New Orleans: I love you.

The following is a love letter I wrote to the city of New Orleans for Get Lost Magazine. At the moment, NoLA is getting hit pretty hard with COVID and besides my hometown of NYC, it’s one of the worst places affected. My heart goes out to everyone, especially the vibrant, loving, passionate people that makes New Orleans my favorite city on the planet.

It’s so much more than drinking and partying. There is an ecosystem of creation there that cannot be rivalled, that spills from art, to science, to soul in dizzying fashion. This is probably why they have perfected drinking and partying.

While this piece focuses on Mardi Gras, it really applies to any day of the week in New Orleans for Mardi Gras is always New Orleans as New Orleans is always Mardi Gras.

Besides the people of NoLA I dedicate this film to Lisa Dunn & Peter Boggia … two natives that took me in and showed me what real New Orleans magic is like. I also dedicate this film to Aubrey Rector & John Greco for being the simply the best there is.

Stay safe out there folks, and consider donating to the NOLA Relief Fund if you feel moved to. Otherwise just be good to each other.

-Rs

New York City, my birth city, is hard to beat. It has everything from glitz to gore, and will feed you well, in stomach and in spirit. There is no city as cool as new york.

Except for New Orleans.

New Orleans, or Norlans or NOLA doesn’t care what you call it. This city doesn’t know it’s on earth, yet its connection to humanity from gutter to steeple is unlike any other. There is something unique about NOLA’s beauty. both rough and gentle like satin covered sandpaper. Somehow vulgar in a very polite way. The streets here are lined with salty dreamers who wear their passion on their sleeve spilling it on cheap folding tables for wanders to consume. It’s a city where there is no such thing as an inanimate object; spirit here permeate every aspect of life.

I consider this a truly american city where “America” refers to its namesake Amerigo Vespucci, who upon reaching the correctly identified new continent quotes “The victor here eats their vanquished, and the women are intensely desirable being very lustful, [they] cause the private parts of their husbands to swell up to such a huge size that they appear deformed and disgusting”. That’s the feeling I get from this city.

What NOLA loves:

NOLA loves gas lamps.NOLA also loves it molding. NOLA really loves being covered in patina. NOLA loves in all sizes. From the grandiose to the two step manor, to the one step railroad, to the tiny bywater shack too adorable not to sigh a smile at. Perhaps what NOLA loves best, is a good party. A party to New Orleans is more than just a good time; it’s a hall pass from bullshit, where who you are, who you really are, is all you are allowed to show, and smiles become the only currency you need buy a good time.

In NOLA you quickly find yourself forging ahead with two best friends into the streets seamlessly becoming part of the fanatic fabric of festival. Without effort you are now part of the parade, among the fellow freaks and fantasy folk who seem to be there not only to entertain each other, but themselves. The streets are a river of color and shimmer where “spectacle” takes on a new meaning that forever removes it from your daily vocabulary. Here there is no wrong, or off color or incorrect, just the perfect marriage of fantasy working in reality.

These are not costumes like they are in other cities in other festivals. These are expressions, deep and obtuse who’s meaning shifts throughout the day depending on how much you’ve seen or how long you’ve been on mushrooms.  While it may all seem fractured and without curation, there is one common line that connects the madness. A bass line. A second line. A line of music that rumbles through the city, overlapping, fading in and fading out, driving forward and igniting movement. From the streets to the roof it chases you through the city relentlessly.

No city celebrates inebriation like New Orleans. They have perfect the art of imbibing and have found ways to reinvent the act of getting shit-faced a thousand times over. The city is a giant house party. Living rooms become street corners, and kitchens become oilbarrel bbq lined sidewalks. It’s BYOB and no one’s parents are home.

Bourbon street may be sluttiest street in the world. It doesn’t care who you are, you’re getting in its pants. An aroused army of revelers storm the street looting beads from every balcony, every perch, every outcropping. Here you see things you simply can’t explain, both comic and tragic in an Orwellian way.Here spirits run free, and there is dancing and magic everywhere. Where even dropped fishbowls of booze somehow don’t spill. Pure sorcery.  Then there are the parades; flotillas of frenzy that slice through neighborhoods, flooding the streets with the echo of stomping boots and screaming brass as you trip the light fantastic.

The quarter bell tolls and it’s time to switch up the scene, so you descend down frenchman to familiar caves filled with some of the best damn music you’ve ever heard. When that tires, you head over to One Eyed Jacks and perhaps fortune favors you by witnessing the legendary Quintron and Miss Pussycat break off a piece which sets off the dance floor stupid crazy. When you need to bring it down a notch, you mosey over to Saturn Bar to sing some sea shanties with the Valparaiso Men’s Chorusand whoever is left standing in the Bywater. When that quiets dies down you take it back to the beginning: back to the streets.

