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Monday, March 8, 2010

Here's Why Photo of Dead Funk Musician -- Without Glasses -- Was in Optometrist's Window

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge It's ROGER! - BENJAMIN MAIRS
  • Benjamin Mairs
  • It's ROGER!
Like many of you readers, we were a bit taken aback when we walked past Dr. David Stamper's optometry offices on Mission and 21st all last month. Pictured in the store's window was the above photo of "ROGER!"

Needless to say, this was a jarring sight. We don't recognize Roger by sight. Also, most notably, whatever it is that Roger's wearing, he is not wearing glasses. Good for him -- but this is an optometrist's window.

So, what's the deal? We made a few calls and, eventually, we found out.

The Roger in question is Roger Troutman, the pioneering funk musician (and the Roger portion of "Zapp and Roger") who was known as master of the talkbox decades before T-Pain. Yes, that's Roger melodiously uttering "California Love" on 2-Pac's eponymous monster hit. You may recognize Troutman's big hit, "More Bounce to the Ounce," because Biggie Smalls sampled it.

The underappreciated Troutman spent much of his life in his hometown, Hamilton, Ohio, and spent much of his hard-earned money building up the place. He died, tragically, in 1999, in a murder-suicide at the hands of his brother, Larry.

Fair enough. So, what was he doing in an optometrist's window? Benjamin Mairs is the artist who created the Roger installation. He told SF Weekly that Troutman was an underappreciated genius and his choice for a window installation during Black History month. So there you have it.

This month, incidentally, Mairs has installed a "series of Alice in Wonderland visuals." The inspiration for this display is easier to trace. Was it inspired by Tim Burton's film? "Very much so," says the artist.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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