Friday, October 31, 2008

The ghosts of Halloween past...

old halloween!!!!! All shot in Denton, Texas.

Leave some love on the blog in the form of comments :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008


Here's a nice tid-bit for Halloween! I worked on a narrative short-film about cannibals a few weeks ago called DILIM. It was directed by Chino of the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) and starring James Farrel. I was James' buddy-buddy from the military and they pretty much turn me into dinner. Pass the sausages please!

This is the scene where James unconvers the plot, and proceeds to freak out and sneak around the house.

Here's a cheesy Halloween shot.

I had to stare at this doll for two days. It was one of our props, and had the most terrifying eyes. Why? Because they're painted on and appear to be staring you down at every angle. Creepy!

Dead people need makeup too! The fake blood used on the set is sickly sweet and attract many ants. The last shot is of the house we filmed the production at.

photography by Joel Gana and

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ashley Isham

Based in London, Ashley Isham has met international success in fashion and recently opened another boutique in his home country of Singapore. Fashion tv was there to cover it, edits by me :-)
Browse on over to his runway feature on the Elle site after the video.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The end of an era

A few days ago marked the end of an era. Until I lived in Australia, I never wore flip-flops. Since then, I rarely wore a pair that lasted more than a few months let alone traveling with them across the globe. The flip flops pictured above were on my feet in Colorado, Texas, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, New York and the Philippines. The real transition is that they have bridged my university and professional career. And so, my dear chanclas were given their last walk in the monte on my way home in Cebu, Philippines and I paused for a brief emotional moment. It was the second time (perhaps the first was graduating from UNT) I've told myself "This is the first day of the rest of your life..."

Below are a few shots of the magical summer with the UNT jazz repertory ensemble in Crested Butte Colorado:

I'm pretty much jumping off a cliff in this shot. Not endorsed by the University of North Texas.

Portrait of Blackwell and self-portrait all at once.

Whiffleball rocks! (but not everyone rocks at whiffleball)

We're so excited!

Hiking. Oh yeah.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zach Brock

When Zach Brock was in Dallas recording on the new Snarky Puppy album Bring Us The Bright, and I snapped a few shots at an impromptu jam uptown. He's the new face of jazz violin with his own group the Coffee Achievers and numerous collaborations including bassist Stanley Clarke, trumpeter Dave Douglas (Jazz's John Malkovich), Kurt Elling, Chris Potter and friends. I'll stop name dropping before it gets obscene. The man can play, and he's a nice dude too. I picked up his latest Coffee Achievers album at the jam and listened to it for the next three days before packing it away safely and journeying to New York and the Philippines.
A few years ago Zach was still a Chicago cat and I was playing his records as a DJ on KNTU. Now, he's moved into the New York scene where he's fitting in beautifully. Hey now!

The night's lineup was:
Zach Brock - violin
Bernard Wright - keyboards
Mike League - bass
Jose Aponte - percussion

Jose Aponte plays first-rate latin percussion, but this was my first time to hear him play jazz drums (stylistically) on a cajón - very cool!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CPDRC inmates of Cebu

The CPDRC inmates rock out their prison and Cebu! Famous for their clips on youtube and international press coverage, the inmates represent a unique case in criminal justice. When I first saw them on the news I was skeptical about the dancing - was it a human rights violation, or an expression from the soul? After viewing the (2-hour!!) performance and meeting a few of the inmates myself, I was convinced of the latter. The Philippines loves its Karoake, and they love to dance. Within this culture, this is one of the greatest things that has ever happened for prisoners. I'm proud to say it was turned around by the powerful García family of Cebu (No relation, I think).

Samim poses in a break-dancing position with the inmates

These are the happiest prisoners I've ever seen.

A prisoner acts the part of a zombie for his part in Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

The girlfriend in "Thriller" is captured by the zombies and transformed into one.

Inmates pray as they begin their routine to a few songs from "Sister Act"

This prison looks uninviting from the outside, but it very fun on the inside.
I would love to see more forward-thinking prisons like this one.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Marielle is a television actress from Sweden currently working at Bigfoot Entertainment as body-double and jack of all trades! Check out these two commercials, photo and Fashion TV video of Marielle:

This is an ad for a grocery store in Norway called "ICA"

This is an ad for "First Card" which is a bank card in Sweden.

