The Last Hobby Shop in Queens

This is Rudy’s Hobby Shop, and it’s a portal to another time. What’s funny is that Rudy never owned this Hobby shop, Marvin Cochran did with his wife when he took over the iced cream parlor that was here in 1939. Now it’s one of the last hobby shops around, but full of amazing stories yet to tell.

Earned: Keith Hale’s Ducati 750ss, the most beautiful bike ever built.

Motorcycles are and have been inherently cool since their conception, even elevated to works of art. They kind of have to be. They are horrible machines. Extremely uncomfortable, requiring constant maintenance, and not so much a question of if you are going to die on one, but when. They are extremely dangerous, and considering the fact that this is the only vehicle where you become the fuselage and ride the engine, they have earned the title “death trap”.

That all said they are extremely cool. What is cool exactly? It can be hard to define but to me cool is something that exists for the pure pleasure of existing. A little Greek philosopher having a wee too much to drink perhaps, but it is an illusive term and that I suppose is what makes cool, cool. It’s hard to put your finger on it. Well, when I heard about Keith Hale and his 1974 Ducati 750ss only one word came to mind. Cool.

Let’s wind it back. Ducati wins 1st and 2nd place at Imola in 1972. This is the Grand Prix or the Daytona 500 of moto racing you see, and it’s a huge deal. The bike they won on, a 750ss, has amazing engineering and is clearly technologically superior to it’s competitors. What it is also, is the most strikingly beautiful bike ever built. A sunset green frame supporting a warm, silver tank in the shape of a bullet you can ride. It is sublime and is known as the most beautiful bike, if not machine, ever produced.

1974: Ducati makes 401 of these stunners and sells them to the public with almost no modification from their race specs. It is the first time a real race bike is available to the public and it causes a sensation. Only 88 make their way overseas, and only one enchanted a very young Keith Hale in northern California.

She’s a looker. The Ducati 750ss. Most beautiful bike ever built.

Keith heard the bike before he saw it and fell in love on sound. If you’ve ever heard one in the wild you would understand why. A mechanical symphony, the 750ss is run by a desmodromic valve system. What that means is the motor’s motion drives the valves instead of springs which is how most motors actuate. The way this is done is with a tower of precision machined gears and bevels that when running at 9000 RPM spinning faster then the earth rotates it makes a heavenly sound.

But then you see it and you’re done for.

Keith had to have it. He was just a kid from a big family that moved a lot and worked in a factory. So he scraped together as much money as he could, and begged the unwilling old man who purchased the bike from the factory to sell it to him for 3,200 bucks. He promised the old man he would race it and ride it everyday. Keith kept his promise in a most unusual way.

On a bike that was meant to do a 1/4 mile at a time, Keith did something that no one had ever, or has ever since, done. He put a ridiculous 100k+ miles on a track bike, riding it not just in a loop, but around the country, to work, to weddings and funerals, to the beach and the mountains. This race bike became an extension of Keith and their personalities merged over the 50 years he owned and maintained his machine.

And maintained is the key word.

Every bike needs constant attention. Some less than others. A Ducati, especially a desmodromic 750ss needs perhaps the most attention. It is the persian cat of bikes, and no ordinary diet will do. Keith had to learn this bike as if he were the engineer who built it and perhaps the physicist that defined relativity as well. These bikes were not meant to do a fraction of the milage that he put on this machine, but here it is, with so many miles on it that the speedometer eventually just gave up. It was the only part that Keith neglected to fix.

This story to me is cool because here is a person that does one thing and learns to do it perfect for the sake of knowing how to do something perfect. It wasn’t his career to be a racer, or mechanic, or engineer; Keith is a teacher, humble and lovely, soft spoken and artistic. His drive to maintain this bike came out of love, pure love of an object. He gave it value beyond it’s worth with a lifetime of memories marinating this aged piece of automotive history. He has also done the impossible; proven that these bike have been engineered to perfection, perhaps the only tested example that a bike’s engine simply will not fail, ever.

