We’ve seen and enjoyed Channing Tatum in many films, but surely no one has forgotten Magic Mike, which turned a rising actor into one of the most popular Hollywood stars. Born in Alabama, he has been a model, dancer, film producer and now, for the very first time, director for his new film Dog, where he plays the leading role. He chose and approached this production because he has always felt a strong bond with dogs and, when his own dog passed away, he was offered the project. It was almost impossible not to get involved in the direction of the film.
Interview with Channing Tatum
What do you think about the relationship between humans and dogs?
Dogs have a strong presence as they give you everything they have unconditionally and always stand by your side. We will probably never know if they have an idea of the future, how much and if they think about the past, however, every time the owner comes home it’s like the first time. It doesn’t seem to matter at all. I could go out for thirty minutes and then Cutie, my new little one, is like: “oh my goodness, you’re back”. I think dogs remind us that joy can always come over; as human beings, we focus way too much on the past and the future, but we can only really experience joy in the present. I think humans, in some ways, love them for that reason.
Tell us about the story of your road movie Dog.
What my character, Briggs, really needs is a recommendation, to make his captain call the diplomatic security company and vouch for him, saying he’s a good soldier. To achieve this aim, he takes Lulu with him on a road trip from the Pacific Northwest coast to the Mexican border. This operation won’t be quite easy, as if it were enough to put a dog in the car and just leave, well, it’s not exactly like that. Animals like these require a special treatment to say the least, so we’ll see them fighting all the time. However, if Briggs manages to accomplish his “mission”, taking Lulu to a funeral without collateral damages, then he will get the recommendation.
“The real challenge is convincing the dog that it is all a game”
What are the similarities between your character and Lulu?
They are both quite “crazy”, indeed, they will definitely get along until they can’t do without one another. Dealing with two stubborn characters, always about to clam up and clash, is like having fuses ready to explode, in other words, they are a true powder keg that can blow up at any moment. There’s a moment when Briggs and Lulu grab a sort of stuffed unicorn, which wouldn’t stay still if one of them let go and anything could happen in an instant. It’s really funny because they’re the same, the only difference is that one is a dog and the other is a man.
What’s the real challenge when acting with a dog?
There is a scene in the car when I’m driving really fast and Lulu basically goes crazy, so I open the door, yelling at her, almost aggressively, and that poor animal looks at me as if to wonder what I’ve done to make her yell, pulling her ears back. This broke my heart, because we are very good friends, really. Each one of us on set had to reassure her and to confirm that we loved her. The real challenge is convincing the dog that it is all a game.
Anthony Pomes, the French photographer we had the chance to meet recently, has exclusively immortalized Thomás de Lucca for us, in déshabillé on a terrace flooded with light in Milan, where the Brazilian model moved not long ago. Powerful and yet delicate pictures, that underline the modus operandi of an author who, as he revealed us, searches for sensitivity and uniqueness in every portrait.
We had the opportunity to ask Thomás a few questions.
I start with the shooting by Anthony Pomes. The pictures reveal a rather relaxed and spontaneous atmosphere on a sunny terrace, isn’t it? How was it like working with Anthony?
I felt very much at ease with Anthony. He’s very talented and knows how to guide a model during the photo shoot. To he honest, I thought I’d be a little rusty since I haven’t been focusing on other things at the moment and not doing much of modelling. But everything went pretty smoothly with him.
Tell us something about yourself: where you are from, how long you’ve been modelling, what your interests are beyond work…
I’m from the south of Brazil and I’ve been modelling for almost 9 years. Everything started in 2013 when I went to China for work, it did help me to grow up as a model, and to be here today represented by one best agencies in Milan. I also do marketing apart from modeling. I’ve been doing that since last year, and that is where I’ve been spending much of my time and efforts recently, although my passion has always been modeling and always will be. When I have spare time, I like going to the gym, doing yoga and meditation – if possible I like to practice the two latter every day. I love spending time with my boyfriend and friends, and watching horror or sci-fi movies.
You are Brazilian but you live in Milan for work. What were your first impressions? What do you love most (and least) about living here?
Milan is great, very international and easy to get around, but I have to confess that I’m still struggling with the language as “il mio italiano non é molto buono” (this is literally the only sentence I know how to say without using Google Translator). What I love most are cappuccino and pizza. On the other side, living in Milan can be very pricey, so that part isn’t that funny.
If I say style, what do you think of?
David Gandy, he’s a reference in the male model industry for me, and I love how he styles himself according to his age and still looks fashionable and attractive.
What brands or designers do you aspire to work for?
I’d would love to walk for Dolce&Gabbana and Giorgio Armani since they have inspired me when I first started modeling.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years’ time, I want to be a successful coach of fashion models traveling the world and giving lectures on how to think beyond their dream job, without giving up on it but using that passion in their favour. I’d like to encourage all models to not give up on their careers so easily (I know it can be very tough to listen to so many “no” sometimes) and to do something else they may like in addition to that. There are so many ways to use what you’ve learned or experienced as a model to help you on starting something new and that resonates with you. There are more opportunities out there than you can imagine.
Anthony Pomes began his career in photography in 2011 using natural light to portray friends and nature. Based in Paris but originally from the South of France, he developed his artistic and cultural path in high school, studying drama and literature. These disciplines inspired and continue to inspire him for his pictures. His sensibility is also emphasized through dancing, another inspiring art that he is currently practicing. Through his photography, he desires to feel and capture the subject’s emotions, just as theater, literature and dance do. In particular, gaze and body movement are the most important aspects to portray through which he can bring out the emotions he is looking for.
When did you realize your passion for photography and how did it start?
I started drama classes at 12 years old and followed with literature and drama studies in high school. I was on scene, playing, creating characters and enjoying the creativity around. I also started a short model career which introduced me to the image and photo world. Naturally the art of photography came to me. In summer 2011, I bought my first camera and started practicing with close friends and nature around. I kept, and I am still keeping, literature and drama as my first inspirations. My shoots were kind of editorials remembering drama or literature characters. When I moved to Bordeaux, I started to shoot for the first time professional agency models who took me to another level. Portraits and natural light were my favorite playgrounds. Today I always keep in mind where I am from, always looking for sensibility and uniqueness in the portraits I take.
Who are the masters or artists who have been inspirational for you?
Naturally, I will say some drama’s authors like Shakespeare or Beckett but also modern photographers who brought the level super high at my beginning. I remember dreaming about Théo Gosselin photos or even admiring Florian Saez and Malc Stone studio’s lightenings.
How do you choose models for your photos? What has to catch your attention?
As muses inspired artists, I have to be inspired by a model: face, look, body shape, attitudes and feelings. But to answer your question, I will say that it is all about the look. Everything is in the eyes. They are kind of the mirror of the soul, as Cicerone said.
A selection of models/people who have a special talent for you and why?
This is the occasion to highlight recent faces I had the opportunity to collaborate with. First of all, I have to talk about my talented friend and eternal muse Céline. She has been my model since the beginning and we are matching when it comes to literature references. Secondly, the most seen and highly desired french ballet dancer Andreas Giesen, who is a great talent to follow when it comes to mouvement, beige tones and fashion outfits. Dance is also the strength of Jean-Baptiste Plumeau, that mixing contemporary and improvisation. The comedian Philippe Touzel has that glance in the eye who one could never forget: an upcoming artist to follow. Amaury Bent, an emerging french model, is a new face I had the chance to shoot a few times. Finally, I will make a special mention to my dear friend and talented photographer Sébastien Marchand. He has the capacity to create and re-create infinitely. His imagination has no barriers.
Your current projects and future dreams?
At the moment, my only project is to practice and experiment with photography. In the near future I would like to do more editorials and to portray more dancers and comedians – the best ones when it comes to facial expressions. In my future dreams I would like to go somewhere far from Paris and especially to a breathtaking place, creating photos around. They could be editorials, content creations for brands or portraits for some of my favorite faces and shoots for our portfolios. Exhibitions are always in my mind but right now I have no time to do them.
Tananai (stage name of Alberto Cotta Ramusino) won the audience over after having participated in Sanremo, quickly becoming one of the most popular artists among youths. After Sanremo, his single “Sesso occasionale” became a certified platinum record.
Born in 1995 in Milan, Alberto has been passionate about electronic music since he was a teenager and soon began producing his own music, publishing his first album “To Discover and Forget” in 2017 using the pseudonym Not for us.
The first EP as a true singer-songwriter
He then began to explore various musical genres and also write in Italian, while still mainly dealing with production. In 2019 he emerged as a true singer-songwriter with his new artistic name Tananai, and in 2020 he released his first EP entitled “Piccoli boati”. Alberto himself told us: “The first EP arose from my desire to talk about what was happening in my life, because I believe that the daily life of each and every one of us is very special in its own way. So I tried to convey my days and my love stories, my disappointments and moments when I was absorbed by the music I made. With my past as an electronic music producer, I had to learn to write and unlearn to produce. And I talked about what I knew: my everyday life”.
