Cult of Individuality Official Website 2015-09-10T05:16:10-07:00 Cult of Individuality 2015-09-10T05:16:10-07:00 2017-08-09T07:55:12-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website Vivien Chung LA has long been home to some of our favorite beers, every time we're on the Best Coast we make sure to stop at a few of our favorite spots. After all, there's nothing better than a good beer, warm weather and a dope sunset.

Check out our picks below, and sound off on Twitter! Tweet us @CultDenim with your favorite spots in LA.

1. Angel City Brewery

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Must Try: Angel City IPA, for the hop inclined.

2. Smog City Brewing Company

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Must Try: Little Bo Pils, who doesn't love a slight hint of honey?

3. Dale Bros

Yes, you need to travel to Upland for this place, but you won't be sorry.

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Must Try: Oktober Fiesta (If you're in town in the Fall...)

Now go crazy! Tweet us your favorites @CultDenim (because we're always down for a new place to try...)

]]> 2015-08-26T06:22:47-07:00 2017-08-09T07:54:57-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website Vivien Chung Shout out to all the badass women out there on #WomensEqualityDay! 

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 1.20.00 PM]]> 2015-03-02T03:42:42-08:00 2017-08-09T07:51:27-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website glenndavis "The customer is not always right."   And so begins our visit with Jason Quinn, proprietor of Playground in downtown Santa Ana, California – a decidedly unorthodox opinion, from a decidedly unorthodox chef/restaurateur.    Jason continues to go about is business of blowtorching a filleted tuna, the head of the fish put off the side for the time being, its ultimate fate being the Malaysian Laksa broth that is cooking in a stainless pot behind us. What might appear to be arrogance is betrayed by his actions – this guy is clearly working hard, and we find ourselves nodding along in agreement. All the while Jason continues to engage with his kitchen staff. "Add more salt to the roti." "The noodles are just right." He is both authoritative and approachable, going about his business like a chef twice his age, yet with the congeniality of rec-center basketball teammate.   Jason's resume reads like the dream career for the thousands of teens and twenty-somethings applying to culinary school. A successful food truck business, The Lime Truck, led to a first place finish on season two of The Food Network's Great Food Truck Race, which led to him establishing his  first brick and mortar, Playground. What was originally intended to be a gourmet burger restaurant, has blossomed into so much more – an eclectic, adventurous menu that makes Playground one of Yelp's Top 100 dining destinations for 2015; He launched a sister bakery, the Dough Exchange, making pastries to order next door, in 2014; And even with all this, he still finds time for a panelist/judging gig on MTV's Snack Off. Not a bad set of accomplishments for the Southern California native who hasn't even celebrated his 30th birthday yet.   Dining at the Playground.  Source:   So what was that idiom about the customer? At Playground, it starts with the dining experience. "We work hard to make everything the best it can be. If you're coming here, why wouldn't you want to enjoy food prepared to the best of our ability?" We continued to talk about the concept of omakase, the Japanese word for trust, and a ubiquitous feature in better sushi restaurants – commonly inferred to mean "the chef is going to be serving you a course of his best offerings today." It turns out that omakase is at the heart of The Playground's Invitation Only dining events that they host regularly. "At IO [Invitation Only], you will not have any decision-making authority, so if you feel a need to request modifications, you might feel uncomfortable in that environment." It's spelled out clearly on their website.   And dining at Playground is indeed driven by a passion for fresh ingredients and inspired by cuisines from around the world. On any given night, the menu reads like a foodie's bedtime story –
  • Golden Snapper Sashimi, Smashed Kumquat & Mint Soda, Pickled Chile, Caramelized Coconut, Green Coriander;
  • Hillary’s Spaghetti, Melted Leeks, Housemade Bacon, Parmesan, House Cured Egg, Wild Mushrooms;
  • Imperial Wagyu Chuck, Steakhouse Style Creamed Chard, Blumenthals, Seared Cipollini Onions;
  • The Best Soup You’ve Never Had (this last one being the Laksa Jason was cooking up when we chatted).
Hungry?  Source:   Top ingredients, many of them locally sourced, and a menu curated with flexibility to improvise and creative flair. Why wouldn't you trust Jason and crew?   That said, while passion for great food has taken Jason very far, very fast, it hasn't always gone smoothly. He did make waves across the interwebs in 2012 when he responded to a customer review with an unambiguous "burn in hell," letting the customer know he is never welcome back in any establish he runs. But then again, this was directed at someone who was miffed by the very policies and approach that drives Jason and Playground to achieve so much.   No doubt there are many weaned on the Southern California drive-thrus and cookie cutter fast-casual concepts that surround the Playground who do not have the adventurous spirit or refined palate to enjoy Playground's offering.  But for those who share in Jason Quinn's passions, his restaurant is open and ready to serve you.]]> 2014-12-22T03:58:13-08:00 2017-08-09T07:49:46-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy Henry Sudduth We've all got a very specific image in mind when we think of a biker: gruff, inarticulate, as likely to break your nose as look at you. Well, Henry Sudduth lived that life for years before he decided there were better things in life. Once he was the terror of the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, riding through town clad in leather, eager to pick a fight. Now he spends his winter months sporting a beard and a big red coat, and he's giving out presents instead of punches.   Born into an abusive family, Sudduth ran with an outlaw biker gang for years before his marriage turned his life around. Today, his present-giving network gives food and toys to thousands of children. He accepts no money for his good deeds, insisting that giving kids the experiences he never had as a child is all the reward he needs.  

Greg Parady

"Layaway" is a service offered by some retailers where those strapped for cash can pay off larger bundles over a few weeks, rather than blowing all the money at once. Unfortunately, sometimes customers have to opt out of the transaction midway through. It's a sad situation for any Christmas shopper with eager children back home.   Layaway_Santa_Greg_Parady   Greg Parady decided he had to do something about it. While picking up some bicycles from a local Walmart, Parady noticed a sizable crowd of customers coming in to cancel their layaways to save cash. Parady started paying the bills himself, spending roughly $21,000 on gifts for 76 strangers before the afternoon was over. His charity has inspired similar acts all across the country.  

