Jason Eldredge on His Aural Fixation

Named by Billboard Magazine as one of the ‘Top 30 Under Thirty’ in the music industry, Jason’s music supervision credits include: HBO’s Six Feet Under, The Closer for TNT and Free Radio for VH-1 in addition to DJ’ing the 86th Academy Awards Governors Ball and creating mixes for Fred Segal. Michael Kors, Beats Music and Urban Decay. I was turned on to Jason’s work through our mutal friend Andrew and I caught up with him to discuss his career.

I think to describe you as a DJ is limiting and doesn’t do you justice. How would you describe what you do?

I have always described myself as an artist. I am constantly working in different mediums and practicing a variety of disciplines simultaneously. Everything I do is based in the arts. Music, performing, writing, painting, cooking, design. I have a great appreciation for the creative process and I am happy to contribute whenever I can.

You’ve consulted on various music projects. Tell us about that process.

Consulting is a dream come true because the bulk of that work is mainly making suggestions. Unlike other jobs where I have to go through the process of licensing music, consultancy is more about sharing ideas and it is the essence of creativity. A client will come to me with a specific project and it is my job to pitch a selection of music that will fit their needs. As with everything I do, I also try to maintain a bit of my own signature in the work.

You DJ’ed the 86th Academy Awards Governors Ball and also provided a mix for the Oscar’s Foreign Language Film Nominees reception. How did that collaboration come about?

Tom Hanks and Annette Bening were hosting a private inaugural fundraiser last year for the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. I was asked to create a mix of movie soundtracks for that event and it turned out to be a big success. When it came time for the Oscars to hire a DJ for the Governors Ball, they remembered my previous work and I got the call. It was a really incredible night.

Music is such an emotive and powerful tool. What factors do you consider when curating your play lists for various clients?

I tend to gravitate toward music and art that has a strong sense of originality and I continually strive to curate for quality in everything that I do. My number one concern is maintaining a high level of integrity for both the project and myself. That said, I also constantly look for places where I can take risks and think outside the box.

Do you prefer the immediate visceral response from your audience when DJ’ing as opposed to other environments?

DJ’ing in front of a live audience and DJ’ing on the radio each have their own unique perks. When I am DJ’ing live, it is all about instant communication. A good DJ is able to read the crowd and the space. It is amazing how a DJ can immediately change the temperature of the room based on what he or she is playing. On the other hand, when I’m doing a radio show— even though I might get listeners texting or calling in— it can sometimes feel like performing in a bit of a vacuum. I guess a good comparison would be acting on stage as opposed to acting on film. In theatre, you have an instant response from a live audience that you don’t usually get while working in front of a camera. The same goes for DJ’ing. When you play live you can get an immediate response, whereas on the radio or with a prerecorded mix, the response is more delayed. Usually there is an opportunity to take more substantial risks with the latter, because you’re not as concerned with keeping the flow of the room going.

What projects are you working on that you can share?

I am currently in the process of launching AccidentalRhythm.com, which is the exciting new chapter of my radio show. It has been thrilling to move my program over to its own independent entity, because it feels like such a new idea. Aside from maybe the BBC, it seems like radio stations as we’ve come to know them are coming to an end and I am really intrigued to see what happens next in the world of webcasting. In addition to the new phase of my show, I am also helping produce a documentary focusing on the town of Montauk in the Hamptons and this year also marks my fifth year anniversary of DJ’ing for Oliver Peoples. I will be playing their Summer Sessions series again this July in Malibu.

What do you think are the most common misconceptions about what you do?

DJ’s are not jukeboxes. I am usually not opposed to requests, but what I don’t understand is when the occasional person wants to change the entire vibe of what a DJ is playing just because it doesn’t suit his or her particular taste. You wouldn’t ask a chef at a restaurant to rewrite the entire menu just because you aren’t familiar with the dishes, would you? When I hear other DJs play live, I am genuinely interested in how their sets are going to unfold. I want to know about the music that other people have discovered and how they choose to express their individual taste. That is the genius of the job. I recently had a long conversation with a friend who said, “I understand that you are playing songs up there, but what exactly is it that you are doing? Like, what are you listening to in those headphones?” I tried to explain the concepts of cueing and beat-matching and orchestrating the appropriate tempos and pitches and it all sort of blew his mind. I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the complicated process that goes into the work. DJ’ing is the epitome of postmodernism. It is the act of taking ready-made works of art and creating something new. To me, that is the highest level of creativity because it is such a unique form of collaboration. DJ’ing is about creating a collage. It’s auditory assemblage.  I think Marcel Duchamp would have been really amazed to see this type of curating happening. He also would have made one hell of a DJ.

