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    theaptSHOWS

    September 3, 2013

    road

    “Here it is, the groove, slightly transformed, just a bit of a break from the norm…” That’s what i heard through the speakers most of the summer and i am now, after having spent about 2 months in our new home of Bologna, Italy, inclined to believe it. although not quite yet in a groove, per se, we are getting there. so lucky are we to have found a little slice of heaven (above,) a lot of slices of incredible vegetables (below,)

    veggies

    and, most importantly, wonderful friends who have come to visit so that this little experiment has really felt, so far, like a little bit of new york in italy…

    church

    I know, i should write about this. now probably would be a good time. but i must say i don’t feel like it. not yet. strangely (for me) preferring to see it through my own eyes, experiencing it first hand without relating it, without analyzing it at all. i know, weird. anyhoo, here’s what it looks like so far, in advance of what it’s all feeling like, to be detailed at a later date. i think. probably. maybe.

    June 24, 2013

    we’ve come to that time of the year when the apartment family usually takes an extended leave of absence in order to seek new inspiration, for a month or two, in lands saturated with olive oil, hard cheeses and soft fruits. and so it is again today. except different. this time, it’s for a year or two…

    see, journeys have felt for me lately so few and far between. I miss the real journeys, not mere trips of leisure but adventures that promote discovery as well as discomfort, that teach us just as we were convinced we knew everything, that attempt to create new familiarities. with most of our time spent at destinations, fulfilling geographical, personal, or professional obligations, we too rarely spend time wondering about the next departure as we tend to stay too long in any one place, comforted by knowing it too well and forgetting why we arrived at this strange place to begin with, because it was strange, because we were curious, once, because we had something to lose…

    certainly, that’s why i moved to New York City in september 1989, while an 18 year-old french boy, and i frankly am flabbergasted that i stayed this long…

    well, i fib a little, i do know. I know it took time to properly investigate all the aspects of life i found to be fascinating, it took time for such investigation to flower into an emerging personality, it took time to then try and grow laterally in a place that always wants us looking up. well, it took 25 years. from 18 to now 43 (that’s 25 years, right?…) easily persuaded by this tall and dark hostess to spend all my money in her shop.

    but now, perhaps predictably, i feel a void, excavated by years spent chasing what might constitute a considered life, years surely growing more efficient, years finding ways to accomplish each task not to success but to satisfaction. i always felt a need to subtract from my life the unessentials, if not materially (numerous storage facilities throughout manhattan can testify to that,) at least psychologically, enough to now find myself satisfied, opening the doors to a life, not of ease but potentially consisting as much as possible of what i want to do.

    problem is, i don’t know what i want to do…

    over the past 25 years, i have been lucky to dabble in photography, theology, filmmaking, retail, design, architecture, writing, philosophical research, music and cooking as part of the poorly-named “creative agency” business my wife gina and i launched in 1999 and i was obsessed by each and every one of those activities at the time of discovery and subsequent experimentation; but now feel my thirst quenched. of course, i am not trying to pretend i have no more to learn about each subject, lord knows how little i know, only that obsession, fascination, even addiction have always been necessary components of my interest, they are what first sparks curiosity, murders procrastination and feeds for the long run, but something i no longer feel for any of anything. well, anything other than apple rumors.

    and so, a void was created. by me. to fill.

    what with ? i don’t know yet. and as much as i am aware that a change in geography has little to do with finding one’s mind, there is one thing i am sure of: i am sick of my point of view, literally. also, figuratively. the belief system i now hold to be true was forged decades ago and evolved into a set of values against which i now judge my environment and the people and things in it. also, tweets from @robdelaney. these values are what allow me to “decide” whether something is ostensibly “good” or “just good enough to wipe myself with.” yes, i’m charming. thing is, as much as i back evolution in my kid’s textbook, i am a proponent of creation in my own life, of my own life, i should say. and that is a process i have not actively put in motion in years. i miss it. i miss the act of deciding one morning that you’re a filmmaker, a few afternoons later that you can design homes and websites, that you’ve had enough of a neighborhood, city or country and leave for another… for over a decade now, i wore the shoes of the 30 year-old me, letting them lead me where he wanted to go, or stay, instead of asking myself if they still fit! well, it stops today, i’m sick of that guy, his shoes and all his lustrous hair!

