Mark Thomas Studio is featuring specials in honor of Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re giving a gift to a loved one, or buying your own Valentine as a token of self-love, the studio is ready to beautify clients with their hair, make-up and skin care services. Located on Jefferson Square in Austin off West 38th Street, Mark Thomas is the only boutique in Texas that offers the European brands Philip Kingsley and FACE Stockholm makeuptogether in one place. Recently they debuted a Quick Eye Blow Dry Bar next door to their studio. Mark Thomas Studio bestows exceptional service reminiscent of a lavish boutique infused with Southern hospitality, permeating luxury and gentility into one location. Book an appointment by February 28, 2018 and these Valentine’s specials will apply to the following services.
Blow Out & Make-Up
Book with Madison to get a shampoo, blow out and style for $25. Monday- Friday 3 P.M. – 7 P.M.
Book with Robbie for two Blow outs, shampoos with styling for the price of one: $45. Monday- Friday 3 P.M. – 7 P.M.
Creative eye shadow application is included with each shampoo with style.
The Look of Love: Eyelashes & Brows
Book with Mia to obtain 50% off full sets of eye lash extensions. This offer applies to new clients only. Lash sets range in price from $300-$375.
Book with Nancy to receive $100 off on microblading.
Current clients that purchase a lash fill receive a complimentary brow shaping & lash tint.
Book with Kathy and purchase an ultimate facial to receive a complimentary brow wax. The ultimate facial costs $114 and is worth every dollar. I’ve personally had this facial and it leaves skin radiant, refreshed and youthful.
Love is in the Hair
Book with Lacey and purchase a full highlight or a single process tint to receive a complimentary shampoo & hair cut.
Book with Mark Thomas and purchase a full Balayage, haircut & a blow out in order to obtain two complimentary shampoos with blow out styles at Quick Eye Blow Dry Bar. Mark is a Master stylist and colorist and always leaves my long locks looking beautiful and healthy.
Pucker Up: Lips and Make-up
Book with Amanda and purchase a full make up application for $65 and receive one complimentary lip pencil, lipstick or eye shadow.
Imagery provided by National Geographic/ATX Television Festival.
Recently in honor of Veteran’s Day, I attended a screening in Texas for a National Geographic Channel military series on TV called The Long Road Home. Nat Geo and the Texas Film Commission delivered a sneak peek into this Texas-filmed series based on Martha Raddatz’s bestselling novel The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family. The first episode premiered on November 7, 2017, and the show is now featured worldwide in over 171 locations and 45 languages each week on Tuesdays via National Geographic Channel. The Long Road Home is presently the biggest active set in the U.S., built on Fort Hood Army Base. The creator and showrunner of this TV show is screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Mikko Alanne.
“On April 4, 2004, the First Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed in Sadr City, Baghdad—a day that later came to be known as Black Sunday. Based on Martha Raddatz’s best-selling book, The Long Road Home chronicles their heroic fight for survival, as well as their families’ agonizing wait on the home front back in Texas. The cast includes two-time Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kelly as Lt. Col. Gary Volesky; Emmy-nominated actor Jason Ritter as Capt. Troy Denomy; Kate Bosworth as Capt. Denomy’s wife, Gina; Sarah Wayne Callies as LeAnn Volesky, wife of Lt. Col. Volesky; Noel Fisher as Pfc. Tomas Young; and Jeremy Sisto as Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger.”
The Long Road Home tells a story of the ultimate sacrifice made at war. The series gives a voice and a proper acknowledgment to the Veterans that have served and their families that supported them. I loved the episode they showcased. I sat there watching the screening of The Long Road Home on a Sunday evening, and I felt a wild and extensive mixture of emotions. Mikko Alanne does a fantastic job of intertwining beauty and humor into a darker story. Right when you want to look away from Baghdad, the series keeps you hooked with light-hearted moments back in Texas. Alanne is also a master of flashbacks and retrospective storytelling. Viewers are watching the episodes with ease, without confusions as to the different times with different characters, past and present. I was also impressed by how the set is so accurate in detail that even the military personnel that helped advise Mikko Alanne on set described it to be almost a mirror reflection of Baghdad. One of the Veterans of the U.S. Army that helped Alanne in the production process, as well as attend the Q&A in Austin, isEric Bourquin.
“While on the set he and other 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers endured in Iraq, Eric Bourquin managed to get the emotional healing he had sought for years. ‘There’s no way I could just take a stroll through memory lane [in Iraq] if i wanted to,” he said after a panel discussion about the show at the Defense Information School. “But I was so fortunate that I was able to do that and walk through it’. The Army assisted the film crew at Fort Hood, where producers claimed they built the largest working film set in North America on a 12-acre site. More than 80 buildings were erected at the Elijah urban training site at Fort Hood, Texas, where the division is headquartered, to resemble homes and streets in Sadr City. For Bourquin, who worked as a production consultant for the show, the fabricated town gave him tangible closure”.
At the end of the screening, I was able to ask Eric Bourquin a question and it was definitely an intense moment for me. I respected his honesty and bravery to retell this story and to heal from it. [A recording of the Q&A can be found on YouTube.] For me, even though I never served in the military, it was hard to ignore my personal feelings at a Press event like this being a military brat myself that grew up with nearly all Veterans and men of the military: Air Force, Army, Marines, Green Berets and so on. As a member of the military family, this was an intense but heartfelt episode for me because I’ve experienced and seen what the military and wartimes can do to a person, good and bad. I’ve seen the affects of PTSD and trauma. It hurts the Veterans and their families to see loved ones struggling. Even if the Veterans are most affected of all. Thus, any safe place of healing is highly commendable and needed. Ultimately I respect the vision of what The Long Road Home is hoping to accomplish because that is what Veterans and their families really need: to be heard, seen and to heal so that they may readjust back to everyday life and recover from the past.
