Dec 5, 2014

A $20 Thai Massage

A few weeks ago I was having a full on "YOLO" moment - not in an ironic way either. Truthfully, I have a lot of those moments because, though the saying is stupidly overused by people trying to get wasted on a Wednesday at 3:45, the sentiment is completely accurate.

YOLOing as follows: I met a new friend in Culver City for coffee at the deliciously pretentious Bar Nine cafe (feels like you're in Brooklyn with its lack of seating and cement on every surface). Afterwords, I remembered a friend of a friend had posted a photo of a Thai massage parlor in the area on Instagram (I understand how 'millennial-y' this is) boasting good reviews and $20 full body massages. Yelp had decent reviews for the place and it wasn't far.

Upon arriving, I was greeted by a lonely desk and curtain marking a waiting area filled to the brim with three chairs in the area the size of my bathroom. A hand appeared from behind the curtain and motioned me inside without saying a word. The Thai man who owned the hand, who was using his other hand to massage someone, pointed silently for me to go sit in a chair a few yards away.

I'm sitting in a room devoid of walls and filled with about 20 fully-reclined La-Z-Boy type chairs, each one covered in a large white towel and a small stool on each end. The lights are very dim and it sounds like there might be a hidden decorative water fountain somewhere making relaxing trickling noises. Nobody speaks. Nobody speaks English. Where's the bathroom? Where do I put my coat and purse? All of the masseurs are Thai men who appear to be 30-40 years old. There are both men and women, mostly middle aged Asian women, getting massaged in these giant chair-beds around me.

One of the masseurs comes over to me and 'gently' throws my shoulders down onto the bed, rolls up my skinny jeans as far as they will go (not far) and places my feet in a bucket of warm water. Then everything goes dark as he abruptly places a towel over my eyes. The angry slapping, grabbing, moving of skin and sometimes tickling that amounts to this massage begins. Some of the 'moving of skin' I find mildly pleasurable but it's very rough and I'm afraid to tell him to go at it more gently. The slapping catches me off guard. I first hear it being performed on the lady next to me. I raise my towel-mask to see what's happening and find her comfortably accepting loud slaps on her arm. Is she smiling? I cover my eyes again. Eventually I hear everybody at one point or another, including myself, getting rhythmically slapped all over. It sounds like a man angrily masturbating. Slightly disturbing but I can't stop now. I'm determined to get my full $20 worth.

The man massages me for a full 60 minutes. I'm impressed with his commitment to the advertised time. I'm a bit sore when I stand up and I'm covered in a strange oily moisture but my muscles do feel slightly looser. I wasn't sure how the payment and tip process worked. I thought it would be okay to tip $3 for a massage that I was probably going to need another massage to fix. Apparently, that's not okay. I gave him the demanded $5 tip - fair enough - and left. Though I'll never return to that parlor, I can't help but wonder if some of the other storefronts would provide a more satisfying $20 massage.

Aug 9, 2013

Los Angeles x My Imagination.

This: My moodboard of what I think Los Angeles could be like.* 

I'm moving there in three weeks to start my first job at Mullen as a Junior Art Director on the Acura account. I couldn't be more excited. I'll be working under Peter Rosch (the writer behind Axe's Susan Glenn campaign) - still can't believe it.

*I don't think this is actually LA's personality but doesn't it look like a place you'd want to live if this is how it felt? (I think so). While looking at this it might help to listen to Father John Misty or The Peach Kings. (Click on it big).

Aug 6, 2013

Jay Z x Picasso Baby.

At the advertising agency where I currently work, we talk a lot about creating work that makes you feel something - that gives you Stendhal Syndrome; rapid heart rate, fainting, dizziness - all because of art. 

Jay Z did just that. My heart is pounding and my cheeks hurt from smiling. During his latest short film and work of art, he rapped Picasso Baby to a small audience of artists, actors, musicians, art collectors, and influencers at New York's Pace Gallery. 

This is Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film.  

Jul 10, 2013

First things first. David Sedaris x App.

I was unaware that David Sedaris, my all time favorite author, had an app until today. About a year ago I was able to meet him in person after a reading and he handed me a few bookmarks. Each one featured a close-up of a mouth filled with rotting and missing teeth. If you ever read (or listened to all of his books on tape like me) his books then you'd know that he has bad teeth and he loves London (I believe) because of the country's collectively bad mouth hygiene.  

