Friday, April 29, 2016

Song By


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Émilie Régnier

Photographed By Émilie Régnier 

HOW WAS YOUR STAY AT HYÈRES?
My stay at Hyères was very nice. The town is beautiful and I met a lot of interesting people. The quality of the work shown there was amazing. It was fun to meet so many different artists from so many different backgrounds.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND RAISED?
I was born in Canada and raised between Central Africa and Canada.

WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER IN AFRICA?
So many things it would be hard to point out one in particular. That the continent has its own history that goes so far from the Ghana Empire to Soundiata Keïta and Shakazulu. I think what I discovered is that Africa as to be approached with extreme humility and curiosity not as a conquistador.

WHY PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER PATH?
I chose photography as a medium because I was terrible at painting and drawing. I use photography in order to share my vision with the world. I think I was influenced a lot by my early years in Africa, and old black and white photographs from artist like Diane Arbus.

WHAT DO YOU WISH TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS?
That we may be more alike than we think we are despite where we are born.

HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH TRUST BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR SUBJECT THAT ALLOWS FOR THE LEVEL OF INTIMACY DISPLAYED IN SOME OF YOUR PICTURES?
I always try to establish an exchange with my subject when it is possible before photographing them. Everyone as a story and I try to show how unique they are in my portraits.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON YOUR WORK/LIFE?
I am inspired by pretty much everything, I get inspired while wandering the street or looking at my ceiling. In 2013, I covered the conflict in Northern Mali. I realized at that point I’m not built for conflict photography and I had to find another path.

BY THE WAY, DO YOU PREFER SHOOTING WITH DIGITAL OR ANALOGE CAMERAS?
Analoge!

ON A DAY OFF YOU’RE MOST LIKELY?
Reading magazines, newspapers, books, sleeping, hanging out with friends, sitting at café people watching, or on my way to an exhibition or a performance.

HOW YOU INDULGE?
With wine, food and popcorn.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
Nothing.

Hair

Photographed By Émilie Régnier 

Part of the set displayed at the 2016 Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mounia Akl


Photo Courtesy Of Mounia Akl

WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS ABOUT GROWING UP IN LEBANON?
Lebanon often feels like a set of a Bunuel film. It’s this absurd lovely little place that you hate and love with the same intensity. The tools that Lebanese people have armed themselves with to resist the desperate situations they are in are precisely what makes the charm of this place: The humor, the joie de vivre, often as means to gain time. They are advantages and disadvantages to living in constant state of the 11th hour, but this is in a way what makes living in Lebanon an experience. The best? I don’t know. But it is an enriching experience.

HOW DO YOU FIND A COMMON GROUND BETWEEN NEW YORK AND BEIRUT?
Home has become this very complex thing that I carry with me, or feel stripped of, with equal measure. I feel comfortable wherever I go, and sometimes uncomfortable wherever I go. But ultimately, home becomes the present moment, the work I make, the stories I write, and the people who surround me. Home will never stop being what it is, but sometimes, distance from it, whether a temporal or geographical one, helps see things with a renewed clarity.

WHY ACTOR, DIRECTOR AND WRITER?
I consider myself to be a director and writer first and foremost. Acting is something I do on the side, occasionally, when excited to work with a director that inspires me. Acting informs me and helps me grow as a director, it’s very important for a director to truly understand what it’s like to be in the actors’ shoes. It has formed the way I speak to my actors, my understanding of their craft. But also, acting helps me disappear in the most exciting ways, even if only for a moment. It’s cathartic.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET STARTED AND WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING?
I studied architecture because I didn’t have the guts when I was 18 to go and “follow my dreams”. Why did I choose Architecture and not something that wouldn’t take five years of my life? I didn’t want to do something I didn’t like. I grew up in a family of Architects and Architecture for me is like films for cinephiles that are not directors. It inspired me and sculpted my “eye” as a director. During my Architecture studies, I would take film workshops every six months, and of course read about film, and watch as many films as I could, that was my first film school. After that, I started making films, on the ground, and slowly grew in the film industry. Then four years ago, I felt the need to get a film education, and applied to Columbia University for the screenwriting/directing MFA. These four years have helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

HOW DO STORIES COME TO YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Stories have come to me in very different ways. There’s no hard pattern in my creative process. Sometimes it’s a person; sometimes it’s a place, sometimes a feeling. But most of the time, questions, many of them. Once I know somehow what I would like to talk about, (and the what can be something as small as a feeling), then I start gathering poems, paintings, film references, photographs into a notebook that becomes like a melting pot of things that relate to what I want to talk about. Then the writing starts, and the story starts morphing with time, with social context and with my inner growth.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THEMES YOU SEEK TO PURSUE THROUGH YOUR ART?
I like observing the tools that we human beings have armed ourselves with to fight time. I like observing how human beings react to the most desperate situations. Growing up, we were constantly in a “almost state of emergency” and I was therefore constantly surrounded by people in vulnerable state. For me, making films is about being the witness of a time, of a place, of one’s self as well. Being Lebanese often means having a complex and constantly changing relationship with home. And what is home anyway? It’s a constant search. What I find myself most interested in is seeing the repercussions or effects of a certain societal structure on human dynamics. The bridge from the private to the public, often absent in Lebanon. And then on a wider scale, Lebanon, as a microcosm of the world.