While this is a story about a machine, it has a very human center to it. Keith, after a lifetime of being defined by his bike, has to face the harsh reality of his mortality. There is no simple way to say this, Keith is getting old. A race bike is hard to ride for someone in their physical prime, and while Keith has maintained his body as well as his machine, and somehow eluded death which comes on tap with motorcycle riding, realizes that the bike he loves isn’t fitting in his life like it used to. Not that he loves it less, but realizes that it’s not being used in the same glory as it used to. Perhaps it is time to part ways with her, to pass her story onto the next keeper, who will love her in a different but same intense way.

Keith was an educator. He taught children most of his life, dedicated to making young people better at who they are and giving them purpose and direction in life. Now, when most people retire, Keith finds himself unable to stop working; there is no pension for school teachers in his district and requires a steady stream of income even living a humble life as he does. It would seem that he would have to spend his last days expiring in some random job that would have him, just to keep money coming in for increasing medical bills and daily living.

Here comes the twist.

What’s truly cool about this story is the because Keith has taken such exceptional care of his machine, has dedicated his life to keeping it not just in perfect condition but to proving its engineering superiority through miles of testing, he is now able to sell his beloved machine for a sweet little nest egg that will keep him comfortably retired well into his later life.

The machine he took care of his entire life now takes care of him for the rest of his life.

If you needed a more Disney ending for adults I don’t know where you would find it. It’s a lovely story, only made more unbelievable because it is in fact real. Keith is really a nice guy, a teacher with a heart of gold, and his motorcycle really is one of a kind and perhaps the most beautiful machine I’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of story that transcends motorcycle culture and enters the kingdom of human existence, illustrating the beautiful ballance that happens when we dedicate our life to something for the sheer pleasure of the act of doing it. It’s a beautiful mix between wabi-sabi and Kaisen, and just knowing about it puts a smile on my face a mile wide.

Which is exactly what happened when Keith heard his bike start up for the very first time.

For me, my Ducati 750ss is documentary. It’s these stories that I get to share, and these amazing people I get to meet. I don’t make them because someone pays me, the payment is in the process, and if you asked me honestly I would tell you that becoming a filmmaker was my hack to life. I get to be part of these amazing people’s lives simply because I know how to put together a film. It’s an honor to tell these stories, and hope you enjoy them too.

I think you do, because the story without any impetus seemed to find its way to the top of the news cycle. I love hearing what other’s think about not just my films, but the subjects of my films. Some of my favorites were here on the Vintagent, here on Iron and Air, and on Motorcycle.com … but this interview I did for Taylor Brown over on Bike Bound is a special look a little deeper in what this film actually means to me.

Of course we must not forget that while this is a truly beautiful story, it is afterall, just a motorcycle. It’s something that I think Keith mitigates exceptionally well in his life, the balance between putting improtance on an object, and always remembering it is just a thing. But what a beautiful thing it is, and in so … well, we had to have a little fun with it. May I introduce you to All The Pretty Things:

This was a little fun film we put together to celebrate, well, all the pretty things we love. In it you’ll find a dozen cherished items, from handcrafted Hedon helmets, to museum worthy glassware and even our favorite recipe for the perfect Negroni. Add in a dash of star studded cast of our favorite people and you can get a sense of how easy it is to fall in love with this bike, how inspirational it can be.

This was a divine experience for me, to meet Keith, explore his world, and even get to play in it for a while in my own way. The older I get the more I feel burdened by things, the more I realize how materialistic we are, and don’t get me wrong, I love my pretty things, but it’s nice to see someone truly own something, rather then just having something, you know what I mean?

