Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hong Kong: Cityscapes

Hong Kong is a fascinating place. Nah, Hong Kong is so friggin' cool. hmmm, Okay Hong Kong is not only a fascinatingly friggin' cool place, it also happens to be in the future. When you go to Hong Kong, you are travelling to the future. Yes. That's it.

Boats at Stanley, hooray!

I am keen to learn what the future holds for this future city as it becomes more closely linked to mainland China.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where next?

Here's a challenge for my next employer - hire this player of character to help your organization grow into a much greater entity. Empowerment and high fives for all. I'm your man. Put me in coach, I'm ready to play!

With that in mind, here are some of the top places I'm looking at now and for future projects:

1. Hong Kong
2. Bangkok
3. Los Angeles
4. Austin
5. New York
6. Sydney
7. Toronto
8. Chicago
9. London
10. Brussels
11. Reykyavik - this place gets an "11"

Important to note are that India and Nigeria boast the world's 1st and 3rd largest film industries, respectively, Reykyavik is a very desirable place but not now (LA too), and Asia has a booming economy. I can also see myself working some time in Saigon, but Hanoi does not have extensive work in photography and film. Hitting Toronto means being near the New York scene, and staying in Dallas/Fort Worth means growing with the amazing Denton scene. I'd love to work in Mexican cinema, but am a little more occupied with Asia at the moment. This list doesn't necessarily include the cities I'm most likely to work in, just the ones I'm most intrigued with - though I've just sent a few resumes to Hong Kong...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Last night I had quite the eclectic experience watching the Obama inauguration. To start, I watched it on the BBC - our country declared independence from the British 233 years ago and here I am watching the largest inauguration in history on their network. My Irish housemate Priscilla was pumping out Björk on her computer speakers, and I was relaxing in my apartment in Cebu, Philippines. I earlier went for a walk, and ended up playing volleyball (I declined the more widely played basketball) with my Filipino neighbors. Afterward I broke bread with my friend Taiwo, and among many things we discussed our roles in the world and social responsibility to our home communities (in Texas and Nigeria, respectively) just after I sent off a résumé to a Hong Kong publishing group. Back home, I happened to play a track I ripped from a compact disc I checked out the the Lawrence, Kansas public library - Joan Baez singing "A Mi Manera" - which is the same tune made famous by Frank Sinatra: "I had it my way." Most surprising of the night: Joan Baez has excellent Spanish pronunciation and BBC correspondents can't hide their feelings against George Walker Bush. Also, surprising is that I never hear Obama's middle name "Hussein" on American Television but it's spoken in its entirety on BBC. I just imagine a child being named Walker's almost as bad as being a kid named "Sue." Priscilla caught the last half of the inauguration speech but missed out on Aretha Franklin's heartfelt version of "My country, 'tis of thee" - a tune that was jacked from the Brits in the first place.
Today I began the new era of responsibility by waking up early and watching Ali G's "Bling bling." I have been globalized, or is it globalised?

*Above video was the Spanish election anthem. Enjoy Obama en Reggaeton!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blue Party

Taiwo Badejo took this awesome shot yesterday at the Blue Party at my apartment. We were having a little shindig because we all needed a break, and there have been some recent changes...I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you! There will be more blogs to come in the near future, so brace yourself for some really great Denton music. Mmm, it's sounds so good I'd like to put it on top of my Nachos with the jalapeños.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Midlake feature for

--This is an article I did recently for
MDM took some time to chat with Eric Pulido of Midlake and pick his brain about the latest happenings with the band and the direction of their new album, tentatively titled "The Courage of Others." If you saw the "Hometown Heroes" feature Midlake did for MTV, you'll find the members of Midlake to be a really fun group of down to earth guys, with a story to tell through their music. At times, that story is of an ailing wife or the strange tale of a Balloon Maker that fails escape and is captured by men in robot suits wearing monocles. But all the kings horses and all the king's men (and a guy in a panther mask) can't seem to put a label on the band. So we asked Eric what kind of music he plays and he said "The softer side of rock." But that's not to say they play soft rock. With Midlake, labels become obsolete considering you can never know exactly what the band is, only where they are coming from according to what they have been listening to. Eric shared that the band's ears have been wrapped around Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Lazarus, America and a lot of music from the british folk era of the 70s. "The Courage of Others" promises lyrics and imagery in the same vein as Midlake's last album "The Trials of Van Occupanther" - but darker. Eric explains "it's kinda got that renaissancy like medieval type sound where it's not dark in like a death metal type of way but just in that [renaissance] type of way." The burning question for Midlake fans is, "when?" Or in the case of one perhaps geographically challenged fan, "where is Midlake?"

