look at the pictures!

The other night I had the evening to myself and was searching various streaming services for something to watch.  On HBO I found the Robert Mapplethorpe documentary, “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures.”

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It caught my attention because a fellow photographer had recommended it to me just the day before.  I was also interested in it because I had recently learned in a New York Times article that his brother Edward was also a photographer and I heard that Edward appeared throughout the documentary.

If you’re aware of Robert’s work, you might feel some apprehension in watching the film.  If you’re not, I will offer the caveat that there is a lot of imagery that is NSFW.   To put it mildly, Mapplethorpe explored a lot of taboos in his work.

I was expecting the documentary to talk about those taboos and the body of work that is known as the X Portfolio.  It did, but it’s really a biography of Mapplethorpe’s whole life, starting with his Catholic upbringing in Queens and ending a year after his death at the age of 42 when his work faced protest and censorship in the famous case of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center being charged with obscenity after hosting an exhibition of his photographs.

In the years between, he went to Pratt, he dated Patti Smith, he lived in the Chelsea hotel, he was a regular at Max’s Kansas City, and he built a huge archive of incredible photographs.  I hadn’t known all those things and I was really impressed by the range of images he produced that I had never been aware of.  Some of them are achingly beautiful.

The documentary does a great job of not sensationalizing the more sensational aspects of Mapplethorpe’s story, and the through-line that brings us into the present day is the preparation being made by curators at the Getty and at LACMA during the course of filming.  Simultaneous exhibitions are on at both institutions through July 31, 2016.  If I were in California, I would make sure to get to both museums.  Since it seems like I won’t get to do that, I’ll have to be satisfied to perhaps rewatch the doc…or just look at the pictures (online).

j’adore doré

Every time I need a little beauty, a little celebration of women, a little taste of the world, a little style inspiration I turn to Garance Doré’s lifestyle blog.  Not only does she (along with her team) introduce readers to interesting women from all over the world and offer all sorts of informative and engaging posts that run the gamut from career talk to skincare advice, but she is also a richly talented artist, producing tons of beautiful illustrations, lots of which can be bought as posters, calendars and notecards on her site.

I don’t recall how I stumbled upon these drawings, but ever since I did, from time to time, I have turned them into wallpapers for my digital devices, to delight and inspire me with every screen.

Currently on my phone:glove-it-or-shove-it_garance-dore-770x559

All illustrations in this post by Garance Doré

can’t stop listening to ___________

#lemonade.

No matter what you make of the real story behind the album, I think it’s undeniable that Lemonade is an incredibly moving piece of work.

I hadn’t been a big follower of Beyoncé’s music before.  Of course I knew some songs–has anyone not heard Single Ladies??  But then the Super Bowl halftime show happened and Formation came out and I was totally smitten.  The visuals are so exciting I was immediately enthralled.  I love the settings, the fashion, the shooting style…and then on top of that it’s a really great, catchy, multi-layered song.  (Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation!)  I watched it 3 times immediately and then shared it with others later that week and have probably gone back and watched it 10 more times since.

Formation got me interested in Beyoncé’s creative team and how she puts her videos together because it’s so varied in its styles–from the hair to the makeup to the outfits to the settings…  There’s a great BTS video for the making of 2009’s Sweet Dreams that shows every outfit, including how she got to use a vintage Thierry Mugler gold body suit that had been on display at the Met.  If you’re Beyoncé you get to wear that.  If you’re anyone else, you get to be inspired by it.

One of my favorite looks from the Formation video is the red dress she’s wearing while sitting atop the sinking police car, shown here in The Guardian’s coverage of Formation fashion.  Turns out it’s a blouse and skirt from Gucci’s 2016 Spring line–which is amazing and images from the ad campaign became my phone wallpaper all during SXSW.

So then, 10 days ago, after the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones, there was Lemonade, begging to be watched.

Before midnight I had watched it all the way through and some parts 2 or 3 times.  I tweeted with friends about it after it was gone.  And the next day I bought it on iTunes and started listening to the music.  I had my immediate favorites as one does with any new album but in the following days of listening and taking a break from listening, and watching again and listening again, and reading about it and listening to podcasts about it, there’s not one song on there that hasn’t gotten its hooks in me (har har).

I woke up this morning with “pray you catch me listening” running through my head. Fitting, because I still am.

