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The Weekly Check In with Todd Cole

I’ve had the honor of following Todd Cole’s career but also getting to help him with some of my favorite internet/technology questions ever over the last 5 years or so.

Not only was I already in love with his photos but the films he has directed so far are so beautiful/magical I just don’t know how he does it. After you read this be sure to check out his website (which he made with Virb) and watch all of his films / look at every photograph he’s got on there.

Name: Todd Cole (the man with the big hat pictured above)
Location: Los Angeles
Home Town: Houston
Occupation: Photographer/Director

Rubin: When did you become a photographer and make it your living? What do you like shooting the most?
Cole: I moved to LA from Texas to try and become a director. I worked on some feature films as an assistant location manager during my first year or so in LA, and I then assisted a director for a few years. All the while I was teaching myself photography. I ended up directing music videos for a while, but didn’t enjoy it at the time.  So i quit directing and focused on photography. I spend most of the last decade building my photography career.  

A few years ago, as fashion films and branded web content started to become more prevalent, I directed the first Rodarte film, and I had so much fun making it. So essentially I started in film, then moved to photography and I have arrived where I actively do both.  I love doing both, but the  are very different in so many ways. But at the moment, film is more inspiring.  There are so many new creative challenges. Moving images are much  more multi dimensional - things like narrative, performances and music are so much fun to work with.

Rubin: Are you moving towards directing/cinematography full films in the future?
Cole: I plan on directing a feature film at some point in the future. I am working on a couple of scripts at the moment. When I was directing the first time around, I was never really actively trying to direct a film. I was working on music video ideas and spending my other time working on photography projects. Making personal hand books that I would give to friends. I was really in love with photography at that time, not that I am not still, but I was working in darkrooms and experimenting with different cameras, different toning processes, etc… But i worked through all that and experienced a lot of different aspects of photography. And now I am most excited about telling stories.  So doing a feature really appeals to me at this point in my life.

Rubin: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about?
Cole: I am working on doing a third film for Rodarte. I have already shot some of it…  Super Cell storms on the great plains. I am speaking to investors to finance the rest of the production. We want this to be a much bigger and more elaborate film than the first two.  

I also have a new photography book that has just been published by AndPress. I shot the body of work over the last three years, and I am super happy with the images. Check it out here.

Rubin: Where have you traveled recently or going to next?
Cole: Lately? Fucking New Orleans! Rules! I want to go to Morocco next. Get real Paul Bowles on it.

Rubin: Favorite music right now or of all time that you just can’t stop listening to?
: Liars, Tim HeckerRave Death, 1972" is the best record ever lately, Grimes, I got a advance copy of SFV Acid from Dean (No Age Dean) and it is super good. I have been listening to The new Fennesz/Sakamoto record over and over and over. Early Brian Eno.  My Graham Parsons Pandora station. Bonnie Prince Billy, Arthur Russel!

Rubin: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or just favorite places to eat?
Cole: I kind of live at Loteria (the Hollywood location). The best mexican food in LA.  And Hollywood blvd never disappoints.  It feels like a David Lynch movie at all times.

Rubin: What are you reading right now? (books, magazines, article, blog posts!)
: I just finished the most amazing book…  Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. It is beautifully intense. I could not put it down. Here is an interview with the author on NPR’s fresh Air.

I love my friend Ryan’s blog: He has a great men’s shop here in LA. 

And here is my guiltiest of pleasures. I am a recovering conspiracy addict, and this is just my little taste…

Rubin: Anything else you want to mention?
Cole: Just THANKS dude.  You have the patience of a stone.

The Weekly Check In with Tyler Clemens of Outlier

(photo of Tyler Clemens and Abe Burmeister in the Outlier studio -  Brooklyn, NY by me)

Name: Tyler Clemens
Location: 11211 
Age: 34 
Home Town: Fenwick, Ontario
Occupation: Co-founder of Outlier (

I think it was the first few weeks of living here in NYC I saw a bunch of Outlier packages at the shipping place by my house. I knew my friend Mike Maher of Taylor Stitch knew the Outlier guys, so he did an intro and I met Tyler Clemens. Tyler didn’t know that the day after meeting me he’d have to see me almost everyday on the street or at the coffee shop but he sure does. That day I picked up my favorite summer shorts made by Outlier and I’ve kept up with them ever since. What they create and come up with is fascinating and every time they release something new I spend 30 minutes learning all about them.

