Friday, April 30, 2010

I love this quote. I love it when I'm happy, I love it when I'm sad. I love it when I have so much anger, I don't know where to channel it. I read this and I remember. No matter how things are going, I know that I can make alterations, improvements. I know that there is art to be created amidst mounds of infinite thought. I know that when I don't understand, I will understand most of it in time.

Separate real from reality. What a gorgeous concept. The "is" vs. the "could be"- with a little talent and a lot of heart. Remember, there is a difference, a very important difference. Things you can control and things you cannot.

I really need to copy the original and get it framed. Today is a good day.

Photo of print courtesy Melissa Franko.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marche has some years on me, but I'll get there someday...

Yes, Esquire, yes.

Now it's my turn. Let's talk women.

While society constantly critiques what the modern man has become, why doesn't anyone have a problem with the modern woman? In fact, we do nothing but glorify the modern woman for her adaptation of traditionally masculine roles and her rejection of traditionally female roles.

How the fuck does that make sense? I mean, if for nothing else for the sake of efficiency. You do this? Great. I do this? Great. You can't both be hunters, because someone needs to gather!

Don't get me wrong, both of my chosen professions (for those new to the blog, concert production and entertainment photography) are incredibly male dominated, I'd say 90 to 1, so that is not at all my frustration. I'm not saying women shouldn't be able to do these things, but what I am saying is that they should be doing whatever they choose to pursue professionally as well as learning the necessary skills to run a lovely home. I don't care how you feel about marriage, about having a family or about living alone with nothing but your staunch feminism to cuddle with, but I do know that you don't want to be ordering in and living in a hole the rest of your life. Learning and appreciating skills of the home are necessary to your personal well-being, ladies. Man or no man. This isn't about cooking for him or cleaning for him, it's about being a skilled human.

So I look around me and what do I see? A bunch of giggling ex-sorority girls in halter tops in the middle of winter. They can't cook, they can't clean, they can't stop giggling, but damn are they good at studying! Trouble is, they aren't in college anymore and well, that isn't really a lucrative skill post-institutional education ye - ohhhhh thhaaaaattt's whhhhy you went to grad school....

But all of that nonsense is ok! Because you are a doctor! Because you are a lawyer! Because you are a consultant, gosh darn it! Because you, wonderful you, are a working woman. You go girl! You are no longer just confined to a future in homemaking, but you, yes, again! you! are making your own money and filing your own tax return (maybe).

And that apparently is something to celebrate? That you can pat yourself on the back because you are showing the world that you can roar just as loud as the next, but then still act in all other realms like you are still in college? I get it, oh I get it. It's less embarrassing to pretend you never graduated than to dry your sad tears every night at the thought of the real world. That, or it's a lot easier than leaving your comfort zone and LEARNING ABOUT THE WORLD.

Really, it makes me sad, but you know what? Good riddance to the modern woman who lives off mommy and daddy. Good riddance to the modern woman who traveled abroad for a semester college and now knows the world. Good riddance to the modern woman who feels she needs to fight roles of domesticity, because she either doesn't know any better, or mommy told her to. Good riddance to the modern woman who went to law school because daddy told her to. Good riddance to the modern woman who went to grad school because she had no other aspirations to pursue. Good riddance to the modern woman who went to either, solely because mommy and daddy will pay for it. Good riddance to the modern woman who cheats on boyfriends, because it is empowering. Good riddance to the modern woman that wants to have sex like a man. Good riddance to the modern woman who is confused at the slightest notion of love and loyalty. Good riddance to the modern woman who has never been on her own.

Gooood riddance!!

Ladies, in being a modern woman, balance is of the utmost importance. You can do anything you want, but in ignoring responsibility, it makes you just as much at fault as the modern man who is driving you mad. Let me tell you, it takes a woman, in the most basic sense of the word, to love that man just as much as you love being entirely independent.

And riddle me this, gentlemen, if and when you decide to settle down, do you want a girl who can't stand in the kitchen and cook with you? Who doesn't want to ruin her nails pulling weeds as you mow the lawn? Who hasn't the first clue how to run the dishwasher, let alone efficiently hand-wash dishes? Who won't squirt you back with the hose when she's watering the flowers and you are washing the car?

No! You don't!

So now, my favorite and final question... can your girlfriend run your backline?

Haha, don't worry, I didn't think she could either, dude - but you can dream, right?

Disclaimer: This entry is not intended to suggest that a modern man should not be cooking and cleaning. Just trying to focus on one gender, so we don't have a novel here. Yes, gentlemen, if you don't already know how, you should learn to cook/clean/be professional alllll at once too.