I highly recommend this TV series for all Veterans and members of the military family. Even if you’re not a Veteran, on active duty or part of the military family. All civilians can appreciate this show because it’s essential for those uninvolved or unrelated to the military to gain enlightenment and second-hand exposure to what military personnel must endure overseas at war while away from home. We all need to see and to empathize with the difficulty Veterans face (and their families) when returning back to home. We need to see their long road home to recovery and healing. I valued this series as an artist and a member of the military family because when a military member is deployed and goes to war, it affects the families, too.
Greta Gerwig. Imagery provided by Sunshine Sachs/Photography by Jack Plunkett.
Last month I was commissioned by an editor in Hollywood to interview Greta Gerwig on the red carpet before the screening of her film Lady Bird at the Austin Film Festival in Texas on October 26, 2017. The Hollywood Reporter published the interview. (IMDb also redistributed the story.). I loved the film and it was a pleasure to interview Greta Gerwig. She was a smart, kind & articulate artist to interview. Therefore I was not surprised when I read this week that Lady Bird broke box office records.
“Lady Bird opened to limited audiences its first weekend, showing in four locations (making it a specialty box office release).” According to Jezebel “it blew past typical ticket sales for smaller box office openings of its kind,grossing$375,612 in fourtheaters, with a theater average of $93,903. That makes it the best speciality box office opening of 2017. For context, look at the numbersof comparablefirst weekend openings this year: Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled earned an average $64,160 per theater in four locations the first weekend and The Big Sick grossed roughly $82,800 per theater it’s opening weekend in five locations. And, asIndieWire points out, since Katheryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty grossedroughly $83,430per theater in five locations back in 2012, that makes Lady Bird the best ever limited debut for a movie directed by a woman. Since Lady Bird has already exceeded box office expectations, it will be interesting to see how well it does when it opens in more theaters during the next few months. And considering the rave reviews and ticket sales, I wouldn’t be surprised if the film lands several nominations around Oscar time, including Gerwig for best director.”
Known to most as an actress, Greta Gerwig has been part of the film industry in a multitude of roles both on-camera and behind the scenes during the last ten years: acting, writing, producing and directing. Within her recent film Lady Bird, Gerwig showcased her directorial debut as the exclusive writer and director. When I asked her on the red carpet when she knew she was ready to direct a solo project, Gerwig stated, “It was a very long process of writing the script but once I finished writing. I felt like it was the moment I worked toward for ten years and I’d always wanted to direct. And I thought, this is the moment, this is when you do it. I don’t know that you ever quite feel ready, but I think I felt like enough is enough. You’ve got enough training. Go for it.”
Gerwig’s movie has traveled to festivals worldwide, receiving accolades and high praises along the way. Lady Bird is a comedy about a young girl in Sacramento named Christine. She refers to herself as Lady Bird. It’s also a semi-autobiographical story about Greta Gerwig. The story revolves around Lady Bird’s senior year at a Catholic high school, figuring out how to leave home to pursue her life dreams in NYC because (she thinks) she hates California, only to realize how beautiful it is upon leaving. Lady Bird is a charming, evocative and beautifully stitched together film with hilarious, witty dialogue. Gerwig captures the melancholy, vibrant spirit of youth and the bond between mother and daughter.
WideWorld sent US writer Nicolette Mallow to Washington D.C., to interview 37- year-old National Geographic photographer and explorer Jimmy Chin at The Madison Hotel. Chin is also a sponsored athlete for The North Face. Throughout his career, he has shot climbers thousands of feet up in the air, glued to ice-capped mountains, with storm clouds billowing in the distance, and, as WideWorld discovers. Jimmy Chin’s ability to capture shadows and light, sunrises and sunsets and nature at its most breathtaking is nothing short of incredible. The interview took place prior to a banquet held in his honor at Nat Geo headquarters to showcase Chin’s career, life stories and photography.
Nicolette Mallow: What was it about your first trips to the mountains that inspired your career?
Jimmy Chin: Well I always loved being outside. We had a ravine behind our house and I was always tromping around in the woods. When I showed up in Glacier National Park it was just like my ravine on steroids! I just knew then that I wanted to live a life in the mountains. Although the trails were very beautiful I didn’t ever want to stay on the trail. I wanted to explore.
NM: How exactly did you turn all this from a hobby into a lifestyle and a career?
JC: You know, there is a lot of pressure when you’re in college from peers and the professors and your parents to get an internship or to have this goal of becoming a lawyer, a businessman, or a doctor; I think it’s hard for anybody to aspire to them when the title sounds great but you don’t really understand what the day-to-day life of an attorney is. And I had no real connection to any of it. It just seemed like all these abstract ideas and it just seemed really boring to me. For some reason I was struck by the idea that you only live once and that you shouldn’t waste your time being something for other people or being something that other people wanted you to be. It didn’t seem fair. I struggled with that a little bit for sure. Education was hugely important for my parents. They were both librarians at a university and they had come from China and they had made a life for themselves here.
NM: What got you into photography?
JC: I always loved looking at photography, but I think that everyone does. I am a very visually stimulated person. But while I was visually oriented, I never thought of it as a career. I never took photo classes in school.
NM: So you’re self-taught?
JC: Oh yeah. Still teaching myself. Still learning. But, overall, photography felt really natural and probably one of the easiest things for me to learn or pick up. So in that sense I feel like, perhaps it was meant to happen.
NM: In one article you describe dangling above endangered antelope in Tibet, but what did it feel like when you guys found them?
JC: In some ways it was like we were chasing mythical creatures. It’s so funny because it was like being a kid, again, and trying to follow these animals across the Chang Tang plateau and hoping to find this supposed birthing ground. George Shallow, one of the greatest live mammal biologists and conservationists, couldn’t find these animals or their birthing grounds after two to three expeditions. My crew and I knew this was going to be extremely difficult. We’d been traveling for weeks and weeks and there was nothing. We lost them, once, and then we found them, again. When we finally found them and I saw the first baby chiru: it was a mind-bending experience.
NM: Is there any expedition in particular which you are most proud of in terms of your finished images?
