Vhcle Issue 6

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-INSIDE ISSUE 06 The Joys of a Late Night TV Scavenger Hunt / Ballet and the Aesthetic of Ideals, Including an Interview with Frances Chung / George / The Value of the Bespoke: Custom Shop Guitars 101 / Sip, Taste. Red Lotus and Formoli’s Bistro Slow Beer Movement Dinners / Reviews & Recommendations / The Illustration Work of Blanca Gómez / The Photography Work of Phoebe Dahl / The Photography Work of Matthew Tischler www.vhcle.com

www.sisii.com SS2011 Au grĂŠ du vent Ltd. | 1-2-19 Toyo-Bldg. 101 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0024 Japan | Tel: +81 78 327 6710

vhcle magazine issue 06

music life/politics film


CONTENTS Vhcle Magazine Issue 06

reviews photography fashion art


026-032 The Value of the Bespoke: Custom Shop Guitars 101 by Jonathan YOUNG

034-039 Sip, Taste. Red Lotus and Formoli’s Bistro Slow Beer Movement Dinners by adam saake

044-045 Vhcle Reviews 004 CONTENTS

046-047 VhcleMan & VhcleWoman Recommendations


049-121 PHOTOBOOK features

008 - 009 Contributors

050-071 The Illustration Work of BLANCA GÓMEZ (cosas mínimas)


013-015 The Joys of a Late Night TV Scavenger Hunt

072-095 The Photography Work of

by Marc ingber

PHOEBE DAHL (Ugly Duckling)

016-022 Ballet and the Aesthetic of Ideals Including an Interview with Frances Chung Principal Dancer, San Francisco Ballet

096-121 The Photography Work of MATTHEW TISCHLER (Screen Series) --

by tim sunderman

023-024 George by Jamie dance thunder --


www.sisii.com SS2011 Au grĂŠ du vent Ltd. | 1-2-19 Toyo-Bldg. 101 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0024 Japan | Tel: +81 78 327 6710

www.sisii.com SS2011

Au grĂŠ du vent Ltd. | 1-2-19 Toyo-Bldg. 101 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0024 Japan | Tel: +81 78 327 6710


vhcle masthead

Vhcle Magazine Issue 06



Editor in Chief Charlie Lee charlie@vhcle.com

Director of Advertising & Marketing jonathan young jonathan@vhcle.com

Editor Cassie Lee cassie@vhcle.com

Advertising UK Office Tel: +44 0776.706.9384 jonathan@vhcle.com

-Sub-Editor Jamie Dance Thunder jamie@vhcle.com

USA Office Tel: +1 415.364.8568 jonathan@vhcle.com -Creative Services

Vhcle Reports (video) jonathan young jonathan@vhcle.com

USA Tel: +1 415.364.8568 agency@vhcle.com


Editorial Office Tel: USA +1 415.364.8568 Fax: USA +1 415.366.7123

Writers Marc Ingber, adam saake, Tim Sunderman, Jamie Dance Thunder, jonathan young Art, Photograhpy (Photobook Features) BLANCA GÓMEZ, PHOEBE DAHL, MATTHEW TISCHLER Reviews (CL) Cassie Lee, (V)Vhcle, (JY) Jonathan Young VhcleMan / VhcleWoman Recommendations jared fickel, Ashley b. Holmes -Cover Blanca Gómez, cosas mínimas Illustration work: (p50-71) --

Write to Us P.O. Box 2907 Sacramento, CA 95812 contact@vhcle.com Web: www.vhcle.com Vhcle Notes: www.vhcle.com/notes (weblog) Facebook: Vhcle Mag Twitter: @vhcle -Published by Charlie Lee: Vhcle Magazine, www.vhcle.com, and Vhcle Notes All content copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this magazine. Vhcle Magazine is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or injury to, any unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.



alphabetically by last name

Vhcle — amsterdam, netherlands

PHOEBE DAHL / PHOTOGRAPHER Phoebe draws upon childhood ideals to create a deliciously magical and wildly irresistible fantasy world. Embellished with the whim of dancing fairies, brushed with the dark aura of enchanted shadows looming nearby. She likes photographs that are witty and playful with a sense of elegance and beauty flowing throughout. www.wix.com/fairclothphoebe/fashionphotography Vhcle — Madrid, spain

BLANCA GÓMEZ / ILLUSTRATOR Blanca lives and works in Madrid, Spain. She is an illustrator and graphic designer. Her website is called “cosas mínimas,” which means “tiny things” in Spanish. Simple things inspire her and her work, which has been described as “colourful” and “whimsical.” She works on projects ranging from editorial comissions, interior design, stationery, books and advertising. www.cosasminimas.com

Vhcle — minneapolis, minnesota

MARC INGBER / WRITER A journalist with Sun Newspapers, based in Minneapolis, MN. He was born and raised in the Twin Cities and attended journalism school at the University of Kansas. His primary interests include rock ‘n’ roll, movies, food and drink, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins – probably in that order.

Vhcle — Oxford, United kingdom

ANDREW KELLY / PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew lives and works in West Oxfordshire, UK. When he’s not making video content for corporate banks, Andrew is a music technician and live sound engineer. He enjoys the work of Stevie Wonder, any film featuring Louis Theroux, and the TV show Street Crime UK. Oh, and he likes taking photos too.

Vhcle — manhattan, New york

JOANNE O’NEILL / ILLUSTRATOR A designer living in New York City. Originally from the UK, she is currently a Communication Design student at Parsons The New School for Design and has previously interned within the department of Creative Services at MTV Networks. She enjoys hand lettering, wood type, iced tea, tattoos, winter months and Morrissey. www.joannemoneill.com


Vhcle — sacramento, caLIFORNIA

ADAM SAAKE / WRITER Adam resides in the city of Sacramento, CA where he spends his days baking scones and his nights on the roam. A beer drinking, food eating, wine enthusiast who is a food and entertainment writer for Submerge magazine. This artsy fartsy gentlemen is surely bon vivant. He also likes naps and a good drum beat. Follow his every move on Twitter, @HOTSAAKE.

Vhcle — San francisco, caLIFORNIA

TIM SUNDERMAN / WRITER, ILLUSTRATOR A graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay Area whose first love is drawing and painting, tries to avoid computers until there is no other recourse, and because there is no other recourse, yearns for the open spaces. Tim is a graduate from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and majored in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a college art and design instructor and freelance artist. www.timsunderman.com

Vhcle — london, uNITED KINGDOM

JAMIE DANCE THUNDER / WRITER Jamie graduated from Cardiff in English Language, and is now studying Investigative Journalism at City University, London. From October he’ll be doing a PhD in funding models for investigative journalism, which is definitely almost as exciting as it sounds.

