Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Art Deco and the Machine Age...

Each informs the Other!


3 Picture Deal...

Telluride Photo Fest 2010

Telluride's inaugural Photography Festival September 20 - 26, 2010. The core of the weeklong event is geared toward professional and experienced amateur photographers with photography workshops, seminars, symposiums, portfolio reviews and exhibits.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pall Malls & Skinny Catfish....

Yesterday, I got to pick a restaurant for yet another Birthday feast with my wife's family along with my Mom and Dad.  I had been hearing great things about Manchac lately which is really called Middendorf's on Lake Maurepas just outside of New Orleans.  Anytime, I can take a stroll down memory lane, I'm there.  On the way to this place I was remembering the long journey's to eat with my grand parents in their Oldsmobile car.  55 was the speed limit and that's where the dial was set, no music just lots of sounds of old people sucking their teeth and the smell of burning Pall Malls.

There was always a line when we got there and most of the time we were starving.  When we got to the table we'd eat all the crackers and butter before the waitress even took our order.  Last night, before I even realized it, I had a cracker in my mouth looking around the place.  You can visit your ancestor's tomb but if you really want to remember them and really feel their essence, go to their favorite eateries.  The smell and taste and cracking paint will put you seated right beside them as you layer the place with new memories. 

Middendorf's famous thin fried catfish!

After we filled ourselves with fried seafood, we got in the car and was reminded of those hour long rides home in the Oldsmobile.  Lips smacking, the sound of Tic Tac's being passed around in that little plastic container and a big smile on Grandmother's face.  The other sound was a tiny crack in the driver's window, the Pall Mall creeping through it.  Every time I drive 55 in my old car, I long for these simpler times.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning rain, Chopin and a Latte....

I had plans to wake up and get in my work shop to finish refinishing my old crank out windows for our cottage but was escorted into the morning with the sound of rain.  Oh well, there's nothing better than a quiet morning with some light Chopin, a latte with the house asleep to dream.  Dreaming is really important in life, not far fetched dreams, but ones you can get your hands around and bring to life.  The Buddhist say we "suffer because we desire", and I've been reminding myself daily of these four words since I've been making more money in the past two years.  It's easy when you're poor and living on your own to keep things simple but when you start having some change in your pocket, one can easily live for the next purchase.  When I first began my creative life, nothing could take me away from my "dream".  It was to make a record and not really knowing how to get from point A to B took all the effort I could muster.  Through this process I found fulfillment and some sort of enlightenment, which I hadn't had to this point.  There's always a new dream.  This week my friend and collaborator Donovan Guidry whet our palette's yet again with the idea of restoring some unique pieces we find along the way.  

Last night my wife and I were invited to the opening of Anthropologie in New Orleans by our friend Kayla.  I was very inspired by some of the textures in the space, but the main thing was this book shelve-letter file piece of furniture.  I've been meaning to build something to store vinyl records and this may be just the right idea for it.  

I was also thinking of getting into fixing up old lamps again, very easy to rewire and you can find them everywhere.  

There's one thing about dreaming though, sometimes they all come at once.  Maybe I need to build a cabinet for that, to store them all and make sure I get to them before they're lost.  Yesterday was a good day to celebrate a birthday, no fanfare and loud birthday songs and fake kisses, only inspiration and good  food at my favorite table in the city, Le Crepe Nanou!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage Freestyle...

Freestyle or Latin Freestyle, also called Latin Hip Hop in its early years, is a form of electronic music that emerged in the early 1980s, and was at its peak in popularity from 1987-1991 and declined in popularity by 1992.

The music first developed primarily in the Latino communities of New York City and then Miami in the early 1980s.  Initially, it was a fusion of the vocal styles found in 1970s disco music with the syncopated, synthetic instrumentation of 1980s electro, as favored by fans of breakdancing.  It was also influenced by sampling, as found in hip hop music.

