Thursday, February 2, 2017

Mr. Mark Mann.

"The previous photographer had been Annie Leibovitz and one secret service guy asked me why I didn't shout and scream more like her?"
 -Mark Mann 

Mark Mann is a New York based celebrity and advertising photographer. 
He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, where he lived until he went to study 
in the prestigious photographic program at Manchester Polytechnic. 
Before long, the recent graduate was assisting innovative fashion photographers 
Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge, learning the ropes and building his own body of work.

Mark has shot countless celebrities and in 2013 he completed a yearlong 
project for Esquire Magazine, “The Life of Man”. Where he shot 80
American men ages 1 through 80, to celebrate 80 years of Esquire. 
This project took Mark all across the country including the White House 
where he was honored to photograph the sitting president, 
as well as former President Clinton.

We first met Mark when he came to Lord Willy's for his wedding suit, it didn't take us long 
to realize that we would like to work together and so our in-house campaign was born.

His work can be seen and enjoyed in all its glory on his website.

LW: Tell us about how a wee lad from Glasgow ended up in New York photographing the most famous people in the world?

MM: This wee lad was running from a torrid love affair. My heart was broken and the UK felt too small for me. I came to visit a friend in NYC and never went home.

LW: You must have to deal with some small deadlines and big ego's on a daily basis, what's the secret?

MM: Outer calm, inner panic. 
The best way to deal with egos is to remember it takes two to argue. Theres a fine art in negotiating, trust is important and I try to exude trust (like a second hand car salesman).

LW: When Esquire Magazine celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2013, they chose you to shoot The Portrait of the American Man, which meant shooting 80 American men aged eighty to just one, entitled "Life of Man". 
After getting over the euphoria of being awarded the job, how on earth did you go about co ordinating such an enormous task?

MM: Can you take 80 portraits of these fellows all over the USA for 30 bucks you mean? 
Thankfully on a job like that, I had a lot of help from the magazine. The biggest problem was short notice, i.e. “Can you photograph Bill Clinton today at 4?”

LW: Obviously there were some incredible people in the mix, was there anyone in particular that you were really looking forward to shooting?

MM: So many. Bill Murray, President Obama, Clinton, Willie Nelson…

LW: Anyone you weren't?

MM: Mitch McDonnell.

LW: This portrait that you took of the President won the Communication Arts Award, tell us about it.

MM: Oh no big deal (gulp), as an immigrant to this country an invite to photograph a sitting president is the biggest honor I could have received . 
The previous photographer had been Annie Leibovitz and one secret service guy asked me why I didn’t shout and scream more like her?
All in all, an amazing experience, if any one who reads this asks me, I’ll tell them stories.

LW: Having had the privilege to shoot some of the world's most famous people in some of the world's most exotic locations, how did you feel when you got the brief for this photo?

MM: Thankfully, I had a brown suit to hide my fear. Of all the work I do, collaborating with friends is the most gratifying. I love that photo.

LW: Thanks Mark, now let's see the short film commissioned by Leica about the shoot we did with Eddie. Say Cheese!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mr. Alexander Klingspor.

"My work reflects the inner states of my mind, 
depicted in a surreal environment"
- Alexander Klingspor.

Alexander Klingspor is a highly sought after classically trained Artist.

His work embodies classical technique with contemporary, surreal subject matter.

His work has sold all over the world and collectors include the likes of 
Salman Rushdie and Whoopie Goldberg.

He maintains studios in both New York and at the Royal Academy in Stockholm Sweden. 
His work has been the subject of solo shows at Albemarle Gallery, London, 
The Arcadia Gallery, New York, and Christie’s Stockholm, among others, 
as well as group shows during the Miami Art Fair and the L.A. Art Show.

LW: I'm going to do this a little differently, I would like doodles/sketches/cartoons as your answers please. No words, unless drawn for effect.
Here we go.

1. Where did you grow-up and how was it?

2. You've been making a living as an artist since you were just 22 years old, how did it feel when you sold your first painting?