Vhcle — manhattan, nEW YORK

MATTHEW TISCHLER / PHOTOGRAPHER Matthew lives and works in New York City. He earned a BA in filmmaking and photography from Sarah Lawrence College. In 2007, he had a solo show at the bobparsley Galerie in Berlin, Germany. His work has also been exhibited at Real Art Ways, HEREart, Organization of Independent Artists, Viridian Artists and Gen Art. Currently, Matthew is working at PBS on a six-part documentary series exploring the history of comedy in America. www.matthewtischler.com



NICHOLAS WRAY / PHOTOGRAPHER Nicholas is an urban photographer originally from Cincinatti, OH, now based in Sacramento, CA. He enjoys outdoor activities, cigars, people and good beer. www.nicholaswray.com

Vhcle — oxford, uNITED KINGDOM

JONATHAN YOUNG / WRITER A recent marketing graduate from Oxford Brookes University. When he is not playing entrepreneur, Jonathan enjoys exploring the infinite depths of the In n Out secret menu and meticulously organizing his life into all time top five lists. He has a web presence at www.lookma-nohands.blogspot.com



The joys of a late night TV scavenger hunt writer

MARC INGBER illustrator

JOANNE O’NEILL -The Joys of a Late Night TV Scavenger Hunt, June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp13-15

I was flipping channels late at night recently when I happened upon the enigmatic and awkward-as-ever Prince being interviewed on George Lopez Tonight. My first two immediate thoughts were:

Prince got on stage to perform 1984’s “The Beautiful Ones”, if for no other reason than he’s Prince and he can do whatever he wants. The whole thing was a classic example of whatst late night talk shows have become in the 21 century. On any given weeknight it’s possible to be entertained by TV’s after hours – there are just so many options and it’s all so random that finding out where the most interesting stuff is happening is a crapshoot.

A) This is weird - it’s rare to see Prince ever grace a late-night show couch, as he rarely grants TV interviews. B) Since it is so rare, why did he agree to go on George Lopez Tonight of all places? Even Lopez himself joked that he was wondering the same thing.

Whether it’s Prince on George Lopez, Robert De Niro playing “Password” with Jimmy Fallon or Charlie Sheen making out with Jimmy Kimmel, I can usually find something that keeps me engaged enough to stave off sleep for a little while. It may not always be funny, per se, but as an impartial observer of pop culture in general, it keeps my attention.

Regardless of the circumstances, the segment made for good TV. The interview was as awkward as you would expect with a guy who has trouble stringing together two sentences when he’s not singing. After the interview



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As someone who is still under 30 – at least for about 10 months – the fact that I even watch late night talk shows on a regular basis likely makes me more the exception than the rule for my age range. It’s more of a tradition for older generations, who had Johnny Carson ruling the late night airwaves for 30 years. Most of my friends don’t watch any of the “traditional” late-night shows with any sort of regularity. Many watch Comedy Central’s after-hours shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but I don’t think of them as the same format. With eight million ways to spend your time, I can’t say I’m shocked that the current late night shows don’t draw viewers in droves like their predecessors did. But to me these shows offer something you can’t get almost anywhere else on TV – spontaneity, or at least some element of it. Scripted shows obviously don’t have any. Reality shows are often scripted too, and even when they aren’t, they are heavily edited. No matter what type of show you are watching, the likelihood is that a group of people sat in a dark room for several hours editing it in such a way so that it would appeal to the masses. Late night talk shows, though regimented and predictable in the general sense, don’t have this issue. They may be rehearsed to an extent, but it’s easy to tell that little thought or planning goes into each segment. With each show required to fill an hour a day, five nights a week, there’s simply not enough time to make it flawless. They’re all grasping at straws all the time. That’s why you’ll see hosts screw up punch lines, sketch props fall over, guests go on

strange story tangents, and numerous other “mistakes.” The beauty is that none of it matters – the in-house audience got in for free and the viewers at home are likely half-asleep and never had high expectations anyway. What’s amusing is that these shows still rely on the same show format Carson was doing 30 years ago. The hosts still wear suits and the nightly schedule has changed very little – monologue, sketch, two guests and a musical act or comedian. Night after night, week after week, year after year. It’s become so familiar to viewers that something as simple as having a musical act play before the guests come out would be confusing. What has changed and will continue to change is the style of humor. Since the tone of each show so heavily relies on the host, it is only natural that Dave Letterman’s show is nothing like Jay Leno’s, whose is nothing like Jimmy Fallon’s, whose is nothing like Craig Ferguson’s and so on and so forth. Personally, I’m not a fan of a few of the late night hosts, but the perk of all these shows is that they have the capacity to be interesting regardless. Take George Lopez for example – I’m ambivalent at best about his comedic style, but when Prince crawls out of his purple bunker to appear as a guest, I’ll still watch him. Another perk is that the celebrity guests are forced to rely on their real-life personalities and charm to shill whatever they are promoting. Viewers get to see when a star is devoid of both (e.g. Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro). The best guests are often the C-level celebrities and comedians who have been kicking around Hollywood for years trying to retain some level of success, but realized a long time ago they were never going to be huge stars (e.g.


The joys of a late night tv scavenger hunt / v hcle Issue 06

Norm McDonald, Chris Elliott). Ratings for late night shows aren’t what they once were and probably never will be, but the optimist in me believes this type of after-hours chat show will be able to survive for years to come. There will never be a day when the world runs out of celebrity guests and opening monologues will survive as long as politicians continue to have affairs and say stupid things. I’m not too worried. I come from a generation whose preferred style of comedy is often centered on awkwardness (The Office), shock (Daniel Tosh, Sarah Silverman), endless pop-culture references (Family Guy) and genre parodies (Community). The concept of a comedian who comes out in a suit and cracks jokes about the president and the day’s headlines while standing under a “Laugh” sign borders on archaic. That’s what’s I like about late night shows. In this day and age, a little old-fashioned show business, a few cheap jokes and genuine enthusiasm actually comes off as refreshing. There are worse ways to drift to sleep.


ballet and the aesthetic of ideals Including an Interview with Frances Chung Principal Dancer, San Francisco Ballet


TIM SUNDERMAN -Ballet and the Aesthetic of Ideals, Including an Interview with Frances Chung, Principal Dancer, San Francisco Ballet, June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp16-22

There are those few experiences in life that become glowing beacons of the highest artistic expressions that resonate with life itself. Such a time was had during a ballet performance in San Francisco on an evening in February. Walking to the War Memorial Opera House through the Civic Center with my dear wife, the wind blew in great cold gusts that had more the effect of vitalizing and pushing us to laugh rather than to huddle defensively against it. The lights of the great hall flooded out to the streets and the steady promenade of the audience was drawn in as we ascended the broad central stairs of white granite to the main entrance. --


