End of an Era

Some people who used to run GQ. L to R: Michael Hainey, Jim Nelson, Jim Moore. Apologies to Madeline Weeks, who was only omitted from this photo because she was talking to someone else at the moment that I had the opportunity to snap this pic back in 2014. You can see part of her hair on the right side of Jim Moore. Trust me, I appreciate her contributions to GQ as much as I did those from the blokes in this shot. I really wanted to include her in the frame, but thought it would be rude to interrupt her convo for the shot.

I’m not sure if this is a story about a sea change in print media/media generally, me getting old and out of touch, or all of the above. It’s kind of story about me, and it’s kind of about GQ. It has been a minute since I actually wrote anything of any substance for Jake.News. I can’t promise that this will be ‘that,’ but from a word count perspective alone, it probably beats out most of the tripe that I have keyed out on this page in the past two, or so years. I apologize in advance for the overuse of parentheticals, annoying references to ‘fashion’ as ‘the fashionz’ and overabundance of commas.

I’ll start this old-man diatribe talking about the early 2000’s: I had recently moved to New York from what some people would call the midwest. I called it the mountain west. It wasn’t the west coast, but it certainly wasn’t the midwest. Regardless of its ‘correct’ nomenclature, Salt Lake City suffered greatly in the realm of style and fashion. The world was a lot bigger back then, in the days of the early internet. SLC was basically biting LA fashion, delayed by two or three years. I brought that sartorial baggage with me when I moved to NY.

Fast forward to 2005: I had my first ‘real’ law job. I had lived in NY long enough to learn that my baggy cargo pants and 2XL hoodies were not really going to fly unless I was in some sort of off-broadway period piece set in the early 90’s. Despite the fact that I knew I was doing it wrong (street wear/skate garb excluded), I still didn’t have much context for style or fashionz on a macro level. For what it’s worth I use the word ‘wrong’ in a very subjective sense, here. There are plenty of places like Staten Island and some neighborhoods in SLC where 2XL and cargos are still totally legit. Do what works!

This is where it gets a little bit ridiculous- During that same 2005ish period, I drank an ungodly amount of Diet Coke. I didn’t like coffee, but I definitely relied heavily on caffeine to get me through the day/night. In those days (and possibly still the case, not sure) there was a little code under the lid of each Diet Coke bottle. It was like Coca Cola’s version of Marlboro Miles. I would save the caps, and about once per week, spend the time to type those numbers into my Coke Rewards account. In no time at all, I had ‘free’ subscriptions to practically every magazine that Conde Nast published.

Kindly skip ahead to 2007- There had been a crisis. It was financial in nature. People had lost their jobs, a lot of them. Through the grace of God, I somehow managed to keep mine. But business was slow; really slow. It was around this time that two life changing events occurred. First, my daughter was born. Second, I bought my first professional-grade digital camera.

I have practiced photography basically my entire life. But during this particular time, I experienced an awkward gap where shooting film was no longer practical, even though SLR images were so much better than the point-and-shoot digital crap that I started snapping. The ‘instant’ factor in those lo-fi digital images (which no-doubt will soon be the coolest throwback media format) outweighed the quality of using real glass. And for me, digital SLRs were prohibitively expensive in the early 2000’s.

For those who by some unfortunate reason made it this far in the story, I’m sorry. But also, yes, this is going somewhere. What does GQ have to do with my daughter, you may wonder? Nothing. Anyway, the birth of my child, and the desire to document the phenomenon that is her, was probably the largest impetus behind my purchase of a Canon 40D. It wasn’t full frame, but it did the trick.

Getting back to the whole financial crisis thing- Despite having kept my real job, I had some time on my hands. I was living all of the way at the northern end of Manhattan, and commuting to the southern end for work. My daily journey via the A-train would usually allow me to read half of an issue of WIRED, W, or GQ. And, I did. W Magazine was my favorite visually. WIRED, got my nerdy side all hot and bothered. GQ was like my bible. Glenn O’brien changed my whole outlook on life. But most of all, I looked forward to the monthly column from Jim Nelson, the recently replaced GQ editor in chief.

