A few weeks ago, I first learned of an analog camera movement and community called Lomography. What is Lomography, you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia:

Lomography is an analog camera movement and community, and is also a commercial trademark of Lomographische AG. It was founded in 1991 by Viennese students Matthias Fiegl and Wolfgang Stranzinger when they discovered the Lomo LC-A camera created by LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Since 1995, Lomography has been the sole distributor of that camera outside of the former Soviet Union, and has since moved into producing their own range of analog cameras, and other imports such as the Diana camera.

Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I have been a huge photo buff my entire life. I always, always, had a camera on my person, and when things went digital, I was in heaven. But as time went on, I found that although digital photography offered convenience and near instant results, it lacked a certain charm. I always thought of going back to film, I just never knew how I would re-enter that world.

Well, this is how. Through Lomography.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denigrating the digital movement at all. In fact, I’m very much a proponent of this current wave of photo sharing sites and filter apps for mobile phones. But film, real film, is just special, yo.


Lomography creates and sells several types of cameras – I purchased the La Sardina model, as seen in the above photo. It’s a dope little camera, and the resulting pics are lo-fi and very cool. I’ve already burned through two rolls of film, and the photos below are the best of the bunch. I’m on roll number three and this time I plan on using the Fritz the Blitz flash that comes with the camera. Oh, good times are indeed ahead.

Check out the photos below and let me know what you think of them!












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The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

As I imagine most people had, I’d first heard of The Thin Man, and its main characters Nick and Nora Charles, because of a series of films that were released during Hollywood’s Golden Age. William Powell and Myrna Loy played Nick and Nora, a glamorous married socialite couple that solved crimes in their spare time while swilling martinis and cracking wise. The first film is heralded as a classic, while the follow-ups range in quality but are still regarded as delightfully entertaining.

I’ve always liked the crime-solving couple set-up (shows like Hart to Hart, Remington Steele, and Moonlighting were some of my favorites growing up), and I consider myself a pro-league alcoholic, so naturally The Thin Man intrigued me. I’ve never actually seen the films, so as I got into the book, I was able to do so without making the usual comparisons against the film.

Nick Charles is a former private detective who recently married up. His new wife Nora is filthy stinking rich, and the two live a life of endless luxury, vacationing often and imbibing every drop of alcohol in sight. One hilarious moment features Nick waking up and asking Nora to make him a drink. “Why don’t you have some breakfast first?” Nora suggests. Nick responds, “It’s too early for breakfast.”

The couple is on holiday in New York City during Christmastime when a young woman is found gunned down in her apartment. The woman, Julia Wolf, was in the employ of Clyde Wynant, a wealthy inventor and former client of Nick’s. Of course, Wynant is the prime suspect and Nick, who wants nothing to do with the mystery and simply wishes to drink and hang out with Nora, is essentially forced into working the case. This leads him to encounters with a number of eccentric, bizarre characters, including Wynant’s ex-wife, Mimi, children, Gilbert and Dorothy, and his lawyer Macauley. Nick works with NYPD Liutenant Guild to uncover clues, find Wynant, and solve the riddle behind Wolf’s murder.

The first half of the book is supremely funny. Nick tries his best to remain as far from the crime and all involved as possible. Nora looks on in engrossed amusement, and the droll banter between characters had me laughing out loud. Also, true to lore, Nick and Nora (and damn near everyone else in Hammett’s world) are consummate alcoholics, interrupting meetings, meals, and other serious business for a cocktail (or two).

The libations and witticisms are less prominent in the book’s latter half, which actually begins taking the mystery seriously while remaining light in tone. There are several exposition-heavy passages in which characters talk about what happened. I get that this was the only way Nick could be made privy to some information, but in all honesty, it was a bit much. Paragraphs upon paragraphs of expository dialogue are not my thing.

The Thin Man is written in a sparse, first person voice. It’s done nothing to change my opinion of first person voice. I still very much hate the technique. But the economy of Hammett’s writing keeps the book moving at a quick pace, even during those exposition heavy, dialogue filled scenes. His characters are delightful creations, with Nick and Nora, of course, taking the cake. Though the film spawned five sequels, none of them were written by Hammett or based on his work. I would have loved to see where Hammett would take them.