3. As a classical artist, what do you think of Modern art?

4. You've been to the jungles of Peru on several occasions to experience Ayahuasca, how was that?

6. What is the future of art?

Thank you Alexander, nice talking to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mr. Jim McCarthy.

"A king-sized waterbed, a color television and an Atari 
would transform me from a 12-year-old chess team nerd 
into a young man of discerning taste. 
The biggest hurdle was this — I had champagne dreams 
and a juice box budget."

- Jim McCarthy. 

Jim McCarthy is an advisor to leading private equity firms, 
Dow-30 companies, top private industrial firms, trade associations, 
Am Law 50 law firms and prominent public figures. 

Jim is on the adjunct faculty at American University's School of Communication, 
lecturing on crisis management theory and case studies.  He is also a frequent 
lecturer at Johns Hopkins University. He is a recipient of the national Silver Anvil 
award, the highest recognition of achievement given annually by the 
Public Relations Society of America. 

Jim has a degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame 
and a Masters in Public Communication from American University.  
He also studied literature at the National University of Ireland.

He still enjoys an occasional game of chess, although he has now ditched the sweatband, 
which apparently was worn to intimidate his other 12 year old opponents.

LW: Jimbo, you have to be one of the best raconteurs we have ever met, can you please tell us, in great detail please, The Color TV story...

JM: If fashions of the past seem strange to the modern eye then I know Lord Willy’s will forgive my first lifestyle aspiration that came like an epiphany in 1980.  

A king-sized waterbed, color television, and an Atari system would, I was convinced, transform me from a 12-year-old chess team nerd into a young man of discerning taste. The biggest hurdle was this — I had champagne dreams and a juice box budget. 

My parents had a goodhearted laugh at dinner when I announced my aims, giving bemused permission so long as I financed the project myself.  

It would take many years of lawn mowing and caddying loops for me to amass the funds, they reasoned.  But I had a secret ace card.  It was a stock certificate in my name for 100 shares of the C&O Railroad Company, given by my grandfather years earlier and hanging innocuously in a bedroom wall frame.  

The brokers at AG Edwards were mystified when I arrived unannounced in their offices the next day with the certificate and a price target.  But if I could find a co-signer over the legal age of 18, it was explained, then they would gladly execute the trade.  No sweat, I replied, and bicycled off to conscript the one 18 year old I knew, our family babysitter Maureen.  

Her father answered the door, Dr. Jesse Mann, the intimidating philosophy chair at Georgetown University and arguably the deepest thinker in town. When I told the great professor how I wanted to liquidate my assets and pursue full time waterbed leisure, he paused reflectively and then yelled over his shoulder, “Maureen!” 

So the trade went through and the all-cash deals at the nearby mega-mall took less than an hour.  

The sight of delivery men in jumpsuits carrying the long bed-frame planks and oversized TV set up the front walkway were so inexplicable that my mother simply lit a cigarette and poured a glass of scotch as they lumbered into the house.  

Dad watched disbelieving as my younger brothers eagerly fed a garden hose up to my second-floor bedroom.  

The writer Virginia Postrel says that glamour is all about transcending this world and getting to an idealized, perfect place.  When I lay back on the filled and heated waterbed for the first time, I knew I had found it.  

LW: Too good Jimbo. A toast to your Champagne dreams! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mr. Ron Christie.

"Who can forget the day the first time one briefs
the President of the United States in the Oval Office?'"

- Ron Christie. 

Ron Christie began working at the White House in 2001, as deputy assistant to the Vice President.
 In 2002, he joined the staff of the President, serving as Special Assistant to George W. Bush.
In 2004, Ron began serving as an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington 
University. He has also taught at Haverford College, his alma mater, where he was 
appointed as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science in 2009 and 2011.

In 2011 he served as a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. 
He has authored three books and has worked as a columnist for both 
The Hill and The Daily Beast. He is also a regular guest on Fox Business, BBC, CNN, 
MSNBC and National Public Radio.