Mikey Malek

Normally, young children can be a hassle. Mikey Malek is the exception. When the six-year old discovered he had unopened toys in his room, he insisted his parents help him donate them to Toys for Tots. "I just want everyone to have a nice Christmas," he said.   This led to the driven little boy emptying his house of every unused plaything he could find. His actions made national news and resulted in a bump in Toys for Tots donations.  

Tom Crist

What would you do if you won the lottery? Get a new car? Take that Caribbean cruise you've always dreamed about? Tom Crist had all these opportunities and more when he walked away with a staggering $40 million jackpot last May. But instead of splurging on a private island, Crist has pledged to donate each and every penny.   Crist says he was lucky enough to be comfortably retired when his big win came. His wife's death from cancer a few years back has caused him to dedicate himself to charitable acts. His winnings have hugely appreciated by each charity he has given to.  

Larry Stewart

A household name in his native state of Kansas, Larry Stewart passed away in 2007. He leaves behind a legacy of selflessness few can hope to match. After a run of unemployment in the seventies, Stewart received a free meal from a kindly diner owner. This taught him the value of small acts of charity.   Larry_Stewart   Over the years Stewart built a sizable fortune and began spending his winter months walking through communities of homeless people and handing out thousands of dollars. Though his activities quickly became widely known he remained anonymous for almost thirty years, outing himself shortly before his death. In the wake of his passing, many charities have sprung up to continue his legacy.     Top Photo Credit: Pierre Metivier via photopin cc]]> 2014-12-12T10:54:15-08:00 2017-08-09T07:49:37-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy ]]> 2014-12-12T09:56:24-08:00 2017-08-09T07:49:35-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. And all our gift guide reccos are 30% OFF!!    

For Her

Blog_her   ➊ ZEN MIDRISE SKINNY in Black Foil. Was $169.00 NOW $118.30. ➋ TEASER SKINNY in Pine. Was $169.00 NOW $118.30. ➌ VIXEN MIDRISE BOOT in Midnight. Was $129.00 NOW $90.30. ➍ TEASER SKINNY REVERSE in Blue Tiger. Was $163.00 NOW $114.10.


For Him

Blog_Him   ➊ HERITAGE DENIM JACKET in Smith. Was $215.00 NOW $150.50. ➋ REBEL STRAIGHT CINCH BACK in Dry. Was $189.00 NOW $132.30. ➌ ROCKER SLIM in COA. Was $198.00. NOW $138.60. ➍ NUDE LINES TEE. Was $55.00 NOW $38.50. ➎ DENIM TRUCKER CAP. Was $35.00 NOW $24.50  

For You

Blog_YouFELT LOGO HOODIE. Was $129.00 NOW $90.30 ➋ LIGHT WOOL CAP. Was $35.00 NOW $24.00]]> 2014-09-30T03:25:30-07:00 2017-08-09T07:40:04-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy ask for hair help. The haircuts of men suffered in this limbo as a result.   Then something magical occurred. Gay culture became sexy and cool, the traditional "manly man" image fell sharply out of style, and men, perhaps as a result, started caring how they looked again. Sure, the tight pants and cheap flannel of "grunge chic" is all over hipster culture and they get a fair amount of deserved mockery. But the upside is some better looking, better smelling, better coiffed young men. The barbershops have come roaring back to meet this new crowd of appearance-minded males. Floyd's 99 Barbershop, The Grooming Lounge, Rudy's Barbershop - all have burst onto this new scene, handily transforming the haircut from a monthly chore to a fascinating experience.   Rudy's Barbershop   The real draw behind these new barbershops is the social experience they offer. Let's leave aside stereotypes about millennials and their texting habits for a moment. Kids these days love to chit chat. These barbershops serve much the same function as a café or bar. They're places to engage, both with the staff and other patrons. They're places to promote your band or poetry slam. They're places to get some local color, meet hot singles, and yes, to get some fashion tips. Hipsters they might sometimes be, but let's all just take a moment to thank our lucky stars that we've finally got a generation of young men who aren't afraid of shampoo. Barbershops are ground zero for this new, dandruff-free breed.   It's hard to say exactly why young men have gone back to their barbers. Millennials are fickle, eager to reject pretty much anything their parents say is good for them. They're children of "Post 9/11" politics and the Gay Rights Movement and they don't care to be told how to dress or how to feel in this weird new world they're inheriting. It's not rebellion per se, just a big "thanks but no thanks" aimed at the establishment. They don't need your politics, your prejudice, or your haircuts, thank you very much. It's time for a change, one that starts at the scalp.   Of course, maybe this isn't really a new development. Once upon a time the barbershop was a community hub, like a church or tavern. In many ways, this is less an evolution and more a homecoming for the modern man. We care again. We're sitting down for a trim and a shave just like our grandparents before us, and yes, maybe it's all gussied up with an iPhone in one hand and a Frappuccino in the other. But it's our crazy new version of something grand and old, and there's nothing wrong with that. We smell good, at least.   photo credit: brianwallace via photopin cc photo credit: Jeffrey via photopin cc]]> 2014-09-22T06:58:29-07:00 2017-08-09T07:39:59-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy ]]> 2014-09-14T06:19:29-07:00 2017-08-09T07:39:57-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy   Tom Waits has also moved into the acting business, in mostly supporting roles thus far. His filmography is as varied as his music, from Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula, to 'the Engineer' in the more recent film Book of Eli, and even as a ‘serial-killer killer’ in the 2012 film Seven Psychopaths.   Over the years, the music of Tom Waits has undergone a great many changes. His early albums, like The Heart of Saturday Night, tend more towards a jazz sound, while some of his later works are almost ballads. He has made some forays into industrial music, resulting in such songs as 'Underground', which was part of the soundtrack of the animated movie Robots.   A common theme to his 20+ albums is the gritty feel and portrayal of the seedy side of town. Waits's songs tend to tell a story, whatever style he chooses to go with. His music is easily identifiable, despite the variations, due to the one-of-a-kind imagery he creates, as well as his trademark rasp. He's been on 13 tours to promote his music, the last one wrapping up in 2008. His most recent album, Bad as Me, was released in October, 2011.   With his vast experience, commanding stage presence, and heartfelt lyrics, it’s no wonder Waits continues to capture generation after generation of fans. And there’s no doubt that he will keep on doing so for many years to come.   photo credit: Hryck. via photopin cc photo credit: Krysthopher Woods via photopin cc]]> 2014-07-29T04:49:59-07:00 2017-08-09T07:33:12-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy How did you initially become interested in fencing? What appealed to you about the sport? I got in trouble after school in New York and when I saw a sword. I picked it up and thought “this is fun,” so I entered a competition and I ended up winning without really training or anything. Then I entered the Junior Olympics and I won again. I never thought it would take me this far.   1149010_554500111264504_282295097_n copy  