RR: What is Outlier and when did it begin?
Clemens: Outlier makes 21st century menswear, clothing that combines high tech fabrics with innovative tailoring to create better garments for every day usage.

We officially formed in June of 2008. The only thing that we were thinking back then, was that we’d try it out and see what happens; like an experiment to see if anyone had interest in what we were doing. Our first product was the 4Season OG pant, a pant perfect for biking to work without ever needing to change or look out of place in the office. But we quickly evolved in to making products for daily use, garments that we wanted and needed in our life that would propel us into any situation without restriction. Three years later we have a collection of products that transition from the city to outdoors and feel right while doing so.

RR: Did you come from a background in fashion? What were you doing before?
Clemens: Both Abe and I have no formal fashion training. We got into this as a way to make products that we needed and that no one else was making. I was working at a record store and clothing store in the east village riding to work everyday from Brooklyn. Abe was doing a similar commute to his job in midtown. We both wanted to make better clothing for daily wear that would hold up to the stress of active use. One day our coffee barista realized that we were both on to the same thing and introduced us. It was a pretty amazing stoke of luck.

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about? 
Clemens: We originally released our Technical Merino Cardigan in November and I’ve worn this thing almost everyday since. I love it but ultimately we felt we could improve upon it once again so we’ve done it up in a Doublefine Merino. Two sides of fine merino that’s super soft, naturally odor resistant, moves with your body and looks great in any situation.

RR: Favorite music right now or of all time that you just can’t stop listening to?
Clemens: Right now I’m listening to a lot of African highlife and everything that extends from West Africa to Ethiopia. But it’s about that time to switch up because I think my wife is getting sick of it.

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling?
Clemens: Hmmmmm, this is a difficult one because we have so much good food here. I gotta say that I really like Brooklyn Star because it’s just good unpretentious food and you can usually get a table. Plus it’s a block away from where I live. And I also want to say Beco because they’re another great spot close to the Outlier studio and friends of ours. Plus I can’t forget to mention Variety, where I get coffee everyday and run in to all kinds of interesting people like Matt Rubin.

RR: What are you reading right now?
Clemens: Just finished Inside Apple and now I’m on to The Lean Startup. Both very good but I’m also caught up watching The Wire which is taking a lot of my free time and so damn worth it.

The Weekly Check In with Julia Pott

I’ve followed Julia Pott’s work for quite some time now. I’ve seen her illustrations for years all over the place and now I get to enjoy her beautiful short films and animations (and even get to see some of the process). I’m glad to have her in New York and I am glad she dates one of my good friends (so now she’s stuck with me.)

(photo above taken by me in Julia’s apartment in Brooklyn)

Name: Julia Pott
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 26
Home Town: Shenley, UK
Occupation: Animation Director

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about?
Pott: I just finished a viral short for MTV’s Liquid Television in honour of Valentine’s Day (watch it here.) It was really fun to work on, but did mean me inviting myself round my friend’s houses and awkwardly interviewing them about what they thought sex was before they knew for sure. 

I just got back from Montauk shooting footage for a new short for Channel 4. I’m a newbie to live action so i’m nervous and excited about how it’s going to turn out… (mainly nervous). 

RR: You just had your animated short film “Belly” in Sundance. How did that all happen and was it just a crazy experience? What’s next with that film?
Pott: It was bloody amazing. I found out on Thanksgiving and immediately called my mom in the UK to gush about it. Her main concern was how much it was costing me to call internationally on my mobile. My dad chimed in from the background ‘what’s sundance?’, but regardless I was stoked. Utah was absolutely beautiful and the whole experience felt very surreal. Belly (trailer) is now continuing on the festival circuit, showing next at SXSW in March, and it’s going to be released online in a few months. 

RR: Where have you traveled recently?
Pott: I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling recently for work and so in the last few months i’ve been to Mexico, Buffalo, Vermont, London and Utah and i’ve got Texas, Berlin, LA and London in the next 2 months. It’s good because I can catch up on SkyMall magazine. 

RR: Favorite music right now or of all time that you just can’t stop listening to?
Pott: I’ve started listening to music that reminds me of hazy summer days, because i’m ready for it to be swelteringly hot out. This mainly consists of 90’s stuff like Lisa Loeb with a little bit of Paul Simon thrown in there. 