This is my favorite photo I took of her as part of the shoot in the video below:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Google Analytics

One month of google analytics reveals a lot for my blog. Analytics enables me to see the nature of hits to my blogs, and come up with cool ideas for people that are looking. I also see trends such as which blog posts are most popular. My favorite feature is seeing what countries and cities traffic comes from. My biggest traffickers log in from Dallas and Los Angeles; Ha Noi, Viet Nam for International. Below is a list (relatively in order) for what countries look at my blog & website:

United States
Cayman Islands
United Kingdom
Costa Rica
South Africa
Hong Kong
Dominican Republic
New Zealand

Here's to many more months of blogging, and to some hits from Africa!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Celebrate Learning, Empower it Too

I value the execution of good ideas and the process of ideation itself. I value learning even more. Before you think I'm advocating traditional education, I'm not. School sucks. It's boring, old, tasteless - but it's all we know and it's hard to do anything differently. Check out this video about this digital library project and start thinking about the near future.

We are in new era of information where 'survival of the fittest' has changed to 'survival of the savvy and scholarly.' That doesn't mean you have to go to school either. School is an outmoded system that desperately needs revamping, but learning is a beautiful thing seldom enjoyed, or shared.
'Sharing is caring' - such is the aim of a library system, or at least their general mission. Before I get to the question of access, let it be known that I worked in the University of North Texas library system for the better part of a year. Though the menial work I did was superficially boring, I received a much greater inspiration in checking out materials to patrons and speaking with librarians (and librarians in the making) because I was dreaming beyond the walls of the library and into the possibilities for learning (and entertainment). Possibilities, Possibilities! I was even inspired Keanu Reeves' film Bill & Ted. Learning Shakespeare in 30 seconds or less is way cool!

In recent conversations with international friends, I had enlightening discussions about libraries. My American friend says the library system is old and boring and died 50 years ago (I agree). My Nigerian friend says libraries in his country were being developed recently until the internet effectively stole its patrons away. After mentioning a dream to make libraries accessible to EVERYONE on the planet, my Slovak friend liked the idea for its merit as a socialist concept while I see a digital library, free to the world as a highly capitalist endeavor. However you look at it, people are hungry for information, ideas, and life. Take away traditional schooling and you can have more time and resources to live life, and help other do the same. With the benevolent and forward-thinking state of the blogosphere and internet, there's a great possibility some of the things Brewster Kahle talks about in his TedTalks video will come to pass. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Please comment and share how you think we can be a part of this sharing, in a real way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Arena - Fashion TV

The Arena is a $3m club in Singapore that boasts excellent live music shows in the middle of Clarke Quay. They even have magic shows. Oh yes.
In July, they joined the ranks of forward-thinking venues and became a smoke-free club!
Featured above is their anniversary party segment I edited for Fashion TV (
For more info, check the press section of their site.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My bokeh is bigger than yours

Cars don't really fascinate me, lifting weights isn't my thing, I don't drink, and guns are boring. In terms of macho-ness, I'm just chillin', man - what's to prove! But the one expression of tradional, societally-taught manliness I will claim is the bokeh I get with my Canon 85mm L-series f1.2 lens. Sure, it's no Stanley Kubrick / Barry Lyndon f0.7 lens (or an out-of-production 50mm f1.0 Canon) but one thing is for sure: my bokeh is bigger than yours.
Bokeh is a Japanese word used to describe the background blur achieved using lenses with a large aperture (or special effects lenses like tilt-shift & lensbabies) which give a large depth of field. In the process of lens construction, it is both difficult and expensive to manufacture high performance lenses with large apertures, thus a celebration of traditional manhood and patriarchy is achieved after one has purchased and photographed with this heavy piece of glass.
Photo above is one I took while momentarily distracted by raindrops on a car hood in New York, while on a shoot with Sarah Renfro. Shot very, very late at night. My mommy wouldn't approve.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Snarky Puppy is for caring guppies

Is this thing on?

At the release of their 3rd studio album, I realize the just how correct it was to name Snarky Puppy's 1st album "The Only Constant." That constant is change. From their unofficial (but radio-played) recording "Live at Uncommon Ground" they have evolved significantly, not only in personnel but in their musical style. Their sonic mastery kicks you right in the face and runs away with your dancing shoes. And you want them to do it again!

In case I haven't mentioned it, they're on tour - East Coast & Canada.

Brian Donohoe, Fubu'ed out.

Percussionist Nate Werth in unconventional apparel.

Robert "Sput" Searight - drums, keys, award winner - you name it.

Chris Bullock - saxophone

Brian Donohoe on an outside excursion. Note that this industrial part of Dallas is booming with creative professionals, as well as an excellent set of Taquerías and BBQ restaurants...yummy creative!

L-R: Brian Donohoe, Chris Bullock, Mike League, Nate Werth, Justin Stanton & Sput
Though the music is serious, it's hard to take a serious band shot with these guys. And that's a good thing. Keep posted for shots of Snarky member with prominent jazz violinist Zach Brock.

Snarky Puppy Plays Music That I Sometimes or Most of the Time Enjoy.