A new turn: ‘BABY GODDAMN’ and ‘Exaggerated’
In 2021 his career took a new turn with the single “BABY GODDAMN”, which also became a certified platinum record and with which he is now at the top of the Spotify Italy Top 50 ranking. In 2021 he also collaborated with likes of Fedez and Jovanotti, participating in Sanremo Giovani with the song “Exaggerated”, thanks to which he became one of the three winners. 2022 began with his participation in the 72nd Sanremo Festival where he presented “Sesso occasionale”, a song full of irony and positivity.
His participation in the Festival – despite various criticism – gave him great visibility, so much so that a few days after the end of the competition his single joined the Top 10 among the most listened songs of Spotify Italy, with “BABY GODDAMN” also climbing the rankings to reach the top 50. And Alberto confesses: “The song ‘Sesso occasionale’ came to me in a very natural way during a session in the studio. It came out as a continuation of ‘Exaggerated’ – the song I brought to Sanremo Giovani – and immediately engaged us, so we worked until the deadline to send it. I didn’t know what to expect after Sanremo. I sort of improvised, focusing only on emanating a positive energy and being able to go back to singing on a stage in front of a real audience”.
‘Sesso occasionale’, a certified platinum record
A success that continues today with his first Italian Tour that has already sold out for many dates, in barely any time. “By being able to play live in front of as many people as possible, my most secret wishes are coming true. And finally after seeing my dreams halted so many times, realising that it’s finally going to happen… fills me with an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm”.
Born in Rome on 19 August 2002, Francesco Gheghi is a promising young actor in the Italian movie scene, who in only a few years has already worked with some of the most famous Italian actors, and always in leading roles.
He’s just finished shooting the upcoming film “Piove”, and the film “Il filo invisibile” was just released on Netflix, where he stars as Leone, the teenage son of two fathers. In May, the TV drama “A muso duro” will air on Rai, telling the story of the first Paralympics held in Rome in 1960, in which Francesco plays the role of a paraplegic athlete. In real life he loves sport: he enjoys swimming, playing football, skiing, biking and rock- climbing.
The words of an old Jovanotti song come to mind while we talk: “Sono un ragazzo fortunato, perché mi hanno regalato un sogno…” (“I’m a lucky guy, because they’ve given me a dream…”). And this is precisely Francesco Gheghi, a young professional with a great deal of drive to grow, to learn from older, more experienced colleagues, a young adult who’s grateful for his dream having come true: “being in all the scenes”.
“I started acting in elementary school” he tells me during our interview. “My first role was of Saint Francis: not because I earned it, but because my name was Francesco. That’s when I discovered that I liked acting. I graduated high school last year, which was an accomplishment.
I had missed so many days of school because I was shooting on the set of two movies, ‘Il filo invisibile’ and ‘Piove’. But it was very important to my mom that I earn my diploma. I got lucky though, since due to Covid the exam was held without a written part. I had a rather winding path through school, as I first began at a linguistic high school, thinking that speaking many languages would be useful for my acting career. But I didn’t like it so I switched to a sport science high school, because sport is another passion of mine. I didn’t like that one either. So finally I enrolled in a human sciences high school and found I was interested in the subjects. I also had good grades”.
Anna Ferzetti stands out among Italian actresses for her delicacy and elegance. As the daughter of the great actor Gabriele Ferzetti, she began breathing in the scent of art right away, a gift that she has cultivated with commitment and devotion.
Step by step on her tippy toes, Anna has created a significant space for herself in the world of entertainment. With a filmography including few, carefully selected projects, in recent years the actress has set herself apart as a personality worthy of interest within the national movie and TV scene. Most notably, she has won over critics and audiences thanks to her bright roles in productions for the younger public and in popular comedies, including the Netflix series “Curon”, where we rediscovered her in 2020. Recently she has been part of the cast of the successful RAI 2 series “Volevo fare la Rockstar”, but also of “Le Fate ignoranti” (“The Ignorant Angels”) based on the iconic Ozpetek movie.
When it comes to savoir-vivre, elegance and men’s style (concepts that are often overused but still hardly investigated in their countless nuances), Matthew Zorpas is the perfect person to examine the state of the art of everything relating to modern gentlemen’s customs and habits. Exactly ten years ago, this multifaceted Cypriot creative entrepreneur, Londoner by adoption, launched the site ‘The Gentleman Blogger’, which quickly became a touchstone for menswear and lifestyle in general, addressing outfits (often formal and highly recognised, for instance Esquire UK magazine included him in its annual ‘Best Dressed Men’ list in 2010) as well as travel (another passion and atout of the founder), wellness, tips for a community of passionate, demanding and cosmopolitan people.
In short, Zorpas proved to be a true forerunner of the matter, focusing on men and their interests well before the crowds of male influencers (or self-styled ones) on social media today. The numbers attest to his success, together with all the brands with which The Gentleman Blogger has collaborated over the years, from IWC to Tod’s, Fendi, Bentley, Nespresso and many others. We had the chance to talk with him during his shooting about what distinguishes true gentlemen today, the impact of Covid on men’s taste in clothing, the changes affecting the men’s fashion industry and society as a whole, from the transformations in the communication scenario full of influencers up to the metaverse.
For several years now you have been considered a role model for contemporary (and aspiring) gentlemen, as the title of your – very popular – blog suggests. What distinguishes a true gentleman in 2022, what are his qualities in terms of style and otherwise?
I have seen the definition, attitude and form of the term change over the last ten years. At the end of the day a gentleman is pure, it is all about soul. It’s not an act or a lifestyle but a living. It’s not a forced, well-thought-out bespoke suit, but a casual choice of dressing up. It is so much easier to dress like a gentleman today and yet so much harder to carry the qualities of one.
‘The Gentleman Blogger’ crosses the ten-year line this year. This platform allows you a privileged view of everything related to the male universe. In your opinion, what are the main changes that have affected menswear and, more in general, men’s lifestyle over this period of time?
I founded The Gentleman Blogger in 2012 and have been on this wonderful ride for ten years. I have seen the industry shift its attitude from arrogance towards influencers to embracing us, cheering us and choosing us. I have seen men’s lifestyle shift from proper and standard to relaxed and diverse.
You prefer a personal style marked by sophistication, elegance with an ‘old school’ flair for tailored suits, patterns and motifs in the best British traditions, tuxedos, perfectly cut garments. Yet the lockdown, remote working and other consequences of the pandemic have deeply changed (and often negatively) formal attire, which had already been affected by significant transformations caused by changing consumer tastes and habits. How do you think formal wear will change in the future?
Change is welcomed here. Fashion is an industry that must follow consumers: it is for the diverse and knowledgeable consumer. It will continue to reflect movements, political or environmental crises. It is our job to make sure it moves and changes, it predicts and follows. Sadly, those who hold back will fail. Don’t translate this as an expansion in offering choices and options, but more on doing what is true to the DNA of the maison and doing it well.
Covid also impacted influencers between restrictions, closures and other disruptions, prompting them to change the tone and type of content posted on Instagram, Facebook & Co. Not to mention that this industry was already grappling with unprecedented challenges, from the ‘saturation’ of space to the pitfalls of virtual ’competitors’, themetaverse and other innovations that could soon change social media as we know it. What can you tell us about this,what is the state of the art in influencing?
Influencers as an industry will be here to stay for many years ahead. Just like the publishing industry had its run, we will need to allow the digital space to expand, grow, develop and when the right time comes it will clear and decline. We have not experienced the peak yet, as we are only now experiencing the years of transition from offline to online. The upcoming generation Alpha is developed and dedicated to online only.
Speaking of the metaverse, what’s your take on this? Could – and should – gentlemen also carve out their own space in a virtual reality based on pixels and avatars?
I am aware of the metaverse, it is not my personal space or choice. I am aware of TikTok too, it’s not my space though. We need to remind everyone that we have a choice to be anywhere we want to be. New platforms or worlds shouldn’t be there to replace the old but to satisfy and please the consumer.
Travelling is one of your great passions, you have always cared about the world of hospitality and you have also collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism of your country Cyprus. After the Coronavirus ’storm’, do you think there will be structural changes in this sector?
With the beginning of the pandemic, every sector or industry had to implement structural changes, especially in the western world. From deliveries to production, to tourism and hospitality. With my team and the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism, we managed to put together the first open air social distancing ‘RoundTable’ event in 2020, followed by the ‘7AM campaign’ in 2021 and ‘ImagineBeingHere’ in 2022. We needed to rebuild the dream when there were no flights to the country, rebuild the need for people to visit when flights opened up again and now we are reminding visitors of both as we go back to normal.