Follow him at @JasonEldredge

Ryan Fitzgibbon – The Voice Of A New Generation

Hello Mr. is a bi-annual publication that launched in the spring of 2013 paving the way for a new generation of gay men. I spoke with its founder Ryan Fitzgibbon about the genesis of the project, how he executed his vision and how he continues to defy convention.

Tell us about the genesis of Hello Mr.

Hello Mr. started out as a blog that I created to gather a few of my friends in a common space. We could write about dating and what the gay dating sphere was like, talk freely. It was a very casual, safe space with somewhat infrequent posts, but soon enough I saw that there was something deeper to uncover in all this. It evolved into the concept for this magazine about a new generation of men. Those in middle existing media that paid no heed to the extremes—the chiseled go-go dancer in a rainbow Speedo, or the marriage equality activist standing with posters on the Capitol. These stereotypes are iconic of gay culture, but they’re extremes, and such, leave little room to showcase the reality of the everyday gay, which is what I was interested in.

You describe Hello Mr. as a community. Why did you choose print media as an expression of that community?

Print magazines have always been a love of mine. Independent publications are emerging in such a way so that now the Kinfolks and the Fantastic Mans of the publishing world are starting to surface in the mainstream, offered at big time bookstores and retailers. I think this new energy in the indie publishing world comes from the worth of thick, quality-printed, beautiful serial you can keep at your bedside or on your bookshelves. It’s a conversation piece and, similar to how the blog functioned, a common place. Because much of each issue comprises personal narratives and essays, it reads more like an anthology that acts as a reflection of the universal truths for many gay men around the world. The format, combined with the design details—the inclination to keep it on your coffee table rather than toss it in the recycling bin when you’re finished—establishes the worth of the object. Our readers take great pride in owning it, for lack of a less punny word.

How has autonomy informed the creative process for you?

I veered away from potential investors and advertisers early on in the process, and crowdfunded this fully, and then some. The first issue ran completely ad-free. Because the magazine came from the interest, motivation, and interest of those who were helping raise the fun, the engagement with the creation of this magazine meant so much more. If I’d gone another route, the response to the launch would have been totally different. I feel like readers (new or old) have been here since the beginning.

As a kind of solopreneur some of the toughest parts of this were in forming the style guide, building the brand, designing the website, assembling a contributors agreement, deciding how the book should be sectioned, etc. Because I was also scouting writers, photographers, and illustrators that I wanted to work with, it comes together somewhat organically. Not only do these pieces speak to each other, but they don’t have to be influenced by advertising, by the opinion of a major investor, or by the regionality of a publication. It’s universal and unbridled.

In an age where print media is in a state of flux and the current subscription model is to sell cheap, what are the challenges you faced launching your publication?

Starting any kind of new media or content-provider in this day and age comes with its challenges—the publishing world is saturated. But major magazines have dug themselves in a rut. They offered subscriptions cheaper and cheaper until you can get a year of periodicals for $5, which trains the consumer that these materials are cheap. So when you see a magazine that is $20, you might be confused at the pricing based on your prior knowledge of what other magazines cost. People might not purchase Hello Mr. because you wouldn’t spend $20 on Vanity Fair or Esquire. But this new breed of indie magazines is reclaiming the worth of print, and avoiding the tribulations of the electronic. Digital advertising revenue figures are nowhere near what everyone projected and eBook sales are steadily declining. Online engagement is undeniably important, but the trend of sales and readership (despite this massive shift to digital content) shows that people will always love holding something in their hands and putting something on their coffee table.

How do you mitigate merging art and commerce while maintaining the integrity of what you are doing?

As our magazine is starting to take on advertisers, I put a lot of thought into what products I’d want next to our content. I’m picky in the sense that I wouldn’t want a reader to flip through my magazine and feel isolated, or feel like the commerce that went with the content didn’t strike them in a positive way. It’s easy enough to take on every fashion brand and gay travel advertiser that comes your way, but it risks cheapening the quality readers are paying more for.

As a sort of weird parallel example, when Joanna Coles was put on as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, one of her first motions was to cut off all relationships with the sex-toy advertisers that littered the back of the book. A year later, Cosmopolitan has won a National Magazine Award for the first time since its emergence in 1965. If you treat your brand with respect, your readers will respect it too.

What struck me in the first issue was how gay culture was normalized unlike the caricature presented in mass media. Was this a conscious decision?

Haha, yes. If anything it was the thing that set the whole mission in motion. More than anything, Hello Mr. is a platform to allow people to express their own experiences. We’re not necessarily trying to replace the current image of gay men, or condemning existing images of gay culture as necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that the gay population is divided into cultures and subcultures, with a few cultures that were being represented a lot and this whole middle culture that got zero to nothing. As I’ve said before, stereotypes are not going away—there’s nothing wrong with them existing and there’s truth in them. But what about the middle ground?

