Immerse Yourself in a Mind-bending Museum Experience at the Hirshhorn in Washington DC.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence and 7th st SW
ww.hirshhorn.si.edu

Washington DC is just lousy with museums, from the Museum of the American Indian, to the International Spy Museum to a bevy of Smithsonian museums that bloom in the city, but one for me rises to the category of must see, and that is the Hirshhorn Museum of contemporary art. Here you can submerge in the genius of Bradford, Anderson, Kusama, Kruger, and Bhabha who’s large scale works will simply astound you. What’s more dizzying is that since it is a national museum it is completely free to enjoy, making it all that more brilliant. First I got to take in Barbara Kruger who is an artist that understands the power of words but definitely doesn’t understand my hair. I’ll let it slide. Gliding onward I passed into the Laurie Anderson Porthole and entered her world saturated with multimedia art. Anderson is perhaps the most prolific avant-garde artist of our time and to experience her expression up close and personal is extremely transformative. The Hirshhorn is a perfect vessel for her work given its flowing, circular layout, allowing you to drift from one immersive piece to another seamlessly like dialing in radio stations in an old car. Here you literally become a piece of the art as it consumes you, having a very Alice in Wonderland experience as Anderson welcomes you to play with scale in her work. I closed out the mindwalk being blown away with one of my favorite anti-artist, Marcel Duchamp, the pioneer behind the Dada art movement in the early part of the 20th century. Since his playful saltiness that cracks the concept of what art should be is a foundation for so many well known modern movements,  I was completely surprised to find a brilliant piece that I’ve never seen before, a display with the art completely void, so simple and such a brilliant example of what the Dadaist stood for, that I was completely crestfallen to discover the piece was just on loan, and not on purpose. Hey I’m a travel writer not an art critic, sue me. 

The Best Little Walk in all of Washington DC.

Walking Logan to Dupont

DC is a neighborhood town built to be explored by foot. One favorite area to hoof between is Logan to Dupont where you will be gifted many a unique sight like a garden full of mutilated Barbie dolls. Yes my friends over at  @Atlas Obscura  (https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/barbie-pond)  tipped me off to this diorama of, quote, “rotating cast of guys and dolls”, that is curated by an anonymous party offering a jaunty and festive display of Barbie’s that evolves year round, and immediately brings a smile to anyone that happens upon it. Their strong Instagram game (https://www.instagram.com/barbie_pond_ave_q/?hl=en) with over 26 thousand followers boasts that Barbie pond is “bringing Logan Circle property values down since 2014” but raising spirits exponentially to me. 

Hungry after such an art viewing stopping at Nina May (1337 11th st NW http://www.ninamaydc.com/) is a must which in my humble opinion offers the best ambiance and best brunch in DC  hands down. From their pallet splitting fresh cocktails to insanely fresh and creative takes on haute cuisine comfort food, you can bask in ambrosia glory sampling sweet and savory flavors from around the world. 

Now to get the experience of working off a delightfully heavy meal without, you know, any of the physical activity, it’s recommended to stop by the Shaw Skate Park (1528 11th st NW https://shawskate.splashthat.com/) to see some of DC’s slickest practice their craft out in the open. 

Now crossing over into the brackish chic neighborhood of Dupont we hit up one of the city’s lesser known but fascinating museum, the Phillips Collection (1600 21st st NW https://www.phillipscollection.org/) which has the honor to be America’s first museum of modern art founded in 1921. This institution devotes itself to furthering the conversation of diversity in the arts, and on our visit, we got to explore the works of Alma W. Thomas who was the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum at age 81. Better late than never I suppose Whitney museum, but thankfully the Phillips has their sights set on celebrating those underappreciated geniuses. 

I dunno about you but amazing art makes me hungry which is why a Michelin star rated Unconventional Diner (1207 9th street https://www.unconventionaldiner.com/)  is the next mandatory stop. While this instagrammer wet dream might ward off hard core dinner fans with their crafty cocktails, you will not be disappointed by the elevated grub here. Large format plates are the taste du jour at the unconventional diner, with a chicky sandwich that delivers, and a French Dip poutine that would make any Québécois say mon due that’s good. 

