THE FASHION ISSUE
EMILY TONK ASHLEY ALEXISS MOR KOREN MARTIN DELANEY SURVIVING NYC LIFESTYLE TALENT + more
STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF Robert Guida CREATIVE DIRECTOR Giselle Campos MANAGING EDITOR RESEARCH A. Bronwyn Sheehan ASSISTANT EDITOR Kyunghyun Kim CONSULTANT A Brooks MARKETING DIRECTOR Lewis Sarofsky TALENT COORDINATOR Fred Coscia THEATRE EDITOR Michael Martinez STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael Dydasco Joaquin Lares ENTERTAINMENT WRITER Nick Christophers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heather Archambault Sandra Castillo Danny Coleman Kerri Edelman Jennifer Favorito Barbara Jeanne Hannah Kang Kyunghyun Kim Vicki Lin Natalye Pass Lewis Sarofsky Rachel Sokol April Stephenson COVER MODELS: Ashley Alexiss Andrea K. Torres Elizabeth Frankini A special thanks to Saboroma.
business/TALENT inquiries CONTACT Lewis @ Reallygreatmag@aol.COM GISELLE @ email@example.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS: 4 6 7 8 10 32 35 36 37 38 40 42 43 44 45 46 47 50 51
WE WANT MOR A NEW STYLE ETHIC POWER UP: EMILY TONKIN MEET SABOROMA THE QUEEN’S SECRETS: FASHION PICTORIAL ON SET WITH: ASHLEY ALEXISS LOOKING FORWARD FROM THE PAST IS DATING THE NEW COMMITMENT? EGOS, DIVAS AND MUSIC, ONE MAN’S TAKE 5 LESSONS FROM NEW YORK NIKKI PHILLIP MATTHEW SCHULTZ J. FONTAINE ACROSS THE POND: MARTIN DELANEY RUBEN ORTIZ/ BILL W / DR BOB ARCHITECTURE BROUGHT TO LIFE TOXIC BEAUTY - PICTORIAL SALVADOR LEON REALLY GREAT UPDATES
By Rachel Sokol
Fashionista Mor Koren of M Shoe Design creates fab heels—and we women want to see more from Mor.
have to tell you something so funny,” says Mor Koren via phone from her Manhattan studio. “When I was nine months pregnant with a son— and I’m petite, so I carried big—in this one picture I look like I am about to tip over. But there I am, rocking my 5-inch heels! I wore them throughout my entire pregnancy.”
Hmmm. Me thinks Koren is a shoe maven, and rightfully so. She is the founder and creative force behind a new line of uber-sexy highheels called M Shoe Design. Koren is a “Jill-of-all-trades,” who truly launched her business from the bottom-up by attending trade shows and researching manufacturers that shared her creative and entrepreneurial vision; her shoes are currently manufactured in Italy. She balances mommyhood with work, and jokes she never sleeps, but adds, “to do this you need to be relentless. Thankfully, I have a wonderful support system in my husband and interns.” Koren—a lifelong “doodler and painter” sketches her designs, but shares ideas with her in-house interns.
“I have two interns and they’re wonderful. We inspire each other and I love it—I love that I have reached a point in my career when I can teach them and give back to them by providing career advice and encouragement.” RGM © 4
Inspired by Israel Koren grew up in Israel, where she attended an arts and design college, before boldly moving to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. She still sings, but Hollywood’s music scene wasn’t as fun, or creatively fulfilling, as she thought it would be. Deciding to (literally) dip her toes into a different venture, she relocated to Manhattan, married, had a baby boy, and decided to launch M Shoe Design four years ago. She has called her shoe business her “main passion,” adding, “I still sing, but I channeled my creativity into something else.” Koren acknowledges her home country triggers some of her design inspiration, but inspiration strikes her at any time, any place. “Israel is always an influence, as that is where I grew up and those are the landscapes I would always see; some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Those landscapes, of course, gave me a strong inclination towards
textures, colors and shapes, art…” she says. “As a child, I always had a pencil in my hand and would sketch The Dead Sea, the mountains of Eilat, Jerusalem, Cesaree, you name it.”
Funky fashion Koren says with her line she “wanted to bring more to the table than just a fresh idea. I do follow the trends, but I like to do things outside of the trend.” Sexy black-lace heels with a leather sole, “Corset” is Koren’s best-selling shoe—styles are pictured on her official website. And yes, the Corset heels do resemble a pin-up girl-style chest corset.
“My vision is funky, fashion-forward and wearable,” says Koren.
REALLY GREAT FASHION “I love just a hint of toe cleavage on every heel, so you can wear the shoes to work or more formal settings without showing all your toes.” Koren’s shoes are smartly designed for a wide or narrow foot. “You can wear them with laces around the ankle for a ballerina look or around the shoe itself like a Mary Jane or not wear the laces at all,” she says. “They’re all creative and fresh and multipurpose—a woman can enjoy wearing them over and over again, all year round. “ In fact, Koren swears that her friend with a bad bunion wears M Shoe Design heels because they’re adjustable for her feet. And for those who like flats, you’re in luck—this heel-lover does have some flats in her collection.
“Since I moved to New York from Los Angeles I’ve been getting more into flats,” confesses Koren. “My Bodice style flat is selling well.”
Comfort takes the lead Additionally, Koren promises her shoes are pretty comfortable. “I’ll even test the fit and feel of the shoes myself,” she says. “M Shoe Design’s heels have a strong toe spring, soft lining, and memory foam padding. The details of the shoe, both the outside design and fit itself, are crucial. I don’t want them to look comfortable; I want them to feel comfortable. That’s important to me, as someone who’s worn heels her entire life.”
Mor’s next steps Koren is in the midst of launching a new collection which can be spotting at New York’s fashion week this fall, along with current styles. In the meantime, fans can follow her on Facebook, where she enjoys communicating with her customers. Via Facebook, she recently launched an online store. The M Shoe Design official website also lists retail boutiques that sell Koren’s collection. Proceeds from the sales of Koren’s shoes go to various charities for children and animals such as UNICEF and The Humane Society. “I really want to share more about my new designs, but I’m keeping hush-hush for now” says Koren, adding, “Some days I think, ‘oh my god, I can’t believe I launched my own shoe line.’ It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure, but I can’t deny I’m a heels girl. Am I crazy? Maybe I am, but I love it.”
For more info, visit mshoedesign.com or follow M Shoe Design on Facebook.
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A NEW STYLE ETHIC:
his has been a tough year for fashion’s public image. At final count 1,129 workers were killed in the March collapse of a Bangladeshi clothing factory supplying cheap “fast fashion” for major western companies. Articles, news reports, and discussions have subsequently addressed the apparent tug-of-war between fashion and ethics: has fashion gone too far? Is it time to choose ethics over fashion? Is it truly possible to be an ethical shopper? The questions are complicated and the answers have real consequences. I love style. It’s the thread that’s held together the way I experience myself since I was a teenager shopping at Macy’s. But these commonly asked questions offer a false dilemma. The desire to look good isn’t itself jeopardizing the health and well being of people half a world away:
the problem is in the way we pursue and consume fashion. While it can’t compare to loss of life and wellbeing overseas, our love of “fast fashion” has also taken its toll on the quality of our clothing and our whole experience of style. Reworking our approach can fix these problems and begin to address the fundamental causes of human rights issues faced by garment workers overseas. And it all starts with buying less. Just a generation ago buying less was the status quo. Clothes were relatively expensive - an accurate reflection of the conditions in which they were produced. Up until the 1960s most clothing in the US was made from start to finish by union workers, who were fairly paid, worked reasonable hours, and made high quality clothing. Your average shirt or dress was expected to last for years. (I could elaborate, but for a full investigaRGM © 6
HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE BUYING LESS By: April Stephenson
tion check out Elizabeth Cline’s “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.”) Compare this to the lost buttons, fraying hems, and general frumpiness that characterizes most clothing available today. Not only is it wasteful (and downright lame) that torn seams have become the status quo, but the low cost of poorly made clothes has distracted us from cultivating a lasting sense of personal style. Meanwhile, clothing companies have driven us mad chasing trend after trend, encouraging us to constantly refresh our closets and buy new products.
