2019 Mermaid Parade Video.

The Coney Island Mermaid parade is by far one of our most favorite parades with colorful (but barely covering) costumes, lots of music, and silly fun. It’s also in one of the most unique and weird corners of NYC, Coney Island, which has been restored to its former glory with lots to do, see and eat. We take a ride on the Cyclone, a 100 year old wooden roller coaster which is absolutely terrifying, hit up Totonno’s for the best pizza in America, and even down a classic Eggcream like Im my grandfather in 1932. Enjoy!

 

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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

Jellyfish Bar Manila

I’ve seen a few unique bars in my life … there is Harley’s Hard Rock in Yellowknife, the northern most strip club bar in the world. There is the Caverna Antica in Ischia which is in an old Roman wine grotto that you have to spelunker to. The one that might be the most mind blowing is simply atop the I’m Hotel in Manila, where a thousand jellyfish wait to drink with you.

I didn’t know that Jellyfish could be such a rewarding drinking buddy. Their, wandering, devil may come lax attitude makes sipping a cold Singapore Sling while watching their slow mo dance a lot like sharing a cold beer with the Dude. It’s pretty chill.

Turn around and you are afforded perhaps the best view of Manila that the city has to offer. 360 panorama’s that come alive as the sun sets and the city becomes electric.

Theres lots of great sitting areas, a cool lit wall, and even a pretty decent menu to get your nosh on. Down below the insane Makati streets are teeming with traffic, prostitutes, and hawker stalls, but up here, closer to heaven, it’s just you, your cold drink, and the Jellyfish ballet.

Rs

 

Roberto Serrini is a professional Filmmaker 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.

Sexiest Camera Strap EVER.

So, you got into photography because you want to impress chics (or dudes). Obviously. Well let me tell you something, you haven’t even scratched the surface of your game unless you own a HoldFast Gear Money Maker Dual Camera Harness.

HoldFast Gear Money Maker Two-Camera Harness (Water Buffalo, Tan, Medium Size)

It’s a mouthful. (that’s what (s)he said).

What is this? Camera strap or male lingerie? Well, it’s both. And yes, I sleep with it on. Frequently.

I first saw this little hottie in the wild at a wedding of two of my more fashionable friends (both are very successful creative directors for a very famous agency in Amsterdam, so you can imagine this wedding was designed within an inch of it’s life and was GORE-JUSS right down to the wedding photographer’s camera straps. Respect). I had never seen such a good looking photographer, ever. Rocking his Jack Spade with a perfectly argan oiled beard, he was drifting ever so elegantly between guests, cameras like pearl earrings (vintage) dangling ever so provocatively from his side. What was keeping them on his person was an amazing piece of hardware, that looked like it went into a cedar chest at the end of the night that he had whiddled by hand with his grandfathers bowie knife. GORE-JUSS.

Damn thing was 260 bucks.

Now, I’m not sure what I was expecting, and was somehow relieved that it was justifiably expensive. It should be expensive. Not only is it a piece of art on its own, but it’s holding your most fragile equipment (which makes me think that I’m not spending enough on underwear as I write this). My camera, with glass on it, is well into the thousands of dollars, so 300 bucks is nothing to have the privilege to hold my livelihood.

But how does it work?

Pretty damn well. Wearing it not only effectively take the burden off your neck and distributes it equally to your back, but you feel like a hard boiled detective who needs to go see about a dame. It comes in a variety of leathers, and finishes. I opted for the American Water Buffalo because, I mean, c’mon, just saying American Water Buffalo is a panty dropper. It looks like Theodore Roosevelt made the damn thing with his hands, and it’s so well built that you will probably opt to use it in a bar fight over a broken bottle.

The latch that actually holds the camera is a solid piece of hardware. So solid in fact that you need two hands to release/attach it to the harness, which isn’t the greatest when you are used to the ease of a carabiner and bungie strap. That said, the confidence I felt having it securely attached to my side made up for the extra seconds of setup. I could easily ride my fixie to Blue Bottle, or print out a few flyers on my home letterpress without feeling like my camera would drop to the floor.

