Enter to Win

Enter to win free passes to Under the Skin at Filmstreams. From visionary director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast, Birth) comes a stunning career transformation, a masterpiece of existential science fiction that journeys to the heart of what it means to be human, extraterrestrial — or something in between. A voluptuous woman of unknown origin (Scarlett Johansson) combs the highways in search of isolated or forsaken men, luring a succession of lost souls into an otherworldly lair. They are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again. Based on the novel by Michel Faber (The Crimson Petal and the White), Under the Skin examines human experience from the perspective of an unforgettable heroine who grows too comfortable in her borrowed skin, until she is abducted into humanity with devastating results. First Name Last Name...

Help the Orphans

Lozz Dozz Founder Raquel Alonso has a deep passion for helping orphans in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and according to UNICEF, they account for approximately 4 million orphans!  That did not sit well with Raquel and she has established an amazing company dedicated to helping them. She created the Buy-1-Give-1 to an Orphan Collection, where for every tshirt purchased, one is provided for an orphan in need, but that is only one of her many efforts. The words Lozz Dozz stand for “Love the Orphans in Zambia and Zimbabwe” and “Donate to Orphans in Zambia and Zimbabwe,” and are the driving force behind the stylish t-shirt brand.  While Lozz Dozz loves to create beautiful sweat-shop free t-shirts, their main sights are set on something much less material–helping the underprivileged children of other nations. Since their launch they’ve enacted two different programs funded by the sales of their tees and created a unique fundraising opportunity for everyone to get involved in from class clubs to youth groups.   Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 Their other endeavor is the Project Orphanage Collection, which focuses on the lofty and rewarding goal of building a state-of-the-art orphanage in Zambia. Through this program Lozz Dozz donates 50% of the profits from every sale towards the 100K cost for constructing the center.The Buy-1-Give-1 to an Orphan Collection is a unique way to help clothe the children of these struggling countries. There are an estimated 48 million orphans living in Zambia and Zimbabwe, most without proper clothing or care. With the purchase of every tee from this line, Lozz Dozz donates one to an orphan in need. As a way to spread the word and encourage more adults and students to become involved in the cause, Lozz Dozz launched their own fundraiser program. Groups who sign up receive a catalog to circulate and receive $3 from each sale to go towards their fundraiser project....

Sleeper Agent Wakes It Up

Sleeper Agent will be playing The Waiting Room April 14 on their first headlining tour. You may remember the garage pop band from their 2011 debut album Celebrasion, which got a lot of attention from the blogosphere straight to the top of national music media. Since then the sextet from Bowling Green, KY, has been touring nonstop with Weezer, Fun., Grouplove, etc., and they are on the verge of making a real name for themselves. Their sophomore album, About Last Night dropped March 25 on RCA Records / Mom + Pop. RollingStone.com premiered “Waves” from the album and NPR picked it for their SXSW mix this year, so they’re in good company. The band is made up of drummer Justin Wilson, female singer Alex Kandel, singer-guitarist Tony Smith, bassist Lee Williams, guitarist Josh Martin and keyboardist Scott Gardner. The group—its name a “Battlestar Galactica” reference, courtesy of sci-fi geek Smith—first formed in 2008, as the drums-and-guitar duo of Wilson and Smith. Smith, 24, who pens all the music and lyrics, says he’s a sucker for tight rock-pop hooks. He cites T. Rex, the Beatles, and Jay Reatard as influences—though to his bewilderment, his voice has earned countless rhapsodic comparisons to Jack White’s. Smith and Kandel are romantically invovled and that connections is reflected in the band’s music.  “I write from Alex’s perspective, how I think she’s feeling,” Smith say. This shift in perspective is key to Sleeper Agent’s appeal: While the playful tug of war between the male and female vocals coolly recalls everyone from X to The XX, the immediate warmth they emit is entirely their own. We caught up with Tony Smith before the band’s Waiting Room show for some more insight into this up-and-coming band. styleLOUD: About Last Night features a more polished Sleeper Agent while maintaining a trademark edge. How did you manage that balance? We had this “let’s really go for it” attitude while writing the new album. We knew it’d be easy to write another batch of scruffy punk pop songs, but that wasn’t very appealing. We all pushed each other really hard and nothing was approached flippantly; no idea was left behind. The idea was to become heavier while clearing a little of the haze we hid behind on the first record. How do you craft the inventive musical settings for the songs on this new album? Luckily, all of the guys are incredibly creative, weird and talented. When I write a song, it’s merely a blueprint for everyone to pad out and expand upon. The melody usually comes first and then I try to create instrumentation that’s complimentary or elevatory to that. As a writer, I don’t like to hang around in one genre for too long. The band is known for its “feverish energy.” Where does it spawn from? Most of us have punk and hardcore backgrounds, which probably contributes to the energy. Plus, it’s fun. In 2012, Rolling Stone readers ranked you one of the best new bands in the country. How has such attention changed the band? An estranged ex called and congratulated me. We hadn’t spoken in years. That blew my mind. But, yeah, we were very pleased. What was it like touring with Weezer? It was fun. They’re on such a different level than we are though. It felt almost alien being in that environment. Huge arenas, catering and nurseries. The Weezer guys were super nice. It was very surreal; I’ve been a fan since I was 10. You explore some complex emotions on the new record. What fueled such passion? Well, a lot happened during our time off. I got engaged and moved in with Alex. We started building a life together. Sometimes things are tough. Sometimes we were broke, or went without food or heat to pay other bills. Tension builds very quickly when you’re in that together. Other songs came from deep observations of myself or conversations with friends. Growing...

