My name is LARRY VINCENT. I'm a writer, speaker, photographer and lovable nerd based in Los Angeles. When I'm not writing here about things that inspire me, I look after The Brand Studio at United Talent Agency.
For many of us, summer is a time for the adrenaline rush of a good roller coaster. Each coaster taunts us with its own promise. Some promise speed, others harrowing loops. There are coasters that promise to suspend us in the air and frighten us in the dark. One thing’s for sure: we celebrate the coasters that exceed our expectations.
This article in today’s New York Times profiles a particular type of coaster that combines the best of science with the charm of the past. Wooden roller coasters can have tighter bends and twists than steel ones. They excel at giving just the right amount of airtime—that exhilarating feeling that grips the pit of your stomach when you truly feel you’re falling and makes you happy to be alive.
My favorite part of the accompanying video is the interview with Sister Michelle Sinkhorn, a Benedictine who is lovingly referred to as The Coaster Nun. Her excitement demonstrates just how universal the power of a good coaster can be for saints and sinners alike.
My friend Jason Pollock has been hard at work on his next documentary film, which focuses on changing the conversation and bolstering support for America’s schools. In a unique approach that truly makes social media part of the filmmaking process, Undroppable is breaking new ground by engaging viewers in the lives of the people behind the story as the story develops.
Rebranding America’s Schools — One Tumblr Post at a Time
In the heart of East Los Angeles, in an office building turned magnet school, Jonathan Araiza speaks into a camera. “My dream is to get out of high school,” the former gang member says. “I will be the first one to graduate in my family.” The man behind the lens, Jason Pollock, would say that Araiza is “undroppable” — he has persevered, against trying circumstances, to graduate this year. For the past two months, Pollock has interviewed hundreds of students like him, in some of the poorest districts in the country, to find out what keeps them from dropping out. The result — a documentary film project and vast social media campaign that launches today on Tumblr — is called Undroppable.
There’s an interesting trend at work in our culture. In spite of the most amazing advances in technology, a lot of people are craving a sense of authenticity, history and craftsmanship. It’s a growing interest in “old school” approaches. You can see this in our love affair with Instagram, where a high quality photograph is deliberately roughed up around the edges to look vintage. Or in the revival of the Moleskine. How about the surge in the growth of vinyl albums? This video from photographer and filmmaker Ian Ruhter portrays an extremely beautiful variant on the trend with his quest to capture ever larger wet plate photographs. “I didn’t just build a camera. I created a time machine.”
What if a bicycle’s tires had ink on them? What kind of pattern would they make? What if we applied this inspiration to a series of notebooks. Check them out along with a video on how they make them at Postalco.
When my daughter Jordan was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor in 2003, our whole family began a journey that has led us through many unexpected twists and turns. I write about this ongoing adventure and the girl that is my muse here.