How has winning gold at the world championships affected you personally? Professionally?

Its changed my life. I’m the only American to ever win. But now everyone wants to be associated with you and you kind of do find out who your real friends are. When people come up and recognize you, it is nice, but I guess you have to try and humble yourself. That’s been the hardest thing. [My coach] has got to keep me in my place. I’m trying to juggle so many things at a young age, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m extremely happy to be the first one to ever win.  

As an athlete, you’ve really perfected the art of the comeback. How do you bounce back from a huge deficit?

The hardest thing is just blocking everything out and figuring out that it’s not over until it’s over. Playing football growing up, I learned that even if you’re down 2-1, you have to fight like its 5-0. Just keep the mentality that you can never, ever, ever give up. Not until the referee blows his whistle and says it’s over. You find out who you really are when you’re losing.  

What was is like showing Raekwon the ropes with a foil?

Oh, that was crazy. My manager now is good friends with Raekwon’s manager, so I ended up in the studio with him at like five in the morning. I was like “what the hell is going on, what am I doing here.” I walked into the room with my blonde hair and Rick Ross was there too. He was like “Oh my God” and it sounded like he really liked me. He was cool with me, I was cool with him, which was really cool ‘cause he’s like, a legend. It was amazing to teach him some fencing. I never get star struck ever, but I totally was. He’s one of the biggest people in hip hop of all time!   Although he originally came from England, Miles proudly represents the United States.  

We love seeing how you pull together your different looks. How do you keep your style fresh?

I like to mix luxury clothes with some street wear. I like to wear some different hats. I’m a hat fanatic I don’t know what it’s called, it’s like a pressed bonnet thing – I’m not sure what it is but they’re out in London.  I love nice t-shirts too. I’m tall so I wear a lot of longer t-shirts.  

Describe your experience with being a part of fashion week. How would you compare it to the buzz around a major tournament?

The runway is fun, it's kind of like a high, you know?  Fashion Week - that was an incredible show. The runway was so long and it was massive. One of the biggest shows. And the rush was incredible when people are all looking at you. And when I was in the World Championship winning, it was like the same high. You can’t really put words in it, but it's an incredible high.  

What is your next adventure going to be?

Maybe I’ll be a full-time model or a designer—I’m big into fashion. Eventually I want to start my own high-end clothing line. That’s something I’ve always been interested in. Or football, even. [Laughs] English football.]]> 2014-06-13T15:19:59-07:00 2017-08-09T07:29:59-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy remember forget.  


  The Firefly Music Festival is a premier music experience surrounding this year’s summer’s solstice, and is an absolute “must” for music fans on the East Coast. Popular headliners, including Outkast, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, The Lumineers and Weezer, join the industry’s up and coming artists in a 4-day, 7-stage festival nestled along a lush wooden landscape.   Firefly brings its own spin to the festival scene by making “glamping” packages available (complete with priority shower passes and charging stations), allowing the less outdoorsy folks to make it through the weekend in one piece. The event’s personal touches don’t stop there—they boast one tent loaded up with free arcade games, another for designing a custom pair of TOMS, and the Hammock Hangout, where visitors can lounge out in the trees and take in the good life.   If all this “roughing it” wears you out, Firefly partnered with Dogfish Head Brewery to provide The Brewery, an onsite beer bar. The bar serves Firefly Ale, a microbrew Dogfish Head Pale Ale made specifically for the festival in its first year by the brewery. Firefly also sets up The Vineyard, an onsite wine bar.   what to wear to firefly muscic festival For the Firefly Festival, we recommend pairing Cult of Individuality's Tantra Short in Diablo with a light crochet top. Brighten up the look by pulling some color from the short into your accessories-- we love this Hipanema Hippie Statement Cuff  

THE HUDSON PROJECT | Saugerties, NY | July 11 - 13

  The Hudson Project celebrates today’s music and arts in a three-day event featuring the talents of Kendrick Lamar, Atmosphere, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and more. This festival automatically earns cool points for its four stages, interactive art installations, carnival rides, and legendary location at the home of Woodstock ’94.   Sufferers of carnie food phobia can chow down in confidence, as New York’s favorite food trucks, restaurants, and breweries create a culinary experience you won’t find at most festivals.  Whatever your flavor, visitors will find no shortage of things to do!   what to wear to the hudson project music festival Dressing for The Hudson Project should be kept simple and carefree. The Rockabilly Short in Acid is a perfect match for this cropped top from Victoria's Secret  