WHO ARE THE ARTISTS YOU ADMIRE?
It would be difficult to pick one person, since inspiration comes in different forms and from different places. It can be Bela Tarr, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Theo Angelopoulos, Nuri Ceylan, or Elia Suleiman, Roy Andersson, Luis Bunuel, Aki Kaurismaki, Jim Jarmush, or more recently, Carlos Reygadas and Yorgos Lanthimos.

YOU’RE SHORT FILM “SUBMARINE” IS AMONG THE 2016 CINÉFONDATION SELECTION, WHAT IS IT ABOUT AND WHICH OTHER FILMS DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL THIS YEAR?
Set against the backdrop of Lebanon’s current garbage crisis and sociopolitical context, “Submarine” examines the fear of having to leave one’s country and home. It takes place in a dystopian near future that is a realization of these fears. It gazes at the past, the present, and the faculty we have to connect both: Memory. It glides between present and past—between imagined futures and nostalgia. We discover a fatherless generation, stripped of hope, in a system that has reached extraordinary levels of filth, and through Hala’s eyes and footsteps, we arm ourselves with her denial, manifest her love for her home, and keep alive—if only for a moment—the ghost of a better time. There are many films I am extremely excited to watch this year. Jim Jarmush’s “Paterson”, Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey”, Cristian Mungiu’s “Bacalaureat”… There are also two other Lebanese films this year in Semaine de la Critique, “Tramontane” by Vatche Boulghourjian. And in  L'ACID,“Tombe du Ciel” by Wissam Charaf - that I am extremely excited to watch. It’s a good year for Lebanon!

WHEN YOU’RE NOT DOING THIS, HOW DO YOU LIVE IT UP?
I must say, I work way more than I should. But when I do take a break, it’s to spend a week end away, or go to the movies or to a museum, go have drinks or dinner with friends or family. The basics, I guess. On the professional level there are two things happening in parallel of directing, Breaking Wave Pictures, a company I co-founded last year in New York.  And teaching which I do a few months a year in New York and Chicago.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Zeemuffin

Photo Courtesy Of Zainab Hasnain

East meets West. And, the life of.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Music


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Black Tap

Photo Courtesy Of Black Tap

WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND BLACK TAP (CRAFT BURGERS & BEER) AND WHEN DID IT FIRST OPEN ITS DOORS?
Black Tap opened its first Soho location in March, 2015. The concept is craft burgers plus beer, with an emphasis on the crazy signature milkshakes.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION, IS IT THE KEY?
Location is the key. We opened Black Tap in Soho to bring some new life to the downtown neighborhood. We feel that the popularity of Black Tap has been great for the other surrounding businesses as well.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO STAY ON TOP OF TRENDS ESPECIALLY IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK?
It's very important to stay on top of trends and new happenings around the city. Being the creator of these insane milkshakes we are always on the lookout for new ideas and concepts. At Black Tap we continue to innovate with various ideas. We are the leader of the pack.

WHY WILL THE BURGER NEVER BECOME OBSOLETE?
A good burger is something that everyone enjoys. There are always new ways to incorporate different foods trends and ingredients into a burger and be ever-changing.

HOW DO YOU FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN CREATING DISHES THAT BOTH TASTE AND ARE PLEASING?
With my background as a Michelin Star chef, I am trained to think out of the box to create complex flavors that taste great.

THE SHAKES, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT?
My wife came to me one day and mentioned she wanted to make a cotton candy milkshake so we came up with a few ideas and decided to take it to another level by adding actual cotton candy, a lollipop, and other vibrant ingredients that added volume and height to make the milkshake standout.

ARE THE POSSIBILITIES ENDLESS?
We are always thinking of new ideas and collaborations and have some really exciting things in the works for the next couple months. We like to think outside just the food space and merge into fashion and lifestyle as well.

WHAT FLAVOURS ARE MOST APPRECIATED?
Our Greg Norman burger is award winning and offers a twist on the traditional burger flavor. When you combine one of our juicy burgers with the creamy milkshake, you can’t get better than that. The Sweet 'n’ Salty is just that and goes really well with almost any burger on the menu.

ANYTHING NEW TO LOOK OUT FOR?
We will be opening up our third location, Black Tap Down, in Spring 2016 that will be an evolution of our first location in Soho. A new milkshake is on the horizon for the launch of the new venue.

(Interview with Founder/Co-Owner Joe Isidori)