Los Angeles is a strange place. It has one season—sunny with a high of 75. I like my seasons, plural. Angelenos, well, they love their convertibles and graphic tees. To each his own I suppose. Last week I flew west for a little play and a ton of work. If I’m going to be locked in a steel tube for six hours, I’ll go willing with Virgin every time. Far and away my favorite airline. They just get it.
Upon arrival, I am greeted by L.A.’s very own welcoming committee—the 405. “Stay a while. In fact, just put it in park.” I eventually pull in to my buddy Jory’s place after a start-n-stop reenactment of my driver’s ed test. I love his space. It’s sparse yet feels distinctly lived in. He has this amazing vinyl collection. There might be 80...90...100 records? Enough to make an audiophile produce a single tear. We could go through it for an entire day and never get tired of listening. Jory’s one of the good ones. The good ones let you crash their couch and charge your phone at a moment’s notice.
Before things get crazy, I style and shoot a fashion editorial test with a fresh-faced actor. It’s refreshing. California’s light paints people and places differently, as if The Golden State is the Sun’s favorite child. The rest of the week is an intense blur. Through a series of remarkable events, I read poetry of my own authoring to a girl in front of 53 people (among a slew of other things I never imagined myself doing). I feel alive. Really alive. Picture Knox wooing Chris in front of the whole class in Dead Poets Society and you pretty much have it. It is terrifying and freeing, all at once.
It’s Wednesday and I’m being photographed outside Joan’s on Third for the Japanese menswear magazine Free & Easy (let it be known for the record that I am still nerding out over this). After the broken English exchange, I stumble into Juice Served Here craving a wifi connection. Little do I know I’m on the cusp of experiencing the best juice known to man. It’s raw, organic, and cold pressed. I’m not in L.A. long, yet in this moment “cold pressed” seems to be the only fathomable fashion in which it is socially acceptable to drink juice. After a handful of tastings, I tip the staff off to my penchant for spicy foods and they produce Hot Lei from behind the counter. It has me at “cayenne.” Coconut water, pineapple, lemon, and honey laced with cayenne pepper—the elixir is genius.
As Sunday night disappears into Monday morning, my dear friend Francesca introduces me to Randy’s Donuts. Apparently it’s famous. I don’t know if the donuts are actually better than anyone else’s but their sign certainly is. That has to count for something. The deal is three donuts: split one immediately then save the rest for breakfast. We down the apple fritter and I crawl off the couch to the leftovers the next morning. Somehow they’re even better the next day. Life should be like that.
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No region of the U.S. rings in autumn quite like New England. Maybe it's the S-Classes, the asphalt, or the ambition that sedate us from fully realizing it in New York, but on this drive through Massachusetts, it hits you. Autumn is here, as if it has suddenly arrived. It didn’t ask you if you were done with summer. It didn't wait for you to lift your head up.
I-95 cradles you between the Long Island Sound and a coastline of oak. I'm driving up with Boast for the Head of the Charles. As soon as we hit Beantown, we beeline for the narrow gas-lit streets of Beacon Hill. First stop, a regatta kickoff party at North River Outfitter. Dan, the northeast Boast sales rep, rolls up in what can only be described as a party van. Yeah, the exterior puts off a creepy child abductor vibe but once you throw the doors open, it's audiophile Heaven. Twin 14" subwoofers, a grip of speakers, and dual amps transform it into a giant boom box on wheels. Haim's "The Wire" starts to pulse through the Federal-style rowhouses. Now it's a party...
I'm not sure how many whiskey rocks are guilty for my late morning but eventually I make it to Cambridge Boat Club sometime after 2:00pm. Lunch at the Director's Tent (here's to friends in high places—Jack's dad sits on the board of Head of the Charles) is reduced to Caesars salad and a slice of turkey breast. All the gourmet fare only lasts until 1:00 if you're lucky, but the open bar is still stocked. Sierra Nevada Stout please.
Photographed by Amy Stone
The rest of the afternoon is spent catching up with Kiel and his crew at their Brooks Brothers pop-up shop, enjoying the races, and hanging out with Carly and clique. All of which proves to be very entertaining. Case in point? Emily, never one to disappoint, shows off her dance moves to "Black Skinhead" after I take her picture.
Dusk is let down over the Charles like house curtains. The thrill of victory lingering in the air alongside the agony of defeat long after the boats have been pulled from the water. Though it was a blast, I don’t stick around for Sunday. A wise man once said, “Never be the first to arrive at a party or the last to go home and never, never be both.”
It’s that time of the year again, when not only the leaves fall from such great heights but world class rowers from all over the world descend upon the Charles River. It is on this penultimate October weekend that the Head of the Charles Regatta unfolds. And over 300,000 people will be there for every stroke. It’s a good time. I’m heading up to Cambridge tomorrow morning with Boast for the festivities. For those of you who will be in Boston, North River Outfitter is hosting a Head of the Charles Kickoff on Thursday night from 4-9p.m. I’ll be around to talk menswear, the upcoming release of the coffee table book Rowing Blazers (featuring my photographs of world class rowing athletes, including the Dartmouth portrait above), or the best place to shop vintage in Boston. Come by for the complimentary Whale’s Tale if nothing else.
If you haven't stopped by Collection lately, my ongoing curation of image tears, quotes, and original photographs, pop in (on something other than your iPhone) for a peek into what's been inspiring me this fall. You might just find yourself...inspired.