Classiques Modernes Masquerade Fall-Winter 2015

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Everyday Transformation

FASHION, STYLE and many more ...

ROCK ‘N SHOP Car Seat Headrest



Signal 360

Classique MODERNES .


Editor in Chief/Creative Director KENNETH J. MOORE Senior Editor, Real Estate Principal Broker MARIA ANNELI BORBECK Managing Editor

NICOLE T. MCGLONE Senior Design Editor PAUL EVAN GLENN Senior Editor, Fine Arts

RYAN OBERMEIR Senior Editor, Arts & Entertainment DAVID CONRAD Editor at Large, Features



COLIN MCGLONE Contributing Editor, Fitness

PAUL AUGUSTIN BONTE Senior Editor, Europe

CHASE PETERS Associate Editor, Travel

CODY RZEZNIK Contributing Editor, Fitness WILL T. MAY Senior Editor, Asia

KENNETH KERN Senior Associate General Editor CHARLES SOMERVILLE Senior Editorial Cartoonist

JIM LAVERY Senior Editorial Cartoonist

CONTRIBUTORS HERBERT KOEHLER Senior Contributor, Finance ANDREW L. JALOZA Senior Contributor, Law JASON GARELICK, Senior Contributor, Op-Ed & Literary Arts JEREMY BURKE Senior Contributor, Music LEV RASLIN, Senior Contributor, Features JUSTIN SARET Contributor, General Features

ART PHOENIX DELOESTE TIPAWAN Hair & Make-up LOY CARLOS, KEN MOORE, ELI HERSH Art Direction, Lighting & Photography

CLASSIQUES MODERNES ELI HERSH Director, Brand & Strategic Partnerships COLIN MCGLONE Director, Business Development WILL HUNT, BRIAN PINK Editorial Assistants



LOY BERNAL CARLOS Chief Executive Officer


Manhattan Bureau: 251 Fifth Avenue - 6 Fl | New York, NY 10016

Williamsburg Studio: 2 Northside Piers | Brooklyn, NY 11249

© Classsiques Modernes 2015


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I am pleased to present Classiques Modernes’s Masquerade issue for Fall/Winter 2015. Masquerade means various things to different people. To most it simply means fun costumes and parties. But our goal wasn’t merely to have models draped in fancy clothing. What we attempt to do here is to present to you some other definitions that apply, those that more adequately reflect people’s behaviors and their outlook in life. Classiques Modernes’ Masquerade is about secrets, mystery, beauty, drama and, most importantly, transformation. Our “This is Me” photo editorial centers around the person inside, the one whom no one knows and no one sees. The models were asked to come in a home-outfit that best reflects who they are away from the camera. The next phase transforms them into the inner super hero, the character that we think they best embody.  I am proud to welcome many new faces in our writing and editorial staff. Associate Editor, Kenneth Kern; Senior Music Contributor, Jeremy Burke; Contributors Jason Garelick and Justin Sarett, Senior Editorial Cartoonists, Jim Lavery and Charles Somerville–all are exceptional talent that have helped elevate this issue of Classiques Modernes to a more rounded publication. Of all the best surprises and new additions, I am not shy to say that welcoming David Conrad as Editor at Large is as good as life can possibly get for an editor like me. To his fans, David is a wonderful actor with devastatingly good looks. Not as many know that he is also an incredibly gifted writer, a passionate individual, and an overall stand-up gentleman’s gentleman. I look forward to sharing more of his brilliance with you. Last but certainly not the least, we are happy to introduce crème de la crème, Classiques Modernes’ elite selection of products and services that we consider “Best in Class.” First to receive this is ELLIS of Brooklyn, the new line of beauty products by Bee Shapiro that are non-toxic, luxuriously fragrant, and all environmentally friendly. HearthCabinet also gets the nod. Several years ago, they introduced the ventless fireplace–with fire that crackles and gives off heat like its woodburning counterpart. Both the workmanship and the people behind the product are amazing. I couldn’t make this list without adding my dear friend and super brilliant designer, Daun Curry. And last but not least to receive the “top pick” is Rock ‘N Shop Brooklyn, an alternative marketplace organized by Greg Ferreira and Rudy Temiz of The Bushwick Hotel band, held at The Paper Box in Brooklyn from 9 am to 7 pm on weekends. It aims to allow artists, musicians and cooks to combine their expertise, offering good food and drinks, all-age concerts and performances, and locally designed and manufactured clothing, accessories and various other products all in one roof. Yes, you can even get a tattoo! Please keep checking the magazine online for regular postings of features, editorials, reviews, concert series, webcasts of original shows, and for information about upcoming Classiques Modernes events. Enjoy! Loy Carlos Editor in Chief/Creative Director

behind the lens

This is me.

This is me.

This is me.

This is me.

BreathMaker Let’s begin right at the beginning. The usually reliable Bible tells us that life begins with the first breath. Not with conception as some mere mortals would have us believe, not with the viability of the fetus as the scientifically inclined like to say, but with the first breath. It says it right there in black and white, at the bottom of page one, Genesis 2:7, “and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” What could be more clear?

Moving right along in his typically mysterious way, God then leaps to the establishment of a garden somewhere east of Eden, and drops Man right down in the middle of it, leaving us to wonder what was it that Man said upon taking in the breath of life and opening his eyes for the first time? Well, I’ll tell you. But first, let’s give credit where credit is due. The secret magic words are not to be found in the Bible. If all the answers were to be found in the Bible we wouldn’t have to read anything else, would we? So, in his infinite wisdom, God planted answers in all sorts of sources, so we’d have to go about reading everything we can get our hands on and thus become the well-rounded, multi-faceted, broad-minded, tolerant followers He wants us to be, not that you’d notice from looking at the narrow-minded, intolerant, dim-witted beasts we’ve all become. After all, how can you have all the answers if you read only one book? Thus it came to pass that I discovered the secret words while studying an obscure eastern text. Not that I actually read the text. A guru told me about it. Surely, a guru wouldn’t lie about such things. And so, here they are.


“Who am I?” Those are the very first words every soul utters upon opening the eyes and gazing at the wonder of the creation. (The second, by the way, being, “Where am I?” and the third being, “What am I supposed to do, now that I’m here?”) For best effect, pause here, and contemplate the question, “Who am I?” before continuing. … Well, who are you? If you replied to this question with the name on your passport, you are far too shallow to continue with this exercise. Kindly turn to another article, or another website, or go get a cup of coffee. If, however, you replied by falling into a state of wonder, congratulations! You are curious, imaginative, and probably reasonably intelligent. Just the sort of folks I’ve been meaning to talk to. Years ago when editors wore ties, from time to time at social gatherings of the educated class,someone would say in conversation, “all the world’s a stage...” All those present would nod in assent as though they had understood something, and move on. Though no more understood now than they were then, these words are still true. You see, the fact of the matter is, it’s all one big masquerade. I’m playing the role of myself. You’re playing the role of whomever it is you think you are, and there you have it. In a nutshell, “all the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.” (I don’t have to tell you where this is from, do I? It’s Shakespeare.Go and look it up!) What the old bard himself is saying is, we aren’t really who we appear to be. We just pretend we are. Life is all just one big masquerade. I pretend to be me, you pretend to be you, and we mind our entrances and exits.

The problems begin when we forget that we’re just pretending, and come to believe we really are these miserable wretches complaining constantly about the price of lox, and the pesidential candidates, and carbon footprints. When in fact, that’s not at all who we are. It says it right there in Genesis. Remember? “...God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and Man became a living soul.” He didn’t become a living body. He didn’t become a living libido. He became a living soul. And for all you scientific types, answer me this. What’s the difference between a dead body and a living man? Breath. All the bodies that are breathing are alive. All the dead bodies are not breathing.

So there you have it. Who am I? Why, I’m the breath of life, slipped into yet another feeble human carcass, good for hundred or so years at which time I’ll bid farewell, soon to be forgotten by all but a few mysterious misfits who read obscure eastern texts and take note of the sayings of gurus. And so to all of you who believe in God even though he is invisible and makes no noise, and all of you who don’t believe in God because he is invisible and doesn’t make any noise, I ask you once again, “Who are you?” Correct. You are God’s breath, entering with each inhale, a human body of your choosing. Or an ass, for that matter. Or even a daffodil or a communist.

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Masquerade I

was in a 10x16 closet masquerading as a fitness room in a city at 103 degrees. A wedding was taking place, as weddings do, near the home of the bride and I was masquerading as family. Two cut rate Stairmasters, one treadmill, and a recumbent bike. No weights, no water, no towels, a tv borrowed from the kitchen. I was trying to find a mindless sport to watch to distract me from the fact that a “boutique” hotel could get away with such Iron Curtain hospitality. And then I saw Rob Lowe. Not in the hotel. Not by a long shot. Late twenties, maybe 30s, some years after that first wild wave of fame, trying to headline a serious film. A drama. “Masquerade”. One of my favorite B movies. Meg, not Jennifer, Tilly. John Glover, the skeeviest man ever to grace a film, his accent leaves a stain, and Rob the bad guy, Rob the murderer and the cheat. And Rob…. maybe...the homosexual. Great conceit: his one time jealous boyfriend is now the town sheriff and he ain’t happy that heiress Meg’s got Rob headed to the altar. So they concoct “a plan”. It’s almost as fun as Dangerous Liasons and twice as tawdry. The sexuality is buried so far into the plot it’s almost invisible but, you gotta admire the man for trying. And as I sat there on my recumbent Cumberbatch of a stationery bike, staring alternately at the astonishing beauty of pre West Wing Rob and then at drunken Texans trying to convince the staff that yes American freedoms include the right to carry glass containers into a pool, I had a pang for that greatest of the great masqueraders, that titanic public phony, Ronald Reagan.

BY DAVID CONRAD Or maybe not Reagan himself, but for the times, the late 80s as he devolved into Presidential puppetry, as it became remarkably clear that all the hysterical warnings screamed out by the musical prophets of the 70s, by Gang of Four, by Chrissie Hynde, by the Avengers and the Butthole Surfers and the Clash, had come true. We’d taken everything decently progressive about the United States and thrown it into the marketplace. In Wall Street we were gonna trust. Ronnie Ray Gun had grinned us right into moral and actual bankruptcy. So why would I miss that? Because I knew who and what I was fighting. There was an underground, an alternative life, a subculture. I knew the enemy and maybe most importantly I imagined he could be beaten. And right about that time, Rob Lowe shows up in a film noir flick. And I thought, this is the way it’s all going to go. It’s all going to be the personal: personal politics, personal obsessions, personal journeys and personal injuries. We’ll be masquerading as public citizens, as a polity but in truth we’re all going to be out for ourselves. Greed was now good, in fact it was central to our Nation’s success. Because Ronnie made it okay. Ronnie made telling a lie a talent if you just kept at it. If you cared, your personal caring became more important than the fact that you were wrong. Mitigation and litigation would be the new flags in the American parade. And stunningly, we’ve trickled down to a point where Ronnie would now be a democrat. He couldn’t get elected by the party he resurrected, the party he turned into The Voting Dead. Maybe what I miss the most about 1988 is that all this was still somehow shocking, still a risk, still hard to believe. Now it’s hard to remember.

