Single in the City: Looking for Love (Still)

A couple of years ago, I wrote this piece about being single and finding love in the city. It was essentially about me being ready for what I want and knowing I deserved it. I put everything I had been feeling out there and it even got me a couple of dates. Now, almost two years later I am still single. Is your jaw on the ground? Honestly, this fact doesn’t even shock me anymore. However, it does leave me wondering why.

I am approaching the 28th year of my life and I am more open than ever, more awake and attentive to what and who’s around me. So why? Why am I still going through these familiar motions of being available? In a recent conversation with my friend Matt, he stated that maybe I want to be single, or else I’d be trying harder.Ouch. While there is some truth behind that statement, the real truth is, frankly, I am just fucking tired. I guess I’ve faltered a little bit in the past two years.

Right after my first piece was released I started hanging out with a guy who could get away with lots of bullshit because of his ultra-pretty face. This one time, months after we had stopped hooking up, I invited him to a work event, we were after all still friends. We roamed around the Public Theater drinking various cocktails and eating a multitude of food. While sitting in a booth around the time we had each finished our sixth drink, he asked “How do you feel about me?” I paused and thought about my options. I could beat around the bush and lie or I could speak honestly and say that I hadn’t really stopped thinking about him. I chose the latter and spewed my feelings all over that pretty face of his. His response still echoes in my brain when I recall this night: “I feel the exact same way…(10 second pause) about somebody else.” He then proceeded to tell me about this girl he was crushing on. Really? I was dumbfounded as I tossed back another drink and listened to him ramble on. There was really no point in him even posing this question, knowing very well how he felt. Thank god this happened to me and I can laugh about it, because this should cripple the hearts of everyone.

Then there was the office cutie I swooned for everyday until one night he was in my bedroom standing before my eyes and I actually had the balls to tell him: “I feel like I manifested you.” Saying it out loud makes me think that I should probably never say this to anyone ever…but it’s still hilarious. Over the summer I met a really great guy on Howaboutwe.com. I made a profile and paid the $30 subscription rate, which allowed me to message people and browse profiles. I thought to myself fuck it and joined for one month. If I want something to happen I have to put in some effort. I ended up involved with this really great gentleman; someone who I actually give credit to breaking me free from past patterns and the same old bullshit (see above). He flipped the switch at a time in my life where I could have still been longing after that office cutie.

I chose wisely and went down a fresh new avenue, never to travel down that beaten path again. He knows perfectly well who he is and knows how grateful I am for this one particular thing. But yeah, in the end it didn’t work out, not because something happened, although does anything really need to “happen” to know someone isn’t for you? We were just passing through each other’s lives and it was as they say, “fun while it lasted.”

I’ve spent the last couple of months focusing on myself and trying to stabilize my life after a summer of traveling, freelancing and changing jobs. And while I once used work as an excuse to not find love, I know this is no longer true. I can’t help but keep wondering about the why. Why am I still single? I have tried! I was a Time Out New York Single! This past weekend I tried Tinder and rejoined OKCupid, all of which lasted about a day. There’s something about being able to rapidly judge someone on looks alone that makes me uncomfortable and decide yes or no with a quick swipe to the left or right. Left for hell no, right for you’re decent. My head just isn’t in the online dating game right now. There are other ways to try.

In the last two years I’ve moved apartments three times. Sometimes we think that we need to get one area of our lives stable before love can find us, or any other part of our lives can work out. Why though? I want to fly, I want to do things and be on the move, why can’t I find someone to join me on my journey through this life? Why can’t we travel together? Why can’t this area of my life be stable and then everything else work out after that? Why is this awesome human being I’m supposed to meet taking his sweet ass time to get to me? Maybe it was the guy who made eye contact with me, when my aura was feeling top notch. Universe, you are killing me. Perhaps the reason I haven’t found someone long term is because I am not supposed to be in New York? Maybe it’s me that has to travel the road and maybe some awesome person is wondering why I am taking so long to arrive. Maybe I should change course all together? New York, am I ready to be done with you? That’s a different story entirely…

Right now though, men of NYC I am out, I am pulsing with the world. I am at a point in my life where I want to feel good, and I have become selective as to how I spend my time, which I am totally OK with. You will probably still find me on a dance floor but you won’t find me clinging to my youth at a loft party that always starts way too late. I told a fellow single friend of mine when she asked me how she could gain confidence and not be afraid of guys. I told her to 1. Figure out why she’s afraid to feel good and 2. Figure out what makes her feel good and do that. When you feel good, things can happen, your perception of what sucks can shift which makes it not so bad.

