When I set out to get some shots of the fantastic new New Zealand men's grooming line Triumph & Disaster, I asked photog Justin Violini if he had any fit, sporty fellows who might be good to help illustrate the story (Dion Nash, who started the line, played cricket and Australian Rules rugby for years in NZ). Justin suggested Austin Klucker, a former wrestler and current barber, and avid grooming enthusiast, so it was pretty much a perfect fit. Read Austin's analysis of the products over at NewNowNext.com.
The bride and groom were fine, a bit overwhelmed by family and friends, but on-task and safely checked into the hotel the night before the wedding. Those of us in the wedding party staying back at their apartment woke up anxious, however. We moved around in our little loops, affected by that vague sense of many things left undone that cloud the hours leading up to weddings. Then I remembered that there was a bottle of rosé in the fridge left over from the welcome reception two days prior--before the bachelor party, the bachelorette party, the rehearsals, and all of it. Poured glasses for myself and a bridesmaid and the jumpy nerves mellowed out instantly. Being in New Orleans didn't hurt on the mellowing.
Bride Leah, seen from above at the hotel, on the way to get photos done. Love this shot.
In the groomsmen's room, which was really the bride and groom's room that we commandeered. Drink of choice: Maker's, rocks.
The bride and the brother. You'd hardly Kevin is a gonzo snowboarding stuntboy with a YouTube handle of "Gutterball" that afternoon.
No, rather more Jazz Age bootblack. In fact, he did help me polish my shoes that afternoon.
Mother of the groom, adjusting her shoe. What is it about women in fancy dresses adjusting their shoe straps? Something very lovely about it.
There was some consternation in the groomsmen's room before the wedding. I'd spoken to groom Mike from New York about some wardrobe details and when the topic of bowties came up and whether we should get clip-on or go old school I cavalierly insisted we'd be fine with old school. It was not to be so easy. I'd figured that with YouTube how-to videos and the fact that Mike is a tech guy, and a musician, and the rest of the groomsmen were musicians too, a fairly high collective level of smarts and deterity would get it sorted. An hour or so later we had some sad looking bowties between us.
How many musicians does it take to tie a bow-tie? For a moment it seemed like it would take more than we had. The good news was: we didn't have any extra time or energy to worry about any wedding details.
Mid bowtie crisis we had an unexpectd visit from the bride. I think we managed to conceal our ineptitude.
Details, Esquire and GQ all failed us on the video how-to front. But it was this fellow Charles French who we discovered who finally cracked the code for us. Respect & Thanks!
Success at last. Getting it tied properly around the groom's actual neck took some more time, but at least I hadn't ruined the wedding.
It's a fine thing to have the groom playing at the wedding. Frequent co-hort in music Ian Smith films the occasion.
The morning before the wedding friends and family were arriving in New Orleans and that inescapable level of tension that surrounds that kind of confluence of personalities, details and never-ending texts was building. But I remember waking up and hering Mike and Leah in their living room, moving around and packing and getting organized and strategizing how to contend with all these various players and as overwhelming as it all must have been they just kept breaking out into laughter, over and over. And I thought, if they can be consistently amused by this whole massive, overwhelming thing, and find the same things in it funny, and crack each other up then that was an excellent indicator of their future together.
My piece on Tel Aviv for NewNowNext is up here; I'm posting some photos that didn't make it into the story. More than "some", quite a lot, actually. Great visual town. Just wish I'd had more time to hang out and explore and shoot.
Above, and below, the rooftop at The Brown, a wonderful, intimate boutique hotel. No pool on the roof (as the lovely concierge who brought to mind Audrey Hepburn said, "we're 10 minutes from the beach." And they are. The rooftop bar has become a very buzzy, very gay scene since I was there in June.
The tub on the rood and the showers only run cold water--you'd basically never want a hot shower in sunny Tel Aviv.
No one would argue that Tel Aviv has major waves but there are some decent ones near the Hilton Hotel beach. And where's there's surf there are surfers, so that's always good.