You can find out more about this amazing machine and amazing person at www.ducati750ss.com

Rs

Oh, because you asked … here are all the pretty things;)


All The Pretty Things:

Helmets: Hedon Bespoke Helmets https://hedon.com/
Motorcycle: Ducati 750ss www.motoborgotaro.com
Mamiya 23: www.vintagecameraquest.com
Pink Whip: James Marsh www.instagram.com/jamesthomasmarsh/
Eyewear: Tom Ford https://www.tomford.com/eyewear/men/sunglasses/
Sandwitch: Canter’s Deli http://www.cantersdeli.com/
Cellphone: Samsung Ultra s21 https://www.samsung.com/us/smartphones/galaxy-s21-ultra-5g/
Menswear: Michael Andrews Bespoke https://www.michaelandrews.com/
Timepiece: Rolex of Grey and Patina https://greyandpatina.com/
Switchblade: AGA Campolin http://www.agacampolin.com/
Coin: The Explorer’s Club https://www.explorers.org/
Camera Holster: Hold Fast https://holdfastgear.com/
Gloves: Shinola https://www.shinolahotel.com/
Motorcycle: Royal Enfield Himalayan https://www.royalenfield.com/
Boots: Justin https://www.justinboots.com/en-US Leather
Case: Vintage Stanley https://kevinscatalog.com/
Hat: Goorin Bros https://www.goorin.com/
Glassware: Maximillian Elcke https://maxidnystore.com/
Future Gin https://www.futuregin.com/
Campari: http://www.campari.com/
Tempis Fugit: https://www.tempusfugitspirits.com/

Produced by: One Man One Camera

Italy in Bocca featured on Film Shortage

This week Film Shortage will be highlighting Italy in Bocca as one of their top pics. This is extremely exciting news, as lots of new people will be introduced to these amazing books and our little story. Also Film Shortage has always been an inspirational place to find really quality independent film, so I’m honored to be included in their collection.

Here is a snippet from their review:

We immediately fell in love with ‘Italy in Bocca’, the film speaks directly to our hearts and bellies. The nostalgia of it all, the trip, the people, the towns… the first part of the doc really brought us immediately to a happy place and kept driving us forward being dynamic, fun, and incredibly well produced, to a very satisfying ending. Bravo.

So very satisfying to us as well. What a wild ride it’s been and it keeps going. The little film we shot in one day has been shown so much love I honestly don’t know what to say. I guess when you do something out of love you get it back. I’ll eat to that. Thanks Film Shortage for sharing the In Bocca Love!

Thanks For an Epic Year!

It’s that time again for a classic Year End Review … amazing how you can fit 365 days in 3 minutes;)

You can watch it on YouTube, or on Vimeo, or on my website (just scroll down).

Thanks to everyone who made this year one of the best yet. I’m so blessed to have done so much with so many magnificent people.

2019insta
2019insta

Looking forward to making more magic with you this year!

Rs

 

 

A word about Martin Scorsese and his lost documentary “Street Scenes” from 1970.

Martin Scorsese is in the news a lot these days. He’s got a new movie coming out, The Irishman, which is a big event for the 76 year old director, but mostly people are talking about his comments that Marvel movies are not “cinema”. Here is the exact quote, probably taken out of context:

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? … Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

The comment sounds pretty much like anyone’s grandfather, and the fact that it sparked a global debate is what I find interesting. We’re talking about words here, and their power, and that is something that is very relevant today, regardless of what you think about superhero movies. The term “cinema” (and I mean “term”) meant something different during Scorsese’s time then it did before him, or now. When he learned the term it was the time of the New Wave, the Cahier du Cinema, independent filmmaking, the great revolution in American film that seperated flickers from movies, and movies from cinema. It was a classification that had a distinct definition to it, and most of us grew up watching cinema, learning from the greats before us.

Simply put there was no such thing as CG. It wasn’t part of cinema, or movies, or flickers. Claymation or animation was the closest thing that you had probably, and most movies were considered cheap, except for maybe Fantasia, which I bet Scorsese wouldn’t consider cinema either. Cinema to Scorsese meant live action humans creating a story through the visual medium of film that changed the perception of the viewer in a completely realistic manner. I know because he speaks about it in Scorsese on Scorsese.