Big Scary’s Big Ideas

BY STYLELOUD MUSIC EDITOR NICOLE CHIZEK Tom Iansek and Jo Syme emerged on Australia’s music scene as Big Scary in 2006 with a recognizable chemistry, genre-defying spirit, and a less-is-more approach to songwriting. Their chemistry is undeniable and a force to be reckoned with. They have a unique approach of less is more but it will leave not only your ears but your heart satisifed. With both talents combined Tom’s angelic vocals and Jo’s intricate drumming lays out a beautiful landscape in your mind. After a series of self-released singles Tom found the time to take courses in production and with the newfound knowledge was able to take Big Scary to another level. October 2011 Vacation was born through the bands label Pieater. The album was recorded with the help of close friend and producer Sean Cook (former bass player of Yves Klein Blue), Big Scary enlisted Welshman Gareth Parton (The Go! Team, Foals, The Breeders) to mix and engineer the sessions. Vacation’s lead singles included “Mix Tape,” “Gladiator” and “Leaving Home.” The album expressed a diverse sound and statement of its own, not conforming to one specific genre which earned respect of fans and critics alike. The duo set out to expand their listeners with a tour to America including showcases at SXSW, CMW and CMJ, and stunning audiences in New York and Los Angeles. With inspirations from travel, work and touring nine months later Big Scary forged their second powerful album, Not Art. It was recorded and produced by Tom Iansek and mixed by Grammy Award-winning Tom Elmhirst at Electric Lady Studios in New York. The lead single with a title of no tribute “Phil Collins” comes out swinging showcasing the maturity of a second album and lyrics of organic nature. Not Art is full of soothing tracks pulled together from inspirations of many different sounds that in the end really defy genre. Big Scary’s love for drawing from music they personally like and the art to mimic the moods of those artists formed a mood all their own and is sure to leave its mark on yours. Big Scary brings their big sound to Omaha’s Slowdown April 18, opening for the band Say Hi. Drummer Jo Syme recently shared some insight into the band with StyleLOUD: STYLELOUD: Can you give us a little back story on how the two of you met and then came together to form Big Scary? And how did you come up with the name? We met in about 2006. Tom was planning on putting a full, four-piece band together, and asked a mutual musician friend for any drummers, and got my details. He got in contact and then turned up on my doorstep, guitar in hand. At first we were playing quiet acoustic sets. I was using glockenspiels and shakers, and we were playing in little restaurants or jazz clubs. It wasn’t until we made a demo in late 2008 and “plugged in” that we named ourselves Big Scary. The name is the least interesting story ever: we just texted each other back and forth potential names until we found one that neither of us hated. Rejected names included “Air Commodore” and “Sparkle Tone.” For people to get to know you both better, what do you like to do in your spare time when you are not making music? I read a lot, although I’m slowing down lately. Took me nearly half a year to read Infinite Jest just now. Whoa. I used to cook a lot too but I currently live in a bit of a shack situation, where if more than one appliance is on at any one time, then the whole kitchen shorts… But I love to listen to records, and to see bands, and I also still work casually when I’m in town at a restaurant rolling burritos. Do you write songs together for each track or does one...

Chasing Spring and Summer Fashions Mar29

Chasing Spring and Summer Fashions

Ingrid Michaelson’s new song “Girls Chase Boys” from her upcoming album Lights Out available April 15 is the perfect theme song to the amazing spring/summer fashion shoot by photographer Don Diaz. The song’s video was inspired by those sexy Robert Palmer videos from the ’80s but with a definitive gender twist. Michaelson explains her ground-breaking, gender-bender video on her website this way:  ”‘Girls Chase Boys’ started out as a break up song but took on a deeper meaning as I continued writing. More than just being about my experience, its focus shifted to include the idea that, no matter who or how we love, we are all the same. The video takes that idea one step further, and attempts to turn stereotypical gender roles on their head. Girls don’t exclusively chase boys. We all know this! We all chase each other and in the end we are all chasing after the same thing: love.” Enjoy the video here and then check out the four highlight galleries below of Don Diaz’s shoot for Rue 21, which features fashion-forward and affordable clothing for guys and girls. Photographer Don Diaz is represented by Alyssa Pizer Management. Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 More from the Rue 21 photos shoot:...