Jim Nelson, to me was an everyman’s man. I found his column super relatable to the version of me that I always aspired to be. He inspired me to be a better iteration of my human male self, and a better dressed one. In the early 2010’s I was shooting a lot of men’s fashion stuff, and rubbing shoulders with the guys in the top photo on a regular basis. Even then, I was inspired by GQ’s ability to tout the fashion trends du jour, while always (and most importantly to me) continuing to promote their namesake mantle of ‘gentleman.’ Each month when I read Nelson’s column I would think to myself, here is a message from a gentleman, to other gentlemen and aspiring gentlemen. There was some thematic redundancy in this paragraph, but this point is very important to me.

Time warp once again to the not-so-distant past of 2012: I was still shooting a lot of the fashionz, but reading a lot less of the fashionz printed periodicals. I no longer had a 50 minute train ride to absorb words. I was no longer at a law firm, but still had a pretty serious day job lawyering. I also had a pretty serious side-hustle for a primarily digital (at the time) fashion outlet. I saw the direction that the digital side of things was going, and I was okay with it. Because, hey, digital! Not naming any names except for Complex, but pay-to-play became king. Even those posts covering the stalwart click-generator brands who had enough hype that they didn’t have to pay for coverage, were just a cut/paste from the same press releases I received in my inbox. Yuck.

I get it. People have to make money and pay bills. And hey…. those pay-to-play pieces definitely justified the long form editorial pieces that no one (but me and other old guys) actually reads. Despite what was happening in the digital world, I had convinced myself that the old guard of printed fashion media had a level of scruples that transcended the necessity to pay bills. Or if they did have bills to pay, they would just do a really fat issue, packed with ads and possibly a wraparound of the latest Chevy truck, oh wait. Anyway, there was a certain type of outlet that I would fully expect to send interns out sourcing cocaine for brand-heads on a long night of courting those big spon-con dollars. In my mind, (the post-80s) GQ would never fall into that category. I mean, people spent good Coke (not that kind of coke) rewards points on them magz!

Jump forward again to not so long ago: I’m not really shooting that much fashion anymore, but I certainly still fancy myself as an aspiring gentleman. A while ago I saw that Glenn O’Brien the famed ‘style guy’ left GQ. It made me sad. When I saw that Mr. O’Brien subsequently passed away in 2017, I was sadder still.

O’Brien’s column was a treasure trove of style Dos and Don’ts for gents. Some of it was obvious. A lot of it was a lot more subtle. For example, I was able to have a chuckle to myself a few years ago when midtown finance bros adopted the unfortunate looking super wide spread collar paired with single windsor tie knots, en-masse. It looked ridiculous, but everyone was doing it for a hot minute (couple of years, actually). I unsuccessfully tried to find O’Brien’s quote about the look, so that I could link to it here. The comparison that he gave was something about a hippo’s mouth, or a dog with it’s head out the window. You get the idea. An example of one of his more subtle tips, is the advice he gave about never buying a sock that didn’t have a proper toe and heel. I ate the column up! Anyway, RIP, Mr. O’Brien.

After O’Brien’s passing, I took comfort in the fact that Jim Nelson and crew were still steering the ship. That brings us to late December 2017. In November, Madeline Weeks was laid off as fashion director, and shortly thereafter, Jim Moore stepped down as creative director. These events convinced me that it would only be a matter of time before Nelson also moved on. I hoped for the best.

Okay, so present day (1999 plus 20, to put things in perspective): For Christmas last year, B and I purchased each other various subscriptions to print media. The first issues of such publications started rolling in toward the middle/end of January. The New Yorker was the first one I received. I read it from cover to cover and was stoked to be reading magazines again.

Not long after, our magazines from Conde arrived: GQ for me and W for B (but also mostly for me). I flipped W first. I was pleased to see that it is still totally on-point, visually. Then I cracked GQ. It was the music issue. I’m not going to get heavily into my disappointment of the overall content. But there was a lot of that. I mean, for some inexplicable reason there was an interview with Steven Tyler in 2019 GQ and it didn’t include any plastic surgery recommendations for fading arena rockers.

Back to the point– I was curious to learn about Will Welch, the man who had replaced Jim Moore at the end of 2017, and more recently, Jim Nelson as the new editor in chief. I wanted to see how his letter from the editor stacked up against those of Jim Nelson. I wanted to read something by the new editor in chief that made him relatable for me; something universally appealing and thought provoking.

