The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

Ah, the solo getaway. We’ve all dreamt of the eat, pray, love life at some point, but who are we kidding? With most of us bogged down by family, career and general day-to-day life obligations, going on a lengthy soul-searching journey just isn’t practical. But what if you knew how to plan a solo overnight trip that could at least somewhat aid in providing the mental cleanse we all need?

When we were in the thick of the pandemic, I thought about how fulfilling it would be to celebrate my eventual vaccination by booking a solo overnight stay somewhere just out of L.A. That said, the timing had to be right—and when a last minute change of plans altered a pre-scheduled arrangement last Thursday, I took it as my sign to jump on a 24-hour getaway.

It’s important to keep in mind there are many types of solo excursions. If you’re looking to meet new people, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to soak up the sun by the pool all day, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to sip cocktails with no cares in the world, there’s a place for that. I knew that my intentions were to go somewhere grounding and spiritual. Oh, it also happened to be Earth Day, so naturally it made the most sense to venture somewhere scenic and serene.

I considered my local options, and booked a quaint room at the Ojai Retreat & Inn. To be clear, this isn’t sponsored by any of the establishments I mention in this piece. I simply just learned a lot from my experience and want to share since many people expressed interest when I posted about it online. Keep reading for all my tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip if you’re looking for a zen recharge outside of L.A.

  1. Consider the Destination

It’s important to be mindful of the fact that just because a place involves lounging doesn’t mean it will be peaceful or mind-clearing. I think when Angelenos think of relaxing, Palm Springs is the first place that comes to mind. But quite frankly, it’s not where I’d personally go for a distinctly serene experience. To me, Palm Springs evokes Coachella memories and partying. It’s also a blistering hot desert, so if there’s no pool with refreshing cocktails to boot, count me out.

When I booked my trip, it was important for me to immerse myself in nature, first and foremost. While Southern California is beautiful with many outdoor activities at its fingertips, much of it is a scene or just L.A relocated (a la PS). When I think of serene, scenic solo getaways in SoCal, I think Ojai, Idyllwild and Topanga Canyon. And in my planning process and searching around for available hotels (easier than Airbnb), Ojai was the best fit in that moment.

  1. Disconnect or Tie-Up Any Distracting Loose Ends Beforehand

When it comes to how to plan a solo overnight trip, be sure to wrap up any unfinished business beforehand. To get the most out of your experience, you don’t want this to be a work remote situation. Take the day off and let everyone you know you’ll be out of pocket for 24 hours. I’d even advise putting your phone on airplane mode for at least half the time. If you’re in a situation where you do need to leave your phone on, at least make sure you have no lingering concerns or obligations that could interfere with your peaceful mindset on the trip.

For me, personally, the day/night I got there was fantastic. I explored the beautiful grounds on which I was staying, I walked to a beautiful restaurant for dinner and embraced the garden view from my bedroom. I turned off my phone after dinner, and when I turned it back on the next morning, I had a cryptic text waiting for me from a friend. When I replied, I got another cryptic reply, leading me to question if there was something I needed to worry about. The friend said they could only talk after work. Instead of agreeing and going on with my day, I wish I had blatantly asked if this had to do with me or to speak right then. Instead, it left my neurotic brain frazzled and poured out into the energy of what was supposed to be a mellow day. It ended up having nothing to do with me, but going into this situation next time, I’ll need to know off the bat so it doesn’t impact my peaceful experience.

  1. Schedule a Healing Session

If there’s one place to take advantage of natural healing properties, it’s in nature, of course! Places like Ojai, for example, offer a slew of intuitive readings, reiki and crystal healings, sound bath experiences and other forms of re-centering and cleansing your energy. I just so happened to have a session scheduled with my bi-yearly healer later that week in L.A., but if I didn’t have that on the calendar weeks in advance, I’d absolutely have booked a session on my travel. Especially since I haven’t done any form of healing since just before the pandemic, this was such an opportune time!

4. Book a Room Somewhere Serene

    1. Going off of No. 1, if zen is your goal for the trip, be sure your room reservation follows suit. For this sort of stay, I’m not going to book at the trendiest spot in town (even if it’s the most beautiful or luxe). I wanted somewhere small, quaint, and scenic. I didn’t need room service or a full bar by the pool. I just wanted to be in nature and feel like I was in a whole new world with no familiar faces in sight. Again, I’m not big on Airbnb for solo travel (but that’s just me). I find it so much easier to book a hotel and not have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience.