JC: I think shooting Everest and skiing Everest. I was always trying to get this photo that no one has ever seen before and there were a couple photos in there that don’t necessarily have the best light or the best compositions ever but they’re just… Well, there is an image of Kit and Robert DesLauriers skiing down a slope over 28,000 feet. Two people on their skis, on the southeast ridge of Everest. And I just love that photo as there is also a storm cloud coming up in the distance.
NM: Throughout all the places you’ve seen, where is some of the most beautiful light to capture?
JC: Sunset when you’re up really, really high above base camp in the Himalayas holds perfect, mesmerizing light. Any mountain range up high where you can see the horizon line is amazing. After the sun has set and it gets that kind of blue mixed with pink –I love those colours; like pastels in the sky.
NM: In 2004 you had a close shave with death when you were on Everest and the avalanche came down and threw you guys back over 30 feet. Have you had any experiences as intense as that one since?
JC: Not as intense. I think as you get older you start to understand and become much more aware of all the different ways to die. I’m a lot more conservative these days, but there’s always the fluke accident. As a climber you have to take a certain stance in how you look at the world. When you do what I do, you must accept, “When you’re time comes, it comes.” I have to think like that otherwise I wouldn’t get out of bed!
To see a selection of Jimmy Chin’s images, see our gallery below. For more, visit: www.jimmychin.com.
Note: This interview “Jimmy Chin: A Photographers Eye View” was initially published in Wide World Magazine in 2010. Wide World is an adventure travel magazine based in London, United Kingdom.
Van Dammes’ cover art designed by Eemeli Rimpiläinen.
Van Dammes,the garage punk heroes from Helsinki, Finland released their third EP in 2017 titled Vild Days. Formed in Brussels in 2013, Van Dammes recently completed a European tour to cities like Berlin, Vienna, Dresden and Warsaw. Vild Days is a lively, punk rock album with rhythmic, heavy drum beats and words of storytelling featuring tracks like“Punk Rock Drummer”and“Scandinavian Action Rock.” Van Dammes consists of four artists: Ilkka Hildén (bass), Markus Kujawa (vocals, synth), Jussi Roine (drums) and Juho Talja (vocals, guitar).
” Originally formed in Belgium, Van Dammes (VD) are a Finnish four-piece garage punk band from Helsinki. Their debut, the VD EP, debuted in April 2014, and its successor, Better Than Sex, in February 2015. Both releases have gained airplay on American and British punk radio stations and popular Finnish radio stations such as YleX and Radio Helsinki. They have also been critically acclaimed in American, Australian, British, Canadian, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Mexican and Polish reviews. Also, the band has released a bunch of other sh*t in various formats, like a tribute song to the ski jumping legend Noriaki Kasai. In October 2016, Van Dammes distributed the first single, “Thunderbirds Are Go,” from their third EP, Vild Days. The new single of Van Dammes tells the anecdote of Alan Tracy, the youngest member of the life-saving organisation Thunderbirds. Alan wants to go to the nightclub to see Cliff Richard play and kiss Lady Penelope but tonight it is his turn to remain on standby. Van Dammes present their view of the young man’s odyssey in their new song “Thunderbirds Are Go.” Van Dammes have also been touring Europe extensively since their foundation.”
Imagery provided by Van Dammes.
Two years ago, Van Dammes sought me out in Texas from across the Atlantic Ocean following the publicity of their second EP,Flash In The Night. An interview I conducted was featured in Rank & Revue for the June 2015 issue. At that time, VD and I discussed topics like a Serbian flight attendant, Vesna Vulović, aviation, drive-ins and The Ramones. Recently, I received news from Van Dammes about the release of their third EP Vild Days. And I was happy to follow up with a second feature two years later in 2017. Two of the bandmates from Van Dammes—Markus and Juho —partook in a written interview withme to discussmusic videos, songwriting, baleen whales, Scandinavia, Thunderbirds mini-series and their recent European tour.
Nicolette Mallow: Does the band have a process for writing the music and lyrics? I am curious since the songs cover such a wide range of topics and sounds.
Markus Kujawa : It’s basically me and Juho who are writing the songs, but for this latest EP, our drummer also did one… about drummers. The ideas come from everywhere and you are right that our songs cover quite a wide range of topics. We write the songs individually but arrange them together. So the final sound is defined by the whole band.
NM:I enjoy the drum beats on your tracks. “Punk Rock Drummer” is a pleasant video. Where was it filmed? It seemed to be an old movie with the band mates zooming in and out. Will Van Dammes (VD) be making more videos in the future?
Markus: We used some old archive material for this video and added ourselves playing on it. We have done that with some of our previous videos, too. I think it’s nice to recycle old footage like this. We will definitely continue making videos.
Juho Talja: This was actually the first time we tried the so called green screen technique with our video. We made “Punk Rock Drummer” video with a very talented local artist called cameraman Panu Salonen and I think you can see that from the final result.
NM: Tell me about “The Whale Road” and the interest in baleen whales? The song has a sweet sound of nostalgia, and I am not sure why but I really liked it.
Juho: I’m very, very interested in baleen whales and other cetaceans. I think humans don’t understand how intelligent and sensitive those amazing animals really are. I believe that cetaceans are even way more intelligent that the science generally thinks at the moment and I think we should pay more respect to them. So, I wrote the song because I wanted personally to respect cetaceans. Especially the migration of the baleen whales is a really epic phenomenon which humans don’t totally understand and that’s what the song is all about. I also hate the human attitude according to which the planet Earth is only ours to rule and use. No way, there are millions of other species with whom we should share this planet.
NM:“Scandinavian Action Rock” is a catchy title… what provoked you all to write about Scandinavia?
Markus: Actually this song title refers to a specific music genre. In the beginning of the 21th century, at least in the Northern European countries, the term was used to describe bands such as The Hives, The Hellacopters, Backyard Babies, Turbonegro and The Flaming Sideburns… and pretty much all the bands a Swedish label called Burning Hearts was releasing. Actually I’m not the biggest fan of the genre but it felt necessary to remind people about this. I don’t know why though.