Convenience and consumption have usurped careful study and experimentation and we’re not any happier or better dressed for it. All of this has compromised the working conditions of garment workers overseas as we use our purchasing power to demand cheaper and cheaper clothes. Long hours, low pay, and poor conditions are linked to downward pressure on clothing prices. If we seriously withheld our credit cards for the sake of human rights and good quality products companies would oblige. They’re here to make us happy.
So what can we do? Buy less and buy good quality. Many of us have closets overflowing with stuff that we bought out of excitement or because it was a “good deal.” But let’s face it: if we never wear something it isn’t a deal. Plus, all of this overbuying has left me with a closet the voluminous contents of which directly impact my sartorial stress level. It’s a known fact that having more clothes doesn’t mean you dress better. Fashion writer Jennifer L. Scott has popularized the French-esque “Ten Item Wardrobe” and, from the looks of her (and your average French woman), it works.
There’s so much that goes into our zest for buying new clothes: stress at work, constant trend turnover, even old clothes falling apart. But I’m a firm believer that everything is connected: as slim a link as there might be, the March Bangladeshi factory collapse is due, in part, to my personal decision to choose quantity over quality. And for naught: for as much as I have, my favorite clothing items are things I’ve bought on trips or with loved ones, things that mean something because of their story or their sheer awesomeness. They’re not from yearly after-Christmas hauls, not the same shirt in four different colors. At its best, fashion tells a story. And I want my clothes to tell a story not of production lines and supply chains half a world away, but of careful consideration, presence of mind, and knowledge of myself uninterrupted by the demands of the fashion cycle or a multinational company. Clothes, of course, need to be made by someone. But there can be a balance between our wants, our needs, and what we know is best for our world. There’s a sweet spot between style and social responsibility, and there might be a simple way to get there: buy less, buy better, and we’ll all be happier for it.
REALLY GREAT FASHION
Emily Tonkin Inspiring Women with 30fifteen By Jennifer Favorito
tyle, comfort and confidence were the three main elements Emily Tonkin wanted 30fifteen, her new brand of women’s tennis wear, to embrace.
“We wanted to create a line that eliminated any self-esteem issues and just make women feel great when they work out.” Tonkin, who has a degree in merchandising and product development, took the first step in turning her ideas into reality by creating the right type of fabric. Having an athletic background helped too, the British designer knew the importance of being able to move freely during sporty activities while keeping the perspiration down to a minimum. What she came up with was a textile that met all the requirements. “We use a blend of high quality materials that make you feel great, make you feel like you are wearing almost nothing at all. The core fabric is made of polyester and elastan which creates a nice breathable material with finishes on the clothing that are sweat and smell-absorbent, which adds to the comfort while you are playing.” Next step: styling. The debut collection contains pieces under three names: Alethia, Sue and Anna. Every item was created to boost a woman’s self-image. Tonkin achieved this by placing accents into her garments in order to create flattering silhouettes for any body type.
The clothing is designed to take your eyesight away from different areas of the body and it sort of takes away any self-esteem issues you may have. “For example, the Sue dress has pleats to add femininity and that style draws the eyes away from the hips. The Anna dress is straight and is the dress to wear if you have long legs; everyone who has legs loves that dress.” Tonkin even says her favorite item is the Alethia dress because it makes her shoulders look less broad and gives her more of a figure. The line was launched in December 2012 and the current selection offers clients a variety of tennis skirts, tops, dresses and shorts to choose from. Pieces come in a multitude of colors and are moderately priced to fit any budget. Sizes run from XS - L (U.S. sizes 0-10) and run true to size. Not to worry if you don’t play tennis, Tonkin says moving forward more versatile lounge and active wear will be available. “The collection that’s coming out now is more lounge wear focused. They are more basic core pieces to wear to and from the gym, if you are running or to a yoga class. I would even like to incorporate my professional dance experience into future collections and create some dancewear too.” “We want to make sure that we are seen as more than just a tennis brand and the name 30fifteen was even chosen because it’s a score that could apply to any sport, like rugby, not just tennis.”
Currently, there are no shops in the U.S. just yet but with locations in Dubai, and her home country, Great Britain, Tonkin says it’s only a matter of time before we see a boutique stateside. “That is definitely on the list of where I want to go and where we want to be. Definitely want to have a good U.S. presence in the future.” 30fifteen apparel is available for purchase online at www.30fifteen.co.uk and www.amazon.com
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An Interview with Designer NANCY GUETSSOYAN You’ve been designing for years, working with Saboroma. Did you always know you were going to be a fashion designer? I’ve always had an imaginative mind and have always been a visual learner. The best way for me to express my thoughts and ideas is visually. Friends and family have noticed that even when I’m sharing a story in conversation, I’m always using analogies to draw a picture in someone’s mind to really understand my point. For this reason, I realized that fashion design has been my calling because it allows me to do just that; tell my story visually.
As the main designer for Saboroma, where do you draw your inspiration? My inspiration comes from all over the place, literally. We are constantly traveling around the world, visiting different cultures and life styles. A lot of my inspiration comes from ethnic cultures and especially the smallest details that can be influenced into a silhouette or hand-made embroidery or appliqué drawn from a cultural aesthetic.
What would you describe your own personal style as? Does this affect your designs for Saboroma? My style varies. I find my style to match my mood on a day to day basis.. I love colors and I pay attention to details a lot. I like mixing different textures together that most people wouldn’t naturally think to do so. I love accessories such as jewelry, purses and mostly shoes the most :) I think that shows in my collection as well because...
I put a lot of emphasis on the minor details such as beading, stones, or the perfect lace. My dresses really come to life when they are put on more than when hung off of a hanger. Since a lot of emphasis is put into the smallest of details, the effect of the details really take its role and uplift the dress on a whole other level.
When we met, you mentioned you grew up in Orange County and have moved around since then. Does where you’re living affect your designs? Extremely. I feel like I live up in the air. One day I’m in OC, the next week in NY and the next in Turkey for production.. Just like my mood affects the way I dress, my surroundings affect my designs as well. RGM © 8
Our dresses are really popular amongst the Middle Eastern market and I’ve found that this culture lives by the ideology “the more the better!” They love their embellishments and gowns that are bedazzled with jewels and rhinestones all over and I usually live by “less is more.” So with that being said, my personal choice clashes with that demand so the challenge is to think outside the box and design for “that girl”. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love to play with exciting and shiny jewels and stones all day???...Also, I have to admit they are the most fun to design for that reason..
In the years you’ve worked in the industry, what was the most difficult collection or dress you’ve ever designed? What was so difficult about it?
