Monday, August 31, 2009

A crowd shot from Paul van Dyk's show in Central Park on Saturday night.

Crowd shot of the Paul van Dyk show in Central Park Saturday night.

Paul van Dyk performing in Central Park on Saturday night.

Artsy shot of the Paul van Dyk show in Central Park on Saturday night. Sleepy now. Apologies, dear Tumbas, for not posting all week. Very busy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gong! What are you doing with a Yankees cap on television?!?

Every once in a while (or alll the time), you are reminded that you have absolutely amazing friends all over the globe. This time, I am excited to inform you that my wonderful friend, Pakawat 'Gong' Suphanakhan, was Anthony Bourdain's tour guide on "No Reservations" during the traveler's most recent excursion to Thailand.

My love for Bourdain is no secret, but my love for Gong is a horse of a different color - partially having to do with the ability of his palette to handle some of the most mouth-scorching, tear-duct-destroying flavors on Earth.

I met Gong while on set in the Philippines back in 2007 and though we worked on many projects together, my most delightful memory with Gong is from my month in Bangkok when he rescued me from the evil mosquitoes on our ship. Gong showed me everything from his gorgeous home to the culinary delicacies of the Bangkok streets - fried grasshoppers and frogs included.

So don't let Bourdain steal the thunder of this episode, even if he is everything I want in a travel buddy (a no-bullshit eater/writer who always wants a new perspective? Si). Gong's engaging personality and his 34-million-baht smile is the perfect complement to the host's style of dialogue. Not only that, but Gong co-created, co-owns and runs Greenlight Films, one of the biggest production companies in Thailand. His company shoots anything from commercials to documentaries to feature films. His productions are truly great, no matter the task.

In any case, watching an old friend guide Bourdain through the same streets he took me, I couldn't help but miss Gong and Thailand a little bit. Not only did I know those places, but Bourdain was now going to guide millions of viewers through Gong's tour. How cool is that?

Please catch Gong's episode, "No Reservations: Thailand", next on 8/24 at 11 a.m. - if for no other reason than to learn a little bit more about Thailand, and quite literally, the Thailand I got to know. If you can't catch it on the Travel Channel, please follow the links to the episode parts below.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Missing Scene: Street Food!

Photo: (L-R) Bourdain cameraman, Zach Zamboni with Gong Suphanakhan. This is how we had to shoot/film through the jungles of the Philippines too! Driver up front and cameraperson (Kaloy/me) sitting backwards and shooting. How I love/miss Asia.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two things to preface:

1) I'm not quite sure how I feel about marriage. Ideas of love and trust say yes, experience says *cue headshake and an "Are you ____ kidding me?" brow furrow*

2) I never had quite the driving force I do now about said concept, but that being noted, I've never even come close to being in a relationship that would warrant such talks. Regardless of how long I've kept this under my hat, it seems that TIME has beat me to the punch. Haha and no, that was not intended as a play on words.

Back in July, TIME Magazine's cover story read, "Unfaithfully Yours: Infidelity is eroding our most sacred institution. How to make marriage matter again." Cover art? A white wedding cake with the bride and groom figurines sinking into the decorated confection under the iconic TIME flag written in ... pink?? Ughhhh.

Flipping to the center of the publication, you were slammed in the face with a giant full-page engagement ring (partial band, prong-setting and stone re-photographed by yours truly above), the text reading, "Why Marriage Matters: Buffeted by affairs and ennui, the intact two-parent family is under assault. What America needs to get over its commitment issues. (Hint: it isn't love)"

While the article went on to be dully written with no intention whatsoever to expand/answer the title questions (while pointing out the affairs of various politicians), I got to thinking. The valid point that the author did end up making was that if traditional marriage disappears, so do traditional families ---> so do traditional values ---> so do traditional societies.

Ok, maybe that's a bit drastic, but it's food for thought.

As mentioned previously, at the old age of 23, I am still uncertain of my thoughts on it, but when your friends around you start saying the "E" word and the "M" word, I can't help but try to understand each individual perspective of what being married means to them. Is it a symbol? A fairytale? A goal? A terrible idea? All of the above?

I'm not here to answer these questions either, but my most recent case-study, has less to do with the act of tying these knots, than the road to leading up to "the plunge". Well that and in accordance with the article, proof that we're not helping this idiotic cultural (generational??) "commitment" issue. Scenario: Ted and Jody* have been dating since freshmen year of college. Ted is a brillant, adorable, hilarious dude and Jody is a beautiful, smart, funny girl. For the first three years, different hometowns make summers hard, but the two always manage to have love for one another prevail in the end. Next. Ted ends up cheating on Jody their last year of college. However, realizing that Jody is the one that he wants, the one he wants to "M" word, he apologizes and Jody forgives him. Resume dating.