The cloak of night darkness is pierced by led lights and sulphurstreetlamp which guide the funeral procession to the parties final resting place. Along the tracks and down cobbled streets everyone dances the festival through the last stretches of town, clamoring and hugging lost friends found along the way. finally, reaching the levy, the frenzy ignites its primitive roots in effigy as you stand humbled.

You have been up now for 24 hours.

Many emotions, drugs, and experiences have passed through you and you find yourself in a Fellini film walking the crest of a levy in the purgatory of the party. Nothing makes sense which makes perfect sense. The movable feast begins to roll like a magnetized ferrofluid and collecting under a broken warehouse canopy you are presented a puppet show. It’s both callow and complex, much like this strange time, in this beautiful unique experience which is simply called, New Orleans.

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

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Lavs: Sony UWPD16 https://goo.gl/LXpHyg
Tripod: Manfrotto 390 https://goo.gl/6PzxBv

Drone Racing

As many of you know, I’m an avid Drone pilot. I’ve flown my quad all over, documenting the Arctic Circle, Cambodia, even P Diddy. I’ve focused on the cinematography aspect of flying, even given a few tips along the way, but never really considered racing the little beast before today.

Well lemme tell you… it’s a whole new day.

I got a chance to spend the day with the amazing pilots of the Liberty Cup Drone Race, and my mind was completely blown. This was the last qualifier before the national competition at Governor’s Island, and tensions were super high. I put together this little teaser just to give a taste of how fast these guys fly, and how hard they sometimes crash.

If you haven’t you definitely should.

Rs

Roberto Serrini is a professional traveler who records his adventures in wordphotography 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.

denver. city of suds.

So, apparently, Denverinos (surely not what they call themselves) like beer. A lot. A whole fucking lot. 

This is good because I like beer too. I like beer so much, I actually invented a TV show. That’s right, invented. It’s called the Brewhaha and I’m still waiting for a call from Esquire apologizing for Brew Dogs. I’ll wait.

Right, beer. Denver. Back on track.

I like to think being from New York Fucking City that we have the best of everything. Beer culture in NYC is amazing no doubt, with Pony Bar, Alewife, and my fave, Jimmy’s No. 43 bringing it’s A game, but I never, ever, have seen something so amazing as the beer culture in Denver. Let’s put it this way; if beer was venereal disease, then Denver would be a 18th century cheap French prostitute named Rose-Marie. It’s got it all.

There for 3 days, I was on a mission to see some of Denver’s suds stars and sample some of the more unique nectar they produce, with my compatriot, Tom Taddeo, who is no fool in the subject of beer. Tom is owner of VBGB’s, Charlotte’s premiere craft beer house, and suffers no sappy suds lightly. It was like going to the movies with Roger Ebert, rather, like being at the Tribeca Film Festival with Roger Ebert. Shit was about to get critical.

In all we visited about 15 breweries. Let that sit in. 15. And that’s casually just walking round town. Everywhere we went, there was a brewery. Of course you hit the “famous” ones; Epic, Breckenridge, Great Divide. Then you just start running into them, tucked into corners, in residential areas, even in the back of bookshops. Everyone, everywhere, seemed to make beer. Even the DMV (although you had to wait in line for an hour for a pint).

While each had its own flavor (especially the Death Metal breweries we went to. Yes, that is plural, as in there was more than one Death Metal brewery), but one above all was my favorite by far … I give you…

EPIC BREWING COMPANY

Tucked away outside the pristine stuffiness of LODO (lower downtown Denver… stop trying to be NYC will’ya?) you will find this mecca of brew. Epic is vast, shiny, and new. The staff there are super cool, happy to chat, and what’s more, happy to leave you alone to sip your suds. It’s a quick ride from downtown on one of those little red city bikes, and there are some cool places to eat around the area, making it a win-win. Here are a few one phrase reviews of the selection we had:

Double Skull Double Boch (8.5%) • Butterscotch wool sweater with shorts, fireside. Fucking Rad.
Blackberry Saison (6.7%) • A sour citrus funky mistress.
Brainless Belgian (9.2%) • Um… sorry dont remember.
Brainless on Peaches Belgium (11.5%) • more like a Pilsner Noir.
Brainless Belgium IPA (6.6%) • A Creamy Capt’n Lawrence.
825 State Stout (5.6%) • Drinking fucking chocolate velvet.
Oaked Belgium (11%) • A luden’s lapdog by the fireside.
Coffee Baptist Imperial (10.5%) • Starbochs.

That’s not to say that there aren’t other great breweries in jolly ol’ Denver, but Epic was just the cremdelacrem receiving high marks all around. So you know who was in our little competition, lets run down the rest of the greats in Denver:

GREAT DIVIDE

There wasn’t much of a divide between Epic and GD truth be told. Awesome beers like Collete and Hoss are hard to come by, and they are served up proper at the source. It’s also located in a funny part of town, surrounded by interesting little shops, dispensaries, and more pawn shops that I’ve ever seen in my life, so it’s a great way to spend a boozy afternoon.

