In addition to some biblical downpour, Downtown Los Angeles has also had a couple crazy foggy nights recently. Very Raymond Chandler/Blade Runner. Found myself walking around Chinatown and sort of Upper Downtown, snapping some shots with my iPhone 6+. Yes, I was wishing I had the 7.
I know that's my handwriting on Connie Chung's face, and I know I loved that she said that in an interview--possibly in the 80s but if not the early 90s--but I am quite uncertain about where this whole collage image came from. It's in a file on a hard drive I haven't been into in years. Curious.
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.