Resurrected classics and unearthed gems we spent time with this year
Visuals and directors that stuck with us this year
Where do we even start with New Year’s? Can we just rewind to Tuesday forever? It felt like five years in the making, but also the beginning of something new. We’ve been trying for this for years ya’ll. Fuckin’ years! So to have that moment happen really was a dream. I think we’re on to something guys, that’s what Morgan said. She’s been the one holding down the door the past couple celebrations so please show her love when you see her.
More than anything though, New Year’s Eve, these celebrations, this website, these moments, have been a team effort from the jump, and while it’s easy to take credit for where we’re at, there’s never a bad time to give thanks. We’re really just trying to facilitate these moments. Facilitate these good times, and facilitate these smiles.
First and foremost a big thank you goes out to Crystal and Jessica, our beloved bartenders who gave us the opportunity to put the night together. To our DJ’s… cot damn. Sofi setting the vibe so proper, had folks dancing in the first 15 minutes. To Antwon, much love for bringing your talents to our function. I think we saw the birth of something with Daghe, and Wave you already know where we put our trust. Lastly, it’s all about you, so thanks to everyone for supporting us and thank you for coming along for the journey.
Photographer Jimmy Nelson captures lasting images of tribes around the world
When I was 16, I spent 3 weeks in the San Blas, a splattering of nearly desolate islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. I was there for “cross-cultural community service”, a program which would guarantee my entrance to a respectable university. We were going to be living with an indigenous tribe, the Kuna, who are so autonomous that they adorn traditional art with what we call swastikas, unaware that modern humanity has bastardized their meaning. The trip was more than a resume stuffer; it turned out to be a trip which made me whole again, when I didn’t even realize I was missing pieces. Upon leaving, I was left with throbbing sadness that I would no longer see these beautiful tribal women clad in vibrantly dyed mola cloths, nor their sun-kissed children who followed us around all day, giving us gifts of beaded bracelets and pure, unabashed love.
Photographer Jimmy Nelson has fallen in love with tribes of beautiful human beings on a global scale, capturing the faces of the last vestiges of groups from Mongolia to Papua New Guinea. In his book, Before They Pass Away, Nelson allows us to join him on his journeys, even providing us with interactive opportunities via his website. While his underlying message is one of dire consequence, his approach is inviting. His subjects connect with his camera head-on, allowing for a vicarious relationship between the disappearing and the disconnected.
We'll be ringing in the new year in Downtown Oakland, with a little help from our friends
It feels like this was a long time coming. So I’ll let you in on a little-known secret. On January 1st, the Bowties will turn five. Willee probably still remembers Max coming up the stairs into the den where we were burning–with an idea, already damn near fully-formed–of what he was gonna do next. If you click here, and hit the little X that replaces your refresh button, you’ll see some humble beginnings. A blogspot with a few hundred-thousand visits, enumerated on a ticker at the bottom. A lot of images that won’t show up because we don’t have a Photobucket anymore. A few too many borrowed Hypebeast posts and some vintage and contemporary hoop highlights, occasionally accompanied by some cringe-worthy headlines. In some ways, it’s really not all that different from what we’re doing now. In others, it’s worlds apart.
This New Year’s Eve, we’re looking to address a couple things. For one, our fifth birthday seems like plenty of reason to throw a function, particularly since we have so many dope ass folks who have showed love over the years to bring together. To the extent we can, we want to get all of you in the same room to celebrate. Aside from that we’re trying to avoid some of the pitfalls of a typically overhyped night by knocking out some key variables. First off, we’ll have some quality, quality slap. Providing DJ sets for the night will be South Bay superstar Antwon, who will be taking a night off from performing to curate a set for us, and our good friends Daghe, Sophie and Wave rounding out the crew of superstars you’ll see on the flyer above.
Aside from that, we’ll be keeping it in the East Bay, at the gorgeous Downtown Oakland locale of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, and putting on the dopest function we can for a $20 price tag. In fact, it’s $15 right now if you hurry. Honestly, we just wanna party with you. Let’s make this one memorable.
TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE
The man behind Toro y Moi takes on yet another identity for his latest 7"
By now, we’re well aware the Chaz Bundick is a man of many sides. If we’re talking about sheer volume of A’s and B’s stamped on wax, he’s been behind a pretty staggering wealth of great music over the three or four years, morphing from disco soul to deep house to dusty lo-fi to lots of other things that don’t fit particularly snugly in two or three-word genre boxes.
But Sides of Chaz, by my count, also marks at least his second or third alter ego, as his latest departure floats off into loose, wavy psychedelic pop. Like Tame Impala or Black Moth Super Rainbow, but kinda melted and falling apart. “Sweet Tea” will see a release as the A-side of a 7-inch, courtesy of Fork & Spoon, who describe the song on their Soundcloud as a “sweet ass weirdo pop jam”. Pretty accurate.