As this year is rapidly drawing to a close, I am eternally grateful for this all the experiences I have had, what a crazy journey. I remember and say goodbye to some life shifting eye-opening moments and await what lies ahead. The ony thing I know for sure is right here, right now and that whatever is going to happen, let it happen. We are always taken care of. I feel good! I’m still ready. I’m coming for you awesome person!

Friday Afternoon Swan Songs

This has been one of the craziest months of my life. March is always a rough one—it’s a clear sign that the year is in full swing and that it’s time to get your shit together or be left behind. We all have choices: to either be stuck in more of the same old same old or make a change and fly a little bit higher. In one of the most transformative life periods so far, I am ready for whatever the world holds. I feel like I have been reaching for a door knob for a long time and finally someone came along and gave me a violent shove into it. Am I going to turn the door knob or just stand there inbetween the past and whole new world? Again, choices; Well, I opened it. Today is my last day with BlackBook Magazine. The feeling is very bittersweet as I leave behind all I have known for three years and one of the best ways I could choose to express how grateful and hopeful I am for what is to come and what has come before me, is through these next five jams. Perhaps you are going through your own transformations, your own changes, and your own challenges. The best advice I can give you is: if you have your hand on that door and are struggling to turn the knob, challenge yourself, open it, and take a dive into the unknown. The choice is yours.

Gloria Estefan – "Coming Out Of The Dark"

I have always loved me a little Gloria Estefan. The dark days are lifting and more light is shinning. This is an anthem!

Rick James – "Big Time"

There is nowhere to go but up. We are all in the "Big Time"

Mary Jane Girls – "All Night Long"

I just want this song to play on loop tonight as I destory the dance floor.

Aladdin – "A Whole New World"

No words neccessary.

Dionne Warwick – "Thats What Friends Are For"

I would not be where I am without the loving support from all of my fellow coworkers/friends. While I don’t hope to claim bankrupcy anytime soon, Dionne sums it all up pretty nicely to get through life. "Thats what friends are for." Peace y’all!
 

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The Met Launches Webseries ’82nd and Fifth’

The weather is slowly getting nicer and there is more daylight everyday. It all feels amazing. The gradual changes that we often don’t stop to observe are happening. Summer nights will soon be upon us with a whole world of possibilities to explore. Stimulation will be ever present and the paths we could choose will be unlimited. If you are like me, you dream of spending these long summer days lost in the museum and gallery circuit wandering through new exhibits. And if you are like me, you have yet to make it to these dreams a reality. Excuses and responsibilties take over your mind and you realize you have to spend most of your days behind a desk. So for the hard working grounded human in us all, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has reinvented the museum-going experience: every Wednesday The Met brings the art from within the walls right to your screen with their new series 82nd & Fifth.

The web series joins together a 100 curators to talk about specific works of art that resonate with them. 82nd & Fifth allows inside access into the depth of artworks that might go overlooked and allows one to hone in on and give attention to individual pieces. While you may be stuck behind your desk sipping iced coffee, let the museum come to you and get lost for two minutes with a small dose of culture.

Check out one of the stand-out episodes featuring curator Doug Eklund and Dedicated to Myself, which exhibits the found photo album of teenage boy who took the traditional model of a photo album and made it uniquely his own. By collaging photographs, illustrations, and notes, the artist propells us into his world to observe his musings on the ladies who weave in and out of it. Eklund states, "The entire album is an excerise in exploring what the pictures mean to him and what people’s relationships to photographs can tell us,"

The series premieres two new episodes every Wednesday, and you can receive these episodes right in your inbox each week, which eliminates half the effort already. Head over to the museum website to uncover several other interactive features as well as a backlog of every episode. Be inspired to gain a new perspective on the way you view the world this season. Exploration is right at your fingertips.

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Itinerary: Highasakite Take Over New York City’s Lower East Side

Yesterday was the first Spring day: a time to leap forward into new beginnings and shed all the crap we have both physically and metaphorically been holding on to for the last few months. The vitamin D was shining heavily, which was a nice break given the shitty weather we have been forced to deal with these last few days. In what was my first social experience outside of the office in about three weeks, I headed down to the Lower East Side with a photographer, a publicist, and a gaggle of foreigners. The foreigners I am referring to are Norwegian quintet Highasakite, whose debut EP, In and Out of Weeks, is the perfect accompaniment to the changing weather pattern. It’s light and airy just like your clothes soon will be.  Weaving in and out of the ever-changing neighborhood which has some remnants of the past intermixed amongst all the newness, band member Kristoffer Lo narrates the groups experience before gearing up to play Mercury Lounge later that evening.