      1. Plan Your Trip on a Weekday

      Planning your stay on a weekday is key when it comes to how to book a solo overnight trip. I went on a Thursday and stayed through early Friday afternoon. Not only do you beat the crowds (and yes, that includes some L.A. tourists), but you have better deals and vaster options. Based on my day of stay, my room was $10 off. I was also easily able to snag a last-minute reservation at the hottest spot in town for dinner. And when I headed into downtown the following late morning, I felt like I had the area all to myself. I find it generally easier to decompress on weekday trips. You’re not soaking up the energy of masses of travelers around you and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on traditional weekend activities.

    6. Ensure There’s a Dining Establishment Within Walking Distance

        1. Nothing’s worse than getting in the zone and feeling at ease than having to hop into your car or deal with an annoying Lyft when all you want to do is eat a nice meal and enjoy a glass of wine. Avoid tampering with your energy flow by ensuring beforehand that there’s somewhere walking distance to eat (or somewhere [mellow] to eat on the premises of where you’re staying). I was fortunate enough to have an exquisite fine dining establishment waiting for me at the very bottom of my hotel’s hill called The Ranch House. I can’t think of a better place in that moment to enjoy a solo meal with an extraordinary view.

      7. Set an Intention for the Trip

          1. While getting away just to get away is all sorts of groovy, it’s so much more meaningful when you have a goal or outcome for your brief yet powerful journey. In my case, I wanted to connect with nature and clear my energy. While I’m no stranger to alone time (I’m single, I live alone and I’m very socially independent), it’s a lot different to stroll down bustling Sunset Blvd. to grab coffee than it is to stroll through an array of trees and waterfalls and peacefully reflect on life. Like with most people, the last several months have been wildly transitional. It was important to me that I shed some lingering energy that’s been piled up over the last year. While a step outdoors isn’t going to dramatically change your life or fix all your problems, it does help clear your head and put things into perspective when you don’t have the distractions of your day-to-day life clouding your mind.

        Dahvi Shira is a longtime L.A.-based writer and editor who has been published regularly with People, E!, Mane Addicts and her own blog Skyelyfe. When she’s not writing or embracing her inner Gen Z girl, she’s experimenting with makeup and skincare and promoting her merch line @dgilosangeles.

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        What is gay sexuality? What is socializing in queer spaces? and what is the meaning of partying in a post-Covid circumstance, where we are still locking in and out while needing to rage on harder. With pride around the corner and what is sure to be #SlutGirlSummer we chatted with Eric Alán whose gogo dancing persona Rico Starr led to an iconic and vivaciously vulgar clothing line which bridges the gogo attire with the streets.

        Who is Rico Starr?

        I would have to say Rico Starr is an over the top version of myself. A world class traveler, into fashion, all things nightlife, glitter, fun, music and extravagance!

        Is he a top, bottom or vers?

        Definitely vers! Everyone knows very guys have twice the fun…Rico Starr even has a shirt for that!

        What would be your ideal dream Starr to rock Rico Starr?

        My tagg line is that EVERYBODY IS A STARR. There is no one type or aesthetic that my line is directed to or at or trying to attract. In fact, my website is full of photos with actual customers in their own Rico Starr gear.

         

        What is your background in production and how did you see yourself utilizing it as a means of expression?

        My segue into singing and recording my own music was being chosen out of a crowd in a dance club to audition for a slot as a backup dancer to another recording artist at the time. Doing that for about a year or so, I met music producers and just started working on projects and before you know it that lead to my own songs, music videos, tv spots, press, live shows, etc.

        As far as expression, I just wasn’t afraid of putting who and what I am out there. The themes and imagery of my music are very authentic to me as a person. It’s flashy, gay, unashamed, proud, sexy and fun! I don’t think it ever occurred to me to try to fit into or be anything else than what I was/am. This was my art so intrinsically a visual and audible extension of myself.

        Did you feel like dancing came naturally what was your gateway until performing and did you use it to incorporate and direct your musical career?

        Since I was very young, music and dancing has ALWAYS been a HUGE part of my life. My mother incessantly played Donna Summer’s ‘On The Radio’ album which I still never get tired of listening too. My late aunt and I would dance in her laundry room for hours. She introduced me to Latin sounds like salsa and merengue and was so eager to listen to new things at the time like Madonna and Gloria Estefan.