Fully loaded on the world’s richest dishes, it was time to walk it off once again, this time in a 4 floor mansion that may or may not be haunted. The Mansion on O Street (2020 o street https://www.omuseum.org/) may not have the most unique name, but definitely offers a singular experience, unless you personally know an uber rich hoarder with a playful obsession with secret doors. Here, after a short training video, you are let loose in this 108 room Victorian mansion that boasts over 70 hidden doors that you are dared to find. Most people only find 4, probably because the other 66 are hidden behind all the clutter, all of which is for sale. Yes, you can buy anything you see, you’re welcome. Frankly, this quote-unquote museum is a violent mix between an overactive swapmeet and your Aunt Peggy’s forgotten hoarder attic, and while not everyone’s cup of tea it is without question one of the strangest places I’ve ever witnessed. There is so much more to see in DC, but unfortunately we got lost somewhere between the 3rd and 4th floor and have been stuck here for about a month, please send help.

Oil Sick: Our addiction to fossil fuels.

A few years ago I read David Rosenberg’s piece on Photog Blake Little’s “Preservation”series and It inspired me to do something similar… except as a comment on our deteriorating global condition drowning in our addiction to fossil fuels.

The result is “Oil Sick”. Together with the help of the amazing model VikTory we entered the FD Studios in LA and started to explore drowning in oil. I wanted to capture something haunting, striking, and metaphorically powerful. Fortunately VikTory embodied the material and space and really brought this piece to life.

https://vimeo.com/375514217

The technical of it was a lot of industrial grade Molasses, shot on a Canon 5DIII and Sony FS700 in DNG. Fortunately Molasses is fantastic for your skin and easy to wash off. If only crude oil was the same.

As Greenland becomes green, the Northwest passage no longer seals itself off from the world, and global temperatures rise it is impossible not to be acutely aware of what we’ve already done to our home. She is our mother, our sister, our love, and we need to protect her at all cost, all of us. Those Tesla cyber trucks can’t come quick enough;)

Rs

 

 

I Hate I love Hudson Yards. Escape from NYC 2019.

Anyone familiar to NYC knows that malls aren’t common-place. You have your infamous shopping districts like soho, or your defunct Manhattan Mall where you can buy knock off Nikes and Hotdogs-on-a-stick, but a high end, fashion forward shopping mall is just something that Manhattan hasn’t supported, until now.

As a native New Yorker I hated Hudson Yards before it was even built. The idea of modern cathedral to illusive brands in the heart of what used to be the grit and grime of a soulful section of town was just footnote to the long diatribe about how Time’s Square used to be cool before Disneyfication. Anyone with proper experience will tell you it is easier to get an airline to wave a baggage fee then to have a New Yorker change their mind, yet here I was, upon first viewing of the glorious Hudson Yards, genuflecting as a complete convert. To my right was a frankly fighting concert hall with a retracting roof that looked like something out of a Michael Bay film. In front of me was a gleaming steel and glass palace to the finest retail humans could waist their hard earned coin on. At the center was, well, the Hive, the Giant Shawarma, the Mothership; a walkable art installation named “The Vessel” whose purpose was simply to amaze, and it does.

Dashing inside the mall you will encounter a shopping district similar to the grand concourses found in Singapore or Jakarta. Extremely exclusive shops, and high end restaurants inhabit the wide marble births of this cavernous 5 story womb to commerce. You can find anything here, from fashion to fragrance, candy to cars, and lots to nibble on in between. While you can opt for the extravagance of Milos, one of the finest restaurants in all of Manhattan, my personal favorite is Belcampo, part butcher part italian nibble shop, who’s hamburger is one of my favorites in the city; somehow light and airy while being extremely rich and lush at the same time. It’s best to grab a bite at one of the dozens of eateries before heading out to conquer The Vessel, and interactive art installation by madman Thomas Heatherwick which is comprised of over 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings offering some of the most unique views and instagrammable moments in the world.

I am the first person to admit I am horribly critical of anything new, especially when it changes the landscape of my beloved home NYC. It took me 40 of the 80 landings before I realized what “The Vessel” really offered; a fresh new perspective on a already well tread city. It is easy to make fun of The Vessel; it stands out sorely, serves no immediate purpose, and is for all intensive purposes a piece of pedestrian commercial art. Once inside however all that falls to the waist side as a unique and new view of the great city of Manhattan unfolds in front of you. The platforms form individual viewpoints, perfect picture frames that put you in heaven’s path above the bustling metropolis below. It is difficult, if not impossible to explain the feeling of being part of a piece of art, and a piece of a city, at the same time. Perhaps “purposeful grace” is about as close as I can come to explaining the calm satisfaction being in The Vessel.

It must be said that those who control the admittance do a fine job not to crowd the experience, giving you a timed ticket that you must procure ahead of time to enter the artpiece. Once inside you are left to your own devices, and while there are a decent amount of photofiends and instagrannys floating around, there seemed to always be enough space to make your digital mark online.

