January 28, 2010

Lyin' Cheatin' Bastard

I'm so sorry, Vans. I know, blasphemy, right? Converse? But, yeah, I'm digging on the JPs again. Well, the vintage, MITUSA ones at least (both of the pairs below on eBay). It's been about ten years since I've gone there, but they've been sneaking up on me lately. Love them or hate them on the shelves at J Crew, but at least pay a little respect. I don't need to put a picture of a certain 24 year-old actor wearing them back in '55, we know the shoe has heritage. Originally designed for BF Goodrich, Converse has been carrying the torch since the 70s. Canvas and rubber -- simple materials standing the test of time. Gotta love it.

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January 27, 2010

Talk To Me Now

Hands down, the best part about my site is being able to meet people I normally might not cross paths with. It's a very large small world and these blogs we all hate to love and love to hate make it smaller, and in turn, for me, make Los Angeles smaller. If I get nothing else out of ATG besides a couple new friends, I'll be forever happy.

Let me introduce you to my newest of these friends, Scott Toepfer. He takes ugly pictures of beautiful things and beautiful pictures of ugly things, and all with that inherent sense of nonchalance every great photographer is born with. His photo-journalistic style gives his images a reality we can relate to yet a surrealism which leaves us longing and wishing we had been there. Great photography isn't just about capturing emotion, but reflecting it. Without that unspoken conversation between the artist and the subject, a photograph becomes simply a picture.

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January 26, 2010

1976: Now That Was A Good One

Yeah, yeah, yeah... backpacks. I don't care if you're sick of them, there will be more to come yet. If ANYONE has a line on one of the smaller Hine backpacks (H) with the leather trim (bottom one here)... please let me know. I've been searching for one. Check the catalog below and wish, like I do, they still made all these.

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Single Lens Reflex And The Art Of War

The incredible capabilities SLR cameras have these days is nothing short of mind-blowing. 5Ds and 7Ds have been a topic of discussion for quite some many months with me. The documentary below was shot on a 5D, albeit with a few fancy attachments and a nice little custom rig, a simple, plain ol 5D just the same. The idea that any of us kids can go spend $1500 at a local camera shop and take a shot at professional looking film-making is inspiring to say the least. The fact that this was shot on such an attainable piece of equipment somehow makes it more personal and allows us to relate to the action, the rawness and the emotion that much more. We all have feelings about the war, the soldiers, the death and the politics, and although those feelings may skew your appreciation for this film, try and watch it for the same reason I do -- that someone can take an "off-the-shelf" camera and create something the world will stop and watch.

On July 2nd, 2009, four thousand US Marines of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade launched a major helicopter assault into a Taliban stronghold in the Helmand River Valley in southern Afghanistan in order to break a military stalemate with the insurgent group.

"Independent filmmaker Danfung Dennis was embedded with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Company, as they were dropped 18 km behind enemy lines to seize a key bridge. Within a few hours of landing, fierce fighting erupted and continued for the next three days, during which Lance Corporal Charles Sharp, from Adairsville, Georgia was shot and killed by a Taliban fighter.

After the initial fighting, the Marines searched for the insurgents who had killed Lance Corporal Sharp. Frustration set in as the Marines tried to fight the elusive enemy whose IED's cut off their supply lines. The Marines’ objective was to secure and protect the population, but the Afghan villagers complained that the fighting has driven them into the desert, and the bombing destroyed their homes. Can the Marines balance their contradictory roles as warriors and statesmen, as they struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people?"

Leave your favorite SLR video links, like this one, in the comments.

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January 25, 2010

Saturdays... All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

The last thing a kid from California would expect to see tucked into the brick buildings of NYC is a surf shop. Single fins are about as scarce in the city as street parking. It wasn't so much the smell of the fresh espresso wafting through the cold air, or even the sound of rock and roll echoing from the storefront that drew me to Saturdays Surf NYC. What really called my name was the mirage of what I thought was a row of surfboards stacked in the window. As I stepped in and was offered a coffee, I realized mine eyes had not deceived and that was in fact a stack of surfboards.

"Because I needed to be close to it," the owner told me when I asked why in NYC. I get that. Keep your friends close and your loves closer. Saturdays gave me a taste of home as refreshing as the coffee brewed in the front of it. Vintage Birdwells, boards, a tight presentation from Los Angeles based The Stronghold, surf photography books, a very well executed line of Saturdays tees and some old school skateboard decks sets the mood and provide an endless summer for NYC locals. Get stoked, shred some gnar and support your local surf shop.

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January 21, 2010

That Would Be Suicide

I dragged a couple albums out of the depths of my CD collection the other day. Remember those? CDs? Waxwing has been in heavy rotation since this walk down memory lane. The Waxwing albums led to Rocky Votolato's solo ventures, and now I've been burning myself out on him ever since. This track is still one of my favorites. If you don't have them already, do yourself a favor and get them.

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January 20, 2010

Shades Of War

Some created years after the wars, some in trenches and foxholes in the midst of battle. Either hand-painted to remember or furiously scribbled to forget, these helmets now act as the physical link between the horrors of war and the human spirit. The duality of these pieces is as ironic as the bright colors chosen to adorn them. Multi-colored examples of man's capability of creating both beauty and pain. Okay okay... just look at them. They're hand-painted, vintage and militaria. Gotta love 'em.

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