Why being a Roman is the best.

Spoiler alert: you can be a Roman too.

So, yes, my father is from the city of Rome. He grew up at Via del Babuino 135 which, if you are good with Google, can see is right next to the Spanish Steps. He doesn’t get much more Roman; he has the nose, the quiet confidence of a cultured man, and thinks being Roman is better then being any other thing.

This is not the Roman I am talking about however.

I love my dad, and yes, being from the city of Rome can be very fortunate, surrounded by some of the most prolific art, culture and food the world has to offer. The Roman I speak of is Ancient Rome, and the concept they had about being a citizen of “Rome”, which is more of a concept then a location.

I just got finished watching Mary Beard’s “Ultimate Rome without Limits” which you can watch for free on YouTube and regardless if you are interested in history should. It’s an amazing series that quickly and succinctly puts in perspective just how impressive a feat of culture Rome was. I started watching it because I just finished the ridiculously long Ken Burns series on the Civil War, with 9 episodes well over 10 hours covers just 5 meager years, made me wonder who was the Ken Burns for Ancient Rome, which spanned a millennium. The answer was Mary Beard, and while I like Burns, Mary gets right to the good stuff, at the center of which is the Roman’s main gift to their world domination: citizenship.

Yes, Rome had slaves, yes it was rife with war, and sure a ton of raping and pillaging. There is no easy or right way to conquer a people. One thing however they did differently than any other empire of its time; instead of forcing their culture on their conquest, they let them flourish, to be their own people, and only give them infrastructure and civilization. This is the idea of being a Roman, it is effectively what I’ve always called being a citizen of the world.

The Romans began shrouded in mystery. The story of Romulus and Remus is legendary, two boys discarded on a river bank because their uncle feared they would upserp him once grown, only to be succled by a she-wolf (or prostitute, depending on how you translate “Lupa”) to eventually found the city known as Rome, named after the brother who killed the other. The indigenous people, the Etruscans, who were centered north of Rome were early inhabitants, but it’s real boom came from a treaty that started Rome was an open city, and would harbor anyone, regardless of religion, color, or creed. Rome was a proto-NYC melting pot, and extremely liberal one at that.

This idea of incorporation is what let the empire spread so fast and successfully. Every year towns would attack each other, raiding, raping, and pillaging. Rome was different, yes they would raid, rape and pillage, but instead of just leaving to come back the next year, they would make peace with the town, annexing it, and promise not to raid it again. In return the town would be part of Rome and would increase its numbers, specifically, its military force.

So Rome spread from Africa to Britain this way, town to town, building roads and sewers, libraries and forums. It let the people speak their languages, worship their gods, and be who they were, now improved by the advancement of collective culture which is “Rome”. Rome was a concept more then a place, a mear whisper and it would vanish.

Rome in turn would take the culture from its conquered lands, be it architecture from Greece, oil and silver from Spain, or culinary tastes from the East. Thus, to be Roman was not to be from Rome, but to be part of the empire, which meant, to be part of a unified culture.

What is culture? Good question. To me culture is what a group of people agree upon is “good”. That is all. What it does is make life easier for those that are part of the culture. You don’t have to think about the type of foods, the way laws worked, or how life ran. And for most of the world, Roman culture was something that was welcomed.

Proof of this was the desire those had to be a Roman Citizen, which was gained after serving Rome usually as a soldier, and passed on to your wife and children. The benefit was protection, the ability to make legal documents, but moreover, to be unified as a people. To be Roman ment that you were all equal, if you were in some small town in northern Europe or right in the heart of the Forum in Rome, you had the exact same rights. Equality.

This is a beautiful thought to me. I’m sure it is not nearly as rosie in practice as is it’s philosophy, but nevertheless, it is something I truly believe in even since I first started to travel. Having gone to more countries then I have years, something has always been evident to me, that no matter difference in culture I find they are all equally impressive, none more important than another. Sure I was born in NYC, and while I like to think I am a New Yorker, I do so in philosophy not in geography. The idea of New York is one of forging forward, quick thinking, human and connected. One where dreams are put into action, where being part of a melting pot makes you stronger. New York could be anywhere, it’s a state of mind, and in this way being Roman is the same, even if you weren’t born anywhere near Italy.

My father’s pride no doubt stems from growing up in the shadow of the epicenter of this great philosophy, but to me the power of being Roman is that you can do so being from anywhere on Earth as long as you do it together.