When I arrived at the page where I could finally kill my curiosity, I saw the below. Initially I kept at bay my knee-jerk impressions based on the photo. But as a read his piece, I was seriously, seriously disappointed.

Will Welch and his letter from the [new!] editor, GQ Feb 2019.

To be fair, the article is less about Welch’s observation of the world or how to navigate life as a man, and more about his transition from music journalism to his current role. Okay man, it’s your first letter from the editor, you need to tell your story. But, based on both the photo and the article, I can currently say that Mr. Welch is not a person from whom I would accept style advice or any advice for that matter.

I take that back. Dude probably has an inside line on where to score the best macchiato in South Williamsburg. Maybe he also has some good tips on vape shops essential oils and where to scoop vintage vinyl. Those are all total guesses. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt, okay? Despite trying to be open minded, I can’t stop pegging him as that guy who I (a responsible dog owner) scorn for letting his dog run around off the leash in McCarron Park. Admittedly, that last bit might be a ‘me’ issue and/or a metaphor for this entire rant, haha. I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now. Seriously though; For my sake, and the sake of GQ, I hope that I’m totally wrong about Will Welch.

I still have 11 issues to go before my subscription expires, or more likely, auto-renews. C’mon Will, even though the ‘whole new era’ of GQ is led by someone who wears untied VANS and has hand tats, it doesn’t mean the mag has to be completely devoid of interesting journalism! I know you are no Jim Nelson, but let us write words that actually mean something! That is my hope and prayer, as they say in Salt Lake. Here is where I leave off.

 

 

February 2019 Playlist

While my monthly playlists usually consist of mostly new music interspersed with a few throw-back tracks, this one takes the opposite approach. This decision was a product of few different experiences that I had during the month of January when I was compiling the playlist. First was a BBC essential mix I heard that was almost exclusively old disco tracks from the late 70s and early 80s. Next was the fact that so many of my regular spots in G-point play great rock. January was a big going-out month for me and I really soaked in the stuff that I was hearing. It made me realize that I don’t listen to nearly enough rock these days when I’m selecting my own jams.

A lot of the stuff that I was hearing while out and about was material from the era that I grew up in. I dropped in some Mad Season and Jane’s Addiction to this month’s mix. Both of these tracks elicit strong nostalgia of my high school and early college days. I had to mix in some Radiohead as well. Rock was really the first genre of music that drew me into music as an artistic media. So in a way, I’m starting out 2019 with a kind of “back to my roots” playlist. Of course I also included a couple of recent releases. The two that I’m mostly vibing-on are the new Bonobo track, and the new Rufus diddy. I also included the latest Chemical Brothers release. Even though they were more late college and law school for me, I’m happy to see that they are still producing high quality material. So I included their new track “MAH” even though it doesn’t really mesh so well with the rest of the songs. Anyway, enjoy-

Recap of the Year 2018 in Jake’s iPhone Photos

For a few years now, I have been making these silly recap videos from a year’s worth of iPhone photos. Here are some from past years. The one from 2016, for some reason I did not publish on here. But here it is anyway. This year’s iteration is ~6800 photos shown roughly in order at 1/20th of a second per frame. Even with the fast frame rate, the video is still seven minutes long, which is longer than most most people’s attention span. So, if you are stuck in an elevator or something, enjoy–

2018 Photo Recap in Jake's iPhone Photos from Jacob Breinholt on Vimeo.

January 2019 Playlist(s)

My actual January playlist is pretty weak. So I’m switching things up this month and dropping in 3 playlists. The first one is a playlist of some of my favorite music that I listened to in 2018. The list was made by me, not one of those AI lists compiled by the Spotify bots.

Below that playlist, you will find two of my workout playlists. People often ask me what I listen to when I run. Since the new year is a time when people find new resolve to get in shape, I figured that it was an appropriate time to share a couple of my favorite workout jams. Note: If you hate dance/club music, you can probably just skip them. Enjoy!