College ends. Jobs take Ted and Jody to different places. Far, but doable far. Things are good, visits are infrequent, but they happen. As it turns out, Ted can't, for the life of him, keep it in his pants. So why not break up with Jody? Simple, because he wants to "M" word her, this he knows (What?!?! Ew.). He also knows that Jody loves him, regardless of all the toolish, I mean foolish, things he might do.

Tom-foolery. Tom-foolery, I say. Ok, ok, so he's a guy with the inherent stupid gene running ever rampant. Good excuse, no, but valid? If you really love the dude regardless of how he feels about you "at the moment", for the first 10 times, sure. Valid. (Dear Feminists, This is just an opinion, Love, Alli.)

My 4th most basic question (after, "Who do you think you are?," "Why would you do this to her?" and "Have you no brain, heart, courage?**) to this sporadically lovable gentleman, of course, is WHERE ARE YOUR FRIENDS?? The friends who are supposed to say, "You idiot. She's the best thing that has ever happened to you and you're jeopardizing it with this girl that you think is 'fun'? Jody is wonderful and you're a dick! She deserves someone, something so much better than this, but she loves you and you know it. And it's sad, but the problem here is that you know it. You know that she would do anything for you no matter how much of a cowardly, selfish piece of shit you are being.*** Etc., etc., etc."

Where are these friends who are supposed to kick Ted on his ass and remind him that he's a way better person than his behavior might show? The friends who make him remember that he DOES love her and it's about time he proves/shows it to her? Forget Ted's balls for a minute, but where are their balls?

Maybe the center of what's important in a friendship has changed, I don't know. It seems though that in certain circles of friends, as long as the bodies together in the same room are having a good time, who cares about any part of the equation who's not present and accounted for.

And folks as I'm sure many of you know, this story is nothing new. The dude who wants what he wants when he wants it. It's so unoriginal that when these guys think they are doing something special and independent, it's almost laughable. Because the truth of the matter is that it's way more difficult to love someone than it is to be on your own. That's the basis of why TIME Magazine has to write these silly articles. Because it's hard to chart your direction and destination with someone else's map. With that difficulty though, you always are creating, growing, building over time, a strong, layered relationship so unique to two people that it's the one thing you could never do alone - and that takes guts.

Why is that notion not awesome**** to these people?

Anyway, TIME put on paper an idea that I've been nursing for a very long time now. While it didn't exactly go in an enlightening direction, it got me to putting some of my own surface thoughts in cyberspace. Why does my opinion matter, you may ask? Well, it doesn't really, but I knew this was going to be a lengthy piece and I just got a new keyboard iSkin and my unbelieveably tactile self just wants to keep pushing keys. So there you have it.

*Names may have been changed to protect both the innocent and not-so-innocent.

**Have you never seen The Wizard of Oz? Duh, Dorothy needed all of those to realize that she had what she wanted the WHOLE TIME.

***Note: not "you are"/ I hope you liked my imaginary guy-to-guy monologue, haaaha.

****Awe: an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sumblime, or extremely powerful.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Edith Shain, 90, in Times Square on Friday speaking about her iconic role in history as the nurse pulled aside by a celebrating sailor and kissed in Times Square on August 14th, 1945, the day of the Japanese surrender. You know the image - in fact, I blogged about it during Fleet Week! And as many of you have experienced, my obsession with her generation, this part of history and this perfect photo runs far deeper than even my obsession with Cole Haan's finest pebbled leather anything.

What's even cooler about bringing Edith back to Times Square is that it was sponsored by an organization called Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive which is dedicated to collecting stories of the end of the World War II and the effort it took to rebuild the globe. This non-profit celebrates the greatest generation and hopes to inspire and encourage younger generations to embody the same valor, commitment, ethics and service it took to reconstruct the world.

I love it, love it, love it. Take a lesson, kids and go through the four stories showcased on the site currently. Maybe you'll learn something.

What a celebrity! :)

Edith Shain, 90, remembering the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945 in Times Square last Friday. Mr. Tony Curtis (pllleeeease tell me you know who that is) was supposed to re-enact the famous kiss scene, but was unfortunately hospitalized the night prior to the event.

(I was very, very sad.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hip-hop legend, Rakim performing at the Highline Ballroom last Thursday night. Crazzzy crowd.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Event poster for the unveiling of a special exhibition of Woodstock photographs - some never before seen - at the the Morrison Hotel Gallery's Bowery location on August 13, 2009 in NYC.

As always, MHG threw an absolutely delightful party full of photographs, story-telling, new faces and old.

Three legends. (L-R) John Sebastian, Michael Lang and Henry Diltz.

Tidbits about these three delightful humans for those of you who do not fall into the category of rock-history nerd:

John Sebastian: Songwriter, musician. John's popular 60s group, the Lovin' Spoonful ("Do You Believe in Magic?") was only part of his contribution to pop culture. He's written music for films and television, working with Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen. Having played iconic festivals like Woodstock and the Isle of Wight in Europe, John was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Michael Lang: Promoter, producer. Most noted for co-creating and producing Woodstock, Michael produced some of the largest music festivals to date (see below). Also, he was the owner/producer of Just Sunshine Records who put out albums for Billy Joel, Betty Davis, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Karen Dalton, Blue Cheer and Copperhead.

