08 December 2012

In homage to studying abroad...

Do you ever wonder if the places you've inhabited, feel your absence after you're gone? I like to think that they do. After all, you've contributed to their daily wear and tear and aromatic essence. You've shared with them, your most intimate self; when nobody else was watching, their space was there surrounding you, witnessing your every move and solace.

And if they don't, we do, don't we? 

Oh, but they do...they have the scars to prove it.

And we have a cache of mementos - such as the polaroids in this post - to remind us we were there.

Fall 2002 - Spring 2003, Copenhagen, Denmark. 
All photos were taken with 600 Polaroid Film, © Viviana de Loera

From top to bottom: 
Kollegium - drying laundry, Sept 2002.
+ (4) photos: neighborhood around Kollegium
+ DIS: Danish vernacular building with yellow facade.
+ DIS: Round staircase next to architecture studios. 
+ One of the many iconic buildings I had the pleasure of experiencing in person, Le  Corbusier's chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp; October 2002.
+ Riding the metro, Dec. 26, 2002

21 November 2012

Who wants to be evil with me?

I've posed for pictures with Iv'ry Soap * I've petted stray dogs, and shied clear of dope * My smile is brilliant, my glance is tender * But I'm noted most for my unspoiled gender * I've been made Miss Reingold, though I never touch beer * And I'm the person to whom they say, "You're sweet, my dear," * The only etchings I've seen have been behind glass * And the closest I've been to a bar is at ballet class * Prim and proper, the girl who's never been cased * I'm tired of being pure and not chased * Like something that seeks it's level * I want to go to the devil * I want to be evil, I want to spit tacks * I want to be evil and cheat at jacks * I want to be wicked, I want to tell lies * I want to be mean and throw mud pies * I want to wake up in the morning * With that dark brown taste * I want to see some dissipation in my face * I want to be evil, I want to be mad * But more than that, I want to be bad * I want to be evil and trump an ace * Just to see my partner's face * I want to be nasty, I want to be cruel * I want to be daring, I want to shoot pool * and in the theatre, I want to change my seat * Just so I can step on everybody's feet * I want to be evil, I want to hurt flies * I want to sing songs like the guy who cries * I want to be horrid, I want to drink booze * And whatever I've got, I'm eager to lose * I want to be evil, little evil me * Just as mean and evil as I can be! {I want to be evil by Eartha Kitt}

One of those songs that just eats you alive! This post is a preview to my upcoming series, A Curated Apprenticeship, where I plan to revere those femmes fatales that have shaped who I am and what I aspire to be. Stay tuned...

17 November 2012

Flying Houses

I'll start by saying that I've had a very awkward week. No matter what I'd put into motion, it just felt bizarrely ungrounded, as if another version of me was calling the shots.  And then, late last night, I stumbled upon the beautiful œuvre of French photographer, Laurent Chehere, Flying Houses. They summarize my sense of displacement to a T, and at the same time, remind me that nothing is permanent. From time to time, a toppled occurrence (week) is exactly what one needs to refocus and carry on!

Run-down, decorated with pieces of street art, half-demolished, burning or simply showing their typically Parisian roofs and facades, these buildings populate a fairy tale where the urban social complexities are not eliminated but rather elevated as a symbol of the contemporary world at large. (Frame Magazine)

The Flying Houses series is currently on display at Paris-Beijing Galerie in Paris until December 4, 2012. 

Photos borrowed from Frame Magazine, here and Chehere's site, here.

17 August 2012

Summer reading...

Do you see a theme?...
Ever since I moved to Montreal, I've become very curious about the art of writing. I want to be a more informed blogger, improve my writing skills, and learn as much as I can from inspiring literary masters. 
Possible career change? (you ask). . .well, my intrigue is more for personal enrichment - for now. In the meantime, I'm surrounding myself with insightful (+ amusing) publications, and rounding up a wondrously selective palette of iconic storytellers from the colossal world of literature.