    my family and i have decided to change that point of view, literally first by moving to Bologna, Italy, where the wine is sweet and the tortellini appropriately cheesy, and figuratively second by consciously and actively questioning who we are; through those questions, hopefully eventually arrive at what we shall do.

    that said, i assume that it won’t be easy to focus on the self when meals such as the above arrive at your table with the prosciutto in a separate plate because “the heat from the pizza would ruin the taste in the time it takes to bring it from the kitchen to the table were it on top…”

    the goal of this adventure is threefold:

    1. to prove out that a business can be run from anywhere one the world.
    2. to establish a base from which travelling north, south, east and west is easy, affordable and practical.
    3. to be fed new knowledge as well as un-refrigerated tomatoes.

    now, this very well could be a complete bust but we are intent on taking the leap we have so often talked about, and heard talked about, and diving into the boiling water of change, aware, apprehensive but excited at the prospect of newness. it might be a bust but cannot be a waste of time.

    the funny thing is that as we set up this new european outpost, the running of the apartment creative agency will most likely be exactly the same. still communicating, still writing proposals, still putting together teams of incredible designers and strategists from all over the world and executing incredible, if slightly odd, experiences for our clients. such is the way of the always-on global nomad. we are very much looking forward to experimenting with the furthest notions of “remote work” and thank our current and soon-to-be clients for trusting that it will works. because it works already.

    so, on we go, tweeting, flickering and branching all the way through. it’s going to be interesting.

    at least that’s what i’m telling myself because i’m scared shitless! but that’s my story and it’s sticking to me.

    have an incredible summer and don’t forget to write!

    February 28, 2013

    after 25 years in new york, we have decided to explore europe with our kids for a couple of years. we knew italy would be the country of choice for the simple reason of cheese but where would we land? after zig-zagging all summer, we settled on bologna for it is nicknamed “the red, learned and fat” thanks to its roof color, scholarly status and cuisine, a perfect fit. especially the fat.

    and so, after such a decision, time came last week to explore the city in depth and, of course, look for a house to live in. these were a few of my favorite things…

    October 8, 2012

    The long-lost-and-found-and-lost-again-and-found-again city of Pompeii illustrates a conundrum I’d like to address on this Columbus Day. I was lucky to visit the frozen Italian city in the late nineties and, if you have as well, I am sadly sure your experience was similar to mine. There are a hundred guided groups and people with cameras who seemingly do not use their own eyes much since the dumb ocular cavities are yet unable to send to printer. And these people (including me) run from place of predetermined interest to place of predetermined interest and all seem to miss the bigger picture. Surely you were told, as I was, to look on the ground at a crossroads and gaze in admiration but without so much as a slowdown in pace at the rudimentary plumbing system buried in the ground, right? Right. That blew my mind. We moderns take so much for granted that the fact that they, in the actual seventies, had indoor plumbing doesn’t jog something in your brain? People in my group just went on to the next supposedly exciting artifact, never to look back again. It is the reflection of a civilization that cared about hygiene, cared about cleanliness more than the people who had come before them and most after, so that they bothered to engineer an underground network of pipes from house to house which dispensed people from the need to slum to the common trough to wash themselves in the morning and risk contracting Plasmodium falciparum. Of course, not everybody could afford such luxurious indoor facilities; only the rich had plumbing. And what did that mean for the evolution of ancient social strata, for the disparities in all matters of citizenry? And how have we evolved in present society from such inequality, when rich nations today leave poor ones unassisted when it comes to something as basic as what we now consider running water to be? Any relevance worth pointing out between the passing historical anecdote and the downright criminal will of current global policymakers? By my group’s standards, none, I guess. But it can and should at least trigger some questions as you are being boringly lectured while standing on the side of such discovery. Fact is, it rarely happens. When you are shown the erotic frescoes that have long fed the Christian right’s arguments that overt sexuality will be punished by a prude god in the form of murderous lava, people have the choice to snicker or to think about the impact of such nascent liberty and morals in the context of our present life. Most people snicker. And so, as we both take the shuttle back to the airport, you have the same memories as I do of Pompeii. And that is a shame. Because I was not able, and neither were you or the hundreds of thousands of people who visit this important site, to make my own memories, distinct and specific, thoughtful and argued, introspective and useful. We are being told what to remember, given bullet points about all that we saw, even get to take home a show to tell. And that is what travel has turned into, the standardization of memories.
    //MORE