Hudson Yards is a mall. It has shops, restaurants, and corporate artwork. While it may not be the independent, born from strife and passion attraction that New York prides itself on, it is perhaps the best example of what commercial city planning can offer to an otherwise defunct section of a city. If nothing less, it offers some pretty good instagram moments and one hell of a burger.

Rs

 

How WOW Air did it different.

Last summer, a friend of mine and I won a contest from WOW air to travel the world and make films for them. Half a year later they abruptly cancelled all service. Coincidence?

Dear God I hope so. One thing I can say having worked closely with them is that WOW certainly did things differently, for better or worse. There were aspects of their corporate culture that were mind-blowing in how relaxed, open-minded, and forward thinking they were. They had all the flexibility and energy of a kid right out of college, and were a company that acted on passion and creativity, which is exactly what this contest embodied to me.

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I’m not sure if this was meant to be ironic…

The question I get the most from colleagues is “why the hell would I want to win such a contest? You’re an established commercial director, and you are basically making content for a brand for free”. They have a point; this type of contest was perhaps geared toward a much younger, novice filmmaker/traveler, but fortunately for me I have a standing mentality of a 25-year-old, which comes from a serious amount of meditation and training (e.g. I still drink Car Bombs on dates). I have always been electrified by travel, with the same level of excitement as a 16-year-old Robby going to backpack through Europe for the first time, however, what I had now is the experience and skill of  professional working in advertising, which was really driving my curiosity to see how this project would work.

Brands going directly to content creators is a trend that is seriously disrupting the advertising industry, and this contest was. This type of “direct to source” work is as interesting to me as it is frightening. As a content creator it’s liberating; to be able to take a vision without compromise to completion, without the sometimes sluggish weight of an agency weighing you down. At the same time the structure and machine that is an agency or creative production company is an extremely important resource in creating top quality content, as is the support you get in bringing an idea to life. Either way this trend wasn’t diminishing any time soon, so I was eager to see exactly what it could produce.

It was clear to me from the beginning that the real prize of this contest was being able to create a large body of work for a global brand without compromise. WOW gave us full autonomy, to a concerning point even. They gave us the login information to their Instagram, YouTube, and Website, and told us to post images and videos when we wanted, without review. No review? It’s like I had died and went to editor heaven, which scared the bejeezus out of me a bit. Regardless it was clear that we could make this project anything we wanted it to be, so we decided to push it right to the limit.

As a travel writer I am acutely aware of how the internet has created this echo chamber for travel experiences. As soon as something “hot” hits the scene, there are thousands of articles and videos about it, creating an unnatural surge to that destination, be it a city, restaurant or even dish on a menu (I’m looking at you Burger at the Brindle Room). This is the dark side of travel journalism, a power so great that it can destroy the very thing you wish to share with the world. So, in a conscious effort to bring something novel but equally amazing to our audience, we wanted to focus on experiences that were more enigmatic and authentic. To do so, we reached out to locals through WOW’s extensive social media network which proved to be our golden ticket.

Being able to be in direct communication with our actual audience is a dream any marketer or creative wishes to never wake from. We were able to ask actual locals where they go, eat, and see, places and experiences that you won’t find (yet) written up about on giant opinion generators like Yelp or TripAdvisor. This was the real deal, and would allow us to create a library of unique quality content so prolific that it could be the answer to any travelers query, covering must sees, must eats, must drinks, oddities and tips and not be just an echo of what was already out there.

HOW WE WON A “DREAM JOB”.

Last June, while doing research for a travel show that partner Brad Stuart and I were producing in NYC, we came across this contest from WOW Air. The prize was an apartment in Reykjavik for the summer, 140 USD per diem, and hotel accommodations in the 8 cities they would fly us to making travel films for them. I had just bought the new Sony A7rIII and wanted to field test it for the show we were working on, so we entered. 30k other people did as well. We ended up winning with this film:

 

To say we were surprised is an under-statement. There were so many fantastic entries, from so many fantastic hosts, many of which with Instagram and YouTube followings well beyond ours. We were so shocked that when we got the call from WOW the first question we asked was why they chose us. They said they were not looking for a large social media following, but rather for a team that had a real passion for travel with the ability to produce high quality content. Flattery will get you everywhere WOW.