Apparently I've been too busy looking at the teeth to notice the QR code on the back of the bookmark leading me to his app. So, first things first, today I'm getting the David's Diary App and watching all of the short films within it. The films are narrated by him and animated with bold colors and scrap paper. It's a must. 

Here's a sneak peak.

Jul 8, 2013

Ice Cube Celebrates the Eames.

Before you start up about how you've already seen this, let me just say: Watch it again. I know it's practically antique, what with being published a year ago and all, but it's just so spectacular. 

This short spot was created to celebrate what makes LA great; in particular the form of the city and its monuments. With that in mind, the obvious choice is to focus on two of the best designers of all time: Charles and Ray Eames. The beauty of the film is only enhanced by the comedic timing and person that is Ice Cube. 

Jul 2, 2013

Southern Comfort x Shampoo.

Wieden and Kennedy dropped their latest Southern Comfort spot three weeks ago and it is again, brilliant. This follows WK's recent "Beach" ad featuring the man in the Speedo slowly walking down the beach. Check out what my new place of employment, OKRP, said about that spot here. The brilliance lies within the slow reveal of the drink and the long shots. The "Beach" man is again featured here, wearing snakeskin boots and sipping on So Co while getting his hair gently shampooed. 

Jul 1, 2013

Fantastic Four Minutes.

While poking around on Baldwin&'s website, I stumbled upon this gem which was created by Laura Sicouri and Kadavre Exquis. Watch it. Enjoy it. It's four minutes of pure imagination.


Jan 14, 2013

Artistic Ethos.

Recently, my Intro to Printmaking professor asked our class to write about the reasons we want to create the things we do. He said we could discuss our philosophy behind making, life events that have shaped the way we think about the world, or artists we admire. 
This is what I wrote: 

        I enjoy the tactile. The process of making things by hand and feeling my fingers work to produce something intrigues me. I prefer cooking to eating out, reading a book to reading a tablet, talking to people to texting people, and writing my notes to typing my notes. Creating things by hand gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. For these reasons I’m driven to make art.
I grew up as an only child and wasn’t allowed to watch TV during the day. This combination led to many days of finger painting, building elaborate traps to catch my cat, dancing around our living room in a pink tutu to loud 90’s rock, and gardening with my mom in our expansive yard (my young version of gardening was digging holes and catching snakes and butterflies). This love of the tactile world began to manifest into a recognizable art form in high school when I dropped a class and found that one of my only options was the analogue photography class. Our teacher, Nancy Abens, taught us how to read a light meter, focus the lens, take long exposure shots, roll and develop our black and white film, and how to produce an incredible image in our school’s dark room. That class, and the radiant enthusiasm of our teacher, has greatly shaped my artistic life.    I took two years of film photography in high school and with Nancy’s help, began experimenting with printing techniques. Since then, I’ve always referred to film photography as my ‘first love.’ In college, I’ve added a photography minor to my degree and continue to play in the dark room. Though this class will be my first foray into printmaking, it continues to feed my love of the tactile.

Dec 12, 2012

The Crisis of Debt Visualized.

Economics isn't something I typically get excited about but upon completing my last econ class of my college career (hooray!), I thought I'd share this wonderful gem. I hate to admit that I didn't fully understand what was going on with the debt and housing crisis until I took this class and watched this short ten minute film - The Crisis of Debt Visualized.

This was created by the the brilliant Jonathan Jarvis, design director at Google's Creative Lab. I'd like to thank him for helping me understand what almost made our economy collapse and what brought families and banks across the country to their knees. He did it through beautiful design and easy to comprehend language. Please watch.

Thank you Jonathan!

Oct 8, 2012

Yummy Creative Things.

Recently, I've been introduced to some new yummy creative things by a few dear friends that I can't tear myself away from. Each one stimulates a different aspect of creativity and passion - film, fashion and decor, and comedy.

As a side note, I've also started exercising nearly everyday (something that I've been doing on and off for years) and the high that I get from it isn't to be compared. I feel energized, happy, sexy, strong, and very creatively driven. Try it. It works. 

Yummy Creative Things:

My friend, Lily Bussel, showed me Sous Style a couple weeks ago and I can happily say I'm now an addict. Pippa Lord, the photo director for ELLE, writes and curates this blog with beautiful photos demonstrating great style in clothes, home decor, food, and sexy men. Male Monday, one of our favorites, features chiseled and worldly men cooking for Pippa (I wouldn't mind spending a Monday in her shoes). There's a new one today - check him (and his food) out. Thanks Lily!