I found The Thin Man to be a very enjoyable read. Mystery, noir, and detective fiction are not my bag, but I enjoyed Dashiell Hammett’s inventive take on the genre thanks to his genuinely unique and funny characters and clever dialogue. To this enchanting piece of work, I raise my glass in toast. Cheers!

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Write Something Worth Reading

Okay. I promised an Indie Publishing Chronicles post every Thursday and I have succeeded mightily in failing you all. For that, I apologize. Life happens. But now, let’s get on with the shit.

So, you want to know the first step that must be taken in order to enter into the world of Indie Publishing? Well, to appropriate a quote that is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, you must first write something worth reading.

Sound a little opaque? It’s really not. In fact, I’m going to appropriate another quote, this one from Toni Morrison: if there’s something you want to read, write it. That, my friends, is how you determine if something is worth reading.

No, it really is that simple.

For instance, I wanted to write GUESTLIST because no one else has (to my knowledge) written a novel about the world of nightlife from a similar perspective. I wanted to write something that lifted the velvet rope and gave VIP access, so to speak, to the people and shenanigans that are typically found in the near mythical world of celebs, models, and bottles service. Judging from my readers’ reactions (4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon; 4.21 average rating on Goodreads), I’ve done a pretty good job.

So, I say all that to say this: you already know what’s worth reading because you want to read it. Now that you’re armed with this information, you’re ready for the next step – go forth and write it.

That’s all for now. Yes, that’s all. Begin writing. I’ll talk about the next step next Thursday. It will seem obvious, but believe me when I say it’s something that’s generally overlooked. See you then.


Image courtesy of The Camel’s Hump.

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Jay-Z’s swank sports bar The 40/40 Club played host to Duracell Powermat’s PowerHouse event, co-sponsored by video social network SocialCam and Mario Armstrong Media. The event attracted some of social media’s most influential tastemakers and highlighted the Duracell Powermat, an inventive system designed to keep mobile users powered up while on the go.

While the hoi polloi gathered in the main lounge, VIPs such as myself partied in the Jay-Z suite, where the club served complimentary cocktails (courtesy of D’usse) and delicious bites to eat.


Salmon risotto ball


Sliders. Left: BBQ Turkey. Right: Crab.


Mini Crabcake


A cocktail made from vodka, cognac (I think), simple syrup, and club soda.

All in all, I had a great time. Met some cool people (shout out to Elaine, Ken, and Carrie Da Boot!), ate so much that I didn’t even have dinner afterward, and partied like a social media rock star (even though I took very few pics and little video).

After arriving home, I saw a tweet from Mr. Mike Street announcing that Jay-Z made an appearance. I figured that was going to happen as Jigga is Duracell Powermat’s celebrity spokesperson. Ah well. Next time.


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Junot Díaz

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, readers, fans, and miscellaneous miscreants almost caused at riot at the Union Square Barnes and Noble appearance of author Junot Díaz.

The Pulitzer Prize winning author was in attendance to read from his newly released short story collection This is How You Lose Her. According to Colorlines, an estimated 1,000 people showed up for the event, with a good number of them chillin’ on the massive bookstore’s third floor while the fortunate folks were situated on the fourth floor for the actual reading.

NYPD officers had to assist Barnes and Noble staff in keeping the peace and making sure a full-blown stampede did not take place.

Díaz is a great writer, and I enjoyed his first short story collection, Drown. However, most people’s fascination with him can be attributed to his rather overrated The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Then again, Oscar Wao is for what Díaz won the Pulitzer; hell, I’m still try’na get people to read my first novel, so what do I know?

This is How You Lose Her is available now at Amazon.


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Back in August, South Florida hip-hop duo The Vagabonds opened for Def Jam’s very own Big K.R.I.T. at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa’s historic Ybor City district.

In the above video, Vagabonds MC/producer E.R. recaps the group’s experience performing with K.R.I.T., as well as other artists such as Big Sant, Tito Lopez, and Casey Veggies. The video features behind-the-scenes footage of The Vagabonds at sound check, back stage before their performance, and info on what to expect from the VMG camp in the near future.


For more information on the Vagabonds, including upcoming shows and new music, be sure to visit http://www.vagabondsmusicgroup.com.



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Last night, I attended the Blank Canvas Project party at the Hotel on Rivington, sponsored by Modelo Especial, COMPLEX Mag, and Puma. It was nominally a Fashion’s Night Out party, but really it was just an excuse for beautiful people to come together, drink free beer, and have a great time.

