Mojitos, Rugby and Futbol!
Ok, hopped up on Bricktown Cafe caffeine, time to put a few words down on…virtual paper? We wrapped up the “Female Muscle” piece for HBO Real Sports, you can view it now on this page, I think it looks and sounds great! We ran out to eastern Long Island for ABC News to talk to an anime-obsessed young woman about the recent trend of using colored contact lenses to make your pupils look cartoonishly large. Ah, the folly of youth! When I was young all we did was…..never mind, no time to talk about that now! A better example of youthful energy was the Good Morning America piece we worked on with producer Liz Sintay. Arnold Chavez is a Penn State student spending a large chunk of his summer playing rugby in South Africa. The story of how he got there is incredible, and an inspiration to GMA Weekend weather anchor Marysol Castro, hence the title of the piece; “Marysol’s Inspiration.” All of the Good Morning America on-air talent are doing similar pieces, and we were lucky enough to work with Marysol again, as she is one of our favorites! A few years ago while working on a piece about female rugby players, which she herself was in college, she came across Arnold’s story. An adopted kid growing up in the second largest housing project in New York City, The Bronx’s Edenwald Houses, Arnold was admittedly on his way to no good. Tempted by gang life and the general dead-end fate that his environs pointed to, he caught the eye of a history teacher that saw something redeeming in him. Eventually, with her help, he was able to see the possibilities of life outside of the Bronx, and rugby was his ticket. Now, even with the struggle of college life, and paying for it, he finds time to “pay it forward”; still working with that same teacher, he’s coaching another generation of New York City rugby players in the few weeks before he heads off to his second summer in Durban, South Africa! A special young man, a special teacher, a great story, and one that we took real satisfaction working on. Even though the first day of shooting (outdoors!) saw the temperature hit 103 degrees! But, that’s what we do! We even shoot commercials in crowded restaurants! Hot, crowded, raucous restaurants! For a thirty-second spot featuring the Times Square branch of Havana Central, we spent an entire day on location capturing all aspects of this lively, exciting, intoxicating, delicious vendor of Cuban food, drink, music, and even hand-rolled cigars! From shooting the chef and his staff at work in the kitchen, to the mixologists pouring perfect mojitos, cuba libres, and cervezas at the bar, to recording the infectious live band, Yerason, the shoot was long and challenging, but that just made it all the more rewarding.
Did I mention the mojitos and delicious food?!? Credit and thanks are due to our partner in this gig, Marhull Productions, and our director Jay Weiss. You’ll see the finished product when it’s all cut and dried!
As a side project, I helped out on a teaser trailer for photographer Marc Baptiste. Along with Jeb Bergh of China Blue Productions, and Jason Bergh of UXEntertainment in Los Angeles, Marc is hoping to bring attention to a really cool program right here in NYC. Basically, a couple of local soccer nuts realized that there were so many great amateur players from different immigrant groups, why not bring them all together into a league of teams representing the different groups, and create, in essence, a mini-World Cup? With Mayor Bloomberg’s blessing, over the next two weekends the COPA NYC tournament will take place on Pier 40 in downtown Manhattan, and the championship will be decided in Flushing Meadows Park here in Queens, with the final victor being awarded the Mayor’s Cup. And our mayor is a billionaire, so who knows what that cup may be filled with?! All I can say is GO BRAZIL! But that’s only because Colombia, sadly, is not represented in this year’s COPA NYC. Really, I was just too busy with all this TV work and writing about it, but maybe next year…..
Well, I’m off to partake in another of the joys of NYC summer life. Every summer the Museum of the Moving Image, literally down the street from me, puts on an Outdoor Cinema series of films in Socrates Sculpture Park, on the banks of the East River across from Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Each Wednesday a different country is featured, with some type of live performance, film(s), and food from a local restaurant featuring that county’s food on-site! Last week it was Ireland, and I caught the Oscar-nominated animated “Secret of Kells” (fabulous!), with music beforehand by Jameson’s Revenge, featuring four-time All Ireland champion fiddler Denis McCarthy. To say they were smokin’ is an understatement. Tonight’s featured country is Sweden, and I’m hoping for those cute little sweet meatballs! Or a Swedish supermodel! Till next time!