While we were extremely grateful, we still had to give it a good think if we should accept; it would mean leaving our lives for three months, not being able to work on paid projects, and would leave our NYC apartments vacant while still having to pay rent. Boo hoo I know, but realistically the per diem they offered would only cover basic costs on the road, not living expenses or rent back home, so. if we were going to commit, we really had to do something special with the opportunity that would be valuable to us

We decided we would need to produce a large catalogue of quality content that would explore places and experiences that were different from all the other travel films out there. The style and personality of this films would be unique as well; a mixture of comedy and reverence, grit and polish to keep viewers surprised and tapped in. These films would be intimate, authentic, and most importantly fun, and collectively would become a well branded showcase to model future work from.

We accepted the prize knowing that this was going to push the limits of what we had produced before, but with the electric excitement of being fueled by doing something you truly love.

SO … NOW WE LIVE IN REYKJAVIK I GUESS?

Just a week later Brad and I were living in Reykjavik, which was incredibly exciting. Packing was an interesting endeavor; squeezing items to live somewhere for 3 months and produce an entire summer campaign into two bags and a personal item really pushed my limits of economy packing. It was such a learning lesson I ended up making a short film for the travel mag I write for that goes over my absolute basics needed to get the job done:

The apartment we were given was a modern, minimalist AirBnB in the “God’s Quarter” right down the street from the outstanding Hallgrimskirkja Church. They furnished the fridge with WOW beer (do I trust an airline that makes beer? Yes, I guess I do) and something called “Hardfisker” which is fish jerky and is as disgusting as it sounds (but somehow better with butter, obviously).

Reykjavik is a fantastic city. Great food, beautiful bay, dynamic culture. Iceland as a whole is a marvelous gem, unique in the world. The locals are a bit over the tourist invasion with good reason, and can be a bit cold at first, but like any culture, with enough smiles (and buying of libations) they would shed their protective husk to reveal their true, friendly character. While we loved going to the public pools, and eating a Hlöllabátar after a night dancing at Pablo Discobar (great name), we really didn’t have much time to explore our new home as the travel itinerary was aggressive to say the least.

THERE IS NO SET IN JET-SETTING

Boston, Los Angeles, Berlin, St. Louis, Barcelona, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Edinburgh, Brussels, and Amsterdam … we would be in each city for 2-3 days, then fly back to Iceland for 3-4 to edit and plan the next one. This on repeat for nearly 3 months. We wanted to maximize the amount of content we could produce, and really cover as much as possible within that time, so this is what we did:

1. Research

Our main objective was to not be an echo of what was already out there; we wanted to highlight lesser known experiences that defined a city, that actual locals enjoyed. The travel writer in me has a love-hate relationship with the craft; I want to inspire people to travel, but I don’t want to kill the very thing that does the inspiring, which a flood of tourist can easily do.

So we would research the usual suspects like Thrillist, Time Out, Conde Nast, Trip Advisor, even Atlas Obscura for the must-see attractions, but most of our focus came through WOW’s far-reaching social media platform, asking locals what their favorite places were. This got us directly in touch with our audience, giving us unique and really fresh results that hopefully separated our content from the cacophony of ordinary that was already out there.

2. Contact

One asset working with WOW was having a global brand to produce from. There is something very empowering to travel with purpose, meaning, experiencing a foreign culture because it is your job. Being able to call a restaurant, museum or night club and tell them that you’d like to do a travel segment on them for WOW airlines gives you greater access, allowing you to go much deeper into the experience than if we were just a tourists. Experiences like getting the VP of Media Relations to give you a private tour of the Getty Center, learning pole dancing from a world champion, or filming a Michelin Star restaurant that has a staunch no media policy, was much easier with WOW opening the door, and Brad’s confident producing skills. We would end up making hundreds of fantastic connections, and be able to talk with the minds behind the life-changing experiences that make travel magic.

3. Strategize

Once we had our list of targets, ranging from food, to nightlife, to cultural experiences, we would plug them into a Google map like this, labelling each one in their respective category. Terribly boring I know, but this way we could see where in the city everything was, and logistically figure out how to do as much as possible in one day. I really have become my father.

RUN AND GUN WITH PURPOSE

A.B.C. Always Be Capturing

Coming from a documentary and editorial background, I relied on his type of high energy shooting and logging to guarantee we could produce all the films we set out to. The more cities we accomplished the more streamlined our process and gear became, and ultimately the less footage we would need to capture. To give you an idea, for Boston, our first city, we captured around 350 GB of material. Our last city, Stockholm, we topped out at 160 GB. It was like being on that show “The Biggest Loser” but instead of lbs it was kbs (I really have become my father even in humor, it’s official).