One thing to note is Scorsese is one of the biggest film theorist and historians we have. His opinions matters simply put since he can see the whole scope of the history of film. For modern film goers, Marvel films might be some of the only films they’ve ever seen, and they take offense to this type of comments, but in reality this type of CG blockbuster is a mere ten minutes into the 24 hour day that makes up the history of filmmaking. Like it or not, I understand Scorsese’s point, and while a bit rude, I can understand what he means. It’s also just his opinion folks.

Again though what is most fascinating is the word “cinema” and the meaning, or change of meaning it is going through. I think that some of the Marvel films are certainly cinematic and deserve to be called cinema as much as Citizen Kane or Taxi Driver. I just find it amazing how people can argue so violently about the words they use and not see that the meaning is the same. I see both sides of the fence, and think this is a prime example of how words can have power, and how that power can change or grow over a generation.

News, president, war, Wall Street, racism, loan, news, socialism, Russia, fact, there are a lot of words I feel have taken on different feelings since I learned them. Their meanings might stay the same, as in their definitions, but the feeling behind it, the “terms” in which we use them change a lot. I came across this documentary that Scorsese did in the 70’s when the students were revolting in disagreement to the war. It’s fascinating to see, to hear the people’s language and think about our present condition here in the United States. It’s amazing sometimes to see how far we haven’t come, or how we just have changed the words we use for the same problems.

Rs

http://www.robertoserrini.com

 

Kids see a drone for the first time.

This was taken a few years ago when drones just hit the market and I was working on a documentary in a small village named Anuk Lang. There is no electricity, no TV, no internet, and no real connection to the modern world there, so when I brought out this little drone the kids went absolutely bonkers. They never had seen a cell phone let alone a flying quad copter. The look on their faces are priceless, and reflect the pure beauty this extraordinary country offers.

This is by far my most popular drone film, the (longer) original version
Vimeo https://vimeo.com/82292117 – but we wanted to share this rare view of Cambodia’s lush back country with you today, which we find absolutely stunning. You can read more about it on this Huffington Post article

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/drone-documentary-cambodia_n_4957251

If you want some tips on best settings and color correcting drone footage check this out:

https://cineclast.com/2015/01/04/best-settings-for-perfect-drone-footage-me-thinks/

And if you dig this film please like and Subscribe … we’ll be bringing you NEW CONTENT EACH DAY so count on us;)

Much love,

TC

JOIN THE CLAST!
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Twitter: @ClastTravel
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GEAR:
Drone: DJI Mavic https://goo.gl/jLa257
Camera: Sony A7rIII https://goo.gl/ijE1vZ
B Cam: Sony a6300 https://goo.gl/cs7AJm
Art Lens: 25mm CCTV f1.4 https://goo.gl/EgZShq
360 Camera: Samsung Gear 360 https://goo.gl/1jsfn8
Mic: Zoom H6 https://goo.gl/Gani8E
Lavs: Sony UWPD16 https://goo.gl/LXpHyg
Tripod: Manfrotto 390 https://goo.gl/6PzxBv

Candytopia. The Louvre of Lollies.

The Louvre. The MoMa. Candytopia.

Who knew a museum could be this much fun? Candytopia is a wonderland of sugar and color where guests are encouraged to gorge themselves on the sticky goodness as they marvel at the strangely sublime artwork this team of candy-creatives have crafted. Replicas of some of the world’s most famous works of fine art, from the Mona Lisa to the Venus De Milo have been reproduced in saccharine similarity, and the effect is stunning. Much more than a gimmick, Candytopia is an interactive, fun, and wild experience that you really have to go to fully understand.

Of course there are more instagram opportunities here then you probably have space in your phone for, and even a giant marshmallow pit that you can lose your worries (and self) in, but the real joy is watching everyone lose their mind in this candy palace, bouncing off the walls with pure joy (and sugar strength).