Presently, he teaches at Georgetown University as an adjunct professor 

at the McCourt School of Public Policy and the McDonough School of Business.

LW: You worked in the White House for 4 years during the Bush administration, tell me about 3 days you'll never forget.

RC: 1. Sadly, the events of 9/11 immediately come to mind. I was the deputy domestic policy advisor for the Vice President at the time and we briefed him on Tuesday mornings. Tuesday September 11, 2001 was such a beautiful morning. 
remember looking at the American flag fluttering over the White House when one of my colleagues told me a plane had hit a tower of the World Trade Center. 
Not possible. Once the second tower was struck it was obvious this was no mistake and America was under attack.

I vividly remember the professionalism of the U.S. Secret Service as they urgently evacuated the building while packing serious heat. As we fled from the Northwest Gate of the White House I’ll never forget seeing the Secret Service with their backs to us and their weapons pointed to the sky protecting us.

Walking across the 14th Street Bridge that night, the Pentagon was vividly on fire and the smoke hung heavy in the air. On September 12th, a shaken but determined White House staff returned to help the President and Vice President manage through the unimaginable.

2. Who can forget the day the first time one briefs the President of the United State in the Oval Office? 

The first thing you notice entering the room the first time is just how small it is. Save the grandfather clock ticking against the wall, there is no sound once the president is ready to begin. The president’s most senior staff are all assembled and the manner in which they stare at the rookie about to conduct his first give and take with the president was beyond intimidating.

I can’t remember what he asked or what I said but when I finished the President said: “Good job, Ron” and Vice President Cheney sitting beside him flashed a bright smile and gave me a covert thumbs up! A remarkable experience I’ll never forget!

3. I’ll never forget the day I stood in the Oval Office on December 16, 2003. Days prior we had met to discuss how to get legislation creating an African American Museum of History and Culture signed into law before Congress adjourned for the year. Every year since 1915 there had been an effort to create such a museum and for a variety of factors this important museum had never been built.

From my earliest days in 2001 the Vice President and President had tasked me to run point on this project – on December 16th , I stood in the Oval Office to brief President Bush that his bi-partisan efforts to sign this dream into law was waiting for his signature on his desk. After signing the landmark legislation into law, President George W. Bush walked over without a word and hugged me.

Postscript: I was honored to attend the opening dedication of the Museum earlier this year as a guest of President and First Lady Bush!

LW: Now then Professor Christie, in the years following Washington, you've been teaching at some pretty esteemed College's, what do you think the students make of your wardrobe?

RC: My students love my wardrobe! Every week, every class, my students never failed to take note of it. I had the honor to serve as a Fellow in Residence at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics within the Kennedy School of Government had been assigned six student liaisons to guide me through the semester.

On the final night, the students were tasked to roast each of the Fellows. My six student liaisons marched in all wearing suits, shirts with cufflinks and snazzy ties. Their gift to me? A set of sterling silver cufflinks emblazoned with the Harvard crest. They all tried to do their best to emulate the Lord Willy’s style they loved admiring when I taught each week!

LW: You've been on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher several times, what's it like be a staunch Republican in "the lion’s den" so-to- speak?

RC: To walk into the lion’s den like that requires the proper mental attitude and suit of armor. When you first walk on the set, the audience boos you. When you defend President George W. Bush, the audience boos you even louder. But when you mention that the great thing about our democracy is that we are given the freedom to respectfully agree to disagree in politics, the audience cheers. 

Bill has been remarkably fair to me over the years and without fail, the more progressive guests queue up to have a drink with you in the after the show party. 

I’ll never forget the first show I did on Real Time years ago when Cornel West literally tried to jump over the desk to get at me! What a night!

LW: Over the years, we've chatted about numerous subjects and of course Bond came up, as an avid fan, I'd like your "Best and Worse" please.

LW: Film?

RC: Best: Thunderball. Worst: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

LW: Soundtrack? 

RC: Best: Tie: The Spy Who Loved Me and A View to a Kill. Worst: The Living Daylights.