REALLY GREAT FASHION
I know that brand image and brand reputation is something you care deeply about. What are five words you think embodies the Saboroma brand and how do you think they are reflected in your designs? Chic, Feminine, Simply-Classy (my made up compound word), Detailed, Trendy. These words make up the brand image because this is what I believe a woman should be. Keeping these words in mind Saboroma designs are made.
Saboroma has been involved with charity, specifically the Carol Galvin foundation. How did you get involved with them? Rick Galvin, the founder of the organization approached us with his personal story which allowed him to start the Carol Galvin Foundation. After he told us the story of how he lost his mother to breast cancer and the effect it had on him as a young boy, Ahmet and I felt really touched by his story and his motives behind his organization. We automatically felt the need to connect with the Carol Galvin Foundation and it allowed us to give back one way or another for a good cause. We collaborated with him and the band that he manages called Frealane (amazing music group and great singer, Andrea Dee) and put together a concert/ fashion show at a lounge here in the city to raise funds for his breast cancer awareness foundation. All the money that was raised at the event went to the organization. That was a very memorable night for us especially when we got the chance to dress cancer survivors in our gowns who got to be a part of our fashion show.
Their European tour starts on September 18th in Spain and it will run through countries such as Spain, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands through October 15th. For info go to frealane.com
So many young girls want to get involved in the fashion industry as a designers or models. As a designer who works with a lot of models, can you share one piece of advice for these girls? Remember who you are and what you have to offer. Modeling is more than just looks and a body that fits a garment. The story behind it is what really comes out in pictures. Just like in my designs, I try to tell my story through accessory placements or silhouettes. Your facial expressions and body language should do just that.
Use your personal life experiences and things you have learned throughout your life as tools to showcase real emotions to make a bold statement and make a picture really come to life. It’s also very important to always remember to be true to yourself and tell your own version of the story because it’s always going to be more convincing that way. That’s just my two cents on that.
saboroma.com >> From left to right: Aaron Knight, Rick Galvin, Andrea Dee, Brian Tully and Coque. RGM © 9
The Queenâ€™s Secrets Designer: Saboroma Models: Ashley Alexiss Alexandra E. Davila Andrea K. Torres Hannah Rokes Urszula Vessa Elizabeth Frankini Miranda Tiffany Tasheema Felder Make Up & Hair Nikki Phillip Hair Stylist Cheryl Smith Photographer: Giselle Campos
Alexandra E. Davila >>
Ashley Alexiss >>
Hannah Rokes >>
Miranda Tiffany >>
Tasheema Felder >>
Urszula Vessa >>
Andrea K. Torres >>
Elizabeth Frankini >>
ON SET WITH
Ashley Alexiss By Kyunghyun Kim
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hen I met Ashley Alexiss on the set of RG Magazine’s cover shoot, I was surprised to meet a business woman, who has spent the past few years successfully building her brand through social media. It’s hard not to like Ashley as she tells me she took a Pedicab from New York City’s Grand Central Station to the Saboroma studio in the Fashion District. She fusses over her hair that’s lost some of its volume from the rain and updates me on the growing success of Cleavage for the Cure. In recent months, Ashley’s personal charity venture has received mentions from celebrities such as CeeLo Green, Ryan Lochte, Joey Fatone of *N SYNC, and Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as raised over $2,500 through eBay auctions and bracelet sales. As a size 8 with 36 DD/DDD breasts, working as a curvy model has its challenges, but Ashley tells me “women should embrace their curves. They’re beautiful.” After losing her Nanna to cancer, Ashley became an active supporter of breast cancer awareness and started Cleavage for the Cure, using her popularity to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. Ashley tells me she isn’t a plus size model. And I have to agree. While she doesn’t have the waif-gamine body type so popular in the fashion industry today, Ashley is hardly “plus size.” And thanks to her curvy body, she’s been able to find her place amongst top glamour models and has been featured in American Curves and earned two Playboy titles as Playboy’s Miss Social in February of 2011 and Playboy South Africa’s first Girl Next Door. We move over to the counter where the hair and make up artists have set up shop and she talks to me as her hair is teased and curled into magnificent height. “The industry is getting better,” Ashley says in regards to plus size models. I bring up H&M’s spring catalog featuring a plus sized model, and she tells me more and more brands are acknowledging that the average American woman wears a size 14.
“We’re moving away from ‘plus size,’ and more brands are releasing ‘curvy lines’ for real women,” Ashley tells me. “It’s great that so many brands are launching curvy lines, so real women won’t have to compare themselves to 18 year old models.” Pink Lipstick, Delicate Illusions, and Big Gals Lingerie are a few of the curvy lingerie brands that have tapped into Ashley’s unlimited potential. Her Internet popularity has also given her many opportunities on the social network scene. Ashley is active as a spokeswoman for Miss Social Network, a great platform for new models to use to build their online fan base. On Miss Social Network, Ashley mentors young women starting out in the modeling industry, offers tips, and hosts a monthly contest to spotlight some of the best fresh faces in the industry. From one conversation with Ashley Alexiss, all of my preconceptions of what it means to be a model, “plus size” and a philanthropist are left on the floor. This is a kind, thoughtful woman with clear plans on how to capitalize on her beauty, not just for herself but also in a way that would also benefit women who face breast cancer, real women with body image issues, and other models in the industry. Ashley finishes her hair and makeup and heads to the set where the camera crew is waiting. She walks away in a glittery black and silver dress, and in that moment, the bright camera lights become a metaphor for her future.
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“It’s great that so many brands are launching curvy lines, so real women won’t have to compare themselves to 18 year old models.”
LOOKING FORWARD FROM THE
REALLY GREAT LIFESTYLE
PAST By Natalye Pass
t’s 3 p.m. on a Thursday and I am perusing my local Sephora when I stop at the Too Faced section of the makeup aisles. Gold lipstick tubes sing to me in the perfect lighting of the store, and will me to pick up and begin testing them on the back of my hand. As I begin to continue the inner debate about whether or not I will finally buy the “Fuchsia Shock” lip color I have been eyeing for months, I look up and notice one of their new ad campaign shots. The inspiration of the picture strikes me immediately: Farrah Fawcett. The picture is at first glance very cute. The carefree posture is the same, and the backdrop blanket is very similar, with its multicolored stripes. But something is missing from this picture, and it is all in the face. While the new picture is surely a modern nod to a classic California beauty—the long curls, sun-kissed skin, and colorful quality—one can only be described as cute, but the other is sexy with a multitude of undertones that leave a different impression on every individual. Perhaps it does not matter that the Too Faced shot doesn’t carry the dimension of the original; most young people may not recognize the iconic Fawcett poster, and be drawn to the pretty girl and her flawless airbrushed makeup. But for those of us who do know, Fawcett’s shot is more than a pretty girl. In the original, Farrah Fawcett embodies “California Beauty,” a sexy carefree beauty: wild sun-bleached blond hair, the red swimsuit, the visible nipples, and the exaggerated smile. One sells beauty products, the other a lifestyle. Iconic images take us back to many different places, because all of our experiences vary. The emotion that it evokes is instantly triggered when we recognize that we know something that we think we are seeing for the first time. Marilyn Monroe is arguably one of the most recognized women in the world. We
see recreations of her hairstyle and signature look, and compare modern-day women to her beauty if they possess anything deemed Marilyn-esque. It is no mistake that whether in color or black-and-white,
images of Marilyn Monroe are always simultaneously relatable and unattainable. One feels that they could have known her, but there’s always a level of distance maintained between the audience and Marilyn Monroe that can’t be explained by her status as an acclaimed Hollywood actress. In many of her iconic photographs Monroe is captured doing something familiar and rather unexceptional. But her je ne sais quoi lies in her ability to be unreachable in a familiar space. The girl-next-door could be reading a book on a park bench, but the Hollywood actress is on a closed-set photo shoot. Marilyn won her way into our hearts by allowing herself to be captured doing ordinary things, not always dressed up and at an event. Contemporary look-a-likes are still beautiful, but they lack the special quality their predecessors exuded in every shot and ultimately fall flat in comparison to the original. In this age of excessive commercialism, contemporaries are styled to sell an image, a product, or a lifestyle, and in having an objective, their images fail to compel their audience to buy in. What made the photos iconic were in part because they were not meant to sell anything, photographers and their models had no other objective than to capture a beautiful woman. The younger generation has already been named variations of “Generation Stuff,” materialists who see a beautiful picture and
a product and are immediately drawn to the product. While it is problematic to make generalizations of an entire generation, it still holds that in this age of hyper-consumerism, appreciation for the sake of appreciation is lost. The beauty of a woman, a landscape, or even an emotion is repeatedly, relentlessly joined with advertising. Through the rose colored lens we wear when looking back,
it appears that the past was able to appreciate the act of being, simply, a woman with no gimmicks or intentional product sell. In a time where the acquisition of things combined with the fast-paced world of immediate gratification, the beauty of being purely yourself at random moments is lost nowadays. It’s hard to imagine that anyone will remember the girl in the Too Faced ad after five years, but decades later we still remember the original, Farrah Fawcett.
