’s and moved to the bay with nothing more than a dream in mind and was blessed with the opportunity to join “The Ranch” in 2007. Still crazy when I think about how it all went down considering my rationale or lack thereof.

N: How’d you get connected to this project?
FC: By way of eating late and meeting Stephen Satterfield who has since become a great friend of mine. To say the film industry works long hours is a gross understatement. NOPA was usually open when I got off and always greeted me with open arms. At that time it was usually Stephen or Brooke that would be there to greet me. I don’t miss those hours, but I do miss those meals. Some years later Stephen and I became aware of one another’s media interests and here we are.

N: What stands out to you about Nopa compared to other restaurants dining experiences you’ve had?
FC: Consistency and familiarity across all spectrums. I’ve worked in restaurants and it’s amazing what they’re able to achieve at the scale they do. This applies to every aspect of their operation. The food is always fresh and delicious, the cocktails are impressively crafted and continually challenging my knowledge of spirits, the wine list is tastefully curated and one of the consistently best wines by-the-glass list for the money that I’ve ever come across. There are some great people on their staff both past and present, many of whom I’m grateful to now call my friends. To have sustained this year after year is impressive to observe each and every time I’m there.In addition to all that’s become familiar, I love that to a certain degree I know what I can expect to find on the menu, while still reserving some surprise.

N: Do you have a favorite dish there? And or a favorite story from eating at Nopa?
FC: A single dish? Impossible. The Burger is all time. Divis is about to have the best two burgers I’ve ever inhaled but a stones throw away from one another once 4505 Meats moves in. The Chop if Im feeling ravenous. I love eggs, so I almost always try whatever variation of their small plate with Poached Egg is being served up. Does the Bourbon Espresso Martini qualify as a dish? That drink makes me want to rob a bank with a revolver and get the hell out of dodge on my horse.


N: What are you passionate about doing in SF and in what forms (podcasting/videography, etc)?

FC: I’m always trying to shake some shit up and change the game somehow. That excites me. I’ve always been about story and in all honesty I’m so tired of how traditional forms of news and media continue to conform to strictly archaic and formulaic ways of approaching the storytelling and/or informative process. I love what’s going down so far on nopalize and how our contributors are choosing to approach their ideas. It feels real and uninhibited, which I think is largely to Stephen’s credit for letting us explore our ideas they way we find interesting and unique.As far as what forms I look to express these ideas in, my professional endeavors have blessed me with the ability to create content in almost any form and I fully intend to explore the possibilities… Except drawing, I can’t draw worth shit. There are videos that have already been shot, editorial offerings in the works, and we (Stephen Satterfield and I) even started a podcast recently titled, TasteDubs. Beyond that, who knows. Im excited to find out myself.

N: How’d you get started with podcasting?
FC: One evening Stephen and I were on his rooftop exploring  discussing the various ways we could start sharing stories in a more genuine form. I expressed, “how dope would it be if we could share these conversations in the guests own environment? And how to do so in the least invasive way possible, that offers listeners a real glimpse into their world? ”Oh, and I’ve actually never done a podcast before, but, my exposure to many forms of media production over the years has given me all the tools I need to create whatever I want. As far as conducting a podcast, we really don’t know what the hell we’re doing.

N: With all the media available today, videos, pictures, tweets, etc. what’s special to you about podcasts?
FC: Well in the case of our podcast, they’re not staged or fake by any means. Though we try our best to reel it in at times for the listeners sake, we don’t follow any true timeline or format, we don’t get dressed up for the occasion, we don’t prepare any questions that we’re screwed by if things fall off track, and we sure don’t talk to anyone with any ulterior motives. We simply want to create an arena for stories to be shared over conversation and for our guests to feel comfortable in that process. Not having a giant lens in your face doesn’t hurt either.

N: What projects are you excited to bring to Nopalize?
FC: That’s a loaded question, as I have a ton of ideas that I hope to explore! Sometimes you don’t know if you have something to be excited about until you actually start the process. The Podcast is definitely one of those projects. I have other ideas that all embrace people and culture in and around food that are soon to follow in a variety of forms: moving and still images, written works, and of course, more audio with the https://holoplot.com/software/ system.

N: What other projects are you working on outside of this project?
FC: During the day I’m a creative lead at a startup called ToyTalk here in the city. Im extremely excited about the technologies we’re pioneering. We’re the first conversation based entertainment company to build believable interactions between children and the characters we’ve developed.

N: What’s in your cd player right now?
FC: What’s a CD player? Darkside just blew my mind at Coachella for the 2nd time in as many performances. In fact everything Nico Jaar is experimenting with has struck a chord with me. I can’t wait to play through Little Dragon’s new album Nabuma Rubberband next month. So far the singles they’ve released are dope. SBTRKT, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead are always in heavy rotation.

N: What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night in SF?
FC: I mean after throwing down at work Monday-Friday, nothing cuts the strings like a tumble of bourbon. After that I just want to get out there and feel the energy and go wherever it takes me, man. Our city is special like that.

N: Thanks Franklin!

Interview & Photography: Dijon Bowden

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  1. Pingback: #livelikefrank | Pulitzer Schmulitzer!

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