    August 8, 2012

    that’s it, we’re home! not yet quite ready to get back to work mind you, just reflecting upon the past five weeks spent with the most wonderful family and friends in a 13-century old convent nestled in the hills surrounding the incredible town of lucca. here, above and below are a few simple memories…

    June 29, 2012

    and by it, i mean that we’re leaving on our annual discovery vacation tomorrow, not leaving the mortal coil. this year, we have chosen to see if the north of italy might be suitable for living. like that’s a thing. right, i know, i hate myself too but we really wanted to find out if under the tuscan fucking sun tells a true story… well, that and see exactly how many pounds kilos we can put on in a month of indulging in all the starch the boot has to offer. which is a lot. we are lucky to be staying in a converted eleventh century convent from which we shall be broadcasting debauchery, gluttony and, wait for it… DURAN DURAN!!! ok, now you can be jealous. my apologies. anyway, we will be off for the month of july and mostly off for august so, depending on the reliability of italian telecom, don’t expect a lot from us at this time of personal centering. as usual, i will be expressing myself through the obsessive and compulsive documentation of time spent on foreign soils with the help with flickr, twitter and vimeo so meet me there, won’t you?

    one exception: we will be launching the new yelo spa location on august 7th in nyc so we’ll certainly be back up for that! stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting summer!

    (photo by will adler)

    April 13, 2012

    dating back to june 2010, i have been quite obsessed with the idea of geographically busting through the limits of my perspective on the physical world. as lucky as i have been thus far in my ability to see places, people and things heretofore unseen, i have still felt, daily, the burden of my submissiveness to the “comforts of home.” we are creatures of habit, all of us, and rarely willfully deviate from a situation that has fewer cons than pros. the problem is that such complacency perpetually offers the same reward, again and again, until the cycle is broken, a hard case to make for when such reward was first presumably deserved, but most importantly experienced, the triumph over whatever need was certain and all-consuming. but when we realize that every subsequent reward is but a pale facsimile of the previous one, especially when the consequence of the same work, we fool ourselves (at least i fooled myself, i don’t want to drag you into this) into believing that the prize is just as sweet as the first time, a lie for heroin, a lie for self-satisfaction. so, it is by taking baby steps that i plan to slowly move from mere contentment and attempt to drive to serene(ci)ty. i will ask for directions.

    first stop: the cristalino jungle lodge in the amazon rainforest. i am leaving today for the next week. on the program, much of what you see in the video above, much of which we have all seen when flipping through channels late at night while unable to sleep and cursing at the guy in the over-pocketed safari jacket smugly pointing out that “the fauna in this part of the world (YOU’ll never go to) is simply EXTRAORDINARY!” well, FUCK YOU safari jacket guy, i’m coming to get you! no wifi, no cell signal and only 2 hours of electricity a day, at meal times, so as to never consume more that what can be produced through natural means. seems like the perfect place to start to get my entitled ass out of gear.

    i will of course file a full photographic and hopefully cinematic report if my extra batteries and storage do not let me down as i get eaten whole by a giant boa constrictor. i won’t lie to you people, a realistic survival rate for a fancy boy like myself in these parts, even for a week, is at around 50/50 so i’ll make sure to bury my sd cards at the bottom of that tree with an X on it, ok? ok. cheers everyone!

    February 22, 2012

    for reasons still beyond me, we escaped the oppressive countryside of upstate new york to discover the red rocks of arizona last week. it was an exercise in patience, discovery but above all, beauty. i have lately found myself inexorably attracted to that which i once repudiated: the natural world. and i have made it my mission to walk as much of it as i can until i either die or change my mind, whichever comes first. of course, since no experience exists unless it is shared, please find, for your approval, a few moving and still images taken and roughly assembled during the voyage west. enjoy…

    visit if you can…

    February 6, 2012

    as you know, i don’t often get personal in this here broadcast so please forgive the indulgence this one time and try to understand why i did it. first time going down a slippery mountain with waxed planks of wood on their feet for the kids. first time in 19 years for gina. first time in 23 years for me. it’s a goddamn miracle we’re alive…

    ok, and a little bonus…

    oh, and what the hell…

    that is all.