And I was going to make an analogy between relationships with people and relationships with the iPhone about reliability and functionality, but I creeped myself out before I could finish it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear God, Thank You, Esquire.

No photos for today, but hey - being out and about 'til 5 a.m. sometimes prevents such things. In lieu of my own writing, I present to you one of my favorite writers at Esquire, Mr. Stephen Marche. Most of you know that I have a deep respect and appreciation for Esquire and, of course, Mr. Marche generally has something to do with it. After reading this article, I just wanted to find him and say thank you. Maybe even cook him dinner and clean his house.

Twenty-first century men with money might just be the luckiest group in the history of the world, but a casual glance across pop culture (from Glenn Beck crying to, especially this week, John Mayer moaning) would give the impression that they're an oppressed underclass, barely able to find enough to eat. Everywhere you look, sheep are begging and baaing for your empathy and, if you can spare it, your sympathy, but a closer look reveals rough fur and claws under all that sheep's clothing. These self-styled wimps, the ostentatiously meek, are inheriting the earth, with vulnerability becoming the definitive, and most profitable, affectation of our time.

How long can this massive, finely wrought bluff continue to stand? This spring, the film version of the publishing sensation Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes out — more than twenty-seven million copies of the book series are in print — and its basic premise is this: "Being a kid can really stink." I'm going to go way out on a limb here and say that being a kid is actually terrific. I, for one, loved it. Hide-and-seek is a seriously underrated game. The Fruit Roll-Ups alone are worth the price of admission. At any rate, the promoters of the book are wrong to describe the wimpy kid as an "unlikely hero."

Robert Pattinson and Michael Cera have become the foremost leading men of their generation by becoming, respectively, the serious and comic aspects of the same projection of weakness. Pattinson's face, geisha pale, reminds me of an elaborate piece of modernist pottery. Between performances as the feyest vampire of all time, he's now starring in Remember Me, tortured-rebel claptrap of the most treacly variety. "I'm undecided," his character says at one point. "About what?" his beloved asks. "Everything." Sigh. Cera, the kind of actor who plays the same nonthreatening character in every movie, can soon be seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a nerd-meets-girl comedy based on a graphic-novel series whose first volume is Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. I hope Cera has insurance on his shoulders, which look like a pair of upturned newborns' bottoms. They're the key to his appeal, the weedy equivalent of J.Lo's ass. He epitomizes a new kind of flamboyance: If you don't have it, flaunt it.

Rock 'n' roll, meanwhile, which began as a defiant howl of youth's irrepressibility, has devolved into ever quieter, ever more solemn dirges. There has always been a niche of emo sensitivibots in the music scene, but now they have taken over the factory. And I don't just mean John Mayer, who uses passive-aggressive moans to bed women way out of his league. (Sample lyric: "Excuse me, Mrs. Busybody / Could you pencil me in when you can?") Or even Coldplay, the worst band ever to be the world's biggest, who come off as feeble as they are boring. The best and most original musicians, like Grizzly Bear or Vampire Weekend, require wanness as a cover for their brilliant musical experimentations. If the Beatles wanted to hold your hand and the Rolling Stones wanted to burn your town, today's rock stars want to suck your thumb.

Writers, too, have never been more desperate to paint themselves as weaklings and victims. Every memoir is now suspect. Writers will claim to have gone to jail when they're upstanding citizens. They'll claim to be drunks when they're clean. They'll cry rape. They crave debasement in order that they may be more exalted. And that's just the nonfiction. The thirty-something generation of American novelists has replaced Hemingway's hypermasculinity — writing like it passed the time between rhinoceros shooting and threesomes with Italian whores — with poses of rapt loss. Jonathan Safran Foer tries his hardest to write like a precocious twelve-year-old girl. He takes breaks from his neutered novels to write defenses of vegetarianism. Dave Eggers pursues the most direct course, though: He just assumes the voice of victims — a Sudanese genocide survivor and an Arab immigrant caught in Katrina-addled New Orleans — and writes their stories as if he were them. His first screenplay was genuinely original in the purity of its ascetic violence, but he kind of pulled back the curtain on his own motivation: Art is his means of demonstrating contempt for the world and his moral and intellectual superiority to everyone in it.

Everybody understands, even those who won't admit it, the basic psychological mechanism at work in the world today: By negating your power, you serve only to deepen it; restraint is a surreptitious, more intense expression of the will to power. "The slave revolt in morals begins by rancor turning creative," Nietzsche writes in The Genealogy of Morals, but what he failed to predict was that the slave revolt in morals would actually lead to people pretending to be slaves. The luxuries of feigned weakness are many: muddying the waters of responsibility, permitting intellectual and moral laziness, excusing failure with a powerless shrug.