 

Workout #1

Workout #2

London November 2018

A couple of dorks doing a timer shot at Buckingham Palace

As James Dean once said,”There is only a certain amount of time that you can spend as a tourist in a non-tropical city without experiencing a bit of boredom”; look it up. Heeding Dean’s advice, we jumped a London bound Eurostar after spending a few days in Paris, and a couple of hours later found ourselves in the (barely) pre-brexit UK. To be exact, we were in Shoreditch, camping at The ACE. Forgive me for oversimplifying, but Shoreditch felt like Brooklyn, east. I mean, I have stayed at The ACE in NYC, and the London version felt more like NY than the one on 29th Street. I was not upset by this fact. Below is a list of establishments that I can recommend patronizing. Here we go-

  • Bull in a China Shop – Feels a lot like the Dead Rabbit in FiDi, without the sawdust on the floor, and without all of the finance bros dipping in after their steakhouse dinners. Whatever type of whiskey you are craving, they have it To keep it chilled, they will make you a customized ice cube, diamond, or etc.. They made us some really nice drinks and fed us some delicious food.
  • Flat Iron – This place has a wood fired oven, popcorn, cocktails, and a decent vibe. As a steak snob, I didn’t find the meat to be amazing, but it was above average. In a town with a rep for having bland food, this joint breaks the stereotype. We were there on Thanksgiving, and had our first course of dinner here; a ribeye steak together with some sides, and we were not disappointed.
  • Pizza East, Shorditch – I’ll be honest, B did not love this spot. I did. It was a large space with community tables. We were there late (and there is a club downstairs, so the door security was slightly annoying). But… they are open late, have a wood fired oven, and a massive wine list. Vibe was decent, and the pizza was decent (in my opinion, not B’s).
  • The Bike Shed – It is funny how long Americans have been biting UK culture. If you want clear evidence that the UK is biting back in a major way, look no further than this place. It is like a giant version of Union Garage tucked under awesome vaulted brick ceilings. They also managed to pack in a full sized pub/restaurant, and barber shop, complete with a giant Brooklyn Brewery neon light mounted on the wall. Oh yeah, and Bikes. Lots of rad bikes. But seriously, you don’t need to be into motorcycles to appreciate this place.
  • Crown and Shuttle – This place was chill and had 10-20 beers on tap. We didn’t try the food, but the service was awesome, and the vibe was nice. Despite looking like they used this website to come up with their name, we have only good things to say about this spot.
  • The Culpeper – Also a hotel, this joint was bumping on a Friday night! Great selection of beer/wine/spirits with an upscale (but not too upscale) flow. Lots of attractive looking peeps and a steezy ye olde Londonney decor.
  • The Ten Bells – This pub was right across the street from the Spitalfields market. So you can whet your whistle after a long afternoon of scooping weird vintage wares and vinyl. Nothing really remarkable about this place, but B and I both put it on our respective lists, so we must have both liked it!
  • Found – Buried in the bowels of Ravey Street, this spot had the best cocktails that we experienced in London, hands down. Look for the door with the big number 5 on it. We walked past it twice before figuring out that was the entrance. Get the “Tommy Goes to Thailand” for some spicy deliciousness.
  • Old Blue Last – This place has some sort of connection to Vice media. I didn’t care enough to gather the details. But there you are. I didn’t love it. B did. It is a pretty typical pub, with very high ceilings, and a lot of taxidermied big game mounted on the wall. Plenty of brew on tap.
  • The Griffin – Possibly the most unpretentious “cool” bar that I have ever been to. I mean, just look at their super basic website. The bar is the same way. No frills, but super genuine awesomeness. We were there Friday night late, and there was a gaggle of people standing around on the sidewalk outside the door enjoying pints. Inside, The Kinks were blasting over the sound system in the most un-ironic way possible. We became pretty friendly with the bartender, and she got a very out of focus photo of us that B and I both love.

Some additional photos from the UK-

Typical London (babes and cathedrals down every alley).
LSE
A little piece of Egypt next to the Thames.
Some castley looking structures. Lots of these over there.
Tower Bridge (almost as old as the Brooklyn Bridge), from the London Bridge, and B in a pink hat.
Some royal Amish people commuting.
Vintage x Modern
Vintage x Modern

Soft

I came across this film earlier this week. The one redeeming quality of winter is snowboarding. It doesn’t take much to get me stoked for riding, but this vid definitely kicked it up to eleven for me. Lots of deep pow and awesome imagery (the night sequence is next level). I really enjoyed it. Possibly you will, as well–

soft from Christian Haller on Vimeo.

