Women Slacklining the World

Women Slacklining the World

Women Slacklining The World Faith Dickey Is a Woman On the Wire By Mackenzie Lowry Faith Dickey has set the world records for highest free-solo slackline ever completed by a woman. Only thin air stands between the line and the ground. There’s no net, no harness, nothing to catch a fall. It’s just a single human body, breathing, maintaining mindfulness, and hopefully keeping balance across the line. What made you first decide to try the slacklining? I tried it because of a friend of mine had done it before. I never dreamed I would be highlining. I went to Europe to travel and met some guys who were doing it in the mountains, so I tried it and that’s what really ignited my passion. Did you wear a harness at that time? Yes, I wore a leash and a harness but it was so scary. I was probably 60 feet high, but it was such a foreign experience. My whole body was shaking and resisting. I was sitting on the line trying to stand up and it was like my body wouldn’t even listen to me. You may fall four feet below the line and you’re dangling from a rope. You have to climb back up the rope and get back on the line. Once you walk one highline you can’t stop. Do you always slackline barefoot? I prefer barefoot, the majority of slackliners and highliners walk with no shoes. It’s better because you can feel the line. The line is only one inch wide so it’s really nice to center it under your foot. It provides good friction....
Soledad O’Brien Dispatches

Soledad O’Brien Dispatches

Soledad O’Brien Dispatches A Reporter’s Life On the Run Interview by Lauri Lyons TV journalist Soledad O’Brien has tirelessly crisscrossed the globe to report breaking news and produce social documentaries for CNN, Al Jazeera, and HBO. We were lucky enough to catch up with Soledad en route to the airport for her annual Starfish Foundation Gala, through which she works to assist young women scholars get to and through college. Here is the veteran reporter’s take on how she lives life on the run. For your big stories that you’ve covered (Hurricane Katrina, Thailand tsunami, Haiti earthquake) what are the logistics and preparation time for getting you in the field and on camera? Soledad O’Brien:  I’m sitting in traffic on my way to Newark airport. So, I’m living your website. The logistics are usually pretty crazy, but I work at CNN, and they are pretty amazing at that. They are just masters of the logistics.  They would have a whole apartment, and then their goal is just to get you physically there. Then I travel with stacks of books and printouts, and any information I can find. While I’m on the flight, I’m reading. We’ll often travel without knowing very much. For example, I know there’s an earthquake in Haiti,  but what’s the history of Haiti? How did Haiti become a country? What are some of the big stories and issues in Haiti?  You spend the entire flight reading until you really understand all the different contexts of the story, while somebody else is trying to figure out how to get you in. Then you get in there, and,...
The Sultans of Style

The Sultans of Style

The Sultans of Style Taking Fashion to the Streets Interview by Lauri Lyons Once again, the intrepid fashion photographer John-Paul Pietrus has been making rounds on the international style circuit. He recently made a pit stop in the Ottoman Empire to shoot a Young Turk fashion story in Istanbul. Did you ever have a desire or fantasy about going to Istanbul? John-Paul Pietrus:  I always had a desire to visit Istanbul as it is this fantastic place historically, the merging between East and West, so it has this allure related to Orientalist fantasies and folklore, which I wanted to experience even in modern day terms. Was this your first time visiting Istanbul? This shoot was my fifth visit. I really love Istanbul. What was the inspiration for your story? The concept was about an opulent Orientalist fantasy and the meeting of East and West. Who was on your team? The styling was done by Lucia Liu and Fatos Hanlim. The model was Tian Yi. The hair was  done by Bon Chou and the makeup was done by Adam de Cruz. The stylists and model flew in from Beijing and the makeup artist and I flew in from London. I hired a Turkish production team and a local photographer, Pinar Lauridsen, to shoot the behind the scenes video. Pinar was already a good friend of mine from my previous visits to Istanbul, so it was wonderful to work and hang out with her. Where is the model from and why did you choose her for the story? I hired Tian Yi because she has a very delicate beauty with a...
Afrique in 3D