Rob Lowe went out on a professional limb and only grossed 15 million. The Republicans went out on a limb, cut it right off the tree of liberty, and then turned this country so far to the right the effect of the Obama presidency will register like a floating tire hitting an oil tanker. The West Wing probably persuaded more people to become Democrats. So next year when we masquerade as voters let’s hope that that tanker is out of gas, that it’s rudderless and plowing toward the rocks. Maybe even the Koch brothers can’t buy human hearts, maybe the whole conservative movement is breathing its last. But it’s going to be a while before they drop the mask and radio for help. And I ask myself when the time comes, what will I do? Not piss on them as they fight the fires they started? Or would I ask WWRLD?

What would Rob Lowe do? You know, when Masquerade ends, even after he lied and cheated Meg, even after he helped concoct a whole plan to kill her - after his “demise”, she finds out that long before he’d had himself taken out of her will. I put it to you people. Now that JFK Jr is gone, and now that Donald Trump has proved all things possible in the public arena, working “so grossly in a natural cause that admiration did not whoop at” him, why not Rob Lowe? Why not another actor in the Oval Office, to set straight the damage done by the first. Rob Lowe…. A New Lowe for the Highest Office? Parks, Recreation, Pennsylvania Ave? Rob Lowe….The Masquerade is Over.


Is it possible to be pampered and responsbile at the same time? If you ask Bee Shapiro, the answer is a resounding Yes! The super savvy columnist–who covers fashion and beauty for the New York Times and who has also written for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour and InStyle among others–introduces ELLIS BROOKLYN, a rapidly growing collection of skin care and other beauty products that are at once indulgent, non-toxic and are derived from sustainable and environmentally friendly formulations. The idea was conceived when Shapiro was pregnant with her little girl. “When I think about all the women who started their businesses when they were pregnant, it’s that becoming a mom puts everything into laser focus,” Bee explains. Despite her unique access to several beauty products as columnist, she still found a considerable gap between available luxuriously fragrant and non-toxic products. She questioned whether conventional wisdom (if you want non-toxic you must go unscented) was true. And that served as her simply divine inspiration! Ellis Brooklyn currently offers four body milks, all “are paraben-free, phthalates-free creations of renowned perfumer Jerome Epinette with the artisanal, natural formulations crafted in small batches in upstate New York.” The company also “uses recycled, lead-free glass and FSC-certified, Green Seal certified paper stock,” and “utilizes carbon-neutral shipping.” They are launching four corresponding scented candles this November while fine fragrances are en route for 2016! VERB, PSEUDONYM, RAVEN & FABLE are available for purchase online or at Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, Kirna Zabete this holiday season, and, soon, Nordstrom stores.



The buzz of the alarm starts the day like clockwork. If you’re lucky several snooze cycles later you’ll find yourself starting your morning routine just like any other day. While your morning motivation is off brewing in the kitchen you can’t help but try to shake this awkward feeling that something is off and always was. As you look at the mirror one last time before heading out the front door you take in this quiet, uninterrupted moment. It’s not to check to see if you missed a spot shaving, or if there is still sleep in your eye, or even if your fly is wide open (but you do all of those things anyway and are grateful that you did). In the mirror your reflection is staring back at you and this is one of those times you truly take it all in. Brushstrokes of yourself come through in waves breaking against the rocky shores of your senses. But which you do you see? At first glance you may just see your appearance. The carefully constructed avatar you choose to visually present yourself to the world around you. Where every nuisance speaks well beyond its means.

Or on a deeper level you see all versions of yourself at once: the past, present, and potential you. The first two you are familiar with and know all too well. But the potential you is the elusive version of yourself that is always just slightly out of reach beyond your periphery. But with so many different lives to live how can you even choose? It would be like tuning into different frequencies of your own daydream radio. Each turn of the dial will patch you into a station that embodies another you, fully realized and all. A flip of the switch will let you channel surf through different iterations of your subconscious self. You can either find yourself empowered with the idea of these limitless possibilities or become completely crippled by it. But life will always tend to lend itself to anyone perceptive and patient enough to pay attention to it. It will take the form of a more organic and inexplicable feeling that transcends the confines of a definition. It’s the intuition you feel that pushes you in the direction your natural instincts will guide you. This moment, quiet and uninterrupted passes in the blink of an eye, but its influence ripples out ever present in everything you do.


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By Robert James is the brainchild of Robert James, a rural Ohio native whose menswear brand is founded on timeless handsome classics with a modern twist. After graduating from The Ohio State University and FIT, James pursued a design career in apparel design, with the purpose of honing his skills for his own brand. That day has arrived and James now works to bring his passion for men’s fashion to life by designing, a head to toe line of jackets, coats, jeans, trousers, and craft knitwear. Based in New York City’s Lower East Side, James strives to maintain a brand that balances innovation and inspiration, while honoring the tradition of honest, hard work. Inspired by music and historic men’s garments and themes, and guided by the spirit of his humble beginnings, James’s designs appeal to high-end men’s fashion books as well as the average guy. James aims to make every man who wears his clothing feel as handsome as the clothes themselves. The brand also uses local goods and manufacturing, insuring that every product is not only great for the consumer, but has a deeper environmental conscience while supporting local businesses in the community.


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THE BEACON BOYS Picture an intrepid crew of crime-solvers making their way through a spooky old mansion. They are on the tail of a suspect. Cobwebs. Dim lighting, maybe candles. Invisible eyes watch as the heroes pass by. As they pass a particular hallway that leads to an old kitchen, a voice seemingly coming from a portrait whispers helpfully through the walls, “Clues are bloody… like knives in a ‘butler’s’ pantry…” Our sleuths take heed. Weapon found, suspect caught, mystery solved. Substitute the mansion with a mall, portraits with beacons, ears with a smartphone, and the crime-solvers with regular shoppers looking for deals for the holidays, and you have a model use of Signal360’s beacon technology suite. Casual yet shrewd, the beacon transmits targeted information to nearby recognized smartphones, alerting them to choice deals or supplementing information that may or may not be conspicuously displayed to all visitors or consumers. It’s similar to coupons being mailed or private event info that are emailed to frequent shoppers or club members, but in real time. Recounting the original pitch, cofounder and CEO Alex Bell recalls a slicker, more theatrical comparison from a client: “We want the Minority Report.” In reality, however, beacons are not obtrusive like the “Big Brother is always watching” advertisements portrayed in the film. Consumer and/or visitors have to actively opt-in, in order for the beacons to communicate with their smart phones. It isn’t ambush marketing, unlike those that follow Tom Cruise in the movie. “At its best, Signal360 is giving a personalized friendly tap on the shoulder when it matters most,” explains Lev Raslin, Signal360’s Senior Director of Business Development. This would be helpful for, example, to people who perpetually wait till the last minute to shop for presents. Imagine picking up a bag that is just the perfect one you had in mind as a gift, but it’s a little too much for your budget. Signal360’s beacon may be able to help you. “You’re looking to buy something in an aisle and you get an offer for one such product as you are looking for it,” Lev adds. Beacon technology may be able to help a loyal patron save both money and time.

BY JUSTIN SARET with Loy Carlos

But wouldn’t the technology also make it easier for marketers and advertisers to bombard the consumer till it becomes too much? Reflecting on the beacon’s pop image, Alex concedes that the vision often associated with this sort of technology is often, unnecessarily, “apocalyptic.” “There are lots of things in the world that are (already) paid for by advertisements and marketing,” he points out, “things like the New York Times.” He adds that by tailoring the delivery of advertising messages, beacons actually have the potential to reduce the onslaught of marketing media and to rejuvenate what Alex calls the “symbiotic ecosystem” of business, consumer, and adfunded content creator. In this way he separates himself from Mad Men (Signal360’s offices are located on Fifth Avenue, anyways, in a Manhattan neighborhood recently coined NoMad–short for North of Madison Park. So they are really “NoMad Men”?) So how does beacon technology work? Say, you’re a Golden Warriors fan. You’ve downloaded their app after hearing it’ll hook you up with special deals. It asks you whether it can use your Bluetooth, your microphone, and your location services, and then asks whether it can send you some extra notifications even when it’s not on-screen. After opting in, you take your seat at the game. A nearby beacon silently and invisibly whispers its name to your phone. And then the second line of Signal360’s suite kicks in: the content management system. The Warriors get a birds-eye view of all their beacons, and attaches to each identifier a context-specific message Want a better seat? They’ve got a deal to offer. So their app, recognizing your ID, pings you with a notification to let you know. And their proprietary Content Management System (CMS) takes notes: Do you take the offer? Do you close it? Do you not even respond? If you seem bugged, it’ll take a hint and back off. “The last thing you want to do is enable people to piss their customers off,” Lev expounds. Instead, Signal360 prides itself on enabling companies to take advantage of their beacons by providing not just the black box, but the tools to use it - their CMS organizes the information and

how it’s delivered, their Software Development Kit (SDK) nestles the program into the company’s existing app, and Signal 360’s team expertise steers the company to successful implementation. Guided by consumers, fans and/or visitors’ own preferences and behavioral patterns, Signal360 enables its corporate clients to focus on appropriating and communicating timely and important messages to them, rather than simply pushing everything they have to offer all the time. The result: a more responsive consumer and a potential boon for business as well. Symbiosis. Most beacons rely entirely on Bluetooth, which is of no help if your Bluetooth is off (as it often is). The microphone, though, can still catch those 20,000 vibrations per second pumping through the air. This is what makes Signal360 unique. Well, that and a few other things. Alex presides over the office, navigating his algorithmic world with keyboard and mouse perched on a rickety tower of see through plastic storage containers, one of which, in the process of jury rigging a smartphone holder, had met the unfortunate end of a box cutter. “Patent pending,” he jokes. The atmosphere flows seamlessly from jocular to casual to intense. The team balances taking work seriously without taking themselves too seriously. Unlike one might imagine would be for a driven tech company, office discussions run the gamut: from the environment to politics to food to trivia to music. Today they are having a lively debate about how the sogginess of Alex’s shirt will impact his already beleaguered immune system. The charisma they bring into the room is palpable: joking and caring, Alex and Lev are the very essence of a dynamic duo. “Some would say [our relationship] borders on deep everlasting love,” Alex, the chief provocateur, says in a tone at once ironic and serious. But the conversation isn’t all repartee; there’s a collaborative curiosity as they try to figure out, actually, if this sort of thing will make him sicker.

This happens more than once–they pick up on something mundane and it turns into a puzzle, their energetic inquiry modeling its own sort of symbiosis. It’s easy to see how this spirit informs their recent renaming. They associate Sonic Notify, the company’s former name and a reference to their patented audio signal, more with “technical sale,” i.e., one framed by the number of beacons sold. Signal360 in contrast asks, “What do you want to accomplish?” The company takes responsibility for the integration of the technology with a client’s infrastructure: physical and social. “We set best practices,” says Lev. For clients like the Warriors, for example, whose brand loyalty is dictated by the laws of fandom, Signal360 aims to enhance apps that already exist to support its fan base. There aren’t several departments of the franchise on one side trying to get multiple disjointed messages to the fans on the other side. Signal360 has enabled the Warriors to have a unified approach and a non-invasive, efficient system that actively engages the fan base. The opportunities for beacon technology are endless. So what fan bases are Lev and Alex a part of, what brands might they want to track? “Tell me about Game of Thrones stuff every day,” Alex enthuses. Lev adds: “I can speak for Alex and say Patagonia.” Patagonia, Alex elaborates, is a clothing company that prefers you don’t buy new clothes if you don’t need to, a brand mindful of the natural ecosystem.