Age Division

Ages and Ages is not a cult. Sure, the seven-piece Portland group exudes enough electric joy that it feels like a big tent revival. And sure, one finds oneself using church words to describe the band’s sound: a powerful, life-affirming and exploratory blend of lessons learned, set ablaze with a buoyant, unbridled optimism. And yeah, there are frequent lyrical references to voluntary seclusion, communal living and an existence “under the radar” littered throughout the band’s debut, Alright, You Restless.  But amidst all this talk of willful isolation comes an element of the band that is hard to overlook: Ages and Ages invites you into its ranks. In live performance, as gorgeous vocal harmonies rise victoriously to refuse the skepticism and irony that terrorize our daily lives, the venue becomes the commune, and the audience is given an opportunity to lower its guard. Everybody shares in the ecstatic energy that sets Ages and Ages apart from most of its less vibrant Northwest contemporaries. The band releaseS its new album Divisionary this week and is now on tour throughout the midwest, making a stop at Vega in Lincoln, Nebrasksa, March 24. StyleLOUD got a chance to interview band founder Tim Perrry (guitar, vocals) and bassist Rob Oberdorfer before the Lincoln show: styleLOUD: Can you describe your sound and genre in your terms to an audience who may have not had the pleasure of hearing your music yet? Rob: Ack! That’s always the hardest thing to do…We make a conscious effort to avoid putting ourselves in a genre box, or to have obvious signifiers in our music. Still, we’ve come across a few pithy descriptions of our sound. “choral rock” gets you in the ballpark…”summer camp counselors on acid” is a fun one we’ve heard…”ospel,” was coined by a nice fellow in Berlin, meaning we are secular – gospel without the “g.” None of that really adds up to Ages and Ages, but I guess you’ve got to give people something to latch on to. Portland is a community full of talented artistry, do you feel the environment had any affect on your sound or your approach that may have been altered if you were to come out of a different city? Rob: It’s hard to imagine us coming out of a different city, because in some ways we started as a reaction against Portland’s scene at the time. There was a lot of twee, precious music being made, and we wanted to represent the opposite of that in many ways, with chaotic, improvised flourishes and shouting and stuff. At the same time, we have always drawn on a large collective of friends and well-wishers for shows and recordings, and Portland has a remarkably supportive and non-competitive scene. There’s also a lot of good tacos. Your first album Alright You Restless was raved about reaching all kinds of audiences including President Barack Obama, who used your song “No Nostalgia” on his 2012 campaign playlist. That had to be one of those big aha moments for you. How did that all feel and what kinds of things do you process as a band when those big moments happen? Rob: Well, like any band, we are always flattered to receive recognition or expand our audience. Those things can keep our spirits up on tour or when we’re having a rough time in the studio. We can’t make this music in a vacuum. With the Obama thing, that was a mixed reaction, and it was a total surprise. It is great to have the exposure and be written about in Rolling Stone or whatever, but we have pretty mixed feelings about being co-opted by the mainstream political machine. Particularly by a politician who was marketed as a transformational figure, only to embrace many of the worst elements of the status quo. No Nostalgia (the song they used in the campaign) also happens to be an anti-establishment...

