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your neighborhood garbage man

your neighborhood garbage man


Nick– Ben’s update from momma Carol:

Nick, I hope this reaches you; It’s Friday night, 7/25.
Ben is stormbound, about 10 hours’ sailing time outside of Seward. They’re tucked into a good bay, but have been there for a week riding out a series of storms (this is #3), and it looks like it’ll be Wednesday before they can head safely into port. He’s halfway hoping he can catch a ride on a bigger boat passing by, but it doesn’t look like that’ll happen now.
Satellite phone kept going out, so not much more to report, other than they’re just stuck bobbing around on the boat, reading, talking and eating sandwiches. Everyone’s getting along, but are wishing they could head for home. It’s smarter that they stay where they are, though–pretty big seas in the Gulf, 20-foot or more.
Anyway, this means he won’t make his Monday flight to Denver, and he’s not sure exactly when they’ll be back on shore. Keep your fingers crossed for Wednesday, and I’ll update you whenever I hear from him.
Oh, my. We just had a little earthquake. Whew.
Well, at least the forest fires have died down.
I am not making this up.
Be good, have fun, save a beer for Ben.

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bring your shades

bring your shades


Nick– Alright, so the dates aren’t exactly set yet, but the idea of showing our backcountry ski film in the heart of Tokyo is exciting. Your wildest childhood fantasies can’t project such niche experiences on your life canvas, and there’s absolutely no way to prepare. Brother Yuki Miyazaki has been using his good looks to garner support from jaded Japanese media types, who are happy to see such a ray of sunshine arrive at their fluorescent cubicle village. Here’s the heads up, and feel free to join in the east this fall:

バックカントリーフリーライディング映画

10月初旬発売予定
上映会ツアー日程(予定)

10月:
東京、大阪、京都、仙台、札幌

11月〜12月:
東京、横浜、白馬、新潟、富良野、ニセコ

Ajoo's album drop apparently conflicts with our Japan tour: stiff competition for the hearts of the Japanese viewer

Ajoo's album drop apparently conflicts with our Japan tour: stiff competition for the hearts of the Japanese viewer

5am with John-Alex

5am with John-Alex


Nick– The deep country blues man behind our Hand Cut soundtrack will turn out once again to play our premiere of Signatures. Come September 19th, John-Alex Mason will play his slide blues into your heart and dancing feet on the floor of The Wheeler Opera House. When the staff asked John-Alex to shut down at 12am last year, he poured “but I’m only half done” into the mic, moved his set next door, and played until the wee hours.

In short, what a dude, and not the type of show you want to miss. He’s a genuine breed, raised in the colorado front range and tempered in trips to the mississippi delta. Stories about juke joints like Red’s and mythic blues men like Pinetop Perkins mesh with sayings like “on the run from Johnny Law– ain’t no trip to Cleveland” and “music and the shirt on my back’s all I got.” From “Shake your money maker” to “Bury my boots,” he makes you dance, and when you’re not dancing, you’re laughing and smiling about dancing. Catching John-Alex Mason live invites a trip down south to see the culture and history behind his chops. For a lot less cash, his album Town & Country will have you smelling gumbo for 57 minutes and change.

Some 5 minutes ago, John-Alex wrote, “As long as there are dancers in Aspen I’ll play all night long,” and for $10 dollars you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal than our film and his tunes. See you at The Wheeler Opera House on Sept. 19th.

log-cabin
Nick– If you ever have 5 hours to kill FTPing a 4 minute video clip to the Asian continent, I highly recommend watching Alone in the Wilderness, the story of another man building another cabin in the middle of another wilderness. Chris McCandless, the dude from My Side of the Mountain, Dick Proenekke.

For 30 years Dicky P. called the Alaskan wilds home, with no company besides an 8mm camera and his carpentry skills. With lines like, “I don’t want these logs looking like a boy scout was let loose on them with a dull hatchet,” it’s chicken soup for the tune-in-and- drop-out soul.

Del-Lic-Cee-Us

Del-Lic-Cee-Us


Nick– Japanese beer tastes like the drip off a frat house carpet. While mass produced four percent water has it’s place, if you’re going for taste, Colorado brew is the home-cooked meal.

