Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Julie Michelle of I Live Here SF

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Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit'probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

photo by Troy Holden of Caliber

I first met Julie about a year ago.  She had done a photo shoot for Allan Hough of Mission Mission, and was looking for other people to shoot.  Being the vain bastard that I am, I was like, “Oooh!  Shoot me!  Shoot me!”  And she did.  And it came out fucking awesome!

Despite being involved in lots of different projects, the one she’s probably best known for is I Live Here SF.  It’s a project in which she hangs out with a San Franciscan, shoots lovely photos of them and then has them write about their relationship with the city.  The photos always come out lush and the stories are usually touching; combined they give the reader a true feeling of why it is that San Francisco is so loved.

Julie is an amazingly talented photographer and a pleasure to work with.  She has the gift of getting people to open themselves up to her on camera.  In fact she’s supplied the photos for a few other Broke-Asses of the Week like Kristin Luna and Jax Steager.  If you’re interested in being part of the project you should contact her through her site.  Otherwise read below to see what she has to say about being a broke-ass.

Name: Julie Michelle

Age: You know, it’s impolite to ask a lady her age. Ah, what the hell' I’m 43.

Occupation: Photographer (,,

What neighborhood do you live in?: Inner Sunset

What are you listening to these days?: I recently saw the film The Runaways, so I’ve been reliving my youth. Joan Jett, Berlin, Adam and the Ants. But when I’m editing photos, I listen to a lot of classical music: Satie, Chopin, Debussy' romantic or moody stuff.

Best money saving tip: Have friends that you can barter, borrow or share things with.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Frou-frou stuff like lingerie.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: A plane ticket to Buenos Aires and twelve pairs of beautiful Argentine tango shoes with stiletto heels. I had to leave some clothes behind in BA because I couldn’t get all of the shoes in my luggage.

How’d that feel?: Fucking awesome. Argentine-made tango shoes are sexy as hell. They also cost about three times as much here in the US, so in a strange way I saw myself as saving money at the time.

Favorite cheap eat: Char siu bau and har gow from one of the little walk-in dim sum places on Stockton. You can get a decent, filling lunch for $3-$4. I like to eat my dim sum as I’m walking and taking photos in Chinatown.

Favorite dive bar: Gold Dust Lounge (where me and the CALIBER boys meet up) or the Buddha Lounge in Chinatown.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: A free week’s stay at an apartment in Venice, Italy. *sigh*

Favorite free thing to do: Sometimes there are free milongas (tango dances) outdoors in locations around the city. Also, just walking in Golden Gate Park. I’m there a lot since I practically live across the street from it.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: A Canon 5D and some sweet lenses, a new laptop and a one-way plane ticket somewhere outside of the US.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: I lost the quote-unquote day job over a year ago, which resulted in a drastic change in everything I thought I knew as stable and normal. Not having money has really made me realize what I hold most dear, which is my time, my creativity and my passion for photography. It’s not about what I own; that doesn’t register with me. I think it makes my life easier because I don’t want what I don’t have. It’s not always easy, being broke-ass. But I’m a lot happier now that I’m doing what I love.

Do you own my book?: Of course I do. I bought that book when I first moved to SF.

Best hangover cure: A really hot mug of strong Lipton’s tea with tons of sugar and lemon.

Are you a hipster?: I think I’m too old to qualify. I do have an ironic t-shirt around here somewhere, though.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.