List above:
A Writer's Paris by Eric Maisel
The Other Paris and Montreal Stories by Mavis Gallant
Microscripts by Robert Walser
A quarterly magazine of art and culture, Cabinet (Issue 45, Games, Spring 2012)
The Elements of Style  by William Strunk Jr. + E. B. White  -  Illustrated by Maira Kalman
ZOETROPE ALL-STORY: Special One-Act Play Issue (Winter 2000) + The Horror Issue (Fall 2011)

12 August 2012

zo·e·trope (noun /ˈzō-ēˌtrōp/): A 19th-century optical toy consisting of a cylinder with a series of pictures on the inner surface that, when viewed through slits with the cylinder rotating, give an impression of continuous motion...

I received these beauties in the mail a couple of days ago. . .
They are back issues of ZOETROPE: ALL-STORY, a quarterly magazine launched by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997. This curated jewel celebrates new short fiction, one-act plays, and reprints classic short stories that have influenced noteworthy films through the years.  Each ZOETROPE volume instantaneously becomes a collector's item not only because of the phenomenal selection of literary picks, but because each publication is also uniquely illustrated by a special guest designer. Past potpourri of invités have included: David Bowie, Julian Schnabel, Ed Ruscha, David Byrne, Kiki Smith, Wim Wenders, Guillermo del Toro and Mikhail Baryshnikov...marvelous assortment, right? 

By the way, sadly, several noteworthy back issues are sold out, but I did manage to get a copy of the following: 
  • Winter 2000, VOL. 4  NO. 4: Special One-Act Play Issue with guest designer, Peter Sellers - Leading theatre, opera, and television director. 
  • Summer 2005, VOL. 9  NO. 2 - Guest designer, Architect, Zaha Hadid.
  • Fall 2011, VOL. 15  NO. 3: The Horror Issue with guest designers, Kate & Laura Mulleavy (RODARTE).
I'm so in awe with ZOETROPE that it is the first magazine I have subscribed to in years...

The images below are highlights from the Rodarte issue. If you're familiar with the Mulleavy sisters, then you will understand why they were so appropriately chosen to illustrate the horror issue...

30 July 2012

About Topic No. 1: Innovative Conferences

CosmoTHIS: Innovative ConferencesMarch 2012 - ongoing
Exploring the idea of what a conference is and what it should be for those of us in search of inspiration.  What comes to mind when you think of the word conference? 

More info about this topic here.

Images above: + Bubble Diagram with quote from post, TED: Ideas Worth Spreading  + Robert Wong picture and book cover from post, DO EPIC SHIT! declares Robert Wong  + Sofia Coppola portrait from post, An innovative conference for women by women... 

Coming Soon to CosmoTHISTopic No. 2: A Curated Apprenticeship

28 July 2012

A visual archive of C2-MTL 2012 à la Pinterest

As some of you know, I recently had the privilege of being part of the C2-MTL 2012 team. I worked on several incredible projects before, during and after the event, and in the course of the post-mortem evaluation phase, I was given the green light to construct an especially  unique undertaking, which I'm ecstatic to finally share with you. 

My incredibly-talented-supervising collaborators allowed me to create a visual archive - via  Pinterest - using the plethora of images shot by a group of brilliant photographers hired to document the C2-MTL 3-day experience.  After weeks of categorizing, shifting, pinning, configuring, repinning - etcetera - I can honestly say that I'm very proud of this self-induced project. Check out the C2-MTL Pinterest boards HEREI invite you to browse, comment and follow. If you attended the conference and have images you would like to share with the C2-MTL team, please contact me

Thank you to the C2-MTL team for allowing me to exercise my playful eye!

The planning for next year's conference is already underway. I strongly encourage you to consider attending the event's second year, taking place in May of 2013! Visit C2-MTL's official site HERE for details.

Image Credits 
+ (top) Moment Factory Installation at C2-MTL 2012 - reset button © Karel Chladek / C2-MTL. Read article, "A tunnel open for open minds" (about installation) written by Josée Noiseux HERE.  
+ (bottom) C2-MTL Pinterest boards curated by me.