LOLLAPALOOZA | Chicago, IL | August 1-3

  Rock and roll lovers won’t want to miss Lollapalooza 2014, a three-day cultural experience that takes place over 115 acres between Downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. As one of the nation’s top musical events, the festival has earned its status as household name. Lollapalooza was founded by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell and has played a significant role in today’s music scape. Kurt Cobain died the week of Lollapalooza 1994, the year his band Nirvana was supposed to headline. A line-up snub against Ozzy Osborne resulted in the creation of Ozzfest. Poor sales have caused a less-than-perfect attendance record on America’s festival calendar until 2005.   Nine years later, ticket sales are the least of this sold-out event’s worries. The festival’s gotten to be a pretty big huge, but they always features an impressive and eclectic array of bands. World-renowned artists like Eminen, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Lorde, Foster the People, Zedd and Iggy Azalea are set to mob the stage this year. Attendees that work up an appetite in the mosh pits can refuel at Chow Town (featuring 30+ vendors serving unique fare all day long) or the Farmers Market (offering selections for fans with dietary considerations). Good looking out, Lolla!   what to wear to lollapalooza Keep things rock and roll for Lollapalooza! The fun festival vibe on the Tantra Short in Cosmos  

OUTSIDE LANDS | San Francisco, CA | August 8-10

As a haven for artists and free spirits, San Francisco is no stranger to the music scene. The city has a heritage of celebrating expression, progression, and talent, all of which are reflected in the city’s annual Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival. Well-known headliners are celebrated alongside a host of local musicians, vendors and visual artists representing San Francisco's vibrant cultural community.   The three-day music and arts festival will host dozens of artists, including Kanye West, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Killers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Atmosphere and Tiësto, in the cultural playground of Golden Gate Park. Outside Lands is rapidly becoming one of California’s top destinations for live music, food and wine fans. Taste of the Bay Area features 69 restaurants and food trucks, and can be found across the festival’s three fields.     what to wear to lollapalooza Embrace the light feeling of the event with some distressed shorts. like these Rockabillies in Cosmos  

GULF COAST JAM | Panama City Beach, FL | August 29-31

  What better place to celebrate summer than Panama City, Florida? If country music is up your alley, then Gulf Coast Jam is absolutely worth the trip. Visitors spend three days under the Florida sun boot scoot boogying with big country names like Carrie Underwood, Randy Houser, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Blake Shelton and Cassadee Pope.   By day, country fans celebrate summer by singing along to their favorite hits with waves crashing on the shore and sand under their toes. Come sunset, attendees can cool off and shuttle to the Frank Brown Park to jam out at the headline stage by night. When they've reached their fun limit for one day, festival-goers catch some Zzz’s in a beachfront condo or hotel, wake up to the sound of crashing waves, and do it all over again.   what to wear to gulf coast jam What country concert would be complete without some American flair? We love the look of this patriotic tank paired with our Tantra Short in Aloha]]> 2014-05-15T04:03:44-07:00 2017-08-09T07:28:16-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy Rockerbox MotoFest is one of the country's most famous celebrations of motorcycle culture. Until recently, the event occurred in Milwaukee every year and brings together all fans of dual wheel motoring, from Harley Lovers to Yamaha speed bikes.   For 2014, Rockerbox will be occurring at Road America’s National Park of Speed, approximately 60 miles north of the previous location. The event is now being merged with the oversight of Road America’s American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) Vintage Motorcycle Classic, June 6th through the 8th.   Rockerbox motorcycle show harley davidson bike   Rockerbox is a celebration of all things motorcycle, combining everything from vintage cafe riders to sidecars and big road cruising 1000cc machines. Spectators enjoy a variety of shows during the event, ranging from historic static displays to skill riding to bike competitions. Gearheads will feel right at home and fans are encouraged to ride to the event on their bikes, adding to the display and fun with personal touch.   What makes Rockerbox unique is that it is an event for motorcycle fans by motorcycle fans. Unlike many other conventions which tend to driven by business interests, sponsors and advertising, Rockerbox is run by those interested in celebrating the road machine. Some of the biggest attractions at Rockerbox have been the unique bikes put on display for fans to see. Examples include extremely vintage and well-restored early bikes with miniature two-stroke engines, as well as some of the most desired cafe racers from the 1960's. Some fan favorites have included a fully restored black BSA 441 cafe racer in gloss black and gold trim, beautiful Norton Commandos, and even some vintage Cushman scooters from the 1950's.   Rockerbox motorcycle harley davidson   Rockerbox also has parts and swap meet opportunities available, giving home restorers the chance to find a unique part or a missing component that finishes their vintage bike. For those who just want to ride off with a souvenir, there will be plenty of Rockerbox T-shirts and patches to walk away with as well. The event is a three-day fest of motorcycle love worth attending - and 3,000 people annually agree.]]> 2014-05-12T05:51:00-07:00 2017-08-09T07:28:07-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy What is Fordite? Fordite may sound like it’d be a naturally occurring substance, but it’s far from that. During the auto industry’s heydays in 1970′s Detroit, cars were hand spray painted in bays with an enamel paint. Understandably, these bays would get covered in layers upon layers of brightly colored paints, which would need to be scraped off when they started building up.   American ingenuity grabbed the hearts of some of the workers as they realized that the extra paint they were scraping off was incredibly unique and beautiful. Workers took the pieces home, cut and polished them, and started turning the brightly colored “rocks” into jewelry. Eventually, Fordite became so popular that “collectors” were rumored to go to any factories they could, offering to clean the paint bays for free if they could keep the scrapings.   fordite unfinished car auto paint booth entrepreneurship jewelry fashion Fordite (equally cleverly called Motor Agate) is also becoming increasingly rare. Assembly line production evolved, and cars are now painted by machines using an electrostatic method. As result there is almost no “wasted” paint to scrape off, and thus no new Fordite being created. Get it while you can!  

Where Can You Get Fordite?

Like most unique things, the easiest place to find jewelry made from Fordite, or pieces of Fordite (called cabochons) is the internet. Site such as and Thunder Road Creations are devoted to informing people about Fordite and selling these beautiful pieces. Thunder Road Creations even lets buyers custom order pieces.   fordite pendant jewelry charm  

How Should You Wear Fordite?

