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Jason Lewis: Organizer of snowball fights and swap meets

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Four years ago, Jason Lewis and Monica Hernandez met at a New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco. Hernandez was thinking about hosting a mud wrestling party. A few weeks later, Hernandez did have a party — but it was lube wrestling and Lewis hosted. Hernandez and Lewis have been dating ever since, and together they put on all kinds of wacky events for San Franciscans.

The most recent is SwapSF.

The idea is that people bring the clothes they know they should get rid of; people tend to leave with about one-third of what they bring — but there isn’t a limit. The mainstays are jeans and T-shirts, Lewis said, but there is a growing number of shoes and lots of old Burning Man costumes. At one of the swaps someone handed Lewis a $3,000 tailored suit in his size. At the last swap, he got a female “fat” suit, which he plans to wear in Bay to Breakers.

Right before the doors open, DJ maer spins up some glitch hop — “hip hop that’s been screwed up in a techno kind of way,” Lewis explained. When swappers arrive, they are greeted at the door by volunteers who help organize clothing and charge $5 if you bring clothing to swap, $10 if you don’t. The next person you meet is Lewis, offering you a drink — alcoholic or not.

At the last swap there were seven tables, a wall of cubbyholes, and string on the walls to accommodate hangers. Lewis says there were about 3,000 pieces of clothing, and at the end of the swap there were still 12 moving boxes and two garbage bags of clothing to be donated. Donations went to Dolores Street Community Services, the AIDS Emergency Fund and the trauma unit of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, where staff sometimes cut clothing off a patient.

Lewis and Hernandez’s next event will be a book swap on May 12.

“San Francisco leads the nation in consumption of literature and alcohol,” Lewis said. “Why not bring them together?”

More information can be found on the Web site: www.swapsf.com.


New project: www.swapsf.com

Last project: Capture the Flag Snowball Fight

Number of e-mails a day: Lots and lots

Number of voice mails a day: Not quite so many as e-mails. But I’m pretty textually active.

Best perk: A full social calendar

Gadgets: iBook and a megaphone

Education: Academy of Art, SF

Last conference: Burning Man

Original aspiration: Either a cowboy or an astronaut. Wait — how far back do you mean?

Career objective: To throw an event at the Concourse Exhibition Center


Age: 28

Likes: Maker’s Mark, road trips, karaoke, taco trucks

Dislikes: Sun-dried tomatoes, stretch Hummers, caffeinated water

Defining quirks: I tend to go on and on regarding etymology

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Sports/hobbies: Working out, cooking

Transportation: Muni

Vacation spot: Seattle in the summer

Role Model: April Ritzenthaler, a founder of the Roller Girl phenomenon.

Reading: I just started “Cerebus” by Dave Sim — only 15 volumes left to go!

Worst fear: Lifelike statues.

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