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Broke-Ass of the Week: Artist/Musician Thomas Wing aka Blackout Make Out

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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.


A few years ago there was an art walk on Divisidero. We were at one of Kelly Malone‘s art spaces and the party was in full force. Lauryn McCarthy and I and been talking earlier in the night about how there was someone who followed us both on instagram with the handle blackoutmakeout, and that while neither of us knew who he was, we loved his handle. Plus he left great comments. At some point in the night, the power went out on Divis and the whole street went dark. Lauryn and I, already totally wasted, looked at each other and started chanting “BLACK OUT MAKE OUT! BLACK OUT MAKE OUT!” and everyone thought we were crazy. Later on, after harassing him on twitter and/or instagram we found out he was actually nearby. Too bad he didn’t hear us.

Now that I get to have him as Broke-Ass of the Week I get to find out more about this elusive Thomas Wing aka Blackout Make Out. When I asked him about what he does, he said:

Being an artist and a musician is something I’ve done since I was young and something I’ll always continue to do. I’m obsessed with creating and I believe that what I produce helps me understand myself and the world around me. Being a musician keeps me open minded, keeps me listening, hearing details, and educating myself as I age.

These days I am working on my music intensely. I’ve produced a huge number of tracks since this past winter, and I’m refining the ones I like the most. The demos are slowly trickling out to my soundcloud page and there is a video here.

Now let’s see what Mr. Make Out has to say about being a broke-ass:

Name: Thomas Wing

Age: Dunno. Stopped counting after 28.

Occupation: Artist / Musician

What neighborhood do you live in?: Cole Valley

Best money saving tip: Don’t lose your job (if you have one). Get a bike asap.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Noodles. It’s a pretty unpopular opinion here in SF. Everyone loves Ramen and Pho…not me though. For the record I don’t like beach or pool noodles either. They’re useless.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: A degree. Still in debt from it. Decided to just say fuck it and not pay it back. But the amount I have paid off is worth more than anything I own. Aside from that depressing thought, I have a few nice instruments and an apartment, so I’ve got that going for me.

How’d that feel?: The degree? Pointless. If you want to be an artist, you don’t need a degree or a few terrible teachers in need of a steady pay to tell you you are one. I already was one well before the age of college or university. However, you do need practice, various disciplines and inspiration. Those are probably best found traveling foreign lands with cheap wines and a skinny dipping partner.

Favorite cheap eat: Pizza…every time.

Favorite dive bar: Saltiest: Geary Club. Most loving: Thieves Tavern. Favorite Greyhounds: Club Deluxe

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: One time a taxi driver forgot to turn on the meter.

Favorite free thing to do: It used to be hanging in Dolores Park with some tall boys and a sound system throwing “heat raves” but these days it’s working on my music and inventing strange things like Cat Parks. Why isn’t that a thing?

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: Brunch. Then a huge space in San Francisco for artists, musicians, writers, creatives to meet and work for free to restore the creative genocide brought to this city in recent years by the cost of living.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: My life is a struggle. I love my struggle.

Do you own my book?: Not yet, but I follow you on all fronts of the interwebs.

Best hangover cure: Bacon bloody mary’s at Thieves Tavern.

Are you a hipster?: I’m not sure, but sometimes when I go camping I can pull off the “lumberjack” look. And, yes I ride a track bike. I don’t know, man. I like to think of myself as a Californian.

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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.