        Gogo dancing came after my stint as a recording artist. And yes, it did come very naturally. Music ALWAYS takes me to a place of joy. Every time I dance, people come up to me and remark at how much fun they have seeing and sharing the joy I have when I’m dancing.

        Beyond stage outfits how did you feel your designs extended into the dancing in the music?

        Dancing generally takes place in a dark room filled with flashing lights. The clothes I design are made specifically for that. I mean, as gay men the shirts come off pretty quick, but even at bars, there is dim lighting and at least a disco ball, right? The materials in my shirts are all used with that in mind. From foil to glitter and rhinestones, it’s all meant to catch the light and shine!

        Do you feel that what you had made for a gogo dancing as a custom extension to how you view your own sexuality and personal sexual habits?

        As far as gogo dancing, the point is to be as sexy as fuck right? But beyond that I have always felt that there is nothing sexier than confidence. So with that said, unless I was dancing for an event that was sponsored by a particular underwear or clothing brand, I always aimed to wear something that made me feel confident. And yes, that absolutely included leather, jocks, briefs and anything in between. My favorite gogo dancing gigs have been for various Madonna events. I got to reimagine and create her outfits but from a gogo dancer perspective.

        The brand is super all-in, where the K crew and G crew can somewhere say high high hello, what would you say is the best layering technique of drugs for a night out?

        Well. I’m not one to dose and tell but I personally find that a little bit of everything makes for a phenomenal night out dancing under those flashing lights and glittering disco ball!

        Where do you see the brand going in the near future?

        Rico Starr is about to put out summer gear and it’s first swimsuit. While you can already find the shirts in Chi Chi Larue’s Circus of Books in West Hollywood, CA, I would like to see Rico Starr expand to other brick and mortar stores across the country and maybe even internationally! 

        How do you feel gay men have interacted with their sexuality as the pandemic hit, are we coming back to cruise culture for a sense of adventure?

        From what I have seen and heard I would have to agree that cruise culture is on the rise again. Apparently the Rambles here in Central Park is quite the happening place! Again, so I’ve heard… It’s kinda like what Richard Attenborugh said in Jurassic Park but I would tweak it a bit. “Gays find a way.”

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        There is a deep sense of self realization when reviewing Dana Boulos multi-hyphenate career. Whether shooting the indie darling of the moment or soundtracking the coolest fashion labels events, she has always had her eye on the prize of being able to make a living in an industry that thrives off of the constant dance to stay relevant and informed. WIth this career path there has long been a certain diminishing aspect to being able to do it all and do it all well. Recently she outed herself as the mastermind behind the production company BRAINFREEZE, a move which allowed her to initially be taken seriously without being the figurehead. With her latest project Talk by BRAINFREEZE, she aims to cultivate conversations with a leading diverse cast of creatives, starting with a chat with her friend the poet Sonny Hall. Ahead of the launch we spoke to Boulos to congratulate her enterprising project.

        Hey Dana how are you congrats on the new project what made you start this new podcast?

        BJ!!!! I can’t believe I’ve been working on this personal project for a year now. I started TALK during the lockdown, at first, it was supposed to be a digital magazine… something to help me dream of a better future and get out of that quarantine bedroom mood, and then I started to realize that a podcast would be a better way to be able to really connect with people. TALK is meant to move the past conversation into deep thought and a source of inspiration helping listeners tap into the creative careers of their dreams.

        You have created such a strong vision that extends beyond your initial photo work into directing, producing, and art directing so many great projects? How do you see this podcast continuing that same feeling?

        TALK is more of subjournal into the BRAINFREEZE world. It’s a world I’ve been working on for so many years and the podcast is only just the beginning of it all. I’ve always been more of a hidden entrepreneur and only recently have I started letting people know I’m behind BRAINFREEZE. I’ve always created more of a mystery to help get projects rolling and get taken seriously in the world of production and creative consulting. It’s really sad how people never take anyone who does multiple jobs seriously so that was why I kept it all under the wraps, but not anymore. I feel so proud that I can do multiple jobs or things and it’s time the world knew about it. I want to be able to help others struggling to believe that they can also turn their dreams into plans, that’s what TALK is about.

        I totally agree it’s stigmatizing as fuck to be a multi hyphenate, as if you can in no way in hell be able to be good at more than one thing. I’m here like fuck you all I’m just trying to hustle for a buck. Who are the kinds of guests that we can expect to hear from in the future, do they match a similar multidisciplinary back ground?