NM:What did Van Dammes enjoy most about your recent European tour?
Markus: It was really cool to go to some places where we didn’t play before, like Croatia and Serbia. I also enjoyed the food and drinks everywhere. Have to say that punk concert organisers are very hospitable wherever you go.
Juho: It’s really hard to say what we enjoyed the most because every place we visited was super nice in their own way. We actually had quite different kinds of venues during our latest tour. There were small punk clubs and even some big rock venues. It’s always a pleasure to meet new people (other bands, organisers, audience) during a tour. One special memory of the tour is the cancellation of our Bratislava (Slovakia) show. We had to get a compensatory show somewhere in a very short notice. The night before, we played in Leipzig (Germany) with Dark Thoughts, a punk band from the US, and they told us that they’re going to play in Cracow (Poland) the next day. The nice guys of Dark Thoughts gave us a phone number of a very kind concert organiser gentleman called Wojtek who finally invited also us to play at his event. The show in Cracow turned out to be magnificent which was nice.
NM:Where will VD be touring next?
Markus: We will tour in Europe again in autumn. We should also probably record something new soon cos we’d like to release our next EP or LP in spring 2018.
The 2017 Euphoria Music Festival came to an end and yet the magical feeling of experiencing music with over 50,000 people in Austin, Texas lingers vividly in memory. I can still hear the crowd chanting at Chromeo, and I can relive the hypnotizing light show alongside Moby’s DJ set in my mind. Perhaps this is one of Euphoria’s most lovable and endearing traits: the music festival exerts a natural high of happiness and contentment that stays with you in silence even after it’s all over. For a few hours, everyone that passed the gates entered an intimate and intense world of music, dance, art installations and light shows. There were three stages on the map: Euphoria, Elements and the Dragonfly. The first two stages are the larger set-ups, but the Dragonfly stage is a beauty, waterfront to the Colorado River. A map of the grounds can be found on the official Euphoria app that was released in April.
Upon entrance to Carson Creek Ranch, the grounds are filled with bold, bright colors, canopies, giant tents, kites, butterflies, swing sets, hammocks, bubbles and an artisan alley. The festival even has a volleyball court, a wedding chapel and a giant Tree of Life. There is a sign below the Tree of Life that reads: Write down wishes, hopes, dreams, etc. and set ’em Free. It was very moving to see the thousands of notes left on the tree.
Watching the festival from above with its digital eyes that changed moods and colors as the sky shifted from day to night — at the Elements stage, there was a steep, tall fox (or wolf) overlooking the crowd. Several times I got lost staring into its round eyes as the music played. Like one of those vintage kitty clocks.
“Founded by Mitch Morales, the 2017 festival included headliners like Chromeo, Knife Party, Moby (DJ set), Oliver Heldens, Post Malone, The Disco Biscuits, Wiz Khalifa, Zeds Dead and many other artists; bringing the sum total of the line-up to 70. As the region’s largest independent music festival, Euphoria attracts over 50,000 fans each year, all while maintaining the qualities that land it on many annual Top 10 lists. Conveniently located just minutes from Downtown Austin, the multi-stage music and camping festival returned to Carson Creek Ranch on the banks of the Colorado River and offered world-class visuals, unique stage designs, artist workshops, interactive experiential installations, enhanced camping options and much more.”
Euphoria showcases the professionalism, style and acute qualities equal to a global event like Austin City Limits, Burning Man, or Lollapalooza. Festival-goers can see the time, love and energy invested into the decoration and preparation for the festival. However, unlike the ACL Music Festival that draws 450,000 people—Euphoria is much smaller in attendance and exposure. This independent festival deep in the heart of Texas provides a more intimate experience. Using the power of music to bring everyone together, Euphoria is a festival made for the community. The Euphoria Music Festival feels personalized and charming. The size of Euphoria provides a natural, easy-going way of drawing people together. Even if you are attending alone as a member of the Press, like me, that is one of the pleasant aspects of a festival is various walks of life coming together for the love of music.
Ultimately, the magic of Euphoria re-awakened my love for music festivals. It brought back the fun and joy of a festival that I used to feel when I was younger. As a local Austinite, I’ve been blessed to attend live shows and music festivals since before I could drive a car. I was one of the lucky people from Austin to experience the live music scene before it morphed into what it’s become today. (True, the music scene has improved with better venues, more esteemed artists and a boost in the economy, but it also came at a cost for the locals.) Years ago, I was so sentimental about live music. I saved all of my ticket stubs that are now in a box. Honestly, I don’t know how many times I wore a costume or got dolled up for a live show, like the night when I was the absinthe fairy covered in metallic glitter with green wings for Galactic’s Halloween show at Stubb’s. Countless days and nights, my friends and I would gather in masses to rock out, dance and let loose. Alas, after too many festivals and concerts for my stamina-—after one too many expensive tickets, late nights that lead to hangovers and dating too many musicians—the magic began to fade out. Secretly I started to become a little jaded: been there, done that and bought many, many t-shirts. The thrill of live music had begun to alter from love to stress. My heart no longer felt that spark like it once did when I was younger and I only attend concerts these days at specific venues and no more festivals. Fortunately, Euphoria brought that nostalgic, familiar adrenaline rush back into my heart and it reminded me why I used to love festivals so much. Euphoria made my heart feel lighter and made me feel younger. Frankly, I did not know what to expect at Euphoria. And to much delight, Euphoria Music Festival captured the intimacy of the art scene that used to be in ATX. I hope as the festival grows more and more each year that Euphoria will never lose its unique charm.
I highly encourage music enthusiasts to mark the Euphoria Music Festival on their bucket list. A strong indicator of whether or not a musical event was a success is greatly determined by if the audience transcended time. Meaning, while the band is playing, the DJ is spinning or the musicians are on stage, those in attendance lose track of time. We forget our worries, stresses and anxieties for a while. We are present in the moment and feeling alive in the rhythm of the music. Euphoria Music Festival can and will take you to an ethereal place.