1968: Miami Pop Festival / 1969: Woodstock / 1994: Woodstock / 1999: Woodstock / 2005: Amersterjam (Randall's Island, NYC)

Henry Diltz: Photographer, musician. Official photographer at Woodstock and the Monterey and Miami Music Festivals. Henry has photographed over eighty record album covers and (most importantly) is the co-founder of the Morrison Hotel Gallery.

Fun Fact: Henry played on a few recording sessions with the Monkees!

What wonderful company for a Thursday night at the Morrison Hotel Gallery.

Official Woodstock photographer Henry Diltz signs a copy of "The Woodstock Experience" at the Morrison Hotel Gallery's Bowery location (the BEST one) in NYC on Thursday evening.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Matthew Morrison of FOX's new musical comedy series "Glee" performs for an umbrella-laden crowd at Broadway in Bryant Park on Thursday. For those of you unfamiliar, the New York Public Library's west facade stands in the background.

John Stamos took a break from rehearsing "Bye Bye Birdie" to come down to Broadway in the Park to make unfulfilled "Full House" dreams come true and to say a few delightful words about the (re)new musical to open in the fall.

Uncle Jesse, I mean, John Stamos promoting "Bye Bye Birdie" in the rain at Broadway in Bryant Park yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Since the visual peril of clouds and thunderstorms canceled our 1:18 a.m. train ride out to Spring Lake to catch the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, two of Tommy's gorgeous shots from his perch north of L.A. early this morning will have to suffice.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Christina Decicco of "The Marvelous Wonderettes" performs at the 2009 Broadway in Bryant Park concert series last Thursday.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

All Points West load-out.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Last Coldplay photo, I promise, but truth be told, I'm quite fond of this shot for how it came to be. Explanation? If you've never seen Coldplay live, you wouldn't know that they MOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE. We're talkin' a main stage, a B stage (downstage left) and C stage (frickin' out past the soundboards... whose idea was that??).

This is all well and good for show purposes, but for a humble photog, it can be quite the pain in the butt... ooorrr super fun. Granted, I had already talked to Coldplay's crew to see where they'd be moving and when, but in true Alli fashion, by the time I got up to the bleachers to shoot the wides, I already lost count of the songs. Good forsight kid, poor follow through - usually a notion I'm only familiar with in my personal life. Nice work.

So. I see the stage lights go dark. Crap. Crap. Crap. They're on the move to C.

Well, my sprint to get over there was literally through mud/crap/swamp that came up to my shins. When I say "sprint", I mean attempting to move my feet as fast as the Okefenokee would release them, which, was by no means a textbook definition of sprint. That being said, on this voyage to Coldplay, Stage C, I could do nothing but laugh. What was I going to do? Curse the skies for opening and dumping the Atlantic on us for three days? Nope. This was like the Oregon Trail of concert photography. My bag was covered in mud, I was covered in mud and I was cradling my camera like a mother and child under "Native American" fire. Thank God all of my oxes were already dead or I really would have been S.O.L.

End result? A lot of silly "WTF?/how in God's name am I going to get this shot?/what do I do if NJ eats me?" laughter, seeing an acoustic "Billie Jean" and shooting a not-so-shabby shot of one of the biggest bands in the world. I giggled and shook my head through the entire song as I kept sinking lower and lower into New Jersey.

I love photos. I love music. I love mud.

I do not love New Jersey.

I think some people are having a good time. I could be wrong though.

Coldplay/Sunday/All Points West

Thursday, August 06, 2009

For as much crap as I've given Coldplay through the years, when it comes down to it, these guys can really put on a show. Not only can they put on a show, but they're some smart dudes too.

Another example of a artist/band being larger than life. Lower left, Chris Martin in the flesh - to the right, Chris Martin broadcast on a Daktronics PST-12HD panel, one of the highest-res LED screens in the world.

Big difference, eh?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

Photo: Crowd at All Points West during Coldplay's performance of "Yellow"

I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called yellow.

Photo: Coldplay performing "Yellow" at All Points West

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Chris Martin of Coldplay on Sunday at the All Points West Music and Arts Festival.

Coldplay photo/mud pit. We are all still cleaning New Jersey out of our toes.

"I don't care what you dooo, I don't want to be a mud hippie like yoouuuuu..."

Kid, your ma is gonna kill you.

And furthermore, why the hell didn't we invite Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day to this gig?

Photo: Kid (napping? cloud-gazing? mud-angeling? dying?) in toxic NJ's version of Woodstock '94/post-monsoon Vietnam.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The crowd beginning to fill in before Coldplay at the All Points West Music and Arts Festival on Sunday. Take a gander at that luscious mud hole house right.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Downtown Manhattan's skyline from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ.