Viva Nashvegas! Let’s say that three times and head to Robert’s for some real honky-tonk with locals. You’ll find everyone from old timers to debutantes coming from black tie events in that joint. After a taste of Robert’s, I was hanging out with friends at The Tavern when none other than country heart-throb, Chuck Wicks joined our table. I could not stop saying “What the Chuck?” anymore than everyone else could not playing with the fire for the smores they ordered for dessert. Girls do silly things when cute guys are around them. Oh yeah, he smelled good too.
I love Nashville and highly recommend hitting it if you are at all curious. After attending a double birthday party, laughing til I couldn’t stand up, it was time to head to San Francisco for some promo with a band. Silicon Valley has been a fascination of mine for years. I’ve often wondered why I didn’t move there after Los Angeles, but I guess I was really missing Brooklyn. Since one of my ideal places to work is anywhere, any time for Google, it is pretty rad I deal with folks over there all the time and got to swing by YouTube.
After that…..I was super stoked we went over to FACEBOOK for a personal tour from Zuck. Seriously. He introduced himself as Mark cause …that’s his name. He was a nice dude who was super enthusiastic to have The Dudes there. It was super sweet of Zuck to basically invite us to his house to meet his new puppy, Beast. See? Dogs are the best, they bridge the gap between billionaires and us regular folk.
One of my favorite cities is Nashville. The people are vibrant and colorful and there’s a different approach to life. It is like going to a foreign land from New York, perhaps more like Canada than France, but there are cultural differences.
Once I finally arrived after a long day of heinous airline travel whig included being bumped for a first class passenger….American eagle you deserve that recent Meanest Airline poll. Glad y’all are looking to hold the title….it was straight to Music Row. The heart of the Country Music Industry. I was taken on a tour of a house that is an office for a label. Need more cultural differences then step up, go out and toss a nickel because you will most likely find yourself face to face at some point with an artist on the rise or decline.
There has been a flood of California visitors in the NY the last six weeks. That means eating, museums and more. I really should get a tour guide license but now I just have to walk off all of the delicious food:
BROOKLYN (more than a Bridge to cross):
Roberta’s – (261 Moore Street, Bushwick, NY) Bushwick’s delicious pizza and more is not to be missed. Although the location is not ideal or obvious, like so many tucked away gems, it’s worth it. I first went here for a friend’s Christmas dinner party two 1/2 years ago. It was amazing. A recent trip for brunch offered less lumberjacks clad in plaid, but the summer leather skirts and hooker heals made up for it. Ah hipster wear! Suggestion: Meatlovers you can’t deny yourself the pleasure of ordering “Beastmaster.” Devine. Recently spotted star chowing down: Entourage’s leading man, local Adrien Grenier himself.
Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar: (50 Henry St. Brooklyn Heights) Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge? Why not go a few steps further to the water & stop in for a delectable glass of wine or a champagne with a bit of St. Germain’s & lemon juice thrown in? Why am I even posing this as a question. Do it! You will be replenished and refreshed in this gem on Henry Street. The food is a bit heavy, so there are single and double portions. Go for the single & save room for dessert.
I am also a big fan of Noodle Pudding (38 Henry Street, worst moniker great food & cash only) a few doors down which serves up fresh, authentic Italian dishes. If the boar noodle special is on get it- this is an authentic dish made famous in Sienna. It’s a dinner joint.
Momofuku– (171 1st Avenue, NY, NY) as my friend “Clive Jackson” noted “the hype is worth it.” On our first attempt we actually just missed the milk bar being open and had to succumb to the sad lacking dessert menu of the main restaurant. However, Clive was not to be deterred and went back and shared with me my requested “crack pie.” New favorite dessert of all time. The cookies are divine as well. Tip: Get the compost cookie. Tip for the restaurant: Go in a big group of at least 8 so you can get a reservation or treat yourself to take-out so you don’t have to wait 2 hours on a stormy night for a seat. Final tip: Do not leave here without trying the best pork bun you will ever eat! You can also now order treats online.
Quality Meats: (57th W. 58th Street, NY 212-371-7777) Another bad name, but damn if you are looking for a man’s place, this is the way to go. Tucked out-of-the-way, it’s not obvious and you enter to a world of Edison bulb lighting, bronzed cows and delightful Euros speaking the romance languages to whet your appetite.Fortunately, unlike Europe, there’s no smoking inside so you can fully enjoy the aromas and go gaga over your dish. We had an unreal “Lobster Cocktail” which is a full lobster served chilled with 3 sauces. I preferred the traditional over the others. No need for lobster bibs here!
The dinner menu offers up various sizing of steak from 12 oz to 24! The second item caught our eyes- 3 medallion filets each with different sauces. Can I just have a pause for the delish memory? Mmm. We also chose Tattinger’s as the way to satiate our fabulous meal. But wait, there’s more– the greatest part of dining is doing it with someone else who has slightly different ideas about sides. My benefactor ordered the Corn Creme Brulee. Now does that sound slightly odd? Well, kick my cholesterol watching butt to high heaven because this dish was scrumptious.
Minetta Tavern (113 McDougal): Transport yourself into Old Money territory in the midst of NYU Student Land. It’s a bubble of tranquility that seems isolated, but once inside, is wonderland.
If you are lucky enough to have a benefactor that wants to throw caution to the wind and spring for the $104 dollar steak with bone marrow, you will enter Steak Bliss that will last a lifetime. If not, order the $28 dollar hamburger for Burger Paradise. I’m not a big meat eater, but when in Roma, eat the specials. Live, live, live as Auntie Mame would say. The desert is not worth saving your appetite for so dig into that meat!
Need something less pricey? Head to the Lower East Side:
Zucco: Le French Diner: (199 Orchard St, NY, NY) What can I say there is a very nice owner & bartender & there’s a French Bulldog on the menu. The food is authentically French, served with an accent and is one of the other places you can order a chilled red in the city.
I did, in fact meet another Frenchie owner who, after we shared photos of our Frenchies, asked if Elle was on Twitter. Her dog follows my Rocknroll_ELLE. Tres fantastique!
If you and your friend have different tastes, try hitting up Chelsea Markets for a diverse range of tastes.
Finally, though there are many places that are trendy like the Ramen phase at Immpudo, nothing made me happier than a fresh sausage roll and a traditional Aussie Meat Pie at The Tuck Shop. Now I have to get myself out for a very long walk with Elle to work off all the eating of these places. Good thing she gets me out several times a day!
I knew it was @jonaswoost as soon as I entered re-run, the back theater of re-bar in D.U.M.B.O., the setting for the second N.Y. meeting of the Open Music Media. His sandy blonde (not ginger!) hair, height, cool pointy black shoes and demeanor gave him away as European. That and I had looked up photos of him on the net.
We would drink, discuss and arrange to meet for the first ever in-person recorded interview for the 5 Questions series. Jonas asked me after our interview if I had meant not to or had just forgotten to ask him about his previous position as Head of Music at LastFm.com for the past four years. It was intentional. You can read more of a bio about Jonas on his blog. (Disclosure: part of my role at Sony included being the global marketing account manager for LastFm.com.)
Vocation: I work in an area Where Music Meets & Overlaps with Technology
Co-Founder of Open Music Media
1. Could you explain why you co-founded Open Music Media? Dave Haynesand I saw a gap about people in the music and technology how they get together and exchange thoughts. We were attending the well-known conferences over the last few years (MIDEM, SXSW, etc.) is there to represent companies. The agenda is often set by from the person or company that paid for them to be at that event.
We wanted to gather in a non-political way without any agendas to talk about digital music and media. We decided to get people together in London for a roundtable setting as opposed to a panel, for an hour, always after work in a pub so people can have a drink and it makes it social. We started doing that successfully and after a year people from other countries & cities approached us to adapt the idea, the name. It’s not a commercial enterprise, it’s really the name and the concept. We ask for it to be in a non-commercial setting. We don’t want to have sponsors involved. We don’t want people to charge entry fees you cannot charge for entry.
2. How do you explain the guest panelists who come to explain their service or product, which then gets dissected by the group? Is that to help the guest or spark the conversation? The first OMM I attended we very quickly got away from the guest’s product.
The guest is leading the conversation. We set one topic for the evening. The guest introduces the topic by talking about their idea for five to ten minutes. I feel the best sessions that we had quickly moved away from that specific example and discussed the overall issue.
The first one we had in London we had Anthony Volodkin . He was talking for 5 to 10 minutes about The Hype Machine and what it does, how it works, and what kind of relationship they have with artists and labels. From that, we were very quickly discussing music blogs in general and how they do or don’t help the music industry in general. He did a great job by moderating almost, what could be called a roundtable discussion. There were about 35 people. For me, personally, that is the ideal situation.