Not that all of Alex’s ecological leanings are so gentle: “BE/KIND/TO/ANIMALS/OR/I’LL/KILL YOU” reads a printout taped to the wall behind his desk. A recent vegetarian, his lunch is a protein bar. But when asked about the wider ecosystem of his technology –what comes to mind most immediately is its outsourced manufacturing –he is thoughtful and provides no easy answers, perhaps reminded of an earlier expression of uncertainty, when the ethics of his product led him to contemplate “what do I want to spend my time working on in the world.” For now there is much work to be done and companies with which to collaborate. “Signal360’s beacons are now both Eddystone™ and iBeacon™ ready...Eddystone™ is an open BLE beacon format from Google, for both Android and iOS, was created by Google with input from Signal360’s development resources and the team’s subject matter expertise.” That said, Signal360 is certainly not the end-game. The startup world, Alex says, “infects your blood” (regardless, it seems, of whether you are wearing a dry shirt.) He relishes the challenge to “bash up against an incumbent infrastructure,” to be in a position “where you’re questioning everything.” In what direction will his and Lev’s questioning move next? Perhaps we’ll soon have a beacon to let us know. Be sure to opt in. From Left: Lev Raslin, Alex Bell and Misha Greenberg



Licensed New York Real Estate Broker | Equal Housing Opportunity

HEY, NEW YORK Who’s the new kid in Real Estate?

Actually we’ve been around, busy checking out the many other worlds to bring to you so we can offer not ‘lifestyle’ in quotes, but


ClassiqueS MODERNE

Fresh. Smart. Genuine. And way cool.



LA ClassiqueS V IE transcend real estate MODERNE

experience culture


Le Grand Strip

197 Grand Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211| 718.599.3525

Looking for something with pizazz, character and total fabulousness? Then you simply have to check out Le Grand Strip in Williamsburg. French proprietaire, CC McGurr, curates some of the most amazing designer vintage clothing and accessories and just loves to help out anyone with an impeccable sense of style. CC and her team have worked with people from all walks of life including Broadway stars, artists, models, celebrities and fashion editors. But whoever you are and whatever you do, this charming and corky fireball is certain to turn your styling dilemma into a whole lot of fun. From Lacroix to Charles Jourdan, to Chanel, Dior, Ferragamo, Dior and Gucci, 1950s delicate french lace dresses to 1970s disco leather, she has it all and more!





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54 BOND STREET #3 At once sophisticated and alluring, this full floor loft unit is one of three residences in arguably one of the city’s most beautiful true cast-iron boutique condominiums, not just in Noho but anywhere in New York City. Comprising 2200 square feet of luxurious space, the home features two bedrooms plus an office/third bedroom, two marble baths a powder room, corner living room, dining and a gourmet breakfast kitchen. The 13 ft. ceiling throughout is simply stunning, especially when framed all around by oversized 10 ft. windows, immaculate plaster moldings, and natural wide-plank herringbone floors. Central air conditioning, state-of-the-art audio-video system, laundry room with washer and dryer, alarm system and ample storage add to the unit’s efficiency, security and comfort level. Additional storage space is allocated to the unit in the building’s cellar. A lobby attendant is available 24-hours a day in addition to a biometric unlocked elevator. This is a home that speaks for itself. Call now for a private preview. Offered for rent at: $25,000 per month - Furnished $20,000 per month - Unfurnished Available: December 1, 2015 Security Deposit: Minimum two months

For a private preview, please email: Kenneth J. Moore: Loy Carlos: Eli Hersh:

All information is from sources deemed reliable. No representation is made or is implied as to absolute accuracy and is subject to errors, omissions, change in price, prior lease and/or withdrawal without notice.. Square footage and dimensions are approximate.


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ENJOY Set at the corner of Grand and Mercer Street above legendary Alexander Wang, the unit expresses artistry, sensibility and spatial philosophy that is very much reflective of Soho's cultural history. Soaring twelve and a half foot ceilings provide a sense of height and volume. Nine enormous windows with deep sill, allow much light to illuminate an interior replete with original details. Exposed brick, well maintained but left in its natural state, together with original maple floors and corinthian cast iron columns frame an image that's a snapshot of a longed-for time and culture. A working wood burning stove remains, previously featured in 1975 in The New York Times, now framed by a sculptural mantel. Owned by the same architect since its conversion in the 1970s, the constructed loft is geometry in practice, from its undulating, circular kitchen and bath to its cubic bedrooms juxtaposed by a scattering of triangles, rectangles, squares. Currently, two bedrooms are split on opposite sides, though the space can accommodate three or even four bedrooms. A sleeping mezzanine floor takes advantage of the height, simultaneously giving a complete vista of the open layout as well as providing ample storage underneath it. The unit also comes with 75 ft. of storage space in the building as well as shares a common hallway with one rear unit on the floor. Maintenance is a mere $750 per month. The building consists of only seven units and has a roof deck with lovely Downtown views. The building has also already performed major updates and capital improvements from new elevator, redone roof deck, to new windows, sprinkler system, central air conditioning for each unit, exhaust fans, etc.

Bedrooms: 3 Baths: 2 Ownership: Cooperative Built: 1867 Units: 7 Amenities: Roof Deck Elevator: Yes, keyed Price: $3,600,000 Mainenance: $750 per month For a private preview, please email: Kenneth J. Moore Loy Carlos Eli Hersh

All information is from sources deemed reliable. No representation is made or is implied as to absolute accuracy and is subject to errors, omissions, change in price, prior lease and/or withdrawal without notice.. Square footage and dimensions are approximate.



Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey has just released a new line of eyewear. The former model and reality show celebrity hopes to share her exquisite sense of style with her fans, offering designer frames that are both sophisticated and noticeably alluring. Bailey teams up with industry veteran, Menizzi Italy, with the goal of pushing the boundaries in fashionable eyewear using high quality materials while simultaneously making it affordable and reasonable. After all, anyone knows you can’t have just one pair to go with a wardrobe as big as a Real Housewife’s. Check her entire line online, and pick a few to stick in everyone’s stockings this holiday season. Beware. You may just keep them all!


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THE RIGHT THING TO DO “Wall Street is the only place where people drive in a Rolls Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.” -Warren Buffet When I get people talking about their retirement, I usually run in to three groups of people. There’s the “I’ll figure it out” crowd who don’t have a clue what tomorrow will bring. There’s the “It’s too late for me” crowd, who used to be the “I’ll figure it out” crowd. They’ve come to the conclusion that their retirement will be sustained with a reverse mortgage if they are lucky, and more likely than not have tons of debt. And then there’s the last group. It’s the group I hope I’m reaching. It’s the group that is on the brink of mastering their financial future. They just need to learn a few key understandings. I call them the “I’m doing the right thing” group. Members of this group really have their act together. They plan for the future. They advance themselves in life. They save, budget, and invest in their future. They come from all walks of life. Some come from money, but many don’t. Many have degrees, but some don’t. They have adopted the essential discipline of delayed gratification, and it’s what sets them apart. However, what I’m going to discuss right now isn’t how wonderful they are. It’s about who is taking advantage of their hard work and effort. The problem is that what they have been convinced is the “right thing” to do is, in fact, historically proven to be the wrong thing to do. Over the past century, the market (The Dow Jones Industrial Average) has appreciated at an average annual rate of about 8%. It’s gone from about $60.00 to about $16,000.00. So 8% should be the standard. If Average Joe puts money in the market, he should expect this rate over an extended period of time. So if 8% is our benchmark, why am I constantly seeing 4% to 6% returns in all of my friends’ managed portfolios?

BY HERBERT KOEHLER As we speak, millions of baby boomers are entering their retirement years and they have a major problem. They don’t have enough to retire on. In fact the average baby boomer has less than $50,000.00 to carry them through their retirement years. Forget about passing something on to their kids, they won’t even be able to retire. They have been doing the “right thing” their whole life. Throughout their working years they have confided in their reputable banker. This generation relied on working hard, saving money, and becoming home owners. The last piece of the puzzle was of course, their portfolio. Mutual funds were the choice vehicle for safe, sure returns into retirement. So why has the financial industry been unable to answer this need? Why are mutual funds that make 5% or 6% annually still being called a solution for those who can barely put away $100 a month? Obviously debt and overspending are major factors. But something far more subtle has been leaving retirees wondering why there’s so little waiting for them upon reaching their stage of their lives. There is a common theory believed by the majority of financial professionals who work both on Wall Street and in your local bank. The highest paid fund managers, financial advisors, stock brokers, and even CEOs have all been taught this principle. This theory has been taught in the most prestigious business schools, and is a standard for mandated testing. It is known as the Efficient Market Theory, and basically what it states is that the market is never wrong. That means the people in charge of our retirement believe that…. • It is impossible to know whether a particular stock will go up or down. • There is no such thing as a cheap or an overpriced stock. • The best you can do is spread out your bets via diversification and dollar cost averaging. • There is a direct relationship between risk and reward.

What I’m trying to tell you is that people who have gone to the best schools, have the fanciest degrees, have the most expensive suits, and are deemed savvy professionals are incapable of doing much better than random. I don’t know about you but when I hire a professional, I expect them to do much better work than I could do on my own. So what can we expect by relying on the “professionals”? Between September 1st 1985, and September 1st 2015, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose from $1,334.00 to $16,001.00 yielding an average annual return of 8.6%. Studies have shown that mutual funds tend to underperform when compared to the market, particularly the actively managed ones. Based on an article by world famous life coach Tony Robbins, “Why Pay for Poor Performance?” over half of fund managers in all categories underperformed in comparison to the market. On average they charge you 1.5% to for that subpar performance. Here’s the difference it can make for a young adult looking to retire in the next 35 years. 7% performance – 1.5% in commissions = 5.5% annual return. $10,000.00 at 8.6% growth for 35 years becomes $179,491.00 $10,000.00 at 5.5% growth for 35 years becomes $65,138.00 If you hired a contractor who stopped after building half of your house, you’d think they are nuts, and you certainly wouldn’t pay them. A professional should be able to outperform the amateur. And yet, the entire financial industry relies on having investors believe underperformance is the best you can do. I have a problem with this. So does Warren Buffet. So does Tony Robbins.

I could write pages on why the financial industry operates this way, but that’s not my purpose here and now. Rather, I’d like to point out one simple piece of information. Why spend 1% or 1.5% of your retirement every year on someone who can’t even justify their expert status? Why not instead, invest in a vehicle that matches that 8% standard for almost no cost at all. They call them Exchange Traded Funds, and you can buy them like a stock, and stay diversified like a mutual fund. It will get you closer to that 8% benchmark, and it will cost you under $10.00 to buy or sell. The bottom line is this. Things are not always what they appear to be. This is especially true when an industry stands to make huge profits by keeping you in the dark. Speaking to you as a private investor and stock market coach, this is where everything I do comes from. The market isn’t efficient, and a real professional like Buffet have results to prove it. If you plan to be the passive investor, don’t be fooled into letting an underperformer skim off your profits. You owe yourself more. Keep your costs low and your growth on par with the market. It’s a sprint not a marathon. That doesn’t mean you need to carry someone else along the way.