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is my roommate Perris's (and now my) new, easy-to-love and quick fill of comedians and cars while we drink coffee in the morning. During each of the 15 minuteish web shows, Jerry Seinfeld takes out a vintage car, picks up a famous comedian and grabs coffee. They generally go to laid back cafes or delis and have a laid back and unscripted conversation about life, cars, food, and what it means to be a comedian. Each episode has made my laugh out loud multiple times and lasts just long enough for me to finish my morning eggs and coffee or tea. Thanks Perris!

Last week, my friend Jesse invited me to the Bijou Art Cinemas to watch Samsara with some friends - it was mind altering and potentially life changing. The website tells viewers to "prepare yourself for an unparalleled sensory experience" and it delivered. I experienced something completely new and reached a nearly zen state of Buddhism (I believe). Samsara means "the ever turning wheel of life," which is exactly what the non verbal film presents. It was shot entirely on 70mm film over the period of five years in 25 countries. I mean, fuck, that sentence there should make you want to see it right now. There is no speaking throughout the film, only powerful and instrumental music. See it, it's a vision of the world that I could never have experience otherwise. Thanks Jesse!

The Bijou has been my favorite place to watch films in Eugene since moving here for college three years ago. I'm going to try to go every Monday when the movies are half off, only $3 (!!!!), to fuel my creative interest in watching and creating films. Today is Monday and later I'm headed over to watch The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best. Join me. 

Aug 8, 2012

McGarrah Jessee. This is how we Beer :30.

This is how we Beer :30 at McGarrah Jessee. I shot and edited this video at our previous Beer :30, which is a beer party our agency hosts on the last Friday of every month starting at 4:30. We represent Shiner beer. We drink Shiner at Beer :30. It's fun. 

There's also an office Fruit and Veggie club that met during this party - that's why there is cake, cookies, beer, crackers, chips... and veggies. I made the brussel sprouts (i.e. the green things). They were a big hit. Thanks again Mom for teaching me how to cook.

Aug 3, 2012

Louis Vuitton. Dream. Mos Def. And the Digital Experience.

Here's how it started:

Last night I saw this on my Twitter feed

It was only three words and a short, crazy, little twitter url link. I was curious. It led me to a beautiful video that Ogilvy Paris had created with art, fashion, calligraphy, talent, and copy in mind. 

I watched it twice last night and once this morning, every time noticing something new. That is what a beautiful and smart film should do. Louis Vuitton collaborated with Mos Def to commemorate Muhammad Ali for his greatness and strength to stand up for what he believes in.

This morning the video brought me to LV's website, an enchanting place filled with wonderful collaborations, videos, art, and independent thinking. I could spend hours clicking through The World of Louis Vuitton, where we can browse through photo essays, journals, and videos of people and places that influence and bring life to the brand.

Here, I discovered how Kusama's (one of Japan's most avant-garde artists) art has inspired a collection or how the visionary and artistic director, Marc Jacobs, has transformed the brand.

This is what happens when a brand cares about inspiring the young and old, about quality of product, and about beauty.

This is what happens when a brand gives a shit.

Jul 24, 2012

Jaqi's Dinner.

Jaqi Alie and I were hungry so we brought food, drinks, and people together and I captured the night on film. This is a short summary of what happened: 

Jul 23, 2012

Dom Perignon. The Power of Creation.

Watching these powerful films featuring Dom Perignon's latest collaboration with David Lynch, who designed and signed a limited edition collection of Dom Perignon and Dom Perignon Rose, sent shivers through my body. The shivers weren't only caused by the beautiful, experimental, whimsical, and psychedelic way in which Lynch operates and creates, but also by the brand's loyalty to itself and its slogan. 

The Power of Creation. 

They showed it better then they said it. They stuck to their word and they delivered a magnificent show. Dom Perignon took calculated risks to deliver something never before seen or heard of and truly showed what the power of creation can produce. 

Jul 17, 2012

Fish 'n Funny Looks.

I took these photos at a McGarrah Jessee event supporting our Costa sunglasses client. Costa recently produced the movie, Jungle Fish, so McJ threw a party to celebrate its opening. We enjoyed beer and tacos and though many of these photos make our staff look like creepers, they're really not. This first photo is my favorite. What are you looking at?