Can you name at least three garments/accessories that should never be missing from the wardrobe, the ‘never without’ of every self-respecting gentleman?
There is absolutely no basic garment that anyone must own. We break every rule and every single one of us needs and should own whatever is necessary to them. I used to always say a double-breasted suit and a tuxedo. Now you can have a plain white t-shirt and Levi’s jeans and be a gentleman. Let’s move on with the times.
Although making predictions is risky, how do you imagine The Gentleman Blogger in ten years’ time? What might characterise the gentleman community in the near future?
The Gentleman Blogger has been a wonderful adventure. I’m quite pleased with the change, the innovation, the creativity, the passion and community that has loved and surrounded this amazing project for ten years. I have no predictions about how my next project will develop but I’m excited to embark on the next adventure with the strength, purity and health to fight for it to become a success.
Big eyes, intense gaze, a nervous physicality but with a touch of a dancer’s grace that makes her different from the classic stereotype on which most actresses of Italian scene are modeled, always slaves to a conventional idea of sensuality: this is Laura Adriani, Roman and yet looks a bit like some French girls, wearing something restless and tormented, terribly sexy.
She started when she was very young and she’s not 28 yet. She has starred in about ten films, often directed by quality directors such as Giuseppe Piccioni in Questi giorni and Silvio Soldini in Il colore nascosto delle cose. Above all, Laura has worked a lot in television, in small and medium roles in many TV dramas, a career without flashes but solid, more like a marathon runner than a sprinter, and this responds to her decisive, balanced personality.
We have just seen her in Cuori, Auditel champion series on Rai 1, we find her again in A casa tutti bene, reboot of Gabriele Muccino’s 2018 blockbuster film. The eight episodes, written and directed by the same director, are airing on Sky and streaming on NOW from yesterday December 20. The character played by Laura Adriani is Ginevra, second wife of Carlo (Francesco Scianna) eldest son of the Ristuccia family, a family of successful restaurateurs seen from the outside, highly dysfunctional family from the inside.
A sticky girl, Ginevra.
“She is, poor girl. She’s younger than her husband and he’s still very attached to his first wife (played by Euridice Axen, editor’s note), a very self-confident woman, very centered. But, you will see, in the course of the series, Ginevra will evolve and will reveal herself to be much more interesting than she seems at first sight”.
Now she seems to me a victim of a terrible retrospective jealousy. Are you also jealous in life?
“Not very much. I’m generally tolerant of human weaknesses. Betrayals are part of life. And of love. You cheat if you love, so everything is much more complicated. There are no black and whites. I’ve betrayed and I’ve been betrayed. I think, sooner or later, it can happen to everyone.”
I think Ginevra is so jealous of Carlo’s first wife partly because she was his mistress before he separated. She knows he is a potential cheater and is afraid of finding herself an “injured party.”
“I hadn’t thought about it, but I think you’re right. The truth is that this family is terribly conflicted and the moment she chose to stay with this man, she is in the middle of all their contradictions. But again, the further the series goes, the more surprising Geneva’s story arc will be.”
I’ll gladly wait, the series is a very successful family drama. But let’s go back to you. You’ve taken part in very popular, indeed national-popular series such as I Cesaroni. What memories do you have?
“I was young, still not very aware of many things. I had fun, I learned a lot, and if I think about it, it was an exciting and above all decisive period of my life”.
You graduated in Psychology. I gather that if you hadn’t been an actress, you would have been a psychologist.
“Yes, I think so. And anyway, as a second job, I already do it a little bit, in the sense that having studied these things turned out to be a really useful background in my job as an actress.”
Is the world of show business full of neurotics? Are sets psychodramas even offstage?
“A little bit, yes (laughs, ed.). And then having a background in psychology helps a lot to understand the characters, to study the dynamics with others, it is a really useful background”.
In the workplace, everyone has a role. For many years, you were the little one, the mascot. What was that like?
“I admit it wasn’t always easy. I felt a bit crushed, intimidated by the presence of the adult actors. Now it’s different, also because I get more relevant roles, for example I’m shooting a new series with Francesco Arca that will probably be called L’ultimo spettacolo and here I’m the female protagonist. For me, what counts is trying to establish an equal relationship with everyone. Once, on the set, we were crazed with heat, I asked for water, someone from the production team offered to fetch it for me, and I made it a point to say that they had to bring it to everyone, not just to me”.
It’s no longer a time for stardom.
“Not at all. This is a collective work, no one should feel left behind because they have fewer lines than someone else or because their name is not at the top of the title”.
You are also a singer, you participated in Ti lascio una canzone and you teach in the musical theatre school founded by your brother Daniele, who is a tenor.
“My brother is a real singer. I only studied singing; I don’t call myself a singer. The school is in Acilia, I led a course of acting, the students are young people and children, we put on many musicals, it is a beautiful experience and very enriching for those who teach.”
Don’t you want to get into musicals?
“I’ve done it before, actually. I played a musical called Next to Normal a few years ago. I loved it so much because, within a seemingly light genre like the musical, it dealt with the subject of bipolar disorders. It was a brilliant and profound show that, not surprisingly, won the Pulitzer Prize in America.”
Would you still do a musical?
“The problem is that in Italy, the repertoire of musicals is very limited. They always do the same things, rarely take risks with innovative texts like Next to Normal. There would be many other super interesting ones to adapt for Italy, but here we prefer to do Grease for the millionth time. Nothing against Grease, but it’s not for me”.
Manintown meets Max von Troschke, Managing Partner of skin689 (skincare luxury products made in Switzerland).
Max von Troschke is an entrepreneur in the luxury beauty and skincare routine’s field. A maximum expert to achieve eternal youth. When it comes to resolve problems for having a toned skin, he’s the voice to listen to. Man in Town met him and asked him some QS about the perfect and essential beauty routine for men.
Skin and beauty. What are the latest trends for radiant skin for a man?
Consumers are demanding in regard to performance – and knowledgeable in regard to ingredients. Among other things we see a continued trend towards performance with proven efficacy and active ingredients from medical research.
As a beauty expert, what does your product range offer to your clients in order to improve how they look? in other words, your brand philosophy.
We are all about firm skin and defined contours for the body. With innovative ingredients and proven efficacy.
Do’s and don’ts for men in the field of beauty treatment. Help our readers not to get lost in the welter of products on the market and recommend an effective essential routine.
As often less is more. Most treatments are only effective when done regularly. So when you cannot add it to your routine don’t even start. And look for proven efficacy.
Tell us about your new 2021 products.
We just launch a new crème for tummy and hips – with dual power against fat cells.
How was skin689 born? I guess constant training is necessary. What fascinates you about this world day after day?
We started off with a revolutionary active ingredient. This was discovered in medical research. In clinical studies we proved its effects on elasticity (collagen fibres) and fat cells – and brought it to cosmetics. At skin689 we are thrilled to bring true innovation to the market.
Your brand’s next goals.
We remain focused on the body, with cosmeceutical products that really work. For that, we keep researching and scouting for new ingredients to further boost the efficacy of our products.
Chef, TV host and influencer, Simone Rugiati managed to win us over immediately with his recipes. Lively, charismatic, and enterprising, the chef has created a creative Factory House, Food Loft Milano. We met him to discover the project up close.
How did your passion for food come about?
I have always been a big fan of cooking, ever since I was a child.
When I was young, my parents worked mornings and afternoons, with the consequence that they didn’t have the time to cook for me. My neighbor Gigliola, along with my grandmothers, took care of lunches, and I was always home with them. I remember that we would cook and play, and the fun activities would end by eating the dish we had prepared. I loved this magic of making, transforming, and eating.
I was very messy, curious, and lively, never sitting still, tasting, cooking, preparing, and eating. I was happy to see the main character, my grandmother, at the table. Without her, Sundays didn’t work: her cooking kept the whole family together (I still remember her saying: “buy the good stuff, that comes good”).
When I finished middle school, I enrolled in culinary school for hotel management.
How were you able to turn cooking into work?
After school, I started working around trying to stay in different places for a short time to gain more experience in the shortest time possible. However, I realized that being inside a restaurant was not enough for me: I wanted to invent, but above all, I missed being in contact with the raw material. When you work in a restaurant, you have to adapt: I needed to give space to my creativity. I started reading cookbooks, but even those seemed banal. Later, I went to work in Parma in a publishing house that produced culinary magazines. This editorial group has allowed me to observe starred restaurants and test the cuisine of great chefs.