Born in The Valley of Los Angeles, Raven Felix is an artist best known for her music. This year she will be performing at the 2017 Euphoria Music Festival held at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas. A Latina from the West Coast, she began her exciting music career at a young age after being signed-on by Snoop Dogg at 18. Raven was discovered after posting music videos on World Star hip hop and that’s when Snoop Dogg took notice of her talent while he was in Amsterdam. Raven Felix is also a member of the entertainment company Taylor Gang, as is Wiz Khalifa, and the two artists will both be performing (separately) at Euphoria Music Festival in Texas. Even more exciting for us all, even though this isn’t Raven’s first rodeo in the spotlight or on stage—it will be her first time to showcase her music in Texas. Ravens’s performance at Euphoria on Friday, April 7, 2017, marks Raven’s first-ever show or festival in Austin, Texas.
Before my phone interview with Raven, I did not get to meet her in person. But through the photographs and music videos on social media: I noticed her strong voice, dark brown hair that resembles silk, luminous skin, big brown eyes and how she always seems to have a chic manicure. Raven Felix is facing a successful future and a vivacious career in music, and she’s off to a great start. She is not only talented at rap and hip hop, modeling and music videos—Raven is also a writer and you can find some of her poetry online. Writing is something she has been doing since she was a child and holds very dear to her heart.
Nicolette Mallow: Here in Texas, we have an area called The Valley near the border and it’s much different than LA. I heard on aradio interview with Power 106that part of what motivates and inspires you to excel in your career is to pave the way and make a lane for younger girls, especially the young Latinas back home in The Valley… Giving back to the community is essential, and I am also a Latina. So I am curious to hear about The Valley and I was wondering if you’d tell me more about life in the valley for young girls?
Raven Felix: Everyone in The Valley is super close and it’s a tight-knit community. It also encompasses a large portion of the Hispanic/Latino population in LA. There is a lot of backyard parties and a lot of shows. It’s a really interesting place to be and I certainly grew up partying, too. A huge part of the culture in The Valley is community, art and entertainment.
Mallow: The music video for “Hit The Gas” with Snoop Dogg and Nef the Pharaoh looked like it was a lot of fun for the cast and crew to film… I also saw the video “6 In The Morning” … Will you tell me about how you came to sign and work directly with Snoop Dogg after he found you on World Star at the age of 18?
Raven: It all happened fairly quick. I think I started putting out videos on World Star when I was 17. And when I was 18, he was in Amsterdam and saw me online and thought my tracks were dope and wanted to be involved. So, he found me and my people, and I feel very lucky. After that, all of a sudden we are making music a month or two later.
Mallow: What was it like touring with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa during “The High Road” tour in 2016?
Raven: I think for me it’s just a blessing to even have these huge artists that are insanely talented as my friends and colleagues. They are monsters of artists with amazing careers and to be involved with me. It’s definitely cool. And we all bring different songs and styles to the mix. Tour was amazing in general.
Mallow: I read one of your poems on Instagram. And I liked your line in the track “Me” when you say, “Tell ‘em kiss it like I was your Bible”… How long have you been writing?
Raven: Well I’ve been writing since I was a kid, really ever since I could write. I wrote. But I think middle school is when I really started being interested. I had notebooks in drawers and boxes of handwritten notes. I still really very much want to branch out into writing novels, poetry, screenplays and scripts. Poetry, for me, is something that is a completely different outlet than my music. I keep it separate and I think its something that relaxes me. If I am having a road block. I think poetry can be my outlet. Writing is important to me and I seek to become a multifaceted artist as I move forward in my career. I can do much more than rap and sing on stage, which is dope. Writing is just one of many things like modeling, acting and other art forms I would love to explore in the future.
Mallow: I read the interview with VIBE that stated your top female artists are Eve, Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj. I recall listening to “Love is Blind” a lot as a teenager, dancing to Missy Elliot in college and playing Nicki’s track “I Lied” a lot while I lived in Ireland… Will you share a little about how these artists inspired you and your musical craft?
Raven: Nicki Minaj is the biggest inspiration to me out of all three women. I am 21 and so when I was in high school. I think I was in 9th grade. I had a mixed tape of hers and it was so hard and so dope. I fell in love with her then because I had never really heard an artist like her during my era, growing up. I heard a lot of rock and alternative stuff as a child because of my mother. So when people turned me onto Nicki and opened up doors for me to discover others like Eve and Missy Elliot, it’s amazing to hear all these talented women.
Mallow: I read Southern Comfort was your first drink. What’s your poison (choice of alcoholic beverage) these days?
Raven: I usually switch back and forth between Bombay and Hennessy. Wiz and them from Taylor gang really like gin. At first I hated gin, but like now I really enjoy it.
Mallow: So when you aren’t touring or traveling for work, which sounds like a lot of fun. What do you do for fun and leisure with such a lively schedule?
Raven: I love being able to travel and do all this stuff for work. But I was just in London for Christmas for leisure. Just for me. Just for fun. So yeah, I love to be on the road and being on tour, but when I get to be home. I spend a lot of time with my mom and it centers me and keeps me grounded. She is my best friend and spending time with her is important; being near my mother relaxes me. I also like to keep in touch and be around my west coast friends that I grew up with in The Valley. The ones that cared about me from the start. Because often we got lost and lose track of time out on the road. Coming home, back to your roots, my friends need to know that I’m still the same person they always knew and loved—and they’re just as important to me as always.
To purchase tickets to the 2017 Euphoria Music Festival to hear Raven Felix and 70 other artists in Austin, Texas please visit www.euphoriafest.com.
“Innovative ideas create business value. We believe in the power of your ideas and enabling you to express them in the visually rich language of the web.”