If the speaker has a lot to say, it might end up to be a conversation to be just about the product or the project. For example when we had Joi Ito the CEO of Creative Commons , there were so many questions in the audience which was 65 people. There were a lot of questions and answers. It was an interactive night as opposed to just Joi Ito explaining something.
3. Even though we live so much of our lives digitally, you still found the need to have this socialization gathering. Do you think digital interactions will ever replace the socialization process?
No. So we’re recording this talk here in New York. I’m here in New York for no specific reason. I’m not here to sell something or buy something. I’m here to socialize. I just moved to North America and I wanted to make sure that the people I like, that I respect that they are aware of the fact I’m in North America now. This is the whole purpose of my trip.
This is a fairly expense enterprise if you compare it to sending a bunch of emails. However the outcome and the results are not even in the same league. Email doesn’t mean that much these days because there are so many of them, then add all the tweets and the newsletters we read and texts we read on screens. There’s an inflation of that so it is easy to forget those things.
Human interaction is a lot more than words. It’s about body language and introduce yourself. Do you shake hands or hug? All these things add together to add to your relationship which email can over provide words which is a fraction of human interaction.
5. What is the angle of your former radio show and what does your blog name “heutepopmorgen” mean in English?
It was a new location station in Hamburg. They needed to build some time. They needed to fill air. They needed some content. I decided to produce one two-hour show. It sounded awful, I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t live, I had to record it at home and I didn’t have the right equipment.
I produced one and someone must’ve liked it because they asked me to do it on a regular basis. The name means Today’s Pop Tomorrow. I wanted to make it sound interesting but I wanted to play pop music that should be more popular. It had some lyrics and a good melody that you could get as an outsider and was still niche music. I played a lot of electronica.
I did it for five years and then I decided to move to Vancouver. It forced me to listen to a lot of new music which you don’t do when you work in the music industry. I felt I reached a point I didn’t know what was next. The whole exercise was about setting new challenges, learning new things and meeting new people. That’s also why I stopped working for LastFm.com, not because I didn’t enjoy it anymore- I was obviously comfortable and needed a new challenge.
As part of that I stopped all the things that I did before and I wanted to have a new start. The blog is called heutepop. I don’t know what the evolution will be.
BONUS JONAS!!!! (Ok, JoBro fans don’t get upset Jonas is pronounced like Yo-nas, he is German.) Since the interview was in person I asked a few extra questions.
Let’s talk about your personal style. Today you’re wearing a Captain Neo t-shirt (which he quizzed me to make sure I knew it was a Michael Jackson show/character. Next time a harder question Jonas!)
When it comes to creative stuff – music, movies or fashion, I don’t like to go for the very left field or obscure just for the sack of it. Some people like to do that. They like to watch 1980’s Kung Fu movies, not because they enjoy them, but they want to be seen as someone who enjoys them. That’s not really my style.
I like to wear things that are accessible and are comfortable. At the same time I don’t want to be uniform.
You were traveling around quite a bit. What were some of the unexpected lessons you learned on the road? And what was the point of the journey?
The point of my journey before hand, was not the point at the end. It was a big surprise to me.
We (Jonas and his girlfriend) went to South America for five months, four months in North America. Before the trip the point was to take some time off, see some stuff, spend some time at the beach. While we were on the trip, I realized the trip wasn’t about any of that stuff but in a selfish way was about me. All the do-nothing changed me.
I realized after a few months, going outside of your daily routine. I’d had a routine living in London for eight years with it’s daily anxieties and your daily bullshit that you have to deal with and you are suddenly totally out of that. What did we have to do? We got up in the morning had breakfast, look at stuff and have dinner and then we went to bed.
It’s like a defrag of the brain. All the crap that built up goes away. It takes a while. It was about three months into the trip that it all went away. You start fresh. It kind of dumbs you down a bit. It was hard for me to get back into doing things like this interview. If we tried to do this right at the end of the trip I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I wasn’t really thinking about anything because we couldn’t even find any good books down there.
I came back and felt refreshed and really motivated. I seriously felt I could look at things differently and renew things that you always want to renew about your life like work life balance.