Due to the unique nature of every piece of Fordite, there is no set way that works best. Some smaller pieces are made into cuff links, others into striking cocktail rings or bold earrings. Sometimes the Fordite is even matched with other stones to bring out specific colors. However, a fail-safe way to wear this “stone” is with a more casual piece, such as denim. Paired with a eye catching Fordite pendant, the simple jeans and shirt look is easily dressed up in a way that is both colorful and chic. Fordite pieces are a fantastic representation of American ingenuity and creativity. They make for wonderful conversation starters, brighten up even the most simple of outfits or are fabulous gifts.]]> 2014-04-28T01:34:24-07:00 2017-08-09T07:27:41-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy 1. Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC | March 15 - September 7, 2014

This exhibit takes the first look back of Robert Heinecken’s work since his death in 2006. Throughout his career, Heinecken pushed boundaries between mediums, seamlessly referencing and both high and popular culture, all whilst examining American attitudes toward gender, sex, and violence.  
Why you can’t miss it
Heinecken’s art is not only intoxicating, but even humorous is certain situations. For more information about this exhibit, click here.   Recto/Verso #7. 1988 Are You Rea #1. 1964–68  robert Heinecken artist exhibit  

2. Early American Guitars, The Instruments of C. F. Martin

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC | January 14 - December 7, 2014

This exhibition consists of approximately thirty-five early-American instruments from the Martin Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and numerous private collections. To learn more about these extraordinary guitars, check out the museum's site here.  
Why you can’t miss it
This exhibition of Martin’s guitars is offers more thrills than a visit to your local music shop. Today Martin instruments can hold a price tag stretching into the thousands of dollars, with vintage instruments often costing six figures. This unique exhibition offers an in-person view of guitars costing more than a neck-breaking Ferrari F12 Berlinetta!   c.f. martin early american rare guitars instruments  

3. Richard Phillips, Negation of the Universe

Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX | April 11 -  August 10, 2014

The provocative works created by Phillips address the complex snare of pop themes in our media-saturated world – sexuality, politics, power and death. Political figures like George Bush and pop culture icons like Dakota Fanning, Lindsay Lohan and Sasha Gray all have been subject to the artist’s hand.  
Why you can’t miss it
This exhibit is more entertaining than even the juiciest episodes of TMZ, letting the audience make is own judgments on the subject matter and society. (Note: Leave the kids at home! Racy themes in this show make it better suited for adult crowds). Sneak a peek at the show and purchase your tickets here.   Richard Phillips Blauvelt Print 2013 art trippy celebrity modern   

4. Nathan Sawaya's The Art of the Brick

The Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL | May 4 - August 8, 2014

Artist  Nathan Sawaya turned his favorite childhood pastime into a collection of awe-inspiring LEGO masterpieces. Brick by brick, Sawaya expresses the vision he has for his subject matter with dedication to perfection in color and scale. Using this painstaking attention to detail, he the ability to raise an ordinary toy to the status of fine art.  
Why you can’t miss it
The works that this artist creates from LEGO bricks is anything but child's play, but your inner 7-year-old will be captivated by he makes of America's favorite toy. Click here for more information and some teasers of his work.   lego Nathan Sawaya art of the brick sculpture pop culture art toy faces hero   Which of these exhibits are you most excited to see? Are there any that we missed on our list? Share in the comments below! photo credit: jafy1 via photopin cc  ]]> 2014-04-08T01:46:16-07:00 2017-08-09T07:27:22-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy What is it about cardboard boxes that makes kids ditch their Playstations like yesterday's news?   Nirvan Mullick of the Imagination Foundation knows that the freedom to explore profoundly inspires children, and a cardboard box is the perfect canvas for this inspiration. This man behind the massive viral video, Caine's Arcade is on a mission to instill the value of creativity and imagination in both our youth and society as a whole. He took a moment away from his work to speak with us about Caine's Arcade, his mission to encourage a new generation of creators, and how he was able to turn a movie into a movement.  

How has Caine’s Arcade affected your own goals – personally, professionally?

It’s added to this whole nonprofit element that we've started. To see the impact that this one story could have and to see how many other kids like Caine out there, it’s really inspired me to do more things for kids like Caine around the world, to foster their creativity.  

Tell us a bit about the mission of the Imagination Foundation.

The Imagination Foundation grew out of the response from the Caine’s Arcade short film. So immediately after the film went viral, we started getting pictures of kids building things out of cardboard with messages from parents and educators, and wanted to try to create some programs that could foster the creativity and entrepreneurship of kids worldwide. Now that was the genesis of the imagination foundation: literally there was a viral film, and two days later this idea of taking this viral moment and turning it into a movement.   And so we started this foundation with the help of the Goldhirsh Foundation, who gave us grants to develop some programs. Our first was the Global Cardboard Challenge, which culminates in a Day of Play. And it really recreates the experience of Caine’s Arcade for kids, where they’re invited to build things using cardboard recycled materials and their imaginations. On the anniversary of the flash mob we did in the movie for Caine, we have a big day of play kind of like a flash mob for kids around the world, where communities come together, give kids high fives and really celebrate the creativity of kids in their community.   caine's arcade cardboard challenge flash mob imagination foundation  

With so much time being spent with digital devices and game consoles, do you think we’re in danger of losing that idea of tactically creating and concepting?

  I don’ know, I think the jury’s still out. Potentially. I mean I don’t want to be coming down hard on digital games. I think there’s great games out there that do foster creativity in kids, but at the same time I think also having a balance of hands on, outside stuff and unplugging is also important.   Caine loves video games. There’s great games, Mindcraft, things out there that really are open-ended and engaging. But also the idea of creative play is important – Hands-on building, just playing. Not always being plugged into something, not always having structured time – I think it’s important for kids to have space and time to be bored and to be challenged to figure ways to entertain themselves.  

What is your dream project?

I have different dream projects. Caine’s Arcade was a dream project that grew bigger than I had even imagined. For the Imagination Foundation, one dream project is to create a makers’ space for kids in LA in the Boyle Heights area. That’s a big dream projects that I slowly chip away at. Right now it’s keeping Imagination Foundation going and growing. We’re trying to make creativity a core social value. Long-term, that would be a dream.   cardboard robot play kids costa rica imagination fun creative d worldwide day of play

As a society, what can we do better to foster creativity in our children?