 

#sxsw2016: i heart ira

sxsw 2016 has been officially over for a little while now and in that time i managed to drop my iphone in water. not sure yet whether the data that was on that phone will be recoverable, and one of the biggest losses i’m feeling is my notepad where i was jotting down all the wise words and hot tips and fun anecdotes my favorite panelists were sharing during the film and interactive festivals. thank god the good folks at sxsw taped a lot of the sessions, including the ira glass conversation that mark olsen led.

so much great stuff happened at that talk.

first things first: ira glass is a dreamboat. as with lots of the folks on NPR whose voices i recognize, i didn’t know what he looked like. and then he walked out in all his tall, lanky glory, with wavy, dark hair, silver at the temples, bold, dark-rimmed glasses that didn’t hide the twinkle in his eye, and a sharp-looking blazer with a button-down and slim jeans. i attended the talk with a girlfriend of mine who was completely atwitter before the talk even began. as the hour went on, her crush became our crush.

his easy-going demeanor, constant grin, and earnest desire to answer his interviewer’s questions well were totally charming.

he discussed topics like his start in radio, his evolution as a journalist, this american life, of course, and he mused on the success of serial, praising julie snyder and the folks who produce the show and believed in the concept when he was skeptical. he had some interesting insights into the boon to shows like his that came with the emergence of podcasting technology and itunes as a distribution platform. and he shared about getting into filmmaking, producing 2 films with mike birbiglia.

toward the end of the hour the questions from the audience started, and 2 awesome things happened.

  1. he got a request to make a balloon animal. the woman asking had seen him speak in austin on a prior occasion and he had made one then. drawing a balloon from his bag, he began to make a blue poodle for her, explaining that he had done magic tricks at parties as a kid and that he always carries balloons with him for occasions such as these…and when he was a guest on ask a grown man. this segment alone is worth watching in the video of the talk–it starts around 52:20.
  2. and then the director of “thank you, del,” who was a fan of ira’s famous thoughts on taste and talent, asked if there was any follow-up ira wanted to offer. his response: do it now; don’t wait.

if you ever get a chance to hear ira glass speak, do it now; don’t wait.

and don’t ask him for a selfie; ask him for a balloon animal.

new instagram!

i don’t have a new account (still the same @meg_mulloy), but the updated layout looks awesome!

i discovered this after clicking on a link while reading the wild magazine inteview of tei shi (who’s song “see me” i love) by faith silva, whose work i just discovered while checking out the awesome gorilla vs. bear music blog.

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p.s. every link in that last sentence is great and worth a click.

MONSTROusly fun!

my brilliant fiancé is a designer with white whale games who, this past year, kickstarted a card game called MONSTROCARDS.

we got to work together on a series of still photographs of our friends who played the game (scroll to the end) and then we collaborated again, along with writer/director colin gray, on the video for the kickstarter campaign (see below).  i shot the video using a canon 5D mark ii with 28mm, 50mm and 85mm prime lenses.*

the game just started shipping out this past week and is starting to get some buzz, so i thought it the perfect time to talk about the video.

we shot it in one afternoon in a friend’s kitchen, casting 5 of our friends in non-speaking roles–the whole thing was VO’ed by dan boehl–and showing the various phases of the game with hammed up expressions and body language.  we wanted it to feel playful, fun and poppy, with a cadence like game commercials from the 50s and 60s.  the music helps and much credit for the awesome finished product is due to josh meyers of emergent order who edited it with me and colin over the course of a couple of hot july afternoons and more than a few coke slurpees.

here are some of the stills from the campaign:

katie's winning monstrocard: giant farmer

katie’s winning monstrocard: giant farmer

these were all basically one-light portraits in front of a white sweep.  i had a background light on a floor stand to provide a gradient behind the subject’s shoulders and photographed each model with a large softbox on a strobe set up for loop lighting.

charles' winning monstrocard: underwater summer camp

charles’ winning monstrocard: underwater summer camp

quin's winning monstrocard: tacky chair

quin’s winning monstrocard: tacky chair

*notes on shooting video:  there are several settings you can use for the video feature on the canon DSLRs, but i used the 1920x1080p format at 24fps.  shutter speeds of 1/60th or slower seem to work best, otherwise the footage can look choppy.

can’t stop listening to ___________

serial.

new year means renewed dedication to going to the gym.  (getting married this year makes for major motivation, too.)  i prefer listening to podcasts rather than music when i’m on the treadmill/elliptical/exercise bike.

lately, the podcast of choice has been sarah koenig’s 12 fascinating, wrenching episodes, covering the 1999 trial of a maryland teenager.  i know i’m late to the game–most of my friends have already finished the series–but i gotta share in the off chance you haven’t given this addictive podcast a listen.