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We were welcomed by friendly, gentle people and shown to our seats twelve rows back near the center of the auditorium for the opening night of the new program. With an internal hum of anticipation, opera glasses in hand, I was elevated by the slowly building tones of the orchestra tuning up. The demands of excellence versus the challenges of the physical world would fill this night, everything from the temperature and humidity in the breath in the wind instruments affecting pitch to the pull of gravity on the seemingly weightless bodies that would soon animate the stage. I was awakened again to the richness of the sensations of live symphonic music, having grown so accustomed to electronic sound squeezed through wires and projected from magnetic cones. The breadth of the tones of the live instruments and the incomprehensibly flawless acoustics of the performance hall hit not just the ears, but the throat, the chest, and the solar plexus. I felt as though everyone waiting for the curtain became part of an enormous tuning fork brought into sympathetic vibration with the musicians and the hour. And with that, the lights dimmed, the maestro emerged under a white spotlight to the front of the orchestra pit, and the performance began. I am not unaware of the distinguished reputation of the San Francisco Ballet, but I was unprepared for the exhibit of perceptionstretching beauty that was to unfold. The first of three performances was Theme and Variations set to Tchaikovsky’s Suite No.


3 for Orchestra. It is a mid-twentieth century neoclassical bit of choreography executed in full-on classical form — tights, tutus, and tiaras — and all the rigorous and exacting technique consequent to that style. The supporting dancers skillfully flowered in unison to the choreography, then parted at center stage for the emergence of the lead dancer, Frances Chung. As impressive as the surrounding cast truly are, Frances Chung is on a clearly distinct plateau. Her movements were brilliantly refined, almost unearthly in their smoothness. She also has a particular talent extending each movement out to the height of their completion. So fluid and expressive was the entire dance that my aesthetic sense was pulled to a new range of perception. In a new way, I could see each hand gesture, torso bend, leap, and twirl for the emotional metaphor that it was intended to convey. It was indeed a moment when movement crystalized into a clear language before me. I raised the opera glasses to find that each subtle facial expression was yet another resonant recursive expression of the larger metaphors of the story. That depth of human understanding and empathizing with the character role can only open outward from genuine insight into the human condition itself. The second and third performances were equally engaging as I sat transfixed not only by the complexity of the movement, but also by the entertainment of the spectacle itself. The final piece, Winter Dreams, had never

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been performed before. Carried throughout the modernism of the movements was an intensely sensitive intertwining of balance and transference of weight as the dancers deftly streamed among each other. The performances were obviously so physically demanding as to seem beyond all reasonable expectation, especially the classical quickness and precision of Theme and Variations. Yet these were handled so expertly as to never reveal the slightest taxing of effort, only elegance and grace creating a height of beauty unsuspected. And it is that apex of beauty itself that compels us to attend from the outset. That is the core reason that permeates all the performances and the attention of the audience, and yet so elusive is this beauty that there are countless dancers, musicians, painters, and poets that dedicate their whole lives to reaching for this unattainable ideal. It could be argued that ballet dancers are the epitome of the embodiment of artistic aesthetic. Long have I written about figurative art, and even longer have I made it the center of my own art, my drawings and paintings. For if art is the reflection of what it is to be human, then the body itself is the primary symbol of that exercise. No matter how the figure is presented on canvas or in marble, how much more vitalized are those representations in motion and with sound in living form — not with pixels or electronics smashed onto a flattened screen in 8-bit color, but in the breathing richness of the present moment. I quickly felt a deep appreciation for all the subtle details of the performance. I loved the


sound of feet and the hard tips of the pointe shoes on the wooden floor, even the sound of the flowing fabric of the costumes as the men lifted their partners and set them down, because these are the details of the physical world transforming into the ungraspable flame of idealization. So, throughout the night I mused, even fixated, on wondering how the individual dancers continue to be inspired by that ideal to sustain themselves through hours of daily training year after year. What is their view of that starlight? I hoped to know. Then, during the second intermission, in a strange twist of chance, the lead dancer from the first performance, Frances Chung, sat in the seat next to me, her friend in the next seat over. Loudly she cheered for her associate dancers — team members they were, bandmates. Her bearing and vivacious exuberance were enlivening. Here was a member of the dance royalty, in a sense, sitting in the middle of her court, without the slightest need or desire for the attention that now rightfully belonged to those now on stage. She emanated a spirit of being completely in the moment without a shred of pretense. As I felt compelled to find the answers to the big questions as to what ideals motivate the dancers and what are some of the practical routines that go into that pursuit, the pathway seemed obvious — interview a dancer. And so, Frances Chung graciously took time from her demanding schedule to answer some of these questions, arranged by the kind efforts of Kyra Jablonsky of the San Francisco Ballet.

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INTERVIEW WITH FRANCES CHUNG Principal dancer, San Francisco Ballet are in the middle of Coppélia right now, which is a comedic ballet. It’s actually my first fulllength ballet, and I just performed it yesterday for the first time. That was a big night for me. In Coppélia, my character is Swanhilda, a flirtatious teenager. There’s a lot of character development and I spent a lot of time with that. First, for me, I work on the technical aspect. From there you spend a lot of time developing your character. There are general aspects, but then you put your own personality into it.

TIM SUNDERMAN: Hello Frances. Thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to speak today. FRANCES CHUNG: Oh, you’re welcome. No problem. TS: The questions today have more to do with the aesthetics and ideals of ballet and are not so much biographical. FC: OK, great.

TS: Speaking of character development, the refinements of your movements and even your facial expressions seem to convey a depth of human understanding of your roles. Do you take time to study the character role itself, or do you find that it naturally flows from the music and the setting?

TS: So let’s get right to the questions. What were your earliest motivations to continue with ballet? FC: Not being able to sit still! [laughs] Once I got a little bit older, the artistic side became, not really motivation, more like inspiration to develop that side of me.