Afrique in 3D

Afrique in 3D Cross-Cultural Beats & Rhymes Interview by Lauri Lyons Nadjib Ben Bella is a globetrotting music producer and gallery owner. After touring for more than ten years as DJ Boulaone, one of Europe’s most popular Dj’s, Ben Bella is now remixing the creative boundaries between Europe, Africa, and America. Lauri Lyons: You’re from Northern France, tell me about the region and the history of that area? Nadjib Ben Bella: Roubaix was considered in the beginning of the 20th century the Silicon Valley, the richest region in the world because it was mostly textiles and mining industry. Now it’s one of the poorest in France because now all of the industries are now in India, North Africa, so we don’t get so much activity here. It is a bit like Detroit with a lot of unemployment and old factories. The good thing is the politicians decided to recycle this region with culture. We have a lot of art centers, museums, galleries, and ventures. There are a lot of good things happening now. Most of the resident’s heritage is Algerian or North African? Yes. It corresponds to the waves of immigration that France asked for when they needed to increase their workforce in the factories. We had some Polish people, Italians, Portuguese, Moroccans, Algerians, Senegalese. For example, in the city next to Roubaix, for every 100,000 people we have 120 different nationalities. It is very rich with a lot of different cultures. What attracts you to Arab and African music in your work? I really like African music. In some countries in Africa you have maybe 40 different languages,...
Asia in 5 Films

Asia in 5 Films

Asia in 5 Films A Native P.O.V. By Gian Cruz There’s never been a more exciting time in Asian cinema. The dynamic multiplicities working alongside the crossroads of different cultures, plus the ambiguous confluence between the East and the West, are paving the way for a richer cinema.  Asian cinema as a whole has started to explore a more inward-looking perspective, specific to the cultural contexts across the continent.   The label “exotic” is quite a tricky one, that I myself being Asian, can not explain  in a precise manner - and  that’s the beauty of it. There’s a whole dreamy universe of Asian cinema that speaks of ambiguity amidst vast landscapes and cultural nuances. It’s just a matter of how much of it you let in, and then slowly you’ll find yourself drawn deeper and deeper into it. A Personal Selection of Films Cemetery of Splendor (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) In this latest film by the Thai auteur, he touches on the whimsical mix of shamanism and magic. As one catches a glimpse of the spirit world and the mysterious realm of the unseen, he gives us an enigmatic kind of cinema, that captivates audiences through the metaphysical in a way that is free and unpretentious. The supernatural and its unexplained mysteries find itself in a romantic homage to an ancient civilization, that’s not of our time but still begs to have a certain semblance to our times. Above the Clouds (dir. Pepe Diokno) After the loss of his family, a young boy gets reunited with his estranged grandfather. As they try to mend their precarious relationship through a...
The Jewel of Tuscany

The Jewel of Tuscany

The Jewel of Tuscany Florence’s Artisan District By John­-Paul Pietrus With a sigh of relief, one early February morning I boarded a tiny airplane and left behind London’s cold, dark, and wet environs, in the roar of a jet engine. This was the start of my month long Italian ‘mini­sabbatical’. Although I love being a fashion photographer, last year I was stung by some of the industry’s thorns and realized that I needed a break. My new plan was to live a glorious life in Florence, while studying the art of Florentine jewelry making and design. I’d always had an interest in jewelry and thought; why don’t I learn something new for a month and keep my brain on a creative track with something not directly related to my work? As one of the creative capitals of the Renaissance, Florence is a city of artisans which still prides itself on creative traditions and incredible craftsmanship. One walks down the narrow streets of the city and passes cobblers, goldsmiths, printmakers, butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. Metallo Nobile (noble metal) is one of Europe’s top jewelry schools, and is set in the heart of the artisan district of Santo Spiritu. This area is located just a stone’s throw away from the historic Pitti Palace and the Ponte Vecchio. Walking into the scuola, I was greeted by the sound of blaring opera music and pounding metal hammers. The air lingered with the unmistakable scent of hot wax and morning cappuccino. Geometric glass lamps hung from the ceiling above two dozen jeweler’s desks, at which an international selection of students from Salvador, China,...
Holy Santos

Holy Santos

Holy Santos Ancient Black Saints Interview by Lauri Lyons Welcome to the magnificent world of Barron “Africanus” Claiborne, a renowned self-taught photographer, cinematographer. Originally from Boston, Claiborne has mastered the art of weaving historical facts into vivid feats of imagination.  Lauri Lyons: What inspired the Sable Goddess series? Barron Claiborne: My photos usually come from what I read. I was reading about the saints before the catholic church was moved to Rome, when the church was located in North Africa. I read about Saint Nirvana and Saint Perpetua. They were saints in the early church in North Africa. Saint Augustine was the head of the catholic church. The were a lot of saints but the first saints were black, and the first popes were black. The saints were also black in the christian church. You see images of them in catacombs and in Rome. You will see black russian icons, a lot of eastern european icons. Even Santa Claus (St. Nick) was a black man, that’s why today the Dutch recognize Zwarte Piet, his sidekick apprentice, who was also black. What are your favorite subjects to read about? I like archeology, history, and mythology. What inspired you to start photographing people as saints? The women I know and my mom. Your mom is like your saint. I was photographing women who were around the age of my mother, when she had me. Did you pick women that fit into the character of the saints? Yes, that’s basically what I do. I see someone and sometimes it’s just completely aesthetic. I see the person as I want them. It’s pretty simple....
Fake Alcohol