Is Dating the New Commitment? By Barbara Jeanne
oday’s rules of marriage or a lifetime partner seems to have changed, or be a thing of the past. There is no longer lifetime romance or I can’t live without you, for always and forever love. Actually that seems to end six months into the relationship if it is even to last that long. And if it does pass that lust and grow into love, why are couples so easy to throw in the towel? Being married doesn’t seem to matter, till death do we part really means until we give up and stop trying. Could it be that old saying the grass is greener
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on the other side, but is it? Or are we so easy to disregard a relationship as easy as it is to stop working out or give up on that diet that we can’t do. People always say it’s hard to find a good woman or man, but when we do find them we seem not to want them. Are we programmed in relationships as we are as children to get bored with a toy and toss it aside for the new one? Is it men that have changed or is it women that are willing to accept less? Are men simply satisfied going to work, do their weekly agenda and seeing their love interest
when they feel the need for affection, intimacy, or maybe just sex. Is dating the new commitment? Is romance dead; is it too late to bring it back? Women watch romantic movies wishing it was them, men call these movies chick flicks. So how can we get back on the same page? It might be too much to ask a man to come to our rescue as a knight in shining armor. But maybe if we women as a whole wouldn’t accept anything but more, we just might get romance back in our men. I can’t speak for all women just hopeless romantics like me.
Egos, Divas &Music:
One Man’s Take By Danny Coleman
ecently I’ve been part of a musical debate. The subject was the same, the debaters very much different. The subject matter was that of cover bands vs. original acts; validity vs. attitude and cover bands vs tribute bands. Now, let me preface this by saying that I am not, I repeat, am NOT against cover bands or their members.
What I am against however, are these same members acting like they wrote the very material that they are “recreating” and demanding to be treated as if they are “rock stars.” Ok, now that I’ve given my disclaimer, on we go. I, as you know, am a huge proponent of live and original music. In my area there are many top notch cover and original acts. I am also fortunate to have a connection to the Jersey shore music scene, where the talent pool is as deep as the ocean that it borders. Recently I was privy to an event where there were multiple bands on the same bill. The ages ranged from high school kids, to 30 something rockers, both cover and original acts. Several of the cover bands had members who had some “diva like” qualities and carried themselves in what I feel was a detrimental manner. The original acts were much more subdued and seemed more appreciative for the opportunity to share their talent. Again, this is only an observation based on my dealings and conversations with these various musicians. The debate began because several times over the last two weeks, the question of cover band vs. original bands behavior has arisen. Do musicians recreating material that someone else has written have the “right” to act as if they are the authors; especially when the material is played darn near note for note with no variance? Do they have carte blanche to act like divas? My viewpoint is a resounding NO! I mean, come on, you’re duplicating another’s work; someone even went as far as to say it was a form of plagiarism. I’m not sure if I’d echo that; but to walk with a swagger as if you’re the one who penned “Living On A Prayer” or “Sweet Home Alabama” is a bit much for me.
I’ve performed in cover bands for the majority of my musical career. I relish the memories of a great gig and the smiles on the faces of those enjoying what my bands were doing. Let’s face the facts, people enjoy going out to hear a good cover band so that they can dance, sing along or just imbibe, I get it, I really do. I ask again, should they demand rock star treatment, act like they are better than most or walk about with an air of superiority? I have come across this sort of behavior many times over my years in the business and it is never refreshing. While standing at this one event, a parent of one of the teens in a particular band asked my opinion on his child’s group. This was the band where even though the sound engineer asked very nicely for the guitarist to turn down on several occasions; this teenaged “rock star” blatantly ignored and laughed at his request. This bad move, led to the sound engineer “asserting” himself as he climbed upon the stage and then again as he left. Needless to say I couldn’t resist pointing out the guitarist’s attitude as a chink in the group’s armor. Another cover group comprised of post college aged musicians, fancied themselves as the stage managers and chose to start “when they were ready and not a moment sooner.” Great band, bad attitude, I have little to no tolerance for this type of behavior; once again they reluctantly shaped up when the now cranky sound engineer intervened. Someone asked the question, “What about tribute bands, are they cover bands?” A great question, which evoked passionate argument on either side. “Tribute bands are not cover bands, they are show bands,” was the opinion of one of the debaters. “Great point but they are still doing someone else’s music,” was my response. “Yes, but it’s a show, a show like “Beatlemania.” “Beatlemania” was on Broadway, people pay big money to see that,” said another. “Yes, but you know what you’re getting when you go see “Beatlemania” on Broadway,” said I. “Years ago when I was a young drummer with more hair than ability at the time, my band opened for a Beatles tribute act from Hamilton. “The Mahoney Brothers.” Boy, they were the stuff back then; they were the local boys who were dressing in costumes depicting various Beatle eras and albums and who were packing the local Park and area venues with ease. The fact
Background: Photo image of art by Samm Cohen sammcohen.com
remains though, they were still playing somebody else’s music. I never remember any of The Mahoney Brothers acting like they were “The Beatles.” Actually, they were extremely helpful to our fourteen and fifteen year old rock star aspirations. These guys chatted with us, gave us unsolicited advice and treated us well; I wonder if some of the bands that I dealt with recently would do the same? I am at a point in my musical career where I am now with more original acts than cover bands. I can still be found supporting our local cover bands on a weekly basis but my performances are now primarily with original artists. Where there is a definite larger dollar amount to be made from playing cover music, original artists rarely make money; if they do, it’s minimal at best.
