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2010 Hot 20 Under 40

2010 Hot 20: Michelle Blade, Painter, 2010 SECA Art Award Finalist and Owner of Sight School Gallery

Artist Michelle Blade is the first to admit that she has rightfully earned her role as the token black sheep of her family. Instead of staying in LA to join their restaurant business, she fled to SF in 2006 to pursue a master’s of fine arts in painting at California College of the Arts. Soon she was organizing social experiments such as group hugs with strangers in Golden Gate Park and a full moon feast and fire ceremony that entailed burning bits of paper scrawled with people’s wishes and burdens. “In grad school, I started painting large groups of individuals going out into nature and doing crazy things,” says Blade, whose canvases nod to Romanticism and German Expressionism. “A teacher of mine asked, ‘Michelle, why is this just a painting?’”

Hot 20 2010: Wassana Korkhieola and Lalita Souksamlane, Owners, Osha Thai

Wassana Korkhieola, 37, and Lalita Souksamlane, 39
Owners, Osha Thai

Ask Thailand natives Lalita Souksamlane or Wassana Korkhieola about the time Radiohead dined at Osha Thai, and they’ll look at you blankly. The sisters’ idea of a celebrity is more like chef Charles Phan of the Slanted Door, whose take on Vietnamese food has provided inspiration for Osha’s own mini-empire.

Hot 20 2010: Laura Brunow Miner, Founder of Pictory

Laura Brunow Miner, 28
Founder, Pictory

Hot 20 2010: Meklit Hadero, Musician

Meklit Hadero,

Meklit Hadero was born to sing. “I always wanted to be a singer,” says the Ethiopian-born, U.S.-raised cultural activist who studied political science at Yale and ended up serving as the director at Red Poppy Art House for two years. “You hear singers say all the time, ‘When I was barely talking, I was singing, and I always felt like something was missing in my life.’ That was me. When I got to San Francisco, I realized it put up or shut up.” The result is Hadero’s new album, On a Day Like This ... .

Hot 20 Under 40: Reader's Choice Nominations Now Open

Every October, we publish the Hot 20 Under 40, a series of profiles on the city's most up-and-coming movers and shakers (check out last year's class, which included The Dodos, Stephen Elliott, Tim Lincecum and The Brooklyn Circus, here). We're gearing up to select our 2010 class and are now accepting submissions for the Reader's Choice spot.

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