Creating and recording day in and day out at their own studio next to one of Denton's favorite studios, the Panhandle House, Midlake has cut the majority of their new record. Their plan is to be touring this summer and introducing their new music as the record prepares for launch before the end of 2009. After their last big tour, the band was enthusiastic and ready to record new songs. But the band has held out to create a better album, not just Van Occupanther Part II. It's an exciting but impatient time for the Midlake fan, but word is it's very much worth the wait. Now take a deep breath, put on their first album "Bamnan and Silvercork" and imagine the greatness that is soon coming to you.

But hey, what's up with that Jason Lee guy? The band has had a unique relationship with the former pro skateboarder and leading actor of My Name is Earl. When Midlake joined Bella Union Records, Simon Rymonde (heads up record label and bassist of the Cocteau Twins) would send recordings out to friends and promoters and Jason really liked the "Bamnan and Silvercork" album. Jason eventually met up with Midlake at the Bella Union Showase at the South by Southwest festival in 2003 and became good friends with the band. Jason also did their "Balloon Maker" video and has promoted the band in his own time. However, Midlake stopped using videos in their performances after a number of tours and as such, the work of Jon Collins as well as Terry Timely and the Fashionably Lates may not be seen for a while. But the lack of moving pictures is an excellent tradeoff to the band's hushed intensity and musicality.

To conclude the interview, MDM asked Eric Pulido a few quick questions about the Denton music scene. He told us his last show was at Dan's Silverleaf (a bar he loves), exposure to the city's music will only help bands and the music, and everyone should check out the North by 35 festival coming up in March. He also said everyone in the band had a beard except Mackenzie, the drummmer - but only because he can't grow one. As a last word, Eric told MDM about Denton: "It's my home. I love it here. Met my wife here, have a home here...hope to start a family. Band's all live here, so I love it."

Interview and photographs by Michal Garcia

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Van Ho Ba strikes back

The Van Ho Ba is still out on the loose in Ha Noi, Viet Nam even after my leaving last year. Ok, ok...I'm just a trumpet player, but it's great to see something I kinda helped start continuing on. Recently, they had a few of my photos from a few months ago published in______________ as they've been playing the usual Ha Noi festivals and gigs after taking on a few more personnel. Hey guys, pop on some robes and announce the Viet Nam leg of a Polyphonic Spree tour! That'll get us some more gigs. he he he, I kid I kid!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Look for 2009

My website got a recent makeover (and is likely to get more), but here's the first edition of more user-friendliness and minimalist design. Hooray!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Smruti's new website

With the new year come many new things but unlike most resolutions, Smruti Maniar's new site will be operational and awesome for a long time after this post. That's a great thing too hear! If you haven't already checked out Smruti's work, she does excellent modern and classical-style (I wanted to say "vintage") Indian art.

You can see her older work in a post I did in August, or mosey on over to her site and see newer and more comprehensive work:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a new year dude.

Everyone expects you to have noble goals in the new year or some list of resolutions that may or may not come to fruition. I have some plans and a few goals, but the best goal is to enjoy and appreciate those around me, and not miss out on life. Or, as Björk said once (about minimalism) "It seems to be in these speedy times, the most bravest thing you can do is to be still."
Happy New Year.
Last minute addition: I am increasing my efforts to promote and participate in the arts, especially music. In this vein I will soon make available recent interviews and photographs taken of Eric Pulido of Midlake and Mike League of Snarky Puppy as part of a joint effort with