Capturing the Beauty of Nepal Mar22

Capturing the Beauty of Nepal

Following are excerpts from photographer Erik Almas’ blog. Enjoy this behind the scenes look at this amazing fashion photo shoot. And be sure to check out Almas’ blog here.   ERIK ALMAS: I am the luckiest guy I know! I have been saying this for years and it is still true. My living is made traveling to amazing places, meeting amazing people and have these extraordinary experiences while creating pictures… Late May last year I traveled to Nepal with Norwegian clothing designer Leila Hafzi. She had decided to become a designer at the top of the mountains in Nepal 15 years earlier and for this collection she brought myself and the crew back to Nepal with her to capture some of the spirit that made her commit to her path. It all started in Kathmandu. Our first shoot day was met with a rainfall so heavy it made it onto the front page of the newspapers. Amazingly refreshing to work with a creative like Leila who with ease embraced the rain as a part of the image and it’s time and place. This set the pace of the shoot and off we went… We continued with magical moments among Buddhist monks at Bodhanath, and at Patan Durbar Square we drew a crowd of hundreds curious about what was going on. I guess it’s not every day a 6 foot tall blonde shows up wearing an evening gown… We then travelled to Pokhara and the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. The sense of place at the foot of these mountains are both overwhelming and awe inspiring. In a space like this things truly get put in perspective and one can’t help but question how insignificant one self is and wonder about how one belong. How one truly belong in the larger sense of things. The first day we shot in the village of our local guide and we got welcomed with open arms. We were hoping for a portrait with a few of the local women but ended up with a huge crowd, all wanting to be photographed. We spent the day there shooting through sunset having one unforgettable evening, which at sunset just had gotten started. After wrapping up we were heading up the mountain to prepare for shooting sunrise the following am. This was an hour drive followed by a 45 minute hike to the top where we would stay at a farmhouse overnight. This would have been all good if it had not been for half the crew walking through an area full of water leeches making it one bloody and sleepless night. Do think I was the only one that caught a few hours of sleep that night… After a crazy morning rainfall and some local Sage remedy for the leeches we again started taking images. Fog rolling in and out and mountains appearing just long enough out of the clouds… We then headed down to Pokhara Lake for the last day of shooting…. In looking back at an assignment like this I have to say it’s the experiences that I take with me. When home it’s not the pictures that are the most precious. The pictures serve as amazing reminders of a time and place I was allowed to immerse myself in, absorb and take with me. They also remind me every day of how fortunate I am to be having my camera as my profession through which I get to explore and see this world/ In this I hope the ones seeing the images sense a bit of what we experienced while in Nepal. To Leila, Stian Foss, Birger Løkeng, Tore P, Jocelyn Whipple and the beautiful Sarah Birkett and the Nepali crew; I’m forever grateful for one unforgettable experience. Please check out the Behind the Scenes Video… CAPTURING SUBLIME BLISS Behind the scenes from the photoshoot of Royaye Sefid IV 2014 Photographer Erik Almås, Norway Model Sarah Parker Birkett,...

Pull Up Your Pants! Mar21

Pull Up Your Pants!

For longtime educator Lawrence Bolar, sagging pants are like a bad dream, and he’s here to make the nightmare end. In his new book Eradicating the Saggy Pants Syndrome in America, Bolar addresses the issues surrounding the sagging pants epidemic and attempts to change the way young men dress. “Our ability to think critically is not communicated through sagging,” Bolar said. “We need to help our communities support positive and productive citizens.” Through research and personal experience, Bolar provides readers with a history of the fashion frenzy, opinions and views of professionals and citizens and information about current legislation related to sagging. Reiterating that many individuals learn through the process of social modeling, Bolar seeks to end the trend so that younger children do not adopt it. Bolar, an educator with more than 18 years of experience building rapport with students, parents and community leaders, hopes to empower the minds of young men to make intelligent decisions regarding their style of dress. Bolar is a lifelong learner, researcher and educator. He is earning his doctoral degree at Virginia State University. Bolar has authored several research-based publications to support human behavior and published five books. He currently resides in Sandston,...

Flower Power Mar21

Flower Power

Photographer Peter Lippmann of Vaughan Hannigan recently partnered up with luxury shoe and handbag designer, Christian Louboutin, to shoot their Spring/Summer 2014 look book. Inspired by the impressionist masters, Lippmann photographed Louboutin accessories within meticulous recreations of works by Brueghel, Cézanne, Fantin-Latour, Monet, Pissarro, and Van Gogh.       Peter Lippmann is a still life photographer, born in New York, but living and working in Paris. After graduating from Allegheny College with a degree in Journalism and becoming editor of the Linesville Herald and the Conneaut Lake Breeze in Pennsylvania, Peter switched gears. He moved to Paris and began work assisting still life photographer Detlef Trefz. After just 6 months in Paris assisting, Peter began working on his own. The breadth of Peter’s work has grown far beyond still life images over the past 30 years of freelance photography. Though these images remain his specialty, he has worked with landscapes, animals and people, shooting primarily in his studio in Paris. His work is well known in the advertising world and he has collaborated with a number of top luxury brands (Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Fürterer, SFR, SNCF, etc). His work is regularly published in magazines such as Vogue, New York Times Magazine, Marie Claire, and Le Figaro. He also shot all the images for a book “Les Vertus des Plantes” by Jean Marie Pelt, published by les Éditions du Chêne. This same series of medicinal plant photographs has been shown at galleries worldwide. In his free time, he writes and sings in a rock group. Click Here to see more work by Peter....

