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Hot 20 2009: Author Stephen Elliott

Photography by Anön.

A recent entry from writer Stephen Elliott’s Twitter page: “Interning at McSweeney’s today and then heading to a porn shoot.” An illuminative morsel, to say the least. The Mission resident does not, in fact, intern at the Valencia Street publishing house; he merely bleeds its free Wi-Fi.

Hot 20 2009: The Dodos

Photograhpy by Anön.

Watching the Dodos multitask onstage is enough to make you sweat. “We love having to accomplish so much with so little,” says guitarist-vocalist Meric Long. If we’re not physically putting out, then I feel like we’re not really playing.” Long always intended to start a band, but performed solo until the right person came along. “I had a clear idea of what I wanted—a drummer who was willing to play a bit unconventionally.” When Logan Kroeber entered the picture in 2005, the Dodos were born.

Hot 20 2009: James Syhabout, Chef-Owner of Commis

Photography by John Lee.

Chef James Syhabout’s timing is spot-on. Just as the recession has people questioning fine-dining, he’s redefined it with Commis, his tiny three-month-old restaurant set in his native Oakland. Commis’ food is four-star exquisite, but the prix-fixe menu stops at three courses. There are neither tablecloths nor pretensions. The open kitchen’s counter allows patrons to sit within feet of Syhabout and his small team, as they meticulously prepare California-fresh dishes that are rooted in classic technique, such as smoked sardines with green-tomato confit in rhubarb juice, or roasted chicken paired with porcinis emulsified with foie gras.

Hot 20 2009: The Brooklyn Circus

Photography by John Lee

For Gabriel Garcia, the East Coast-West Coast rivalry is a nonissue. “We’re really here to invite West Coasters to come see a certain piece of New York,” says Garcia, co-director of the Brooklyn Circus BKc Brand and owner of the Brooklyn Circus SF, which opened its flagship clothing store on Fillmore last year.

Hot 20 2009: The Mad Men, Andrew O’Dell and PJ Pereira

Photography Erik Almås

The scene couldn’t have been more Jerry Maguire: Two ad executives are sitting across from each other with their laptops in a Starbucks, their temporary office, the day after leaving prestigious corporate positions to start a new kind of firm—one that makes the consumer the priority. Both are thinking, "Oh, my God, what have we done?" But cliché or not, within weeks of that meeting, PJ Pereira and Andrew O’Dell had landed Lego as the first client of their namesake firm.

Hot 20 2009: Anastasia Griffith, Actress in NBC'S 'Trauma'

Judging from Anastasia Griffith’s riveting performance as a drug-using minx-cum-restaurateur on FX’s Emmy-winning drama Damages, it’s only a matter of time before the Paris-born actress starts raking in the award nominations. For now, earning distinction as one of this year’s Hot 20 evokes an acceptance speech from the modest Londoner. “I’m definitely under 40, so I qualify,” says Griffith, who stars as a paramedic in Trauma, NBC’s new high-octane medical drama set in SF. “I’m fairly of-the-moment, working on a show that’s being filmed in San Francisco. I’ve never received accolades before, so this is very flattering.”

Hot 20 2009: Amanda Adams, Archaeologist and Founder of Loki

When Amanda Adams dreamed of being an archaeologist, she pictured something more Indiana Jones than library-locked academic. So when she saw the results of her year-long digs being transcribed into esoteric tomes that were bound to gather dust on college library shelves, she decided to start her own company with the aim of sharing her historical discoveries with a wider audience.

Hot 20 2009: Monique Jenkinson, Performance Artist

Photography by Erik Almås.

Monique Jenkinson claims that her parents have been grooming her to be a gay man since birth—odd considering her upbringing in the “white Christian suburbs” of Denver. “My mom was really into old movies, camp and disco,” says Jenkinson. “At a very young age, she put in my little hands Miss Piggy’s Guide to Life and DV, the autobiography of Diana Vreeland. My father would dress me as Raggedy Ann just for fun.”

James Freeman Is Obsessed With Pizza

Man cannot live on coffee alone, even if that man is James Freeman. What else gets him going? Pizza, an obsession he shares with his four-year-old son and frequent dining companion, Dashiell.

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