Aid and Attendance Benefits for Veterans BY ANDREW L. JALOZA, ESQ. Many families struggle to provide necessary care for aging or disabled Veterans or their surviving spouses. Unfortunately, most of these families are unaware of an important benefit available through the Department of Veterans Affairs to which their loved ones may be entitled. It is called Aid and Attendance. For qualifying veterans, Aid and Attendance is paid in addition to the basic pension rate for seriously disabled wartime veterans who have limited or no income, and who are age 65 or older, or, if under 65, who are permanently and totally disabled. Some key things to know about the Aid and Attendance benefit: Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit and is not dependent upon service-related injuries. Wartime veterans and their surviving spouses may be eligible. Certain medical and financial requirements must be met. Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility. The Application Process Application for Aid and Attendance Benefits is a complex and lengthy process. The forms are available for you to do this yourself, but be advised that if you apply and your application is denied, you must wait a year before you can reapply. For these reasons, many people seek assistance in completing the application. Note: It is illegal for anyone to charge you a fee to help complete the application or file for benefits. Some estate attorneys like ours can assist you with this process – at no cost to you.

ANDREW L. JALOZA ASSOCIATES Phone: 718-303-0156 Email:

The Aid and Attendance Benefit – How Much Could You Receive? The cost of assisted living, nursing home or home health care can be substantial. In fact, a 2014 survey conducted by Genworth Financial found that the national median monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility runs $3,500, the national median daily rate for a semi-private nursing home room is $212, and the national median hourly rate for a licensed home health aide is $20. Aid and Attendance Benefits could help defray these types of costs for qualified veterans and their surviving spouses. The 2015 Maximum Benefits Maximum Monthly Benefit for Surviving Spouse: $1,149 Maximum Monthly Benefit for Single Veteran: $1,788 Maximum Monthly Benefit for Married Veteran: $2,120 Maximum Monthly Benefit for Married Veteran Couple: $2,837 Note: these are maximum benefit amounts and the actual benefit that is approved may be less. Who is Eligible to Receive Aid and Attendance Benefits? There are three aspects of eligibility – Service, Medical and Financial. Service. The basic service qualification is that the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military duty, with at least one of those days during wartime (as defined by the Veteran’s Administration). Additionally, the veteran must have received a discharge that was other than dishonorable. Medical. The veteran or surviving spouse must show that they require the “aid and attendance” of another person to perform the basic activities of daily living. The VA defines the need for aid and attendance as:

• Requiring the aid of another person to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, or • Being blind or nearly blind, or • Being bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, or • Being a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity. Financial. Qualifying under the asset test can be tricky. The basic requirements state that the person requesting the benefit must have a financial need. Each application is evaluated individually. Although you may hear or read that having up to $80,000 in assets (exclusive of a home and a car) is acceptable, consider this merely a general rule of thumb. In contrast to Medicaid eligibility, there are no set asset limits when it comes to Aid and Attendance eligibility. The final decision regarding the asset test depends on the VA reviewer. In addition to the asset test, there also is an income test. As with the asset test, there is no specified income limit. However, the VA considers what it refers to as IVAP – Income for VA Purposes. IVAP is equal to your gross income from all sources, less a portion of unreimbursed medical expenses. If your IVAP is not less than the annual benefit amount, you will not be eligible for benefits. How Can I Qualify for Aid and Attendance Benefits? What if you are service and medically eligible, but have too many assets or too much income to qualify? You may consider rearranging your assets and/or income to qualify, which may include re-titling or giving away assets, or establishing a Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pensions Benefits Trust. Making these types of changes is perfectly legal, but doing so properly can be complicated. Beware that some actions taken to qualify for VA benefits could create a penalty period, or perhaps even disqualify you entirely from receiving Medicaid benefits should they be needed. Business Resources for Returning Veterans American Hometown Heroes was founded to assist Veterans who are looking to start a new business. Through this initiative, independent yellow page publishers have banded together to provide professional advice and marketing assistance to any returning veteran with a desire to start a new business in their hometown (or has recently started a local business) – all at no charge to them! The program includes a comprehensive advertising program for an entire year. Find out if you qualify for the American Hometown Heroes program and sign up to get started.

Audio Doctor offers a unique personalized listening experience of high-performance entertainment systems! We have four private showrooms located throughout a restored 1880 Victorian home; comfortable real world environments in authentic living spaces, designed to recreate how your equipment would perform in your own home. Audio Doctor has one of the largest and most diverse collections of home entertainment equipment in the North East available for your enjoyment. Audio Doctor offers the best in High End Audio Review, and State of the Art Custom Design. AudioDoctor offers a cool concept marrying style and audio-video technology. An example of this would be disguising loudspeakers as custom art work, like the one they planned and installed at Waterfall Mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The Artcoustic speakers can either appear like custom artwork, a framed photograph or mirror. Speakers can be inset completely into a wall in order to truly look like a framed piece of art. Alternatively, the faux objet d’art may simply be hung on a wall. No longer will you have to decide whether to have a fantastic sound system or a nice looking one that matches your decor. Now you can entertain and enjoy amazing sound without your guests ever noticing the source! Can you spot the stunning glass loudspeakers from France, Audio Elora on walls which look like a wall sconce, a custom six foot TV Mirror?




It took seven years to turn the idea of National

Sawdust into actual music. It finally happened this past October 1st. A new space in an old building came to life through people who spent decades preparing themselves, wandering the less-traveled paths through the musical wilderness, following their own internal maps, which they often drew as they walked. Theo Bleckman started life in Dortmund, Germany, became a champion ice-dancer, then gave it all up to become an American and sing music that has been described as jazz, other-worldly, and excellent. Today Musa Suso is a griot, an oral historian and musician of the Mandingo people of Gambia, West Africa. He is also a master of the kora, and a direct descendant of the inventor of the 21 string instrument that looks a lot like a lute. He has played with Philip Glass, Pharoah Sanders, Ginger Baker, Paul Simon, and the Kronos Quartet, so his music qualifies as eclectic. Tanya Tagaq is an Inuit throat singer from Canada. Throat singing is unique to the Inuit, the native people of the arctic. Tanya learned to sing in Yellow Knife, Northwest Territories. There is a focal point that drew these musicians of obscure, off-center, and exploratory styles to Williamsburg. That point is the dream of a woman who’s own path to making music in Brooklyn began with her grandfather. A hundred years ago in Italy, an oboist had a son. The son became a reed, pad, and instrument maker. When his daughter was very young, he moved the family to Nogales, and later to Tuscon, Arizona. That’s where the daughter, Paola Prestini spent her early childhood, heavily influenced by southwestern and Mexican culture. When she was five years old, Paola discovered a strong connection to music at the same time that her parents were separating. Her now single mom embraced and enthusiastically supported Paola’s new interest. By the time she was nine, Paola dreamed of composing. The dream took control of her path. Paola attended Interlocken Arts Academy, a high school in Michigan for students of the arts, where she majored in composition. It was here that Paola began to understand a composer’s life outside of composing.

Paola remembered, “Our teachers always spoke about the path of a composer–finish school and enter competitions. Once out of school, there was very little guidance. There were very few options.” With very few options, while still attending the Julliard School of Music in New York, Paola started her own company, VisionIntoArt. VisionIntoArt (VIA) is a nonprofit multi-media production company created to produce the grand scale projects Paola had been dreaming of for years, including performance and recording. VIA set the stage for National Sawdust. About seven years ago, Kevin Dolan was following his own odd path between playing classical organ in churches, and practicing tax law at senior levels of responsibility for the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and major law firms. When Mr. Dolan’s and Ms. Prestini’s paths crossed, National Sawdust found its pulse. Mr. Dolan is aware of the importance of music to human life. He has said the purpose of National Sawdust is “to help the musician and composer community. If you support them, you support the art form.” Under the influence of Mr. Dolan’s presence, finances for National Sawdust fell into place. The organization acquired a building at 80 N. Sixth Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The brick building had been abandoned for years, but the name of the previous owner remained in fading paint on the facade overlooking the intersection of Sixth and Wythe Avenue- “National Sawdust Co.” The building’s interior is brand new and unusual. A visitor is certainly aware, upon entering, of being someplace “avante garde.” But as enjoyable as the space is, the point of National Sawdust (NS) is the music- highest quality, widest range.

NS is a music incubator. The musicians are nice enough to let the rest of us listen, but their goal is not performance. It’s creation. The goal is the nurturing of musicians and composers to enable the creation of new music. NS performances are curated by artists. The curators, composers, musicians have each followed their own unique path to Brooklyn where as Paola said, “everything continues to evolve. It’s a field of dreams.” Carnegie Hall NOW Ensemble, new chamber music for the 21st century, Nov. 8, 5:00 pm; 1B1, National Sawdust group-in-residence, orchestra and piano versions of Grieg’s HolbergVariations with pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, Nov. 12, 7:00 pm; Five short films and live musicians exploring contemporary culture from Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Kenya, and Angola, Nov. 14, 8:00 pm; Big Farm featuring Grammy-winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, vocalist-lyricist Rinde Eckert; in-demand electric bassist Lek Darger; Grammy-winner and pioneering composer/guitarist Steven Mackey; and celebrated percussionist Jason Treuting (So Percussion), Nov. 18, 7:00 pm; The New York Virtuoso Singers featuring Brent Funderburk, piano, with The Canticum Novum Youth Choir, Edie Rosenbaum, Director, featuring ten world premieres by ten ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award winners, Nov. 29, 2:00 pm; and much more. The full calendar and everything you need to know about National Sawdust is at Please visit for more information and a full calendar of events. * Renderings courtesy of National Sawdust

Laure de Sagazan THE NEW 2016 COLLECTION | PARIS



car seat headrest

The last time I saw Car Seat Headrest live was January

2014 in a living room in Virginia. There were twelve or fifteen other people in attendance, people drifting listlessly between the dining and living rooms, picking at bowls of nuts and candy, chatting idly. Half the live members of Car Seat Headrest were people I knew from middle school. They and the band they shared the night with alternated songs, sacrificing supremacy, splitting a drummer, switching in old members (there as audience members) to play a stripped down version of “Maud Gone.” It was cozy. Casual. After the show, some other attendees took to belting Taylor Swift covers from the songbook that was perched on the piano. Since that winter when I last saw them, the band has signed to Matador records, has interviewed with Rolling Stone, and has been heralded by Black Flag’s Henry Rollins as an act to watch out for. Attention has continued to grow after Will Toledo—songwriter, frontman, band mastermind—cast eleven albums into the DIY musical ether that is Bandcamp. Their forthcoming album,Teens of Style, is a careful selection of songs from those old albums, offering new audiences an easy way to begin listening without having to plow through the entire back catalogue (as delightful as the back catalogue is). October 15th’s show at the Cake Shop was cozy as well, but otherwise entirely different. Car Seat Headrest played the last slot (a decidedly unglamorous 6:15 pm slot on a Thursday night) in a showcase set up by NYCTaper as part of the annual College Music Journal (CMJ) Music Festival, “New York’s live music archivist.” Yet, despite the less-than-ideal slot, the narrow, dim space of the Cake Shop filled up by the time they took the stage. Will Toledo and his bandmates, Ethan Ives (bass) and Andrew Katz (drums) took the stage—instruments all a matching black. Without any introduction, Katz kicked right into the straightforward rhythm of How To Leave Town (2014) opener, “The Ending of Dramamine.” Ives hammered away at open E eighth notes, deep and booming, for a few seconds until Toledo joined in, noodling away quietly, almost jokingly, at the high frets of his guitar. It was quiet, unimpressive; multiple people were talking over the music.