    January 17, 2012

    (theaptBROADCAST novelist-in-training divad q. nead is back from his year in shanghai. his return ride is worth the trip…)

    complimentary scotch is the only way to lubricate an international extraction. this particular journey “home” necessitated more than my usual two nip share. at some point in the fourteen hour flight from pudong airport in shanghai, the flight attendants quit charging me for the bottles as long as i stashed them out of sight. they stopped giving me ice, as i just sipped from the bottle. by the time the wheels had touched down in newark, i could have made a nice candlepin lane arrangement of dewars white label screw tops.

    it was three hours till new year’s eve when i hit customs for my connection. the agent was pit bull built and my jersey shore stereotype generator began winding its springs.

    “what was the purpose of your visit in china,” he asked, not making eye contact, staring at my chinese visa. it still looked fresh in its place on the page. had i aged?

    “drinking,” a disembodied voice replied, while my mouth said “teaching.”

    “welcome home, mr. stone.” he handed my passport back to me, again without making eye contact. i could have stuck my tongue out at him, but this is jersey.

    as i walked the concourse, i thought about the six cuban robusto cigars i had in my carry-on luggage. i wanted to be searched. i wanted to lie to the authorities.

    america, i have nothing to declare!

    apparently, on new year’s eve, nobody in the united states wants to be working at an airport. six months of staring contests with the greater peasant population of shanghai and now nobody in this empty american airport would curiously glare at me, check out my shoes. my chinese fashion show was over.

    at my connection gate, an airline employee was telling a group of confounded chinese tourists to back up, step back and give him some room behind his largely empty desk. they had their passports and tickets out, waving them like they were on fire. america wants to see your papers. show us your papers.

    “what is with these people tonight,” i saw him say to a patiently waiting first class white traveler.

    i desperately wanted to walk over and shoot my mouth off about freedom and liberty. instead, i made a call to grandma on a pay phone.

    “if you go away again, then i’m going too,” she said, definitely referring to death, in her 92nd year. she’s a dry, depression-era humor kind of woman.

    “don’t worry, grandma, there’s no way i can go back again.” was i lying? yes, i was lying. lying over pay phones feels easier than mobile phones. the slam of the receiver validates the transgression, like in the movies.

    three police officers met me at the airport. sadly, i wasn’t being arrested, but taken to a bar for celebration. i had my gray don draper suit in my luggage, but no cuff links.

    “did you remember the cuff links,” i asked my brother, one of the three cops.

    “no, i can’t even find my own,” he said as i handed him three cigars.

    he sort of looked around like some omniscient customs officer was watching the handoff.

    “these are perfect grease for the captain,” he said, referring to my contraband.
    //MORE

    October 3, 2011


    sometimes, i can’t help but miss the town i was born in, paris. strip away the perennial complaining of its citizens, the rudeness of its waiters and never-ending brouhaha of its over-entitled political class, add a little music and it transforms into the city one always wished it actually was… have a wonderful week!

    July 18, 2011

    well, well, well, here we are again… not fully back, mind you, just back enough to over-share the past three weeks’ indulgence. that which took my family and i from pisa for the tower to rome for the ruins to tunis for dad’s seventieth to sete for gilles peterson’s worldwide festival to st. tropez for some rest and finally to tuscany for some family time. we’re exhausted, not to mention lucky as fuck. which is why i cannot write another word for i need get back to a much-needed nap. have a terrific week!

    June 27, 2011

    well, it had to happen… the family and i are going on vacation for a bit, about a month, trying to get fat and sick on new exotic bacteria. this trip will take us though the south of france, the north of italy and, most interestingly, to tunisia, where we will be celebrating the 70th birthday of my tunisian father and hopefully come back with interesting footage of democracy in bloom. also, in the interest of making you jealous, i am so excited to finally be attending gilles peterson’s worldwide festival in sete! the line-up looks incredible and i cannot wait to learn all about this “hacky-sack” movement. if my prose seems short this morning, it is because my plane takes off in a short few hours and i have yet to pack for the weeks ahead as my wife looks at me with eyes not necessarily full of love…

    i then bid you adieu for now, myaptFRIENDS, only to catch you back in august, probably, if i have not been unwittingly embroiled in an international incident of some kind. against my better judgment and accountant’s advice, i will be roaming and updating all manners of pics and tweets so do stay tuned for madness… and have a wonderful summer, i mean it this time!