The action, meaning the moment of the camera from the passive to ready to shoot position, is pretty smooth and a perfect distance from your face. One issue I had, that I had read about, was that the ring can get caught in your shirt. This is true. I was wearing a cotton T-Shirt as it was laundry day, so perhaps the strap did not like it. I will try again with my selvedge denim bespoke dress shirt tomorrow. Perhaps a tweed had will make a difference.

IMG_1339

But honestly who gives a damn! Have you seen this thing? It should come with a case of contraceptive cause lots of people are going to get very pregnant. Everything about it is fantastic, and the only regret I have is that I didn’t own it sooner as I’m sure its only going to get sexier with time. Much like Monica Bellucci.

Rs

addendum… They also make SICK camera bags that makes you look like a sexy doctor from the 1860’s like you are going to cure someone with tincture of argan and a Zeiss CP2 macro. So sweet.

Goddamn Good Gloves.

So I like bikes, have you heard?

I also like good bike gear.

I really like Grifter. See there is a line, a hair-thin line … a hipster beard hair-thin line, between authentically cool, and skinny-jean fugazi. It’s a hard line to ride and Grifter basically just nails it.

making love to gloves

I mean who is making love to who here? Is he making love to the gloves? Is his beard making love to his face? Or is it just a damn sexy ménage à trios…

I have two pairs of gloves from Grifter, and I’m having a love affair with both of them. The first is the Onyx Ranger Wool Lined Glove (damn sexy name kids), which is basically a selvage denim top and a silky deer skin bottom, and just like you want your transexuals to be, its super versatile; light enough to shove in your pockets, but packing enough protection to keep your little sausages warm.

And did I mention they look like they walked out of Teddy Rosevelts toolbox?

The second pair, which I’ve worn to bed on a few occasions (don’t judge), is the El Blanco (Ok, they’re called “The Blanco” but I’m going spaghetti western on this one). Say, for instance, you wanna floss a bit more. Say you’re into waxed canvas and mexican blanket roll-os. Say you stop right there and just grab a pair. The only thing wrong with this Cone Mills Denim and Bison leather glove is I haven’t owned it for 10 years, because I have a feeling, much like George Clooney, they are just gonna look better in time.

bellucci-and-clooney

(And Monica Bellucci. I mean seriously. Can we get them together for a night?)

Look, gloves are like lovers: you can’t really explain what it feels like when you wear them, you just gotta try them on. So go get your hands laid. They deserve it. And Grifter is basically the high class Monte Carlo hooker of gloves.

Sorry, escort.

Paint. Naked Girl. Shoes. What’s not to love?

It’s fall, and it’s a good time for reflection. So here is a good lesson in humility. Take heed.

Sometimes, I am lucky enough to be brought in a room with a bunch of other creative people and offer an idea to help sell their product. A while back I had a concept for a sexy shoe designer that I thought was particularly cool, if not sexy and cool. A winning combo. So I brought it in to an agency.

Here was the concept: a painter wakes up and seems to start painting a picture of his girl still lying in the bed. His brushstrokes wake the woman, and she begins to stretch and move in the bed, as if the brushstrokes are driving her. Soon the energy is frantic, and the paint on the canvas is now dripping on the woman in bed, as if the painter is magically painting her. The paint flows down her body onto her foot where it begins to form a shoe. The colorful shoe forms, she walks off, the shoe still “wet” from being painted leaves bright puddles of paint behind. The painting is revealed: he was never painting the woman, he was painting the shoe. Yes, the shoe, like the woman, is a work of art.

It’s a little Skinamax meets Twilight Zone, or Terry Richardson meets M.Night if you want to sound more smhat-like. Regardless, it was a simple, clean idea, that was visually beautiful, much like the dope shoes that Atwood designs. Lots of bright South Beach color against porcelain skin, sexy-euro undertones, and a wink at the end. All solid elements for eye-catching spot, or at least I thought. I brought it into the room and pitched the hell out of it (I was watching Mad Men at the time and was inspired to say the least, and yes I was wearing a hat) and the meeting went great. I actually got… applause. I thought, “oh, this went well.”

