July 27, 2012
Thanks to @BenleeMusic (one of my favorite musicians and brilliant friends), I checked out an amazing documentary on HBO called “Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present”. This is a must see documentary–especially for artists and yogis. The film left me inspired. It reminded me of the importance of slowing down, meditation and perseverance. See the preview below. It’s AMAZING.
An exclusive, behind-the-scenes portrait of “the grandmother of performance art” as she prepares for a blockbuster retrospective exhibit of her controversial work at The Museum of Modern Art. This mesmerizing cinematic journey inside the world of radical performance reveals an astonishingly magnetic, endlessly intriguing woman who draws no distinction between life and art.
September 15, 2011
Here’s 25 photos I took in the desert a couple of weeks ago:
*All photos taken with Canon PowerShot SD600.
July 11, 2011
Whenever I have a free hour or two, I go up to my roof. There’s a small dipping pool, and a gorgeous view of the city. Sometimes, I get too wrapped up in the beauty of my surroundings that I forget to keep reapplying sunscreen. This often leads to burns.
A few weeks ago, I was enjoying a wonderfully, relaxing day on the roof until I noticed some pain on my shoulders. I was burning. I wasn’t just burning a little bit, I was really red. After a cold shower, endless applications of aloe vera and lavender oil, the redness went away. Yay!….so I thought.
About 10 days later, my skin started peeling, and not just a little bit. My arms were peeling, my shoulders were peeling, my stomach was peeling, my legs were peeling…everything was peeling. I felt like a snake, leaving little bits of skin in the elevator, friend’s cars, and booths at restaurants. I even went on a romantic picnic date to Topanga Canyon with really peely skin. That was it—it wouldn’t stop….I had an idea.
After hearing rave reviews from friends about local Korean spas, I decided I should go for a scrub-down and get the remainder of my peeling skin exfoliated asap (or before my next date).
I remembered someone telling me about Natura. I looked it up, and set an appointment for the same day after work. I was so excited to finally all my peeling skin off.
I arrived about an hour before my appointment, so I could use the different spas, soak tubs, and rooms. Parking was easy, but finding the actual Women’s portion of the spa was hard. If you go there, just go in through the main building and go left past the coffee place and all the cute Asian stores with adorable clothing— straight to the elevator. Go to the basement. When the doors open, you will find yourself in another world.
Like other spas, there is a check-in desk. These women speak very little English, but they somehow informed me that they messed up my appointment, and I was going to have to wait an extra 40 minutes at the spa until my appointment time. I was frustrated, but found out there was a place to get food, so I went ahead and paid for my scrub-down ($30) plus the spa entry fee ($10-instead of $15, because they made an error). The nice hostess showed me around the spa and told me I should go to the jade and clay rooms because they were very good for me. She gave me a key, and I had to pretty much figure out the rest.
No clothing is allowed in the spa—that means bathing suits. I am perfectly comfortable in the nude, and seeing other people nude. I actually did a documentary about nude-whale watchers for a guerilla television class at USC (but that’s another blog entry). I wished I could have filmed the spa—it was an interesting peek into Korean culture.
There were older women sitting down in these little “bathing areas” inside the space. I’m sure there is a proper name for them, but there are tiny areas with sinks and pink child-size chairs. Basically, that’s where women were scrubbing/bathing themselves and scrubbing their neighbors. They had no shame in scrubbing eachother’s backs, boobs, and butt cracks. It was very poignant, and I wished I had a camera. I could have been in a different country, in a different era. There was nothing around to remind me of the present time—except for the little pink chairs.
After I took myself on a small tour of the spa, I changed into my robe, and got some food. They had a full menu in this little rest area. I ordered some soup, and eavesdropped on some women talking about their jobs, kids and husbands. Besides that one English conversation, everything else was foreign. It was nice. I forgot I was in LA for a second. It really felt like I was somewhere else.