WYNKOOP

Another cool brewery, except for that Bubba Gump corporate atmosphere it’s got going on. A little too polished and a little to clean, but the beer is damn good with some interesting concoctions like Patty’s Chili Beer, which was actually fantastically drinkable. Added points for the girl who looked topless across the bar while she watched the game on the TV.

BRECKENRIDGE

Breck suffers the same fate of Wyncoop, but in spades. First, it’s more like a Cheesecake factory for beer inside this mega-brewsteraunt. Second, their website makes you answer if you are above 18 to enter (which I think is the equivalent to asking a murderer if he killed someone. Useless), and third, well, some of their beers really, truly suck. One note I have is “like accidentally pouring your stale morning coffee into your warm beer” and another is “most likely something that goes into the car”. That’s not to say that some beers weren’t good, they were, but it was definitely hit or miss here, kinda like waking up the morning after a rave meeting the person lying next to you in bed. Could go either way.

BLACK SKY

When you think beer you obviously think death metal, right? Of course… Danzig and doublebocks, Sepultura and saisons. Black Sky was one of TWO metal breweries we went to. The irony? All their beer was extremely light. I mean like O’Doul’s light. Still, points on the cross-over factor, and still waiting for a French Ya-Ya brewery. Investors call me when you’re ready.

CROOKED STAVE

Crooked stave is an interested lil brewery located way outside town, literally on the other side of the tracks, in a strange lil complex called “The Source“. It’s kinda like a pop-up destination; a modern strip mall, if strip malls were built by community conscious hipsters. What is different about Crooked Stave is pretty much everything. I’m sure it said “beer” somewhere, and the word “brewery” was outside, but this was not “beer” per se. What we had was an “infusion of brew” with … kombucha. Sit with that. Kombucha beer.

Let’s just say it was not for the faint of heart.

I tell you this… after 3 days we couldn’t touch another beer. Of course we did … our last night we went to the Chop House which was awesome, and yes, they too were a brewery. Like most places have ATMs inside, Denver seems to have breweries, and you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. Keep brewing the liquid gold my Denverinos… and we’ll keep drinking them.

Except you Breckenridge. You know what you’ve done.

Rs

get all wet. songkran.

Bangkok. You know what they say, one night here, and the world is your oyster. Clammy, stinky, and wet; and during the festival of Songkran, it’s just like that. (Long way to go for a Murray Head joke, but worth it I think.)

So yeah, let’s get one thing out of the way: there is a lot of sex around. However, if you’ve travelled a lot, frankly, that’s the boring part. People have lots of different reactions to prostitution; some excited, some terrified, some gratified, some horrified. Frankly, for the one commodity on the planet that anyone can sell, just for being alive, I find it a bit, well, meh.

So lets focus on what makes Bangkok Bangkok other then getting someone to suck your c**k.

First, the hotel. Boom.

The Sukhothai Hotel, besides being fun to say, was a stunner. Big, beautiful, overly graceious. The staff was warm and extremely helpful, The rooms were stunning, modern and with a toilet that wiped your ass for you. Oh, the breakfast buffet was bar none one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to graze. If you go, stay here; it’s near Lumpini park, perfectly away from the chaos of old downtown, and easy to get to from the airport. A tripple play.

Perhaps the coolest thing this chichi hotel did was give us a “Songkran Survival Kit”…

songkran

A beautiful malai (flower ring) and khan (metal bowl) along with chalk to bless objects and people (usually I dont like to consider people objects, unless it’s fun, like slapping chalk on them). The kit is supplied so that you can perform nam om, the water ritual, where you are blessing someone by sprinkling water on them. Of course, this is an ancient ritual, and after years of evolution, along with the advent of RedBull, today it looks a little something like this:

songkran

I had heard that the entire city comes out to play in a giant game of waterfight. What I didn’t realize is that no one was exaggerating when they said the entire city.

I had my doubts that it would live up to the hype, but honestly, this was above and beyond what I expected. It is the strangest sensation to roll around a huge metropolis, squirting the shit out of everybody and anyone, and they enjoy it. No one is safe; people in tuk-tuks, the dude selling fruit, even the cops, if you can see one in the sea of people. Amazing.

Of course a day of all out warfare made us quite hungry… luckily there was plenty to eat on the streets.

Delicious ramen with savory broth, grilled and splayed chicken, and lots of fresh veggies and fruit all over the place. In a word… heaven… After a good two hours we were soaked to the bone and well fed, which looks a little something like this:

Ladies… remember to not wear white cotton;)