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!

12 July 2012

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

Photo Credit: The New Yorker, July 9-16, pages 68 - 69. Photo taken by me, VDL of purchased issue.

A couple of days ago, I read Nathan Heller's article featured in this week's issue of The New Yorker (July 9 -16, 2012) titled, Listen and Learn: TED talks reach millions around the world. How has a conference turned ideas into an industry?  I was so compelled by the backstage details behind the TED organization - so eloquently described by Mr. Heller - that I jotted down a few notes to share with you (after a few hours of additional online R&D).  
If you've ever watched those inspiring TED Talks on ted.com and have contemplated the idea of one day attending their 4-day annual conference in Long Beach, California, you will want to read this article.  As a quick preview, I invite you to browse my bubbly notes below, appropriately drawn on a very old roll of yellow trace paper from my studio days.

Were you aware that one can only attend the Long Beach TED conference by filling out an application form (not a registration form) that requests answers to essay questions and references OR by invitation only? Should TED, a nonprofit organization whose slogan is "Ideas Worth Spreading" make us feel like we're applying for a job?  I get that this is TED's way of guiding professional match-making (networking), and for those that make the cut, they get to profit from what Heller refers to as "the opulence of easy access"...(great phrase!)  I GET IT, but I can't help experience disappointment. I feel like I just discovered the "wizard" behind the curtain, and that magical appeal - for me - has lost its sparkle. Am I over reacting? Should I really be surprised?  I will continue to watch the online TED Talks of people/topics I'm curious about, but at least now, I will be doing so with a pair of informed eyes. 

Of all the people mentioned in the article, the one I find most fascinating is the founder of it all, Richard Saul Wurman (who by the way, is no longer invited to TED - Long Beach. . .read the article for the juicy details). He's launching his latest venture this September called, The WWW ConferenceFYI, the list of participants (so far) includes: Yo-Yo Ma, Frank Gehry, Moshe Safdie, Maya Lin. . .more names here.  I'm looking forward to reading reviews about this exclusively designed powwow (73 seats @ $16K each, available on a first-come-first served basis!). Check out Mr. Wurman in the video clip below. You will find him a bit eccentric, but aren't we all?. . .don't you just love his super long black scarf?

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!

10 July 2012

Moonrise Kingdom...what kind of bird are YOU?

I finally experienced Wes Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. This film has absolutely brightened my summer. From beginning to end, I was mesmerized by the intentionally crafted details. The costumes and props are impeccable, the music score is enchanting, the hysterical script - addicting, and the ensemble cast is a work of art. Prepare to be captivated by the two young actors: Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward - playing Sam & Suzy - their bios will leave you speechless! 

If you grew up living with a boyscout (like I did, hola hermano) you will enjoy it even more - but really - it is a film that celebrates the beautiful purity of that summer love - that last unforgettable sweet crush one experiences right before the teen years hit and ruin it all. . .ok maybe I'm rambling from personal experience. 

It is a film for all ages. . .A few seats away from me, sat an adorable 3 year old girl with her father, and while he laughed (almost every time I did), she gazed at the screen with complete admiration. 

For those of you who have not seen the film, when you go, I recommend you stay until the credits stop rolling - they are accompanied by the beautiful piece, Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Themes A-F  (by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic). You will leave the theater humming it and wishing you could play an instrument! 

Moonrise Kingdom was filmed on location throughout Newport County, Rhode Island.

Photo Credits
+ The handwritten ephemera, the picture of Sam with Khaki Scouts of North America uniform, the shot of Suzy with a fuchsia béret, and photo of The Narrator (played by Bob Balaban) were borrowed from the film's official website and interactive map here
+ All other photos were borrowed from ANTWRANGLERS flickr's page here.

08 June 2012

The planning and execution of a business conference...