LW: Baddie? 

RC: Tie: Dr. No & Goldfinger. Worst: Major Dexter Smythe (Octopussy guy).

LW: Wardrobe? 

RC: Daniel Craig and Sean Connery, hands down best dressed. George Lazenby, worst.

LW: Car? 

RC: Tie: Aston Martin (of course) & BMW Z3 (I had identical Z3 for 8 years! would've preferred the Aston though). Worst: 1983 Ford LTD that Roger Moore drove in View to a Kill.

LW: Gadget? 

RC: Aston Martin ejector seat. Worst: That stupid Crocodile suit/boat from Octopussy.

LW: Bond? 

RC: Best: Sean Connery, hands down. Worst: George Lazenby.

LW: And of course, who’s next?

RC: In lieu of me, Idris Elba!

LW: Last question, over the years, you've bought just about everything we have presented to 
you (thank you), with such a varied collection of LW pieces, do you have a favorite go-to piece? 

RC: Hands down, my gray military coat is a favorite piece each winter. The rest of the year, my precious suits and shirts have me looking and feeling like a million bucks.

LW: Thank you Ron, good stuff, I will inform the Broccoli family of your availability.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mr. Eddie Stern.

"at the time, we were all taking a lot of psychedelics. 
And I thought, 'Here's a way of getting high 
where you don't have to feel terrible the next day.'"

- Eddie Stern. 

Along with his wife Jocelyne, Eddie Stern owns The Brooklyn Yoga Club, 
he is widely known as the pioneer of New York’s yoga scene. 

He has taught the virtues of the practice to far too many celebrities to mention 
and when he is not teaching at the club, he travels the world extensively 
sharing his insights and passion. 

He is the author of several books and is an avid supporter and advocate 
to underserved public schools around the country, developing new teaching 
programs that help both the kids and the teachers identify and reduce stress.

LW: Eddie, you grew up in New York City, how was that?

ES: Growing up in New York City was awesome. We moved down to Greenwich Village from the Upper East Side when I was about four years old, after my parents got divorced. And my mom was a trust fund hippie. She used to walk around Greenwich Village barefoot.

Soho was an uninhabited mess of artist lofts. It was barely lit after dark. I mean, we were going to school by ourselves when we were eight years old.

So it was more like an artists village than anything else, except for our street was MacDougal and Sullivan, the heart of the Italian Mafia.

On the corner below the Caffe Reggio was Jimmy's, which was a social club, there were two social clubs on either side across the street. And we were surrounded by two Catholic churches that had schools in them as well. So the area was safe. Because all the Mafia guys were keeping drugs, guns and crime away.

We had CBGB's when I was a teenager, just a few blocks down we had the whole punk rock scene on St. Mark's Place, there was amazing music. It was dirty and dangerous. We liked it. It was free.

LW: How did you find yoga, or did it find you?

ES: I was working in a record store named Bleecker Bob's on West 3rd Street. And there was a guy working in there who had done yoga. And he introduced me first to vegetarian diet. I got into that and I bought a book on macrobiotics. 

In that book, there were some stretches you could do to keep yourself healthy.

I didn't know they were yoga poses, but I started doing them. 

I enjoyed stretching, because I hadn’t and the main thing was, I was really unhealthy.

LW: Did you smoke?

ES: When I quit smoking, I was smoking two packs a day - Camel unfiltered.

I lived between McDonald’s and Ben's Pizza. I didn't drink water. I drank soda, cappuccino, beer or tequila. And that was it. Maybe, if I was feeling kind of healthy, I'd have falafel instead of pizza.
And so I felt like shit. I mean, I looked terrible and I didn't feel good. 

My friend Ted started saying, “you know, with a vegetarian diet you detoxify your body. You start feeling lighter. Your brain is clearer. You have more energy.” He was talking about meditation and all these things, they were metaphysical in nature, primarily, but at the time, we were all taking a lot of psychedelics. And I thought, "Here's a way of, like, getting high where you don't have to feel terrible the next day”, "So maybe I'll try this instead." 