Yet these are the musicians who scrimp and save to record their music and are always the first to volunteer for every benefit or cause that comes along; just so they can get their music “out there.” Whereas current cover bands do extremely well at filling our local watering holes, original acts do just as well at pleasing the masses. Our local venues feature both cover and original acts and there’s still the occasional all original show at various establishments. “These people are writing the cover tunes of tomorrow,” is a quote from Scott Stamper, owner of Asbury Park’s “The Saint” as he spoke at the 2011 Asbury Music Awards. Scott couldn’t be more correct. I watch Asbury area artists such as Sandy Mack, Slim Chance & The Gamblers and Nick Clemons pack shore area bars and have people dancing and singing along as they perform their own material. Young teenaged artists like Sofia Nicole, Alex Inglis and Brianna Eve write songs that are mature beyond their years and touch the hearts and minds of many a listener. Area songwriters like Shaun Ruymen and Kim Yarson have their fans singing their praises as well as their original works.
What IS the verdict? Which way do you lean? Respond @ Rock On Radio on Facebook RGM © 37
5NEWYORK LESSONS FROM
By Hannah Kang
s I write, it has been about a year or so since I’ve first moved to the Big Apple. My roommate and I moved from sunny, balmy San Diego and settled in a Brooklyn apartment in June, last year and I’d dragged my suitcase down the street with dreams of glamorous city life dancing in my mind. The bright lights! The iconic skyline! The bustling sense of opportunity! What could possibly happen?
The first few days broke me. Our furniture hadn’t arrived yet and I bunkered down on the hardwood floor with nothing but a yoga mat, a pillow, and a thick blanket of homesickness for company. (Also, there was something completely horrifying about the fact that I would be immediately covered in sweat the moment I walked out of an air-conditioned building. Oh, New York summer. How I hate you.) Things have looked upwards since then: I have furniture, and a bed, and the homesickness has flattened itself out somewhat. And I think I can say that living here has taught me a few things:
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REALLY GREAT LIFESTYLE
1.New York is not necessarily a glamorous place to live. Yes, it’s expensive and glitzy. Yes, the city is filled with landmarks and cute little shops and restaurants. Yes, there’s always something to do somewhere. But there are many, many places in New York City that are significantly less comfortable and are filled with the hardships of the poor. You may find that your dollar does not go very far in the city if you aren’t careful with it.
Shopping at the Upper East Side? Forget it. Feel free to drool at the fabulous and creative storefronts, but don’t expect to walk away with several shopping bags, a la Carrie Bradshaw.
2.People are remarkably adaptable. Before I moved here, I was awful at directions. I walked slowly. I never looked before crossing the street and always crossed when the traffic light told me to. I always apologized when someone knocked into me. I couldn’t run up two flights of stairs, let alone catch a train. I couldn’t carry anything over 10 pounds for long, etc. Now, I just might be one of the people scowling at you if you, oh, made the mistake of stopping right in the middle of the sidewalk. On a bad day, I might even tell you off.
There’s a flip side to this lesson, though: 3.It’s necessary to stand up for yourself. No one else will You have complete freedom do it for you. over your own behavior. One of the more important lessons living in NYC has taught me, mostly because I tend to have the resolve of a country mouse. It’s almost expected here: without it, you are swallowed rather quickly in the tide of everyone and everything else. It’s important to wield both politeness and aggression not as manifestations of your character but as a tool. If you don’t speak up, you are invisible. Which leads to my next lesson:
4.You aren’t anything special. My full-time gig is as a special education high school teacher for inner city kids. It’s not a glamorous job, but it’s earned me the respect of—well, the folks back home. Here? There are a ton of high schools. I’m a dime a dozen. And (judging from what I overhear virtually everywhere), all my problems are just like everybody else’s. In fact, everybody is a dime a dozen! Models? Everywhere. Writers? Clogging up coffee shops. Celebrities? I’ve sighted more here than I ever have living near LA.
Who the hell are you, and why do you get to act special?
Nobody will remember who you are the next time they see you, anyway.
5.The City rewards spontaneity. My best moments in New York were completely unplanned and required indulging my whims and bursting out of my daily routine. A walk through Brooklyn instead of taking the subway reveals a park and a restaurant I’ve never tried. Eye contact with a perfect stranger results in some funny conversation. A walk in a summer storm and hiding under the veil of the neighborhood store, soaking wet, lets you watch the clouds roll in. Philosophical conversations with cab drivers, justbaked chocolate chip cookies while strolling through Central Park, and just happening to catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom… Despite the overwhelming distress of the first few months, I’ve settled quite comfortably in New York. It’s a fascinating, sprawling metropolis with moments of incredible beauty and facets of ugliness, and it is nowhere near the glowing, mythic city of dreams that I’d imagined. Still, for now, it’s home, and there’s nothing sweeter than that.
Photography by Joseph Moccia
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By A. Bronwyn Sheehan
ask myself: if as a little girl, who was born in the Caribbean Islands of Claxton Bay, Trinidad, Nikki Phillip ever dreamed she would end up here. But then again, I wonder if that is exactly what her dream was… It would seem to me that you would have to dream big and work hard to accomplish all she has! Nikki was raised in Brooklyn, New York but that determined spirit sent her on the move. From the age of seventeen until she was twenty-three, she spent years of her life in California perfecting her craft. Where do I start? She is a runway model, a hair and wardrobe stylist, a freelance talent manager, she has adorned too many magazine pages to name them all, she is an experienced pro hand/airbrush make-up artist, she coordinates fashion shows and photo shoots and that’s not all! She also finds time to be charitable; she is a model/runway coach at Pure Model Service in Montclair, New Jersey.
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REALLY GREAT TALENT
Out of all your many talents, which comes the most natural to you? I can actually draw from eye perspective, people and architecture, so makeup was/is a breeze. As far as modeling: I’m naturally thin, as it’s hereditary and as a child I’ve always been told I walk with a cat like structure (laughs). My mother is in the event planning business so coordinating events & shoots is right up my alley... as far as managing,
I’ve always had an eye for talent so I just became the go to person for sending individuals to their exact fit... it’s like: if I couldn’t help that particular individual, I always knew who to send them to... if they were willing to commit to their destined goals. How does it feel, as a model, to make others beautiful as a make-up artist? Absolutely amazing... to see a face of uncertainty transform into a face with a smile from ear to ear is a prize in its own.
I focus on bringing out the truest form of their individual inner beauty. It makes me happy. I mentioned your charitable work. With all that you have going on professionally, in your life, how do you find the time to give back at Pure in Montclair, New Jersey? Why do you do it?
PS. Check out this behind the scenes photos of Nikki working her magic at our Cover Shoot!
I often get tons of emails from aspiring models and talent on how to get their foot in the door... since I’ve been blessed with so much experience over the years... I felt like this was a way to give them a chance to learn the do’s, don’ts and the how’s of the business... and if they’re indeed serious, this hands on information would take them very far. RG MAG FUN FACT If you had to choose from all of your many endeavors/talents and only do one for the rest of your days, which one would it be and why? I’d hate to choose, really... I love them all but I’d have to probably say... ugh this is hard actually (laughing)… Probably makeup artistry... it’s my work living on through the many faces of the world. It’s when you see a certain type of face done a certain type of way, no matter where you’re from it’s like - “hey that’s definitely Nikki’s work!” Facebook.com/NPINTL Twitter-Instagram @nikkiphillip
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RETURNS By Nick Christophers
usician extraordinaire , Matt Schultz has come back to the music scene with guns blazing. As a young man Matthew was always drawn to the sights and sounds of music. It helped that most of his family were musicians and valued the art of it. His uncles, for starters, used to perform at family functions and Matt was attracted to their talent. He soon would pick up the guitar at eight years old and would learn to master it.
