Monday, September 17, 2012

VISION: A Factory of shining stars



First came VISION, celebrating a year this month. What is "VISION?" This movement is not just a dj and dancefloor. It's a real underground production, a network of talent that comes together to support eachother and make a go of their greatness, monthly. What I find most intriguing about this group, is, while some mediocre talents are clamoring for the stage and spotlight, many of the major players who actually create the sound and look of the show, PREFER NOT to be revealed, but simply do their job phenomenally and allow the named "star" to shine.

A event exclusive to Houston, VISION was first created by Brandon Duhon, frontman and bandmate for breakout talent in his own right, including glasnost and now Night Drive. (Catch Night Drive at the MFA Mixed Media party over Halloween.) Duhon is busy with this and that, in addition to a tight network of unattainable electro-luxe DJ's called Modern Touch.

Where? The oldest nightclub in Houston, Numbers, formerly Numbers "Disco"... that is, if you notice the sign above the entrance. VISION, may have started with a DJ and a dance floor. Provided the unique combination of electronic music spun by Duhon, and like-minded talent of the genre's beloved, including Joshua Leckie of Tangled Shadows and you have a gritty edge of untouchable youth. Throw in Factory elements and you have a whirlwind of something truly dazzling.


Gin Martini along with Brandon Duhon

VISION celebrated a year the 13 of this month. In that year, VISION spurred "VISION Fashion Block" when Duhon recruited multi-media artist MaxXandaux and Gin Martini to join forces in a movement toward a broader program of original content to be presented on stage on a monthly basis here in Houston.  

Since it's beginnings, VISION Fashion block has opened the stage at Numbers into somewhat of a revolving door for Houston's shooting stars like La CatrinBrandon West, and Titanica De Barge, who all have original acts, all well produced, combined with bold styles all their own.  

Gin Martini, is a fashion designer, vocalist and occasional MC for VFB. In a recent interview (start at 1H:07m in) with KPFT, Martini called the troop "art queens," a name chosen by Avant Garden owner, Mariana.  Also on air with Martini for an interview, MaxXandaux, whose work was compared to the likes of Andy Warhol, as it has since the beginning, when he started producing large self portraits early in his career.

Music artist and multi-media artist MaxXandaux (below)




Vocalist and Art Queen Muse Chris Graham aka "Chrissy Strange" (above)


Two more stage mainstays include actress, vocalist, and model Jessica Walquist and vocalist, 
and muse Chris Graham (aka Chrissy Strange-trust me, you want to see for yourself) 
These "ArtQueens" are a tight combination of talent that consistently 
develops the more they perform together.  
(Clockwork Right) Jessica Wahlquist, Chris Graham-Strange, Gin Martini, and MaxXandaux



Artists like JA Silverman (below) have also featured their work at VISION Fashion Block.





 Vocalist and fashion designer Gin Martini in wardrobe she created herself. (above and below)




Actress, vocalist and model Jessica Walquist (below on the set of a film by Mike James)





There is a lot of talent in Houston; this is true. However, I'm thoroughly biased when it comes to fashion, beauty and art combined with performance on a large scale. 


How does this type of thing even occur? One element, make up, for example by a truly underground and talented Kyla Moreno, so underground, she's not even online - ANYWHERE! Yet she is highly likely THE most talented makeup artist in Houston. No one in Houston can do what she does. Add costumes, small production teams (sound stage and music), support and talent and you have VISION Fashion Block, a distinct extension of VISION.


In addition to being a huge supporter of all involved, I myself have even played a role in a few video productions, one award winning piece called "Possessed By the Beat," plus a documentary featuring vocalist and multimedia talent MaxXandaux.  

"Possessed By the Beat,"by MaxXandaux. Produced by the extraordinary BLACK CAT.

MaxXandaux (above)


A lot of progress has been made in this year, development of talent and ambition, opportunities and boundaries. I look forward to seeing what this new year will bring for VISION Fashion Block.


All photos herein are by HEIGHTSTONIAN and subject to Copyright.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Lady Can Only Go One Direction, UP!


This is Jessica Wahlquist, model, actress, singer, and "luxocity" de jour. With consistent photo pose direction by me, she was able to pull off angles I see less and less with the models of today who are starting out.  In the beginning, all but a small percentage of even the most gorgeous, don't always move or extend in ways necessary to show the garment or an accessory properly. Without proper direction early in a model's career, the potential is also not fully visible, so the quality of the model and the overall photo falls short and is ultimately a flop in my opinion. Also, I've never believed a model's talent to be under her clothes. With a background in modeling, I was able to reflect on my own experience and draw from Jessica, the poses I needed to highlight an accessory like this gorgeous fascinator for example. 

An extraordinary head piece, fascinator, and hat by Violet Peacock creator, Lindsay Halpin. 
Here, I asked Jessica to isolate the shoulders and turn her head left slowly, to lift her chin to not lose the neck; yet accordingly to see only the lips, then tilt down & right slightly to show the piece without collapsing the pose... all for this single result. 

To hold the fan in this position, that, I demonstrated because ladies 
don't ordinarily walk around with fancy fans, ... only Riyad. 



This full extension is flawed in the one above so I couldn't use it entirely, 
but it's a lesson in photo pose directing.

How many time can I say posture? Always UP. The slouchy slump is so over. 
I will never encourage a model to slouch or take off their clothes for a fashion shoot, 
when there are so many other beautiful options. 

Ultimately, looking like a lady takes direction by a lady. This is an extraordinary example. 

Framing of the central accessory. Graceful eased extension, 
but ... AH! No neck.Another lesson in photo pose directing. Dually noted. 

Another important point. This was shot with an iPhone 4. Not a Canon. Not a Nikon. Not an iPhone 5 with panorama and a special power cord. I won't always say what I'm shooting with, but in this case, it's a young lady, directed by a lady, both poised. Add an iPhone 4, and that's all I needed to achieve the beauty, elegance, and grace you see herein... all rarities in society today.