In the meantime, I started taking pictures and got used to the cameras. At first, I was afraid of being on television because I thought I wasn’t up to it. Then I realized how important the world of communication and media was in my field.
My television career began with “Il Piatto forte” on Canale 5, hosted by Iva Zanicchi. That was followed by <<La Prova del Cuoco>>, with Antonella Clerici, not to forget the twelve years at <<Gambero Rosso>>. Finally, I moved to <<La 7>> and <<Food Network>>.
I did not want to open a classic restaurant but a laboratory. This business allows me to provide all-around services that go beyond single dish preparation. In fact, with the studio, we can distribute real content, take photos and produce videos. I am happy with the context I have created: through a trusted videomaker, I have equipped myself with lights, lenses, and everything necessary to produce formats not only for the web but also for companies and television productions.
Our mission is to create an audio-video package for bands. Food loft was born seven years ago when I decided to stop always going around to create content: it was time to have a unique space all my own, with a single professional kitchen, versatile for any situation. That is an easily brandable base of operations, suitable for creating and catering service and all the various productions mentioned above.
Any plans for the future?
We’re trying to work with increasingly sustainable companies that embrace the principles of the green attitude. These years more than ever have shown how fundamental it’s the environment, even in the kitchen. I continue to specialize in content production: the ultimate goal is to interface directly with clients, providing them with a complete package. Finally, I can’t deny that I would like to spend more time in Kenya, which has become my second home.
Chef in Town- a food and beverage column curated by
Meet Brandon Jay McLaren of Netflix series FIREFLY LANE in a quick conversation with MANINTOWN.
Ph: Felipe Sanclemente
Firefly Lane is the new top of the chart Netflix series inspired by the New York Times bestselling books by author Kristin Hannah. It is a story about love, loss, and the magic of friendship. In the Netflix series, you play Travis. Tell us about him. If you had to introduce him to our audience, how would you describe him?
Travis is a fellow PTA parent and friend of Kate’s daughter’s best friend. He’s a widow with a big heart and an equally big attraction to Kate. That being said, he’s sweet and respectful and thinks the world of Kate. Now that Kate is going through a divorce, he can finally acknowledge his feelings for her and see where they lead.
Brandon, tell us about what inspired you to be an actor. Which one, if you could choose, is your favorite character played so far?
I was inspired to be an actor because it gave me an outlet to express things that I didn’t feel I had permission to do in my real life.
DALE JAKES from the show GRACELAND is my favorite character I’ve played so far. I had so much fun on the show. I loved my co-stars, and the creator/showrunner Jeff Eastin created such a compelling character in JAKES. Jeff also gave me a lot of room to make him my own.
Is there someone in cinema/tv that you look up to and who has somehow influenced and inspired you in your acting career?
I have a lot of admiration for Jordan Peele, and I was lucky enough to work on his project “THE TWILIGHT ZONE.” I am inspired by what he has created as a filmmaker and as a creator/producer.
Passions, apart from acting, tell us what drives your interest?
I am currently working hard on the development side of things. I want to give people who may otherwise have been looked over the opportunity to tell their stories and shine.
Your favorite inspirational quote?
My favorite inspirational quote is, “Time waits for no man, although I control the slow hand.”
To me, it means that although a lot of things in our lives are out of my hands, the few things I can control I can focus on and maybe change the trajectory of my life.
Food and Travel: favorite cuisine/ dish and first destination post-pandemic, unrelated to work travel.
I don’t have a favorite cuisine. It depends very much on what mood I’m in. The first place I’m going post-pandemic is Grenada, and I will be eating the national dish OIL DOWN, extra pigtail. My father is from Grenada, while my mother is from Trinidad. Both places have always been important to me. I’ve been going there since I was a young child, and it’s still the first place I go after I’ve filmed something or when I have a chunk of time off. For me, it’s a place to visit family, recalibrate, and ground myself. I also am involved with a charity there called REACH WITHIN. The mission is to improve the future outcomes of vulnerable children in Grenada with wellness programs. I ran my first marathon in Grenada to help raise money for Reach Within, and in 2019 I ran the NYC marathon for Reach Within as well. You can get more info about the cause at www.reachwithin.org or on Instagram @reach.within
Fashion: what do you think of it, what is fashion for you, and which style represents you best.
For me, fashion is comfort. Jeans, a pair of Jordan 4’s, a tee and a leather jacket and I’m good.
Future Projects for Brandon. What is ahead for you, any new project you can mention?
I am currently shooting the reboot of TURNER AND HOOCH on Disney +. It will be released sometime in 2021.
“All our lives, we have heard our father called Maestro, and that has always made us proud of him, now that they call us Maestro, we know that it is our father who is very proud of us.”
Barbera Sandro & Figli is an artisan company rooted in a long tradition of working with leather to create fine, entirely handmade footwear. For over 50 years, our family has been producing shoes according to our area’s ancient shoemaking traditions.
Founded in 1968 in Biella, thanks to our parents’ will, Sandro and Luciana, Barbera Sandro & Figli has its headquarters in the city.
Just on the occasion of our 50th year of activity, the company obtained the recognition of “Eccellenza Artigiana Piemonte”; an award followed by “Eccellenze Italiane” and “Artigiano del Cuore.” Together with the collaboration with leading companies in the fashion industry, three awards have filled us with pride and satisfaction for our work.
Barbera shoes are unique and completely customizable models because they are created one at a time and proudly Made in Italy.
The desire is to offer a refined, long-lasting accessory to meet each customer’s style and comfort needs. The collections range from the most youthful, modern, and exclusive models to the classic and timeless ones (both for men and women).
Each shoe is produced with the utmost care, aimed at searching for the best materials (strictly Made in Italy), design and development of exclusive processes and colors, such as hand-dyed, stone waxed, and garment-dyed.
Let’s review the history of the company with Andrea Barbera.
Tell us about your journey and how your company was born.
Barbera Sandro e Figli is an artisan workshop producing quality footwear for over 50 years, strictly by hand and selecting 100% Made in Italy materials. The company was started in 1968 by our parents Sandro and Luciana, and over the years we brothers, Stefano and Andrea, took over.
For both of us to continue the family business was a natural path. It was born by learning the trade secrets from our father and, above all, being “infected” by his passion.
The aim is to create unique products with our own hands, capable of enclosing all the beauty and quality of Italian handmade products.
How do you carry on the tradition while keeping up with the times?
For us, making shoes by hand means creating elegant footwear and researching innovative processes and materials to ensure maximum comfort to our customers even when they buy a leather shoe. After long years of studies, we have reached this goal, experience in the field, and the continuous updating on the market news. Besides, we wanted to give a green footprint to many of our collections, selecting eco-friendly materials, such as Merino wool for our iconic Wooly, or ecological rubber for the soles.
We also focused a lot on the digital sphere, making ourselves known and keeping a channel of communication open with our customers near and far. We have opened our social media with Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube and created a website with e-commerce, to be always reachable and tell a bit of us to those who follow us.
What are the iconic pieces that characterize the brand?
Our Wooly unisex sneaker is one of the most appreciated creations. It was created in collaboration with the designers of Reda Active.
It is a New Zealand Merino wool shoe, a tribute to our land known for its fine fabrics. Thanks to this material’s properties, it can be worn all year round (wool provides exceptional thermal comfort) and can be combined with a casual style, but also with a broken dress.
To celebrate our 50 years of activity, instead, we have created our Barberini, Belgian loafers with an exclusive design, made of calfskin, suede, and fabrics and with Flex processing, which combines maximum comfort with an elegant and ultra-trendy style. Last but not least, the Multicolor shoes that have made us known all over the world. This is a line of men’s brogues entirely handmade and dyed. One of their strengths lies in the extensive possibilities of customization, as the customer can choose the color of every single part of the shoe.
Which craft techniques are part of your heritage and still used today?
As already mentioned, we make extensive use of the Black Flex technique, one of our exclusive processes, which increases the shoe softness, giving it a particular aesthetic, but above all, considerable flexibility. Another traditional method that we still use for some models is hand dyeing, which gives the shoes unique shades of color.
Finally, there is the “stonewashed” process: as the name suggests, with this technique, shoes are “washed” with stones to give them a vintage effect, soften the leather and create a unique texture, with a gritty and very current style.
Plans for the future and what strategies are you developing to overcome this moment.
In this period, we are focusing a lot on the digital part: we continue to invest in online communication, but also to implement new services to meet the needs of our customers, such as the Virtual Shop.
The latter consists in the possibility of scheduling a video call on WhatsApp to virtually enter our laboratory and get advice on the sizes and style of our models. Beyond the fact that the relationship with people is one of the aspects we love most about our work, today more than ever, we believe that the human connection, even if at a distance, makes the difference for our customers and us.
