august 21, 2000
today i got aquainted with the way the office works. i spent a lot of time sending out copies of september issue to all of the involved photographers, makeup artists, stylists and hairdressers and all those types of people. i made calls all over new york and california.
then i went through big fat stacks of unused prints and slides and prepared to send them back to the owners. i went through the computer's database to find addresses and then packed everything up. tomorrow i get to go to a bunch of photographers' studios to deliver all the stuff i packed up. that's going to be great.
today i made some more calls, many of which were international. i had to use a bit of high school conversational french when i called a styling company in paris. it was loads of fun, and it went a bit like this:
french receptionist: bonjour, blah blah fwah fwah (didn't catch any of it)
me: bonjour, madam. je suis travis avec interview.
receptionist: ah, bonjour. (and then something that i can assume meant "how can i help you?")
me: (and i gave up here) pardon, madam, mais mon francais... c'est tres mal. je ne comprends pas mais juiste un peu (and my grammer was probably TOTALLY off). parlez-vous anglais?
receptionist: (laughing a bit) yes.
and we continued in english. thank you, madam pilcher, for helping me to aquire these skills. see where they're taking me?
after that i trekked all over the city delivering prints back to their owners. i got to see how a lot of photographers live. some have big, spacious studio apartments with steel furniture and doormen in suits while others live in old, skinny buildings with intercoms and elevators that don't work too well. some have big, fancy signs outside and some simply have their name next to their apartment number on the buzzer. i like both ends of the spectrum.
the art and photo department constantly gets art show promotions from all over the country. it makes me laugh when some get glanced over and quickly thrown away. but hey, there's a lot of horrible "art" out there. i won't be naming names, but can one "testify to the presence of god" through a bird's eye view of apples on a table? sheesh, sometimes these over-the-top, oozing with wordy praise, apple-polishing show reviews make me sick. and how DARE you compare this guy to rothko! the nerve!
today was a little more of the same at work. counting and organizing prints and slides etc. -but the day went by pretty slowly. why? well... i walked about 20 blocks (and these are NEW YORK BLOCKS) to a photographer's studio - who turned out not to be there. arg. at least i got to enjoy the culture of the lower east side for a couple hours. i think that lindsay (one of the two photo assistants) and randi (another intern) underestimated the walking distance (they said it was just a short walk). oh, but how wrong they were. needless to say, after the second grossly far away delivery (this one succesful), i found a subway station for the way back. then when i was back in the photo office, exhausted, everyone had a good laugh at my suffering.
i also learned how to work the switchboard and everything else involved with reception. i'll have to work there every once in a great while to fill in for the regular receptionist during her lunch break. it shouldn't be all that bad.
today was not a busy day. one thing that was cool was that i met the woman that does the layout for INTERVIEW. i saw a bit of the process. it was very interesting. hopefully i'll get to do some work in that department. we'll see.
i bought a newspaper today called STREET NEWS. it's a newspaper about homelessness. homeless people sell issues to make a real days work to get food and shelter, so it's pretty cool. better just sitting behind a cup. it makes people WANT to work, says the guy i bought the issue from. and you know, i prefer helping a guy make an honest living and try to get back on his feet rather than simply incubating a drug addict that sits there, doing nothing to better him/herself. ack, it makes me so sad to think about homelessness. it's horrible. i'm going to go eat some peta bread and strawberry jam and drink one of those tiny little beers that i bought at the deli and think about how darn lucky i am.
i haven't been able to update for a while because the movers have been here to take all of erik and geyer's stuff to houston. so when i get to the apartment tonight, hopefully it will be nice and empty... except for my stuff. please, god. don't let them take my stuff.
i'm actually at work right now, filling in at the front desk of BRANT PUBLICATIONS filling in for the receptionist during her lunch hour. it's not the most thrilling thing in the world. and it's a bit stressful at times. because people don't call one at a time. no no, they come in groups and packs. so you have to bounce people around a bit. our art deadline is tomorrow, so i've been calling people and faxing and picking up things. we're doing a section about lots of new up and coming types, from actors to musicians to artists to designers etc. etc. etc. they all have been asked to go to a photo booth and get pictures of themselves. it's a really great idea, and it's going to look cool. so anyway, i have excellent news...