        Season 1 of TALK has a lot of multidisciplinary artists from an editor in chief of a fashion magazine to poet book publisher to costume designer to a film director to vfx editor in the industry. I’m keeping the guest list a surprise 😉 tune in every Tuesday for the new episode on Spotify, Apple music and all that jazz!

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

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        From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

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        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

        Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

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        Natura | Lumina

        Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

        Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

        Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

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        Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

        ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

        Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can be honest too. Fashion by nature is frivolous though the act of not caring is in itself a dictation of style. Isn’t the most convoluted futurist Rick Owens offering as valid in linear narrative as the regular jo evoking mumblecore realness? Regardless  these garment live an endless sea of poetic expressions that at some point steer into pure unadulterated commerce.

        We like to always stay out of the box and apart from the status quo as most of us are in figuring and navigating function and form through the lines of digital capabilities. There are times when I look into the past from the sociological standpoint and question what is the reasons a reflection or reaction to the times. Where does fashion form to dictate the editorial directions which are then consumed and processed. With that rant here are some memoirs and biographies which have been a great source of inspiration and show the entire depths of the humanity of fashion players.

        Chiffon Trenches – André Leon Talley

        One of the more salacious biographies of fashion to get dropped last year, this book contains all the needs of 70s and 80s era hedonism via Paris, New York. Tally reached into his humble upbringing with a goddess grandmother as well as the King Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld during his time at Chloe into Chanel. Though this book truly portrays a man deeply devoted to fashion, the sense on loyalty seems tragic as the separation of garment and identity is lost to the Vogue ins and outs of the fashion set. Names dropped include the fore-mentioned Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Wintour, and Diana Vreeland. Also note the subtle shade towards Edward Enninful. Check out the last interview Andre Leon Talley did for Vogue’s Met Gala before being replaced by Liza Koshy. Buy it here.

        The Woman I Wanted To Be – Diane Von Furstenberg

        The thought of Diane von Furstenberg’s clothing has been essential in the cultural understanding of American sportswear. Her wrap dresses have been a constant standard of what the American woman would look like in the romanticize vision of metropolitan New York City life. This book offers up that and so much more as she delves into her familial past and family tree, traversing her mothers experiences of World War II and into her own Studio 54 era, marrying into aristocracy and becoming the prototypical fashion Girl-Boss. Beyond all the glamour and star studded shout outs in this memoir, the book offers more on the construction of culture and business as she moves through fashion, love, cosmetics, loss, cancer, family, and entrepreneurship. J’adore this throw back interview! Buy It Here.

        Grace: A Memoir – Grace Coddington

        Another title could have been “Anything for the picture!” A fascinating biography which shares the decorated and poetic life of Grace Coddington, the unsung hero of Vogue. The book highlights her deeply romantic journeys along side the consistent battle to attain creative autonomy. This book serves as a great launching point for anyone looking not to compromise their vision as well as proposes the glamour of the era of company cards and extended exotic trips for fashion. A must for those who thrive in pushing for a subversive stance in the creative industry. Her transition from model to editorial expresses so much more to be understood in the existence of being more than just a clothes hanger. This book though dusted with a heft of A list names really focuses on the creative auteurs which have been launched and cultivated by Coddington. Buy it Here

        Loulou & Yves: The Untold Story of Loulou de La Falaise and the House of Saint Laurent 

        –  Christopher Petkanas 

        Can we think of the 70’s era Saint Laurent woman without the tailored androgyny of Betty Catroux and the ultimate Rive Gauche haute bohémienne Loulou de la Falaise. A well-designed oral history featuring all the various bitchy drama we need from the compiled interviews spanning her eccentric upbringing by model/mother/muse Maxime de la Falaise, her time bordering NY Warholian trenches to London’s scene with Ossie Clark and ultimately her time molding Saint Laurent. The book features a lush depiction of sex, drugs and haute couture funneled through the eras’s bohemian party girl from Aristocratic beauty to her last days. The tragic nature of her story is not so cautionary but embraced as a life well lived and is well blanketed in the mystique of gossip as well as the smoke and anything goes attitude from Club Sept. Argh we just want to be drunk and on opium to be in this reenacted room with Léa Seydoux as Loulou in her turban glory, and Gaspard Ulliel as YSL is quite yum.  Buy it here.