Catching Up With Speedy Ortiz

On Speedy Ortiz’s Real Hair, the band sets a course between the knotty discord of debut album Major Arcana and the pop bonafides of the preceding Sports EP. Recorded and mixed by Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies Radiohead), the new EP finds them subtly adding new techniques to their songbook. Guitarists Sadie Dupuis and Matt Robidoux bring on additional guitar effects to color the roundabout feel of “Oxygal,” while bassist Darl Ferm and drummer Mike Falcone hit hard to deliver the jump-in-the-pit urgency of “American Horror.” From the vocal melodies to the no-nonsense guitar turns, this is Speedy’s catchiest outing yet, drawing inspiration from contemporary Top 40 and R&B radio in addition to their regular arsenal of guitar rock. Dupuis’ lyrics continue to address concerns about identity, representation, and their misalignment, this time from a new angle: “While the last album was kind of a breakup jam, these songs are a lot more introspective—myself dealing with and talking to and making sense of myself,” she says. With Real Hair, Speedy Ortiz once again taps into the four-part chemistry that brought their prior outings praise. They’re still equal parts noisy and poetic, and now merge those channels more seamlessly than ever. You can check out that chemistry this Friday at Omaha’s Sweatshop Gallery. The band performs with Pile and local fave Digital Leather. StyleLOUD caught up with the band while on the road. Here are the highlights from that interview: StyleLOUD: Your music is continually compared to ’90s alt grunge. Do you think being categorized by your fans affects your range of artistic expression? Sadie: I don’t think press ever really affects the artistic output on our end. It probably has a greater impact on the people who listen to our records or attend our shows. If we get compared to Polvo in a city paper, we’re going to get a different draw at that show than if we’d been compared to, say, Deerhoof, even though both bands are major influences. Matt is known for his wild antics on stage. What was the craziest thing you’ve seen him do during a show? Sadie: During a show in LA last year in which we were playing probably 10-15 feet above the crowd, Matt tied a chain to his guitar and dangled it down into the crowd. We ran into someone at SXSW who had seen that show and was expressed concern that they thought Matt was going to fall off the stage. How would you describe your sound? Darl: Pleasant. Brooding. Mike: I wanted to say “brooding.” Darl: Everyone wants to say “brooding.” Mike: Dissonant. Flamboyant. What is the Speedy Ortiz lifestyle like? Sadie: Oatmeal, soup, occasional theft of non-alcoholic beer. Darl: Brooding. I read that Sadie originally studied mathematics at M.I.T. How does being both left brained and right brained affect your work as an artist? Sadie: Hmm, I’ve never really thought about it that way. I guess I like to approach art in a process-oriented way, occasionally setting rules for myself, and maybe that derives from having a long-ago scientific background. I don’t think it’s very unusual to have that kind of dual background, though. A lot of the friends I made at MIT are some of the more creative and innovative artists I know. Caged wild animals are continually referenced in your work. Is there something about confined animals that you relate too? Sadie: Most non-human animals are cooler than humans. I’d rather hang out with those guys. I noticed that in every video, interview and band photo, Sadie is wearing the same necklace with a key on it. Is it the key to our hearts? Sadie: It’s a necklace my dad and stepmom gave me when I won a poetry award in college, right before I finished my BA. I think there was some sort of symbolism about doors opening, but I just like it because it reminds me of my family. Keys make a nice icon, too. According to the dark and shady crevices of the internet, Speedy Ortiz was named after a...

Leo Love Mar16

Leo Love

Celebrity photographer Yu Tsai recently shot Leonardo DiCaprio for Variety. Here some of our favorite shots and more about this innovative young photographer below. Yu Tsai was made in Taiwan and assembled in the USA; raised on good ol’ mid-western American corn. His first passions were in biology and wildlife zoology studies. With bachelor’s degrees in both, it has led him on a path that few have traveled. This scientist turned art director and turned photographer has become one of the world’s most sought after photographers. Tsai’s career has circled the globe, with his images making headlines from New York to Beijing. Traveling between his homes in Los Angeles and New York, he puts a whole new spin on the definition of 24-7. Tsai’s inspirations are a compilation of his studies and his extensive travels to Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. After changing direction from his scientific studies, Tsai earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif., where he discovered his passion for directing and design. Tsai has collaborated and been the inspiration for countless directors and creative minds in the industry for treatments and script development. Drawing from his expertise and talents in design, this journey organically lead Tsai to his present focus of fashion and advertising photography which has bridged seamlessly into the world of celebrity. His effortless, real and sometimes shocking manner generates an atmosphere of trust and authenticity that is unmatched by his peers. Tsai’s assemblage of the industry’s most visible, beautiful, and provocative talent includes actors Leonardo Dicaprio, Jessica Chastain, Bruce Willis, Jon Hamm, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Katy Perry, P Diddy and Kesha. Tsai is also creating iconic imagery for international brands such as Apple, Guess, Coca-Cola, Dasani, SKYY,...

Patterns Mar15

Patterns

Sometimes less is more this isn’t one of those times. Check out this collection of patterns and over-the-top awesome fashions from one of our favorite boutiques — Scout Dry Goods. Click here to view entire...