FC: You are constantly preparing yourself. For Winter Dreams, I read the play by Chekhov “The Three Sisters” and for Coppélia I went online and researched. That’s a start, and from there you go into the rehearsal studio and you practice the physical technical aspect. Even from there you are trying to portray your character in your movement. On top of that, I try to build little intonations — little personal traits that I want to add. Then we have a great artistic staff and they tell you what works and what doesn’t work. You are trying to tell a story without any words. Some things read better than others. The staff and the other dancers, we

TS: What are your thoughts of the ideals you work so hard to attain as a dancer? FC: The ideals... I think everyone in the ballet strives for perfection. There’s something about ballet that kind of pushes you to reach for the ideals. It’s kind of a far off world. Once you step on stage, as a dancer, you are constantly trying to be the best athlete. Or, if you’re playing a comedic role you are trying to be the best at that. If I am doing a tragedy ballet, you’re trying to be the most tragic person [laughs]. We


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help each other. A few people I really trust to be honest with me, they’ll be like, “That was terrible, change it,” [laughing], or what not. TS: In the time before the performance, do you focus on getting into character, or is everything such a flurry that you just trust your rehearsal and jump in there? FC: We start off the day with class. Then we are rehearsing for next week’s programs, so we are doing completely different ballets in the evening. But before the show, I will get to the theatre a good two and a half hours before the show and I’ll take my time putting on my make-up and doing my hair and performing those rituals that get me into performing mode. Then I’ll warm up for an hour. Once you are in the theatre on the day of the show, you don’t want to still be trying to remember your character or going over the choreography. I think at that point, you just have to let everything go and let your muscle memory take over and the musicality that is already in your body — for the most part, just trying to be calm, even though that is impossible, which I guess is a good thing. Adrenaline is a great thing for performance. TS: From the audience, you don’t show any appearance of being anything less than confident. But I’m sure that energy must be flying. So, preparing for the season and during the performance season, how many hours a day revolve around ballet? FC: I leave for work soon after eight o’clock and I’m lucky if I leave the theatre and it’s still


light out. It’s an amazing day if I get to walk out and there’s still sunlight. For the most part, I am rehearsing for the day, and if I have a few minutes I’ll take a little nap before I start getting ready for the show. But, I live in the theatre for the season [laughs]. TS: Do you set yourself up differently for the aesthetics of modern dance compared to classical, and do you have a favorite? FC: The great thing about San Francisco Ballet is that we have such a diverse repertoire that sometimes it’s hard. Like right now, I just had a rehearsal for Chroma by Wayne McGregor [music by Joby Talbot and Jack White from the White Stripes] and it’s probably the furthest thing from classical ballet. We are not on pointe [shoes], there are no tights, we wear very minimal costumes, you’re undulating every part of your body, your ribs are supposed to protrude out, there’s no classical position in this sort of dance. Then in the evening, you are performing straight classical. I mean, it can get difficult. I can’t say I have a favorite, really I love being able to explore dance in new ways. It is stimulating for my body and my mind as an artist. On some days I like one more than another. TS: Do you have other favorite art outside of ballet that you find to be equally inspiring? FC: I get inspiration from things that would make sense like going to MOMA [the Museum of Modern Art] or checking out other performances in the city which there are plenty of, which I am grateful for. And then things like going for a walk, and you see, this sounds kind

Photographer: Quinn Wharton

Balle t and t h e ae stheti c of id eals / v hc le Issue 06


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of cliché and cheesy, like going to Yosemite and you see nature and you see things move. I mean there’s movement everywhere around you that randomly I’ll get inspired by — any sort of movement that I see, really. You can compare dance to anything whether it’s art, architecture, all these worlds intertwine too, right?

there’s that thing that... I don’t think that you can describe it. But it’s something that I strive for, being able to be myself. When I’m watching dance, I actually prefer to watch it backstage or the rehearsal. My favorite thing is to watch dance from close up and you get to see people sweat and you get to hear them grunt. But when you are watching a performance, our goal is to make it look as easy as possible, when in reality, when you are watching close up, when you are next to them, you know — it’s hard! And I like to watch the process of it all. The process is important.

TS: Do you have other creative outlets, or is dance so consuming that that’s it for now? FC: During the season, I really don’t have time for anything else [laughs]. But when we’re off, I actually end up just dancing more. I have great opportunities to travel. Last Summer, I was in Germany for a few weeks and I was working with a friend and we did a whole project in Cologne. After that, I came home for a few days and then I went to Australia to do some more dancing. So, I figured, your dancing career doesn’t last for too long, so if these opportunities arise, I go for it. I have other dreams and aspirations outside of dance. I feel like I will never stop being creative whether it’s in dance or not. So, I figure I will have time for that after my dance career, but I want to make the most of it while I still can.


By the end of the interview, I was as impressed with how intelligent, articulate, and insightful Frances was in person as on stage. Her genuineness and humor are further reflections of the humanness that she aspires to professionally, which even made the interview seem as easy as possible! There are few artists or art organizations as forwardly creative as San Francisco Ballet and I would openly encourage anyone interested in seeing human creativity for a new millennium to go there.

TS: That sounds like a well-considered plan. As a final question, what would your ideal performance be? FC: When I really think about it as a person, I just want to be able to express my humanness on stage. That’s what I really appreciate when I am watching a dancer. It’s being able to see just that raw expression. It’s just being yourself in the character. For me, when I watch dance,


GEORGE writer

JAMIE DANCE THUNDER -George, June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp23-24

I still remember when I first saw George.

It was my first day at secondary school and I, with the rest of what was to be 7G, was led nervously into the gym where we were to meet our new classmates. There was a space on the bench next to a boy with light brown skin and slightly slanted eyes – he gave me a little smile, and I sat down next to him. Over the next few weeks, George and I became good friends. Because we were in the same form we shared a lot of classes, and we sat next to each other at registration. He was a bit quiet but so was I, and we were happy just to talk to each other. I went to his house and met his mum and sister, and he came to mine and met my parents. We were awkward, shy, and both rubbish at sport – I had glasses to look after; he didn’t like the mud. We were best friends. I don’t really remember what happened in the couple of years after that. There was no flashpoint I can think of, no huge argument or event, but we didn’t see as much of each other. Most likely, as happens with lots of friendships at that age, we drifted apart, started hanging out with other people. --


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I still saw George occasionally though – we shared an English class for all five years – and we’d say hello to each other. The last time I saw him was in college, when I was 16 or 17. He’d changed his name to Zak for reasons no-one seemed to know, and told me he was seeing a psychologist.

to have acne. He was nominated for an award when he was 18. Then I started wondering. I’ve watched pornography, but never really thought too hard about the people involved. Now I had a slight, decade-old connection to someone in it, though, it was different. I wanted to know his route into the ‘industry’. I wanted to know whether he’d meant to or it had sort of happened by accident. I wanted to know whether he enjoyed it – partly the sex, and partly the whole career. I wanted to know whether his mum knows, and what she thinks about it.

After that I didn’t think of George for several years until recently, when he came up in conversation with another schoolfriend who told me George was gay. There had been rumours while we were at school but no-one really knew, or cared more than they cared about anything that made someone a bit different. My friend also told me he fd changed his name again, and suggested I search for it. So I did.

Another part of me thinks I’m overthinking this. Porn’s never really bothered me before – why should it now just because I’ve a tenuous link to a... to a what? An artist? A performer? A victim? It’s a particular niggle that last I saw him he was seeing a psychologist. But am I just patronising him by wondering about that? Am I assuming he, or any other person in porn, can’t make their own choices? He wasn’t stupid at school, and although we’ve clearly taken very different paths, who am I to judge his route from such an external viewpoint?

