Monday, August 30, 2010

KCRW's Anthony Valadez Plays Jazz

I love technology. I received this tweet link today from KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez who provided me with a great Jazz playlist which includes the likes of John Coltrane to Miles Davis to Noel Pointer to name a few. Take a listen and soak it in.

The full set is listed below:

1) Intro
2) John Coltrane & Duke Ellington -In A Sentimental Mood
3) Yusef Lateef - Love Theme from Spartacas
4) Dorothy Ashby - Come Live With Me
5) Idris Muhammad - Piece Of Mine
6) Pharoah Sanders - Upper Egypt Lower Egypt
7) Miles Davis - Orbits
8) Clifford Brown & Max Roach Quintet - If I Fall In LOve Again
9)Robin Kenyatta - Girl From Martinque
10) Noel Pointer - Night Song
11) Lonnie Liston Smith - & The Cosmic Echoes - Devika (Goddess)

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Vashtie Kola Love For OTW

Good friend and Downtown's Sweetheart, Ms. Vashtie Kola gave OTW a wonderful shoutout today on her blog.

Vashtie is a kind spirited person in addition to being a talented filmmaker, designer and a natural PR machine.

Source: Vashtie

She worked for several years directing videos for Def Jam and later branched on to her own creative exploits which include directing videos and designing her own clothing collection under the "Violette" label.

Vashtie is also a co-founder of 1992, a retro throwback 90s hip hop party which she promotes weekly at Santos. Here's Paper Magazine's coverage below:

She frequently collaborates with some of the best known artists in hip hop such as Kid Cudi. In fact check out this hilarious video below:

Her notable viral video claim to fame was a video she directed which garnered over 1.6 million hits! Shot on her own dime for the song "Us Placers" off Kanye's mixtape "Can't Tell Me Nothing," (which samples Thom Yorkes song "The Eraser" of his solo album "The Eraser"), using child versions of each artist. appearances by: Jamie, Plain Pat, Stephen SB WEAR Barr and Ruffy.

For more on Vashtie, be sure to hit up her site at

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Mr. Roald Dahl

Mr. Roald Dahl is a name you might know. In case you don't, do the titles of his books such as "James and the Giant Peach" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" ring a bell?

Mr. Dahl who hails from Wales, England was a celebrated flying ace and intelligence agent before he decided to write both children and adult books in the 1940s. More recently, one of his books "Fantastic Mr. Fox" was adopted into a film directed by Wes Anderson and co-written with Noah Baumbach.

What Mr. Dahl had a gift is was telling a story that from an initial appearance is a simple tale, when one observes the various nuances, there's a deeper darker moral to the story.

I recently came across a few short stories from Mr. Dahl and I was pleasantly thrilled to rediscover an author who is bitingly sardonic and extremely gifted in painting a world that yearns for simpler times, yet the stories of dysfunctional family and a perverse strange society made Mr. Dahl suddenly appear relevant to our times more than ever. Ain't no shame in reading and regaling in a good story.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Downtown LA and Mr. Broad

For anyone who's made the rounds of the LA contemporary gallery scene, most of you have already encountered the Broad wing at the LACMA. Broad of course stands for Eli Broad, an astute businessman who's made quite a name for himself in LA's elite contemporary art scene.

Broad's wing at the LACMA is one of the must see staples to take in Basquiat, Warhol, Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns and Jeff Koons all under one roof. Broad has also done us the favor of salvaging LA's other museum the MOCA in the past year, funding from his own pockets to maintain the bleeding budget that has plagued most art institutes throughout the city. Just this week however, it was announced that Downtown LA will be graced with even another gem care courtesy of Mr. Eli Broad. Take note friends of the Broad's very own museum to break ground on Grand Avenue.

The architects that were chosen for this great feat is none other than New York based avant garde architecture firm, Diller Scofido _ Renfro. The firm is known for pushing and blurring the limits between art installations vs architecture. The Broad Museum is expected to be completed by 2012, right next to the current Disney Concert Hall, a warm welcome to the further expansion of LA's metropolitan landscape.

Below is an interview conducted by Charlie Rose with the trio masterminds:

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Via Dimitri Coste: MEGA

Above is a picture of MEGA, a friend of OTW advocate Dimitri Coste. If you're wondering what happened to his face, this is the result of a scooter crash that MEGA endured in Bali.

These are Dimitri's own words in describing his friend:

"MEGA is a talented graphic artist and art director, but most of all he's a weird and very interesting animal. After being Art Director for Kink mag, BPM mag and WAD mag, he travelled a year in Brazil, then in Australia where he ended up being art director for Acclaim mag one year long. He later decided to move to Bali where he lives now for three years. His latest work has been working on projects for Complex mag, Volkswagen's Euro campaign among others....
Please go check out for more of his work."

