Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SM Blues Portfolio

Hiya all! I spent most of today totally revamping the SM Blues portfolio on my web site to reflect some of the massive progress I've been making on the project in the past months. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a long-form photo documentary on Santa Monica apartment architecture, accidental urban planning and the small melancholic poetics of contemporary Los Angeles living. It was shot over the course of the past 5 years on various repetitive walks in the vicinity of my old apartment/haunt on the West Side. Check it out!

Callie Cravings

My girlfriend and fellow partner in related adventuring has started a blog to chronical her whimsies and wisdom at She has a great intro to tea already and more cool content is sure to follow! Also, you can visit here to see silly photos of her occasionally!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Underground and Strange Music For Your Weekend!

I've been digging through tons of new music in the last six months. I was feeling rather dulled by the dirge of the same music I had listened to for a few year. I was serious enough to totally revamp my library with new, challenging and strange albums. I wanted to a share a few of them today!

First off, we have The Snowman with their truly ingenious album "The Horse, the Rat and the Swan." It is a dark, utterly eclectic and finely crafted studio album. Combining all sorts of melancholic and otherworldly sounds into memorable songs is a rare art and this album never flags in bringing you in to a world of mystery and shadow. Clanking pianos, reverb drenched guitars, folk percussion, electronics and random noises weave in and out with sometimes soft sometimes harsh vocals. I haven't been this impressed with a rock album taking off in it's own uncompromising direction since since "Saint The Fire Show" by Fire Show. An art equivalent might be Jean Tinguely's kinetic sculpture.

Up next: Dirge wins the award for most aptly named with their double disc "Wings of Lead Over Dormant Seas". This is a very forward looking album that might get labeled somewhere between dirge metal, doom metal, post-metal. But names aside, this is an epic piece of art in album form (the last song is over 60 minutes long) that interweaves massive amounts of slowly evolving compositions of sub-bass, hazy guitar interplay and hints of twinkling electronics with brief moments of howled vocals highlighting a couple of bars every 5 minutes or so. Like I mentioned, the music evokes the exact image of it's album name. This is the soundtrack to the rays of light sliding around the edges of a thunderhead over the ocean at dawn. This is music that is the soundtrack to massive Richard Serra rusting sculptures or Robert Smithson earthworks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A few wines to check out.

My brother recently made a request that I recommend a few wines for his anniversary dinner. His criteria was deceptively simple. Rhone blend or pinot noir with mineral-y and/or barnyard-y flavors around $40. Here's my the gist of my suggestions.

(Note: Sadly, most of my tasting notes have gone MIA having moved 4 times last year, but here are a few I remember fondly!)

First off, at your price point, most good wine shops in a half-decent city will be able to point you toward a fantastic bottle if you talk with them for a bit. The +/- $40 range is by far the best value to price area of wine. But if you're looking to go off the beaten path, I'll toss a few out.

Monterey is making some of the best, most firmly acidic and minerally Pinots in the world at the moment, I might suggest one of these three that I've tried:

But as long as you express a preference for a more refined, tannic French profile, you'll be able to find great Pinots all over that region.

On the funkier side, Doug Margerum is making the most fantastic syrahs out of various small batches of grapes from vineyards in the Santa Barbara area. Any of them are great but he's know for his "Uber" blend. Personally, I find a couple of his single vineyard offerings more charming (usually the best, and the one that provides the structure for "Uber", is

On the deeply powerful, funky and structured end from Napa, you can still catch the last vintage of Joseph Phelp's Rhone-style syrah blend Le Mistral, the first Napa-style Rhone-Blend. This vineyard and name were just sold, so who knows how the new one will fair, but I opened three bottles of this at a dinner party one time and it blew people away. This one will age for a while and pairs fantastic with rich pork and game dishes.

One of the most interesting wines from a classic Santa Rita AVA pinot producer is a *clone specific* pinot from Alama Rosa. All of their wines are fantastically structured. But this one is great for it's dark forest floor and mushroom characteristics. It's called 2008 Pinot Noir - Clone 667, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

And just to offer up a very strange, but mind-blowing alternative white wine that may be well past your price-point, but worth looking for is the classic biodynamic Nicolas Joly Chenin Blanc. It is a white wine that decimates even good red wine in terms of flavor, body. length and food-friendliness.

Happy anniversary to David and Kate, and best wishes for the summer to all of you!