C2-MTL 2012 is almost coming to its fin.  I say almost, because even though the actual event concluded the morning of the 25th of May (two weeks ago today to be exact), there are still details pending: post-mortem reports to be typed, until next time(s) and merci beaucoup(s) to be said, invoices to be paid, rentals to be returned (unharmed ideally), sleep to catch-up on, family to acknowledge once again, and many many more quelque choses...

A few of us, behind-the-scenes, are just starting to come out of that jet-lagged feeling. If you've ever lived through the construction or renovation of a house, the planning of a wedding (even a small one), a permanent relocation to an unfamiliar land, the birth of a baby, trained for a triathlon, etcetera, well, multiply that by 100 or more. That's how exhausted many of us feel - combined. If you're a circus performer or ringmaster,  then maybe only you can fully grasp the love-hate relationship one can develop for such a grandiose undertaking - such as the planning and execution of a business conference. . .only different!

There were times when I wanted to scream and just cry endlessly, but not because of lack of devotion - but because my entire body and brain could no longer function properly. No matter how much coffee I drank, my physical exhaustion was just too monumental. I pleaded for more energy - "No please - toes and fingers - don't give up just yet" (I found myself thinking at times).

Because there was just too much at stake

Find creative answers to commercial questions! (the conferences's mantra would often cry out inside my head). . .
and that I (WE) did. . .many times over. And yet, I can't wait to do it all over again next year, but after a much deserved and restful break...(smiling). . .right team?  

I leave you with a quote from THE ringmaster himself, Guy Laliberté. The Founder of Cirque du Soleil expressed as he stood on the C2-MTL stage,  "At the end, it’s a give and take. It’s feeding the circle of life, it’s feeding the circle of creativity, more you give, more you’ll get back. In the end it’s what I live on."

This post was inspired (with a dash of hyperbole) by those witnessed funny moments and overheard anecdotes (sometimes in French) from like-minded colleagues within the C2-MTL 2012 team.
Personal notes: Thank you Hanneke for that time you "pranced" yes "pranced" over to the printer; thank you Johanne for that delicious carrot at 10pm; Thank you Antoine for trying to feed me during the conference; Thank you Vivien Leung for existing- you're a true team player. (I'm still jealous you "concierged" Robert Wong)!; Thank you Caroline for not hanging up on me that time I answered your call with speedy Spanish (long long ago); Thank you to all of you that signed your email requests with a "thank you" or "merci" - always...

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!

07 June 2012

Granger stood, looking back with Montag, ". . .everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said, a child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made or a garden planted, something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die. . ." Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

(Quote transcribed from the CAEDMON audiobook of Fahrenheit 451, read by Ray Bradbury, CD #5 - section 5) 

Remembering Ray Bradbury: 1920 - June 5,  2012
Every time I read Ray Bradbury's, Fahrenheit 451 or experience François Truffaut's film adaptation of the book, I'm reminded of my humanity. . . it is an inextinguishable story about a very mortal subject. 

Don't you agree?...Hmmm.

Photo Credits
(above) By photographer, Michel Fainsilber, borrowed from The New York Times slideshow here.

01 June 2012

Hussein Chalayan S/S 2012 Sip Collection...very introspective!

"Chalayan’s inspiration centered around the idea of self-image, so his engineer Robert Davis rigged tiny battery-powered wireless cameras with tilt switches inside champagne flutes, which when tipped 15 degrees, would light up and capture the inside of the models’ mouths. The voyeuristic audience watched the models become the focal point, in a sort of unexpected way, as their lips, teeth and throats were projected onto the canvas behind the runway in real time." The Creators Project

Out of the Game...

Rufus Wainwright, books, humour, and Helena Bonham Carter, yes please...Happy Friday! Disregard the disruptive ads.

05 May 2012

16 days to go...

I've been crazy busy the past few weeks...I was recently hired to join the backstage team behind the upcoming business conference, Commerce + Creativity Montréal, C2-MTL

- How did this opportunity come my way, you ask?