AUSTIN, TX—March 2017—Brandcast, the leader in code-free web design, announced the launch of Marc Benioff-backed Brandcast Design Studio™ at SXSW 2017. Brandcast Design Studio™ is the first end-to-end web design platform that gives designers, creatives, and marketing teams complete creative control, from design start to publish—completely free from the need to code or rely on developer resources.
Brandcast Design Studio™is the only end-to-end web design platform built by highly experienced web designers, for all designers, whether freelance, agency, or at the world’s leading brands. Used by brands such as Lowes, Colliers, and New York Fashion Week, Design Studio empowers any designer to easily become a professional web designer, with powerful tools that lets them manage the entire end-to-end website creation workflow, from design and collaboration to publishing and updating.
“At Brandcast, we’re driven by one mission: creating the best web design, collaboration and publishing experience on the planet,” said Brandcast CEO Richard Yanowitch. “So we’re giving complete creative freedom back to designers — no more coding to hold them back and no more boring commodity-like templates that all look the same. Design Studio™ democratizes web design so all designers can create beautiful websites true to their artistic vision. And they can do it at the speed and scale needed to keep up with the exponential growth in the demand for fresh content. All with enterprise-class sophistication and security.”
Brandcast Design Studio™ offers an intuitive but powerful browser-based visual interface that will be immediately familiar to any designer that has used other creative software tools. With an entire end-to-end web design process on a single platform, Design Studio liberates designers so they can quickly and easily translate their creative vision into powerful custom websites. This can all be done without the need to write code, which often stymies creativity and slows down the process.
What customers are saying:
Kana LiVolsi, Co-founder and CEO, Dos Mundos Creative: “I was one of a select group of design firms to try out Brandcast, the new web design platform that is about to blow Squarespace and WordPress out of the water. After getting to test it out, I can confidently say that this is the future of web design.”
Shannon Cahoon, President,Madplum Creative: “We chose Brandcast to give our web designers creative control, increase predictability and cut time and costs so that we can remain competitive without sacrificing quality. Being able to design in-browser without code or templates is unlike any creative tool we’ve seen and we’re excited about the positive impact this will have on our business.”
Kristen Kelley, Marketing Manager, Colliers San Diego: “Using Brandcast has enabled our visual designers, who have minimal experience building websites, to create gorgeous custom property and team websites with ease andconsistency. Brandcast saves us a tremendous amount of time, and ultimately money, on publishing a high volume of sites in a short amount of time.”
Nicole Fikes, Founder + Creative Director, Merrygood: “I’m having a great experience designing the Merrygood site with the Brandcast Design Studio. Using a comp that has been sitting in our Dropbox forever, I was able to create in Brandcast in about 15 minutes!”
Brandcast Design Studio™ includes a powerful and intuitive suite of features, including:
True design freedom. Create a completely custom design without the restrictions of generic templates or code.
Completely visual interface. Designs, content, and web pages displayed in the Design Studio are the actual live versions of the ready-to-publish or published websites. No complex menu interfaces to learn, no code to export and host, and noguessing how changes will affect the live site.
Precise design control. Pixel-level control over every part of the design, even typography.
One-click publishing. Sites are live instantly upon clicking the Publish icon.
End-to-End Workflow on a single platform. Covering every step from design and collaboration to publishing and updating.
Reusable digital assets. Re-apply custom layouts to other websites and maintain a comprehensive media library of design assets, photos, videos, text and global styles for all your websites.
Enterprise-class security and infrastructure. The Brandcast platform automatically hosts, manages and scales to an unlimited number of customer websites, from single landing pages to large corporate sites, so customers needn’t invest in costly and complicated IT infrastructure.
About Brandcast Founded in 2012 in San Francisco at the intersection of design and web technology, Brandcast is ushering in a new era of design freedom in website creation. Brandcast allows designers and marketers to create, collaborate on, and publish custom websites without the use of generic templates or the need to know code. To learn more about Brandcast, visithttps://brandcast.comand follow@brandcastappon Twitter.
“As beautiful as some templates are, it feels really inauthentic to use someone else’s design. I’d rather design a fully custom site that I can own 100% of the way… Go from idea to execution with true design freedom. No code. No templates. Just freedom.”
Recently I had the pleasure to interview ill-ēsha. Music producer, vocalist, songwriter, composer, DJ, musician and more; ill-ēsha radiates artistic talent and the more I read her artist’s bio. It was evident how vast her range of art forms within various industries could be applied to. On April 9, 2017—ill-ēsha will be performing at the 2017 Euphoria Music Festival at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas. Euphoria Music Festivalis showcasing over 70 artists this year and even though ill-ēsha has visited ATX many times for festivals like SXSW and feels at home in the capital of Texas. This will be her first show at Euphoria and Austinites are delighted.
Formally known as Elysha Zaide and casually known as Elle, “Vancouver-born and Colorado-based music producer, artist and DJ ill-ēshahas crafted a long-standing soundscape of electronic bass music throughout her career, continuously evolving her musical stylings and bridging gaps between hip-hop, dubstep, R&B and future bass music. Ill-ēsha is recognized as an extremely rare and diverse, burgeoning artist in the EDM scene. Her live set showcases her incredible talent to sing, DJ, and simultaneously rock her keytar. She is one of few electronic artists to blossom throughout the progression of different musical trends while still focusing on her artistic vision and authenticity. Constantly evolving a dynamic stage show, ill-ēsha is a perfect example of electronic music’s transition towards live instrumentation and indie pop sensibility.”
Nicolette Mallow: You have one of the most interesting music backgrounds out of all the composers I’ve interviewed. Your skills are so extensive, and you’re so musically gifted. A producer, DJ, vocalist, composer, songwriter and more. I loved reading your Bio… Did you always know you wanted to make music? Or did music and the arts choose you?
ill-ēsha: I was always very drawn to many different forms of art. As much as I loved music. I was also into theater arts and that was a potential path for me. Even in high school when I was already DJ’ing, I also partook in a theater company and visual art. Performing arts was my artistic expression for a long time. But yes, I’ve had a tendency towards the arts since I was a kid. I was born into a family with lots of artists.