I think the most important things that I've seen are giving kids space and asking what they want to do. Caine did something that he loves, which is an arcade, but all kids might not want to do that. Just asking kids what they’re passionate about, then giving them the space and support to discover that and build upon it — it’s pretty powerful.   I was just at an event in Colorado where the parents were talking about how much confidence their kids are gaining. Often the kids who make these things are shy or introverted and giving them something like this to share their games or work in teams has been really meaningful. The response has been phenomenal, seeing kids playing and their parents giving them the space to make a bit of a mess with their cardboard boxes.  Thus far, we've had over 100,000 kids in 50 countries, and we hope to engage a million kids in creative play this year.  

How is Caine doing these days? How has everything that has happened with the arcade, the video etc. affected his outlook, dreams and ambitions?

He’s good! He retired from running his arcade when he turned 11. I think he actually had too many customers and just wanted to start making bikes and pursing some other things he’s passionate about. I think he’s been taking some art classes. We’ve raised almost a $240,000 scholarship fund for him so he’ll be able to get tutoring and do some other things. And he’s been offered full-scholarships from colleges already. Just a regular kid still playing still following his passions and dreaming up the next big projects.   caine's arcade cardboard box challenge imagination foundation international day of play creative flashmob ucla documentary film   Parents and educators can find out more about the Cardboard Challenge at and You can also connect with Nirvan Mullick and the Imagination Foundation on Twitter (@nirvan).]]> 2014-03-12T01:14:46-07:00 2017-08-09T07:26:53-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy Regardless of whether you're talking about homes, cars, jewelry, or guitars, something about the word "custom" sounds pretty damn expensive. So when we came across a luthier (translation: guitar maker) that sells a majority of his beautifully crafted custom guitars for under $600, we were pretty much knocked off our feet.    After springing at the opportunity to have a Mike Gee Kustoms guitar of our own, the folks here at The Uncommon Thread wanted to find out more about the man crazy enough to go up against Guitar Economics 101. Mike himself brought us up to speed on his journey of becoming an industry leader, how he'd hack it out on a desert island, and the hidden talent that's frankly good enough to make MacGyver quit his day job. Mike Gee is out to challenge everything we know about the finer things in life by proving you really can have it all, trust fund not required.   

Where does your love of music come from?

From a very early age I remember my parents always listening to music. Be it the radio or albums, my parents loved 50s / 60s music peppered with a huge dose of 70's country. Little did I know that they were providing me with a great education of pop and melody sensibilities that would be the foundation for music I would later create.  

What inspired you to go from someone who plays instruments to someone who make instruments for a living?

Building guitars for a "living" was almost by accident. When the economy crashed in 2007 I started tinkering with vintage budget guitars. These were generally the type you would have bought from Sears or Montgomery Ward in the 60s and 70s and were often made in Japan. These were the perfect guitar for the average Joe such as myself because vintage Fenders and Gibsons were beyond the reach of almost anyone. I seem to remember in 2007 a 1958 Gibson Les Paul sold for $750, 000!!!! I took all the knowledge of guitar repair that I'd acquired during my many years on the road and honed them as I restored these jobber guitars. This progressed to me creating the first Mike Gee Kustoms branded guitar in 2009 (I wish I could get that one back for my collection) with these focusing on classic designs such as Strat & Tele style guitars as well as Les Paul and 335 Type models. Almost every one of those built were what is known as Relics (guitars that look 30-60 years old, but are new). In July 2012 my wife turned to me at dinner and said "Why don't you just work one job? You should just build guitars." Up to this point I was working 50 hours a week at my day job and another 20 building guitars... it was scary, but I took the jump.     custom guitar mike gee kustoms music instruments luthier workshop musician dream job

How did you personally transition from a musician to a luthier?

A lot of guys go to a tech school or intern under a skilled luthier. I, on the other hand, went to the school of "hard knocks." In the 90s I played in several bands (Left, KMFB, The Disgruntled Postal Workers) that often would travel from Central Kansas to Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas (and later Arizona, California, and New Mexico) for as little as $20. Not exactly a money making project. At the end of the day there was no money left to pay someone else to fix our gear. So as a result, I got pretty good at fixing wiring, cables, drums, PA's etc. Very few "luthiers" can re-solder a volume pot in the back of a dive bar with a lighter... I can. in the 2000s it went from a necessity to a hobby to an obsession to my day job.  

Can you tell us a great story from your days on tour?

All the great stories can not be shared in a public forum... LOL. I can say this though: very few things in my life match the joy I feel when I perform. While driving 10 hours to play a 30 minute set in some dive sounds like a lot of work to some, it is to me one of the biggest highs even if there is only a handful of people there. Only thing that trumps performing is the day I got married.   custom guitar knob cult of individuality button mike gee kustoms up-cycle Tell us about the guitar you're creating for Cult of Individuality. What inspiration are you drawing from Cult when creating this badass instrument? The one I'm working on now, the second one for Cult, is made from reclaimed pine and will feature a single Humbucker. Its a Strat style body with the Cult Of Individuality logo Laser'd into it and will have a maple Strat-type neck with a rosewood fretboard. Not sure what stain we will use. A lot of the time I let the wood tell me what color it wants to be. At the end of the day, she will be a beautifully rustic guitar that is a perfect fit with the visual aesthetic of the Cult brand.  

If you could only take one guitar with you to a desert island, what would that be and why? Can you tell us about the set you would play there?

If I was to only take one guitar, it would probably be a 50's Archtop Acoustic Silvertone. However when you're a guitar junkie, one is never enough... so I'd want the Silvertone, a Gibson Les Paul, Fender Jazz Bass, Several Telecasters (mine and Fender's), and a Gretsch 6122. As for the set I would play? I'm not the kind of guy that knows 1,000 covers. You'll never hear me busting out "Enter Sandman" or "Stairway to Heaven," so I'd probably work on original material and come back with several albums worth of music.   custom guitar Mike Gee Kustoms custom gray and black electric guitar musician gift

What was the strangest request you ever had from a customer?