This music was the music of the peach fuzzed mustache set, along the mississippi river from Lafayette to New Orleans.  it was modern, danceable and had a swagger beyond belief.  Guys with names like MeMe, Jud Judice, and Ragas found their inner metropolitan selves by embracing this music.  It didn't matter if the bars were in the middle of the woods, near the swamp or at the "Kingfish" in Lafayette, they had arrived and were on a different path than their parents.

This music was undeniable to the city folks too from the suburban areas of New Orleans.  They may have possessed the greatest taste in record collecting and showed up to the country blasting music with English accents but when they got to the party, the swagger took hold of them.

The look was Skidz pants, pinch rolled with aqua socks.  The Mods from the city were pinching Girbaud jeans with the tiny white tag on the front.  The country's answer was ZCavaricci and neon polyester shirts.

Stevie B was a master song writer in the style and huge in the country.  He was so big even the parents knew his music.  His big song was "Spring Love".

I got to see him in concert once and you'd swear Elvis was in the building, of course the only song you wanted to hear was "Fantasy Girl".

I saw Egyptian Lover once too.  Not huge in the scene but am giving him props for sampling Kraftwerk.

This guy was probably the most tasteful of the bunch and actually had more of a complete album and not  just about the single.  The city folks couldn't deny "Silent Morning".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mining for Gold...

When you think back on your life, you realize that there were important events, people and places that sent you down your unique path.  In my high school years, there were the Bon Jovi people, the Purple Rainer's and then there were the pinch rollers.  Just as I was finally about to remove the peach fuzz from my lip and leave Morris Day and the Time behind for good, there was a new sound luring me in.  The Gold Mine in New Orleans in the late 80's had indeed found gold.  On the radio like I said before there was Journey, Zeppelin, Freddie Jackson, Poison, Keith Sweat, Prince, but in this little hole in the wall bar in the French Quarter was a brand new sound.  It was more than a sound, more than music, more like religion.  It was a new path of discovery.  At such an impressionable time, especially being from the farm lands of Louisiana, a young mind is hungry for someone to follow or relate to.  The DJ was spinning all this music from England and we were overdosing on it weekly.  Though we all were from small towns, our imaginations were opening up to different places and people in the world all intertwined with the strangeness of the Quarter.  I remember hitting the road for the 45 minute drive playing Depeche Mode singles that I found at Tower Records.  Or the mix tape my friend Lance Grady made from his vinyl collection he scored at Octavia records Uptown.  It was really like digging for treasure.  We would hear songs and hound the DJ for the band name and the search was on.  Keep in mind there was no internet, so we'd have to find the record shops that were hip to it.  This music single handedly has led me on the creative path that I'm on.  It was the first voice to whisper the question, "what else is there inside of you, who are you"?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moscot Originals...

At one time I swore I would wear these for life.  I discovered this place walking around the lower east side heading to my favorite coffee spot.  This is the kind of place that makes you love NY.  It has the perfect mix of new and old with great quality.  I found out they were doing vintage style frames with a modern twist and dropped in.  My favorite was the Lemtosh with green lenses.  This reminded me of my days in the machine shop wearing the old safety glasses to go out on the town so we could look like Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode.  While in NY I would often drop into the shop for a little adjustment to my lenses and carry on to the cafe.  

Like everything else in NY, it became a huge trend and was hard to keep wearing them, but like hats it will be temporary and I can go back to wearing them daily.  

The Lemtosh Frames

In Tortoise shell

It's hard to imagine that Lou Reed and Andy Warhol discovered Moscot's in their day too while brainstorming The Velvet Underground record.  Warhol envisioned the huge banana through Moscot lenses....

Fun While It Lasted...

"To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think."
—Warren St John

A few years ago, Bow ties made their way back into American fashion.  I had fun with them for a bit miss matching it with pieces that I've never seen it worn with.  This guy has a nice take on it, is that Kip Malone? Ha!

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted......

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Raleigh Factory...