This photo from the Island House Tumblr page I've been curating from the archives from my five shoots for them has become something of a tumblr phenomenon, hitting close to 3,000 reblogs in 5 days. There must be something about it that evokes something pretty meaningful for people--intimacy, morning sex, sunlight.
My roommate and I rented "Friends With Benefits" off his iTunes account and couldn't make it through 15 minutes of the flat attempt at modern day Howard Hawks-style banter. Couldn't even make it to the scene with JT's bare ass and now I'm not sure I even want to see it. That's how unlikable the film was. Roommate kept saying "You owe me $5," the price of the rental--it had been my suggestion. So I taped some money to our chalkboard wall and sent him this photo.
Interviewed and photographed Mike Hartwick, the founder of an ingenious dry-land surfing program--well, not surfing, but it's on a surfboard and it's similar in it's physical benefits. Full story at NewNowNext.
Saw this is the men's room at Yellow Jacket Social Club in Austin. What's a weed boner? Urban Dictionary defines it as "when you blaze too much, and lost control of your penis. 2 Getting too horny and high at the same time, and poppsing some massive chub." Note also the reference to Austin's cinematic ringleader Richard Linklater in the upper left. Busy restroom.
In 2001 Hurricane Michelle was bearing down on Key West and the town was boarded up and evacuated, except for a few hardy and often drunken souls, including me and a bunch of friends. As we drove down a deserted Duval Street we passed a store with a giant sheet of plywood over the window. Some clever and impudent sould had spray painted the wood with the taunting "Ooooh, Michelle!". It was a welcome expression of exasperation at the Cone Of Anxiety, the 24 hour news cycle's asnine, fevered graphic projection of where a storm might hit. This became an all-purpose rallying cry for us over the years. I think this Ghostbusters-referencing hurricane graffiti I spotted in Brooklyn is a worthy heir and I hope to see it enter the lexicon. And fun to say in a growly, possesed Sigourney Weaver voice.
The dust is settling and the sleep patterns are beginning to return to normal after the balls-out marathon week of competitions, seminars and truly epic revelry that is the Cocktail World Cup. When 21 bartenders from around the world, assorted cocktail writers and media and a ton of brand folk get together the game is changed, party-wise. An interesting thing though--there was a real fraternal aspect to the late nights, of bartenders coming together through some real shared sensibilities and passions. And almost inhuman stamina. Which you needed to get up in the morning and listen to people like David Wondrich and Salvatore Calabrese drop knowledge. Sensory overload all around. Above, a shot from behind the judges at the final competition in the Cup, held in a giant circus tent somwhere in the wilds around Queenstown.
Team Italy's Daniele Dalla Pola brandishing bitters (Brooklyn Hempispherical Rhubarb Bitters, to be precise) at one of the highlights of the week. After a punch competition (dauntingly judged by David "Punch" Wondrich, the man who knows more about the stuff thatn anyone else) the teams of bartenders took turns behind an incredibly well-stocked bar and made cocktails for the assembled, who included actual real local folk, not just the ingroup of 60 who traveled as a pack all week. it was great to see the bartenders just freehanding cocktails and making drinks to order, and making drinks up.
3 of Daniele's creations from his turn at the bar, all employing rhubarb bitters. I'm particularly proud of being able to carry 3 drinks in one hand.
At the punch challenge, Team New Zealand rocked a punch served from a gourd.
For this challenge teams had to build a cocktail around wine, wine from the very vineyard we were at, the very beautiful Peregrine.
Spotted this out-of-place looking bird on the pier around 14th Street, wrote to my birder friend Mark Hedden to see what it was. "It's
a Canada Goose. It's looking for bread crumbs and what not. They're a
pretty people-friendly species. They really thrive in urbanized
habitats, though what they really like are the grassy open areas in all
the corporate office parks on US1 in North Jersey. There's tens of
thousands of them there. They like it there so much their populations
are exploding and they no longer bother to migrate to find food, so
they fly around airports in winter and make the occasional US Air
flight land in the Hudson.
