Category Archive for Huffington Post + AOL Travel

Montreal’s best bagel, St Viateur or Fairmount? Festival Kinetik 2013 video: Daniel Graves, Aesthetic Perfection.

daniel graves, aesthetic perfection singer

It’s the return of the bagelhead! Enjoy my spanking new travel video about the edgy, kooky attractions in Montreal, Quebec.

The episode features magic shops, pop art, and Daniel Graves — vocalist of Aesthetic Perfection, who performed at Kinetik Festival 2013!

For the full story, read my Huffington Post article. It gives an overview of Montreal’s best alternative fashion, clubs and more.

Please press play above, and thumb’s up below if you found my coverage useful. Merci beaucoup mes amis!

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Montreal is famous for its bagels, and locals have strong opinions over which bakery does it best: Fairmount or St Viateur. Since the top two contenders were a short walk from Le Belmont (the venue for Kinetik Music Festival), Daniel and I put them to the test.

Fairmount (74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest) has a variety of flavors, and offers bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

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St Viateur (263 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest) has a frightful logo.

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But the wall of accolades must mean something.

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Which bagel did we like the most? You’ll have to view our fun video to find out!

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PS: if you don’t get the “bagel head” joke, this Japanese forehead inflation article will fill you in.

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Thanks to my friend Lauren for joining me on my French-Canadian journey, and to Tourism Montreal for making it possible.

What was your favorite moment in the travel episode? For more coverage of Montreal and Vancouver, browse the Alt Canada category of my blog.

Monsterland: monster theme restaurant re-opens in Mesa. Watch my Arizona bizarre travel video!

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Help! I’m locked in a cell with a Gothic Lolita… Where in the world am I?

To find out, watch my new video about alt, spooky travel in Arizona.

Can you tell I had fun on this trip? I’m especially happy with how this video turned out, thanks to the original soundtrack by Leon Lindon, and performed by the Lindon Automata.

** Please support our creative work by Sharing and Liking the article on HuffPost, or below. Thank you so much.

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Eerie music plays as we explore Monsterland Bar & Grill, a theme restaurant in Mesa, Arizona (east of Phoenix).

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I was already shaking as I entered the restaurant through a winding passage. Creatures of the night awaited me…

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… some of which jumped out unexpectedly!

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Inside, it was every horror scene come to life, from dungeons to dragons.

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I got tied up in Frankenstein’s lab.

Bunny shirt: Miffy store in Hong Kong
Scallop shorts: KiLaRa, from the Hong Kong Hello Kitty store
Bunny-eared headband: gifted by Soho Hearts
Monster gloves: gifted by Josie Loves J Valentine (remember the photoshoot we did in LA?)
Lolita shoes: Yosuke, from Marui One Shinjuku

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Leon Lindon, in the Adventure of the Pharoah’s Curse.

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His visual musical band, Colosseum Thesis, braves the Grim Reaper’s scepter.

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“We did the Monsterland mash. It was a graveyard smash.”

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The VIP room was ruled by an alien (perhaps from our Sedona road trip?). Monsterland often has special events like video game nights, costume parties and “Scary-aoke.”

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The food matched the monstrous theme: beer tasters in a skull, “Children of the Corn” balls, bat wings.

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The blue Swamp Water cocktail had a surprise at the bottom. You’ll have to order one to discover what lies beneath.

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Dare to be scared! Monsterland re-opens on August 24th (they were on temporary hiatus); check their Facebook for upcoming events.

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Here’s a bonus outfit photo, from dinner with Visit Mesa at Postino Wine Cafe in Gilbert, AZ.

Octopus print dress: gifted by Sourpuss Clothing; buy it here.
Black eyed bag: Hyoma, Izzue boutique Hong Kong (store photos soon)
Sunglasses: gifted by Lumete

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I have fond memories of this meal. I tried a Macedonia Tikves Vranec wine, and stuffed myself with salads and bruschetta.

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Gilbert, a town known for its water tower, has a nice food and arts scene.

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I also ate very well at Liberty Market, across the street from Postino’s.

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We enjoyed fresh favorites like caprese salad, pizzas, burgers, and endless coffee refills.

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I leave you with these photos of me in the Downtown Phoenix Westin hotel bathtub. You can see more photos of my Miffy bunny dress in this post.

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Did you expect Arizona to have such spooky culture? Would you visit the monster restaurant?

I hope you enjoy the video and soundtrack. Tell us what you think of our Arizona adventure.

PS: Plane tickets booked for August! Can you guess where my travel team’s going next?

Travel video: Art Deco Weekend 2013! The Betsy Hotel review, Miami restaurants & Ocean Drive.

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Do the Charleston, the Charleston! I’m very happy with my latest travel video, about Miami’s Art Deco Weekend, now published on Huffington Post Travel.

This episode recounts my Miami adventures, from the Bettie Page fashion show to the flapper gala. Be sure to watch until the end, or you’ll miss the “jazz hands”!