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling?
Pott: I’m mildly obsessed with the Meatball Shop in Williamsburg. I keep finding excuses to take people there. My ‘desert island’ food is a close tie between meatballs and pickles so this place is keeping my taste buds pretty happy. Cafe Royal has good vegan donuts, or just regular donuts that they’re pretending are vegan because they’re so damn good. I also recently had my first 16 Handles Frozen Yoghurt experience where I awkwardly went for the same ‘birthday cake’ flavor at the same time as Emma Stone. So now I love it there…for the memories. 

RR: What are you reading right now?
Pott: If you’d asked me this a few days ago I could have legitimately said a fairy sensible book as I just finished reading John Irving’s ‘The Hotel New Hampshire’. However as of this morning I have started reading the Hunger Games which I think caused someone to quietly laugh at me on the train. 

RR: Anything else you want to mention?
Pott: Thank you for buying me a donut and then coming with me to stalk Justin Long. xx

The Weekly Check In with Mark Duplass

I first discovered Mark Duplass through the band he was in Volcano, I’m Still Excited!! on Polyvinyl Records. Then I saw he was writing/directing movies and watched every single one of them. You might know of some of them The Puffy ChairBagheadHannah Takes The StairsHumpday, and his most recent CYRUS (starring John C Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei.) He’s also one of the stars of the showThe League which was one of my favorite shows last year.

Name: Mark Duplass
Location: Los Feliz (east side of LA)
Age: 33
Occupation: Filmmaker/Dad

Rubin: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about?

Duplass: My brother Jay and I are preparing to direct a film we wrote that starts shooting in a few months in New Orleans (our hometown). We’re in that fun phase of dreaming about what the movie will be, picking locations, making friends with the new crew members, etc. It’s like showing up at summer camp on the first day and trying to guess what the next 3 months are gonna be like.

Rubin: Where have you traveled this month or recently?

Duplass: We just got back from Sundance where we showed our latest movie CYRUS. Also went to Ann Arbor to show CYRUS as part of a Sundance outreach thingy. 2 frozen tundras in one month. Geez. But, somehow, I had the best BBQ I’ve had in about 10 years in Michigan. And, I used to live in Austin, so that’s kinda saying something big.

Rubin: What’s your favorite music right now?

Duplass: Midlake. Knocks me out every time. That mood is so timeless. It’s like Steely Dan, but less ironic and more heartfelt. But still has that amazing musicianship. I don’t know. I’m really into the earnest thing right now. All this said, Survivor’s “I Can’t Hold Back” made me cry at the end of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I’m not kidding.

Rubin: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling?

Duplass: In my ‘neighborhood, it’s all about the Korean BBQ. Soot Bull Jeep. In Koreatown, in LA. My wife brought me there for Valentine’s Day. I ate so much I pretty much ruined the rest of the date. Totally worth it, though.

Rubin: Anything else you want to mention?

Duplass: My 2 year-old daughter and I are watching “Elmo goes Potty” right now. Life rules.

The Weekly Check In with Tim Kinsella

I’ve always tried to keep up with Tim Kinsella, which could be impossible. From being in the bands Cap’n JazzJoan Of ArcOwls,Make BelieveSky Covair some solo records, (to ones I might not even know about,) but I think I’ve somehow manage to get it all.

So here’s a quick check in with him, the last check in of 2008, and I am glad I get to close out the year with this one.

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about?

Kinsella: I just finished my first semester of Grad schoo. I’m in the writing department at the Art Institute of Chicago and besides just the general life warping being in schoo at all gives one after 11 years away, it’s great to go downtown every morning with all the business-people on the train and there’s this incredible cafeteria at schoo on the 14th floor of this building overlooking the parks and the lake.

And obviously art schoo is full of smart weirdos so it’s inspiring every day just to be around people absorbed in being creative and there’s all these specialists in their various disciplines and there’s a lot of overlap. So it’s great and I’ve been writing a ton of different things, most of which are in development phases of things I wouldn’t want to jinx by addressing specifically.

But in the realm of the partially realized, my beautiful super-genius girlfriend and I made a short film together I’m excited about and some folks are turning a screenplay I wrote a couple years ago into a multi-media opera of sorts, so I’m working on revisions of that. It’s called ‘Let Go and Go On and On’ it’s a biography of an actress Lauri Bird. I did a zine I’m excited about with my friend Karissa called Critical Hope. I’m excited about it - it’s photocopied and we’re handing them off to people we bump into.

RR: Where have you traveled so far this month?

Kinsella: I’m through for now with leaving Chicago. Staying put has been a wonderful and fertile indulgence after a long time of a lot of drifting about.