The Republic of Spring Mar15

The Republic of Spring

Banana Republic unveiled a new look with its Spring 2014 campaign — a heartfelt nod to the modern day adventurer who appreciates the journey, not just the destination, and is perfectly outfitted every step of the way. Inspired by the brand’s heritage and the pioneering spirit of its San Francisco roots, the campaign celebrates authenticity with style and the California state of mind — core qualities that define Banana Republic, the true outfitters of modern American style. “TRUE OUTFITTERS” debuted globally last week. The campaign champions true relationships, true style and true emotions, illustrating life’s most precious and authentic moments shared between loved ones. Real-life couples and families were cast in the campaign, including New York City-based partners and interior designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent, Argentinian model and Tulum hotelier Nicolas Malleville and his family, Nashville natives and longtime sweethearts Cory Bond and Bekah Jenkins, and up and coming European models Sara Blomqvist and Jeremy Young. Another aspect of the campaign features the outstanding photography of California native Cheyenne Ellis. The daughter of a photographer and a film director, Ellis honed her craft studying at Brooks Institute of Photography after completing her degree in fine arts from Westmont College. She worked under the legendary photographer Irving Penn in New York, in what she describes as the best two years of her life, and moved back home to Los Angeles to begin her own career. Currently working from a home base in Topanga, California, Ellis travels the world for editorial and advertising jobs alike. She is most at home in nature, growing up half her life in the mountain town of Mammoth Lakes and the other half at the beaches in Malibu, her connection with the outdoors is apparent in her imagery. Her casual easy way with people, a natural connection with beauty in the world and around her, and her high level of professionalism translate to stunning, timeless images. Click here to view Ellis’ full Banana Republic collection....

On the Bus with T Mar12

On the Bus with T

Last week, Jeremy Lafrentz (right) of Backstage Entertainment (BSE) caught up with rapper T. Mills just before he went on stage at the Slowdown in Omaha. “T. Mills was very humbled by how much attention his social media is getting and explained how all of his posts come from him by either his cell phone or computer,” Lafrentz says. “He loves engaging with the fans which you could tell by the end of the night, he let a lot of fans from the crowd onstage to help with his last song.” Check out BE’s on-the-bus interview and backstage video with T.Mills below. “One thing that Backstage likes to do for fans is show what an artist does before taking the stage. T. Mills gave us that opportunity that night to show what it was like just before he went on.”...

Noah’s musical ark

BY NICOLE CHIZEK Not unlike his biblical namesake, Noah Gundersen has taken a huge life-affirming journey. One that illuminates with struggles and hope. And one that culminated recently with the February release of the artist’s first full-length studio album Ledges. No doubt this soulful collection will help catapult this hard-working Seattle singer-songwriter into the music world’s fast lane. A little push from TV’s hottest show about motorcycle gangs hasn’t hurt his fast-track trajectory, either. Gundersen began playing music at a young age. His parents encouraged him take piano lessons and later he taught himself to play guitar. At age 16 Gundersen began performing solo at local spots and by 2006 his sister Abby Gundersen added her violin skills and harmonies to the set list. Noah went on to play shows throughout the Washington and Oregon area with the band Noah Gundersen and the Courage. In 2008 Gundersen released his first EP, Brand New World, recorded by himself, Abby and Michael Porter, and featuring such standout tracks as “Moss on a Rolling Stone,” “Winter” and “The Current State of Things.” Next came the NG and the Courage album “Live at the Triple Door,” and a West Coast tour. Noah and Abby made another western tour with Garage Voice and Ton Rorem which then lead to a two moth tour alongside Chelsea Seth of Paper Mache. Gundersen released his second EP Saints and Liars later that year and was debuted during a show by The Courage at Seattle’s Q Cafe. The performance and the new EP got rave reviews. NG and the Courage continued to play at venues such as The Round and The Triple Door and released its first full-length studio album Fearful Bones. Shortly after, the band broke up and Gundersen returned to work as a solo artist. In 2011 Gundersen released his third self-released EP, Family. A few songs from the EP were featured on the hit TV show “Sons of Anarchy,” including “David” and “Family.” That exposure helped Gundersen expand his audience and opened opportunities. He spent the next years writing songs for his album and collaborating with other musicians, producing and lending his guitar skills on Le Wrens debut EP Don’t Forget Me. Noah also produced Ben Fischer‘s album Charleston, which was released last month. Ledges dropped Feb. 11 and showcases Gundersen’s unique ability to craft lyrics about inner battles, relationships and life in raw intertwined words that sing you to inner freedom. The artist has said in many interviews he likes to leave mystery to his lyrics which makes his music even more beautifully intricate. The first song on the album, “Poor Man’s Son,” carries a heavy message: Stone cold broke in the middle of the winter, Oh like a poor man’s son. It really speaks to anyone who has ever struggled financially and relays a feeling of hope to hold onto during tough times. The track “Separator” is another amazing standout. The imagery awakens your creative senses and truly showcases Gundersnen’s gift of writing. The album’s title song, “Ledges,” is one of the more fast paced tracks and feels like the perfect theme song to a life of struggles endured while trying to be a good person. Gundersen performed Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Slowdown in Omaha. It was a very passionate and earthy performance. Noah, his sister Abby and the rest of the band sounded close to perfection. Noah graciously talked with fans after the show, took pictures and signed albums. Noah Gundersen is a whole new breed of talent and I truly felt I was in the presence of musical greatness. I had the exciting opportunity to interview Gundersen before his Omaha show. Here are the highlights: You grew up in a very conservative home with religious values. A lot of your earlier songs seem to express a struggle with those beliefs. I saw in a recent interview that you said your now...