Ludlow Guitars

We got one tip regarding guitar pedals and New York: Ludlow Guitars. They’ve got everything you need for every situation. This is the kind of place you wished you had two to three days to dive into. And the guitars and amps there! Beautiful Jaguars and Mustangs. We basically just spent time glancing at the different pedals, wondering what they could do to Ingrid’s voice, or the keys, or the guitar. It did look like the guys in the shop had a hard day at work, but it didn’t change our impression.

An Choi

Lunch time! After strolling the streets of Lower East Side, nothing sits better than a vegetarian noodle soup or some spring rolls. Dominic guided us to this little pearl of Vietnamese food. A friendly staffer showed us the menus, while Dominic was bouncing around snapping photos of us. Our table got served with vegetarian soup, beef spring rolls, and salat rolls, perfect for a cold, but sunny day on the Lower East Side. The food was really good, and a lot of it. Hardly anyone managed to finish their plates, which is a good sign. Happy and full, we stumbled out of An Choi on our way to get a good cup of coffee, a must after a good meal.

88 Orchard Coffee

We’re always looking out for good coffee. Back home in Norway, we always buy our coffee at Tim Wendelboe, so every time we’re out of the country, there’s a race to find the best coffe shop. 88 Orchard has a great vibe, wooden chairs, and good pastries. We had our coffee outside at the bench, and had serious problems leaving the place. Too full of food after An Choi, none of us had any room for pastries, but it was seriously tempting. They were playing "Just a Girl" by No Doubt, an old favorite for many of us. And the baristas were singing along as well. Four Americanos later, we moved on to the last stop of our guided tour!

Economy Candy

If Ludlow Guitars has everything for guitarists, Economy Candy has everything for the sweet tooth! There’s a lot of things you don’t see in Norway, one of them being a big, over-filled candy store packed with people of all ages shopping for candy. All the way in the back, there’s a big rack of Jelly Beans. We don’t have that in Norway, so just the mere smell and sight of it is pretty intense. We didn’t buy any candy—probably too full and too synthetic for our taste—but what a rush. You should go there, you really should!

Be sure to catch Highasakite at GlassLands tonight ,March 21st, at 10 PM. More info here.

 

All photography by Dominic Neitz.

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Get Lost With the Video for Snowmine’s ‘Silver Sieve’

We made it. It’s Friday. I have been beaten this week, toyed with. The weather has gone up, it’s gone down, it’s cold, it’s spring, oh wait, no pause… it’s still winter. I honestly feel like I have been going through a car wash, but I’m stuck at the point where the oscillating brush things spin around the car and give it several good slaps before it emerges ready to dazzle the world.

My almost natural inclination while going through this life turmoil has been to run away. To run away from this hell that is New York City and flee those jam-packed subways that lately seem full of more miserable people than normal. I can’t do that; I am an adult that needs to face life and take these beatings otherwise known as "lessons" before emerging fresh. I can, however, mentally check out for approximately four minutes with Brooklyn-based band Snowmine and their new video for "Silver Sieve." The video, which was released earlier this week, is artist Martin Francis Shields’s fitting interpretation of the battles and struggles we endure to survive, or rather, to win. So this Friday night, create a cocoon for yourself, enlarge the video player to full screen, endlessly loop "Silver Sieve," and get lost.

Check out more from Snowmine here.
 

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Beauty Junkie: A Film Homage

Earlier this week we brought you back—back to a time where grunge was the craze, flannel roamed the streets in hoards, and there was such a thing as plain fresh-faced beauty. In an homage to the ’90s, model Mila Miletic transported us to the historic decade in this week’s Beauty Junkie.

Now, to accompany the beautiful images shot by photographer Maria Karas, we bring you a short film directed by BlackBook‘s very own Walter Obal. The clip falls nothing short of portraying the romanticized youth of the ’90s and leaving you longing for those simpler days. So while you are sitting at your desk today spacing out and dreaming of warmer days ahead, let yourself be enveloped in that nostalgic feeling we all love so much. Feels like just yesterday, right?