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

 

 

20 ’20s phrases we should use in the ’20s

It’s the roaring 20’s and I’m all for it … so here’s 20 phrases from the 1920’s I’m looking forward to bringing back in style in 2020… so here is what I did over the weekend:

I took a jorum of skee before ankling to my hayburner cause Im no wurp, and headed to the sockdollager totes zozzled. I peeped this bearcat rocking a handcuff and being a cake-eater ankled over to her and demanded a gasper in hopes of getting some cash. She turned out to be a real bluenose cancelled stamp who thought me a dewdropper when really Im quite an egg and oliver twist. Getting the icy mit I jumped ship to the petting pantry grabbing a sinker so I didn’t pull a daniel boone on the way. What a night!

1. Ankle: to walk

2. Sockdollager: an event or action of great importance

3. Bearcat: a lively, spirited woman, possibly with a fiery streak

4. Bluenose: term for a prude or individual deemed to be a killjoy

5.. Cancelled stamp: a shy, lonely female, the type one would describe as a “wallflower”

6. Cash: a smooch

7. Cake-eater: in the 1920’s refers to a “ladies’ man”; later, slang for homosexual

8. Dewdropper: like lollygagger, a slacker who sits around all day and does nothing, often unemployed

9. Egg: a person who leads an absurdly wealthy, extravagant lifestyle (see: Gatsby’s “West Egg”)

10. Gasper: cigarette, “fag” (also of the 1920s)

11. Handcuff: engagement ring

12. Hayburner: a car with poor gas-mileage, a guzzler

13. Icy mitt: rejection from the object of one’s affection, as in: “He got the icy mitt.”

14. Sinker: a doughnut

15. Jorum of skee: a swig of alcohol, particularly hard liquor

16. Oliver Twist: an extremely good dancer.

17. Petting pantry: a cinema or movie theatre

18. Pull a Daniel Boone: to upchuck

19. Wurp: wet blanket or person seen as a buzzkill (see: Debbie Downer)

20. Zozzled: shitfaced

52. Sockdollager: an event or action of great importance

The BEST travel blog vlog youtube channel IN THE WORLD (2019)!

Ok… so maybe I’m biased … but my new travel channel TravelClast is the best travel blog vlog youtube channel IN THE WORLD (2019). Why? Cause we go to all the good places, all the bad places, eat all the good things, and the worst things, and are two idiots living the dream, meaning, you can too. Trust, if we can do it, you can too. That’s inspiration (seeing other people fail at what they love to do and still succeed. #truth)

Anyway, I do hope if you dig the trailer you check out some of our videos and hopefully subscribe! Would love to hear what you think!

Much love!

Rob from TravelClast

Stay the FUCK OUT OF BARCELONA.

OF all the places we went, Barcelona, by far WAS THE WORST.

What a horrible place, full of narly Spanish people, all their food was fried in oil that tasted like hair cream, and the city, wow, I mean overrun by crime, and just a horrible horrible place. We couldn’t get out of their fast enough.

Bottom line, DO NOT GO TO BARCELONA. PLEASE. STAY AWAY. DO NOT GO.

Thanks.

JOIN THE CLAST!

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/travelclast
Instagram: @TravelClast
Twitter: @ClastTravel
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TravelClast
Blog: http://www.cineclast.com
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

Secret Sushi by Bou EXPOSED!

Ok it’s not that exciting, but it is a hellovalotta fun.

sushi by bou serrini david bouhadana

So my friend about two months ago said “clear the night of the 25th. We’re going for secret sushi.” I did, I forgot about, a chime dinged on my phone about two months later and it said “secret sushi” and I had no idea what to expect.

Rolling down on a frost filled evening, cold like the city smoked a menthol, we all congregated in the exquisitely pedestrian lobby of the Hotel 32/32, which if you’ve never heard of, don’t worry, no one else has either. I’m convinced it was named for professional alcoholics as the name is also its address, very convinient.

At some point a woman came up to our party of 4 and said we could go up now to the hotel room. Somewhere, seemingly randomly on the 10th floor we ponied up to a hotel room door. We turned the knob. We entered. We were greeted to this:

sushi by bou-3

My first impression was “Oh, this is something Stephan from SNL would mention. But you know, real.” because here I was, in a sushi restaurant, in a small NYC hotel room. I’m sure you have already read the stories, but honey, trust, you honestly don’t get the full effect till you see it for yourself.

We were seated on a small chaise and given the option between two drinks. They were beautifully crafted and delicious, and the wait staff (of one) was extremely attentive (we were the only customers). When the Itame (sushi chef, I’ll stop now) was ready for us, we saddled up (lots of cowboy references in this post, sorry, last one) to the makeshift sushi bar up against the corner of the room.

It was a very, very, intimate setting.

sushi by bou-11

“Hey folks my name David, I’m a Jewish kid from Long Island, and also your sushi chef!” Perhaps it didn’t come out that succinctly, but that was the quick gist we got within minutes, which I mention because Chef David is really the main course of this dining experience.