Believe or not there are people in the music industry who bond over music. Seriously, recover from your shock because that’s how I bonded with @shazzzadd over our shared love of Coldplay. We had quite a laugh going to see Coldplay the night after a company trip to see AC/DC that blew out our eardrums. I couldn’t hear properly for a week but nothing could damper our shared joy over our slightly muted Coldplay experience full of tears when Chris dedicated ‘The Hardest Part’ to Jennifer Hudson, whose family tragedy had occurred the week prior.
Now Shazza and I continue to share our cultural loves and tips and laughing while we do it. She is generous to (almost) a fault as the saying goes and is wonderfully creative.
Location : London
Vocation: working out my future
1. You recently went on a trip to India. Where did you go and what were some of the highlights?
I went to Kerala, Southern India and it was incredible. The locals call it “God’s Own Country’ and I can certainly see why they call it that – It’s a beautiful place; very green and lush. I stayed right on a beach in a resort called Varkala that I highly recommend. The weather was rather different from London, over 105 degrees most day – the best place was sitting on the beach, under an umbrella catching the cooling sea breezes ! They say “mad dogs and English men go out in the mid-day sun” and the Indians certainly thought that way….they would come and walk along the beautiful beach as the sun was setting and they played cricket and volleyball at 7 am in the morning.
The highlight of trip was being taken to see some Elephants. It was just me and a guide and I met the most incredible elephant (see photo). He’s 38 and is the superstar of the elephants world; the second biggest in Kerala who
travels the country fronting important religious festivals. He simply was magnificent, and he certainly knew it; although he was gentle and loved the attention I gave him. It was a fabulous experience as I wasn’t part of a big group – it certainly felt very special….
2. How India inspired your creative mind?
Kerala is such a vibrant place. It is full of the most incredible colours and smells – I’m an avid photographer, and I ended up taking over 2,500 photos in 3 weeks! I had my macbook with me, so could upload my photos every day. I’m passionate about taking photos of animals and people – and there were certainly a lot of both categories. I love being able to put my photos straight on facebook, so my friends could experience my holiday with me. I always travel on holiday alone, and I think my friends enjoy my photos, and knowing I’m still alive !
3. What are your current creative projects?
I was recently made redundant from my job – I had worked at the same record company for 16 years, and I now have a lot of time on my hands. As well as photography, my main hobby is card making and all kinds of crafts. My home is over-run with everything craft related….so my first current project is a complete overhaul of my stock….I have a small apartment, so I really need to be organised. I need to make the most of not working and get some projects together that I have been wanting to do for a while. I want to get some of my best photos printed and framed so I can get a stall at my local craft market. Together with my home made cards and other craft projects I hope to have some nice gifts to sell.
4. As a music industry veteran you’ve worked with some huge names including two icons- the first Michael Jackson who’s 1 year anniversary of his death is coming up in June which connects him to the other who is in the news right now, George Michael. (FYI people MJ passed on George Michael’s birthday June 25th. I was going to do my first ‘vlog’ but it didn’t seem right.) What were ‘the Michaels’ like in person?
I worked with Michael Jackson in 1996 and it was an incredible experience. I had to stay in a hotel with the travel party for a few days overseeing the visit. He was a very private man, so didn’t spend as much time as I would normally with an artist, but when I did he was extremely charming. I didn’t actually ever work with the “other” Michael – George – my boyfriend at the time did and I was very lucky to be able to travel with Wham! on their first US live tour in the early 80’s. It was my first ever trip to America; I travelled with 2 other girlfriends of the crew and did a whistle-stop tour of LA, Dallas, Boston and NY. Wham! played in small theatres; that could have been sold 3 or 4 times over by the time the band arrived in the States. I had just started working in the music business at the time, and this trip really cemented my love of music, and the working in the music business bug was formed.
5. Film stars are so glamourous and this year you attended The Golden Globes in Lalaland. How did you end up there and what were some of the highlights?
I’ve been to all sorts of music-related award shows, with the biggest music stars in the world, but nothing could match my excitement to actually attend this year’s Golden Globe Awards. I have a very well connected friend who took me. LA is one of my most favourite places in the world, so just to be there was fab anyway – although unfortunately I bought the London rain with me; I have never seen rain in LA, so imagine the disappointment of needing to use an umbrella to walk down the red carpet. I had said to my pal (who goes to the Globes often) that we would be s l o w l y walking down the red carpet – I wanted to take in the whole experience….I really wanted to walk using “pigeon steps” – do you know that saying in the US – tiny steps, but I that would make me look stupid. I couldn’t believe how narrow the red carpet was and how every single person was a face I recognised …..I had to be careful not get too excited as I knew there were hundreds of camera lenses trained to follow all on the red carpet. So I kept a poker face and squealed silently when I saw Gerard Butler and George Clooney!