I really haven't had any strange requests. Sometimes we will mash up designs like put Telecaster parts and pickups on a Les Paul body. A lot of my customers come to me wanting a guitar that looks like a guitar that their favorite guitarist played. We do "star guitar" recreations Like Joe Strummers (the Clash) Tele, John Mayor, Billie Joe's (Green Day) "Blue" Strat, Mike Ness (Social Distortion) "Orange County" Les Paul, Rivers Cuomo's Strat, George Harrison's "Rocky," Zakk Wyldes Bulseye LP, as well as recreations of my customers guitars that they had when they were young. Guitarists are purists when it comes to guitar design, so they rarely go outside the box. That said, I'll do almost anything if its possible design wise. Crazy shape? No problem!! 4 humbuckers? I'll do that.  ]]> 2014-03-07T02:06:38-08:00 2017-08-09T07:26:00-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy The Ramones and the Sex Pistols are both bands that practically every socially involved person is familiar with. However, there are plenty of other artists that have been just as influential as the most well-known leaders of the punk movement, an example being the Runaways. The Runaways were pioneers of freedom for women not only in relation to the punk music scene, but in relation to woman's rights as a whole. Formed by the famous singer and guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West, the Runaways worked with producer Kim Fowley to secure their original lineup. The group was an instant success - within a year of their inception, they signed to Mercury Records and released the debut self-titled album. The band headlined shows with prominent names such as Cheap Trick and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.   The runaways blackmail cherrybomb american nights secrets album cover The Runaways had an enormous following in Japan, where they ranked number 4 in the most imported music acts of the country at that time. The group's only live album, Live in Japan, was filmed in the country. They also had their own TV special while in Japan, and they appeared on TV for other purposes on many occasions. While the band did not have as large of a following in the United States compared to elsewhere, their fame spread nearly worldwide. The band's success was by no means confined to monetary gain and album sales; they were the first all-female rock band to achieve the extent of success they did, so they are credited with reaching an essential milestone in the women's rights movement by proving that woman can also become punk icons. They were a representation of everything that punk rock embodies - free spirit, individuality, and self-expression were all valued by the group. They were some of the first women to be so open with their beliefs in the way that they were, and this has earned them a well-deserved spot in history.   One of the primary reasons that the Runaways remain relevant today is that without their career, many modern bands and artists would have been discouraged from following their dreams. Their career happened to be during a time when women were discouraged from doing a lot of things, one of them being joining a rock band. The Runaways worked towards destroying the gender stereotypes that confined women. Their success provided hope for other musicians with the same dream, and their dedication to freedom continues to influence people today. The Bangles, The Go-Go's, Courtney Love, and the Adolescents are all musical acts that cite the Runaways as a primary influence, among countless others. Females aren't the only people who can relate to the Runaways and appreciate the mark they left on the world - considering the amount of fame they had, their music itself is worthy of celebration. The Runaway's in-your-face blend of punk rock and heavy metal is unique and energizing, a reflection of the members who composed it.   Everyone can learn something from the Runaways. Freedom, expression, and disregard for the limitations that other people put on you are values that every human being should embrace. The Runaways knew this, and they worked hard to promote the ideas that make life worth living. It doesn't matter if you enjoy their music or not; take a note from their book and live your life the way you want to, because no one has the right to tell you that you can't.     photo credit: Affendaddy via photopin cc photo credit: Affendaddy via photopin cc photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images]]> 2014-02-15T16:09:16-08:00 2017-08-09T07:25:39-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy ]]> 2014-02-10T17:10:29-08:00 2017-08-09T07:25:38-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy  quiet treasures that stoically and stylishly live up to their functional purpose, and look great while doing it.     So, there's no surprise we felt a kinship when we came across Whipping Post's "uncommonly durable fine goods." The leather goods company was started by a man named Ryan Barr, a craftsman who formerly had dreams of becoming a musician. After a few career highlights, including a second-to-last place title at his school's Battle of the Bands, Barr put his pick aside long enough to think up the next big thing in leather: Whipping Post. A brand and line of products originally inspired by his father's Vietnam-era military duffel. This line of timeless leather accessories spares no attention to detail. Each element of the outwardly simple products are designed to maintain their steadfast integrity over the long haul, from the quality of the stitching to the wearing process of the dyes and materials.   The Whipping Post designer still has a passion for music, which is uniquely represented in his collections. Touring musicians often revel in the and bright lights and the energy from their fans. But when the lights go out, good, solid and reliable accessories that withstand the rigors of life on the road can be pretty damn cool too. Some of the pieces serving as tribute to Barr's musical roots include guitar straps and cases, and even a leather wallet with a custom pocket to nestle your pick in. So you're always ready when a show breaks out. Whipping Post Arizona Pickers leather Wallet guitar pick accessory unique gift music musician   For leather fans that are better suited shredding paper than a guitar, the Whipping Post has pieces in the collection such as the best-selling Vintage Messenger Bag and the Vintage Tote Bag, which Barr affectionately refers to as the 'Swiss army knife' of his collection. In the company's blog, Ryan writes that "a tote is about as utilitarian as they come. I like them because they're simple, functional, and last forever."   Whipping Post Vintage Duffle Bag review leather goods military inspired   Barr seems to be pretty busy working on new ways to expand the line, even having expressed interest in bringing some new materials into the fold and creating more products. His newest release?  A military duffle bag, which pay homage to the bag his dad lugged around in his service days. Stay on the lookout for new items from this up and coming brand.]]> 2014-02-07T14:12:00-08:00 2017-08-09T07:25:25-07:00 Cult of Individuality Official Website digisavvy We’ve always had a healthy respect for The Ones – individuals who ignore the trends, the minions and the voices of compromise, living life with a laser-focus on doing what they love and making their mark in the world through their passions. Occasionally we’ll share those stories here with you on The Uncommon Thread.  