RR: What’s your favorite music right now?

Kinsella: Oh man, do you know the Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices? I’ve been listening to that. I got obsessed with John Frusciante’s Brown Bunny soundtrack, listened to it a few times a day for a month or so, all the while in shock that I grew up to be a fan of one of the Chili Peppers’ guy’s solo albums?! I really like these few Bogdan Raczynski songs from I think the album is called ‘My Love I Love.’ And years later, I still listen to Under Pressure and Eminence Front a few times a day each - 2 best songs ever!

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling?

Kinsella: I have a new sweet tooth! Very strange development after 34 savory paletted years. I prefer to live on kale and grapefruits, but occasionally condescend to Sultan’s Market spinach pies or Irazu veggie plates. Classics for Chicagoans, no great insight from me.

The Weekly Check In with Bon Iver (Justin Vernon)

(Part of The Weekly Check In series)

I was first introduced to Justin through his music where he goes by the name Bon Iver. Since then we’ve shared a love for art and midwestern instrumental music. You don’t need much else to keep a good thing going…

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about? Vernon: I think I am working on a remix for Lykke Li song and also a compilation with Bright Eyes, Gillian Welch, The National, David Byrne that is for AIDS Charity. AND I am trying to sit down and work on an album! Also, did a remix of a Rosebuds track that will be coming out soon on Merge.

RR: Where have you traveled so far this month? (Kind of a dumb question to ask a guy who’s on tour… but you know…)
Vernon: Oh man, we have been everywhere. EVERYWHERE in north america. From the eastern Maritimes of Canada to San Diego. ANd EVERYWHERE in between. Especially Iowa City, IA.

RR: What’s your favorite music right now?
Vernon: Willis Alan Ramsey. He wrote that old Muskrat Love song… somebody made famous. But I just LOVE his own album. From like 70 something.

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling? Vernon: Vin. It’s a fine wine and dining place in Raleigh, NC. Don’t go there if you want to have your mind blown by EVERY bite you take of their SUPER gourmet menu.

RR: Anything Else You Want To Mention?
Vernon: I love rubinrecommends.

RR: Now go listen to Bon Iver.

The Weekly Check In with Ruben Fleischer

(Part of The Weekly Check In series)

Ruben Fleischer, where do I start, I don’t EVER know where Ruben is, from this quick check in, I guess I can see why. I think the first time I realized how I could never keep up, was when I was watching the Chuck & Buck DVD commentary and his voice started coming through the speakers. Since then he’s made music videos, produced TV shows, and now he’s onto directing movies. Here are links to his daily blog and his website to find out more.

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about? Ruben: We just turned in the Nick Thune pilot script to ABC. We are waiting to hear back if they are going to let us go and shoot the pilot episode. It’s very exciting!

RR: Where have you traveled so far this month?
Ruben: Just got back from NY. It was my first ever cross country private jet experience. Pretty cool. We made it there in 4 hours and 16 minutes. NY is funner than LA. I haven’t partied till 5 in the morning in LA in a long time.

RR: Favorite music right now?
Ruben: I don’t have anything too cool to drop on the hipsters. I guess I’d say Vampire Weekend as my favorite new music. But I pretty much just listen to old soul music, hip hop circa 1989, and girlie music.

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately or while you were traveling? Ruben: As I have just moved, I guess I can claim it as my new neighborhood, but Mozza is probably my current favorite restaurant in LA. I ate at a cool spot in Green Point this weekend called the Queen’s Hideaway. Very comforting food.

RR: Anything else you want to mention?
Ruben: My dog (Claude) will occasionally howl at the top of his lungs for no rational reason, and it is making me crazy. I don’t know what to do about it.

The Weekly Check In with Mike Perry

(Part of The Weekly Check In series)

Not only is Michael Perry my friend from highschool, he’s also one of my favorite artists. Midwestisbest ( is the name of his website/design studio he runs out of Brooklyn, NY. Recently he has published his first book Handjob and is currently working on his 2nd. Also check out his magazine called Untitled, A magazine.

RR: What are you currently working on or just finished that you’re excited about? Michael Perry: Some tees for Nike 6.0

RR: Where have you traveled this month?
Michael Perry: Buenos Aires, Argentina

RR: Favorite music right now?
Michael Perry: Lykke Li - Youth Novels

RR: Best food you’ve had in your neighborhood lately?
Michael Perry: Chavella’s Cafe Mexicano in Brooklyn, NY