We sure were sweet on the Candy Queen and creator herself Jackie Sorkin who gave us a little tour of this magic place, which quickly became one of our favorite destinations in LA. Don’t fret though… Candytopia is a roving experience, with plans to tour the US this year, so hop over to their site to see if they’re coming to your city next and grab tickets while you can!

JOIN THE CLAST!

 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/travelclast

Instagram: @TravelClast

Twitter: @ClastTravel

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TravelClast

Blog: www.cineclast.com

This is everything.

Came across this most excellent video essay by the Nerdwriter, if you aren’t familiar, behoove thyself and get thy familiar, each is better then the next, but this one, is pretty much the tastiest of the bunch.

In the short video, he goes on to deconstruct one of the most important, iconic, and flat-out famous photos in the world by the master Dorothea Lange. I personally have always had a strong connection to her, and this photo, as many of the other greats like Roberto Frank, in that budding time of candid “street” photography.

What you see however, is that it is not candid at all, and there is a master at work indeed.

migrantmothercolorized

What I think is so amazing is that this nugget of history goes for so many works of art out there. Any time you think that something is dumb luck, or viral by chance, most likely it is not. If you know your medium, if you are conscious of your art, then you can manipulate anything, even authenticity.

They took her thumb Charlie… they took her thumb.

enjoy.

 

 

From YouYube:

The story of how Dorothea Lange created perhaps the most iconic photograph in American history. First of a series. Go to https://NordVPN.com/nerdwriter and or use code NERDWRITER to to get 75% off a 3 year plan. Protect yourself online today! Support Nerdwriter videos: https://patreon.com/nerdwriter Subscribe: http://bit.ly/SubNerdwriter Watch the most popular Nerdwriter episodes: https://youtube.com/watch?v=_aFo_BV-U…   Facebook: https://facebook.com/The-Nerdwriter-3… Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheeNerdwriter Patreon: https://patreon.com/nerdwriter SOURCES James C. Curtis, “Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, and the Culture of the Great Depression” Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Spring, 1986), pp. 1-20 http://depts.washington.edu/depress/d… https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/128… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothe… http://www.mobileranger.com/blog/cali… MUSIC Divider by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://chriszabriskie.com/divider/ Artist: http://chriszabriskie.com/ Luar, “Valiant” https://soundcloud.com/luarbeats/valiant Luar, “Balance” https://soundcloud.com/luarbeats/balance Watch More Nerdwriter: Latest Uploads: https://youtube.com/watch?v=gqlgf_q3n… Understanding Art: https://youtube.com/watch?v=cLJAXu5OD… Essays About Art: https://youtube.com/watch?v=cLJAXu5OD… Essays About Social Science: https://youtube.com/watch?v=hBweUnkfQ… Popular Videos: https://youtube.com/watch?v=_aFo_BV-U…   The Nerdwriter is a series of video essays about art, culture, politics, philosophy and more.

Italian Sporting Bikes of the 70’s

I love 3 things: Motorcycles, Movies and my mother. (I’m Italian)

Sometimes, when the god’s favor me, I get to combine two of those (my mother doesn’t ride).

May I introduce Italian Sporting Bikes of the 70’s hosted by the madmen at Union Garage in Brooklyn and the fine folk at Alpinestars.

 

How To Get a Vimeo Staff Pick.

 

So clickbait, amirite?

This essay isn’t really about how to get a Vimeo Staff Pick. I am fortunate to have a couple of my films to have been showcased on Vimeo’s Parthenon of special Staff Picks, but I couldn’t tell you a recipe on how secure your acceptance. Besides, other people have offered their advice on the subject, so why add to the noise.

What I do want to discuss is why some of my films become Staff Picks, and other’s perhaps not.

I have upward of 600 films on Vimeo. Each unique pieces of work, a mixture of client driven and personal projects. Somewhere along the way I left the ranks of an office worker and dedicated my full-time to being a filmmaker. I say filmmaker because I direct, shoot, and edit. It’s totally consuming, and even when I’m not “working” I’m still working. Like they say however, if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. That is true.