It is not strange to me to have a non-Japanese Itame; anyone can learn any trade regardless of race or religion or taste in sports teams, and that is what makes the world great. What I’ve never experienced was such a boisterous, talkative, interactive, salty, wise-cracking, are-you-cooking-for-us-or-eating-with-us, dining experience ever in my life, and this includes eating at home with my Italian mother who talks like a shark swims (i.e. constantly, I give up.) Chef David is an entertainer as much as he is a master sushi chef, and make no mistake, his sushi is spot on. I’ve had the stuff all over the world, from the very finest to the side-liners, and it’s up there at the top. It’s David that adds a special flavor to the meal, one that is very distinct, and perhaps not for everyone, but certainly unique.

The 17 pieces of sushi are prepared in front of you with a constant stream of conversation over the next half hour. David explains not only what your eating, the type of cut, why he likes it, but also where he’s from, how his father used to walk funny, how expensive his knifes are, and what he thinks about Long Island. I should point out that he also mentioned that he’s good at reading the room, “I know when people want to sit in silence and just want to eat, but if I feel like you want convo, I’m more than happy to open up to you.” which I do believe. Chef David is creating an experience that is beyond any other dining experience out there. You simply can’t replicate this, not only just the weirdness of eating in a random hotel room, but also him. He is the main course.

After our carousel of tastes from the sea were concluded, I was able to jump behind the bar with him for a few pics together, which he was more than happy to take. I’ve read a lot about him, his personality, and the trouble he’s gotten in to, but, to me, he just seemed like a guy who is really passionate about creating an experience, and sharing his knowledge in a specific food culture that is very strict and reserved. To that I say good luck my new friend, and if you do get an invite to join him for secret sushi, it’s definitely not to be passed up. How do you go? Good question … but I hear he’s opening one in Miami in Versace’s Mansion, so Floridians prepare.

Rs

 

About:

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 drone operator. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well.

Introducing Vintage Camera Quest.

It’s Memorial Day, and I can’t think of a better day to launch my newest project, the Vintage Camera Quest.

What is it:

I’ve acquired over the years quite a collection of vintage and rare cameras. I love them. I love how they look, what they represent, and what they can do. So instead of letting them just collect dust I’ve decided to use each one for a week, and post a series of photos and a bit of info about the camera on Instagram and on a blog dedicated to the quest:

www.vintagecameraquest.com

I dedicate the quest to my Grandfather who introduced me to photography. I remember him always with some sort of camera around his neck, and it always fascinated me. Decades later I have made it an integral part of not just my career, but my character. Photography defines me as a person, allows me to express myself to the world, and is the basis of how I make a living, supporting me and my family. All this from a foreigner that fought in a war for freedom. For that I am forever grateful, and can only hope he knows truly how much he has done for me.

As a fitting inauguration, I decided to launch with his first camera, which became my first camera, the Kodak Brownie. I decided to post the first roll of film I took with it instead of shooting something new, just because I still had it, which is somewhat of a miracle.

I hope you pop over to the new blog and follow the Instagram account as I will be updating every week for one year. Thats right, 52 cameras, coming at you.

grandpa and me

Thanks again gramps, love you and miss you.

Rs

About:

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 drone operator. His work can be seen at www.robertoserrini.com where he can be contacted as well. The Vintage Camera Quest is an adventure through vintage cameras. Each week he is using one of his 40 collected cameras, developing and posting the experience here. Check him out on instagram @vintagecameraquest or subscribe to his blog www.vintagecameraquest.com – thanks for reading!

Aaron Sorkin’s Master Class

Much like a pair of Ugg’s on blond girl’s named Becky, I’ve been seeing ads for Aaron Sorkin’s Master Class on Scriptwriting everywhere. Obviously the internet knows me better than I do so I decided to watch it. This is my take away.

Aaron Sorkin is friggin’ adorable first of all. Kinda nerdy, kinda a badass, and very cool. Yes, he also knows some things about writing scripts.

What I liked about it was that it was really one successful screenwriters take on how they write. What works, what they look for, where they screw up, etc. It’s not a “this is the bottom line about screenwriting, all these rules must be followed” more like “this is what made me Aaron Sorkin”. So if you like play-like television scripted drama, this is your bang bus.

While watching I decided to take a few notes when something struck me as interesting or funny or both. Enjoy.