And then the song exploded. Whereas the recorded song is a burst of electronic arpeggios and shimmering synth pads, the live version was an all-encompassing thrashed-out jam. Ives and Toledo attacked the strings of their instruments with aplomb, Ives, in particular, ran his fingers across his frets like mad. The audience was captivated. Even in the following quiet moments (“Ending of Dramamine” includes a number of rises and falls) everyone remained silent. “Ending of Dramamine” earned every one of its fifteen tumultuous minutes—half of Car Seat Headrest’s set. The most impressive thing about their live show is just how good Toledo’s recorded songs sound with a threepiece band. He’s selected his bandmates well. Members are not just technically proficient at their instruments but are also able to sing backup vocals at the same time, deftly accommodating live the multi-part harmonies of the recordings. Furthermore, the band’s live sound is as full as the manytracked studio songs. All three musicians fill space and pull back in a carefully-rehearsed punk rock sinusoid— each member cutting out or coming in at exactly the right moment. The three-part a cappella harmonies at the end of “Times To Die” were particularly impressive. Just like that show 22 months ago in Charlottesville, the band closed with “Oh Starving!,” the final track on Teens. It offers a nice reminder that as much as some things change, some things don’t. Car Seat Headrest might soon be a name on the lips of many, but Toledo is still Toledo; he’s still going to perform 15-minute songs, even at the cost of half his half-hour set; he’s still the same shy, unassuming dude (“We’re Car Seat Headrest,” he said after the first song, adding “Sheila told me to say that.”); as much as they are becoming a bigger deal, it’s comforting to know that the music that thousands of online listeners have come to identify with and love is still being made, is reaching a larger audience. It will be very exciting to see what Toledo does with it.

Back in the George H. W. Bush administration nearly all True Knowledge had long since vanished from human society. In those primitive days, men of science still had not discovered that women have minds and imaginations, and can contribute mightily to our understanding of the physical universe.

So it’s easy to see that a man of science, a monsieur Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis in his 1991 book Pourquoi Mozart? working without the help of half the human race could come up with a theory that has since been proved utterly wrong. I speak of the Mozart Effect. Not having actually read Pourquoi Mozart? (Why Mozart?) I can only assume that Dr. Tomatis’ titular question was directed not at Mozart himself, but at the reader; a question that Dr. Tomatis answered brilliantly, according to some, but also incorrectly. “The Mozart Effect” refers to Dr. Tomatis’ research which he thought indicated that listening to the music of Mozart would induce short term improvement in certain mental tasks. This was understood by many who don’t pay close attention, to mean that listening to Mozart raises the listener’s IQ. Further research by both men and women of science has revealed what many conservatives have known since at least the Civil War: listening to hifalutin’ music don’t make you no damned smarter. How then to explain the apparent high IQs among the listeners to Mozart? (First, full disclosure. I am not a man of science. I have done no reputable research on this matter. The opinions presented in this article are based solely on unrealistically high self-esteem.) Regarding those smart people at the classical music concerts, Dr. Tomatis’ mistake was concluding that if IQ scores go up after listening to music, the music made the IQ go up. No! Science says, no! So what did Dr. Tomatis discover? Those folks he exposed to Mozart were intelligent when they walked in the door. Intelligent and groggy. Their minds had gone into a “fog of war” following hours of boring, routine daily life, the ambient noise of the modern environment, the stress of driving, or crossing the street, the stultification of air-conditioned or heated, constant-temperature, re-circulated air. They were suffering from an unrecognized mental condition that should be called life-induced-stupidity. On a normal day, people get dumber by the minute. Good music wakes you up and returns you to your natural intelligence level, such as it is. It cuts through the constant decline of consciousness,and lights the way back to who we really are. It’s art! That’s what it does. That’s what it’s for. Exeunt



Return & Revenge, Part Deux: Modern Baseball’s The Perfect Cast EP

A quick Google search suggests that there’s no word in

English that means “sort of the same and sort of different,” probably because we’re paradox adverse. One of the few words that does come up as a suggestion, though, is “homonym.” Although usually used to refer to two words that sound the same but are spelled differently, I’m interested in pursuing its alternate definition: two words that look the same but are pronounced differently (“read,” for example, or “lead”).


I first came to Modern Baseball the spring of my junior year of college, one of the sadder semesters of my life. Having crashed from the high of study abroad back to reality, fresh from a large and messy breakup, trying to figure out how my friendships had changed and learn how to flirt again, frequently really anxious, Modern Baseball’s sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All was like a support group for me, a record (musical and archival) that showed that I was not alone. It was a jangly pop punk touchstone, capturing exactly what it was like to be sad and in college.

I played it literally over one hundred times in three months. It’s full of failed relationships, skipped classes, and venomous ends of friendships. It is delightful, and was exactly what I needed. I even bought a shirt of theirs that reads “Whatever Forever.” Dropped on Friday, Modern Baseball’s surprise EP The Perfect Cast is extremely concerned with returns and changes. Of the six tracks, three pose as sequels (“The Waterboy Returns,” “Alpha Kappa Fall of Troy The Movie Part Deux,” and “Revenge of the Nameless Ranger”). One might note that “The Nameless Ranger” is the name of MoBo’s first ever release. This is the band’s first solo release since 2014’s breakthrough LP You’re Gonna Miss It All, which pitched them out of relative obscurity and onto Billboard’s Top 200; and their anxieties are turning towards their newfound fame. Although there are still plenty of songs about failed relationships, the subtext is that the band is terrified of not living up to the name they’ve made for themselves. Their confessional lyrics are deeper than ever, EP opener “The Waterboy Returns” eschewing entirely singer Brendan Luken’s usual sarcastic, joking veneer. The song opens with just Lukens and a guitar: “Hey you, that’s no way out. You can’t find help in a bottle or a cut.” The rest of the band kicks in. Chugging guitars and doubled vocals carry the song forward, fuller and heavier than Modern Baseball has ever been before. “Waterboy” serves as a frank, honest, even scared discussion of Luken’s own mental health, told from the point of view of a worried friend (likely its co-writer, Old Gray’s Cameron Boucher). Rather than scathing and rejective, the song brings us up close, welcomes us, and tells us sincerely I’m having a hard time. As a result, it’s one of the band’s most affecting performances to date. And, as beginnings often do, it represents a change as a whole. “Caught you wasting away on accolades for songs you wrote, paralyzed by change, but scared to death that you might stay the same” Lukens cries at the end of the song, acknowledging the impossibility of following up the album that made you a star, the sophomore slump, the question of “how do I top what I did before?”

Which is where the question of homonyms comes in. Because while Modern Baseball may look the same— still sad, still emotive, still energetic—the sound is different: certainly musically heavier (much of the youthful exuberance they expressed on their two LPs has simmered down to a slow-burning brood, the guitar lines now at the lower end of the neck); and more serious, too (whereas You’re Gonna Miss It All only had one song that could be played on the radio, Perfect Cast is completely free of swearing); more daring (the guitars on “. . . And Beyond” soar in finger-picked glory, tinged with alt-country lead lines, the furthest thing the band has done, thus far, from their usual power-chord pop punk); and more honest. It’s a sort of Pinkerton to the Blue Album of MB’s first LPs, sans the creepy obsession with Japanese girls. The last two tracks on the album, “. . . And Beyond” and “Revenge of the Nameless Ranger,” come to a sort of agreement. “You and I have come such a long way, for us to start again,” ends “Beyond,” only for “Ranger” to start “I’m just not the same, and I’m never gonna be again.” The message seems to be this: it’s both too late to start fresh and too late to stay the same. Modern Baseball thus find themselves straddling the two worlds— a little bit different, a little bit the same. The members of Modern Baseball are, for the most part, twenty-two years old, the same as me. They’re finishing up college in Philadelphia, graduating just before they release their forthcoming LP, Holy Ghost. And just as their songs about being sad guys in college were perfect for me in 2014, now, having graduated from college, living in the city, I’m also trying to figure out how to stay the same and change at the same time. At least I’ll have the right soundtrack while I figure it out.



ou lie awake most nights thinking, wondering when you’re going to catch a break. No, you’re not even dreaming about that big break people used to talk about; you’re just seeking that little break that allows you to catch your breath and reset. You probably grew up hearing of stories when musicians had nothing but the clothes on their back, when they took off with nothing but their guitar and travelled across the country, writing songs, hoping to become famous one day. Most of them ended up settling in some town, nowhere near where they wanted to be. They would meet a boy or a girl, get married, have children then grandchildren, inevitably getting old. And many nights they would recount a certain day when by the roadside they sat next to Dylan, or maybe recall the week they didn’t sleep at all the first time they saw Page make his guitar roar using a violin bow. That was a time when artists could still escape to strike gold or to strike out, when there was still a difference between here and there. You could make your life more complex by going after your dream (and hopefully you’d make it). Or you could stay at home and live a rather quiet, less complicated life. In the 21st century, however, there are few places in the corners of the world where life isn’t complicated. Thanks to social media, everyone now is his or her own celebrity to manage. We have invented tools and appliances for multipurpose use. A phone that’s a map, a newspaper, a word processor, a fax machine, a telex, radio and stereo, a television, a computer, a calculator, and least of all, a phone.

Now technology and the economic culture behind it necessitates multipurpose people, “hybrid people’, as Greg Ferreira calls it. Who isn’t a photographer when you have Instagram? Who isn’t a writer when you have blog apps? One might suppose it was only a matter of time when artists would have to also learn the art of doing business, all sorts of business. Hybrid artists. One might say that Rock ‘N Shop was conceived on a backseat of a rock ‘n roll RV that’s headed to nowhere in particular. The Bushwick Hotel’s Gregory Ferreira and Rudy Temiz longed to spend a lot of their days hopping into one and travelling all over the world to play their music. There’s only one problem. To do that, they needed money. To get money, they needed a job. “So what,” most people would ask. Everyone does it, right? But for this particular duo, the kind of job everyone would voluntarily do conflicts with who they are. “When you’re trying to do what we’re trying to do,” explains Greg, “there’s a lot of working on the character that is you. I couldn’t do that working in a videostore… (that) day job is so unbohemian.” Posed with this problem, what the two decided to do was to figure out a creative way to find something that would give them income while allowing “our eccentricities to flourish.” The answer came in another art form: visual arts. Three years ago, they began to sell mixed media artwork–“mostly nostalgic, souvenir-like silhouettes of New York City using spray paint, silk screens, maps–on the streets of Brooklyn. Not only did it prove a good business idea, it also became another form of artistic expression and one that, enjoyably enough, is a good fit for their goals and, more importantly, their personalities.