Well, it all started with this blog. My Cosmo was discovered by une belle-femme-Québécoise (aka Julie Armstrong-Boileau), who introduced me to another belle-femme-Québécoise (aka Caroline Lavergne) that happened to be looking for English-writing bloggers. I use the word blogger instead of writer because I have incredible respect for those talented individuals who master the art of writing beautifully. I consider myself a mere literary hacker with a unique point of view, who makes occasional grammatical (forward slash) spelling errors, and who sometimes makes up words. 

So after a plethora of cover letters, ongoing job hunts, a temporary detour to Portland, Oregon (with no employment success), and a move to another country (Canada/Québec), it was this laissez-faire pastime that launched me once-again into the professional working world after 4 years! I would love nothing more than to reward my Cosmo with a new MacBook, but I don't make enough $ for this indulgence - yet.

I started as a blogger, and then I was offered the position of Content Visualization Coordinator, which makes me laugh every time I say it, because several of the people I work with find it challenging to pronounce the word visualizationtry it - it's a bit of a tongue twister. It's a huge improvement from my last official title, professional staff, don't you think? - given to me when I worked as an architectural designer - no less. I won't bore you with details about what I do, but I will say that I'm working with an exceptional group of creative professionals and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm constantly pinching myself, I still can't believe I'm a contributing piece to this amazing event (well a pawn really - but no complaints here). You'll understand why I'm expressing myself with such glee when you watch the video below...

+ Check out my recent bloguerary contribution, here.

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!

04 May 2012

Les parents de Megan Draper...really?

I have been very busy...more about that later...I will be playing Cosmo catch-up this weekend, I promise!
In the meantime, I have to comment on last Sunday's Mad Men episode, more specifically, the introduction of Megan Draper's (aka Megan Calvet) parents. In my opinion, it would have been hysterical if Mr. Weiner had casted actual French-Canadian actors. It was a bit of a disappointment. Hmmm...I will have to reference past episodes - are Megan's parent's suppose to be European immigrants? Is Megan the only true French-Canadian in the family? To be continued....

Image borrowed from here: Emile Calvet (Ronald Guttman) and Marie Calvet (Julia Ormond) in Season 5, Episode 7

18 April 2012

Imagine...with Jonah Lehrer

Most of us have been conditioned to think that creativity is an innate gift, a privy to an haute club of genius, a talent that only right-brain thinkers are inclined to possess and left-brain thinkers find challenging to conceive. But what if we were told that these are simply inherited misconceptions, that in fact, creativity is a universal gift we can all share when given the proper tools and knowledge to leverage a new way of approaching professional innovation. . .It's all in the brain. .  .well - at least that's what Jonah thoroughly explains in his latest book, Imagine. I recently listened to his NPR interview on the subject and took a few notes. 

I wonder what Jonah would say about my scribbles below...How do I think? 

+ My scribbles written while listening to NPR interview embedded above. 
+ Jonah Lehrer info borrowed from the upcoming C2-MTL conference site, here.
+ Image of young Bob Dylan borrowed from unknown source.
+ Image of young Jonah Lehrer borrowed from his website, here. 

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!

17 April 2012

phi·lan·der (/fəˈlandər/) verb: (of a man) Readily or frequently enter into casual sexual relationships with women.

Image above borrowed from ANTI-RECORDS site.

I'm in awe of Glen Hansard, he has this "not yet corrupted by fame" aura about him that's very appealing. I recently stumbled upon the video promoting his upcoming solo album, "Rythm and Repose". . . I find it heartwarming that even though M. Hansard and I are very culturally different, his music video "Philander" managed to stir-up emotions about my grandmother's house in Mexico (the colors and props, not the title)...how I remember it anyway. Some things are just globally identifiable...