Whiny rich men reach like the roots of a tree through the privilege of their own experience for ever deeper sources of resentment. Glenn Beck is the political avatar of this aggressive ersatz vulnerability: He weeps like a baby to promote the destruction of his (or, if you believe him, America's) enemies. Weakness sells, which is why I can't really blame the fake-hurt men — they're just hustling. I blame us for being suckered by all this mewing and for basking so cozily in the warm glow of virtue by association. It's our fault that self-pity prospers where gratitude never would. As for these men, they won't admit their own prosperity, lest it require they give of themselves. They won't admit their own health, the beauty of the world, and their luck to be alive in it. They won't give life itself the satisfaction.

Adapted from a column to be published in the April 2010 issue of Esquire

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mo'Nique headlining her "Spread the Love" tour at the theater in Madison Square Garden on April 24th.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Comedian Rodney Perry performs in support of Mo'Nique's "Spread the Love" tour at the theater in Madison Square Garden on April 24th.

Comedian Rodney Perry performs his (hilarious!) R. Kelly "Real Talk" skit in support of Mo'Nique's "Spread the Love" tour at the theater in Madison Square Garden on April 24th.

Comedian Rodney Perry performs in support of Mo'Nique's "Spread the Love" tour at the theater in Madison Square Garden on April 24th.

Technical side note: This is the effect you get with a high f-stop, a basic show truss and two spot lights. The image was not photoshopped for design - only slightly toned and re-sized for web. Awesome, right?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comedian Tone-X performs in support of Mo'Nique's "Spread the Love" tour at the theater in Madison Square Garden on April 24th.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sky and skyline. Perspective from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Unfortunately, blog format doesn't really do this shot justice, as you can't see either the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building.

Naturally, no downtown Manhattan walkabout is complete without this little gem of engineering and history.

The Brooklyn Bridge, of course.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Entryway ceiling in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

Architect: Cass Gilbert (also designed the Woolworth Building*)
Built: 1902-1907

Current use: National Museum of the American Indian/Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York

Anyone else find that combination strange?

*World's tallest building from 1913-1930. Ranks 186th today.

Lady Liberty seen in the distance from Battery Park, my favorite Spring/Summer reading spot. While this visit to the Battery had very little to do with reading, it had plenty to do with thinking.

Tim met me downtown at Castle Clinton on Tuesday to do what we do best: observe, think, discuss, learn... repeat. As if that wasn't lovely enough, the norm has vastly improved. Why, you ask? Two reasons in this case: 1) Because our trio has now become a quartet with the very welcomed addition of his Nikon and 2) because we had a bit of a game to play.

This game involved collecting facts about certain Manhattan landmarks and designing riddles. I can't say what it is that was created because that would spoil the fun for others, but I will say that I've never smiled so much on a Tuesday morning stroll through what is more or less, my neighborhood. What can I say, I'm a nerd and these are things that I like.

Over the entire four hours, we didn't cross north of Canal Street, stopping only once in Chinatown for lunch. Nothing like cold roast duck and dumplings in-restaurant and a bag of mangoes for five bucks or a bag of grapes for $1.50 from a fruit stand on-sidewalk, digging into your nondescript bag for dessert as you skip home.

Just as you would a person, you can treat a city right or you can treat it wrong. Choose the latter and you will never understand it. Choose the former and it will be good to you.

And man, this city sure is good to us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mr. Joe Ayoub.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Leslie Jordan and Lily Tomlin hanging out, post-premiere of Leslie's newest Broadway endeavor, at Trump Towers in New York on April 19th.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tyler Hilton, Canal Room, 4/15/10.

Tyler Hilton, Canal Room, 4/15/10.

Tyler Hilton, Canal Room, 4/15/10.

Tyler Hilton, Canal Room, 4/15/10.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I lied. No more Australia shots until I go buy a new camera cable - which could be never... or at least until my next dive trip. The XD card has won.

So because we were in the spirit of evening gallivants, I'll just toss up another night's walk. Headlights hitting a pretty interesting wall. Katherine Hepburn, the Boss and some graffiti.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ok. Well... I still can't get the rest of those photographs off this stupid XD card. Tomorrow, tomorrow. SO I will fill you in on yesterday's shoot. Test shoot, sans stylist, MUA and hair stylist with Edward Le Poulin. Amazing.