Quickly Greg and Rudy realized also that while street vending works, community marketplaces are much more efficient in drawing customers and much more predictable, if not comfortable. Because a marketplace has the ability to hold many kinds of vendors for a whole variety of products, these shopping venues also have the ability to induce people to purchase other things they may have not intended to pick up in the first place. Seeing the same vendors tending their booths also sparked camaraderie among them. Most of the participants were also artists involved in other things. Almost all of them are creators. In other words, they are not salespeople who show up simply to sell. “As creators we (all) have had to find creative solutions to our own problems,” says Rudy. For us, “we can’t depend on patrons. We can’t depend on record labels. We can’t depend on outside forces to shape our careers,” he adds. Other vendors, too, in whatever industry they are in have had to find other ways to supplement their income or to bolster their business. If that meant selling their products in a marketplace or on the street, so be it. Greg observes, “Those people who bitch about how it can’t be done, how technology is destroying everything. That’s bullshit.” Both suggest that it is up to an artist to find a way to express himself or herself in some other ways to survive while still maintaining who they are. Thus nowadays you frequently find singer/ songwriters for example who are voice coaches, music teachers, yoga instructors, jingle writers, etc. And that isn’t relegated only to musicians. In New York City and Los Angeles, actors and models are often fitness trainers, choreographers may be dance instructors at gyms. It appears that almost no one in the arts does only one thing. This is different from actors or singers who previously moonlighted as waiters and bartenders so they could go on auditions during the day. Artists are finding alternate things to do, not necessarily temporarily but as another parallel career. After all, if the ones who did make it now have fashion lines, perfume and

other secondary businesses, why can’t those who are still struggling day to day explore other opportunities as well? And they are the ones who could really use the secondary income now. “If the classic rock and roller had no set path to get where they were going before, now it’s gotten more fucked,” Greg bluntly surmises. “Guns ‘N Roses is dead, that model is dead. You can’t just say ‘I just want to play some music.’ If you want to rock, you must also be something else.” This is why all members of The Bushwick Hotel are now multi-disciplinarians. “We have a member that does marketing, graphics, sells maps and plays bass. What we have done is we’ve created a more powerful organization.” That organization comes in handy as they pull together a weekly Rock ‘n Shop, Bushwick’s first alternative mall. Originally a pop-up as a response to the closing of the Brooklyn Flea Market, every weekend The Bushwick Hotel transforms The Paper Box, one of Bushwick’s largest music venues, into a truly unique Brooklyn shopping, culinary, and entertainment experience. With up to seven free all ages matinee shows, attendees can spend the day enjoying delicious food and drinks, shopping for art, crafts, apparel, jewelry, accessories, records, or get a tattoo, a haircut and even a beard trim. Rudy points out, “Because people can just buy anything online and don’t have to leave the house, we have to give them something more than that, we have to give them something different than just going out to shop. The things you’re going to look at there, you’re not going to find online because the person you’re getting it from makes those things, things that are unique.” “Think of it as a community center,” offers Greg. “We created it to be for everyone. The booths are adequately priced on purpose because we wanted to attract a feeling of brotherhood between the vendors.” They believe this feeling of connectedness filters out to patrons and visitors who come. “For us, it’s such an amazing thing,” Rudy adds excitedly. “It’s just incredible. There’s so many people. So many people are involved, and so many people who can benefit from it….a whole lot of people just having fun.”

PHOTO BY: Justin Passavia

PHOTO BY: Justin Passavia

“With free bagels and pancakes, what else do you want?” teases Greg. Greg explains that for them, Rock ‘n Shop is not about money (a typical booth costs an average of $50 for the day). “It’s a community thing,” he notes. “We didn’t gouge our friends. We sell next to them. We know that everyone there needs to spend every cent wisely. And there is chemistry.” “These people are helping me, too,” he adds. Greg further explains that curating for the marketplace enables him to meet a lot of other “good” people and to have “a lot of interesting conversations” with them.

For him, making music, Rock ‘n Shop and art–these are all part of the same thing. It is about communication and, perhaps, a little about survival, too. “I often say I was already a slut and New York made me a whore,” Greg figuratively describes the general feeling of desperation. Love In a Whorehouse is the upcoming record from The Bushwick Hotel. Expected to be released in 2016, the record, they explain, will pose “a lot of questions but offers no answers” to finding “love in a time of abundance.”

“How do we maintain realness?” he asks. “Everything’s for sale…In a place and time where there is so much good stuff, there’s a lot of bad that comes with it too,” Greg suggests. Technology and wealth. Both are supposed to give us one thing. Freedom. But are we really free? “Freedom in America usually comes with this sort of indentured servitude.” He expounds that Rock ‘N shop allows The Bushwick Hotel and all the vendors who participate in it to “live off art.” “We want to be free to behave like ourselves, to express, and to make music. This is an extension of us being ourselves. We work. But we don’t feel so much of an asshole because we work for ourselves.” Rock ‘N Shop is organized and hosted by The Bushwick Hotel and The Paper Box weekly on Saturdays and Sundays. “Each week offers an intoxicating blend of live indie rock, delicious food, singular wares, cheap tattoos, and cheaper booze, seducing a growing contingent of Brooklyn locals and outer neighborhood and even international visitors. And where rock has gone, standup comedy will follow. Every Sunday from 12 to 1 pm, host Ajai Raj welcomes a hand-picked lineup of the best up-and-coming talent New York City has to offer.” Take advantage of a funkylicious private RV that takes visitors to and from the subway stations and The Paper Box. Admission is free. Just be ready to rock, shop and feel a whole lotta love. ROCK ‘N SHOP @ THE PAPERBOX: Sat & Sun 9 am to 7 pm | 17 Meadow Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206



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Adam Feibelman is a San Francisco based artist whose childhood in Albuquerque, New

Mexico was spent examining and interacting with the surfaces of the city through making graffiti art. His awareness of the structures we use every day but often overlook has become the subject of his current work: the buildings, doorways, fenced trees, discarded buses and chipped alley walls that fill our cities and map our lives. Through an intricate process of hand-cut stencils and enamel painting, he explores the relationship between our perceptions of the temporary and the eternal, uncovering the stories we have transcribed on an urban landscape filled with utilitarian objects. “We live in an ever-changing city sculpture,” says Feibelman, “constantly being shaped, broken down and rebuilt again by countless personal human moments.” Feibelman’s creation process reveals this movement over multiple lifetimes through steps of collection, destruction and repurposing. After photographing his subject, he creates paper stencils by capturing layers of light and meticulously cutting away the resulting negative space. The stencil cutting process can take months, a time during which he is forced to subtract material with millions of small movements, reflecting and reversing the tiny interactions that have added to the subject’s surface over its lifetime. When the stencils are complete, the structure has been whittled down to its most essential form, and the collection of layered stencils, light and shadow become a kind of skeleton. To rebuild the body of the subject, Feibelman then uses enamel spray paint to lay down layers of color through the stencils onto wood panels. The resulting image is a portrait of an urban object as we have never seen it before; its biography revealed in surfaces that shimmer with the light of a thousand experiences. Both the stencils and the paintings are essential to the portrait, suggesting the possibility of continued change and rebirth, and challenging us to examine both our contribution to the environment and our perception of time. Adam Feibelman has lived and worked in the Bay Area for the last 16 years. He attended California College of Arts and Crafts, where he earned the Yozo Hamaguchi award for exceptional achievement in Printmaking. He graduated with distinction in 2001 with a double major in Printmaking and Illustration. He is currently represented by Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

Jeffrey Omura


“You are one handsome white man...,” a young female African American exclaimed one afternoon as Jeffrey Omura stood on a busy Manhattan street. Of course, she was only half right–not about his looks–but about his race.

Jeffrey is biracial, a product of English and Japanese ancestry. He is at least one proof of the theory by some that mixing races make for beautiful kids. (Unfortunately, some would argue that the theory also implies not mixing them make for unattractive ones). But on the narrow point of being able to nullify any preconceived notion of what a particular race or group looks like, being of mixed race is indeed quite beautiful. Then there’s the point that what race you belong to shouldn’t even matter. But in Jeffrey’s industry unfortunately, he is very much judged by his looks. To some he is a strikingly handsome Asian; to others like that street admirer, he is a dashing Caucasian. Given that, one might conclude that Jeffrey is in an enviable position. For an actor, however, being biracial often means not being cast or not being considered for a part that ought to be played by either. As if being a minority isn’t difficult enough, falling between the majority and the minority group is even worse. Jeffrey finds himself often being told that he belongs to neither. Race, it appears, is in the eyes of the beholder. Jeffrey recalls, “I went to an audition once. While waiting patiently for my turn, a member of the casting staff approached me and said that the role is for Chinese. You’re not Chinese.” He says he couldn’t be even cast for an Asian character. “If they ever have an Asian role open, I’m not Asian enough. I’m not from China or Japan or Korea. I don’t have those experiences. And I don’t speak the language.” Another biracial actor nods in agreement. She is half Asian and half Italian, but some casting people insist that she’s simply too “Jewish.”

On the other hand, he is also frequently told he’s too Asian for a non-Asian role. For instance, when going to an audition where multiple parts are being cast for television or film, he is almost always assumed to be either getting, or trying to get, the role of a “nerd ” or some type of “techie,” stereotypical roles for Asian men in the U.S. One might suggest that this is true of all stereotypes. After all, aren’t the more commanding roles that are written for African American women generally for slaves or the help? That has been the case historically, at least until recently, when producers like Shonda Rhimes began to create women-of-power roles. These new characters are aimed to chip away at the stereotype: that powerful women are “bitches” while their male counterparts playing similar roles are regarded as “strong” and “distinguished.” They were also created to illustrate that women of color may also be powerful, feminine and smart in real life. So to find them on TV or in the movies as such shouldn’t be “weird.” But weren’t Asian women also playing geisha and other subservient roles since the history of films? Asian actresses had it bad, too: they had to be pretty enough to play a seductress, and obscure enough not to appear trustworthy and likable. And when an Asian actor or actress couldn’t pass these stereotypes, there’s always comedy. And people wonder why any Asian male mistaken for Mr. Chow would be offended! Of course, the usual excuse for that “mistake” is always this: “Asians look alike.” In other words Jeffrey, justifiaby, could be mistaken for Mr. Chow at Starbucks, but he just can’t play a Korean or Chinese on stage because, well, he doesn’t look like either enough under Fresnel lanterns? Now residing in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, Jeffrey Omura moved to the Big Apple eight years ago from Okemos, Michigan, a suburb of Lansing. His father, a Dean of MBA at Michigan State, was originally from Hawaii but grew up in the District of Columbia.

His mother, a caterer, was born in Virginia’s Appalachian region but grew up in Detroit. Both had an equal influence in their son’s upbringing, incorporating several cultural and regional traditions along the way. This amalgam makes Jeffrey, essentially, very American (which he points out, by the way, is not a race).

In 2007, Jeffrey Omura landed a serious role, Balthazar, in one of the world’s most famous stories (well, a play really), Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, in one of the world’s most famous venues, Central Park. Directed by Michael Grief the production also featured Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose and inside Llewyn Davis’s Oscar Isaac, among others.

He doesn’t remember a time when he did not want to be an actor, which is a little odd since “not many actors came from where I come from,” he observed. Most people back home end up going to “your typical high school reunion. You went to dinner parties, and the few who graduated bonded.” But he realizes there isn’t the same bond he shared with them.

His first television gig was as Todd Jansen, Nellie Yuki’s (played by Yin Chang) boyfriend in Gossip Girl. Since then he has gone on to appear in several notable series including Damages, The Michael J. Fox Show and Blue Bloods.

Not that his life wasn’t exciting at Okemos High School. After all he was President of the Drama Club. In fact, one of his fondest memories is as a senior, when they turned the movie, Clue, into a stage play. Jeffrey wrote the adaptation and starred in it also. The year before that, they performed Thornton Wilder’s classic, Our Town. High school audiences, it seems, are able to get over the fact that someone that’s part Asian might be playing a non-Asian role. After graduating, Jeffrey was admitted to a four-year intense acting program at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. “Getting in was a big deal,” he concludes. “It was a certain kind of validation.” He continues to say that his four years in the school was gratifying. “You had the same classmates and you saw each other develop.” There was some comfort in that, too. But the actor suggests that, “the real world isn’t like that. There is little comfort or validation in the real world. In school, you may have good people around. In the real world, you get depressed, surrounded by all the other actors going through the same thing.” Sharing the same fears, worries, challenges and insecurities with his fellow actors, Jeffrey appreciates that it is easy to be trapped in “a negative feedback loop.” These rejections and frustrations become never ending topics of discussion. So he makes a sincere effort to surround himself with people whose background is much different from his own. “I try to mine the world for stories.”