What have you learned about yourself during this process?

I’ve always been a designer and an art director, but I’d never ventured into editing professionally. In this new role, I’ve kind of surprised myself in finding out that this time around, being editor-in-chief is so much fun. I design the whole book, and it’s my aesthetic first-born. But when it comes to editing, I’ll sit and read submissions and laugh and cry and resist the urge to post stories immediately. I love promoting the work of my contributors, and I can’t believe I get to call that my job now.

Also, I’ve become better and better at delegating. I’ve always been the kind of person to let a lot rest on my shoulders until I’m at max capacity. After we packaged this last issue, I’d hired someone temporarily for brand partnerships, I am constantly giving work to our editorial assistant, enlisted multiple people to help me host events, reached out to writers and copyeditors, met up with over a dozen interns—and I’m starting to feel more balance because of it. From a glance, it might seem like a one-man show, but as always, I’ve learned that a community is the only thing that’s going to produce the high reaching results I’m aiming for.

How do you plan to evolve your brand?

I’m constantly getting feedback from my writers and readers. Having recently become one of the suggested users on Instagram, resulting in 33,000 new followers means we’re reaching a much larger audience now. It’s fun to see what people will react strongest to, and what they’ll neglect on social media. And trying to cultivate that online relationship is one way to produce the best possible experience for them. Creating the paper magazine means that I’m curating content that can be (and usually is) read from cover to cover. But my next venture will be in building the online community in the same vein as the original Hello Mr. blog. We have so many artists, writers, contributors, timely stories to draw from, but can’t fit into the print edition. It seems that the only logical way for our magazine to grow is to get more people participating in the conversation.

Subscribe here

 

Shirley Mallmann Relects on Her Career

Nineties beauty Shirley Mallmann got her start in a small town in southern Brazil. It wasn’t long before she was treading the runways and gracing the pages of fashion bibles in campaigns for Alberta Ferretti, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani and countless others. In addition she made an appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and the cover of multiple issues of Vogue.

Tell us about how you got started in modeling.

I come from a very small town in the south of Brazil. I was working in a shoe factory when a colleague of mine won a beauty contest and wanted to try modeling. We found a small modeling school in a nearby town and joined. The school had guest speakers one of which had a fashion column in south Brazil’s biggest newspaper. He asked if I wanted to do some photos for his column and an appearance on his TV show about fashion trends.  I did it and between the two jobs earned more than a month’s pay in the factory so I quit my job and started modeling full-time.

How have you been able to achieve longevity in a field where so few make it?

That’s a hard question to answer. There’s no way of telling if you’ll make it or not. All you can do is try your best and see where it’ll take you. I’m a hard worker and I love what I do which is a big part of it. Genetics play an important part too. I’m very fortunate to be able to switch between high fashion and commercial work which adds to a broader appeal making my career longer and more versatile.

How have you found balance between modeling and family life?

It is a constant job coordinating the two. I have two boys in school so they have a set schedule while my husband, who’s a hairdresser, and I travel for work a lot.  It’s a ping-pong game figuring out who will be home at what time of day, but babysitters, grandma and everybody else chips in a bit. When we’re all home together we try to make the most of it by doing special things with our kids.

​What have you discovered about yourself through modeling?

When I was little my dream was to leave my parents farm and have my own apartment and my own car. The day I was set to move to New York for the first time I realized that all I wanted was to stay close to home. Even though we’re very lucky to travel to all these amazing places around the world I am the happiest at home, preferably near my family in Brazil. I also realized that I absolutely love fashion and my job, which I had no idea until I started working. That makes all the sacrifices worth it.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?

I have always loved architecture and interior design. As a child I used to cut out apartment layouts from newspapers and pretend to be working on them. I probably would have done something along those lines.

What are your goals for the future?

My ultimate dream is to move my family back to Brazil. I would love to be able to instill the culture in my sons and have them enjoy the simple carefree life that I grew up with. I would also love to have my own children’s clothing line; it’s something I’m very passionate about.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?​

Oh, I don’t know. I’m a very upbeat person and I try to make the best out of all situations. I love reading and sleeping. Here is a good one I guess…I’m scared of the outdoors at night. I don’t like to do much outside at night except maybe go to dinner or a party, but I prefer if they are indoors.

What does success mean to you?

To me it’s all the learning, to have made a difference in someone’s life, to be able to pass some of your knowledge to your kids. It also means having choices in life, whether to travel, spend time with your family or just take the day off if you feel like it.

