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“What? Another webseries announcement?” A few years ago I came up with the idea of pulling some of the dating horror stories from the blog and making them into an original series. It would take place in three cities! It would involve a cast of thousands! Well, then reality hit as I did the math and realized that this was a really ambitious project for my first time out of the gate. I’m still in love with the idea of How To Save Your Own Life, and it’ll always be percolating in the back of my mind until I have the resources to execute it properly.
I was happy to direct this 4-minute short for the Shorty Shorts Film Festival in Portland, but I was even more thrilled to work with this talented, generous cast (credited at the end of the short). Thanks much to Gula Delgatto for including my short, and Donovan Edwards, Ace Hotel Portland, and Pepe Le Moko for donating their resources and locations. Hope you like it!
Walking down Broadway, I shuffled along, staring at the sidewalk and musing on the possible titles of my inevitable, boring memoir: “My Cat Is The Handsomest: Thoughts On Dying Alone By Michael James Schneider.” “Sir, You Can’t Take A Bottle Of Lube That Large On An Airplane, A Long-Distance Love Story By Michael James Schneider”. “What It Looks Like When The Universe Poops On Your Life: How To Get It All Wrong, by Michael James Schneider”. I looked up just in time to realize that A) I was at a bottleneck in the sidewalk, between a cafe table and a tree, and B) a guy who was Dreamy As Fuck was also trying to get through the narrow path from the other side.
I stopped, made an embarrassed gesture to let him through. He, however, did the same. No, no, my next gesture said, my hand sweeping magnanimously, Please, after you, I insist. And there we stood for a good 20 minutes, each trying to be the Beta dog in this classic West Coast Standoff of politeness, each trying not to bare our teeth or make eye contact lest the other one attack.
Two years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, I left my job to take a year-long “artistic sabbatical”. I felt a creative itch that was brought about by working with my LA family at Sacred Fools Theater Company. A few months into that year, I went through some shit. I came out on the other side more determined than ever to create a life that was artistically fulfilling, and more than anything true and authentic to myself. I visited Portland for the first time in February of 2013, and instantly fell in love with it, thanks to my good friend and tour guide Summer Olsson. And then a funny thing happened: Continue reading Happy Birthday, BLCKSMTH→
October was a bit of a roller-coaster for me, but here’s a rousing cheer for November. I went to LA and NYC for a couple weeks, and autumn was in full swing when I came back to Portland! I’m loving my first fall in the PNW: leaves changing color, comfort food (butternut squash anything), and the layering, oh! the layering. Summer Olsson is back, with her usual killer contributions to the soundtrack, and she collaborated on a ridiculous photo essay, too. Click through to see the whole story.
As usual, the titles in red are Spotify links (I’m Michael James Schneider on there, you can find the “BLCKSMTH November” playlist there,too), and enjoy autumn, damnit.
Mike’s pick: MS MR, Hurricane Okay, so you told me that you’re into Lana Del Rey and Lorde, but you haven’t heard of MS MR? Let’s correct that immediately:
This month’s soundtrack is pretty damn great, thanks in no small part to guest music contributor Summer Olsson’s influence. Click any of the song names highlighted in red to listen on Spotify, too!
Summer’s pick: The Boy and Sister Alma- Brightly This Montana duo makes music that sounds simultaneously retro and futuristic. It’s like an 80s movie about the future. It’s dreamy and feels perfect for gliding along the highway, looking out a rainy car window:
Mike’s pick: James Blake- RetrogradeCreepy, soulful, and more than a little “off”. The synth just destroys me, and there isn’t a speaker invented that can reach as loud as I need to listen to this song:
These are all things I’ve talked about often on this blog, since my decision to take an artistic sabbatical and share the journey with others. Recently, I met someone else who took a similar leap: Michelle Lesniak-Franklin, winner of Season 11 of Project Runway (yup, it was her I was writing about at the end of this previous post). You’ll remember her personal style and razor-sharp wit, and probably her obsession with wolves, too.
I met the Portland native at her studio last week to chat, and she was just as funny, tough, and candid as she appeared to be on the show. She was also game for a photo shoot in Portland’s Japanese Gardens, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic, “Princess Mononoke”.
BLCKSMTH: We share an obsession for the periodic table of elements. My personal token of strength is the “Fe” symbol for Iron, and yours seems to be “Au” for Gold. When did the transition happen from the name of the brand “Michelle is well” to “Au”?
Michelle Lesniak-Franklin: I got advice from a friend and investor about the name “Michelle Is Well”, that it sounds like a hospital update. “Oh, we went to the hospital to visit Michelle, how is she?” “She’s doing great, Michelle is…well.” I never loved it either, I thought it sounded really juvenile, but was something that just stuck.
I like to be smart, and articulate, and slightly geeky. And so the periodic table…you know I have a little bit of a science background, it just stuck with me. And I wanted it to be Au, to represent a golden moment, a golden piece of clothing that will stay in your closet until the end of time. You know it’s geek chic, but there’s also something tough and hard about gold. Continue reading The Woman Who Runs With The Wolves, Part 2→