By sans I mean... SANS. This look is akin to the one with Nick Parisse last Spring - no brush and no make-up, albeit foundation and a slight bronze on cheeks. I love these kind of shoots for a few reasons, but mostly because they are free from any unnatural or enhanced alterations aside from the photographer's choice of studio light. And playing with light is awesome.

Part of the reason I posted these photos is to show you what a skilled photographer can do with a natural subject and an understanding of light, even if the scheme is minimal. When you see the alteration with make-up, you'll see what I mean. I will tell you right now, it would be unfair to only show the final product.

Without make-up, I look mean. Or like I really hate something, but have to be apathetic. Haha, I actually can hear my mom saying, "Al, you look mean. Why doesn't anyone ever photograph you smiling?"

With make-up, you get a completely different feel.

Anywho, super duper excited to head into the real shoot in the near future, but until then, you'll get more Australia tomorrow. Guaranteed.

Light source: one speedlight.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Problem Solving. Aussie style.

We are back to the slow season in the photo world here in New York, so I will be calling upon Australia to help me fill the space.

The above photo is Andy (friend/guide/dive-boat chef) explaining to me at Cape Tribulation why we can't go back to the beach with the bouncing rocks. Not really, but I was probably equally as concerned about that as I was with whatever we were actually trying to figure out.

Bouncing rocks. For real.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday, Friday, Friday.

Last night was gorgeous. Hanging out in the West Village, we all decided to call it a night around 12:30. Early evening, if you ask me. Most of those kids live over in those parts, so I was the only one with a glorious long walk ahead of me.

What? Were all the cabs in New York broken? Were the MTA workers on strike?

No. I'm just bananas.

Bananas and in all of my glory. I had my baby with me, I had my music with me, there were happy people with margaritas and ice cream cones everywhere, what more could I ask for?

For Madonna's "Cherish" to come on my iPod about 15 minutes into my walk. That's what. My favorite "sing and dance your little heart down the streets of New York" song. And sing and dance I did. There are plenty of loonies in New York, that no one even bothers to turn their head when someone beebops down the street in his/her own little world. No one of whom I was aware at least.

But I guess that's standard too.

Photo: Mural on Houston and Bowery. Taken on another evening's late-night walk home, but fitting for this entry nonetheless.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2010 fashion show held at the USS Intrepid Air-Space-Sea Museum on March 22nd in NYC.

Yeah. The USS Intrepid is an Essex-class aircraft carrier which served in WWII, Vietnam and the Cold War. Built in 1941, she's been used for everything from submarine surveillance to a NASA recovery vessel.

Awesome history. Amazing venue.

Bottom photo courtesy of

Jeffrey Fashion Cares 2010 event held at the USS Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on March 22nd in NYC.

Way, way cool.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A piece from "The Dream Shop" by Lies Maculan. Running through March 31st, the life-size pop-art installation opened on March 11th in Chelsea.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Jo Dee Messina's intimate residency at Feinstein's from March 17th to March 21st in NYC.

Monday, April 05, 2010

There is something outrageously invigorating about flying west as the sun is setting. Something about traveling with the same sunset for hours upon hours with unobtrusive color change. Something so natural and so beautiful just makes you wonder how it's even possible to be a jerk, to be unforgiving, to take things for granted. On that plane, you have reversed time - a continued ending that remains just as beautiful as the hour before. As it minutely descends with every hour, the colors get deeper and deeper, your gaze more intent, questioning if there really ever will be an end or not. But it doesn't really matter, you're too captivated to care. If it does draw to a close, the plane eventually stops and the standard and equal exchange of darkness to light takes half the time it took to change light into darkness.

Time travel is beautiful. Fly more. Write more.

Why, why, why, why can't New York do this?


If you've been reading this blog for at least the last minute and a half, you may have picked up on the fact that I am a photographer and I have a photo blog. On the internet. Photos. Many.


I must tell you this. My name is Alli and I hate excessive and overwhelmingly empty online photo albums. If you have two or sixty, I have one question (well, one appropriate question) for you. Why do you insist on posting photographs that a) are not in focus b) are repeats (with a wee hint of a different smile or alternate angle on your neighbor's daffodils) c) HAVE NOTHING IN THEM.

Do I hear the "hypocrite!" cry coming from the peanut gallery? Correct, I have photos online and yes, I have a lot. Hundreds per year. However, I shoot close to everyday. Sometimes, God help me, feeding myself and paying rent via what I post. But rather than waste anymore of your time, let's look at what's important here. Maybe you, you with your little Canon SD1300 snapping away at the bar, could grow into a moderately skilled amateur photographer, but no one! would ever! know! because! 44! out of! 50! photos! are! useless! Take out the aforementioned a, b, and c and maybe you are left with something that doesn't make you look like a snap-happy narcissist. Whatever, I know that blown-out, "soft focus" photo visually erased what you think is the beginning of a single crow toe, but get rid of it! Another flower from your recent visit to Georgia? If you think people need to see it for the 17th time, pardon my Tagalog, but fuckin' frame it.