After my soup with noodles and 10,000 free Korean appetizers that came along with it, I took a trip with my caddy to the wet area again. (I should mention that each guest is given a locker with a number on it. Inside the locker is a caddy with the same number on it, and you are known as this number to everyone in the spa. They use it as a charge account at the restaurant, and you pay when you check out. And they use it to call you for your appointment. My number was 49 ) The caddy was filled with a few small towels….and I mean small!
My first stop was the jade room. I took off my robe, and put it in my caddy on the shelf next to the entrance. When I first came in, there was a tatted up girl, around my age totally soaking up the jade vibes…it was a bit awkward, as we were the only two people in this room, and we were completely naked. But, I moved to the back of the room, put my towel down on the floor and began to meditate, using exercises I used in yoga. After a few minutes, the other girl left, and I was alone in this jade room. It was amazing—not too hot, but hot enough. The room was made up of jade stones. It was very calming.
I stayed for a while and then moved onto the clay room. It was much hotter in there, and there were more people. I tried to relax in that room, but all I could think about was what would happen if there was an earthquake, and how that clay roof would fall on me. I didn’t spend that much time in there.
After that, I got some water and sat in the medium temperature whirlpool. The whirlpools, and dipping pools/tubs are in the middle of this spa. The sauna and special rooms are on one side of the spa, and then the scrubbing, massage area are on the opposite side. So, when you are in the hot tubs, you can watch people around you. That’s what I did. I watched people bathe. It was fascinating. Then I did that thing where you go from an extremely hot temperature to cold temperature tub. It reminded me of being a kid in Colorado. When it was snowing, we would use the hot tub, and then jump out, do snow angels, and jump right back in the tub. It was exhilarating. I looked at all the women as they walked by…Some were thin and some were fat. Everyone looked so beautiful—and alive. I could tell the women who already had their scrubs, as some of them had red welts and marks from the heavy scrubbing. I was getting anxious, as I had never been professionally scrubbed, and I didn’t want it to hurt.
After I had my fun with the tubs, I tried both the steam room and the sauna. Both were way too hot for me. I stayed a few minutes in each, but felt a little faint.
I put my robe back on, looked at the clock, and still had half an hour until my appointment. I was kind of over being so hot, so I put my robe on and hung out in the resting area near the restaurant. I looked through a Korean magazine and studied the other women at the spa. Most of the guests were Korean. I liked feeling slightly out-of-place. I was anonymous.
A few minutes before my appointment, I took one last soak in the hot tub, and they finally called my number.
The women who work in the scrubbing/massage area, are all kind of large, and older. They are so rad. They wear the same uniforms- a black bra with black panties. It’s pretty amazing. The scrub room is filled with about 10-15 water-proof massage table-looking things. My lady grabbed me and told me to lay on front, with my back up. She ran a bucket of warm water along my body, and then started scrubbing. She started at my feet, and worked her way up. She did not miss an inch, and when I say an inch- I mean an inch….okay, maybe a few centimeters. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed being pampered. I remember thinking, “oooh maybe I’ll be a fun one for her. I bet loads and loads of my skin is falling off. I bet she feels so satisfied). “ She barely spoke any English, so I’ll never know, but I felt globs of wet skin on the wet table. I don’t know what she was scrubbing with, but it didn’t hurt at all. If felt really good.
After she was done scrubbing my back, I moved to the front. She helped me along, so I didn’t slip. I could see that being a problem. Slippery wet bodies against slippery wet tables—not safe. But she made me feel safe. She repeated the process to the front of my body, and then did both my sides. I was so relaxed, and was definitely in an altered stage. I think the mix of the heat and scrubbing did something to my mind. I was at ease. This big Korean woman was taking care of me.