He was raised in Toms River, New Jersey but soon was uprooted to Charlottesville, Virginia. The move was sudden, after his father was wounded during an undercover drug raid. His father was working for the prosecutor’s office at the time. During their time in Virginia, his father passed from a severe heart attack. The adjustment process from fast paced New Jersey to slow moving Virginia was hard for Matthew but he soon adapted. “My dad was such a wonderful man. He was such a positive role model for me; he supported everything that I ever did. He was always there for me and in his honor I always want to do my best to make him proud. I know he is still watching me and I smile every time I think about him.”
“Most of my songs reflect a unique style combining different music genres and sounds from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today. I grew up listening to hip-hop and playing rock music, I love both. Most of my songs have that hip-hop groove with trademark guitar sounds, making it desirable for hip-hop and rap artists to feature on a remix for a fresh new sound. They say it sounds like a new age Johnny Cash meets hip-hop.”
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Matthew developed many friends in Virginia and soon settled into the laid back lifestyle. At this time in his life he wanted to develop more as a musician. He soon would join forces with close friend, Chris Daughtry and form a band. They named their first band “Benign” which later changed to the name “Cadence.” They performed in Lake Monticello and Palmyra, Virginia. Chris would end up being a contestant on American Idol. One of their typical venues was at the club/bars TRAXX and The Buddhist Biker Bar. The latter is where the legendary Dave Matthews Band got their start. Matthew even had the chance to perform with Peter Grieser and his band “Supertanker.” Peter was one of the original members and writers for The Dave Matthews Band. As the band developed they were slated to release an EP with the tracks “Right Heart, Wrong Time” feat. Cristobal Cintron, “Agent Man,” “Money or Me” feat. King Dave, “Money or Me” (solo), along with two bonus tracks “Right Heart, Wrong Time” (ballad) feat. Alessia Guarnera and “Money or Me” feat. Jim Jones. The EP was also in the running to be featured in the lavish gift baskets for both the 2013
Grammy Awards and the Oscars. Matthew would have to soon divert from his dream and focus on his studies. He attended Montclair University after his family returned to New Jersey. There, he became involved with sports and ended up playing Division III football. He would graduate with an award for the highest grade point average in all division sports in 2003. Matthew then pursued a career in financing and became a Vice President of one of the largest independent banks in New Jersey. Even though he strayed a bit from his love of music and performing he never lost his passion. He would soon jump back in head first with a part in an award winning short film “Redemption.” Matthew did not stop there as he offered his financial expertise to many independent and major film projects. Besides that, he returned to his music roots by pairing up with producer/musician, Armando Guernera. Along with Armando, they have produced many songs and have worked closely with Armando’s multi-talented daughter, Alessia Guernera. “Armando gave me great inspiration and sparked the passion to pursue music harder than I ever had before. Now I am climbing up the Indie Artist charts combining music genres: house, hip-hop and rock fusion. I love the fact that the industry has a hard time putting my music in a certain category or music genre; it really reflects my love for all music.” Matthew is always striving to stay one step ahead of the game. His current tracks are due to be released this year and can be heard on ReverbNation (www.reverbnation.com/matthewschultzofficial). He has returned to the passion and love that drives him, music.
J. Fontaine By Nick Christophers
Fontaine is a rare breed in today’s music world as he adapts to the new but applies the “old school” style. As a young man he was baptized into music with his love for dancing and expressing his inner talents. One of his first musical inspirations was RUN DMC whose musical genius is still a factor in today’s urban platform. Even though RUN DMC was his primary eye-opener there were many others. Such as P. Diddy, Grandmaster Flash and Cool Herc. J. was impressed with Bad Boy Records and even had the opportunity to visit Bad Boy Studios. He did not stop there as he even had the chance to interview Grandmaster Flash and take in one of his performances. As he began to build his name and his skills he moved on to making connections with other recording artists. He embarked on a project that would include a mainstream artist. His first choice was Kim Caldwell from “American Idol” (second season). J. cut another track with another “American Idol” contestant Amanda DeSimone. The single he completed with Amanda was titled “Shore Stopper.” In turn he partnered up with Amanda’s sister Bernadette and recorded two new tracks that were added to his upcoming album “J. Fontaine Presents.”
“A lot of times when I get involved with something, I need to know the history, so I’ll go back to the roots as far as I can. I started studying Grandmaster Flash and Cool Herc and dudes like that. The Grandmaster’s energy is amazing and his love for Hip-Hop is rooted as deep as his influence.”
Originally J. Fontaine was introduced to the Hip Hop culture by the oldest way in the book, break –dancing. As he explained, it was one of the many doors into the industry. He performed at private events and at clubs. In the business you create a network that offers new opportunities which brings you to another level. His first release “Pull It Over” reached international fame due to the fact of his collaboration with Kid Daytona and producer J-Remy. J-Remy is involved with Desert Storm Records a Gold Platinum company that has produced heavy-weights like Britney Spears, Beyonce and Justin Timberlake. His single “Hoffa at Me” is a collaboration with another Desert Storm artist, Thara.
Basically, I found out about this guy J-Remy who had been producing beats and recordings for Desert Storm and I wanted to get up in his studio. After trying to get scheduled with him, he randomly showed up at a session that I was doing in another studio and I guess he liked what we were doing. We set up a few recording dates. The Thara collaboration was interesting how that came about. I was recording “Hoffa at Me” and I got a text message from my friend and I told him what I was doing. He said, ‘you should see if you can get Thara on that song.’ J-Remy reached out to her and a few minutes later I had a solid collaboration.
Currently, J. Fontaine released a full album entitled “J. Fontaine Presents,” early 2013. He made it his business to bring in more talented collaborators on the new project. The album features twelve solid tracks that are due to make their musical mark. Besides this development he is working on another track “Jacks a Wild.” His goal is to sell 20,000 units or more for 2013 to start. In today’s market some major artists cannot reach that. The independent artist is growing stronger and the voice of J. Fontaine is one of them. You can keep up with J. Fontaine by visiting jfontaine.stereokiller.com/
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An interview with Martin Delaney By Kyunghyun Kim
recently had a call with Martin Delaney regarding his latest role as Tony in a new British comedy, “Amar, Akbar & Tony.” Already a successful actor, Martin Delaney first rose to fame as Paul Webb in the UK’s high rating soap “Family Affairs,” and went on to work on bigger projects such as the Oscar nominated film “Flags of our Father” and the Oscar award-winning film “Zero Dark Thirty.” When he answered his phone, I could hear people milling around in the background. He was sitting in a park in London, enjoying the afternoon sun waiting to get back on set for “Amar, Akbar & Tony.” It may have been 2:30 pm where he was, but I had just stumbled out of bed at 6:30 am. Here I was, disoriented, barely awake, conducting an interview with an actor who had starred in films and TV shows I loved (including a stint in BBC’s “Robin Hood”). While I stumbled through my questions, Delaney answered each one with a friendly patience. Over the phone, I couldn’t tell if his casual confidence came from an innate selfassurance or years of interviewing experience, but Delaney led the interview, telling me a bit about his background and smoothly segueing RGM © 44
into his latest film, “Amar, Akbar & Tony.” Despite having a varied portfolio, Delaney admits he has a soft spot for film—his father had loved films, and he grew up watching great films and falling in love with the medium. He tells me, it was movies that made him want to become an actor, so working with Kathryn Bigelow, Clint Eastwood, and legendary actors such as Paul Scofield, Malcolm McDowell, and Gerard Butler has been a great privilege. Of course, he says, he really enjoys the cast he’s working with right now. Rez Kempton and Sam Vincenti are talented actors and they share the camaraderie of Amar, Akbar & Tony on and off set, even though Delaney isn’t quite the goofball his character is. Tony is responsible for much of the comedy in the film. A man in love with Asian women who stumbles through their culture with a clumsy enthusiasm, Tony has an innocent puerility that makes him endearing. Tony is unlike any of the characters Delaney has played in recent years, and despite a few silly costumes, Delaney is very clearly proud of his latest project. “This isn’t a remake of the Bollywood musical,” Delaney says. “It gives a nod to the original film, but this movie is about Western
London, and realistically depicts the multicultural scene that’s thriving there today.” There hasn’t been too many British Asian films, and many of those featured characters who turn their back on an element of their heritage. But director Atul Malhotra captures and celebrates all of the cultures that can be found in West London without valorizing one over another.