I say this now only because I look at this photograph and say, "Ok, what is this photo?"

Matter-of-factly, it's the "View from our hotel balcony." Lame, lame, lame. Whooooo cares what the view from our hotel looked like aside from the two of us and my mom? And at that, my mom is only really interested if there's some kind of tale to accompany said photo.

"Ok, you photo elitist," you may say, "then why are you posting this if you have nothing to say?"

Well, darlings, because I do. It's just not in the photo. My bed, which was just inside those French doors, is my main interest in this shot. What's so great about a bed to a girl that finds sleep to be optional*? Well, it was nothing less than a delightful Murphy Bed and I did have to do some sleuth work to find it. If you know me, you know that some hidden furniture/Easter basket/presents and a little Nancy-Drew-ing go a long way A tip? Spot a room with a private full-bath and a large, mediocre painting done by an unknown artist on one wall and you may have yourself a Murphy Bed. What can I say? Malibu beach houses taught me well...

I know that it's weird that I could write just as much about the bed as I can the view, but... Murphy Beds are awesome. So again, I ask, "What is your photo?" and "What is this photo?" This photo is the grand possibility of one human to be sitting on a Murphy Bed in Paris, looking toward a different world...

Never exploit what it means to be in that kind of a moment.

I triple-dog-dare you to go edit your albums.

*Note to the wise? If you ever want to get me to sleep find me a Murphy Bed - or make (by make, I mean just ask) me do 1,000 cartwheels.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Escargot. Snails. Yes, yes, you may be a tad bit overwhelmed by the unknown utensils they bring you or perhaps by the slimy, yet tender pieces of meat you are about to pull from their homes and devour like the carnivore you are, but fear not, friends. I am your humble servant ready and willing to teach you everything you will ever need to know about escargot.

First and foremost, snails can be either farmed or captured (I like to say captured... brings about a hilarious mental image a la Chef Louis and Sebastian the crab) in the wild. Those that are farmed are often fed fresh greens, dried foods and the occasional herb for enhanced flavor. All snails must go through a week-long fasting period prior to cleansing the intestines. Like deveining fresh shrimp, cleaning out the snail gets rid of bacteria and other impurities that change texture and alter flavor of the dish. Depending on what the snail has eaten, the contents of the intestines can be toxic, thus unsafe for human consumption.

Now let's get to the good stuff. These little guys are usually simply prepared with plenty of garlic and plenty of butter. The snails are removed from their shells, cooked in the sauce du jour and placed back into their shells for presentation. As you can imagine, the hard part here is making sure you have clean, quality snails on your hands and a simple, delightful sauce to accompany it. Well, that and making sure that your final product doesn't resemble a small piece of rubber.

If you take a look above, you can see that my dish was a slightly different take on tradition, adding fresh basil to the standard garlic/butter mix. With such a heavy basil aroma and flavor, the sauce was much closer to a pesto (sans the nuts and olive oil - uh, I guess that doesn't make it a pesto - you catch my drift) than a butter sauce. How was it, you ask? Let me tell you. Goodness gracious, oh-so-delectable-please-sir-may-I-have-some-more.

Okay, so maybe this wasn't everything you needed to know about snails, but it certainly starts you off on the right foot. If you are ever in the mood for snails and are afraid to trot down the path alone, I certainly will be more than willing to hold your hand and maybe even your tongs for you. It's the least that I could do.

Note: not all snails are edible. Please do not go to your garden, round up some escargot and plop them in a pot.

No one else is probably as amused by this as I am.

The most delicious French onion soup on the planet, accompanied by a lovely glass of Champagne. Really, we may as well have just went to Champagne for all the Champagne that we consumed. At least two glasses of bubbly in attendance at every meal.

Very decadent we were. Decadent? Or necessary.

Candy Candy Candy Candy.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Enough of this damn tower already!!

Just kidding.

It was my first time in Paris. Cut me a break.


Sometimes it's kinda nice to explore unknown territory with another person. As I've mentioned many times before, there are certain advantages/disadvantages to each situation and I do generally prefer to be solo at least the first few times around. But, you know, sometimes your eye misses a perspective you wouldn't have otherwise seen if not for your companion. What a lovely natural frame. A thank you to Brad is absolutely in order.