        Walking with the Muses: A Memoir – Pat Cleveland

        The dancing queen, Halston and Stephen Burrows muse, the model who redefined the way models move on the runway, Pat Cleveland’s glittering life shimmers in this book which features all the drama of New York to Paris. So a forever light in fashions often dark scene, the book begins with Cleveland’s upbringing in the creative world her mother the artist Lady Bird Cleveland cultivates in Harlem to her initial discovery as a designer through Vogue and into her early career modeling with Essence through a reality shaking racist south. She offers heart breaking stories of racism and adversity which ultimately leads her to success in Europe aligning with Warhol before making it to iconic status in the states. Buy Here.  Watch this Show studio interview and do read in her voice

        Blow by Blow: The Story of Isabella Blow – Detmar Blow

        One of the most tragic stories to come out of fashion, with a glorious life that would eventually end in suicide, Isabella Blow is honored in this book by her husband Detmar. Her privilege and troubled upbringing sets the tone for a rebellious life which leads to a stylistic cultivation and savant like quality of picking up talent from Philip Treacy to her most bountiful discovery, Alexander McQueen. Though though the eccentric outfits of armor like couture and artful acquaintances were endless it was all to veil the mental illness and various troubles of the visionary editor. This Video Fashion Obit is such a mood  Buy it Here.

        D.V. – Diana Vreeland

        This is a playful and great book to have by the bed side as the ultimate fashion girl’s bedtime story. Each chapter is compiled as a surrealist experience presenting anecdotes and happenstances that seem all too good for reality.  Perhaps Diana simply lived a life of nonstop Kismet. Prolific moments include years spent around Chanel in the 20s, skipping out on the Nazis, her time at vogue and the Met as well as her beautiful youth surrounded by playful Demimondaine during La Belle Époque. Fun fact this scene from Funny Face “Think Pink” was inspired by Diana Vreeland. Buy the Book here.

        I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones

        Beyond being a model/musician and postmodern muse to Jean Paul Goude and generations of gay men, the singer/model/actress finally wrote her memoirs. The first half of the book is heavy in tone set to her upbringing in Jamaica aligned with Pentecostal family hell. An experience which possibly created the fierce persona that came to make Jones. Once liberated and unleashed onto New York City Grace begins a modeling career which steers into endless nights as a queen at disco haven Studio 54. Though ultimately her career as a model and musician would maturate and become well envisioned in Paris where her disco tracks were abandoned for the underground sounds of dub and new wave aligning with the Parisian elite. Most fascinating was her time with Issey Miyake which gave way to her posing and kabuki inflected performances. Please also enjoy the longform video, A One Man Show which she was nominated for a Grammy and so got robbed of. Purchase here.

        The Price Of Illusion by Joan Juliet Buck

        Possibly the best for last, this novel is a brilliant deconstruction of the fashion editors persona and mental state. Though jam packed with the editorial allure that made #BTSlife a starring aspect of editorial, Joan Juliet Buck’s novel posed more than the glitteratti which we so often use to escape reality. Her roots in old Hollywood are punctuated by legends who were mere family friends. Her love life was shown in a pace through ripples of male presences not to detract from the high stakes world of designers, Vogue and the endless fashion calendar. Opening with her firing ahead of the Prada show, the only American editor of Paris Vogue philosophical unraveling came as she knew her opinion would not matter. The most self affirming part of this book for anyone who is or wants to be involved in fashion comes towards the end as the author finds true happiness in community and the sobriety from a lifelong addiction to Vogue. Can we also enjoy the authors turn as an actress in 2009 Julia & Julia.   Buy it now

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

        Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

        From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

        Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

        The hidden entrepreneur gets vocal with her latest podcast Talk by BRAINFREEZE.

        9 Biographies for the Fashion Minded

        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

        Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

        An Ode to LA Night Life built on paintings, photographs, installations and film

        Sage Willows | NFT Works “Doesn’t Even Exist”

        Chatting up the young artist as he interacts with the modern NFT market on his own terms

        Natura | Lumina

        Every blonde deserves a fortifying treatment that will keep you brassless and malleable

        Bertie Body | Back To Bath Rituals

        Get to know the Australian brand brings sexy bath, with soul, scent, and marine collagen.

        Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

        Restaurants are open for dining, spring time is in the air, there’s a cutie looking towards us, what shall we wear?