It was even more exciting inside when I saw the size of the room – a regular sized hotel ballroom. Our table couldn’t have been positioned better – everyone had to pass us so I literally saw every single actor/actress in that room. As well as loving music, I just love movies and to be sitting surrounded by the great and the good of Hollywood was a dream come true.
Thank you Shazz that was splendid. I’m so happy to have someone as giving and wonderful as you as a friend. xx
There’s nothing like falling in love. You have dreams in colors that unfold and wrap the world in the insanity of chemicals racing through the course of your body. When there’s a lack of love, there are many things to restore those feelings and give one hope and inspiration.
I find that salvation and renewal in art museums. Now my favorite spiritual leader, Cy Twombly, who’s masterful strokes fill my soul with joy and awe has a permanent collection that puts him where he belongs in the company of all the masters–he has become part of the permanent collection at The Louvre!
As if I needed another reason to goto Paris again, Cy’s work is on the ceiling. What are you waiting for? Goto the Louvre, look up and you’ll find such a feeling when you’re staring at the ceiling….oh yes that’s a Lionel Ritchie reference and you got it. So enjoy and get that feeling. xx
Translation: Get your butt to Rome, you won’t be sorry. Mi dispace (I’m sorry), the real translation is one lifetime is not enough to experience all Rome has to offer. Just like New Yorkers, Romans identify first as citizens of their city, secondly their country.
Viva Italia! It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. The juxaposition of Ancient Rome and modern life makes it so special. The first time I went to Rome with a friend we were wandering around saying ‘look at all that fabulous lea-tha’ and suddenly there was the Trevi Fountain. It’s a magnificent place to behold at any time day or night- even when you have to wear a ski boot & almost topple into it….
When you drive through the official gates you are immediately thrust into Rome with a view of The Colosseum. What a spectacular view Rome gives to you– hey, it’s not a subtle place and why should it be?
A few tips:
1) Travel Irons are your friend: the law has changed & hotels are no longer give guests access to irons. Sizzled skin…ick! If you do opt to give your clothes to the hotel to iron you’ll be waiting quite a while. This is Rome and it wasn’t built in a day.
2) Learn a few Italian words: per favore (per Fa-voor-ray= please); Vorrei un bicchiere di vino rosso (I need a glass of red wine); Grazie mille (Thanks a million)– these simple things will get you far.
3) Avoid long queues by buying a walking tour. It adds to the enjoyment and understanding past ‘Gladiator’ (watch this before going to get you in the mood) what the secrets of that great venue. You might want to side-step those faux gladiators outside in fishnet tights….!
4) Hit up Campo Di Fiori at night for drinks & night life in the square but remember to watch for pickpockets. I’ll never forget the look on my sister’s face when she realized someone had switched a $50 Euro bill for a $10– “but I’m a New Yorker” was written all over her face. Hey, at least they left her with ten so she could get a cab.
5) The battle for best gelato is a matter of pride! I suggest trying as many places as possible — the gelato con nutella….delicious.
6) There are often strikes around Italy. Hey, I told you they don’t move con veloce in Italia. This means delays in travel by train and air. Be sure when you do catch a train to punch the ticket in a machine prior to boarding or you will be fined sometimes as much as the original ticket price.
7) Check museum hours!!! A lot of museums are closed on Mondays in Italy and remember this is a Catholic country so Sunday there are limited hours. If you get a chance go over to The Vatican on Sunday because sometimes ‘Poppy’ aka the Pope, if he is there, will stick his head out the window and wave. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Vatican City is not to be missed. Climb all the way up to the top of Saint Paul’s Chapel. The stairs are small but the vistas show off Rome like no other spot.
8) Don’t forget about going to the catacombs. I know it’s a little creepy but again, you are stepping back in time and you are visiting another country to get out of your regular world. Explore!
Sidenote: As always a friend of mine has an upcoming trip to Rome and asked me to whip up a few tips. Next up Firenze (aka Florence.)