If you were to start a band, what name would you give it? Certainly, not Pregoblin, unless you wanted it to be a Black Metal band. Nonetheless this weird choice, turned out to be winning: when, years ago, I read this name among some emerging British bands, this was the only one that stuck in my mind. The Pregoblin mystery became greater due to their minimal Facebook page, where you could see a little girl’s faded and ruined picture, which seemed coming from a countryside tombstone at the mercy of the elements. No further information other than a puzzling collage of pictures apparently devoid of a logical meaning. Then, suddenly, in 2019, their debut with the most beautiful and catchy single of the year applauded by the specialised critics: “Combustion”.
I found out that there were two members in the band: charming Alex Sebley, a true Baudelairian dandy of the Suburbia, completely immersed in opium smoke and his creativity and Jessica Winter, wonderful in her vintage glasses and her look (luckily) so distant from the trivial and mundane beauty standards of the underground music scene. Previously they have both worked with famous artists such as Fat White Family, Gorillaz and The Horrors. After their debut with “Combustion”, Pregoblin have released a handful of pieces. Four, to be more specific, four gems, all very different, but at the same time impeccable due to their clear-crystal pop auteur lyrics. The latest is the magnificent and dreamy “Snakes and oranges” a small masterpiece that enters your mind and stays there.
Alogside Pregoblin, Jessica Winter has her solo career. Her angel voice immediately stands out out in her 2019 debut piece “Sleep Forever”.
This piece is followed by more singles all contained in a five piece EP “Sad Music”. The sound is still pop, but, compared to Pregoblin, the arrangements are more sophisticated and the atmospheres more theatrical.
Jessica’s latest single “Psycho”, a song with an epic and mysterious rhythm, comes with a particularly eccentric and disquieting video.
Jessica and Pregoblin are an adorable anomaly, made with ingredients that are often deliberately (and not only apparently) chaotic and unlikely, but always traversed by a true poetic vein filled with marvellous melancholy, which proudly stands out against the glamorous and artificial current musical landscape. This is why I recommend that you check out their music and fall in love it: you won’t regret it.
Here is my interview with Jessica Winter where she reveals how Pregoblin got together and why they chose such a weird name, she also tells us about her health problems, which have never stopped her and other odd things..
Hi Jessica, thank you for this interview for the readers of MANINTOWN! Can you tell us how you met Alex Sebley and how you got the idea of forming Pregoblin and why did you choose that name for the band?
Me and Alex met on facebook – he was promoting a Harry Merry show and I’m a big fan of Harry. Alex being Alex had set up the show but no ticket link. I messaged him about buying a ticket and from there we got chatting. It’s weird though because we later found out we were both from Hayling Island; an island next to Portsmouth. We chose the name PREGOBLIN because we were booked to play a show but had no name so it started as a bit of a joke but then it stuck. The drug pregablin helps people get off heroin but also treats people with chronic pain. So we have that drug in common.
You call your music “weird pop”. In fact it defies any classification. It’s catchy, but at the same time, it doesn’t want to be main stream. Would you like to say something about this?
People like to be challenged
I have always admired you for the natural way you’ve never made a mystery of your physical condition due to hip dysplasia. Can you tell how you relate to this condition and if it has influenced your artistic career.
I’ve had many a lock down through my life in hospital. Have spent 6 weeks at a time lying on my back not being able to move from the waist down which has probably influenced my work ethic; I’m very grateful to be able to do music as a career and I work very hard whilst I’m healthy enough too. I don’t let things stress me out too much and I’m grateful for pedestrian activities such as being able to walk, being outside and just generally being alive. Life is such a privilege and I always have a feeling that it can quickly be taken away at any time.
I have seen you many times live and each time I have thought you were fantastic. I have always been very intrigued by how you appear on stage: how you move defies all the stereotypes about a frontwoman. What do you think about this statement and do you like to perform?
Thank you ! I haven’t given it too much thought to be honest. I perform how feels comfortable to me. I love to dance, I always have… when I’m on stage I lose the pain… it must be the adrenaline… I pay for it the next day but in those moments it’s worth it. I love to entertain and bring a bit of joy to anyone watching. I think with anything it’s important to not take yourself too seriously!!
Recently your beautiful single “Psycho” was released with a very intriguing and quite unsettling video. Can you tell us how it was made?
This song came about in a very sterile setting. I was being courted by Warp Publishing and they had offered to put me in a one week ‘writing camp.’ Each day would be with a new stranger; some were producers, some were artists, some were writers and by the end of each day you would deliver a new song. I thought the whole thing sounded so revolting that I just HAD to do it. By the third or fourth day I was coming to terms with the anxiety of meeting new people and I was put with Bobby aka S Type and an artist called LYAM. These two people happened to be amazing; we spent the day writing a song which I remember was quite good but then LYAM had to leave early. Bobby and I had two hours left so we just started jamming… 2 hours later PSYCHO was born. It all happened so quick that I never even registered that it could be a good song. It was only until a year later that we both revisited and were like ’this is good’ so I did a proper vocal take and drafted in Gam from SWEAT to lay some strings down and it was done. There’s something to be said that when you create something so flippantly, without thinking about it too much, or caring too much you probably have less chance of ruining it.
When is your solo album due?
I’m still deciding. Right now I’m just writing writing writing. I love EPs though a small collection of songs… not too little… not too much.
How do you relate to the legendary South London Scene? Are there artists or groups you feel more attuned to?
The ’South London Scene’ – there are so many scenes within South London but I think the one you are referring to is the one surrounding The Windmill? I feel Tim Perry is responsible for bringing this community together. He is always booking diverse acts and genres. He’s supported me in both solo and PREGOBLIN and is always coming up with new ways of bringing people together. I bumped into him on the street about a month ago and even though live music has been axed this year, he was talking to me about doing some kind of space opera and bringing in different musicians from different bands to make this night happen. Love him!
What is your musical background and what do you listen mostly to in this moment?
I was about 2 years old with a back brace holding my legs in the splits… the keys would keep me entertained for hours! My Nan paid for piano lessons from when I was about 4 and from that point on I was learning classical.
I’ve been listening to Amara ctk100, 100 Gecs, Jazmin Bean, Salvia, ShyGirl, A G Cook, Sorry, Grace Lightman, Deep Tan, SWEAT, Comanavago, Lauren Auder, Eartheater, Daniel Johnston, Cottontail, Slayyter, Lynks, Diane Chorely, Lucy Loone, Zheani, Sundara Karma, Squid, Tïna, ZAND and moreee
About Pregoblin, after your debut with the pop masterpiece “Combustion”, you released a series of very different singles: “Anna”, “Love Letters”, “Gangsters”, and my favourite, the wonderful “Snakes & Oranges”. When is the release of your first much awaited album due and what should we expect?
We are hoping to start the album early next year. We already have been writing lots of new demos…… <3
Favourite film and book?
Adams Family & “Perfume” (by Süskind)
Is becoming a rockstar something you look forward to or you don’t particularly care?
Griffin Matthews is a writer, director, activist, and actor. The actor of “Dear White People” has emerged as one of the most sought after multi-hyphenate talents today. Coming off of a breakout year in 2019 with performances in “Dear White People” (Netflix) and “Ballers” (HBO), he has proven that he is an undeniable force, captivating audiences through his scene-stealing performances.
This year, Griffin can be seen starring in HBO Max’s highly anticipated drama series “The Flight Attendant,” opposite Kaley Cuoco. The series follows Cassie (Cuoco), a flight attendant who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and with no idea of what happened. Griffin shines as Shane Evans, Cassie’s flight attendant “work friend” who also carries his own set of secrets. Their friendship is put to the test when Cassie’s life begins to unravel and everyone’s truths start spilling out.
Here you are some questions we asked to Matthews Griffin and about his career , to know more about his talent. Enjoy our interview!
How did you discover your passion for writing, directing, acting?
I’ve been performing since I was a child. In my living room. For my parents. For my brothers. I have never not been performing. It’s part of my DNA. Acting became a real lifelong pursuit when I had to decide what I wanted to study in college. I got into Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious School of Drama to study musical theater. It was in that environment where I really became passionate about storytelling, not only as an actor, but also as a singer, dancer, writer, director. I realized that I could do much more than I had ever dreamed!
How did your career change your life?
Working in this business means that your life is constantly morphing. Always changing. We do not have 9-5 jobs. We work odd hours. Travel to new places. Worry about stability and money. Fight to keep our relationships intact. This career costs a lot. BUT it allows me to constantly grow and learn and get better. Better as a performer and human.
What was the most challenging achievement of your career?
