Alexis Turns 30 — A Social Experience

The table was set. The N’Harmonics knew their cue. They would all be dispersed around the entrance to the bar and when I went up to Alexis and wondered aloud if anyone would be willing to help me sing “Happy Birthday” to her, they would… well, just watch and I think you’ll understand.

Leading up to Alexis’ 30th birthday I was very perplexed about what to get her. Gradually a plan began to evolve in my head. I wanted to take her to the Book of Mormon, but once I looked at ticket prices, I knew that was out of my range. Or was it?

Since I was successful using a Fundrazr campaign to solicit gifts — funds to help me get to my friend’s wedding in Wyoming — for my birthday earlier in the year, I thought the same formula could be used again. It had a somewhat oblique application to mine, but I thought it would still be respected. I would ask Alexis’ friends from near and far to donate to her birthday to help buy her ticket to the show and I would pay for my own.

In order to do this, I would need to take over her Facebook page so that I could appeal directly to her friendship network. After consulting with the tech support folks at Fundrazr and really delving into Facebook’s privacy settings, I knew that was my only option. Fortunately she relented pretty easily. Once the page was active, donations began to steadily stream in. I know Alexis has a lot of really good friends, many of whom I count among my own friends, but it was impressive to see the generosity up close and personal.

Now that the tickets were in the works, I started to think about how to say thanks to the people that helped to fund the birthday present and also how to deliver the tickets to her. I knew that she really like a cappella singing and that’s when the idea popped into my mind to try and find a singing group to serenade her using a flashmob style. Then I would present the tickets. And finally, to close the loop, I would film the whole thing and personalize the piece by adding a note of thanks from the both of us at the beginning of each video.

I took to searching the internet for a local a cappella group and came upon a group of singers from NYU called N’Harmonics. I reached out to them and was happy to hear back from Francesca. She helped me coordinate the effort, culminating in a meet up around the corner from the Swift Hibernian Lounge where I had stationed Alexis with a good friend and co-conspirator, Danielle.

I have to say thanks and give props to charity: water and Mo Scarpelli for the idea. If I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work on the charity: water thanks videos at the beginning of my internship, I don’t know if it would have occurred to me.

To watch us thank our friends, click here>

Occupy Wall Street

I had to go down and see what all the hubbub was about so I walked out of class and joined the #OccupyWallStreet protestors. Here’s what I saw.

#OccupyWallStNYC

The march was very peaceful. Strangers were commenting to each other about what a great feeling they were experiencing. The energy was palpable. It reminded me of running a marathon. People were on the sidewalks cheering us on. They had wry smiles that definitely urged us to keep at it. It was pretty powerful — electric. Folks were coming out on to their balconies and watching. Workers were standing in their storefronts cheering us on. Construction workers and cabbies high-fived us as we flooded around their cars.

#OccupyWallStNYC

Overall things seem to be organized, calm, and collected. During our pre-march brief we were instructed to respect the cops and remember that they are there to protect us. The protestors’ beef is not with the NYPD.

#OccupyWallSt

It was interesting to see the Labor Unions join forces. It’s a little late in the game — already into the third week — but, I didn’t get the sense they were trying to co-opt the movement. While there were obviously some that were leading the charge, there was no one person guiding us.

#OccupyWallSt

Finally, I found the crowd to be what you’d expect in New York. Courteous, respectful, and diverse. And when I say diverse, I mean age, sexuality, race — there was a little bit of everything represented. I think the MSM is getting it wrong when they say it’s all “crybaby kids that don’t have anything else to do.” Everyone there was passionate about what they were doing and well aware of the risks.

#OccupyWallSt

Reid This: Unplugged and Unserious




Collaborating with old friends on new projects is always something that A Table For One Productions takes a great deal of pride in. Reid Kirchhoff will be rolling out his newest one-man comedy show at Duplex on August 5th and 6th should not to be missed.

In order to help drum up support and offer a glimpse into the preparations behind such an epic performance, Reid asked me to follow him around for a day. What ensued was nothing short of the Beatles first setting foot on American soil or man landing on the moon. You’ll have to watch to understand.