And so he really sent me on a different path.

LW: You started yoga at 19 and went to India at 21, when did practicing and learning yoga turn to teaching?

ES: The people I was practicing with in New York said, "Why don't you go to India and take a teacher training course, then come back here and you can maybe teach at our school." 

So I did, I'd really only been practicing for about a year and a half before I started teaching. 

It was way too soon. 

I've been teaching yoga now more than half of my life.

LW: A lot of your New York friends that I've met through you are high achievers who seem to have turned out to be highly successful musicians, artists or performers of some kind or other. 
What do you think was happening at the time that led you all to do so well on a global scale?

ES: I really don't know. I think we just got lucky. I think that we came of age in a really creative time. I think every age has its own creative time. And we just happened to fall into that particular one. We found things that we really were passionate about. So we put all of our energy into it.

LW: Famous people seem to be drawn to your studio. Even from my experience, the first day I was learning with two other gentlemen. It was only at the end of the class I realized that one of them was Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and the other one was Mike Myers.
Why do you think celebrities wanting to learn yoga come to you?

ES: I like to think that the yoga is good. And I like to think that what we're teaching is serious and authentic, and that people are drawn to that. 

Quite often, the people who are successful on the level of some of those who come to my practice are very serious about their art. And they look for authenticity in what they do, whether it's music—or acting or painting.

But people might know of me more because I've been around for longer.

LW: The beginning of the conversation started with the fact that you were Manhattan born and bred. But you just moved your family and your business to Brooklyn. How’s that working out?

ES: Brooklyn is great. We love it. Manhattan is also great. But it's also really tiring. And it's a lot noisier. And we got priced out of it for the most part. Plus the building got sold. We looked around but couldn't find anything that we really loved in Manhattan. 

My landlord bought another building out in Brooklyn. He said, "Come take a look." And we thought, let's give it a go. 

It's basically like we've been starting a new business, building up our Brooklyn community from the ground up. 

We've been open for about eight months now. And we're up to 75% capacity of where I want to be.

LW: I know you are requested to travel extensively around the world teaching yoga, but you’ve also been spending a lot of time traveling the US too, tell us about that.

ES: I always felt that it was important to try to participate in the world around you. And that would be to go into places that make you uncomfortable, because people are suffering. And just be in that space a little bit. To not get too comfortable with where you are and with what you have.

Public education teachers are some of the most unappreciated, stressed out people in our country. Their job is so hard. We have a group of kids in South Jamaica, Queens, who are all exposed to heavy amounts of gun violence and trauma in their neighborhood while they were growing up. And I've been working with them the past four years now to help try to transform their communities.

We create curriculums for public schools, and mainly underserved public schools in New York, we've also done South Carolina, Indianapolis, Houston, El Paso and some other places around the country.
We teach them how to do techniques which are going help the kids relax. To identify their emotions and understand how to deal with them. And hopefully, the teachers pick up some of these techniques too.

LW: You're probably the nicest person I know. Certainly the most selfless person I know. What's the background story that takes you from wearing a robe to a three piece suit just as comfortably?

ES: I don't know. I mean, I look at the pictures of my grandfather. And he was a super sharp dresser. And my dad, has an amazing sense of style. 

We always used to joke that my dad was so straight that he put on a tie to go get the mail.

So I think there must be something in my genes that makes me like and appreciate fashion.

And I'll tell you, my teacher always used to say, "You should only have one guru, one doctor, and one wife. Otherwise, if you have more than one guru, you're gonna get confused. More than one doctor, you're gonna mix medications. More than one wife, oh, you're in big, big trouble.”

I think it's the same with your tailor. I think you should just have one tailor who knows you and wants you to look the best you can in their clothes. 

And that's what you guys do. And plus, I love being insulted. So when I come here, I get to be beaten under a truck every time by a British wit. Because I think is part of the whole Lord Willy's experience is humiliation, is it not?

LW: Couldn't ask for more, Eddie. That's absolutely perfect. Thank you.