My best friend in year 7 is now a hardcore gay pornstar. I didn’t really know how to react to this. My first response was shock, and a strange sort of revulsion at seeing someone I know having sex. It wasn’t because it was gay sex, but before that I’d only seen people I know having sex, well, when I was involved.

I’d love to be able to ask George these questions, and plenty more. I’d also just like to say hello to someone I used to spend a lot of time with. But most of all I want to know what turned that quiet, shy, nice boy who smiled at me on the first day of school into a “young skinhead top” with a new name who is paid to have sex in front of cameras for other faceless, nameless people to watch.

After the shock I was curious, and tried to find out as much as I could about his new persona. There were no videos I could find but quite a few stills on blogposts – George dressed as a racing driver; George with a spiked collar around his neck; George being penetrated. The comments below these posts made me feel a bit sick. These were people lusting over my friend who they’d never met, praising his willingness and the fact he was young enough



The Value of the Bespoke: Custom Shop Guitars 101 writer




The Value of the Bespoke: Custom Shop Guitars 101, Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp26-32

reproduction. They are knights errant on an eternal quest for audio perfection, striving for an irreproachable replication of that original performance. And sure, I myself have been known to go out and replace factory standard iPod ear buds with something a little more sonically seasoned, a product whose inherent superiority, I really do value. But how far can one go with this pastime for wanting only the best? Well, I’ve looked not to the end result and the equipment we use to enjoy our music, but rather the tool that is so often used to create it in the first place - the electric guitar.

Within the world of consumer culture, there is a certain breed of shopper – those that value the bespoke, the distinguished, the exclusive. Individuals constantly striving for the perfect sound, the perfect fit, the perfect experience. More often than not, such individuals are quite willing to part with large sums of cash in the pursuit of this practice. They will stop at nothing to have and to hold the best that money can buy. In the home audio or hi-fi capacity, such individuals are known as ‘audiophiles’ – hobbyists seeking the upmost in sound

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From a pop-culture perspective, the electric guitar is undoubtedly one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. Perhaps more so than any other instrument, this now ubiquitous creation has come to define both the tone and character of much of the music we listen to.

So who would have thought you could spend the equivalent of a house down-payment on one? Well that’s just what a friend of mine, and for that fact a lot of other (often middle-aged men) enthusiasts do. They buy guitars that are more than just that. They’re collector’s items –


01 Headstock of a 1974 Fender Telecaster Custom 02 Body of a 1996 Ernie Ball Musicman Axis

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03 From Left to Right: 2011 Angry Angus STRATOcaster in PEARL WHITE, ORIGINAL 1974 Fender Telecaster Custom, 2010 Angry Angus Custom TELECASTER IN SONIC BLUE.


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generally include boutique manufactures such as Lindy Fralin, Dimarzio, and Jason Lollar, amongst others. But what’s most interesting about this company is just how exclusive their products are. At present, they supply to just fourteen shops worldwide… yes, fourteen. So getting your hands on one might prove to be a challenge.

handcrafted, quality checked to the nth degree, and quite simply perfect. But what’s wrong with that old electric I picked up off a friend of a friend’s brother, who used to play ‘in some band’ years ago? Well, nothing really. It’s still a guitar and will undoubtedly sound like a guitar, or somewhere close to it. Aside from having enjoyed a life of being thrown around, drawn on, painted, dented and scratched. It’s served its purpose. But there are alternatives…

There’s more than just a handful of these custom shop, somewhat obscure manufacturers out there, though. New York based Sadowsky Guitars started as the hobby of a young college graduate, Roger Sadowsky in 1979. After almost seven years of luthier training, Sadowsky started out modifying vintage Fender basses, which were at that time relatively inexpensive. He improved their sound by adding more noise reduction technology and replaced the passive electronics with an active preamp, increasing the signal to noise ratio. Once the price of vintage instruments began to take off however, Sadowsky started creating entire bass guitars, and ultimately the wealth of signature artist models available today. In fact, a look at the company’s client list reads like something of Grammy roll call, with Sting, Prince, and Paul Simon amongst those having placed orders. Even the world of metal values the bespoke, with Metallica’s Jason Newsted once placing an order for eight of Sadowsky’s basses.

Within guitar circles, and of course outside of guitar circles, there are two names or shall we say brands that have stood the test of time as being the iconic manufactures of this famous electric instrument. Yes, Fender and Gibson, the eminent names in American guitar production that have defined, and continue to define, a good majority of the imagery behind rock and roll music. Yet aside from their universal presence across the world’s stages, there is a rather interesting array of what I like to call boutique manufactures out there that really are in a league, or should I say world, of their own. The Angry Angus Guitar Company. Based out of the New England Blackstone Valley, the guitars are the brainchild of Dean Campbell, a former master luthier at Fender USA, who on departing from the company took all his insight and expertise to design and build something truly special. The guitars adopt the celebrated aesthetic of Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster models, but go that bit further when allowing their customers to tailor their purchase. Pickup choices for instance are virtually limitless, and

The endorsements are made all the more impressive however when you consider that unlike megaproducers Fender and Gibson, Sadowsky has never handed out freebies or had artists under contract. In fact, business became so good for Sadowsky, that at one stage, he was able to turn down a request from




2011 Sadowsky PJ Bass

Billy Idol to build a guitar in the shape of the Starship Enterprise. While initially building the guitars by himself for a number of years, Sadowsky now works amongst a team of just ten people in producing the instruments. The real essence of these guitars lies beyond the AAA grade wood involved in making them, however. Sadowsky himself has been known to reject as many as seven pieces of wood out of ten when building the guitars, arguing that it is never a case of simply selecting the right wood, but rather, the right combination of woods. Colleges have spoken of their boss obsessively tapping the bodies of his instruments to determine any resonating qualities. A microscopic ding or scratch could be just enough to send something to the wood chipper. After years of experimentation, the luthier concluded that a solid-body guitar made of alder or southern swamp ash with a maple top produces the most superior tone. But why own something so expensive? Well my answer would obviously be why not? But the price tags are not for the faint hearted. Relatively, one could happily spend as much as four times the amount on a Sadowsky instrument 04 / 05 2011 SADOWSKY PJ BASS


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over a factory standard Precision Bass – the stock classic Fender guitar whose silhouette Sadowsky has so gracefully appropriated. What’s more, dealers in Japan have been known to charge twice as much for the privilege of owning the stringed piece of sculpture. I would say this though: a custom shop or boutique guitar should not be owned for its inherent aesthetic or monetary value. No, such craftsmanship should be owned for the exact reason it was created – to be played.