The impetus behind Blank Canvas Project was the fusion of art, music, and style. To showcase this, the blank canvas of a Puma sneaker was given to four musicians – Kevin Rudolf, John West, Los Rakas, and Joell Ortiz – for each to create unique designs inspired by Modelo Especial as well as the artist’s own unique sense of style.


Personally, I liked West’s design – it’s simple and boasts a white and grey colorway that’s closer to my own aesthetic than the other designs. That’s not to say the others weren’t dope! Ortiz’s sneaker is appropriately hardcore and Rudolf’s shoe is as colorfully kinetic as his music.


Of course, Modelo Especial was the beverage of the night, with free bottles being handed out like Halloween candy.


Shout out to the bartenders in the house. They were cool, affable, and exhibited the patience of the saints. Ha!


On the rooftop, beautiful people were gathered, talking, dancing, having a great time. And there were some spectacular views, too. The Empire State Building, bathed in red light to commemorate Fashion’s Night Out, was a sight to behold. It, along with the good time had at the Blank Canvas Project party, only served to remind me why I love New York City so much.


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As you should know by now, last night was Fashion’s Night Out 2012, and as part of that, I attended the exclusive launch of the Atelier Swarovski Autumn/Winter 2012 collection at luxury department store Henri Bendel in New York City.

I was invited by Christopher Northrup, publicist extraordinaire and founder of CNPR Public Relations, and I was able to speak briefly with his client, architect and Atelier Swarovski jewelry designer, Gisue Hariri of Hariri & Hariri. Though much of the jewelry on display was geared toward women, Mrs. Hariri did mention that she’s designed some rather cool cufflinks. “Just the right amount of bling,” she said. “If you see P. Diddy, make sure to tell him about them.” I sure will!


Other designers featured in the Autumn/Winter collection include Christopher Kane, Zaldy, Greg Lynn, and Kostas Murkudis. Pieces will be available at select Swarovski US boutiques beginning September 12th.

This marks the eleventh season that Atelier Swarovski has commissioned distinctive crystal accessories from leading designers in fashion, jewelry, and architecture. It all looks like a great success to me.


My good friends Christopher Northrup of CNPR Public Relations and design maven Cynthia Dennard of InsideDesign / BK!


And not only was agreat time had by all, but as I left the store, a young woman gave me a discount card for 20% off my next purchase at Henri Bendel. If only I had a lady in my life to use this for … hmmm … Ha!


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Last night, some friends and I went out, got drunk, then trekked over to Momofuku Noodle Bar in East Village for some late night eats. The menu had a lot to choose from, but since we still wanted to keep the good times a’coming, we first asked for a carafe of sake.


Not sure what kind of sake we got, though. It was chosen by my friend Trisha, who helpfully explained the difference between warm and cold sake. We opted for cold sake. Yum!


We all then ordered pork belly sliders. And as we waited, we talked. And talked some more. And we noticed that the people next to us, who’d ordered after us, finished their meals and were packing up to leave. And then we looked up and saw that the kitchen was closing. We asked our waitress about the sliders we’d ordered.

“Oops,” she said. A bowl of seasoned crisps were immediately brought to our table. So we munched and talked some more.


Jeebus! This was my second time having pork belly yesterday; I was truly in the mood for it. These sliders, topped with hoisin, scallions, and cucumbers, were incredible, yo. The pork belly was perfectly seasoned and sweet, and the rolls they were served on were pillowy soft. DELICIOUS!

Good eats and good times with good friends.

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave
(between 10th St & 11th St)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhood: East Village
(212) 777-7773

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The Bluest Note starring Len Xiang

Short film The Bluest Note will make its world premiere at the Urbanworld film festival this month. The film stars my buddy Len Xiang and was directed by Marques Green.

The film, which was funded in full by a successful Kickstarter campaign, tells the story of Tony Mann (Xiang), a famous singer in the twilight of his career who’s met by a Siren and faced with a fateful decision: his art or his life.

The film, which also stars Stacey Lewis and Jaynelle Clarke, will screen at AMC’s 34th Street Cinema on Friday, September 21, and Saturday, September 22, at 2:45pm. Tickets can be purchased at www.urbanworld.org, www.fandango.com, and at the theater box office.

I’m definitely going to be in the house to support my homeboy in what looks to be an amazing film. I hope you can make it as well.


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