One such individual we came across was Brady Walker of the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club. For Brady, restoring and racing vintage motorcycles is more than just a hobby, it’s a manifestation of his worldview. As a street-savvy entrepreneur who is lucky to spend so much time immersed in the vintage bike culture, Brady knows a thing or two about building a life around passions. He took time away from his Yamaha to share thoughts with us on bikes, heavy metal role-models, and how to make your neighbors believe you don’t actually have to work for a living.

What is it about vintage bikes that gets you fired up?

The sound, the smell. The simplicity.  Obviously the looks.  I have a 2003 Yamaha R1.  It's capable of over 170mph.  But i get more grin factor riding my girlfriends Kawasaki 90cc G3SS mini bike.  You can push it to the limit wearing flip flops...and most likely not have to go to the emergency room after a wipe out!

Your career is a dream job for a lot of people. How did you get here?

When I was 20 years old, my dream job was to be a heavy metal guitarist. At least that is what I told the vice dean of the Univ. of Michigan School of Engineering when I was asked what I wanted to do with my life. I was failing out of college, but for some reason she knew I had what it takes to be successful. The dean suggested I maybe think about being an audio engineer as a career, but still pursue being a rock god as a hobby. Well, with the new opportunity my attitude changed, I liked the classes and was earning a 4.0 very quickly. My first job out of school was working in commercials. Now I work at FOX Broadcasting as a promo mixer and own a business installing home studios for voice actors.   When I first came to LA 13 years ago, I knew no one. I had no money and a lot of time. I answered an ad in the local Venice paper for an audio guy for an event. A non-paying gig, but I met a lot of great people and after 7 years I was second in charge of the whole event! And making money! So when my friend Shannon Sweeny, a fellow Truimph guy in Venice, mentioned how cool it would be to hold a vintage bike event, I said, “Why don’t we do it?  I know how!  I will pull permits and get it rolling.” That was the first Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally. And 6 years later it is one of the finest vintage bike events on the West Coast.   Willow Springs motorcycle race SR500 helmet strap desert dirtbike venice vintage motorcycle club cult of individuality

Who was your biggest inspiration or motivator?

Going back to 20 years old:  Slash, Alice Cooper, Dimebag Darrel, Eddie Van Halen.  These were the maniacs I looked up to.  My dream was always to be shredding on stage at a packed arena concert.  But,if I were to name one person who I most looked up to now, it would have to be Howard Stern.  Brutally honest, hard working, takes care of business. And although it took him a long time to make it to the big time, look at him now! Big money, celebrity friends, the most successful radio DJ of all time…and he did it all on his terms.  

You really pay attention to the nitty gritty details—are there any activities where you feel okay letting go?

If you want to be successful at something, you can’t let it go. If it’s that important to you, especially financially, you have to be detailed and pay attention. If you are doing an activity for the pure joy of it, for nothing more than that big smile on your face, it’s of course okay to let it go. It happened with racing. I wanted to be the best and I put in the time and hard work and was excruciatingly detailed when at the track. And then I crashed. Broke my hand, messed up the bike. On the long, painful flight home I reassessed why I raced. It wasn’t for any money, no one got a paycheck. I mean, the losers had a blast as much as the winners. It was a homecoming at every race.  It was at that moment that I let go and just had fun. So what if I didn’t have the right tire pressure or got the perfect hole shot at the green flag. At least we can laugh about our mistakes at the end of the race and have a beer. And go home with non-broken bones and complete bikes. And guess what. I still did exceptionally well at the track, but had so much more fun doing it.  

You mentioned in Popular Mechanics that there is something "Zen" about detailing bikes. Is there anything else you do to align your chi?

I practice the popular chi alignment activities. I meditate. I love yoga. But I find when I run I can really zone out and ideas pop out of my head that surprise the heck out of me. If I get stuck on a problem, I stick in my headphones and just run and zonk out. When my head is not concerned with anything but having to get home, somehow the quieting of my mind allows those thoughts to flow. But the biggest balance to my life came when I met my love, Caroline Patterson. In many ways we are polar opposites, but we also complement each other so well. Having someone that believes in all of the crazy ideas I come up with and dives in head first to support me completely blows my mind. But, when the ideas stem from too much whiskey, she calls me on them.  And with that brings a balance to my life that I could never have on my own.  Warming up Willow Springs motorcycle race SR500 helmet strap desert dirtbike venice vintage motorcycle club cult of individuality


Why bike detailing?

Before I had the balls to ride and race like I do currently, I spent a lot of time just making them pretty.  Nowadays I would always choose to go out for a ride rather than clean the bike.  But there is a very good reason to spend some time cleaning, and maybe, detailing your motorcycle.  As I explained in the PopSci article, you can find things wrong, mechanically, when you get some of that oil and dirt off of it.  For instance, I was cleaning my spokes in between races one weekend and found a broken spoke!  Not good!  Other times I have found broken hoses or a stretched chain that would have gone undetected until I was 60 miles away from home in some scary part of night.  Sometimes taking the time to detail can come in very handy.

What is the biggest misconception people have about your life and work?

People think that I am much older than I am because of the level of responsibility I bring to my productions, how I talk to people and how I can motivate a group to get something done. Another misconception is from the neighbors in my building. Since I work late at night and spend most of the daylight hours exercising and tinkering on bikes, and spend the weekends racing, they think I actually race for a living or am a trust fund baby or don’t have to work. But when I explain to them the amount of work I do and the number of weekly commitments I have, they are pretty surprised. Never underestimate anyone!  

 Is anything else major on your "to-do" list?

I was asked the other day “What would you do if money wasn’t an option?” I thought about it for a long time…because I love what I do. Every day! I would most likely do the same thing I am doing now, just a little bigger.  I find that if you don’t have to work for it, it becomes less fun.  If I could race every day, have the baddest motorcycle, had a tuner building everything for me, won every race, it wouldn’t be as exciting. But, just for fun, I would love to buy more performance bikes and do some heavy racing. Maybe buy a drag car. I love Pinks All Out on SPEED Channel. Maybe I will drag a motorcycle. And last but not least, build a massive garage to hold and work on all of these machines.  Someday!]]>