i was walking down the block from my apartment to the starbucks to fill out an application. i figured that i could benefit from a part time job while i'm here. so as i was opening the door, i saw a poster advertizing a woman performing (singing, playing guitar), so instead i inquired about live music. so after talking to a couple people, i got a gig set up for this saturday. and they know the managers of several other starbucks in area. so if it goes well, i can see it now... "TRAVIS NICHOLS: STARBUCKS TOUR 2000!"
on monday i went to coney island. i went to the NY aquarium. saw the beluga whales and seals and dolphins and everything. it was great... and then i walked over to the beach. -and i tell you, when i stepped onto the sand and looked out, i thought, "i would like to live in new york." before i wasn't so sure. but it was beautiful. the summer crowd was gone, so i had a wonderful landscape of sand, waves, rock formations and a trash can every ten feet. hey, keep mother earth clean! ...but it was almost as if trash cans LITTERED the beach. weird extremes there...
i had fun today. i did some online research for a story. i'm not sure if i'm supposed to talk about specific stuff (the whole confidentiality thing), so we'll just say i was researching peanut butter and jelly. so i went online to newsgroups and photo archives to find pictures of peanut butter and jelly growing up and with their families and such. so after printing some copies out and writing down some information, we call the archive places and ask for the rights to the photos and large prints of them. i hope i get to do more of this.
on tuesday i'm going to go to production and scan and size some photos. THIS is what i've been waiting for. using my skills. i'm very excited. i want to get as much out of this as possible and make myself as marketable as i can while i'm here. this is a great opportunity. hooray for me.
i just got back from playing at starbucks. it went pretty well. there were like eight people there. haha. i made eleven bucks in tips... not bad for an hour's work. click here! yeah, baby, that's a five you see in the corner there. who the heck needs a job when you get cheese like that? anyway, those who were there seemed to like it. and a couple of girls i know that go to columbia came, and i was really glad. especially because it's like an hour train ride from there. thanks, gals. well, i hope i can play again soon. i'll go to starbucks on monday and talk to the manager and see if she can hook me up with some people and places.
these two days went really well. i did some work in production. i scanned photos and slides for positioning on two stories. it's really neat getting experience with things that i've learned in school. who would've thought that would ever happen? the woman who i've been working under in production, amaya, is great to be so willing to have me help her out. she should know that i'll be coming after her job pretty soon. hey, it's business.
i saw julianne moore in a subway station. she goes on the list after john cusack (my FAVORITE actor) and george carlin, who i saw a couple weeks ago. i also saw this calvin klein model that's on a HUGE ad on a building on broadway. he's actually not all that great looking in person. makes me wonder if i could be a model with enough lighting and airbrush miracles. hmm... nah.
i did research today on old political drawings and then more on the velvet underground at the new york public library. that was fun. the coolest thing i did today was call the republican campaign headquarters in austin and shmooze my way into getting tons of free stuff (buttons, stickers etc.) fed-ex'd to us for an article in our upcoming issue. i'm learning how to sound important to get what i want. good skill to have.
another neat thing i got to take part in is making passes with the slug. i like the way that sounds. i'll explain. a slug is a big sheet that has the layout of a page on it. usually at this stage it has the picture or pictures and a bunch of gibberish where the text goes (that gets filled in later). it gets passed from department to department and things get added. at the photo department stage we add the credits, which include the photographer, stylist, groomer and hairdresser etc. (give or take a few, depending on the shoot). so that's it. then we initial it and pass it on. wowsers.
today's my birthday. woo hoo. didn't work today, so i didn't see 98% of the people i know. the others were busy or something. no big whoop. i took a long bath, cleaned up the apartment a bit and recorded a song. then i decided to go to the hassidic judaism discovery center. that's my little fascination for the week. before it was the wild dogs of africa, and before that it was the interactions between homo sapiens and neanderthals, and before that it was plate techtonics. etc. etc. etc. i go through phases of obsession over different subjects. but anyway, i couldn't find the place. i had the address, went there... and there was nothing. the number was skipped. so i just walked around the neighborhood for a while, had a little koscher snack, and then headed back. then i got a sandwich. it was a good sandwich. and that was my birthday.