“Have you ever had a hundred grand between your legs?”

To some of his friends, one of his most memorable TV scenes is one in which he acts opposite Matt Bomer in White Collar. “Have you ever had a hundred grand between your legs?” He was talking about a motorcycle of course. Still, it’s a funny line to deliver. (Bomer, incidentally, graduated from Carnegie Mellon, too.) Apart from television, Jeffrey has also landed spots in shorts and feature films including Milk Crate and Sex and the City 2. He has also appeared in commercials, most recently in a Liberty Mutual’s television ad campaign (and we all breathe a collective sigh of relief for the first non-annoying ad of the lot). Surprisingly, Jeffrey finds going through film and television casting slightly easier to handle than theater. “Networks and studios are under a lot more pressure to cast diversely. Theater practitioners are liberal minded, yet I find there is a complete lack of oversight in inclusive casting,” the thespian opines. This rather limited approach is pushing the theatrical community to a breaking point. “Either we produce the same kind of products over and over again, do the same things, chugging along as we normally do, and cater to smaller and smaller audiences…or we change everything and allow for greater creative freedom.”

For actors, the challenge is to imagine the role and to breathe life into the character. “It shouldn’t matter as much what I look like, what matters should be how I act.” How an actor portrays a role defines what people see on screen or on stage (like high school). Acting ultimately guides the audience’s experience, not a person’s race or ethnicity. Even when a story is traditionally told a certain way, it can be retold differently. Take The Wiz, for instance (which coincidentally is scheduled to be shown live on NBC on December 3rd). Wasn’t it a successful twist on a classic tale? Wasn’t it also an early example of changing the way an audience sees an entire cast of characters? If Ken Harper didn’t reimagine L. Frank Baum’s classic, what a loss it would have been to musical theater! “Nobody writes a role with people looking like me in mind. But you prepare for the role anyway...Define yourself before playing characters that are not you. Then trust that you are interesting enough as a human being…find something in that role and bring yourself to it. I also come to auditions with lines completely memorized. I call it ‘performance ready’ auditions. It transforms what I’m doing from an audition into a performance.” We used to measure the skill of an actor by his or her ability to play roles that are far from who they are and what they know. We used to demand to be convinced that they embody the character they are playing. As far as we know, there are no real aliens, hunchbacks, vampires and zombies fighting for roles today. On Broadway, we have yet to see real mermaids, genies, lions and witches. In these types of roles, we cast based on who could best bring out the essence of the characters. Yet when it comes to roles for “ordinary people,” we make decisions based on appearance. One might argue that is because mermaids and the like are fantasy roles. But isn’t all acting fantasy?

For now, Jeffrey says he plays mostly characters that exist in voids, characters that have indeterminate backgrounds. “Ninja. The clown. The nerd. I don’t fit into any of these. I always get called in for the nerd character only for them to realize later that I’m not one. I’m a geek, but I’m not a nerd.” To Jeffrey we say, Take comfort. You are not alone. Keanu Reeves was once a geek, too. And he is also one handsome ‘white’ man. Jeffrey Omura is currently performing in Lloyd Suh’s Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery directed by Ed Iskandar and produced by NAATCO at Walkerspace in Tribeca. He is sporting a moustache.

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Salambaw, a large fishing net supported by bamboo poles, pictured coincidentally in front of a relative’s old house.


I wasn’t brought up to believe I was special. My parents had the unique ability to inculcate in us a delicate balance of absolute confidence and absolute insecurity. The mandate was “finish first in anything, then go to confession and beg God to forgive you for desiring to be first.” If not kept a secret, doing well was a reason to feel shame.

My siblings and I were never encouraged to be the best in the world, just the best that we can be anywhere, at anything we do. Perhaps this is why I cringe whenever I hear someone say his or her husband or wife is “the best” or his or her dog is “the smartest ever.” Often, I ask myself, “How do they know for sure? How can they make such a claim so publicly?” So I frequently dismiss these very ostentatious declarations to be no more than the negative result of young kids being prematurely told that they are “special.” It makes me think of that line from The Help: “You is special, you is kind, you is important.” I’m not special. I’m not important. And I’m kind of, at best, all right.

What was special was our home in Parañaque, a town within but at the edge of Metropolitan Manila. Its own city now, it was historically a municipality comprised of several fishing villages. The village where the town center is located is called La Huerta, Spanish meaning “orchard or garden.” And no, there hasn’t been an orchard or a historically famous garden there for as long as anyone can remember. But according to legend there had been, along the riverbank, an orchard so lush and breathtaking that no traveler could resist stopping for a stroll through its enchanted grounds. Thus, the town’s name, Parañaque is said to be derived from the Spanish, “Para aqui,” or “Stop here.” There’s an old, painted semi-ornate, concrete bridge that connects the town center, leading to the boulevard along Manila Bay, working its way to the old city. I spent many days at dusk walking home along Roxas Boulevard. It was partly because I believed Manila Bay’s sunset to be the best in the world, but really mostly because I had a tendency to spend my entire allowance on Mondays, leaving nothing but just enough for an entire week’s morning commute.


(I did it. I used “best sunset,” didn’t I? Well, I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have verification. My late stepfather in law, who was in his late 70s by the time I met him, was a navy veteran from Pennsylvania who was stationed in the Philippines in World War II. One of the first things he had mentioned to me almost two decades ago was how he remembered the sunset. Soldiers were bored from living in the bowels of the U.S. navy ship all day and night. But at just about the beginning of sunset, an announcement would be made and the entire crew would rush on deck to behold the sparkling explosion of psychedelic yellows, pinks and reds that the burnt amber sun reflected off the clouds, hovering low over Manila’s baby blue sky. That’s what Harry described, and Harry wasn’t keen on fake compliments. He always said exactly what was on his mind.) Back to town. My grandfather was the engineer who built that historic bridge. In fact, without it I wouldn’t exist. It was during construction of that bridge when he met a beautiful, petite heiress whose spunk mirrors a Jane Austen character, or perhaps in today’s terms, someone from Downton Abbey. Take her fine manners as a sign of weakness or naivété, and you’d be sorry you did. At the foot of the bridge are houses of relatives whose members get along as well as-–you guessed it–the Crawleys. My family and I got along well enough with most of them, thanks to my grandmother’s and my mother’s expert diplomacy, and so I harbor no ill feelings at all. Well, almost none. Upon reaching the top of the steps at the foot of the bridge, it hits you. The intoxicating perfume of the Ylang Ylang fills the air; its blossoms hang invisibly from a towering opulent tree, even houses away from my grandaunt’s front yard. And no, it smells nothing like anything that has ever been bottled.

There are simply no adjectives to accurately describe it, just memories and emotion. It smelled like the most delightfully cool, beautiful spring day, after the rain had stopped, and you were five years old with no care in the world and more money you could ever imagine for the thing you loved the most–chocolate! You’ve been sick for a while and today was the first day you could breathe and take it all in. In short, it smelled of angelic innocence. Yes, it’s that good. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that garlands of this and the equally alluring sampaguita (local jasmine) are hung on statues of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and the saints. It’s as close to the smell of heaven as one can ever get. Hence I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day, someone discovers that the enchanted orchard was actually located on our own property. Pass the gate and you will surely get an overwhelming feeling of “presence.” For those of us who live there, it is a welcoming feeling. It was as close to a home manifesting itself as a living being, not just a place. Listen closely enough and you’ll hear faint whispers, too, amidst the noisy chirps of the maya bird. I remember the air being noticeably cooler on our yard than in any other part of town. Maybe it was the canopy provided by the trees, or, I imagined, a result of the excited exchange from the many conversations between the flora. We had coconut trees, papaya, kaymito (star apple), bayabas (guava), atis (sugar apple), balingbing (star fruit), camias (sorrel tree), malunggay (moringa or benzoil tree) various kinds of orchids, the indestructible yellow morado all around, and what I referred to as the inimitable banana “couple” that were either sadly barren or happily gay. But nothing, not even the mighty Ylang Ylang or the numerous other blossoms in the neighborhood, dominated the air more than the unassuming kalachuchi (plumeria). Ours was a giant in comparison to many plants I’ve seen. It stood a little less than two stories high with a particularly dense system of branches. When not dropping pods, its blossoms filled the tree; dainty petals of pink gradients–from magenta to fuchsia on the outside, lightening to baby pink and almost white as it reached the spark of yellow at the center. It is both fancifully pretty and potently fragrant, so much so that the duality scared people.

Sunset at Manila Bay

Because of its varying colors and strong perfume, plumeria flowers are used to create elaborate flower arrangements that are displayed at funerals and wakes. And, although practiced less so now, long wakes were typically held at the deceased person’s house. For days, family, friends and neighbors gather around the open casket to pay their respects. These turn into rather large reunion of sorts, happening at the most unfortunate of circumstances. Of course, there is abundant food and, occasionally, even a photographer. And with houses built so closely together (one toppled candle can potentially raze an entire neighborhood), one could simply not escape the smell and sound of death. But aside from that, I often wondered whether the spirits that roamed around our grounds and the fervor in which that plumeria blossomed were somehow connected. It always seemed that the house sheltered invisible inhabitants who were always trying to communicate something. Tales of hauntings were told and retold for generations. Our family and friends have had their own unexplainable experiences: a floating pillow, a ball of fire, some unknown presence at the foot of a bed, the sudden rush of cold air, undeniable goose bumps when passing a particular place at the side of the house, and faucet running in a locked but vacant bathroom in the middle of the night, etc. Creepy stories abound. That leads me to the creepiest holiday of the year– Halloween. Most Filipinos do not trick or treat. For many, the more important date is tied to the Catholic calendar–November 1st, All Saint’s Day. It is the day entire clans commemorate their deceased, visiting various cemeteries, spending much time on the burial grounds of departed loved ones to whom they were particularly close. In fact, many camp out overnight, laughing and chatting while sitting around the plot (you’re not allowed to step on the grass where the coffin lay beneath). As it is a Filipino tradition after all, food is always packed beforehand. Rice, adobo, spam and cheese sandwiches, chips, soda–ironically and albeit unintentionally, every food group that are sure to clog arteries and accelerate their joining the deceased. In short it’s a picnic on grass, in the dark, with the dead.

Plumeria locally known as kalachuchi Although considered offensive by some, younger crowds tend to bring music, too. Then throughout the evening, people simply roamed the hallowed grounds to check out what cool ideas and gadgets other families came with. You might even spot celebrities. Or better yet, you may find the one. Candles and flowers are all around. A budding teenager, hardly recognizable in the cover of darkness, might confuse this as a setting for potential romance. No, not the lustful kind, but the kind that is a good story to tell one’s future grandchildren, that is, if lovers didn’t have to see each other in daylight at all. It’s not the right time or place, you say. But for Filipinos, any time is time for romance…and food. Don’t take my word for it. Tune in to any Flipino channel and you’ll come across melodramatic soap operas with scenes of people eating…and crying. Plus, contests–lots of people singing about love, though the first song many toddlers learn is a song about a bunch of vegetables. Love of love and love of food. That should be the country’s motto.