After 6 months of hops deprivation, New Belgium was a warm welcome home, and we drove up to the brewery to chat with their eccentric, hard-working, folks. Colorado has one of the best craft beer scenes in the US, and New Belgium

the brew toys

the brew toys

is the grandaddy. In 18 years, they’ve become the 8th largest brewery in the US, from a garage shop to 1700 keg demand at June events alone. They’re employee owned, wind-powered since 1999, and they’ve figured ways to reclaim all energy shy of a fart to power their toys.

Quality over quantity is a running theme in our work, whether it’s Fat Tire vs. Old Style or backcountry vs. resort. While driving back with my friend Kevin (a little-league baseball amigo and saavy social media guru at Albatross Digital), he mentioned, “You can make a lot of money being a scumbag, looking out for #1, but the companies that make it are the ones that are kind to eacthother. They treat everyone like family.”

At some point you sacrifice money to craft a quality product or run the family well. We didn’t become filmmakers to horde coin, and the people and companies we gravitate towards place a similar emphasis on creativity, ethics, and relationships. During one of my last days in Tokyo, I was talking to the Patagonia Japan GM about Walmart’s recent request to meet with Yvon Chouinard, the Paddy-G founder. Here was a $100 billion company asking a $300 million one for advice: can you make money and sell sustainable products?

new belgium ad

new belgium ad

In a similar vein, Taro turns down mass production profits to pursue his creative Gentemstick board designs, and to share that beauty with other riders. “Creative boards allow you to do creative things,” he always says. Our athletes choose snow with good friends over wealth and nice cars. Likewise, the process of shaping a film is the process of growing these relationships, shaping a community, and sharing our art with others who are passionate about snow. It’s about the 50 person show in Leadville where we get to talk to everyone after the film, and putting our heart into what we do.
————————————
While we’re at it, if you have a favorite local beer– or would be so kind to send us a bottle to:
Sweetgrass Productions LLC
200 Briar Rose Ln
Breckenridge, CO 80424
we’d be happy to send a copy of Hand Cut in return for your faithful devotion. Or just drop us a comment to key us in to a new flavor.
————————————

man-eating shrimp

man-eating shrimp


Nick— After meandering through the soupy streets of Tokyo’s retail fish market, we headed into the bowels to see the wholesale tuna auction. With saber-sized knives, men decapitated gilled beings from guppies to 500 lb monster fish, quickly lowering their ears to hear the wisdom that hisses out of a severed spine: a fortune…good lottery numbers…the location of the golden ticket!

A fantastic sashimi meal and a thick black coffee later, we arrived at the intersection of good friendship and the runs. Without further adieu, we bring you a brief photographic journey through the heart of Tsukiji.

shiBUYA!

shiBUYA!


Nick— Japanese women jump on exotic man meat like fleas on crap. The high bridge nose, the height, the curls, the blue eyes, the blond hair. 98.5% of Japan is Japanese, and the other morsel is largely Korean: the local folks have had the same meal for the last 100,000 years, so the foreign look is in high demand. While American girls line up outside Toys ‘R Us for the elusive Tamagotchi digital pet, Japanese girls line up to digitally pet American men with their hyper phones: “This on is of me and Saki at A-life. Look at how tall he is!” You can hear the giggles.

Then it happened to me: the offer to be on the billboard, the Bill Murray with the Suntory glass. While standing with my arms crossed near the famous Shibuya intersection, Bumpei and Taka approached me with a clipboard, and soon started snapping photos. Frontal, profile, arms at sides, cross-armed. After asking permission to use a flash, Bumpei stood 4 inches from my face clicked a couple of blinders off. Thanks Bump.

“How big is chest?,” Taka asked as he motioned the measuring tape around his own.

“Not sure,” I replied.

“Can I…Can I touch?”

Having received their business cards and checked their legitimate fashion credentials, I resigned to let the experience happen. I follow a strict philosophy of open mindedness: when in Rome, do as the Japanese do, I guess. There are very few times in life when a man named Bumpei will request a photo, so you’ve got to soak up the oddity of the experience.

Bumpei

Bumpei

While the billboard doesn’t exist, and the Suntory glass is actually the NonNative clothing line, the modeling shoot is on the 9th of July, past my reintegration date to American general pop. It’s not about money, it’s not about cameras, its about having a story and a visual record of few strange days in Tokyo with some ugly clothes.