It's Nice That sits down with our good friend George, Bristol's illustration/installation king
If you’ve been with us long enough, this won’t be your first introduction to Bristol, UK-based illustrator and general maker-of-things George McCallum. We first talked to George almost two years ago when he was finishing up art school, and more recently we dipped into his catalog of 3-D objects, which take his cheeky sense of humor and loud colors into the realm of functional objects and furniture.
In recent months, George has been getting some well-deserved shine for these pieces, having been commissioned for pieces by publications like Creative Review, and retail locations like London’s Williams Murray Hamm. Last week, the good folks over at It’s Nice That sat down with George for their Introducing column, offering some insight into his work and process. Read the full interview below.
A conversation with the man behind an infamous media empire
If you’ve spent more than a few afternoons cruising Worldstar at point in your life, it’s likely that you have an opinion about it. I’ll spare you mine, but I will say that one of my favorite Bowties articles ever was Jesse Byrd’s piece, “The World & Worldstar” two years ago. In it he wrote:
“A part of me always feels a little grimy when I check into WorldStarHipHop. Elderly public transportation skirmishes, scantily clad middle school teachers, and a sea of suspect ass music videos. I feel as though I’m looking to be entertained by everything that is wrong with the world. I never learn anything valuable.
I’m usually just more aware of the tomfoolery that pops off on a daily basis. It’s the type of site where I may have to inch the screen down to half mast if granny walked in the room, or turn the audio down a few pocks if my little brother comes running in from school. This has caused me to often wonder: if I can’t stand proudly beside the material I indulge in, then why do I partake?”
And yet, despite those burning questions, we haven’t really turned away. As of 2013, it was one of the top 250 sites in the country, with a net worth estimated around 65 mill. Behind all the fight comps, the paid-for video debuts, and the bottomless treasure troves of fuckery, is a man named Q. Recently Noisey sat down with Q, and asked him a few questions of their own. Like most kings of controversy, Q brushes most of it off, answering (maybe not unreasonably) that he’s simply holding up a mirror to society, and giving us what we know we really want. As always, I’m interested to hear everbody’s thoughts. Below an excerpt from the piece’s intro, and a few from the interview.
A conversation between the greats about their life and work
If you’re like me, you live for these interviews. Just being able to observe this conversation is a treat. From one great to another, Pharrell Williams and Spike Lee’s resumes are varied and vast, yet have also remained relevant against almighty father time. While we’ll save their achievements and accolades for another article, for the immediate future let us draw your attention to the video below.
“I didn’t choose film, film chose me,” remarks Spike when speaking with Pharrell about his work and career. As part of his ARTST TLK series, Pharrell sits down with creative minds across the pop culture landscape, picking their brains about their experiences and creative processes. It’s a trip to watch, like-minded spirits from different generations connecting, and undoubtedly there are gems for the dreamers to pick up throughout. We’ve got both segments of the hour-long feature ready for you below. Might wanna gather some friends around the screen for this one.
The third time was truly a charm at our annual Wine & Bowties party in Oakland
Another one in the books ladies and gentlemen. Another one in the books. To the folks who made it inside Era’s doors thank you for your early arrival. And thank you for being so cool. As many of you probably know, capacity is an issue at Era, so our apologies to those who were not able to join us. Shout out to Wave and Ms. Sofi for providing the tunes and to everyone who showed up with nice fits and positive vibes. We really couldn’t do this without you, so we thank you all for your support. On another note, we’ve got a big one up our sleeve for December so look forward to that. This next party might just be our best party.
Taking our time to contemplate the photographic journey of Jonathon Freeman
As we’ve discussed before, we are all photographers. Put that trigger finger to the clicker baby and, ba-blam! That’s all you. In taking a picture, we essentially take a moment out of context, from the world we know it to exist in, and create a space for sitting and reflecting on it in hindsight. Maybe that picture is destined to get lost in the shuffle of likes and comments. Maybe it’s developed and hung on a gallery wall. Maybe it sits idly and comfortingly on a nightstand next to our bed. But whatever the case, these photos are captured so we can engage with them. Some of the photography I’ve been engaging with hella much lately can be found in the expansive and effortlessly impressive portfolio of San Francisco photographer Jonathon Freeman.
What attracts me to Freeman’s work, specifically, is his ability to capture intimacy. While for some, intimacy is a concept that evokes considerable anxiety, Freeman’s photographs lend the viewer a comfortable dose with a gentle hand and a skillful eye. I first stumbled on Freeman’s work through his female portraits that I later learned were part of his publication collection The Freeman Files: [Fer-uh-mohnzs] – which is the title of his soon-to-be-published print magazine. The series captures women of the fantasy-girl-next-door variety, accompanied by a similarly dreamy tone. The images are beautiful, whimsical, and effortlessly sexy. “I’ve had a girlfriend throughout my photography career,” he tells me, “and it’s kind of fucked up, but… if she gets mad about my shots, then I know I’m doing something right.”