Tickets for Reid’s upcoming shows can be purchased by visiting reidthis.com

Peace Corps Service in Retrospect

Well drilling in the Altiplano

S 19º00.05 W 066º46.97

That’s roughly the GPS location of where this well currently resides in the middle of the Bolivian Altiplano. If you plug it into Google Earth it will take you directly to the place where I spent more than a year of my life living and working with my sitemate, Tiffany and my Bolivian friends and counterparts.

It’s hard to believe that I left the country three years ago. The experience and lessons learned left such an impact that the memories are still clear and vivid.

I’ve tried to honor the people I met and the work I did by continuing to work for causes that I believe in here in the U.S. Those causes- non-profit institutions that support international exchange, climate change education programs like 350.org, self-exploration and artful expression through documentary– have helped sustain my artistic endeavors.

I hope that one day soon I can return to Bolivia to check in on my wells and the Arias Family, my hosts for my tenure in the great city of Santiago de Huari and of course my invaluable counterpart Jose Luis Castro (pictured here kneeling with me on the right next to a newly minted well).

Logo Re-Design for Youth Leadership Development Academy

The Young Leaders Dialogue with America is sponsored by the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. It is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), and provides strategic opportunities between emerging leaders from Central Europe and the Baltic States and their U.S. counterparts on issues of mutual concern.

The program connects young leaders from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, with young leaders from across the United States to exchange ideas and information as it relates to three “dialogue” themes: New Challenges in Transatlantic Security, Climate Change and Environmental Issues, and Tolerance and Diversity.

Working closely with IIE staff and Program Officers at YLDA, a graphic solution was achieved and implemented as a way to quickly communicate the goals and ideals of the Academy. Different versions of the new logo are used throughout YLDA’s website, in print publications, and during conferences.

Young Leaders Dialogue with America Logo

Digital Asset Management Solution for IIE

The Institute of International Education is a large non-profit organization that administers over 200 programs serving more than 20,000 individuals each year. IIE provides a wide range of services to and manages or administers programs for many corporations, foundations, government partners, and international agencies.

In order to provide a safe, user friendly environment to upload and share photos, documents, and videos I was contracted to help implement a new system from the ground up. Working closely with our hosting partner, Widen, IIE Staff and I created IIE Media Port to reflect the Institute’s branding and mission.

In less than a year since its inception, IIE Media Port now holds more than three thousand digital assets with over 700 users worldwide.

IIE Media Port Interface Design

Rooftop350 Project

Check out video featuring a rooftop painting by Molly Dilworth made on the roof of ACORN High School at 561 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY in November 2010.

This piece was one of 24 global large-scale artworks organized by 350.org calling for climate change action before the December 2012 United Nation climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. This project uses infrared-reflective roof coating to help ameliorate the heat-island effect and to mark a physical presence in digital space.

The image represents the NYC harbor after a 7-meter rise in sea levels. The blue is the water as it is today, the brown is the land that would be left after such a rise and the white is the new water line.

Speak Easy Series Collaboration

Sean Dimin of Sea To Table and Christopher Nicolson of Iliamna Fish Co. with Cara Cannella from Speak Easy Series on Vimeo.

Speak Easy Series is a live series that intimately connects bold artists and entrepreneurs with local audiences. Curated by Brooklyn-based journalist Cara Cannella, Speak Easy seeks to inspire curiosity and explore creativity through provocative conversation.

I was excited to work with Cara to bring her conversations to life in a visually compelling way. Live conversations can quickly lose their luster when transferred to video on the web so I sought to avoid that unnecessary hang-up.

I lit the venue in a way that re-produces the intimate appeal of Veronica People’s Club, a great coffee shop/bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The audio was tricky. Since there was no PA at VPC, I had to make sure a system was in place that would work well for both the live audience and the web-viewing audience. The camera work was really the last piece of the puzzle. Working with my longtime friend and production partner, Anders Birch, I was able to incorporate some nice cutaways that added just the right amount of spice to make it a compelling watch on the web as well.

Cara and I collaborated on three separate events in the series. You can check out Speak Easy’s Vimeo Page to see the highlights.