haha. i make it sound pretty awful. but it was nice. relaxing. hey, i'm in the capitol of the world for crying out loud. no room for complaint.
this has been a busy week. especially yesterday (friday). we had a bit of a crisis... but it worked out. i helped danielle set up three last minute photo shoots in an hour. yep, when the stakes were high, ol' travis stepped up to the plate and said, "hey, Problem. not this time, buddy," and with a right cross to the jaw everything was back in order. and the coolest part is that i get to go to the shoots. sunday and monday. i get to see how it all works.
the running around and getting stuff done and stressing stuff is exciting and fun, but i don't know if my life is headed in the magazine direction. because in its own right, it's still working for the MAN. i don't know. maybe that will change.
the highlight of today was walking down the street in the rain to get a bottle of water for the editor. woo hoo.
ooh. yeah, yesterday was a pretty bad today. today was better. oh, i discovered something that a lot of photographers in new york do. they get really nice studio spaces, put in a little juice and coffee bar, and assemble a staff of 5-20 gorgeous women. variations include cereal and muffins in the kitchen, dogs lounging around and women that wear all black. it can't be bad for business.
it seems like forever since i updated this. but it hasn't. i went to texas for the weekend. it was great, then bad, then great, then horrible, then okay, then great, then bad, then whatever. so it wasn't a total flop. i got back at three in the morning and went to work at ten. i was exhausted. and danielle kept saying "pull yourself together!" over and over and over again. her brand of humor is repetition until it's annoying until it's funny again. it's cold in september. i like that. but a crazy lady yelled at me on the street, which didn't help my already not that great of a day.
but i'm better now.
today i researched holidays online for a calendar we're doing. i read about a rooster that got its head cut off but lived for FOUR YEARS! after it started walking around and NOT DYING, the farmer decided to feed it with an eye dropper. the town where this happened has a holiday for it. NO, this is not going in the calendar.
i went to a screening last night for "meet the parents", the upcoming robert deniro / ben stiller comedy. i talked to a producer who told me that the idea was pitched to universal like this: what if you went to your girlfriend's house to meet her parents... and robert deniro answered the door. universal said, "i love it. send me the script."
tonight i went to a juliana hatfield concert. this incredible band called 'bonfire madigan' opened for her. it was chamber-punk. i bought a cd. it really made me anxious to get home and start playing with my band again. i think that playing music is one thing that i'm consistantly motivated to do.
i hate new york. it smells bad. the people are rude. no one cares about what's going on. those who have money spend it separating themselves from the rest of the world. they drive around in limos and go to these totally chic parties and do whatever else they can to convince themselves how fabulous life in the big city is. oh, but inside the thick candy shell of denial... it's all rotten. frah frah frah. some people are so fake. ciao!
i hope i can get really rich. man, i want a limo.
i saw the first bound copies of the november issue today. it's neat seeing all of the stuff that i had something to do with in print. as soon as the issue is officially out, i'll scan everything that i had something to do with and put it online for all to see.
well, we closed the december issue this week. and the november one should be hitting the newsstands any day now... yes, as soon as it's out i'll make a section for what i did for it.
well, i had a revelation today. i don't really like this town a whole lot. it's a swell place to visit, but i don't really think i'd enjoy living here a lot. well, maybe if i had a huge apartment with a rooftop view of central park and a housekeeper and a personal chef and a driver and about 50 million dollars. then it wouldn't be bad. because then i could leave any time i wanted.
oh yeah. today at work i did a little research at the library, sent out some issues and checked out a couple galleries. and i had a turkey sandwich from subway. mmm... yeah, i like subway. i don't like the fancified sandwiches that the froo froo new yorkers eat. with the sun dried tomatoes and the water cress and all that garbage. by the way, subway's new bread is outstanding. that's right, SUBWAY SANDWICHES. heaven wrapped in freshly baked bread and prepared for you personally by a sandwich artist.