"Rhythm and Repose is a result of Hansard’s last year and a half of living in New York City. The album was recorded by Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Arto Lindsay, Laurie Anderson) and produced by Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The National, Antony and the Johnsons). The record features the musical talents of Brad Albetta (Martha Wainwright) on bass, Ray Rizzo on drums, Nico Muhly and Rob Moose on strings (Bon Iver, Y Music), David Mansfield on slide guitar (Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Tour), Javier Mas (Leonard Cohen touring band) and half of Bruce Springsteen’s current horn section. Assisting on vocals are Cristin Milioti (Once, The Musical), Sam Amidon, Marketa Irglova and Aida Shahghasemi (Marketa Irglova touring band)." Quote by ANTI Records.

03 April 2012

Baryshnikov In Paris...

“Yes, from day to day, from year to year, you wait in secret for only one thing—that moment when you’ll stumble onto happy love. Ultimately it is this hope alone that enables you to live… In Paris- Quote by Russian author, Ivan Bunin (1870-1953)

All images © Berkeley Repertory Theatre. All rights reserved.

Last time Baryshnikov was in Paris, wasn't he with Carrie Bradshaw? There's something about this man that I find uncontrollably alluring.  Don't you?
His latest venture is a leading role in the play, "In Paris", based on a short story written in 1940 by Ivan Bunin (a Russian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1933), where he acts (only minimal dancing I hear...) in his native tongue.  This month, it finally comes to North America; I can only hope it makes its way to Canada.

USA Premiere: 
Plot: Two Russian immigrants living in 1930s Paris.
Language: Russian
Adapted from Ivan Bunin's short story. 
Directed by Dmitry Krymov 
Performers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Sinyakina with Maxim Maminov, Maria Gulik and the Dmitry Krymov Laboratory ensemble.

29 March 2012

DO EPIC SHIT! declares Robert Wong...

Robert Wong, Executive Creative Director of Google Creative Lab will be speaking at C2-MTL this coming May. A few days ago, I came across the 1 hour video from Bill's Design Talks Series sponsored by The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, where he talks about the The Perfect Day. It's admirable how this young creative mind expresses himself, so down to earth! Check out my scribbles below and watch the clip...

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about the other high-profile speakers coming to C2-MTL.

Robert Wong mentions the books above in talk.
Image Credits (top - bottom):
1. B/W photo of Robert Wong borrowed from Eva Blue's flickr album, here.
2. Personal scribbles on page borrowed from C2-MTL's website here.
3. Burning Man Google doodle from August 30, 1998 borrowed from here.
4. Sir Isaac Newton's 367th Birthday Google doodle (January 4, 2010) borrowed from here.
5. A Whole New Mind cover borrowed from here
6. Steve Jobs cover borrowed from here
7. The Happiness Hypothesis cover borrowed from here

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS! 

22 March 2012

Montreal, Schiaparelli, Prada, and 21st Century gurus...

Reading material for the weekend...

Fast Company (content partner of C2-MTL) has dedicated a special advertising section to Montreal in their April 2012 issue.  The graphics are playful and right on; It's clear that the 18-page spread (pgs.73-91) was crafted with enthusiasm.  I highly recommend you pick up a copy. 

To compliment Safian's cool biz updates, I also bought the latest issue of The New Yorker. That Maira Kalman cover is so irresistible. I'm looking forward to reading the Jonah Lehrer (speaking at C2-MTL) article, "ROYAL FLUSH, How Roger Thomas redesigned Vegas" and the piece, "Radical Chic" about the upcoming MET exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations. I missed the McQueen exhibit, but this one, is a definite must!

As for the mountain of books below, I would like to take this time to thank the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, it always caters to my literary needs.  Do I really plan to read them all?. . . A little here, a little there...it's R&D for C2-MTL.

The list of books displayed above (in no particular order):  
Whatever You think, Think the Opposite by Paul Arden  
Poke the Box by Seth Godin  
Linchpin by Seth Godin  
The Mind edited by John Brockman  
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer  
A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink  
Conversational Capital, How to Create Stuff People Love to Talk About by Bertrand Cesvet

Other books of interest not illustrated in shot above:
Imagine, How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer (2012)
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt 
It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden.

I'm also currently reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Recommendations are welcomed!

Topic No.1: Innovative Conferences, Cosmo THIS!