“I chose to play Tony because the script was so fresh, but I fell in love with the project because of Atul Malhotra. I loved his vision for ‘Amar, Akbar and Tony’ to represent, and his passion comes across in the film.” On the topic of the director, Delaney can’t say enough, and shares he would love to work with Malhotra again, and again, and again. “Important” and “meaningful” are rarely used in reference to comedies, but that’s how Delaney describes “Amar, Akbar & Tony.” On that note, the interview comes to an end. I find that I’m hoping this British indie film makes it across the Atlantic and am looking forward to the day Delaney will star in his own Oscar-winning film.
REALLY GREAT TALENT
PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS AYOUNG MAN By Sandra Castillo
he stare-that rabid combination of disdain and zealous desire to be noticed-threatens to pierce a hole in the soul of the gazer whose eyes cannot pull away from the exhibit. The subject-athand has made the executive decision to embrace his feminine wiles with shaved brows and heavy mascara. It’s the cigarette dangling from tar-stained fingers that proves he is ready for a fight. This image was part of Ruben Ortiz-Torres’ Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, displayed at the San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibition revealed the dark underbelly of a culture living in the shadows; it also re-examined the youth of a nation swept up in the throes of the punk countercultureincidentally, the same fracas that had once launched a socio-revolution in the U.S. and Great Britain during the 1970s. Internationally-renowned artist, curator and author, Ortiz-Torres was born in Mexico City in 1964. He later studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; in 1990, Ortiz-Torres ventured north to Los Angeles, CA, where he received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Currently a professor in the Visual Arts Department at UCSD, Ortiz-Torres was a bit of a radical during the revival of the punk scene that took place
Bill W. and Dr. Bob NYC Theatre A
in Mexico in the mid-eighties. Inspired by what was circulating around him, and his peers, at that time, the young rebel had immersed himself in the cultural tempest to document the lives of the working-class kids who had surrendered themselves to punk’s call-to-arms. Ultimately, some 25 years later, those heady influences of punk domination-as seen through the lens of Ortiz-Torres’ camera-were viewed in the “MexiPunx” segment of Portrait of an Artist. While embracing his womanly wiles in “Flower of Evil,” a cross-dressing male challenged one’s presumptions of what it personally feels like to exist in the skin of a less-than-desired gender. On the other side of the barrio, a tough street warrior brandished swagger and deadly blade in the urban ruins of “Savage Portrait.” Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man-remembering the generation of Ruben Ortiz-Torres’ own past, inspired by punk’s final frontier.
By Michael Martinez
n inspirational and well acted revival of the 1991 play “Bill W. and Dr. Bob,” currently running at the SoHo Playhouse in NYC, tells the story of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Written by the physician Sam Shem and psychologist Janet Surrey, the play depicts the meeting of Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith in Ohio in 1935 and how their reliance on each other saved their lives from alcoholic destruction. Actor Patrick Boll portrays the stockbroker Bill Wilson, whose life seems a flurry of financial highs and lows, as a strong willed optimist whose life becomes a living nightmare due to his addiction to alcohol. At the start of the play, Bill Wilson and his wife Lois (Denise Cormier) are traveling across the east coast in a motorbike and sidecar researching companies for investment opportunities. When Bill receives news that the investors back in Wall Street will be wiring him a significant amount of cash, he orders champagne to celebrate even though he and Lois are aware that he has a problem with drinking. Later in the play we see Bill broke and suffering as a result of his drinking, stealing money from his wife’s pocketbook to buy more booze. The play avoids displaying the more horrible depictions of alcoholic suffering in Bill’s story but still manages to capture the desperation and hopelessness Bill was facing. Dr. Robert Smith, an Ohio surgeon, is having his own battle with alcohol and wonders how he will be able to perform in surgery while his hands are
still shaking. His prescription is more booze and “goofballs.” The two men meet when Bill, who is on the wagon due to an inspiring visit from a sober drunk and a spiritual experience, decides he needs to talk to another drunk in order to keep himself sober. Bill is directed to the home of Dr. Bob and their six hour talk was the start of a life long bond and the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. The two men soon realize the need to help more drunks in order to keep sober and embark on a mission to share their message with the still suffering. Director Seth Gordon does wonderful work with the cast that includes a touching and humorous performance by Timothy Crowe as Dr. Bob. Denise Cormier delivers a moving performance as Lois Wilson. Deborah Hedwall is cast as Anne, Dr. Bob’s wife. “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is also the story of the two wives who stood beside their men, suffered with them, and who also went on to help wives and families of alcoholics. “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” is clearly a play whose main audience would be A.A. members or people in recovery. This fine production will also appeal to a much greater audience of theatergoers looking for an expertly crafted and heartfelt experience.
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ARCHITECTURE BROUGHT TO
LIFE By Vicki Lin
arsaw University of Technology student, Maja Wrońska, does a balancing act every week when she studies for her master’s architecture degree, works in a busy office, and adds another painting to her growing gallery online.
journey started at her childhood house, home to millions of color pencils and paints. As a toddler, Maja played with her mother’s expensive professional art supplies without restrictions. Mum, Maja describes, is a skilled architect who enthusiastically encouraged her daughter.
Since Maja’s appearance on deviantART four years ago, her work has generated interest from fans around the world. As I scroll through her gallery, I think I know how they must feel. Maja’s exquisite architectural landmarks are bustling with city movement or hushed in the quiet night, but each building or cityscape is alive with vibrant colors emblematic of Maja’s aesthetic. Seeing a watercolor of the lanternlit Poznań makes me ardently want to visit Poland, and glimpse this world that Maja has brought to my computer screen.
“Sometimes [Mum] showed those drawings to actual clients!” Maja says, beaming. Those drawings were some of five-year-old Maja’s first facade colorings.
Maja speaks with sincerity and enthusiasm when we meet. “I’m still learning [to paint] and it’s really fun!” she says happily. When asked why she chose watercolors for her signature style, Maja confided that she envied her classmates’ easy grace with the medium while she struggled in an art class. “I just wanted to learn how to do it,” she laughs. Unexpectedly, watercolors become her iconic style. But Maja’s journey with art began before any class, and certainly before she had to fulfill art requirements as an architect major. Her
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Seeing Maja’s galley I can’t help but marvel at the elaborate, historical architecture she paints. It’s so beautiful, I tell her. “Personally,” she tells me, “I love modern architecture.” At my surprised look, Maja elaborates, “[but] they don’t look as spectacular as historical ones.” I have to agree, although I think she does a marvelous job with her Golden Gate Bridge. Maja does point to some playful pieces that differ from her usual subjects, like my favorite, Girl in the Treehouse. The tree house looks like a surreal playground out of a children’s fairytale book.