Follow her at @MallmannShirley

The Lions Ups The Stakes In The Modeling Game

 

Talent management agency The Lions launched their new online platform to much fanfare. With a roster of industry icons such as Kristen McMenamy, Karen Elson, Guinevere Van Seenus and Angela Lindvall, The Lions is redefining how to operate in a post digital era. Managed by industry veterans Ali Kavoussi, Christiana Tran, Louie Chaban and Madisyn Ritland, The Lions heavy social media focus highlights the personality of their models. In an age where the public increasingly demands more of its stars, The Lions is bridging the gap with its presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. With an array of talent that boasts everything from singing to acting to jewelry making to advocacy work, The Lions represents a twenty-first century approach to branding. In addition to each model’s portfolio and composite card is a link to their social media sites further engaging their audience to participate in their lives breaking down barriers that previously existed. The Lions seems to have a canny grasp of what it means to do business in today’s world. I expect we will be hearing much more in time to come.

Visit The Lions website here and blog here

 

 

Gretchen Johnson on the Benefits of Pilates

Gretchen Johnson started gymnastics and moved to competitive cheerleading in high school.  After graduating from UT Knoxville, Gretchen ventured to New York City to study Pilates at The Pilates Studio of New York, the most famous Pilates school. Gretchen devoted herself to her practice before returning to her hometown to open Absolute Pilates in Brentwood, Tennessee.  Her love for this method of exercise keeps her motivated and her clients see the results in her classes and in their bodies.

What interested you in Pilates?

I was always standing on my head or on the monkey bars as a kid. Gymnastics was my first love, and I competed until the age of 15. In High School I did cheerleading and became really interested in working out to stay fit. When I was in my early twenties, my sister worked at a clothing store where the owner also had a Pilates studio. I saw the flyer for the studio and became very inquisitive about the method. One of the instructors offered to give my sister and I a free lesson and we jumped on it. I had no idea what to expect, but I loved it. It reminded me somewhat of gymnastics, and the instructor told the owner that she thought I was a good candidate to become an instructor. It was fate because I thought at the time that I wanted to become a personal trainer, but this method was so much more interesting. So, I immersed myself into Pilates private lessons and classes until I was ready to audition at The Pilates Studio of NYC.

What training did you undertake to become a certified instructor?

I had to undergo many hours of private lessons and classes before I could audition at The Pilates Studio of NYC. Once I got in, I moved to New York were I attended a 12 day intensive course followed by 600 hours of apprenticeship requiring practice teaching, lessons, classes, observing, practicing with other students and testing throughout. I completed the program in 2003 and moved back to Nashville and started working right away. Top trainers from my original school were involved with another organization named Power Pilates. I liked how organized and passionate they were about Pilates. They recognized my certification, but in order to receive their certification I had to attend several workshops and test out at the end. I completed this training in 2007 and have kept up with continuing education through Power Pilates. I feel like I continue to learn everyday teaching clients and through my own Pilates practice.

At what point did you decide to open your own studio?

I had been working for someone for one and half years and she had two studios. The partner she had at the studio where I worked had to move so she wanted to move both studios to a central location. I had already built up a clientele in the area I was working so it just made sense to open my own.

What are the most common requests clients have when they come to you?

Most people come in because they want to shape and tone their bodies, become more flexible and to relieve pain.

What are the benefits of Pilates versus other forms of physical activity?

Pilates works the body from the core creating a stable base before putting stress on areas that are too weak to work. It teaches you to work from the inside out in a supported way, while stretching, toning and aligning the body.

How do the core principles of Pilates differ from yoga?

Pilates focuses more on initiating from the core with more equipment involved. Pilates is more active in nature and less meditative. Every Pilates move has a stretch involved but the stretches are not as bendy as yoga and there is no music when you practice Pilates.

What are some of the misconceptions people have about Pilates?

That it is easy. Pilates takes a lot of concentration and it is like learning a new language in your body. You have to be patient and learn the method correctly so that you are not just going through the motions. When learned correctly Pilates is very challenging.

Can you tell us more about your experience with Kinesthetic learning?

I learn through movement. I relate every aspect of movement to life. I believe the way we move is the reflection of how we are living our lives. If I am tight and rigid, or I am experiencing aches and pains this indicates to me that something is off. I try to use this to help me clue into what I can work on to become my happiest, healthiest, fittest, self.

How does practicing Pilates affect other areas of your life?

Because I learn through movement, Pilates clues me into when something is off. My spiritual practice involves meditation and helps me figure out how to manifest positive changes I can make to get me back on track. I believe that spirituality is the center of everything, so it basically effects all areas of my life.

What projects are you working on that you can share with our readers?

I am in talks with Power Pilates to become a host training site for possible continuing education and teacher training at my studio. I also have a goal for my next studio to be in a health and wellness center connected to other like-minded individuals who are passionate about what they do.

For more information go here