Fake Alcohol

Fake Alcohol Poison in Paradise By Dr. Deborah Mills Methanol poisoning of travelers has recently been in the news. An Australian teenager has died from methanol poisoning after a New Year’s eve visit to a bar in Lombok, Bali. His father reported that his son was served what he thought was imported vodka, mixed with lime from genuine bottles behind the bar. There have been cases of poisoning in Indonesia, most notably in Bali and Lombok, from alcoholic drinks adulterated with harmful substances, particularly methanol. Locals and foreigners, have died or have become seriously ill. Cases have usually involved local spirits and spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails, but supposed brand name alcohol can also be adulterated. A number of deaths have also been reported after drinking adulterated arak – a traditional rice based spirit. Various substances can contaminate the drinks of unwary travelers. I received an email, from a patient who has now lived in Beijing for about 10 years. Below is a story of a likely poisoning with isopropyl alcohol. Dr Passanante had seen numerous of these cases from westerners going to popular bars frequented by foreigners. His symptoms were racing heart rate, weak pulse, tingling in arms and legs, tiredness and possible low blood pressure. The onset took place about 10 hours after his last drink. His condition improved rapidly after administration of a small amount of valium. I have known for many years that there is a lot of fake alcohol in Beijing but I tend not to drink much when I am out and usually when drinking, buy red wine. The target for the fake...
Chinese Wonton Noodling

Chinese Wonton Noodling

Chinese Wonton Noodling The Lunar New Year Story & Photos by Jo Yee   As I sit here and write this I hear the clang of stainless steel bowls, pots and pans, vibrating through my mother’s hundred year old house in New England. I’m now thousands of miles away in London, but sometimes I swear her pitter-patter in the kitchen is still loud enough to stir me awake in the early dawn, as if my bedroom is still just three yards away. She is anything but predictable when it comes to most things but her penchant for noise pollution in the kitchen can be timed to cockcrow.     Wonton noodle soup is not the most classic of lunar new year dishes, I cannot recall a time when it was made specifically for a new year in my mother’s household, but it is laden with symbolism of good fortune. In the length of noodles there is longevity; good tidings of abundance is wrapped up in a wonton, like presents. I don’t know who makes this stuff up, but whoever it is has great taste in food, so I do not protest.     Wonton noodle soup is to my family what a full English Breakfast is to England. My maternal grandfather was the wonton noodle man, in the midst of Saigon streets filled with steaming pho bo pots. His product was handmade and homemade. He did just well enough to raise a hearty family of fourteen. While he never made it to the States, my aunts, and his youngest two daughters, brought with them a tradition of cooking up...
Strike A Pose In Bogota

Strike A Pose In Bogota

Strike A Pose In Bogota Dancing In the Streets Interview by Lauri Lyons     Take a walk on the wild side of Bogotá with film and video director Jacob Krupnick and the illustrious dancer Kia Labeija, as they explore Colombia’s alluring streets and hidden pathways.   Where are you from? Jacob Krupnick: For starters, I’m from NY, and I’ve lived in Brooklyn for the last 12 years. I’ve explored the world pretty enthusiastically on my own, and work brings me around on all kinds of cool missions.   Have you traveled to Latin America before? I spent a couple weeks in Ecuador in 2014 shooting documentaries for Intel, but aside from that, I’d never spent time further south than Mexico.   How did your collaboration with Pillar Point come about? Two years before directing Dove, I made a dance film for the same musician, Pillar Point, called Dreamin. We filmed in New York City, my home town, on the coldest weekend of the year. The music video was, to our surprise, a huge success, so when Pillar Point had a new album coming out, I wanted to work in a similar style. But the music video was due in January, and I had the dream of filming in a huge, colorful fruit market. I’ve filmed a lot in public spaces around New York, so it was time for a change.     Who is Kia Labeija? ​​Kia is an artist and Vogue dancer from New York. She’s amazing, and a joy to work with. Her focus is incredibly high. Her performance is intense and consistent. She’s a true professional,...
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