NM: I read you love classical, world jazz and cinematic music—and that you completed Royal Conservatory piano training. That program sounds so fancy and challenging. Is this where you began to learn music?
ill-ēsha: (she laughed) Well, it sounds fancier than it is. It’s just another method to learn music, like the Suziki method. Royal Conservatory is simply one of many systems similar to a competitive sport or grade levels. The more you learn and excel at each level you pass on to the next. My mother was passionate about piano and she always wanted to play. I began taking lessons at 4 years old. I continued to take piano classes until I was 12.
NM: You have a spectacular voice. I loved the demos, especially the animation video… How did all this begin? Can you tell me a little about Speech Level Singing?
ill-ēsha: Seth Riggs created Speech Level Singing (SLS) in the late 70’s. It was a school of thought to help train vocal muscles. Artists like Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin studied it. Since I am a self-taught vocalist after years and years of rigorous piano. In my 20’s I got into Speech Level Singing to learn how to control my breath better. SLS was sort of a style that purely worked out your vocal chords. It appealed to me because I am not jazz or an opera singer. I’m not an Ariana Grande or Celine Dion with a big, booming voice. I am a musician of all types, not just vocals. Once you have a voice: you go all directions developing it and SLS was a way of developing mine.
ill-ēsha: That was a long time ago, but the coolest thing about that award is I was given a few hundred dollars and I used it to buy my first Serato. (A DJ program with turntables and a laptop.) Up until then everything was pure vinyl, so, thank you John Lennon Songwriting Contest for helping me buy my first Serato. But yeah, songwriting is something else that I do. My roots is songwriting.
NM: What is the title of the lyrics you wrote and submitted for the contest?
ill-ēsha: “Broken Windows”.
NM: Vancouver is your hometown and I hear it is beautiful. I hope to visit Canada next year. Now that you’re based in Colorado, do you feel like it reminds you of Canada in any way? I would imagine it’s easy to miss the seaport of Vancouver but the climate in CO perhaps reminds you of home?
ill-ēsha: It’s 50/50. I love the mountain life in Colorado. Before I moved here, I lived in San Francisco. Honestly I considered moving to Austin because I love it so much there, too, but I chose Colorado.
NM: Speaking of Austin, how did you come to be involved with Euphoria Music Festival? And what can we expect to enjoy during your live set at the festival?
ill-ēsha: ATX is one of those cities that’s been supporting me for a long time, all the way back to my tracks with Gravitas. Over time I’ve interacted with most of the promoters. I feel very lucky to have played at SXSW and so many other venues. Austin has become a home for me. Really I was torn between Denver and Austin. Ultimately, the weather in CO won me over. But I love Texas and I feel like its one of my strongest markets. It’s very cool to be involved with the music scene in Austin… Euphoria is one of the first festival types I’ve performed, and I will be sharing a lot of new content. Anyone who sees me, even old fans, will have something new to look forward to. Over the years I have evolved. Now that I make so much music in the last few years. What I’ve found is that I want to divide the sets I do and remain conscious of the environment. Live shows are compelling and people enjoy festivals. But for instance, nightclub people want the DJ energy. They want to dance and they want the drum and bass. The booth is tall and people can’t see me or my live set up, they just hear me and my music. However, festivals are more intimate with an open stage. There are more live elements, like my keytar. I’ve been taking a lot of time in the studio to write, collaborate and create new art to suit the time and place of each set.
NM: Will you tell me about your transition from DJ to headlining performer and Producer? I liked your quote about wanting to participate in the music and not just the culture.
ill-ēsha: I’m not much of a bystander. I enjoy art from being part of the process. I love film but I don’t actually sit around for long periods of time watching movies. I want to score and write for them. I wanted to be part of it. I started off with singing and DJ’ing. I wanted to control beats and make music. The deeper I got into it, the more deeply I realized I wanted to be part of production… About 10 years ago was sort of the turning point. All in all I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, since I was really young. The first ten years were very much passion projects and you could really tour and do live shows. I worked other jobs, too, and went to college. Touring and other jobs helped pay off student loans. Right around 2008 or 2009, I started feeling discontent. I was not feeling inspired. So I decided to go back to music as contractor and post-production for TV shows and editing. I regenerated and began making a new style of music. It was fun and different. It wasn’t simply drum and bass. At that point I just kind of discovered new people without the pressure. Re-inspired an online chat forum and people became receptive and started signing it. And that’s when I moved to SF and production became a full time priority… Ultimately my passion project and my true underlying goal is to give back and inspire young creative people. I was sort of an angsty teenager. Bummed out by life. Music saved me. Being a mentor, a guide and to give connections to the young artists and young creatives means a lot to me.
ill-ēsha: Touring with Bassnectar was pretty magical. I feel so lucky I got to experience that. It was only a few Southern tour dates and New Year’s Eve shows. I loved it though! Bassnectar is a big symbol of my music scene. Bassnectar created the west coast music sound within the DJ world. It was an honor to get to open for him. This is the guy who took it from A to Z.
NM: Last question, listening to your music onSoundCloud I heard a track called“Ghostwriter” with opening audio talking about computer hacking. Why did you choose to write about a computer hacker?
ill-ēsha: In the 1990’s there was a children’s TV show called “Ghostwriter”. A lot of the samples in that track are from a single episode that I found to be cute. “Ghostwriter” was an educational kid’s show and that episode was about early internet. Teaching kids about hackers. At the time I was learning more about computers and I definitely enjoy digital nostalgia of different era’s because I’ve been through them all. As a child of cross generation analog and digital and I remember both… it’s always on my mind.
Velvet Caravan is a musical ensemble of artists worldwide based in The Deep South of Savannah, Georgia. Their genre is often described as “European redneck” music: an infusion of Southern, Gypsy, Latin and Honky-tonk styles all morphed into one band. Jared Hall (piano and accordion), Ricardo Ochoa (violin), Eric Dunn (bass), Jesse Monkman (cajon and percussion) and Jimmy Grant (guitarist) will be touring together this year and showcasing the unique style of Velvet Caravan.