Below are a few samples of his work:

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ray Bradbury Turns 90

One of my favorite authors is the illustrious and talented Mr. Ray Bradbury. My first book I read from Bradbury was "Martian Chronicles," a fictional tale that included several short stories that took place some time in the near future regarding mankind's quest in exploring and to inhabit the planet Mars. I was only 12 at the time but for those brief 4 months while I read that book, I felt as though my mind traveled a long distance. I was almost saddened to have left that world once I finished the book. Bradbury wove his stories in such intimate and accurate detail, his command of prose read more Shakespearean than your average pulp science fiction writer. Oh and the fact that Mr. Bradbury is a writer based out of Los Angeles is something I became to be proud of as well. In fact anyone who has attended public schools has undeniably read one of his most famous books, "Fahrenheit 451."

This past Sunday, Mr. Bradbury turned 90 years old! It's great to hear that the man who has inspired a generation is alive and thriving. Bradbury is a self learned man, the story goes that Bradbury taught himself how to write simply by absorbing as much literature as he could via the Los Angeles public library. His education was one based out of earnest curiosity.

Here are a few books to take note of. Get your read on!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mr. Thom Browne

Picture Credit: Chicago Now

Sophistication comes with time. I think gradually as we all get older, we're looking to take certain fashion risks. New York based menswear designer, Mr. Thom Browne is one such man who is leading a beacon of light in mens' fashion.

Picture Credit: NY Times

He is known for his shrunken suit jackets and his endorsement of pants cuffed above the shins so you can showcase your shoes, sock-less of course. When Mr. Browne first gained attention among the fashion literati, it was apparent that his unique take of the suit would affect the way we looked at skinny silhouettes.

Picture Credit: Supreme

Even street elite brand Supreme, a frequent collaborator with Vans, has also worked with Mr. Browne. Everything about Thom Browne revolves around shrinking and framing clothes to one's body. Showing shin skin and going sock-less didn't seem like a thing that only old stylish Italian men could do, Mr. Browne tempted us Americans to experiment. It took a while for the look to go sockless and wear your shoes naked would take effect. It some ways you gotta thank the man for letting people look at footwear differently as well. Mr. Browne made it ok for you to wear a tailored suit jacket and pant all the while allowing you to display your latest shoes. It's the same kind of thought that makes OTW bridge that gap from skate to leisure without skipping a beat. Oh and yes, we completely endorse pairing OTWs with your tweed jacket and non-pleated khaki pant. Mr. Browne would approve.

Photo Credit: On And Beyond

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"House Attack"

In October of 2006, Austrian artist Erwin Wurm was commissioned to install an art piece at Vienna's Museum Moderner Kunst (MUMOK). The result? A house was slammed upside-down right on top of the building. Appropriately dubbed "House Attack," this temporary work of art transformed the stark MUMOK facade.

Here are other examples of his work:

Source: Dvice

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Mosley Tribes Love For OTW

Thank you to the talented Art Director of Oliver Peoples/Mosley Tribes, Mr. Patrick Torres-Wright for giving Vans OTW some love via their site. As you guys might know, in the world of luxury sunglasses, there is bar none no other optical brand that delivers in quality as Oliver Peoples and Mosley Tribes. It's only fitting that game recognizes game. Have a good weekend pun intended of course.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Foldable Bike

For of us metropolitans who love to get around with our bikes, one of the downsides of owning a bike is the chance of theft. Lucky for us the Yike Bike hailing from New Zealand solves this problem. The price tag is a hefty $6,000 mind you, but the ideal of being able to carry your bag over your shoulder for that meeting gives you that peace of mind that really is priceless. See the Yike Bike in action via this video.

Source: Core77

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dimitri Coste Rides Circuit Carole

OTW advocate Dimitri Coste is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. We got along immediately from the jump when the entire OTW team had dinner at Gorbols a few months ago. I received an email the other day from Dimitri, the man has been extremely busy. Since his last visit to the States, Dimitri has been up to his knees on several photography projects.

These are his words:

"I had a Saturday afternoon off mid July and my friend Martin invited me to ride the Parisian track, "Circuit Carole." I knew it would be the only occasion to ride in the summer. My friend picked up my Triumph early in the morning and when I was done I took my gear and rode my Ray Barbee to the train station. An hour and a half later I arrived at the track on my board from the train station after putting my race gear in the train."

"It wasn't a cool event, but I just wanted to ride. I had time to drop the board and put on my helmet. It was a cool session battling with a G50 and a 1936 speedtwin. My buddy Joss gave me a ride back home after the laps, I could have left for Italy in a positive vibe."

Images: Courtesy of Drago

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Complex Love: OTW Alomar

Complex recently featured the OTW Alomar model under their "Dressing In Tones: Best of Blue" feature. The OTW Alomar fuses suede and premium materials effortlessly.