Simone Felice is Alive with Talent Feb14

Simone Felice is Alive with Talent

A man of many crafts Simone Felice is an established songwriter, author and poet. It’s a career full of accomplishments and praise — and one he fought for with his life, literally. Felice was born in Palenville, NY, which is nestled in the Catskill mountains. At age 12 he suffered a brain aneurysm and was pronounced dead for several minutes. After emergency surgery and two months in intensive care, Felice started on the long road to recovery. He had to relearn basic motor skills, including reading and writing. When he was 15, Felice formed a punk rock band with his buddies and by 18 he had dropped out of school to pursue his music career and play at various New York bars and clubs including CBGB. He began writing poetry around the same time which was later published when he was 22 years old in the “Picture Show.” Felice went on to write two short-fiction books, “Goodbye Amelia” and “Hail Mary Full of Holes.” Both received rave reviews. Later on he also released his first novel, “Black Jesus.” Shortly after 9-11,  Felice collaborated with his brother Ian to create the musical collections The Big Empty and Mexico. Their younger brother James came into the mix and the Felice brothers were born again. They went on to release the albums Through These Reigns, Gone, Tonight at the Arizona, The Felice Brothers and Yonder is the Clock. The Felice Brothers have toured with the likes of Bright Eyes, Old Crow Medicine Show and opened for the Dave Mathews band. Dell featured The Felice Brothers song “This Magic Moment” in the computer company’s  TV  commercial titled “Beginnings.”  Simone is also the featured drum player on the Avett Brothers single “I and Love and You.” Felice returned to the Catskills to write and record two more well-regarded albums. In June 2010 Felice underwent emergency open heart surgery. It was discovered he had a childhood congenital disorder that left him with an irreversible calcification of the aortic valve leaving just 8 percent blood flow to the body and brain. Two weeks after the successful surgery, Felice joined his brothers on stage at Pete Seeger’s annual Clearwater Festival. The following month he welcomed the birth of his little girl, Pearl. In 2012 Felice released his debut self-titled album which was recorded in such places as a barn, an old church and an abandoned high school. His brothers and Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons. His newest album, Strangers, which is due to be released in March 2014on Team Love Records, features guest artists Leah Siegel, Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites of the Lumineers and, of course, the help of his brothers. There is something so incredibly whimsical about this album you will lose yourself in the seduction of his words. The instrumentals and vibe will put you in a head space of peace, but you’ll also feel a somber undertone. The first single “Molly O!” is uniquely upbeat. In Felice’s own words:  “‘Molly-O!’ is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek salute/requiem to the itinerant panhandler I was as a kid — an exercise in not taking one’s early sins or one’s current self too seriously.” A personal favorite of mine is “Running Through My Head.” The track  is so beautifully written and has such an edge. I don’t know wether to feel sad or to smile. There’s just something very raw in that feeling his music gives you.  He has a way with words that forces you to look within in yourself and explore all kinds of emotions at once. Strangers is  an album that you won’t forget. It makes you feel the artist’s many struggles he has endured. In his words: “Isn’t it wild how, when it comes to matters of the heart, we can start out so fanatical, so certain, only to end up as strangers in the end? Remote even to ourselves over...

Galatic Love Feb12

Galatic Love

Extraterrestrial Without a Cause: Star-Crossed is a misfit-teen story featuring aliens After aliens crash-land on Earth, the military herds them into a detention camp. They look just like humans — indeed, the gorgeous alien teenagers could easily be mistaken for stars of a CW series — but most Earthlings despise them. As an experiment in integration, the authorities allow seven alien kids to attend a normal high school. That leads to disaster, but it also allows the cute human girl Emery (Aimee Teegarden) to meet the hunky alien boy Roman (Matt Lanter). Cue the Romeo-and-Juliet romance, hinted at in the series’ title: Star-Crossed (Monday, 7 p.m., CW). With its immigration subtext, Star-Crossed is less reminiscent of Shakespeare’s play than the Romeo and Juliet adaptation West Side Story. The aliens are ethnic types, misunderstood in their new land. Roman himself is the kind of smoldering misfit familiar from countless teen movies — an Extraterrestrial Without a Cause. But Lanter fits the role, and Star-Crossed proves itself a superior high school soap opera. The science fiction setting adds an appealing novelty, with futuristic gadgets and miraculous medicine. Plus, it’s hard to top Roman’s reaction on seeing Emery in peril: “One of my hearts stopped beating for a minute!” REVIEW BY DEAN...