Paris November 2018

Paris is like NY, in the sense that there are a million different ways to experience it. B and I had both spent time in Paris on various occasions in the past, but this was the first time that we had ever been together. This was a good fact, because it eliminated any pressure to see any of the “sights” and allowed us instead to just wander. We lodged in the Belleville neighborhood. Neither of us loved the hotel, so I won’t mention it here by name. Everything else that we tried out in that neighborhood was awesome. Here are some highlights from a food and drink perspective (massive thanks to B, for keeping a list). In each case below, at the end I have included a CoSAAT (Chances of Spotting Another American Tourist) rating, with which one might be able to gauge on a scale of 1-10 the likelihood of running into another USA passport holder (Brooklynites not included). So if you are like us, the mo lowah the CoSAAT rating, the mo bettah. Here we go:

    • Les Niçois – If you are into fruits of the sea, and a cozy local vibe, you will love this joint. We did. One thing to note is that we did not encounter a single other tourist in or near this spot. So local that we would have felt like interlopers if it wasn’t for the super friendly staff. There is also a secret bocce court in the basement. CoSAAT rating = 2
    • Canailles – This place sits in a little row of local gin joints on Boulevard de Belleville. Each of them have happy hour, or “happy hours” as they say. Excellent small plates, cocktail list and local draft brew. We got the mixed plate and didn’t need dinner afterward. CoSAAT rating = 1
    • Aux Folies – We saw plenty of other Americans here (mostly ex-pats, but still). Notwithstanding that fact, we found that this spot was almost unbeatable for late night vino. So much so, that we ended up there three times. Not the friendliest staff, but good bang for buck and it was very centrally located for where we were staying. CoSAAT rating = 7
    • Cafe Charbon – This is a good looking bar on Rue Oberkampf. We really liked the way that it was styled up. Great drinks, and very friendly service. Reminded me a bit of The Campbell in Grand Central Terminal, but not nearly as uptight. CoSAAT rating = 4
    • La Commune – Another great gin joint on Blvd de Belleville. If you are looking for 90’s hip-hop and other 808-centric jams while sitting in an urban atrium where delicious cocktails and light vittles are served, search no more. CoSAAT rating = 2
    • Le Grand Bain – Located in a back alley of the Belleville hood, the food here was in the same vein of the first spot listed above. But the vibe was much more urban. We got some local wine and all of the food on the menu. The food was freaking fantastic and were pleasantly surprised by the bill. CoSAAT rating = 1
    • Combat – Femenist themed cocktail bar on Rue de Belleville. It is a hole in the wall, and the drinks are next level (including metal straws, keeping the turtles in mind). Music was most likely Tribe Called Quest Spotify radio. CoSAAT rating = 1
    • Le Compas – Okay, this joint is on Rue Montorgueil, which gets festive for the holidays (see top photo). I’ll be honest, it is a generic Parisian bistro. But it is a little bit off of the beaten path for the average tourist, and the food/drink was worth mentioning on here. CoSAAT rating = 8
    • Les Nautes – for when you are waltzing along the Seine and you already picked up your fresh greens from the farmer’s market, but feel like taking down some freshly shucked oysters and vino. Be prepared to wait in line. But also, depending on the weather, worth waiting in line. CoSAAT rating = 7

Some additional photos-

Quintessential Belleville (graf and jetlagged babes down basically every alley)

I want this Piaggio tuk tuk so bad for when the L goes down.

Scouting Invaders (not hard these days since they are basically on every corner)

More Invader

Pretty out of focus, but you get what you pay for with a timer shot.

Touristing 1000%

Another slightly out of focus and off center timer shot. Counting it as a win.

Moon over the Seine

Shepard Fairey off of Oberkampf

A cool building that we saw. A lot of people were taking photos of it.

Hole in the wall spot on Rue de Belleville. Coolest hardwood veneer table tops. We passed it at night and it was a club. Think Enid’s in Greenpoint.

From the top of the Parc de Belleville

Also from the top of the Parc de Belleville

Parc de Belleville

Another shot of that glowy building. This time it was sparkling and signaling the ships at sea, or something.

KAWS ‘Gone’ at Skarstedt

KAWS is currently showing at Skarstedt. Here are some very lazy un-color-corrected photos of the exhibit. We popped in the day after it opened, but I haven’t had time to write this up until now. Definitely worth checking out, and still open until Dec 19. Wear your loudest Off-White piece to fit in. Supreme x The North Face will do in a pinch. Learn more here.