The gear we relied on was a Sony A7rIII with the 24-105 lens, an a6300 with a CCTV lens, two Sony lavs, a Rode mic, Mavic drone, and Samsung 360 camera just for fun. In the end we didn’t even bring a tripod because the stabilization on the camera and in post is so friggin’ good. With this boiled down amount of gear we could still keep it fluid and fast, but be able to produce the high quality content that we were after.

Each night we would dump and back up the media, and bring it into Premiere. The camera created proxies on the fly so we could easily deliver in glorious 4k while editing on a Macbook Pro. We would then write scripts for each episode, and record them into a pillow fort/sound booth on our Reykjavik kitchen table. I would mainly be cutting any waking hour we weren’t traveling, and Brad was in charge of producing, and distributing content on-line. We had fever dreams, never knew if it was day or night (mainly because the sun doesn’t set in Iceland in the summer), and forgot where we lived many times, but really could not have been happier.

THE END RESULT

10 cities, 3,149 photos, 2.5 TB of data, 1 tattoo, and 38,675 miles later we really couldn’t be prouder of the work we completed over the summer. We successfully produced over 100 full films for WOW Air in just over 3 months. If you’re doing the math that’s around 3 films a day. Some will say #shopped but the proof lives on the website travelguide.wowair.com – and we will be launching our own YouTube channel TravelClast this year with these films and many more.

For two people who love to suck the marrow out of the world of travel, I don’t think we left a morsel on the bone to pick. It saddens up deeply to see WOW air be gone in a flash, and really cannot believe that the “happy Icelandic low-fare airline” is no longer around to shuttle bargain savvy travelers to destinations usually unobtainable at such low costs. To us they were a visionary company that for better or worse moved boldly toward novel innovation without hesitation or remorse. They were spirited, and every employee we had the opportunity to work with lived with this passionate credo, which was truly refreshing to be part of. We’re just so thankful to have had the opportunity, and hope the work lives on like personal memories that can be enjoyed by anyone with a desire and passion for travel.

-Rs

About:

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

Follow him @serrini

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!

freeman’s social club. the perfect day.

May 23rd. The day we celebrate Dave Hanson Day.

Never heard of Dave Hanson Day? Never heard of Dave Hanson? pshaw. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a Dave Hanson. He’s the guy that drinks you past the breakup, jumps your broken down CJ-7 at 6am, and can sit in silence with you filling the empty spaces with solid companionship.

In short, he is your best friends.

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Sure, your Dave Hanson might be a Mike Johnson, or perhaps an Ellie Moss, of even a Chia Beng Xiao (it’s more popular then you think). No matter what you call your best friends, May 23rd is the day to celebrate them.

This all started because Dave was getting married, and to celebrate the occasion we thought it would be nice to do an extravagant “Gentleman’s Afternoon” out on the town. I had seen an interesting little package, set up by the fantastic UrbanDaddy people, for an all inclusive “manuxuary” afternoon, at the one and only, Freeman’s Social Club.

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The package included a made-to-measure custom suit, a shave and a haircut at their bespoke barber shop, and fancy cigar and whiskey tasting in the back alley, a.k.a. Freeman’s. It’s about as perfect an afternoon could get. So us three – myself, Mr. Dave Hanson, and the impeccable Christopher “Sully” Sullivan, made our way over to the meca of man.

Freeman’s Social Club is the kind of place that the fabric of dreams are made of. Tucked away off Bowery in the LES, this little shop is the birthplace of a sharp new look, the Bethlehem of the hem if you will. A smattering of vintage motorcycles, tattered Americana bric-a-brac, and perfectly patina’d objet d’art line the corners of the store as you pay homage in this cathedral of cloth (last one I swear.). The fabrics are nothing less than the finest you can find in the world; Italian silks, Tunisian linens and Japanese cottons in colors so genuine and subtile that Caravaggio would have used them as his pallet.

Basically there is cool shit everywhere.

Which makes you feel cool. Very cool. Old playboys, tailor’s tools, and even gun casings can be found perfectly thrown around the store, as if you were in your grandfather’s basement, if your grandfather was Hemingway, and this was his hunting lodge that he shared with the Dos Equis guy. Stay fashionable my friends.

What’s more is the staff is as cool as their domain, going above and beyond the norm of service only helps you on your cool assent. Handing them the UrbanDaddy certificate was all it took for them to basically take care of everything, which is exactly how you’d want it to be. They showed us around, made us comfortable, and did so without being phony, but more like a friend that invited you to swing by their shop… you know, the one that sells 3,000.00 suits. Good friend to have.