Red Lotus and Formoli’s Bistro Slow Beer Movement Dinners writer


NICHOLAS WRAY -Sip, Taste. Red Lotus and Formoli’s Bistro Slow Beer Movement Dinner, June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp34-39


-01 Guests slowing down and enjoying their evening at Formoli’s Bistro. 02 (Opposite page) Chilled soba noodles with pickled and sauteed ramps, crispy smelt and smelt roe with a soy dashi dipping sauce.


A slow clap begins in the restaurant, quiet and subtle at first. Maybe you don’t hear it over the forks and plates percussively clinking and touching. It builds and cannot be ignored, and then the restaurant is overtaken by the applause that has picked up and is now something reminiscent of fanfare. The focus shifts to a tall, bearded man with suspenders and a wax-tipped mustache. The crowd that had been electric with energy is now all settled in. They wait for Mark Neuhauser, bar manager of Red Lotus and co-conspirator of the Slow Beer Movement Dinners, to speak.

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“Welcome to tonight’s Slow Beer Movement Dinner. We’re ready to wow you,” announces Neuhauser. It’s a sleepy Monday night in East Sacramento as the cars pass the tiny, recessed Formoli’s Bistro that sits a stone’s throw away from the posh McKinley Park housing row. A busy week has begun for many and these passengers might have pizzas on the seat or groceries in the trunk; dinner approaches. But for the sixtyodd occupants crammed wall to wall inside Formoli’s Bistro, there’s little effort to cure their growling stomachs. Tonight the buzzing crowd of foodies and local industry folk are leaving that up to two very talented chefs; Billy Ngo and Aimal Formoli.


Both chefs are celebrated in Sacramento and beyond for their talents, and each have backgrounds in French training that have set that foundation. In fact, the two were students training together at the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco at the same time, and graduated in 2004 together. Afterwards, they returned to Sacramento where each took somewhat different paths, working in various kitchens around town before finally opening up restaurants of their own. Formoli built a strong following at Formoli’s Bistro with his wife Suzanne Ricci, and Ngo opened his first restaurant, the chic Japanese restaurant Kru. Ngo’s Red Lotus Kitchen and Bar would come later in 2010 and become

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the restaurant involved in the Slow Beer Movement Dinners. The two had already met in Sacramento before they attended CCA together, so their friendship was only further solidified by the respect they gained for each other’s cooking during their experience together in San Francisco. At that time, the wanted to do something different. For Ricci, thought might or might not have crossed their she knew the idea wouldn’t be too big a risk. minds, but the future would find them cooking in each other’s kitchens for crowds of excited “I think beer education is starting to become just diners. as popular as people are with wine drinking,” The concept for the Slow Beer Movement Dinners was truly a collaborative process between Ngo, Formoli, Neuhauser and Ricci. The two chefs had already “been planning to do some kind of a dinner event; something monthly”. But it wasn’t until Neuhauser came into the picture that the idea really took shape.

It all made sense to turn the focus to beer pairing. Beer drinkers were passing up the watered-down mainstream and reaching for the hoppy, complex flavors of microbrews and imports. With this growing excitement for artisan beers, the Slow Beer Movement crew wanted to be involved in taking it to the masses and sharing their passion.

“Ever since [Mark] took over the bar management position, he started educating me “The concept came from putting local chefs and about beers and I started getting excited about local breweries together and involving people it,” says Ngo. in the whole process,” says Formoli. “Putting all that together and making people that attend The group knew that wine dinners and sake involved and showing them the whole thing.” dinners were already being done and they


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Formoli says that the dinners are being used as a “teaching tool” as well, and there are six courses to study here. Ricci chimes in that it’s more of a “crash course” really, with guests being introduced to a new dish each time with a different beer to accompany it. And though crash course might imply quickness, these dinners are truly focused on taking the time to savor the food and focus on the beer pairing and how one enhances the other. For Neuhauser, this is the best part. “It’s exciting to see the food go out; individually plated for each person. It’s fun to pour 50, 60 beers at a time and see the beer actually form to the way it’s supposed to be drunk rather than pouring a beer and drinking it as fast as you can. People are actually enjoying, sip by sip. Sip, taste, sip, taste,” says Neuhasuser passionately. A long history of patient and communal dining precedes our current state of eat and run that we as diners have slowly and subversively been coerced into participating in. Food has become, to most of us, something to the equivalent of gasoline where we consume because we have to, because we’re hungry and it’s annoying. The dinners are meant to remedy this; to give people the opportunity to literally slow down. If only for just the evening. “Slow is kind of an issue,” says Formoli. “The whole event is four hours long sometimes. I think everybody’s so used


(Opposite page)

01 Cucumber with a fava been puree, heirloom cherry tomatoes, house made pancetta and micro greens. 02 Squid ink pasta with a Raging Bitch cream sauce and marinated baby octopus. (This page)

03 Asparagus salad with daikon, shaved asparagus, radish sprouts, cherry heirloom tomatoes and a yuzu and wasabi dressing. 04

04 Wipeout IPA, poured to perfection.

to when we eat, that we give ourselves thirty minutes even if we go out. We’re losing the whole perception of what it means.” It’s easy to get wrapped up in the colorful and clean plates of Formoli and Ngo who present food in a way that speaks of artistry and care. Each chef has their own unique style; Ngo a master of sushi and Asian cuisine with a background at The Kitchen working


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under Randall Selland, and Formoli whose flavors, colors and execution are downright head-spinning. Collaborative dishes are the key here and results like squid ink pasta with a Raging Bitch beer cream sauce and marinated baby octopus begin as sketches by one chef in the beginning and then are elaborated on in the kitchen later. And although the focus may appear to be the food, it’s really the beer that is the star at these dinners and both chefs will be the first to tell you that.

01 Mark Neuhauser showing off Mission Brewing Company’s Shipwreck Double IPA. 02 The beautiful pour of Shipwreck Double IPA. 03 House made brownie plated and awaiting a decadent whipped cream.