Then no one called. No one wrote. We called. We asked. Nothing was said. Someone was out-of-town, money was tied up, timing wasn’t right. After a month or so we stopped calling. I guess they didn’t like the idea that much, and didn’t think much of it, as these thing happen in the ad world. So be it.

Then, one day, in the back of the cab, I saw this:

Now… I believe in String Theory, so technically it is “possible” that someone else had the exact same idea as I had, usually though, it would be in a parallel universe and not my own. Nevertheless it stirred something inside of me. It was strange to see something you thought of done by someone else. The core concept was there, visually it looks fantastic, but I felt that the heart, the soul of it, and mainly the story, were gone. So I decided to remake my own commercial on my own dime:

I will be honest with you; it wasn’t out of hurt or some sense of revenge that made me want to remake the spot. It’s not like being dumped and then finding a supermodel to make love to, and posting it all over Facebook to show your ex that I was doing not just “fine”, but better, and the supermodel was rich and totally into me, and bi-sexual, very bi-sexual. It was something else, something that really comes out of the love of an idea, and hear lies the point:

If you work in an industry where it is your job to come up with ideas, you must resign that your ideas are not your own, and in so, people cannot steal them. They can hear them, and they can make their own versions of them, but your idea really doesn’t exist until you execute it. Until then, it’s just cosmic current moving creativity along, shared by everyone.

Some producers and account people at the office I worked at were not as zen as I was about this, and I suppose that is to be expected. I mean, we are a business providing a service, so it’s never nice to see your commodity taken from you. That however was not my concern, and honestly, I loved seeing how two people can take one concept and execute them totally differently. I immediately thought of Gus Van Sant remaking Psycho, or even better, my main man Haneke remaking his own film, Funny Games (seriously, go see Cache RIGHT NOW). Perspective like this is something that artists struggle with all the time since it is very hard to judge if you could have done something different, and if it would be better or worse. This was, in effect, a gift.

So what’s my take? Well, I don’t think one film is better then the other. I think that each film is totally different, with amazing qualities in different areas. For me, it really taught me how two different creative minds can birth a concept so obtusely, and how the same idea can be marketed to two very different segments. It’s not something they teach you in school, nor is it something you can easily learn out in the world, but when it does happen, it is a very sobering moment, at least on a creative tip.

In the end, I’m really happy the film I made because it came from a place where the best ideas should come from; the desire to make something exist. If necessity is the mother of all creation, it would stand reason that all the people who helped bring it to life did so for passion, not paycheck. We shot it at my office, on a 5D, with two friends. The painter, is a super talented editor Richard Mettler who isn’t even an actor. The model is the incomparable Natasha King who I’ve used in dozens of films. The DP is my business partner Mikko Timonen who’s work speaks for itself, and it was produced by Erin Judd who makes magic happen daily. Beyond that we had support from a few other friends who were just interested in helping out. Thats all it takes to make an idea come together. That and about $200.00 for some paint, canvas, and sheets you can throw out.

I would say everyone worked for free, but they didn’t; they worked for the idea they believed in which is always payment enough. Well, that and lunch; I am Italian after all, no one works hungry on my set.

In the end my only real regret is not to have been able to work with the agency that produced the real spot. I would have loved to collaborated with like minded artist and can only imagine what we would have come up with, together. The synthesis of creative combination. I will say it was sort of wonderful to anonymously write the Creative Director of their spot and ask him where they got such an wonderful idea. His response was poetry to the ears of the general consumer, and if nothing else, fortified my belief that you should never believe anything you see on TV.

Rs

P.S. If you’re wondering where I stole the concept from (as no ideas are ever original) I had done a similar effect for one of the first music videos I ever shot which, I say blushing, did the entire thing in my tiny East Village apartment on a greenscreen (this is how I taught myself After Effects). The idea came from Michelle Vergara who based the look on Maxi Priest’s “That Girl” by the genius Hype Williams. Again, a concept, some willing friends, and a few bottles of Tito’s and you too can have an award winning music video;)

If you wanna check it … the paint part is around 1m30s:

drinking where you shouldn’t.

Well at least you look good doing it.

Last week I checked out the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. For those of you interested in going next year, let me tell you, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME OR HARD EARNED MONEY. WORST TIME EVER.

That is all.