Shif-D Makes the Cut Feb06

Shif-D Makes the Cut

Well known DJ/producer Z Trip sells a T-shirt that reads “I AM A DJ” while Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis offers one that reads, “I AM NOT A DJ.” While it’s true the lines have been blurred since technology made making music a lot easier, there’s still a solid understanding of what a “real” DJ actually does, especially among other turntablists. According to DJ Rob Swift, formerly of the X-ecutioners, “At its most simplistic, a DJ plays music for groups of people or him/herself. But beyond that, a DJ’s roll revolves around being able to control people’s emotions through music.” Omaha-based DJ Dave Stutsman has been actively DJing since 1992, when he was a freshman in high school. He felt the same way as Swift described. “Going to raves and house parties where other DJs were controlling the room got me into it,” Stutsman says. “I liked the power of the DJ. So I started watching their every move to learn the technique. DJ Halo from Chicago was at an Omaha party back in ’93. He brought me to see the power of music. The rest is history.” Since then, the San Antonio native has settled into the Omaha music community. From his work with Omaha Night Life (ONL) to this year’s involvement with the Best in the Midwest Tattoo Convention, he always has one hand on a turntable. Although he is no longer with ONL, he’s still proud of its growth. “I came up with the concept of Omaha Night Life when I was driving to a rave in Kansas City,” he recalls. “I was big into checking out message boards for the next DJ event and Omaha really had nothing. There was a void for information in the metro. I found some people...

SuperStar

The art of tattoo has always fascinated Sioban Kozisek (“Chevy”). She got her first tattoo when she was attending boarding school in Ireland. “I was 16-years-old and I had a fake ID to say I was 18,” Kozisek recalls. “I found some little dive shop above a pub in Cork City and decided to get a yin yang on my shoulder. This massive bearded man with a Celtic design on his chest had me sit backwards on a broken chair and lean forward. The yin yang came out all distorted and didn’t heal very well. I totally deserved that for fibbing about my age and not knowing any better.” As she got older (and was actually over the age of 18), Kozisek started getting more and more. It’s been said tattoos are like children. Most people have a few and once you have one, it’s hard to stop.  “A good tattoo, an original piece, is really amazing if you think about it,” she says. “It’s not like you have an eraser or a fresh piece of canvas to go to if you make a mistake. To watch a tattoo artist work is fascinating.” For years, tattoos were almost looked down upon. There was a negative stigma attached to them. After all, most people thought only criminals, gang members and Hells Angels had them. Now they are more common and Kozisek believes the stigma is gone. As a Master Ethestician and make-up artist at Sirens in the Old Market, she does recall a time when it wasn’t that easy. “I remember starting in the beauty industry in the early ‘90s,” she explains. “If you had tattoos then, well, they had better be hidden. Now it’s almost part of the dress code. Just like clothes and...

The Color of Style

With the arrival of the third annual  “Best In The Midwest Tattoo Convention” we thought it only appropriate to visit with two of Omaha’s most successful (and certainly most tattooed) salon owners:  Troy Davis and Sarah Pithan or Curb Appeal Salon and Spa, located on the corner of 10th and Jackson in the Old Market. “I got my first tattoo when I opened the salon back in 1999, “ says Davis. “And have continued to get them ever since. I think tattoos are a great way to express yourself — your personality, the things that you like or dislike and the way that you feel.  They are a storyboard for your life. I think that tattoos and hair dressing are really similar!  The only difference is the pain and permanency.  Hair, like tattoos, is an artistic expression of one’s self. If you think of how we describe each other, we always mention hair, weight and any distinguishing characteristics — like tattoos!” “I think because of my love for tattoos, I attract other stylists that love tattoos. Not all salons, or salon owners, want a tattooed staff,” Davis says.  “I think that it’s only natural that hair stylists are drawn to ink.  Color is one of the elements that we work with every day.” “I think our salon is successful because we care a lot about what we are doing. We love what we do and we love doing it with each other,” Davis says. “We have a strong team that is grounded in continuing their education. A lot of this success and philosophy comes from my working for an international education company for 14 years. I brought all of that education back to our team.” “Outside the salon, I believe in growing and developing...