A Road Semester

IMG_2705 (1)IMG_2842Lebanon is a small cozy beautiful country. It’s also very corrupt and chaotic unfortunately.

So I packed a bag and booked a ticket for about a month, to go help out at Zuhair Murad’s Paris Fashion Show in January, pass by London a bit to see friends, and end up in NY for two weeks.

It’s now been three months that I left my small room (and my guitar, mind you), and I changed my ticket back about two times maybe. I’ve also not been staying put in the same place for more than 10 days. My friends have been more than helpful and welcoming, as some of you know, Lebanese people are known for their hospitality, refusing I’d take a place of my own.

I’m waiting for my flight out to North Carolina to visit my cousin. And I thought I hadn’t written here in a while and my freelance illustrations can wait a good 20 min, while I give this an update, just to not forget the beginning of my 2016.

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I’ve learned a bit more about lights in NY at le Poisson Rouge, allowing me to know what the next step would be on this particular road. I’ve been learning about music production too, giving me more insight on what I use in my daily work on stage, whether it’s about mics and cables or amplitude and frequency (and all those fancy technical words). I’ve been also working on my graphic skills, landing some clients here in NY, remembering my student years with branding and layouts…

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IMG_4930Thanks to Amy from the alt-J crew, I was able to join Boschi events as a production assistant and work on Three Dot Dash’s Just Peace Summit, a wonderful initiative by Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation. They basically round up 30 teenagers from around the world who have initiated projects that help bring peace to their communities.
We’ve also launched the Black Howl website. Black Howl is a community of freelancers, whose goal is to round up our clients under the same hub and keep the freelancers free. Make sure to check it out, and if you’d be so kind to show your support on all our social media platforms.

 

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It hasn’t been all work and no play though. We’ve seen Coeur de Pirate, and she’s even more mesmerizing live than on her records. My good friend Jason, and Jack even got me backstage at the Foals and Cage the Elephant concert in Rochester in March. It’s been so long since I’ve seen great rock, and a crowd that is that crazy. I’ve passed by Miami, saw the amazing Wynwood walls. If you ever go to that side of the world, make sure you try the alligator bites at Kush, and go to Space on saturday nights.

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‘Tis The Season, Or So.

After finishing up with Carl from Coach Inc., I sat down with him to give him the meeting’s drawings.

He asked me to talk to him about my projects. And I did. Taking his opinion mattered. He has experience, he’s very smart, and very realistic. But also very ambitious.
He asked me to choose between one of the two. “Focus on the one that will win enough money to do the second one.”
And so I did.
Working on this with my partners, I gave them a deadline to find the missing piece of our project to January 15th. After that, legal papers would be the hassle, apart from the business plan and the feasibility study.

On the other hand, we had trouble finding an editor for the 4 a Cause’s videos. But we did it in the end.

Poster Clothes EditionMeanwhile, I was preparing another charity event. We had a few bumps along the road and I had to put up everything in just a week. Which was the shortest time I’ve ever been given to work on an event.

But we did it. We did “Music 4 a Cause – The Clothes’ Edition” and the place was packed. The entrance fee was a donation of a piece of clothing.

I wanted to raise awareness that it’s not always about the money. You can help out around you in so many ways. You just have to open your eyes to what you can offer to make this world a better place.

This country isn’t getting any better. They keep killing us, restraining us… But if we can change ourselves, our friends, our neighbourhood, our city and then our country, it would be good. One piece at a time.

 

Closer & After

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The closer we got to event day, the latter we worked on site.
This was not specific to this event. And I don’t think it’s specific to this job either.

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Being on site as the night fell, watching the immensity of the venue under the warm night sky of Al Ain gave me a certain serenity.
It is during after hours and on ground that you realize how dedicated you are to the success of a project.
It is also at night when all is calm, and the project is so big that you are reminded how small you are but how big of an impact you can have. This is not about work, it’s about how fierce you can be.

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The planes slept quietly in their hangars. Neatly put away.
The food court was ready and clean.

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The grandstands and tents were standing tall under the stars.
The runway was empty and endless.
The staff was hardworking.

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photo 3-1I witnessed the build of the 16m swing today.

It’s not done yet, but it’s interesting to see five men building it under your eyes from scratch.

They had two days to finish it.
They started at night.

It would be mind blowing to see them finish on time.

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Creamfields’ Front

Lesson of the day: Driving the forklift.

First woman in Lebanon to do so apparently, and a very few of the women in production to actually drive one, says Suzanne, our freelancer from Germany.

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Also on the menu, teaching Joanna how to drive in general, and teaching her a bit more about what we do in our jobs.

Suzie’s fun. She’s worked in many festivals, knows a lot of people and agents and has been in many parts of the world.
I guess the most rewarding thing in this line of work is meeting people who are always different and have seen so much.

On another note, I’ve been working on this charity event for my NGO that I launched last year: 4 a Cause.
The event will take place in October at one of the most prestigious clubs in Beirut.
Details to be revealed soon.

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Meanwhile…

While preparing for Creamfields, LinkedIn knocked on my door again.

They needed a simple design for an invitation card, and since they liked my last work I sent them, they came back!
These freelance clients keep me rolling in this other part of my work.

Piece of cake, worked on it at night as usual – freelance projects are what I give in on my own time.
Delivered, and… they liked it!

Scorpions and I Say Goodbye to Byblos

These were the last 2 days in Byblos. We closed off with Scorpions who have already played here two years ago and contacted themselves Buzz Productions to be back.
They made a rather fun entrance to the venue by boat, to the roars of their impatient rock fans.

The show was easy, they have already been here and we have worked Byblos for years and especially for a month straight now.

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It was a good end to a great edition.
I will be missing those heated naps under the tarps next to the stage, and those sleeping loud naps under the stage which fatigue ruled over the incredible massive sound system.

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Focus should be back on Creamfields now that I’m done with this amazing festival and this incredible venue.

Escape to the UK

ImageWork has been a bit stressful for the past week. I had to finish three projects (or what I had to do on them) before yesterday, because I’m leaving for 10 days to London.

It’s been years since I escaped and had a bit of time for myself.
It’s a bit weird taking a few days off. I’m taking my laptop with me in case I need to butt in on the one project which is still running while I’m away: Sunsets.
This is where I realize how big of a workaholic I am.

We launch on May 11th at Long Beach (Manara) bringing A-Class DJs from Watergate, Berlin: Ruede Hagelstein, Stassy, Matthias Meyer & Robin Drimalski.

I’ll be back on the 10th and on site setting up right away.

We’ll see you there folks.