We met our master tailor who we called Papito. A thick Cuban accent and a swagger that only comes with doing a trade for decades, Papito was our salty Virgil we followed through this elite world of fashion. We dove right in looking at swatches, deciding on the best color scheme and coolest cut that would make Dave look almost as good as his beautiful bride to be. For the next hour we discussed stitching, linings, vents and button placement, and I channeled my Italian father who taught me everything I know about how to look good in a suit. The two cornerstones of a good suit repeated in my mind: look for “the line” in the cut, and secondly, a jacket’s length should come down to the bottom of your balls. Or it might be thumbs, really it’s the same.

Having exhausted the possibilities and Dave feeling successfully dapper, they ushered us next door to the back alley bar where we would have a bit of the brown elixir and cigars. We delighted ourself on the rye, and took some memorable, albeit 80’s boy-band-esque pictures in the alley as we waited for the grooming portion of the afternoon.

(we decided our band would be named “Monsignors of Love ft. DJ Scratchatory Rape”)

Freeman’s Barber Shop is a place that occupies the space between new and old, classic and modern, cool and pedestrian. It’s simple inside; clean unfinished wood beams and frosted white lights give it the appearance that the Amish built this barbershop. The selection of hipster beards in the joint only added to the Mennonite mis-en-cine, but one thing is overtly clear; they are very serious about making you look perfect. Not good, perfect.

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Everything about the experience was done with the skill of a master craftsman, but with the panache of Williamsburg bartender, sorry, mixologist. Our master barber assessed Dave’s nappy beard and plainly shaved head. “Do you wash your beard every day?” he asked Dave. “Yes.” Dave said, somewhat defensive. “Don’t.” said our piloculturalist, “Let the natural oils of your face keep your beard safe. The natural reds in your hair will come out, it will be healthier, and look more vibrant. virile.” Dave never had thought of his beard as virile, but immediately liked the idea, as if his beard could fight a bull, or maybe rebuild a carburetor. “Also, I see you probably use a #2 on your head here. I’m gonna go down to a #1 on the sides here, and fade it in the back. You won’t notice much today, but in 2 weeks, you’re gonna see the difference.” None of us can wait to see what the hell is going to happen in 2 weeks.

The shave was excellent. Our barber was a master, having grown up in a barber shop himself. These weren’t kids with jobs, these were artists with residencies. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to my old-school barber on 46th and 9th ave in Hell’s Kitchen. Henry is 78 years old and has been using the same blade since Truman was in office. The difference here is that Freeman’s has the same love and nonchalant execution, but done in a way that is much more, well, cool. I mean, they have a fully stocked bar. Henry is usually drunk, but he doesn’t share. These dudes do.

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Cleaned up, suit being sent to the tailor, and having applied and ample dose of social lubricant, the day was a success, as three great friends celebrated the history they have made, and the adventures yet to be had. Such a luxurious afternoon worked up a sizable hunger, so we rolled literally across the street to Loreley, a proper German beer garden. Sitting out back, gently crafting the perfect ratio of sausage to kraut to mustard morsel, we tried to create the perfect bite. We experimented over and over, wiping the blackboard clean each time with a large swig of cold, delicious beer, until we were fully satisfied with the results. Expect them to be published in next month’s Sausagerific Review. (Why, dear God, does that not exist?)

Afterwards we stumbled northward through the city, stopping for a look at all the oddities a great calamity like New York can offer. We enjoyed another quick Instagram fix along Houston, and eventually made it up to Porsena where we ran into owner Sara Jenkins who I’ve had the pleasure to film at her other fab joint Porchetta. Well wouldn’t you know it … it was “Rosay” (That’s Rosé and the month of May mixed together, I figured the explanation was needed) so we indulged; three gents drinking rosé, eating strawberry risotto, and sampling some of Sara’s personal olive oil from her fattoria in Italy. Dandy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

And so, this year’s Dave Hanson Day was a success. There was great food, fun, and drink, and most of all, great company of two great friends, which is really what Dave Hanson Day is all about. #unicornamulet

freemans-3141* The author, Roberto Serrini, was in no way paid to write this review or has any affiliation with any business written in this article. What was written is just the opinion of his. That being said the day was awesome, and if you get the chance, I suggest going to enjoy any of these dope places.

** all photographs were taken with a lowsy iPhone and retouched afterwards.

*** Roberto Serrini loves a well placed semi-colon.