Even though I have some compelling work with famous athletes or well-known actors or insane SFX, there are a few films that really resonated with the Vimeo staff. What I find interesting is that they are all projects I did on my own dime, with my own crew, and were totally self-produced. I think this is an important point for any filmmaker.

This last film, “Heretic” is a short documentary about Douglas Little. Douglas is an amazing guy; he’s one of the creative visual geniuses behind sleep no more, an award-winning designer, but what put him on my radar was actually my girlfriend. She forwarded me an article about this guy who makes personalized perfume in his baroque upper west side apartment. He sounded absolutely mad, and I really wanted to meet him.

So I wrote him an email.

I basically said I was a filmmaker, and make short docs about people I find interesting. I asked if he would be interested in shooting a short doc in his apartment. He said yes.

I’ll pause here for a second to explain why these short docs are so important to me. I love narrative work, both commercially and otherwise. Docs though hold a special place in my heart. Living in a city like New York you are literally surrounded by people whose stories are always as or more interesting than most narratives. These are real people, who are your neighbors, your office mates, your friends even. Their stories are already written and all you need to do is record them. For me the short doc is an easy day at the filmmaking gym; just bring your gear and work it out.

For Douglas, along for others I’ve done, I like to keep the crew real small. Just 3 or 4 people. Maybe two lights if any. Good sound. It makes it fast and easy to move around, and easy on the subject too. I’m sure Douglas was open to having 5 people in his living room instead of a crew of a dozen.

I also move fast and cover everything. I have a set list of questions, but really just want to have a conversation with my subject. I find out what’s interesting about them on the spot. What’s fantastic is there is no consequence; there is no client, no one paying you, so it really doesn’t matter if you get something or not, you’re there to experience someone and no more. It’s the going commando of filmmaking and it’s amazing.

Finally you must have fun with it. The crew I roll with is all other filmmakers and shooters. Since there is no client it become professional playtime, meaning we get to use all the toys we never do on paid sets because we’re not exactly sure what they will do. Russian anamorphic glass you bought on-line, a weird 360 camera you want to cut your teeth on, even an old 8mm film camera you found at your grandparents. We get weird, really weird with it, and it makes for some very interesting footage. Weird angles, strange lighting, you name it, the weirder the better. Leave it to the editor to figure out.

That’s me also. I love and hate editing like most editors do. When it’s tedious, it’s life sucking, but when its good, it’s mind-blowing. When I do a personal project like this because there is no consequence to anything we’re doing, it becomes extremely enjoyable. I make some editorial decisions that are frankly horrible and I love it.

In the end what happens is a few things. You get to meet someone who is very interesting. You get to learn and invent new techniques and gear, and you get to try something new in post that may or may not make sense. It’s basically the Jackson Pollock style of filmmaking; throw it against the canvas and see what sticks.

Now I’m sure some people will say that a planned line of attack is a much better use of a filmmakers time, and yes, there is a time and place for that. However if you consider that it takes half a day to shoot, and maybe a week to edit one of these films, it really isn’t that much of a risk.

The result has always been rewarding, not just from accolades, but from the experience of meeting new people and working with my core crew. One film we did together about master mechanic Peter Boggia went on to win a few great festivals and even brought Peter and I over to Italy for a month-long, once-in-a-lifetime motorcycle trip. This latest film about Douglas has spurred a bunch of new work from new clients, which I wouldn’t have even know how to approach otherwise. What I’m saying is that while paid work is great, it’s usually the personal projects that stand out, and often get the new work knocking at your door. What’s more it doesn’t really cost anything to produce, other than some lunch for your friends.

So how do you get a Vimeo Staff Pick? No idea, but if you know please tell me. In the meantime just email someone interesting, grab a camera and a friend, and go make a short doc, you won’t be disappointed.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional Filmmaker who records his adventures in word, photography and film. He is a staff writer for Get Lost Magazine, a senior contributor to Trip Advisor, as well as a commercial film director and drone pilot. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.