Source: Complex

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Midnight Ridazz

The Midnight Ridazz is a Los Angeles fixture (no pun for the "fixie" reference by the way) for anyone who has had the pleasure to witness this traffic mayhem. Consisting of a loose band of cyclists/performance artists, the crew is known to disrupt traffic flow and enforce their role on the streets of LA. I was walking around Downtown the other night and I could hear the honks and horns from a distant. As I turned the corner I was immersed in an explosive flow of energy. I whipped out my camera and quickly shot some clips of what I could. The Midnight Ridazz honked and screamed as they would disregard traffic signals and carried through their mission. An amazing sight to see.

To see the Midnight Ridazz in full display, take a look at this short film:

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Ethan Holtzman of Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever performed in downtown last Friday at Grand Performances, a music festival on Grand Avenue. The place was super jam packed. I wish I could've taken more pictures to show you the enormity of the venue and the sheer number of people who showed up for this summer evening event but security was on lock down. I will tell you that Dengue Fever was performing their heart out!

Meet Ethan Holtzman, one of the Holtzman brothers who found the band. Ethan plays keyboard. He's one of the nicest sincere dudes you will ever encounter. Ethan was rocking OTWs, wearing a pair of herringbone Larkins. Represent!

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From Off The Wall to Off The Road

Skateboarding has certainly seen its evolutionary change over the last several decades. What I find to be particularly interesting are the design and functionality of the change that we have witnessed. Take a look at the Vertrax designed by Brian Lovett. This electric powered vehicle implements a tank like tread that ensure all terrain travel. Now mind you that this new concept seems like a distant cousin of skateboarding but there's a chance this might actually work. It's something that secret covert operatives might use for that agile escape

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever is an Echo Park based Cambodian-psychedelic band. I've known the guys behind the band pretty well. In fact in one point of my life, I shared a house with one of the band co-founders, Ethan Holtzman who plays keyboard. The band has toured extensively across stateside as well as performing at large world music festivals such as The Glastonbury Festival. To describe the band's unique sound is difficult to pinpoint. It consists of streaks of a '70s inspired psychedelic rock fused with Cambodian traditional folk music. Oftentimes than not, Dengue Fever has been categorized under the "World" section yet their sound has definitely irked the interest of a great deal of music aficionados. The band has steadily made ways into American pop culture, in fact an episode of HBO's True Blood was named after one of their albums, "Escape from Dragon House."

Take a listen to one of Dengue Fever's most notable song, "Seeing Hands." This particular video was directed by Spike Jonze frequent collaborator as Director of Photography, Mr. Lance Acord.

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OTW Advocate Dimitri Coste Shoots for KTM

It's no secret that OTW Advocate Dimitri Coste is a motorcycle enthusiast as well as a professinal photographer. Take a look at Dimitri's shoot for Austrian cycle company KTM.

Here's a brief history on the company:

The company was founded in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen. It started out as a metalworking shop and was namedKraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. It wasn't until 1953 that KTM began production of motorcycles. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day. In 1955, a businessman Ernst Kronreif became shareholder of the company, on acquiring a sizable portion of the company. It was then renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. Trunkenpolz died unexpectedly in 1989. During these early years of motocycle production at KTM, almost all components for the motorcycles were built in-house by KTM.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Place I've Never Been"by Louis Reyes Rivera

Spoken word is something I cherish, it's something I used to partake in during college. I am in love with The Word. Hearing this performance of Louis Reyes Rivera brought me back to an era, a time period that resonates deep within the quiet and frail moments of a time of change and upheaval. I encourage you to listen in and take in the wisdom.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Via Ako: No Age

"Two of my fave LA bros to dj with"

No Age - Glitter by subpop

No Age - Inflorescence by subpop

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Colbert's Alpha Dog of The Week

By now surely you've heard about what happened a few days ago on a Jet Blue flight. If you haven't you have to tune in below and find out how an airline steward who stood up to "the man" has become a nationwide folk hero.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Steven Slater
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

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Graffiti GIFS

I had a feeling it would boil down to this eventually. My good friend Insa from the UK recently put together a mixed media computing art project with Inkie. This animated graffiti GIF project is unique on many levels. The abstract graffiti work is certainly one thing, the concept of utilizing an animated GIF file to present his work is a secondary process. The overall project is something that looks wonderful.

For more of Insa's work, go to

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sharpie's Liquid Pencil

For the longest I can remember, the sharpie was the marker that was banned in school. It was that singular marker that left permanent graffiti scattered throughout school grounds and teachers were determined that you were Sharpie-less. That might be changing now due to Sharpie's latest magical liquid pencil that allows you to erase your ink within three days, otherwise like its predecessor, the ink will remain permanent once again. It's great that Sharpie finally upgraded their product.

I suppose now you could temporarily actually design your Lamborghini Gallardo on your offtime. Just be sure to erase it before the third day or your car might look like this:

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