I think the most challenging achievement has been staying patient and hopeful. I’m 38 years old. It’s taken me so long to breakout in this industry. I’m really proud to have stuck it out. To have waited patiently. To have gone to all the auditions. To have survived all of the rejection. Obviously, I have much more to achieve in this industry, but I’m really proud of “The Flight Attendant.” I feel so lucky to be a part of this show!
As a black gay man, have you had any struggles in getting the roles you played?
My main struggle has been proving to the world and this industry that I can be more than the “silly gay best friend.” Sometimes the roles are so underwritten or are so cliché. They lack specificity. They lack humanity. They lack depth. So every time I get the chance to tackle a role, I do everything in my power to bring authenticity to him. To use my own life experiences. To be vulnerable and intelligent and nuanced. My goal is always for the viewing audience to see something new; to change the way they think about us. To realize that we can be more onscreen and off.
How was working with stars like Kaley Cuoco as her work friend in “The Flight Attendant?”
I’ve loved every minute of working with Kaley. We formed a genuine friendship while filming this show. We just clicked. From the moment that we met at my final audition and all the way through filming—we had instant chemistry. She’s hilarious! In real life. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. We spent most of our time together just cracking each other up and I think that really shows up in our performances on “The Flight Attendant.”
How was it filming part of the series in Rome?
I loved Rome more than I can express. It is a magical, romantic city. The culture, the food, the Italian hospitality, the fashion, the historic sites. I was so blown away! On my days off, I would spend hours alone just walking the streets, stopping in shops and cafes. Talking to strangers. I felt so at home there. I have officially claimed Italy as my second home.
How important has it been for you, on a personal level, playing a black gay men in “Dear White People “ and why?
Playing D’Unte on the third season of “Dear White People” changed my life and career. That character allowed me to be big on screen. I couldn’t shrink when I stepped on set. I had to take risks. Say controversial things. Wear risqué clothes. D’Unte never apologized for being loud, queer, and excellent. He taught me to be loud, queer, and excellent onscreen and off.
What has been the most powerful lesson in your experience…
Trust my instincts. When I trust my own intuition, I find that I can live with the consequences both good or bad. And when I deny my instincts, I have regrets. I’m trying to have far less regrets in my life.
Pilot, influencer, blogger, and writer Patrick Beidenkapp is well-known worldwide thanks to his digital platforms. Well-equipped, with his Drone, GoPro, and cameras, this thirty-year-old man travels around Europe shooting amazing photos. However, how can a pilot have so many followers? We asked him this very question in this interview…
How did you become a pilot?
To become a pilot, I attended a specific professional flying school. Even though having a university degree is always recommended, I decided to drop off, leave my academic studies and I directly enrolled in a flying school which, by having several exams periodically, allowed me to access the final test to become a pilot. This is a real school, that directly guides you to the final goal.
Before the arrival of the most important day, there are many tests to pass, such as theoretical exams about a strict and full knowledge of the weather and how it can easily change, especially at high altitude, of the structure of an airplane and all its parts, etc. Moreover, there were also practical exams. In the end, here I am, a 32-year-old pilot-influencer who started flying 20 years ago.
Despite being pilot, you are also a famous influencer, with almost 800,000 followers. How can you combine the two jobs?
Being a pilot hasn’t just been my profession since ever, but it is also my greatest passion. All my life has been imprinted to reach this goal. Being an influencer/blogger is a spontaneously- born activity, as a simple consequence. I have never forced it, I simply wanted to tell my followers my everyday life, the real-life of a pilot. No one had thought about it before (at least, not on social networks).
In a short time, I realized that people loved my content and so I properly equipped myself, as a real influencer (with a camera, a drone, and a GoPro) and the activity started to catch on… Now I do two different jobs. To be sincere, in the last few months I couldn’t fly because of Covid-19 and so I could work much more on my social networks.
Among all the things you do, you also wrote a book. Why? What is it about?
The book “My glamorously unglamorous life as a jet-set pilot” was written by me, as a pilot, and it tells my story, how I reached this goal and all the experiences that were necessary to achieve this notorious title. I wrote what I usually don’t say on social media. Everyone thinks that being a pilot is an easy and luxurious job, and that’s why I decided to talk about the more fragile and negative aspects of this profession. I get naked by telling shocking moments that I have experienced, stories of people I had on board, problems related to the world of aviation.
I fight on the front line, and this book proves it so that one day even our sector will be featured by equality, where today, unfortunately, prejudices about sexual orientation and skin color are still the order of the day. Writing this book has been a form of personal liberation. I strongly hope that it will open the eyes of those who hope to work in this sector with all of themselves.
Since I was young, I have always wanted to write a book to tell my story. Many people think that I tell all my life on social media, but the fact is that I show only a small part of myself, skipping some important pieces that I never talk about. With the book, I could express all of myself without filters.
Will you keep on being both an influencer and a pilot in future? Who do you imagine yourself in 10 years?
Pilot and influencer are two jobs that go perfectly together: I am more and more passionate about photos and videos! In 10 years, I imagine myself as a spokesperson for diversity, an example for those who do this work. I want them to be able to work feel free to be themselves, without prejudices. I also dream to open a shop where I can sell products related to the world of aviation. Finally, I would like to convince people to be proud of who they are and to motivate them to pursue their dreams freely, no matter their sexual orientation and the color of their skin.
Ludovico Tersigni is among the most talented actors who belong to a new Italian generation that is having great success, especially thanks to Netflix. His success is due to his participation in two of the most loved and followed series, not only by teenagers, such as Skam Italia and Summertime. Very shy and not inclined to social media, we met him in Rome, where, exclusively for MANINTOWN, he dressed as a dandy, the protagonist of a Roman night in the 30’s in this special service you will discover here.
How was your passion for cinema born?
The passion for theatre and music (I love playing the guitar) was born first while the one for cinema came later. I started when I was in primary school with my first performances and then I kept on cultivating this passion at an amateur level in middle and high school.
When did you tell yourself “I want to be an actor”?
I haven’t said it yet! It was a very smooth thing and I tried to seize all the opportunities. I made my first movie, Arance e Martello (Oranges and Hammer), with Diego Bianchi and that audition was my chance. I was selected to play a role and then the movies went to Venice, where I met Vittorio Pistoia, who asked me if I wanted to be part of his agency to give it a try, and I accepted, even if I still had to graduate.
Nobody has seen my degree since but, on the other hand, I did many things, many auditions and I kept on playing very formative roles in the following years. It has been a difficult journey, for example the movie called “Slam. Tutto per una ragazza” with Andrea Modaioli. I needed to train because the protagonist was a skater and I had to reach a good level in a very short time. It’s a risky sport that can cause many injuries. Therefore, performing with the idea that I shouldn’t hurt myself has been a great challenge.
You love challenges…
Not only in the cinema, but also in sports, such as climbing, where risk is more controlled; you know your level when you approach a wall and you know you are safe.
According to you, why did Skam Italia have an incredible success?
Skam Italia is the loyal portrait of today’s reality. The success is due to this loyalty. The producers, directors and actors don’t want to provide a model, but an idea of what high school is for us today. In addition, they want to underline the complex issues that everyone has to face in the age of the constitution of our personality, memories that will stay with us forever. In my opinion, this is the strongest point of Skam: its non-belligerence towards young people. It is a declaration of alliance, “we are by your side”. It is also a question: “we believe that these things exist, have they ever happened to you?”. The best thing is that they answer, empathize, and talk about them. Moreover, the series has been able to involve different generations.
In the series, your character evolves and grows. How much of you is there in Giovanni, your character?
In Giovanni there is perhaps a part of me that I have left aside. Nobody would like to grow up. As Caparezza says: “I have a project in my mind, to be a teenager forever”. Giovanni is like the sum of the experiences that I had in high school and that remained unexpressed.
Did you watch the other version of Skam?
Yes, but after season 1. I watched the first episode before starting to shoot and something of Skam France and it was interesting to see different interpretations and themes in each country. I think that Skam is one of the best projects I have ever participated in.
Did Summertime arrive after Skam? How did you experience it?
It’s definitely an entertaining series and its goal is to be more welcoming, aiming at a wider audience. On a social level, Skam is a mine because it opens up spaces. On the other hand, Summertime welcomes and they cannot be compared.
According to you, why are we experiencing a wave of teen-genre TV series?
I think that it’s due to the age of the audience that today it is very young. For example, when I was in middle school, I used to go to the cinema with my friends at the weekend. It was a habit and we used to fight even over the choice of the movie. It’s a completely different method of use. I am sorry to see that young people are very “addicted” to screens; if there were more balance, they probably would choose to do other activities too.