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‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’ and the Best of the Band

When I set out to watch Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,  I wasn’t entirely sure of the experience I was about to embark on. First off, I’ll admit: I don’t really know anything about Journey. Sure I know the hits—when I’m five beers deep and "Don’t Stop Believing" comes on the sound system, watch out. But I was not aware of the true weight that this band carries as a piece of American rock ‘n’ roll history.

Having gone through several incarnations since they formed in 1973 and achieving commercial success between 1978 and 1987, the band would sift through lead singers after the departure of Steve Perry in 1994. Everyman’s Journey tells the story of Arnel Pineda, a kid from Manila, Philippines who got the chance to audition for the classic band in 2007 after guitartist Neal Schon had come across some YouTube videos of Pineda while on his quest to find a new lead singer. Schon was blown away. In what is a once in a lifetime opportunity, Pineda was flown to California for a week to meet with the band. The group was preparing to record a new album and embark on a US tour. Pineda went on to land the gig as the next Journey frontman after proving himself to the other band members and days of grueling auditions.

This is the story of a kid who came from nothing and rose to the forefront of an immensely popular and timeless band. His passion always lay in signing, in using his tool—his voice. Throughout the film you are given a look into what life was like for Pineda growing up in an inpoverished society halfway across the globe. His voice became his way to deal, to get him out of the hardships he had to endure. He would sing for friends and book frequent gigs at clubs just to be able to eat. It’s clear he never thought that life outside of Manila was possible and that the far-fetched dreams of success beyond what he knew would someday come into fruition. The film follows Pineda for a year of tours, shows, illness and struggle as he deals with being catapulted into this life so vastly different from what he had known.

Arnel Pienda remains grounded and grateful to the past and the gift he has been given. Journey has gone from not just being an American rock ‘n’ roll band, but to now be a self proclaimed World rock ‘n’ roll band. Breaking boundries and inviting the masses to experience it all with them; this truley is Everyman’s Journey.

Dive into the past as we look back on where Journey has been and then stay for the present.

 

Journey- "In My Lonely Feeling" (1975)

Before the group shifted to their now signature sound they were entracing the world with these trippy tunes.

 

 

Journey- "On A Saturday Night" (1976)

Home on a Saturday night? Sit in a tub and loop this.

 

 

Journey- "For You" (1977)

One for you one for me.

 

 

Journey- "Too Late" (1979)

It’s never too late to make the change. Fly don’t wait.

 

 

Journey- "Don’t Stop Believing" (1981)

Watch Arnel Pienda slay the classic jam. Jaw, drop, yup.

Itinerary: Helado Negro’s Roberto Carlos Lange Steps Out into Snowy Brooklyn

Roberto Carlos Lange has been making music under his Helado Negro moniker since 2006, crafting two albums and several EPs that each share roots in the dance beats and sultry heat of his South Florida upbringing, but branch off to explore synthesized sound, Latin funk, folk, and even atmospheric tones. His third LP, Invisible Life (out March 5 on Asthmatic Kitty Records), seems almost a survey of the past seven years’ work. At moments it’s sparse then lush, Spanish then English. Muffled beats build swirling rhythms and chop them up. It’s a dance record streaming from the bottom of the Atlantic, and Roberto’s conversational croon keeps it all anchored.

I meet up with Helado Negro the day after winter storm Nemo has hit Brooklyn. Every surface is blanketed in snow, and getting around requires penguin-like shuffling over patches of ice that were once sidewalks. My teeth are chattering, but Lange steps out onto the stoop of his Crown Heights apartment building in a T-shirt and socks, seemingly unaffected by the cold. He welcomes photographer Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez and me inside the apartment he’s shared with his visual artist wife since for the last five years with a warm smile and handshake.

The front door opens into a cozy living room turned DIY studio. The bright sun bouncing off the snow outside is filtered through heavy curtains; seating is sparse, and every surface, including the walls, has been taken over by turntables, small instruments, and synths, records, cables, and posters from past gigs. “This is my studio,” he tells us. “This is where I made the most recent record, Invisible Life. I did this record last year with my friend Juliana Barwick—the OMBRE record; I did that in here. I mixed one of the Bear in Heaven records here, worked on the Savath y Savalas record here…countless things.”

It’s the perfect command center for someone like Lange, who is never not making music. “[Music] is what I do, and I need a studio,” he says. “It’s the easiest thing I can accomplish with the space that I have.”

