Monday, March 15, 2010

Plastic Cups + Cigarettes: My London Journey.

As I sit in the Detroit airport composing my thoughts into words, thinking about the journey I have just completed, I am for some strange reason overcome with the urge to cry. I had this feeling last night coming through customs, but I wasn't sure if it was the oh-so-moving "Welcome to America" video they were playing in the queue or that I had just watched 'Precious' and followed it up with 'Blind Side' on the plane.
I'm not sure why I am feeling so emotional, I am excited to get back to Brooklyn, and start some new projects. It's not because I am going to miss London, even though I started missing my friends before I had even left them. I think it's maybe that the projects I had spent so long working on, are over and done, and now I have to shift to the next gear. The next phase. I think my emotions are a combination of anxiety, stress-relief, and a bit of sadness---all wrapped up in a lot of excitement for Spring.
London was incredible. I am not much of a tourist, so in the little free time I actually had, I spent it on Brick Lane and in Shoreditch eating curries, drinking cider, dancing, and having really intense conversations about polygamy, capitol punishment, and music. I did however, spend one day as a proper visitor and in that day I saw the Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Henry VIII castle, and Westminster Abbey. I was staying in a rather posh part of town off the Lancaster Gate tube, just north of Hyde Park. Work allowed me to see parts of London and meet people I wouldn't have otherwise.
My first shoot was in this insane warehouse. When you went in, there were all these 'market' fronts (mainly fish markets) all of which had been closed for what seemed like a time. The spot we shot in was run by 2 set designers and filled to the brim with rolls of fabric, cyc walls with really incredible handscreened wallpaper on them, the longest wooden ladder I have ever seen, chairs, skates, bags of balls, stacks of buckets, trampolines, and luggage---all hanging from the ceiling. There were shelves lined with old canisters, and plexi-glassed shelving with coffee mugs and bowls. It was the perfect location for the burlesque inspired vision I had created. We even uncovered an old theater curtain. It was an absolute dream. I was so excited because I didn't think anything could top what I had planned on building as the set, and my friends really came through for me. I felt so much love.
I took video of the place so you could see it. Absolutely nuts.
On Wednesday I shot in this Caribbean spot in Brixton. That was fun because I got to do all the prop setup and the photographer, Kwame, was an absolute gem. He mainly does film and shoots for BBC and just got a gig shooting something for Parliament, so talk about a true British filmmaker. We were shooting an advertisement for reading, because reading is FUN.

My last shoot was in Homestead. We shot in the Heath across from George Michael's house, off High Street, and I just had to get some in the red telephone booth.
I hung out at Ten Bells where Jack the Ripper used to pick up prostitutes, tried to get into Public Life, (a club in an old public restroom---god that sounds horrible) but everything in London closes around midnight. And you know my Brooklyn ass wasn't ready until then. That is probably my biggest complaint about London. Everything closes (including the tube) super early, and cabs there are expensive. I was told though, that the buses are great, and they run late. The bar, Rehab in Soho was perfect. Met the Vivicians, (loved that they hardly spoke english) and tore up the dance floor like a true North American. I even had a few birds give me some high fives.
All in all, cheers to London!
(but damn it feels good to be home.)
I also realize now as I am posting this that I hardly took any photos. My bad.

(also these videos are kinda hard to see and I have the WORST sinus infection, and halfway through I stopped to grab a clementine, so it's pretty hood, but hopefully you get an idea of what was happening. I also through in my favorite part of the castle.)