When you buy a Raleigh, you not only buy a bicycle, but a piece of history, because Raleigh has been around as long as the bicycle itself. It began in 1887, when 38-year-old Englishman, Frank Bowden was told he had only months to live. Rather than accept his fate, he chose to follow the advice of a doctor who told him to take up cycling to save his life. 

Six months later Bowden was fit and active and eager to track down the makers of the machine he had ridden back to health. He found them in a small workshop on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, England. There, three men were turning out three bicycles a week. 

On December 18, 1887, Bowden bought a share in the company, which, three years later, would grow to become the Raleigh Cycle Company. Its early commercial success was based on quality machines raced by international cycling champions. By 1892 Raleigh led the world in bicycle-racing success, winning over 2,300 prizes. And by 1896, Raleigh operated the largest cycle factory in the world. 

Bowden sought out the best technical minds in the business offering salaries they couldn't refuse, creating a company whose reputation couldn't be touched. Raleigh pioneered the 3-speed; the all-steel bike; the lower bottom bracket which allows riders to put their feet on the ground; the self-generating light; all advancements without which the bicycle we know today would not exist. 

Raleigh entered the American market in 1933 and today its US headquarters are south of Seattle in Kent, Washington. As always, Raleigh remains at the forefront of bicycle design, with its research-and-development teams focused on cutting-edge materials and technologies to take cycling and Raleigh into the next millennium.

2010 Raleigh One Way

Raleigh One Way...

Design wins again!  My wife and I are thinking of getting bikes because we live on the river in New Orleans where there is a bike path.  Now keep in mind we started out looking on craigslist for old bikes, OK maybe vintage raleigh's for cheap and then we did a little research and we were crippled by these beauties.  I remember the freedom these english racers gave me just before the years of driving.  I remember being able to ride for miles out of my little town and explore far beyond what I thought I could do.  I wonder what that Brooks saddle would feel like today?

Time Capturer...

Over the weekend photographer Herman Leonard passed and immediately I thought of the photo of Dexter Gordon (above).  This photo had always whet my appetite to explore the golden age of jazz.  His photo's tell  the story of how the music came to be.  From tiny clubs in Harlem to dance halls in New Orleans, you could almost feel the rhythm and feel the smoke against your skin.  I recently learned he was living in New Orleans before the storm but had moved since his home flooded.  His work showcases many of our beloved artists in their natural work environment amongst their peers.

Dizzy Gillespie

Charlie Parker


Palm Court, New Orleans

The Elegance of Ben Hogan...

In this day and age we are obsessed with authenticity and portraying ourselves as if we possess the greatness of the past by dressing like the people we admire.  We foolishly don the cap and loafers and smoke the cigarette but fail to realize the long journey to the beauty of these characters.  The Ben Hogan we know was elegant on the course and a master of the game but no one imagines his path.  He started as a club fitter when he worked at a local club.  He caddied and got to hit free balls and played everyday.  His girl friend's father owned a movie theater, so the young Ben would watch the news reels over and over studying his idol, Bobby Jones' swing.  

We never imagine that he could have had someone he admired as much as we admire him.  Everyone has influences in all walks of life and it's the ones with passion that reach perfection.  It's borderline obsessive compulsive.  Mr. Hogan hit 12 shots with each club in the bag as his practice and he wasn't done until each shot went where he wanted it to go.

Ben Hogan 1912-1997

Sustainable New Orleans..

Since 2008, Hollygrove Market & Farm has worked to increase access of fresh, local produce to Hollygrove and the surrounding neighborhoods of New Orleans. Through their twice weekly produce market, community gardens, and mentor farmers they are able to provide residents with an affordable option for fresh, local produce as well as resources and space to cultivate their knowledge of growing healthy food.

We got the best black bean salsa and ginger root juice from local vendors along with bread and healthy desert alternatives.  Everyone associated with this place was very helpful with questions we had about gardening without pesticides and seasonal vegetables.  We plan to volunteer 3 hours a week not only for our free $25 basket, but to obtain the knowledge and the peace of mind that comes with connecting to the earth and the local community.