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I always appreciate your feedback about my work. If you’d like to see more alternative travel coverage, I’d be grateful if you can share my Huff Post article (or Like below):

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Shout-out to my collaborators for sharing my passion. I’m wearing a fringe top by Peace Love World, and a striking scarf with a face by Pitsart.

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My host, The Betsy Hotel, is consistently rated one of the top in Miami, and I quickly found out why. The staff genuinely cares about your comfort; there’s an atmosphere of home here.

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All around the hotel, there were intimate portraits of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The rock and roll lounge lit up a reflective film ceiling.

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The rooftop garden overlooks South Beach (right across the road). The Betsy’s on Ocean Drive, but a few minutes walk from the main strip, so you’re not surrounded by noisy revelers. It was a perfect stay; I’ll be back.

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At night, Ocean Drive’s Art Deco hotels glow with neon.

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Do you recognize The Carlyle? It’s where The Birdcage movie was filmed.

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Miami’s a winter haven for many East Coast dwellers.

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During Art Deco Weekend, there was live music all throughout the district.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible seafood I had in Miami. Lantao Restaurant, located in the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, is inspired by Asian street food. I started with the “28 Days Later” cocktail: several types of rum (arr!) and house-made grenadine. Followed up with well-spiced tom yum soup, grilled paiche (South American tropical fish), and ended with pear cake — marvelous.

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I mostly stayed in South Beach, but ventured to Coconut Grove to eat at Jaguar Ceviche. Six types of marinated raw fish on a spoon… mojitos… sangria… blue tortilla chips… grilled mahi mahi… is your mouth watering yet? Jaguar’s service and flavors were spot on, and the space is great for a big group.

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Wynwood Village is also a must-visit (although be careful at night, and in certain parts). It’s an artsy district with colorful murals like this anime one.

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I think this psychic would predict my imminent return to Miami… hopefully in December, for Art Basel!

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Please take a minute to watch my Art Deco Weekend video. Did you laugh at the dancing scenes?

What are your favorite hang-outs and shops in Miami? Would you be interested in seeing me cover Art Basel?

Art tutorial video! Anime pop printmaking with David Manje, Mesa Arts Center Arizona.

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Why am I splattered in paint? Because I’m now contributing to Huffington Post Arts (in addition to Travel and Weird News). My debut piece is about my J-pop printmaking adventure.

During my Arizona trip, I took a colorful class at Mesa Arts Center. Watch my video (below and on HuffPost) to see the art-making in action.

Do you dig my new art focus? Please support by sharing the article and Liking it (below) so that I can keep the coverage coming.

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Printmaking has come a long way since Hokusai’s “Great Wave.” At Mesa Arts Center (MAC), I rolled acid paint onto stencils and cranked out anime-pop prints.

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David Manje is the kindest, most encouraging instructor imaginable. He’s a well-regarded printmaker, with multiple arts and education degrees from Arizona State University. Now retired, he teaches part-time at MAC.

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My jaw dropped when I saw the stencils David made for me. He had cut out over 70 shapes representing my spooky-cute world, including my Scottish Fold cat, eyelashes, lips, hearts — and even a bagelhead!

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Traditionally, pochoir involves inking or painting stencils for hard-edged prints. David’s unique, freestyle method creates neon layers that flow from pop art to abstract.

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1. David set up three stations. Each had an inked Plexiglas plate, several paints, and a selection of stencils. Using a roller, he showed me how to color the stencils until they reached an orange-peel-like texture.

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Rollin’ with my homies.

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Basil Farrow looks angry because hasn’t been painted yet.

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When you lift the stencils, they leave behind a bright outline.

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2. We randomly layered the colored stencils onto the plates, with plenty of overlap.

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The kawaii iPhone case is a present from Luxy Loli (see more photos here). Just got a new one from her; can’t wait to show you.

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3. David covered each plate with dry paper, and I cranked it through the etching press. “A manual press lets the printer feel the variations in pressure exerted on the paper and plate,” he explains.

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The first run, called a “generation-one print,” was starkly graphic, with bright colors and hard edges.

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Drying the prints on the racks.

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4. We removed the stencils, and switched them between the plates. Thanks to the overlap, they’re now marked with intriguing patterns.

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For subsequent runs, we used wet paper and greater pressure.

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“The color and shape magic begins to happen as the stencils continue to be interchanged,” says David.

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“Random patterns begin to occur on the tops and bottoms of each stencil that breakup recognizable imagery.”

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I had a lively afternoon with David — one of the warmest teachers I’ve ever met — and got an arm workout to boot!

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In total, we made four generations of prints, or twelve works. With each run, the clean cut-outs devolved further into soft-hued amalgams.

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Here are more of David’s pochoir prints. You can take his class, as well as other visual and performance arts workshops, at the Mesa Arts Center.

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Have you tried your hand at printmaking? Did you find my art video helpful? Please take a second to watch and share.

More Huffington Post articles and videos coming up; follow my author page to stay in the loop.