The next thing that happened was she washed my hair. What an experience? I mean, I know it happens when you get your hair done, but this was different. It felt special. After it was all over, I was in such a daze. My lady told me to take a shower. I quickly got myself to one of the open facing shower stalls next to the scrub area. I felt my skin, it was so soft. The dead skin was gone. I must have been staring into space, not quite concentrating on anyone or anything around me. Then I heard my number. “49! 49!” My eyes finally regained focus, and when I realized what I was looking at I blinked my eyes closed for a second. I opened my eyes again. It couldn’t be. But, yes! Mise-en-scene….it said MISE-EN-SCENE on the label of some product in this woman’s caddy. I laughed to myself. I wanted to turn to my neighbor and be—that’ me…that’s me! Isn’t that crazy? It’s a sign from the universe…Instead, my Korean scrubber handing me my locker key (which I forgot near her station), and an envelope for her tip.
May 22, 2011
Paris….in the 1920s. Literature, Music, and Art. Woody Allen. Yes, please.
May 15, 2011
Nearly twenty years later, still profoundly affected by his experience at Showbiz Pizza, small-town disc-jockey Chris Thrash sought out Fechter and purchased a Rock-afire band of his own. Some clever programming on Chris’ part, and the band was once again performing for millions, this time on YouTube.
The Rock-afire Explosion reveals how Chris came to revive this fallen 80′s gem, explores his and a number of other fan’s obsessions with the animatronic band, and chronicles the rise and fall of Showbiz Pizza and what was once a 20 million dollar per-year venture for inventor Aaron Fechter. More than this, the film is a look at the importance of nostalgia, ever-changing media culture, and the eternal quest to stay young.”
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 – $10
7:30 PM – Downtown Independent
251 S. Main Street
April 24, 2011
I’m a huge fan of street art. My friend Matt introduced me to the beauty of graffiti and other urban art ages ago. We’d drive around town and look for new work. I actually think that’s how I ended up finding my loft in the Arts District six years ago. No one would come over here. It was pretty bare–except for the walls of the old buildings, which were decorated with spray paint. I fell in love with the industrial part of the city.
Shortly after I moved into my loft, I traveled to France, where I discovered one of my favorite street artists- Fafi. I used one of her pieces as the inspiration for my commercial design thesis.
I’m still so inspired by the work I see on the streets. Right now, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA as an exhibit completely devoted to Street Art. If you get a chance–you simply must check out this collection. It’s more of an experience than merely a trip to the museum.
See below for my experience in photos:
March 28, 2011
Recently, we’ve been spending a lot of time shopping for fabrics at Michael Smith’s new Jasper showroom on Melrose. The showroom carries one of my favorites-Tulu. I’m currently obsessed with their whimsical patterns and groovy color combos. Happiness. Bright colors are totally in.
March 7, 2011
Okay…so I was totally going to keep this one to myself. My friend Josh told me about this awesome online swap meet through Blu Dot, and it’s so cool that I have to spread the word.
“Are you a fan of modern furniture but not so much a fan of money? At the Blu Dot Swap Meet, you can trade your amazing talents or odd collections into your very own piece of Blu Dot.
No cash? Who cares! Here’s how it works:
- Pick out any Blu Dot item you want. Come up with an interesting offer (collections, creations, talents, taxidermy, etc.) and upload it to this site between February 28 – March 11, 2011. (If you submit a video, keep it under five minutes.)
- Check this site throughout the period to see the status of your bid. Blu Dot may like it enough to swap, or may want you to up the ante.
- If your bid becomes a successful swap, you will be additionally notified via email.
PLEASE NOTE: Sorry- no minors allowed. One bid per piece of Blu Dot furniture. Blu Dot will not accept human babies, “self love” videos, and/or mean/inappropriate things. In other words, be creative but don’t be stupid. See the full terms here.“
SO RAD! RIGHT?