“My brain is fried because we just had rehearsal,” Lange admits after a tour of the kitchen (the site of last night’s “snow party”). “I’m trying to switch gears. Maybe let’s sit down for a second.” We each grab a chair, and Lange puts on a trippy Brazillian funk album from the ’70s to clear his head. “Tim Maio,” he explains. “He was into this whole extra energy, transcendental, crazy, spiritual, cosmic shit.”

Talk turns to music, specifically to being a full-time musician in the most expensive city in America. “I do freelance stuff, like writing music for commercial stuff,” he says. “It sucks in the sense that its not the most exciting, creative work,” he says of these gigs—like making bizarro versions of pop songs for tampon commercials, for example. But it lets him work on his own music, on his own terms, the rest of the time. “There’s no outside pressure to sustain some kind of image or quality,” he tells us. “At this point I constantly am able to do whatever I want. Maybe I am eating beans, but I know I’m able to wake up the next day and say ‘I’m gonna make this ’cause I wanna make this.’”

Stomachs are grumbling, and it’s time to leave the toasty apartment and strike out into Crown Heights. As soon as we step out, the cold wind slaps us in the face. But we march onward neighborhood favorite Chavela’s (736 Franklin Ave). Lange is a connoisseur of the Mexican menu and offers to be our personal waiter if we need help deciding on anything. “When I first moved to my apartment, I think I ordered the same thing from here every day,” he boasts. “They have a lunch special that’s really good. So all my friends that live around here, we always come here and meet.” We keep it simple with chips and salsa, sangria, and a Michelada for Lange.

The afternoon winds down as we talk past—the influence of all-night parties with his Ecuadorian family—and present—preparing for a live performance piece at SCAD’s deFINE ART. The future is open; rolling down to South by Southwest this March in friend and bassist Jay’s van, the White Whale, is all he has planned at the moment. But Lange is far from worried. “I have a lot of ideas,” he says. “I feel like I can slip into a situation where they are like, ‘Make an album.’ and I’m like, ‘Cool. I’ll make it this week if you want me to.’ I feel confident about the things I have in my mind.”

 

Photography by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez

Itinerary: Jamaican Queens Journey Through Motor City

February is a month notorious for making an introvert of everyone. It may be the shortest month of the year, but thank God it’s coming to a close. Change has been slapping me in the face lately and hibernation mode is certainly in full effect—collecting and storing knowledge to be prepared to navigate the roads that lie ahead. And turning to the past and where you have been always helps aid in doses of self reflection, so we sent Detroit-based band Jamaican Queens on their own quest to explore their roots and reflect.

This opportunity only seemed fitting at a time of immense darkness and struggle, and Detroit, a city which is typically synonymous with both, has been on the steady uprise as of late. Jamaican Queens, whose debut album Wormfood is out March 5, is one of the most unique bands I’ve heard so far this year. The band has crafted an album full of raw emotion, bringing you to a place inside yourself you may have not explored.  When we uncover where the darkest parts of ourselves lie, it is the same moment the light gets a little closer. Lead singer Ryan Spencer shares some realness with us as the band weaves through some of the places that have enriched their daily lives in the once dark city.

Astro Coffee

"This place is directly across the street from my house in Corktown. It’s really the only good place to get coffee in the city of Detroit. It’s owned and run by a really sweet guy that lives down the street from me. I go almost every day. You always run into the same people. They don’t have Internet, which is cool. I wanted to play a show here during the day, but they said the upstairs neighbors are assholes, or something."

Taqueria El Rey: Southwest Detroit

"Just one of a thousand amazing Mexican restaurants in Southwest Detroit. They specialize in grilled chicken. The day we took this photo, the owners were out of town and I think their kids were running it. The kids were about fourteen years old. The only thing on the menu was chicken. There’s probably a ton of MSG, ’cause I’m so addicted." 

Hello Records

"Run by my friend Wade. They do this sick event on Fridays called Happy Hour. They get a local DJ to spin records and provide free beer to customers. Such a good idea to get people in on maybe an off-time. They actually have a really good Reggae/Dancehall/Dub section, which is not usually the case around here."

Le Petit Zinc

"This is the French cafe where I work. I make zero dollars an hour, but the tips are pretty good. My boss is a fucking asshole and accuses me of stealing sometimes. I don’t steal. I only put up with their bullshit ’cause the money’s decent, It’s close to my crib, and they let me take off months at a time to tour. Oh, and they’re cool with us selecting the music. That’s a plus for sure." 
 

Photography by Kenny Corbin

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