Today the youngs are also very linked to social media. You are a slightly different example…
Time management is very delicate. You risk spending one or two hours in front of your mobile and then you haven’t done anything. You saw some of your friends’ photos and what they did in their IG stories, you “joined” their lives, but in a virtual way. Therefore, my question is: are we still able to stay together in real time, to go out, organize, leave and do things in order to meet? Or is talking on the phone enough to have that relationship? This is why I am trying to invest my time also in other things that are not only virtual.
What passions do you cultivate in your free time?
In the last few years, I had a manual crisis; I realized I wasn’t able to do many things by hand and I started a journey that touched many fields, from restoration (I attended a luthier academy) to creating an acoustic guitar. I realized how manual work helps to free the mind because concentration makes you forget what you are thinking about and, therefore, thoughts clear up. Doing something by hand, focusing on something and then seeing the work finished is not just a great satisfaction, but it’s also a sort of therapy. Now, I am attending a clay sculpture course and I have recently finished my first Venus and I am also building a very difficult horse bust. It takes me a lot of time, but my teacher is happy.
What projects do you have for this summer 2020?
We are working on the second season of Summertime and we are leaving all together for Ravenna soon. In the new series, there will be interesting developments and growth in the characters, who met last year… stay tuned!
Manintown x Gucci
Photography: Manuel Scrima @manuelscrima
Video: Marlon Rueberg @marlonrueberg
Camera operator: Jacopo Lupinella @jacopolupinellaph
Talent: Ludovico Tersigni @ludovicotersigni
Art Direction & Styling: Giorgia Cantarini @giorgiacantarini
Styling Assistant: Giorgia Musci @mushiland
Grooming: Francesca Bova @francesca_bova_
Location: Hotel Valadier – Roma @hotel.valadier
Production: Manintown @manintownofficial
Theme SHIFT#4 BY XU & TIM ROWE from BLUESHIFT
Special thanks: Sonia Rondini e Lapalumbo comunicazione
About a decade ago the rock music scene seemed quite dead. I couldn’t find anything particularly interesting among the records released in that period. I clearly remember that one day, by chance, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube of a live exhibition by a group called Fat White Family. I was totally flabbergasted. I had a closer look and my first feeling was confirmed: finally after so many years I was before a musically unclassifiable band, endowed with a deadly mix of desecrating anti conformism.
I eagerly looked up everything I could find about them on video. I noticed that almost all their videos were by a Lou Smith. I made some research and found out that Lou Smith had made the live recordings of other interesting groups and that, almost always, these recordings came from a venue in London, more specifically in Brixton, called the Windmill. I was surprised by the freshness and the quality of these bands. Besides Fat White Family, I was impressed by many others such as “Meatraffle”, “Warmduscher”, “Pregoblin”, “Goat Girl”, “Madonnatron”. I also found that those bands were not only all from London, but from the southern part of the city: a music scene so rich of styles and genres that had developed just in a few neighbouring districts.
Years later, while I was still eagerly following Lou Smith’s new recordings, I went to London and entered the Windmill in Brixton for the first time. I remember I was really thrilled. The same thrill you feel when you know that one of your dreams is about to be fulfilled. I entered and was immediately taken aback by the kindness of the staff and by the fact that the place was anything but glittering and fashionable: a cozy local pub with a stage at the end bar with a colourful curtain and the logo placed in foreground. I thought it was amazing and beautiful that all those bands had been on that small and plain stage. But that night something else that had a strong impact on me happened; I caught a glimpse of someone who looked familiar. I walked near and realized I was before the person thanks to whom I was there in that moment: Lou Smith! I introduced myself and greeted him. We became good friends and met-up each time I was in London for a gig. Always at the Windmill obviously.
Due to Coronavirus the Windmill is at risk of closure. It would be something sad and terrible. Here is the link for those who want to take part in the crowdfunding and save this historic venue.
Here is my interview with Lou in which he will tell us about his life, his relationship with the Windmill and the Fat White Family and how and why this incredible music scene started specifically in the South of London.
Can you tell us something about yourself and your many projects?
I was born in Leeds, the son of a geologist father and a creative, artistic mother. We moved to Uxbridge, a west-London suburb when I was 14. It was 1976 the long, hot summer when punk hit the streets of London and the airwaves. I got my first camera during this period, but never took it to any of those early gigs which were perilous affairs with warring factions such as Teds, Rockers, Punx, Skinz etc. I would not have felt safe carrying my camera on the tube back then. I mostly took landscapes, some people and animal shots and documented some of my early travel experiences. I became interested in the alternative music that was played on John Peel’s 10-12pm slot every night listening to the likes of the Clash, The Fall, The Cure, The Ruts, Undertones and countless others including Ska and Reggae artists, setting me apart from the mainstream tastes of my school which were generally heavy rock and later heavy metal. Live, among others, I saw Joy division, The Jam, The Clash, The Cure, The Smiths and even Kate Bush.
After finishing school and being invalided out of my Biochemistry degree at Imperial College, I found a squat in Brixton in 1983 at the age of 21. I have lived and worked in South London ever since then, moving to Camberwell and later East Dulwich where I still live. I have worked as a video engineer, as a set builder/designer/Assistant Art Director/ Art director on countless music promo videos including Prodigy’s Firestarter and Breathe and Nick Cave/ Kylie Minogue’s where the wild Roses Grow and as a freelance photographer, videographer, director and editor of music videos. I have taught myself photography, metalwork including welding and silversmithing, carpentry and more recently screen-printing which has earned me a living in recent years, throwing screen-printing parties for children and making band merchandise for the South London music scene artists.
When and why did you start filming and keeping track of what was happening at the Windmill and other venues in South London?
I first started filming some of the regular musicians playing at Hank Dog’s Easycome Acoustic night then hosted by The Old Nun’s Head pub in Nunhead. It became a regular Wednesday night social event for me during the early years of my daughter Iris’s life, a vital safety valve and artistic endeavour away from the domesticity of family life. I uploaded footage to my YouTube channel of artists such as Lewis Floyd Henry, Boycott Coca-Cola Experience (now Flameproof Moth) Andy (Hank Dogs) Allen himself, Ben Folke Thomas and sister & brother Misty and Rufus (Popskull) Miller.
Onto this relatively tranquil but musically and socially excellent scene burst the then named Champagne Holocaust who first appeared there on the 9th February 2011 where they played a cover of The Monk’s I hate You and handful of their own songs including Borderline and Wild American Prairie. The lineup was the Brothers Saoudi, Saul Adamczewski and backing singers Anna Mcdowell and Georgia Keeling. There was a drummer too that could’ve been Chris OC. Lias (Saoudi) was on guitar and Saul on vocals and tambourine. I did record this show, but somehow managed to lose the original files except for the I Hate You song that I had uploaded to my channel.
They played several more acoustic gigs at Easycome during February and March. From here, I followed the band to their first full line-up gig at The Windmill around the 11th April 2011.
Joining Saul, Lias and Nathan were Dan Lyons on drums and Jak Payne (Metros) on Bass. I had a camera and by using some crack software called Magic Lantern I was able to record at least decent sound as well which made the documenting of live music events from a single source in high quality HD possible for really the first time.
When did you first set foot in the Windmill? Which was the most the most unforgettable night?
That’d be the 11th April 2011 as outlined above, though I do have some distant memory of being dragged there years previously as I had been living in Brixton since the eighties. There were so many great nights there, but the truly transcendental nights for me were always those including FWF or Warmduscher in the line-up. Jack Medley’s big send-off and fundraiser was a spiritually intense affair; the love was so thick you could spread it, and it featured both Warmduscher and Fat White Family. I loved the anarchic feel of the early Fat White gigs and the intense feelings of belonging to a family, of something bigger than the sum of its parts. I’ve had some great time there on Meatraffle nights too and their sister band Scud Fm as well as Shame, Sleaze, Amyl and the Sniffers and Goat Girl.
How important was the Windmill to the “creation” of the South London scene? Can you tell us something about your relation with that fantastic venue?
I don’t think it is hyperbole to suggest that the SLS as we know it would not have been what it is without the Windmill. It’s hard to put your finger exactly on why this is, but the single biggest reason would be Tim Perry the venue’s booker, who’s mixture of great musical taste, avuncular championing of the talented underdog (and over dog) and also his well-honed bullshit detector which inherently weeded out wankers and pseuds. The venue has always attracted the best of sound engineers and the sound quality has always been a key component of the greatness of the whole experience.
Bands are truly supportive of each other here with none of the cool, aloof rivalry I have experienced in many of the North London venues. Once The Windmill’s output and reputation reached a critical mass it of course formed its own gravity which meant a convergence of talent to its doors in order to get some of the magic to rub off. I am proud to have contributed to this process in a small way by the growing archive of my YouTube channel which has helped share some of the amazing roster of talent on display with a growing global audience.