Everyone can vote on their favorites, but ultimately, Blu Dot will select the ideas/products they feel worthy of a swap. Some of the things they’ve accepted so far: feeding homeless animals for a bed, throwing an epic College Kegger for a chair, appearing as a life-size worm in 25 documented places for a sofa-sleeper, a spork collection for a chair, photos of a hundred sleds for a bench, sound machines that makes weather noises for a sectional, fencing lessons for a table, and Texas-style bbq for 60 people for a sofa….So many fun ideas:
Get crackin’ creative people..Friday is the deadline!
February 28, 2011
Today, a very nice European man came up to me today and gave me a goody bag with some info on Donna Karan’s Urban Zen pop-up store on Santa Monica Blvd. I knew nothing about Urban Zen, so I checked out the catalogs in the bag. I was excited to learn Urban Zen offers gorgeous hand-crafted furniture-made in Bali by local artisans :
10 percent of sales benefit Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation, which works to preserve culture and empower children internationally. According to the company’s website:
Urban Zen is a philosophy of living. It’s also a unique marriage of commerce, culture community and compassion. We have one rule for what we offer at Urban Zen: it has to have soul and expression. We travel the world, looking for global artisans we can support and showcase, helping them sustain their traditions.
After browsing the catalogs (there was an apparel one, as well), I looked deeper in the bag. There was a stone heart, and an some info on the Million Hearts for Haiti Campaign.
First I looked to see where the heart came from. It’s from a group called the Hand/Eye Fund, an organization that Helps Haitian artisans and artists recover from the life-challenging loss of shelter, equipment, workshops, and income.
These hearts are actually for sale on the Hand/Eye Fund website.
“Help support artisans in Haiti with this beautiful set of multi-colored river stone hearts. Stone carving became a part of the Haitian craft scene in the 1950s, and the grey stone of Leogane provides an excellent starting point for many Haitian sculptors. Among the most popular motifs is the simple heart, the symbol of love and caring. Our river stone hearts are sold as a set of one large 3″, one medium 2.5″ and one small 2″ heart in white, brown and grey earth tones. Size, color and shapes will vary as each hand-carved heart is unique. Imported by Tesoros Trading Company, proceeds from the sale of these hearts benefit the HAND/EYE Artisan Grants Fund for Haiti, helping artisans in Haiti rebuild their workshops, community and lives.$20.
I love, love, love this idea…but it gets better. The Million Hearts for Haiti project takes it a step further:“These hand-carved hearts from Haiti are a blank canvas for your expression. They also represent a link between Haitian artisans and the distant markets they must reach to earn a living…..We need your help to support the culture of Haiti and spread the word to all our communities. There are several ways you can connect with us and become involved…including an art installation in NYC.”
From the website:
A COLLABORATION OF ARTISTS
We are proud and excited to join the Million Hearts for Haiti campaign, and are thrilled to tell you about the unique Urban Zen spin we’re putting on this. Not only do we want you to join the campaign, we want you to use it as an opportunity to showcase your own creative expression.
The plan is simple:
- Purchase your heart
- Design your heart with your arsenal of art supplies and ingenious creativity
- Send us a picture of you and your heart along with a note about the inspiration behind your design
This is a wonderful way for you to give a little bit of your love to Haiti and we are thrilled to be able to showcase you as the compassionate artist that you are. Once we get your photo and inspiration note, we’ll make sure to include you on our Million Hearts for Haiti photo wall (coming soon).
The pamphlet I received instructs the artist to send the actual heart to the Urban Zen New York store. So I don’t know if they just want a photo- or the actual stone. I’ll email Urban Zen tonight and post their answer.
Follow Urban Zen @urban_zen and buy some hand-carved stones at the hand/eye fund’s store 12 Small Things. It’s a great family project–It’s better than Color Me Mine—It’s Hearts for Haiti.
*Images from Urban Zen, Hand/Eye Fund, and me.
* Andre Charles, Ben Stiller, Charlize Theron, Donna Karan, Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Narciso Rodriguez, Parsons The New School For Design- faculty and students, Ralph Lauren, Susan Sarandon, Tory Burch, and more have already designed hearts for Haiti.
February 27, 2011