 

Advice from the Aaron Sorkin Master Class:

 

  • You have to have conflict. Just a story about a bunch of friends on a road trip isn’t going to get people invested. There has to be conflict. Someone has to be somewhere on a certain date, and everything goes against that happening. Conflict.
  • Press on it. Is the conflict strong enough. If 20 dollars or a phone call will fix the conflict, it’s not great enough. Never has it been said the obstacle is too great. They also don’t have to win. They just have to try.
  • Set up intentions. Have your character say “I want” or “I need”. This is an easy way to tell the audience what we’re in for.
  • Stories involve motion. If it’s not moving then you don’t need it.
  • Probable improbability is better than an improbable probability. The fact that ET will follow a trail of Recess Pieces is a probable improbability that the audience will entertain. The possibility that a detective on a job is the only person the FBI can call at that given moment to disarm a bomb is an improbable probability that is just ridiculous and the audience will question. There is a fix though… having the character call it out. “I’m the only person you can call right now?” is all you need. Just have the character validate the improbably probability and all will be forgiven.
  • Odd numbers and words with a K in them are funny.
  • Aaron Sorkin does not know how to pronounce modernity.
  • Aristotle is God and Poetica is his bible.
  • Clear intention and obstacle is the root of story.
  • Sorkin doesn’t visualize his scripts. He hears them. He writes as little description as possible. He relies on the Director to bring the visualization and the actor to bring the intention. His scripts are around 180 pages long therefor and still run 2 hours or less.
  • Paraphrasing here, but when things are shitty, you are just more honest. You just don’t have the energy to sugar coat life, or your writing. So struggle is important for a writer/artist. That bartending job is actually doing you good.
  • Why martin sheen smoked on the west wing as the president. (made him human)
  • Although he talks a lot on the Bush / Gore race, the comments he makes about a country divided make more sense now than ever, as if we are reliving a more vibrant moment in history.
  • Dialogue is music…the same rules apply. This reminds me of an Italian teacher that asked why Italian was generally so pleasing to the ear. The answer was in the word “melodia” (melody)… broken out it is “me lo dia” or “speak to me”.
  • No lifelike line of dialogue ever began or ended with the word damn’t.

There you have it folks. Definitely worth the watch, it’s fun, fast, and there is a ton of good take away. He also does a segment with 6 students who read the opening of their scripts and he does a little analysis on them. It’s worth watching a master find the good and the bad in young writers.

Thanks Aaron Sorkin. Thanks for the walk and talk. You’re the bomb.

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.

Travel Man… I Hate You.

Man. You know when something is so good you hate it cause you’re petty, small, and have very low self esteem?

I hate this show.

Travel Man, AKA Richard Ayoade, AKA Moss from IT Crowd, AKA Casey Neistat of Travel Shows, AKA my dream/nightmare, has a dope show where he does 48 hours with famous people in famous cities.

Why is this show amazing? One cause Richard is a genius, comedic and otherwise. Two because they take a piss out of the travel show format, and three because look at that beautiful fucking hair.

travelman

Do a favor, watch an episode. Some are better than others, mainly because the guests are sometimes a little more entertaining than others, but Richard always brings the goods. So far the NYC episode is one of my faves. Start there if you dare get sucked in to a travel time suck.

(Here it is on YouTube if Channel 4 doesn’t play in your country)

 

 

Eat Me: Tsuru TonTan Udon NYC

Yo. I’m Italian. Noodles? Yeah I got your noodles right here.

Lemme tell you. Tsuru make some lip smacking strings of delight that even my Sorrentina Momma would get down with.

img_3050

This udon joint, on 16th just west of Union Square, took over a beloved space which shall go unmentioned, and opened its slick, modern subterranean interior to the hungry masses of NYC this winter. The old tenant, despite it’s Godlike status, I doubt it will be missed as the noodles here are made on site, by hand, and can’t get in your face fast enough.

screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-2-19-28-pm

Flavor? Oh hell yeah. I had the Sukiyaki for lunch. The waitress asked if I wanted thin or fat noodles. Pro tip: ask for extra fat. She just nodded with that wink cool kids give you and shuffled off. In a few minutes before me was presented a beautiful bowl, the kind you would buy your girlfriend for a birthday if you were planing on staying together with her. Inside was sizzling, yo, SIZZLING noodles in thick sauce. scattered pieces of tender meat, woodsy mushrooms, bright scallions, and were those perfectly caramelized onions like they hijacked an In-and-Out burger? Yeah, yeah they were.

On top… a golden orb of a perfectly fresh egg yolk. Lets begin.

Mixing it up we get the creamy consistency of really good sex, or, carbonara in Rome. The smell, sweet and sultry, and the texture, dear Lord, the texture like one of those memory foam pillows you can eat. The flavor is out of this world, familiar and foreign, kinda like a Philly Cheese steak done by Jean Georges. We all know it’s master Tomoya Tamaru rocking the taste buds, and this his first US extension of his well-known Japanese noodle joint will hopefully be a Union Square staple for a while. Given the busy crowd of 95% Japanese people I’d say we’re on the money.

Cant say enough about this place. Apparently Eater and the NYT can’t either. I just happen to be passing by, but will definitely stop back in to try some of their more unique flavors. Welcome to NYC Tom, we love ya!

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.