The Catholic Church used to scold its faithful. The day to remember loved ones, priests say, is November 2nd, All Souls Day not the 1st, All Saint’s Day. But no one listens. Once a year, they venerate the dead as they would saints. They share stories, recalling the beloved’s act of kindness or generosity. He or she, they insist, was hardworking, patient, strong, smart, beautiful, truthful, genuine, generous to a fault, dependable, special. They repeat these same accolades year after year, as each family member nods and smiles approvingly and affirmatively. Yes, they were very special, truly one of a kind. What a loss, they would say. No one dares speak about weaknesses; or the time when the person was unkind, stubborn, arrogant or rude. No one talks about the arguments they had had, often leading to months of not speaking to each other (it’s a Filipino thing). It’s as if their faults had vanished along with decomposition, and all that’s left buried beneath the earth are the remains of a saint who so suffered for the world. Naturally, they ought to celebrate in their honor. Forgiveness. But despite the festivities, I was always afraid of being around death. I hated wakes and funerals. I still shudder at the faintest smell of roses and plumerias. I find cemeteries chilling and morose. The thought of death scares me. I’m fearful not so much of darkness, but in death’s absolute finality. I’m afraid of dying as a man with potential that could no longer be fulfilled, of having had–but largely missed–the opportunity to be kind to someone and to do my part in making the world a better place, if not for all, then for some. I’m terrified of waking to find myself obsessing to be the best, yet failing miserably to be simply good. What I fear most is that with my last breath, I shall remember not the faces of those I loved, but the faces of those whom I let down. The irony is that those whom I have forsaken may very well remember the opposite and, along with those whom I loved and those who loved me, shall celebrate my life anyway. Thus I understand the appropriateness of honoring the dead on All Saint’s Day. Death has a way of making us neither saint nor sinner. Our ashes soon become indistinguishable from, and inseparable with, the earth. But if we’re lucky, long after our bodies are laid to rest beneath that little plot of land, family members will gather once a year to recall all the heroic–both true and imagined–things we’ve done. And that’s as special as most of us will probably get. Bodies wither and die. Souls may transform. But saints live on, deep in the memories of people we leave behind, hiding behind beautiful sunsets and floral perfume.


When I was a kid, winter meant a big bowl of steaming hot cereal for breakfast. I loved making little river of milk through my oats , cream of wheat or my dad’s favorite cream of rice and then using whole strawberries for little houses. It was my own yummy little world in a bowl! I still love hot cereals, but today along with my oats, I’ve added a repertoire of ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, faro,emmer, black and red rice and spelt. These grains are so versatile, don’t be afraid to modify, mix and experiment! Whatever grain you choose, always choose whole unprocessed grains. Never use the instant cereals that come in individual packs as they contain high amounts of sugar, sodium and artificial ingredients. This dish may sound like it has a lot of steps, but real food takes real time! Since whole grains do take more time to cook, you can save time by making enough for a few days and storing it in the refrigerator. Reheating takes as little time as the instant muck, tastes so much better and is much better for you. The recipe uses hearty chewy farro. Farro is a type of wheat and can be found in health food stores or specialty Italian markets. If you are gluten-free, you can easily substitute rice or old fashioned oats and still have an amazing dish.

FARRO WITH FRESH FIG & WALNUT SALAD 1 C. cooked farro 1 Tb. chia seeds ½ C. Almond milk or milk of your choice 1 pint of fresh figs, or 1 C. dry figs soaked overnight and drained Ÿ C. walnut pieces 1 6oz. container of Greek yogurt or non- dairy yogurt 1 Tbs. honey 1 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. poppy seeds For the Farro Cover farro with cold water in a bowl and soak overnight, then drain in a colander. Bring farro, water (2 cups) to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until farro is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in colander. For the Salad In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, honey, poppy seeds and lemon juice. Pour over the figs and walnuts and toss. The Assembly On the stove, heat the farro, chia and milk stirring until the mix becomes warm and creamy. Place in a bowl and top with the fig and walnut salad. Enjoy!

For many people, the holiday season can be the

busiest time of the year. Between gift shopping, parties, gatherings, and tending to normal responsibilities, fitness routines can fall to the wayside. Although we are encouraged to “eat, drink, and be merry,” we must not take a health hiatus. Healthy living is a lifestyle. It’s a process. We all know that summertime bodies are forged in the darkness of winter. Instead of giving up and subscribing to a philosophy of despair, we must remain steadfast in our efforts to stay healthy. If our diet isn’t perfect, that’s okay. If we aren’t training as frequently as before, that’s okay. However, if we simply throw in the towel and quit, we are only sabotaging ourselves. Instead of joining the multitudes in the aesthetic rat race that begins after New Year’s, let us give ourselves a head start by adapting our diets and training regimens accordingly. In our quest to live a healthy lifestyle, we must be honest with ourselves. Far too often, when the holidays come around, we masquerade our efforts under the guise of “bulking”. If your body fat percentage is rising steadily over 10%, then you can assure yourself that you are not going to see abs the coming season, and you may be hurting your health markers. There is a huge difference between increasing caloric intake to maximize muscle gain, and binging carelessly. When we look in the mirror, or when we speak to our doctors about our blood work results, we need to be self-accountable. By maintaining a base level of physical activity and engaging in dietary vigilance, we can gain momentum towards achieving our goals. Set goals that are realistic and stay positive. Believe in yourself. After all, if you are stressing yourself out over your regimen or your diet, you are only hurting your progress. Stress raises cortisol levels, which in turn can wreak havoc upon your body and add fat to your waistlines. How can we stay healthy while we train less and ride the caloric rollercoaster? First, we must stop being fearful. Our muscle is not going to atrophy overnight. Our body fat percentage is not going to skyrocket after a few drinks and some of Grandma’s famous apple pie. If we are going to the gym less frequently and are putting in less training hours, we must train differently.

Try interval training, such as the Tabata method, to maximize fat burning in short amounts of time. Dr. Izumi Tabata recommends alternating between 20 seconds of intense movement and 10 seconds of rest, for 8 rounds. Forms of high intensity interval training, such as the Tabata method, have shown to increase anaerobic performance while simultaneously burning fat. If you only have 20 minutes to train, try a full body circuit with shorter rest periods. When it comes to holiday feasts, we must learn to “Earn ‘em and Burn ‘em”. Earn these feasts by treating them as luxuries and preemptively training beforehand. Burn these feasts by scheduling our physical activities for the following days. Nobody likes a food prude during the holidays. Take this time to indulge in forbidden, devilish treats. We can temporarily abandon our Spartan-like discipline, for a little common sense and some strategic cheating. Drink alcohol in moderation. The majority of your caloric intake should come in the forms of proteins and vegetables. More savory, less sweet. Instead of demonizing these high caloric binges, use them to help you lose fat and gain muscle. That’s right. The natural ebb and flow of caloric intake during the holidays creates the perfect environment to follow a cyclic ketogenic diet, or a carb cycling diet. In these types of low carb diets, we intermittently consume high amounts of carbs to replenish glycogen stores, offer a psychological break, and upregulate hormones and thyroid activities that are suppressed during dieting. Temporarily boosting your caloric intake can be tremendously beneficial for your leptin levels, which will keep your metabolism humming along. Many holiday foods are extremely nutritionally dense. Simply schedule your high carb or high calorie days, on feast days, followed by low or no-carb days. In this flexibility, lies our advantage. By using common sense, maintaining our commitment, and getting inventive with our dietary and training regimens, we can gainfully move forward towards achieving our goals. Remember, with health and wellness, there is no hindsight. If we slip, or we fall, we get back up and keep moving forward. Attempting to live a healthy lifestyle is a process that is individualistic in nature. You only compete against yourself. Although we may be spending more time at the dinner table and less time training, our goals need not be ignored. Maintaining is gaining.





WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME ... Astoria welcomes a new friendly face (and place) in town. ASTORIA CRAFT opened in September to overwhelming acclaim. Petite and cozy, it has become the neighborhood’s new favorite hangout and watering hole. Offering an array of local craft beer as well as delicious bar fare, it simply is a must if you live in or have found yourself wandering around the neighborhood. ASTORIA CRAFT’s kitchen offers delectable fares from pizza to salads to sandwiches and burgers. The Craft Burger seriously contends to become the city’s best burger. Imagine the thickes, juiciest, flattened meatball your grandmother has ever made, served with her secret tomato ragu, that she topped with mozzarella and finished with fresh brioche buns. And don’t get us started with its sidekick, a crunchy serving of devilishly fresh fries. If you’re smart, you’ll ask co-owner and overall “lovablest” of lovable guys, Todd Dufresne, to suggest a perfect beer to go with what you’re having, and we guarantee you’ll just it there day, after day, after day. If this preview isn’t enough to get you there, perhaps its perfect ratings on Yelp and other sites should. Seriously. They have trivia games and daily specials and a super brunch. Go. NOW.


Try asking for a bump to business class on your Emirates flight to Dubai. Fourteen hour flight, ten empty seats! How can anyone be so cruel to deny it, right? You were polite! You asked nicely! Regardless, its pay up or languish in Economy with the rest of the plebs. It’s a pay to play world in Dubai. Three days it would appear is plenty of time to get enamored, and then fall out of love, with the Arab world’s gilded city. Dubai is considered one of the most liberal cities, if not the most liberal, in any Gulf country. It is also the most ornately developed. Despite dogmatic rules like train cars designated for women only and no gum chewing at public transportation stops or in vehicles, the metropolis otherwise runs on glitz, hedonism, and commercial excess. Boasting among other feats man–made islands in the shape of palms and the world’s tallest building–Dubai epitomizes the Texan mantra of ‘bigger is always better’ sprinkled with the flashiness of Las Vegas and Miami. Around 85% of the city’s population are expats, with a massive break between the upper and lower classes. Foreign laborers hail mostly India, Bangladesh, Singapore and the Philippines. Most publicly displayed restaurants are American quick-serve franchises (think Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Papa John’s, etc.). Local attractions are glamorous hotels and malls and whose main goal is to impress but, nonetheless, would generally be devoid of any regional context or significance. For instance, one such mall features an indoor ski resort that is kept at a chilly 28 degrees Fahrenheit, while it drops to a cool 88 degrees Fahrenheit outside at night, during the winter time.

Mall of the Emirates

Notwithstanding its eccentricities, there is much to appreciate and enjoy. I had an incredible time staying at the Armani Hotel Dubai, housed in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Al Khalifa whose top floor sits 1918 feet off the ground. (The World Trade Center tops out at 1776 ft.) The city is known for its notoriously quick cop cars. This one is a new BMW 5 Series.

Lev and Alex enjoying a moment in the Dubai desert on ATVs.

The Dubai Skyline We were also fortunate to befriend a fantastic concierge, Praneet Verma, who has earned outstanding reviews both on the hotel’s website as well as Travelocity. Praneet was our skeleton key to the hotel. His explanation, that the intoxicatingly-repulsive-yet-alluring-scent that permeated all of the hotel was “somewhere from France,” was pure hilarity. He also deftly secured for us special reservations: a booth at At.mosphere, the world’s tallest bar on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, and subsequently a table for dinner at Hashi, a world class Japanese restaurant with unrestricted views of The Dubai Fountain. At.mosphere is as luxurious as it sounds. A single elevator launches guests with reservations from the lobby straight to the 123rd floor. Stepping onto the elevator feels like you have made something of yourself in this world. Reading the menu feels even better. Exquisitely prepared cocktails, an assortment of cigars straight from Cuba, and black caviar (probably) from the Caspian Sea are among the most memorable items.

In front of the Burj Al Khalifa



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