        ZARA FLORA | Don’t Call It Ikebana

        Get to know the journalist who took on a quarantine hobby and launched a successful side gig in floral arrangements informed by architecture, art, and getting back to nature

        Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

        Ty Joseph | Social Connecting

        Oh how we miss it, how we missed it all. The chance to bump into friends you haven’t seen in ages had at a dark location lit by candles scented buy cigarettes and wood floors soaked with rosé. Everyone dressed in their best but kept a certain withdrawal to appear with an effortless ease. The international set of wayward vagabonds creating an elegant mélange that would stalk the hallways of hotels, parties, and hotel parties. Those last days of the Hollywood Flaneur are done for now but the artifice lives on through technology with Ty Joseph’s installation Social Connecting.

        Utilizing video and audio the experience pays homage LA nightlife and is trickled with audio that has been recorded in various hot spots from the Chateau Marmont to Delilah’s. The experience casts the attention of a lifestyle that cannot feasibly exist due to Covid-19 restrictions as well as the social mores which come with such acts of social intimacy. The comforting sensations come in perfect timing when isolation fatigue and the trickling of indoor dinning has the city in a frenzy of what is right and wrong. Processing the experience harks back to what it is about LA’s night life which fueled the dreams of the world and adds to the on going narrative of a city of glamour and grunge.

        Ty Joseph

        Social Connecting

        Beverly Center

        Runs through April 26, 2021

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

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        Over the past two weeks, the art world has been rocked back and forth by an unprecedented emergence NFTs. NFT stands for “non-fungible tokens”, which are unique digital files and artworks that are stored on a blockchain. Just last Thursday, March 11, Christie’s auction house closed their first digital NFT artwork by artist Beeple for a whopping 69.3 million US dollars. This body of work titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is composed of 5000 works ranging from scenes of children skateboarding whilst drinking cranberry juice, to Pikachu holding onto a goat. Within all this craziness, we spoke to Sage Willows about his take on this market and the body of work he will be auctioning off tomorrow.

        What do you think about the current state of the NFT world?

        First off, I think we are living in such a fascinating world today. The rapid rise of NFTs are undeniably challenging the traditional ways of the gallery system. I know the technology is here to stay, but I do think that we are in a bubble when it comes to acquisitions that are being made in the NFT world. What I am saying is, a lot of money is getting poured into garbage.

         

        What do you mean “a lot of money is getting poured into garbage”?

        The ecosystem of the NFT market is very “monkey-see monkey-do” at the moment. Graphic designers are making open editions of 5000+ works that are being completely sold out within minutes. Everybody wants a piece of this hot cake, and everybody is getting it. That is surely not how works become valuable. It is simple economics and human nature to desire something you cannot have, and in this current market, everyone’s getting what they want. I think it is completely okay to openly talk about economics even as a fine artist.

         

        Why are you planning to release NFT works when it sounds like you are against them?

        I still believe paintings should be tangible, and experienced in real life. There is something so special about forming an emotional and spiritual connection with a physical body of work. You see, I never really wanted to make any digital NFT works.

        However, upon late nights of deep thinking, I came to a conclusion. I am promising to only make 4 digital NFT works ever in my career. As an artist, it is important to comment on the current society we are living in, to document this ever-changing simulation. With that being said, I felt the desire to make this series of works titled “Doesn’t” “Even” “Exist”, to poke fun at the NFT market and the nature of all of these works not existing in the physical world. I want my collector to sit in front of their computer screen looking at their acquisition, reading, “Doesn’t Even Exist”. I think it’s quite funny while simultaneously challenging perspectives and pushing boundaries.

        Why are you limiting yourself by promising to only make 4 digital NFT works?

        This is an interesting topic I want to play with. In the physical world, I have some collectors that have come into my studio to buy over 10 works at a time. Next thing you know, the works are delivered to them, and they get driven straight into their vault. Not onto their walls. That raises an eyebrow for me. It is almost as if they want me to pass away, so that the value of my works can exponentially appreciate. Anybody who has studied art history knows that there is a very curious economics to the value of fine artists’ works after they decease.

        With this in mind, I am essentially killing myself from the NFT world after I release my 4 works. I don’t feel as if I am going to miss out on anything because I am more interested and fulfilled with creating works that can be physically experienced rather than digital works anyways.

        So here’s to those collectors waiting for me to die. Have fun with these NFTs, because in that world, my death is certain, and its approaching quick.

         

        Where will you be releasing your NFT works?

        I will be releasing this series on the Foundation platform on Thursday March 18th (tomorrow) at 3:33PM PST. The series will be minted one by one and placed on auction for 24 hours. I suggest you join the platform tonight and get your account all set up so you can join the madness tomorrow.

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