“I just wanted to create something different,” Maja says, and admits that she has creative pieces she hasn’t shared online yet. Maja hopes to graduate this fall with her master’s, not an easy feat for someone juggling work and her artistic career. “Please wish me luck!” she says. I wonder how she manages to find time to paint. Maja tells me that painting is a fantastic experience, but it’s a dedication that requires a lot of energy to sustain. She paints nearly every Friday in between work and class. Fridays are reserved for painting. Her family, friends, and partner have been supportive. “I have to say that my boyfriend is very understanding and he’ll hang out with me when I paint. I’ll just draw while he reads something or works on the computer,” she says. When they need a break, she tells me, “We’ll both listen to music and dance together for a few minutes.” Maja has also spent long hours honing her skills, to the point where she can finish massive architecture sketches in an hour and a half. The time limit, she tells me, helped her prepare for university art exams. Maja jokes, “I trained a lot and now I get bored when I take too long to draw.” I asked Maja what parting advice she would give to young people learning to paint. Maja says, “The first, most important piece of advice is: don’t do it if you don’t like to do it! ‘Cause a person must spend a lot of time in order to master drawing techniques. If you don’t like drawing, that will be a very hard time for you, but if you do – that will be the best time of your life!” In these striking paintings, vibrant colors are bound within sharp lines that define each stroke. It’s clear from her work that Maja loves to paint. And from our exchange, her passion for architecture is unquestionable. If modern architecture lacks the beauty of the past, it’s only because it’s waiting for Maja’s artistic touch.
REALLY GREAT TALENT
Photography by Shawn Monroe
Shawn is a photographer & designer from Ohio. Monroe is taking the industry by storm with his iconic photography and bold statements.
Amanda Bossi ( 47 ) Makeup: Rahela Williams Sarah Beth Newkirk ( 49 ) Makeup: Rahela Williams Hair: Kenni Javon Emma Copsey-Pearce ( 52 ) Makeup & Hair: Rahela Williams Taylor Diaz ( 52 ) Makeup: Rahela Williams Hair: Anittria Wicker
Every Season Tells a Story By Sandra Castillo
inter’s icy breath has left a million, luminous diamonds behind in its wake. Through the early morning mist, trees rise from the frosty manor, their connective silhouettes securing a sentry line on the distant horizon. In its tranquil, almost stillborn state, the air quietly surrenders to the reverential beauty of it all. Considering the artist behind the creation of this pristine visage is also a renowned poet and author of two highly acclaimed books of photographic images: Sendero Espejeado (Mirrored Trail) and Canto a la Sombra del Venado Muerto, one may feel resigned to recognize Salvador Leon as the ultimate, artistic triple threat. His poetical introspections, much like the stirring profundities dancing across the surface of his portraits, reflect the heart of a true visionary, whose passions for art and prose run deep through his veins. The symbiotic connection between the lyrical and psychological need to convey his thoughts in metaphorical structure is such that Leon proclaims, “Poetry is in my blood, my breath. I just can’t live without it.” Born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, Leon now resides in Tijuana, Mexico, a city of some two million people. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA and is currently working on earning his Masters in Art Studies from the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Even as a young lad, Leon realized that it was possible to channel his prodigious imagination through the lens of a camera. This newfound appreciation for aesthetic control eventually led him to step out from beyond the pale and explore the glorious wonders of this vast universe.
The fact that I’m able to create an image and communicate what I feel and think through photography inspires me to keep doing it,” said Leon. “I believe that art makes us more human.
Leon’s philosophical matters-of-the-heart has certainly allowed others access to the labyrinth of his soul. He cites the works of such iconic artists as Diane Arbus, Gregory Colbert and Jerry Uelsmann as major inspirations for his own visual requiems, with the latter responsible for the eery images in the opening segment of the 1960’s television show, “The Outer Limits.” Even in Leon’s decision to veil his ever-changing moodscapes in variations of sepia, blue-gray and shadows lends itself to the fine notion that his art, much like his poetry, is an existential part of his ongoing relationship with life and the great mysteries yielded by it. Leon dares to find the extraordinary in the stillness of the moment. Whether it’s observed in the silence of solitude, the hallowed sanctuary halls of a cathedral church or seen in the clutches of a raven-haired beauty holding an opaque mirror to her bosom, his dreams are ethereal visions suspended in otherworldly dimensions. His journey is a spiritual one, filled with silhouettes of centuries-old liturgies framed by crucifixes and black-robed specters wearing painted masks; his winters are illuminated by the light-force of a thousand suns… his reflection, as a sage prophet, is etched in the barrel of an old tree trunk. It is here, in the lines and spirals of aged-worn wood, one truly realizes Leon’s legacy is our own future staring back at us. For more information on Salvador Leon, visit
www.salvador-leon.com ” RGM © 50
REALLY GREAT UPDATES
RG Magazine does not believe in building connections, or gathering acquaintances; we believe in expanding our family. As any family member would, we protect, nurture, & brag for all of our featured talent. To be part of the RG family like us on facebook.com/ReallyGreatMag
Marlee has been making films this year and since her we first meet her she has expanded from a triple threat (an Actress, Singer & Dancer) to being on both sides of the camera as well as the production end of film-making. She had a featured walk on in “The English Teacher” starring Julanne Moore and Greg Kinnear. Marlee produced a film, “Private Justice,” that premiered at Festival De Cannes 2013. Marlee has been busy with her autobiographical short film “Free”, which she , Directed and acted in. Free screened at Charleston International Film Festival, Take Two Film Festival, Beverly Film Fest, and others. Then theres “Little Miss Perfect,” Marlee’s directorial debut, a dramatic film that tells the story of an overambitious freshman in High School who secretly staves herself. Fans of Marlee’s can check that out at
Marlee Roberts facebook.com/littlemissperfectmovie or visit www.marleeroberts.com
Citadel In 2011 RGM introduced our readers to the band Citadel. So, what’s new with the “old school” thrash metal band from Philly? Bob, Will, Jay and Chris are still rocking the east coast every chance they get. They have a huge show coming up on October the 19th at the legendary Dobbs on South Street, called SavFest. Check out Citadel on Facebook for more on SavFest,an amazing charity benefit. Citadel recently signed with Toil Records based out of Philadelphia, PA.
If you loved our cover girl from last issue Leandra Ramm you can see her in a new TV series this winter 2013 dates and time TBA on Investigation Discovery Channel. We can’t reveal more than parts were shot in London and in Leandra’s words,
reverbnation.com/#!/citadel86 • citadeltheoriginal.com
“I can’t give too much details out yet, but it’s going to be a fantastic episode about my stalker case going in specific detail about everything that happened and state of the art reenactments.”
G Tom Mac
G Tom Mac is busy writing material for a 2014 release and completed the title track for the Film, “Holy Ghost People” which releases September. G’s song, Power In The Blood, will be available on iTunes.
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Our online publication of RG Magazine. Fashion Special featuring Saboroma NYC and Ashley Alexxis, G Tom Mac, Emily Tonkin, Mor Karen, Martin...
Published on Sep 10, 2013
Our online publication of RG Magazine. Fashion Special featuring Saboroma NYC and Ashley Alexxis, G Tom Mac, Emily Tonkin, Mor Karen, Martin...