After my review of the Leica M9 went live I got this great letter from an enterprising soul and a true camera lover. Check out his site leicadream.com for some sweet Leica gear....
Read your M9 review with great interest.
Shortly after its announcement in September 2009, I was lucky to
spend a few days with one of the first production cameras to get out of
the Leica factory in Solms.
Sadly, I had to give it back. Now I want one, and I want it bad.
Unfortunately, it's a ridiculously expensive tool, and I simply can't
justify the hefty price tag. I guess I could sell a kidney or
something, but I'd still have a hard time convincing my wife that I
really need another camera.
I set up this site in a desperate attempt to fund one. Ok, it's
not as desperate as it sounds. It's all done tongue in cheek and with
lots of humour, realizing that I'll probably have to start saving like
I don't expect to make a lot of money, but initial response has
been overwhelming. People are buying T-shirts, SIGG water bottles,
thongs (!) and other stuff, and even donating money without asking for
anything back (and not just pennies, either). Needless to say, I'm both
grateful and humble.
My hands-on Leica M9 review just went online over at Switched.com--check it out here. I won't reprise my gushing piece other than to say: next spare $7,000 is dog-eared for this camera. I'm posting some shots I got with the thing--I think the images speak to the incredibly rich image quality the Leica lens and full frame sensor deliver.
Just interviewed the rapscallion Liverpool band The Hot Melts over at Embury Cocktails about their drinking habits on and off the road. I learned that gin is made from the tears of widows and divorcées, 3 beers is the optimum number to consume before performing, and that a day in bed with a spliff and a copy of The NeverEnding story is the ideal response to a hangover. These guys rock.
Something about the tagline on the teaser one sheet for Spike Jones' adaptation of "Where The Wild Things Are" struck me as odd: "There's one in all of us". My slight sense of unease turned into weak-kneed laughter when I saw it written up on my pal John Walsh's blog, You Are Hated. His headline with the poster reads "Not sure how I feel about this tagline". His copy: "I dunno. Buy me a drink and we'll talk about it."
Over at Embury Cocktails we got a chance to sit down with Paula Reynolds, brand ambassador for Jameson, and talk Irish Whiskey for St. Patrick's Day. She made a Jameson Whiskey Sour for us that was really quite good-I say that having never considered using Irish Whiskey in a sour. And here she answers some burning questions on whiskey including: what's the deal with whiskey/whisky? Also, for the forward thinking drinker, check out our hangover cures from Josh Condon--and please, add your own--share the knowledge.
The French online radio station "Play Misty For Me" is a tribute to the Clint Eastwood film and plays all kinds of jazz and mellow tunes for, as Eastwood's DJ character says in the film, "Lonely lovers on a cold, cold night". It's been keeping me on track over here at Meerkat during a cold, cold winter and a hectic time. A radio station that is an homage to a movie is the best idea I've come across in a long time--it would be tremendous if there were a wave of these little fan stations. You can listen to it directly from the website playmisty4me.com or go to Jazz on iTunes radio, where it's listed. Here's the pre-music video sequence from the film with "The First Time Ever I Saw His Face".
Over at emburycocktails.com we've debuted a new feature: Cross-Training Mondays, devoted to the rest of life outside of drinking, and how to best
manage and enhance one's imbibing. Wellness strategies (raw vegetable juice, y'all!), ways to maintain while partying and actual food will be explored. Our associate Stuart Krimko (right)contributed the first piece, about an egg & cheese sandwich that made a party we threw a whole lot more enjoyable for us.
After repeated posts of live clips of Radiohead's live-wire performance at the 2009 Grammys were repeatedly taken down from YouTube, sgtpopoy posted a cool hybrid clip that seems to be staying. An excellent audio recording made during the performance plays over a montage of HD stills from the broadcast, and the visuals-to-music ratio is leveraged surprisingly effectively-something to look at, but you're really listening. Very rich sound, something that was missing from compressed YouTube clips before. And the video kinda just made you want to be there, teased you to further imagine the in-person experience. This slideshow gets the ambience down, while letting your mind wander with the music.