“If one were to name one Savannah-based musical act that most exemplifies this time-honored, eclectic and adventurous city, they’d be hard to find a more appropriate ambassador than Velvet Caravan. This unorthodox, high-energy, acoustic-based quintet of guitar, violin, standup bass, percussion and keyboards (including accordion) has, over the past few years, emerged as one of the shining lights of Savannah’s burgeoning music scene. In that time, the band has grown from a somewhat informal instrumental combo which routinely drew enthusiastic and loyal followers at raucous restaurant and bar gigs to a respected and admired touring act that’s as comfortable in an attentive listening room or large concert hall as they are in a crowded nightclub. Velvet Caravan’s unique ability to subtly shift musical gears without sacrificing their integrity as composers and performers is rare indeed.”
Imagery provided by Velvet Caravan.
Recently I met one of Velvet Caravan’s bandmates during my brief stay on Tybee Island, Georgia, a small beach town about 20 miles outside Savannah. Living waterfront at a beach house for two months, my downstairs female neighbor at the time was dating a key musician of the band. We all met around the time of Hurricane Matthew. It was a turbulent and exciting period in the weather and somewhat of a bonding experience for me. Everyone was talking about whether or not they would evacuate under state mandate or ride out the storm. Years ago, I lived within Savannah while I was a writing student at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Another turbulent time in my life, but not nearly as foreboding as the potential fury of the vast open sea and what may come if it decided to strike a direct blow to the coastline… As I rekindled my time in Georgia and relived my bittersweet nostalgia, as I faced one of my greatest fears of being caught in a hurricane or a curfew zone from dawn to dusk. I also met new faces and artists, such as a Velvet Caravan musician and his girlfriend, who loves to surf the waves.
One night as the three of us all got to talking. I realized that Velvet Caravan had performed during the 2016 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. The same year that I was on the Press list for the 2016 SXSW Film Festival. A festival in my hometown. Immediately I became more curious about the band Velvet Caravan. The Texan in me wanted to know more about their time in ATX: the alleged “Live Music Capital of the World.”
After we all returned from Hurricane Matthew in October, I came to hear that Velvet Caravan was booked to perform at a rock-n-roll venue I’ve frequented for years, The Jinx. The show was for a Halloween event called “Jinx-o-ween.” [The Jinx is one of the best live music venues in Savannah, if not the best in the city. And if you don’t believe me, just ask the vast majority of the locals in Savannah. The Jinx is a venue where I learned of bands like Baroness and Lucero. The Jinx is where I once sang “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and “Alone Again Naturally” by Gilbert O Sullivan on karaoke night in front of the red curtains on stage. The Jinx is my favorite place to play rock-n-roll bingo.]
Velvet Caravan also closed for an after official party in October 2016 for the Savannah Film Festival. They’ve even obtained several awards and won titles like “Best of Savannah” in the Local Jazz Band/Artist category. Ultimately, if you live in Savannah, chances are you’ve heard of Velvet Caravan and they are surely making their name known tour-by-tour.
After I left Savannah and continued my journey to Saint Augustine, Florida: I followed up with Velvet Caravan for an interview. Thankfully after losing touch in Las Vegas, I had the chance to briefly interview the violinist of Velvet Caravan, Ricardo Ochoa, via email. The short interview continues as follows:
Nicolette Mallow: I really like the music played by Velvet Caravan, off the top of my head it reminds me a tiny bit of the movie Chocolat, specifically the song “Caravan”.
Ricardo Ochoa: Thank you. Yes, it is kind of like that movie but with a mad twist combined with honky-tonk, gypsy and Latin. It’s European redneck music at its best. Each of us have different flavor individually from around the world: Southern, gypsy, Latin Honky-tonk. I often try to explain the style at shows and after all the rhetoric I simply say: “Just listen to it. It’s European redneck music, you will get it” And suddenly the audience seems to know what it is upon hearing the music.
NM: How did Velvet Caravan come to be involved with SXSW? Does the group intend to return to Austin, Texas any time soon?
RO: We love Austin. Jared Hall (our pianist) used to live there. He played keys with Colin Gilmore and other bands such as the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. Jared signed us up to three festivals without telling us and we didn’t get invited. Then he did it again two years ago (in 2015) and were invited to played at the Elephant Room, which we did. Later he signed us up again in 2016 and we were invited back. This time we were at the Victorian room. During this time Larry Kosson for Kosson Talent came to seek us out and signed us to his roster. Since then we have been increasing our schedule like crazy. We are playing concert venues, Jazz clubs and festivals more and more. Not bad for a group that started playing casually, and mostly drunk, at a little restaurant in Savannah, GA.
NM: With such an unusual ensemble of Gypsy, Honky Tonk, Swing and Latin–does Velvet Caravan aspire to integrate more musical styles into the mix this year, or no?
RO: We can help to include different styles to our original tunes. We play acoustic instruments primarily, but don’t forget that we have a Hammond organ in our arsenal. Jared is a Hammond artist and his chops are monstrous. There is a hint of gypsy-lounge with a touch of madness on some of our new tunes. We like aggressive tempos and changes, so the songs are never at ease.
NM: I read that your musicians are from all over the world: Slovenia, Texas and Venezuela. Where did the band mates meet and decide to come together to create Velvet Caravan?
RO: GypsyMingle.com.We all met very organically at a restaurant in Savannah. It started with violin and guitar as a Thursday and Friday gig. Then Eric showed up with a new bass, later Jared brought an accordion, so it was all 4 of us. After a couple of weeks Jesse showed up with a Cajon and it was the 5 of us. Next thing you know we are playing too loud and found ourselves fired from the place.
For more information regarding the band, tour dates and other miscellany, please visit their website at www.velvetcaravan.com.