“It’s about the beers, not just the food,” says Ngo. “The majority of it is…we sit down with Mark when we figure out the beers. We pick a beer and figure out a dish for that and I’ll give [Aimal] my suggestions of what I think should go with that and he does the same with my three dishes. It all works together.”

and enjoy what’s been lovingly prepared and set in front of them. Ricci moves throughout the crowd and the kitchen, conducting the evening flawlessly with her award winning wait staff. The dinners, which fall on the third Monday of each month, alternate between Formli’s Bistro and Ngo’s Red Lotus Kitchen and Bar located in the Sutter District in midtown Sacramento. June will be Formoli’s turn to host and the Lotus staff looks forward to being able to eat

Eruptions of noise are intermittent; a quiet falling over the mouths of guests only to savor


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and drink this time around. Many of Formoli’s and Ngo’s servers have been with them for years, proudly part of the restaurant family. The Slow Beer Movement Dinners have only made this family even larger and they’ve all been an integral part of making the dinners as successful as they’ve been. Belgian beers, West IPA’s and Anchor Steam Brewing are among the beers that have been featured at the dinners thus far. Heading into their fourth month, many breweries and distributors have already caught wind of the dinners and want in. Neuhasuer’s been in touch with many of the local breweries and is in the process of getting them involved in future dinners. There’s great potential for collaborating with locals like Brew It Up!, Rubicon and Sudwerks who all make high quality suds and are heavily active in the Sacramento food and beverage community. Call it slow, but the idea sure is picking up speed. “We’re slowly getting people involved and we’re slowly getting people to realize that there’s an experience with eating and beer,” says Neuhauser. “When you say slow so many times, you actually realize that we could slowly start a beer movement here in Sacramento.” May the tortoise win the race.





the natural alternative to electronically DPSOL多HG VRXQG GRFNV



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vhcle reviews SHORT FILM / DOCUMENTARY 01

01 THE BICYCLE CAP For the New Museum of New York City 01

We love this quirky short film by peSeta for a series of bike caps they’ve made. Imagine a romantic fling between a bicycle and an old fashioned sewing machine and you’re about halfway to understanding what these guys do. Beautifully shot and edited, this is what small business video content should always be. (V) www.vimeo.com/22382844



02 GRIZZLY MAN (2005) Here is a documentary that in equal measure addresses obsessive behavior, insanity and, well... bears. Werner Herzog is at his absolute best here as he pieces together the final few months of a fractured man literally living on the edge. Poignant, powerful and truly unforgettable. (JY)


04 DICTAPHONE PARCEL (Animated short film, Royal College of Art, London, 2009)

03 UP THERE This fascinating documentary reveals the disappearing medium of traditional hand painted advertising and the painters struggling to keep it alive. Expect to be amazed, saddened and speechless at the work these people do – a wonderful, heartfelt doc that everyone can appreciate. (JY)


If I was an art student and my professor asked me to make a short animated film, I could only dream of doing something this good. Watch, and more importantly listen, as a package makes it way from London to Helsinki, capturing an array of abstract sounds along the way. (JY)

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05 THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS Self-Titled Debut Album Dance/electro pop albums aren’t normally the type of music I readily seek out, but I will occassionally have an album in this genre playing in the background while doing work on the computer. So when a friend suggested I give them a listen, that’s exactly how it began - as background music. Well, eventually one song stood out - ‘Killing It’, and after a while I grew quite obsessed with this particular song. That gave way to actually giving the whole album a good listen. It’s not difficult to get drawn into Eleanore Everdell ‘s ethereal voice and the feeling of sexy fun the music elicits. While I believe an album should be listened to as a whole, in this case though, I think taking each song as if they were one-hit singles makes for a much better music experience. (CL)

06 Ian McEwan – On Chesil Beach


Anchor, 2008 Few novelists possess the acuity that Ian McEwan does in dissecting the nature of human relationships. On Chesil Beach is an elegantly realised novella set in preliberated 1960s Britain. The love story and subsequent tragedy that grows out of it, is set up from the opening sentence, which contains within its careful confines almost everything you need to know about what follows: ‘They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible.’ A great, albeit short read. (JY)

07 Fun makes good – Pouffes, Drop Seat Inspired by contemporary architectural forms and geometric shapes, these furniture pieces are handmade in Scotland using local materials. Designer Eleanor Young creates unique and creative patterns using locally sourced, specialist wools, leathers and hand dyed cotton. (V) www.funmakesgood.co.uk


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Recommendations by Jared Fickel 01




03 FAT TIRE BEER (in a can) Honey sweet and smooth, Fat Tire is the perfect complement to a good deli sandwich and is easier to pack in and out of a picnic than bottles. www.newbelgiumbrewing.com 04 ALITE MONARCH CHAIR This chair is awesome. When not in use, it folds into a pouch the size of a burrito. Sets up like a tent and keeps your bum off of the damp grass. www.alitedesigns.com

02 RAPHA HOODIE (RAPHA.CC) BY PAUL SMITH People have been taking stabs at sartorial cycling apparel for a while, but Rapha’s collaboration with menswear hero Paul Smith finally got it right. Merino wool with a windbreaker front makes this hoodie exceptional for the city. Warm and breathable means you aren’t a sweaty mess after your bike commute to work, and a cycling jerseyinspired pocket on the back holds your little stuff.

Nine months out of the year I bike commute to work in full waterproof gear. This isn’t a fashionable affair by any stretch of the imagination. Summer and fall months finally afford me a chance to shed the Gore-Tex and get outside to enjoy some sun. Here in San Francisco our parks are our beaches with people enjoying literally every spare inch of sunlight while it graces our presence. With that in mind, I picked my essentials for a successful day at the park. Grab your favorite book, sit back, take a tug of your beer and enjoy.

01 LEVEL TRACK BIKE Simplicity defined is what this bike is all about. This one was actually owned by a professional Keirin racer in Japan. Support your local bike shop and go to them if you’re interested in something similar.


05 DOLORES CHILLER BAG BY TIMBUK2 Looks like a messenger bag but insulated like a cooler. Fits about 12 beers plus a bag of ice. Instant party. www.timbuk2.com


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Recommendations by Ashley B. Holmes 04 Maxi dress by first rite The perfect cotton jersey maxi dress takes me from days in the park to dinner at Delfina, and I found mine in First Rite’s ladder dress. www.villainssf.com 04

05 sofia blanc de blancs by francis ford copola wineries The perfect celebration or relaxation drink. A little bubbly in a can, named after my favorite female director “Sofia Blanc de Blancs” by Francis Ford Coppola Wineries. www.franciscoppolawinery.com

All year long in San Francisco we count down the days ‘til summer. Though it usually doesn’t hit until September, we can’t resist baring our pasty skin and hitting the park no matter how windy it is. Blame it on the longer days and the enchanting glow the sun casts over the downtown buildings, but there is NOTHING like a San Francisco summer. Mark Twain may have written “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” but I’m sure if he would have stuck around a few more months he would have also named it his most magical summer. There is a certain quality to this city in the summer. It’s a fleeting season that forces us all out of our winter hibernation and into farmers markets and onto bikes to enjoy every bit of it that there is.