Were you the first to document the Fat White Family’s gigs? Did you understand their potential immediately? Can you tell us what you think of the band?
I can confidently state that I was the first and the most dedicated of their documenters. I did feel from the outset that they were capturing the zeitgeist of the growing feelings of nihilism, of the disgust and utter contempt for the treatment meted out to the commoners by the tide of gentrifiers and of cynical neo lib politicians and global financiers. It reminded me of the spirit of ’76 and reignited the passion I felt for those pioneering punk bands. The word around them grew organically in ripples and the family grew, not yet in a hyped way, but in what felt like an authentic extension of the excitement of their live shows. Something about the seedy and abusive interrelations between the core members, notably Saul and Lias, and the readiness if not glee with which they tackled taboo and degenerate subject matter with a sort of humour and even sickness bordering on certifiable and definitely questionable and unsavoury made them compelling to watch. The tribal, totemic lyrics that nobody thought to question set to sexy, dirty, lo-fi country psyche grooves made for an intoxicating whole, with Lias honing his Gollomesque shrieking and unpredictable falsetto persona whipping up audiences into a frenzy whilst Saul, like some demonic angel stoking the sonic encouragement with his gap toothed grimace and genius guitar licks. The rest of the members were by necessity required to be degenerate / genius by degree.
In your opinion, how is it possible that so many interesting bands come from that part of London?
My take on this was that the insidious wave of gentrification, which to my eyes started when the heart was ripped out of Covent Garden in the late seventies. Then great swathes of first the north and by degrees the west and then south west of London fell to ruthless and homogenous ranks of ‘yuppies. Brixton, with its strong cultural identity and mixture of hippy squatters and large, no-nonsense Afro-Carribean population resisted, at least temporarily. Rents were still affordable, studios and crusty techno culture squats proliferated and the output of Camberwell and Goldsmiths colleges found community and expression in its streets.
Musicians congregated in the few places they could still subsist, explore and thrive, which were the handful of venues in these locales of which the Windmill is definitely the lynchpin, but including the Grosvenor, The Amersham, The new Cross Inn, The Queen’s Head, The Montague Arms, The Five Bells …
Which are your favourite bands in the recent years?
I rarely rave about bands outside of the ones I get to witness first-hand as to me live music is where it is at and where I find what I’m looking for. Without that influence I may well be still mostly listening to the bands I used to love back in the day, reliving past glory as is the case with most men of my age. I have been so fortunate to live just down the road from the Windmill and to have forged a relationship with its keepers and musicians.
Could you say something about the most interesting and promising young bands?
It is refreshing to see that the cycle of upcoming bands is still turning strongly and Corona Virus notwithstanding they continue to come and delight. In no particular order I have much fondness for the following: Paddywak, STV, Deadletter, PVA, Muckspreader, Misty Miller.
We have interviewed Yossi Fisher, a brand consultant and brand strategist who also in this delicate period is carrying out international projects with costumers and associations. Here some reflections related to the phase that the fashion system is going through.
You are connected with many creative people around the world. What is the general sentiment of the people about this moment?
There are a lot of emotions circulating these days, and respectfully so. There’s no denying the uncertainty of these times. What I’m noticing is while some are seeing the troubles it’s causing in their careers or businesses, the majority of those people are using this time as a way of re-assessing what truly makes them happy, and what they want to return to – or not, when this is all over. Ultimately, it seems to be a time of great reflection, and people are using it as a way to step back and redefine the values their careers and businesses are built on, and their progressive relevance – or lack there of, as we move towards navigating a whole new set of industry landscapes.
How do you think the fashion system will overcome the crisis and rethink its models?
The fashion system is now forced to take a massive step back and re-asses itself in its entirety. Everything from freelance structures to content, production to manufacturing, retail to design and all the way though to Live streaming, Fashion Weeks, PR dynamics, and digital initiatives … and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a system all of its components effect the Fashion Economy and how the industry operates as a whole. The entire idea of Fashion will be forced to take a massive step backwards in order for it to move forward. As a collective industry we all have felt in one way or another how broken it’s all become, but there was nothing truly driving change across all of its channels until now, making this a very exciting time.
In my opinion, there’s too much romance and idealism and not enough practicality in the system. I believe this crisis will be the catalyst for healthier business practices, as well as a stimulus for mental health initiatives, especially within freelance and creative communities. Many within those circles are already rethinking why they’ve put themselves through so much financial uncertainty and lack of job stability for so long.
As they find new interests and hobbies that make them happier during this forced pause, many are questioning what exactly it is they’re going to want to do after this is all over. Regarding Businesses, they will need to humanise their practices even further, and will have to face massive questions like; whether trading off ethical values for higher margins and selling more products is emotionally or environmentally sustainable, and how their supply chains and practices will be scrutinized by their consumers as people’s values and humanities change. Many feel that sustainability will be a driving force forward, but even that has its challenges; especially how it tends to price out many consumers who share its values, but can’t afford the slow fashion price points.
As we enter a world with less people employed, and strained finances, many businesses are going to have to strategically reframe their losses if they plan on getting ahead of the curve and have a hand in redefining the industry.
How do u see the future of the retail (physical stores vs digital?)
We are very far away from a completely online world but we are evolving for sure, there’s no question. Physical and digital will both play a massive part in the future of retail, but they will both have to be much more consumer centric. Physical spaces may need to downsize, integrate more digital components, hold less stock, and treat their spaces more as experiential than just a place to shop.
Dynamic in-store brand experiences that revolve more around their culture than products will be a good way to keep consumers coming back, which will usher in the opportunity for much more dynamic collaborations. Online digital initiatives will have to become more personal as well though. Currently E-com shopping lacks personalization and engaging emotional prompts, so having brand specialists go live with scheduled showings, presentations, and collection run-throughs (one on one with VIP’s or mass sessions, where consumers can chime in with questions to better understand their purchases) will be a great way to deepen community, trust and drive D2C conversations.
We will certainly witness more confusion and market disruptions while everyone finds their bearings. Physical retail may need to scale back to invest finances deeper in to their ecosystem, while the Digital realm may require more testing investment as the depths of its foundations and structures are still being explored. I believe the brands that will win he next 6-18 months will be the ones promoting more ethically driven, consumer-centric businesses models.
You started some live conversations with designers and entrepreneurs. What did u get from these dialogues?
I have really enjoyed the IG-Live Talks & Zoom Sessions I’ve been a part of during these times. It’s allowed me to share tips, strategies, and insights with so many communities and platforms (like here on MANINTOWN). More than anything though, I’ve really been using those opportunities to really listen to the ones I’ve been engaging with and the questions I’ve been receiving from our collective followings.
Taking an empathetic approach to these conversations has allowed me to forecast what the world will need post Covid-19. One thing I’ve noticed to be a constant though is the human approach in how these LIVE Talks have been playing out. We’re all vulnerable to these massive global shifts, and it’s obvious just how interconnected we all are. Everyone needs to remember that although we are all going through our own set of challenges, we truly are all in this together. Social media and online communities are offering support in many different forms, and that has really been beautiful to see.
What is your advice for the companies and brands to restart?
EQ is now more important than IQ. The future of companies and brands won’t be products or services; it will be empathy. Leading with empathy at this time and perpetually forward will fundamentally be the most important tool at our disposal.
The humans and businesses that are going to come out of this on-top are the ones that aren’t solely focussing on their problems, but rather on how to solve the ones everyone else is facing. For example; many people have been, and unfortunately will continue to lose their jobs.
As a boutique, perhaps a good idea would be to create a campaign initiative for people that have recently found themselves unemployed, offering a complete outfit (suiting, etc.) + a CV consultation (perhaps serviced through an outsourced professional). That way when businesses open up and start hiring again, these people will be ready and well equipped to hit the market and better their lives again. Consider this a stronger shift towards a Giving Economy.
If you’re a CBD company, perhaps integrate in to your culture a meditation series, exercise video’s, journaling tips, healthy eating to promote clean bodies, etc. Look at ways to help others with their mental health right now. Provide free structured self betterment initiatives, provide resources to nurture and support people’s mental spaces. Both those ideas show that your business actually cares, and that’s what people need now more than ever.
Innovating consumer appreciation initiatives across physical and digital channels will fundamentally compound success rates over time, deepen community appreciation, and strengthen customer relations.
To offer a starting point strategy, Businesses should be asking question like; what do our consumers care about, what would elevate their lives, and how can we express to them that our values align with theirs? How do we do it in a way that isn’t a direct sell? How we do we humanise our approach?
These are the types of healthy, empathetic actions needed not only to restore our trust in brands, but more importantly, our faith in humanity.
yossifisher.com; IG: @yossi_fisher
Photographed by nathanrichardsphoto.com; IG: @nathanrichardsphoto