Garbage! Dont go!
Garbage! Dont go!

They gone? Sure? Ok… for those reading on not planing to ever go and risk changing it in any way, it was the most fantastic place to get shitface in the history of getting shitface.  King Tut getting pissed atop of a pyramid yelling “I’m king-tut-of-the-world bitches!!!”. Boring. Caesar doing a backstroke in a golden vessel filled with fine Roman wine? Snooze. Napoleon getting trashed with Marie Antoinette, panty-less, atop the Arc de Triomphe? Lame. (Lame but count me in.)

Let me explain how epic this event was by saying this: it’s the New York Public Library. You know. The big one. On 5th Ave. With that amazing reading room. Ghostbusters? Yep, that one. All 4 floors of it. All the rooms. Open… with open bars. 

Marinate on that for a sec.

First, I love the Public Library. Besides Grand Central Terminal it is, by far, my favorite building in New York. It’s massive, sprawling, heavy, and with such  tremendous history and such opulent design that I have walked straight into small children, trampled them really, because I was so engrossed looking anywhere but where I was walking. It’s a siren in a sea of concrete, and she calls you in and steals your heart.

And now your liver.

The event is nothing short of Gala status and seemed as if Fellini was the event planner, Hemingway the caterer, and everyone you know within 3 years of your age was on the guest list. For me, it’s the perfect storm of parties. First, the building itself is so entertaining, that you literally are walking through a conversation. You are able to explore rooms, and floors, that I’ve never seen before. Touch fireplaces and mantlepieces, gawk at exquisite chandeliers. All while boozing it. 

Next, you have mad crazy cool music. In every nook, hall, and room you will hear something. A funky jazz band, some old-timey bluegrass, or even, I donno… maybe… The Outkast? Sure why not. And yeah, Quest Love stopped by to spin for us while we were rolling around on a mirrored dance floor. All while boozing it.

Then you have food. Everywhere. Taffy, meatballs, little dumpling in little dumpling sauces. A perfect balance between ambrosia and nectar. In a building where a diabetic usually can’t bring a candy bar, you’re graciously dripping meat sauce down your tux like a maniac. All while boozing it.

Finally, it’s the people. Usually events are ruined by the people who go to it. In New York it can be hit or miss; over publicize and you got amateur hour. Too under the radar and you don’t know the other 4 people in the room. This was perfect across the board; people, pretty much around the same age, and more importantly all with the same agenda. To booze it up.

Not convinced? Here are a few “facts” from the event:

– over 25,000 drinks served (all in proper glassware, of course)
– over 7,800 lbs of ice
– 700 origami birds
– 400 lbs of pulled pork sliders
– 300 lbs of shrimp
– 200 lbs of Ora King Salmon sashimi
– 50 king palm trees 
– 10 feathered dancing girls
– 2 flashers
– 0 cocktail glasses left in Party Rentals’ tri-state inventory

You getting the picture here?

Sure it was a celebration of the grain, but there was something even more magical to it then just trying over 80 specialty cocktails from over 150 of the worlds best bartenders, er, mixologists. Libationists? Inhebriator enablers? Bartenders, whatever. There was a perfect energy, as if someone gave us all a second prom where we all knew we were getting laid later on. There was no stress, none of that pubescent frenzy, but all the innocent energy and hell-or-high-water bring it on fun. Everyone looked stunning dressed in that gown you have been saving since you cousins wedding 6 years ago and that suit you never found a good enough reason to wear after your court appearance. It was like we were in the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby if it were directed by Noah Baumbach instead of Baz Luhrmann (I would totally watch that Noah, just saying.). We all chatted, were friendly, let people cut in line with us, and shared the secret location of the 80’s dance room. We weren’t in a city anymore, we were floating down a river of best friend juice toward an ocean of sublime alcoholic solution.

So yeah, whatever you do, dont go. It sucked. I can’t believe it cost as much as it did, and I’m in a horrible legal battle trying to get the amount refunded, and I think I got hepatitis from a dirty glass. Quite possibly the worst night ever. Dont go. Please. Please dont.

Rs
*all photos taken with my trusty iPhone. Thanks Steve Jobs.

miranda_dancing