01 clark by jeffrey campbell My shoe obsession this season is the flatform sandal. I’m pairing the “Clark” by Jeffrey Campbell with skinnies, shorts, and dresses www.solestruck.com


02 lucia by super sunglasses Sunnies! Whether it’s full sun or full fog in San Francisco, you won’t find me without a pair of stylish shades. This summer it’s the “Lucia” by Super Sunglasses. www.villainssf.com 03


03 linus “mixte 8” in sage By linus bikes A bike! Hitting the Embarcadero farmers market, getting to work, or grabbing an evening dinner with Jared in Hayes Valley, I’ll be getting there by Linus “Mixte 8” in sage. www.linusbikes.com


www.sisii.com SS2011

Au grĂŠ du vent Ltd. | 1-2-19 Toyo-Bldg. 101 Kaigandori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0024 Japan | Tel: +81 78 327 6710

VHCLEPHOTOBOOK features / 49

blanca gÓmez phoebe dahl matthew tischler

illustration /

Cosas mĂ?nimas The illustration work of

blanca gÓmez Selected clients: Monocle, Dwell, CNN/ Money, Chronicle Books, Honda, Habitat, Velocity Art and Design, John Brown, Orange, lagom, Movistar, Uppercase

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Q&A with

Blanca GÓmez -Blanca Gómez, Cosas mÍnimas June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp50-71


What are some of the key factors that started your career as an illustrator? I wouldn’t talk about key factors, since I started my career as an illustrator in a very gradual and natural way. I’ve been drawing since I remember, but never considered being an illustrator as a feasible option. I worked as a graphic designer for many years. After some years working as a graphic designer, I began to draw more and more, and to transfer my drawings to the computer. What was initially meant to be a personal project gradually and naturally turned into a professional project. 002

We’ve noticed you do photography as well - is this something you pursue profesionally? Absolutely not. Although I studied photography a long time ago, it has become just a hobby, and this is the reason I enjoy it. Actually, I think I’m becoming more & more a “tourist photographer”, since I only take pictures when I travel, and always with my (not so technical) Lomo LC-A camera.


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You’ve done quite a few illustrations for publications - any that standout from the rest? I don’t know... I like the last illustration that I’ve done. I enjoyed it because I had to illustrate a story from Woody Allen that he wrote for New Yorker Magazine in 1968, and because I had to depict Woody Allen himself. 004

What would be your perfect day? Any day that involves waking up a little late, taking in a good breakfast, working a little, and strolling around the city (preferably a city different than mine!). 005

Favorite drink? Water, and “Marianito azul” (blue Marianito). This second one is a kind of blue vermouth in a martini glass that you can enjoy only in one pub in Bilbao (Basque country).


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photography /

ugly duckling The photography work of

PHoebe dahl

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Q&A with

phoebe dahl -Phoebe Dahl, ugly duckling June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp72-95


You were previously on the cover of our Issue One as one of the models for Nikki Garcia... it’s nice to have you involved again. This time featuring some of your photography work. Can you tell us a little about your start in this field? It’s a magical, fateful story actually. I started off pursuing fashion design, which is where I met Nikki Garcia, studying in San Francisco. Upon graduating, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to broaden my horizons and open my eyes to more of the fashion world (no pun intended). So I applied to London College of Fashion and enrolled myself into a styling and photography course. Upon entering, I figured that I would veer more towards the styling aspect of the course, since that’s what I was familiar and comfortable with. As time passed, I became envious of the freedom and fun the photography students were having and how wildly creative it all was. I felt as if I was being suppressed; similar feelings to being punished as a child where you watch out the window at all your friends still playing in the sun, having a marvelous time... so being the “grass is always greener on the other side” kind of girl, I switched to photography, without looking back. Since then I feel as if I can feel my blood for the first time, and am mighty proud of all the wild green grass growing on my side of the fence.


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We are featuring your fashion photography series titled Ugly Duckling. What was your inspiration for this series? Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major is intended to accompany these photographs. Canon in D Major is my favorite song, a personal failproof go-to song to brighten up my day. The song goes through a melodic journey, from highs to lows, playful to serious, in love to broken hearted, emulating the story and emotions of the Ugly Duckling – a lonely bird, lost in a desolate land, unaware of its emerging changes and striking beauty. 003

What are your future aspirations as a fashion photographer? Wow, what a big question. I have so many! But for starters and to keep this directly on topic, I would love to be an established freelance photographer, with the creative freedom to art direct my own productions and the financing to really make my vision a reality. It’s not easy trying to create a portrayal of the magical land that appears in my head. I try to formulate an idyllic


fantasy world filled with pastel colors, fairies, goblins, lush fields, dark and foggy caves and scary monsters, enhancing the magical of ‘magical realism’. Some would say I often carry too many eggs for my basket, so I am on the hunt for a set/prop designer, hopefully with a creative click that could last a lifetime. 004

Would you mind sharing a fun fact about yourself that you wouldn’t mind our readers knowing? I have a pet pig named Francis Bacon who lives with me in my family home in Los Angeles and thinks she’s a dog. 005

Favorite drink? Fresh warm milk before bedtime, with a drop of vanilla.

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photography /

screen series The photography work of

matthew tischler GRANTS and AWARDS : 2006 – Honorable Mention, International Photography Awards 2003 – Finalist for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Project 2001 – Van Lier Film Production Grant, Film/Video Arts

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Q&A with

matthew tischler -Matthew Tischler, screen series June 2011 Vhcle Magazine Issue 6, pp96-121


Can you tell us a little more about yourself that we didn’t get in your bio? I am an actor and performer as well as a visual artist. The last play I appeared in was “America Hurrah” & “The Mother’s Return” at LaMama in New York City. I believe that visual arts and performing arts absolutely inform one another. It is always helpful to switch gears creatively. Hopefully that keeps the well of inspiration flowing! 002

In your artist statement, you explain a little about your Screen Series – what was the inspiration for this particular series? I wanted to create a visual style that was both nostalgic and modern. There is a sense of wistful melancholia and longing associated with the hazy screens – as if one was looking out a window and daydreaming. But there is also the suggestion of a visual language of structure and code that the imposed grid suggests. I am interested in how we psychologically


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experience a natural landscape viewed through a window vs. a digital environment viewed through a computer screen. The Screen Series is meant to feel both artificial and natural. The simplicity of using a window screen to create a dramatic effect was very liberating for me. 003

When shooting for a project, in general, what’s about the percentage of photos you acutally use? This varies with every project. However, I love the process of taking pictures and being behind the camera. It is when I feel most focused and therefore I tend to get caught up shooting. I prefer to take a lot of pictures and have options. Sometimes it really is about stumbling onto a perfect moment. 004

What are you most inspired by? Inspiration is usually something that takes you by surprise and can come in many different forms. I never know what is going to inspire me; it just happens. I guess it all depends on your mood and state of mind and how outside forces affect you. 004

Favorite drink? I am a fan of Cabin Still. It is a Kentucky bourbon made by Heaven Hill Distilleries. I am not affiliated with them so this isn’t a plug. Just sharing my appreciation of it.


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vhcle magazine / www.vhcle.com

vhcle Issue 07 / FALL September 2011

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