What We Learned in 2013

Thom All Done Up. Photo By: Chris Swainston
Burning Hot Love at Burning Man. Photo By: Jamie Burke
Coco Rocha Vibing Out. Photo By: Mike Bogart
Brad Elterman Reminiscing. Photo By: Chris Swainston
Taryn Manning Chillin' Hard. Photo By: Koury Angelo

2013 is the "Year of the Snake," according to the placemat in this terrible Chinese restaurant. It has a bunch of stuff written about fire elements and lucky numbers of the snake and stars aligning and blah blah blah.

It’s a densely informative paper placemat if you’re into that kinda stuff. I’m not.

What I did take away from the elongated fortune cookie was that 2013 was a year of changes and adventures for anyone who was able to grab the snake by its tail and hold on. This got me thinking about Milk Made and all the cool stuff we did and learned this past year. So, while munching down on my General Tso’s chicken, I took a proverbial walk down memory lane and came up with a list of the top five things I learned from Milk Made this year.

#1: Thom Yorke is just like everyone else… only way, way cooler

Milk Made was granted access to shoot behind the scenes on the set of the Atoms For Peace music video Before Your Very Eyes.

The entire experience was surreal.

Watching LEGS director Andrew Thomas Huang transform a T-shirt-and-Reebok-wearing Thom Yorke into a crumbling statue swept up by a surreal ocean of rainbow-colored clay was, to say the least, a dream come true. The director and the elusive music legend worked seamlessly together with very few words spoken between them, and there we were like flies on the wall, snapping photos as the entire thing mysteriously came together.

#2: Burning Man is for lovers

Milk Made sent our resident adventurer Jamie Burke inside the hippie death star known as Burning Man this year in the hopes that he would be able to assimilate himself into some of the free-spirited artist camps and live to tell the tale. Not only did he survive, but he came back to us with great news… he had asked his lovely lady Mila to marry him. Goals for 2014: Find a girl to go to Burning Man with.

#3: Coco Rocha is a shape-shifting dancer who may or may not be made of laser beams

By far the coolest thing that I (and basically anyone who was able to attend) saw in 2013 was Coco Rocha’s performance piece that debuted during Made Fashion Week, where she basically teleported, shape-shifted, multiplied and turned into beams of light. The mind-bending live performance was the brain child of director duo Radical Friend. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I sat with my mouth agape and watched the show brought to life for theLexus Design Disrupted event. The entire live performance felt like a dream and kinda made every other performance I went to into 2013 feel a little flat. I’m waiting for something to top that experience (see also: What will LEGS bring to life in 2014?)

#4: Brad Elterman is the man

I’ll keep this one short and sweet cause I could sing photographer Brad Elterman‘s praise for hours. The prolific backstage photographer shot basically every important musical icon and actor turned party-animal in the late ’60s and ’70s invited us to come have a beer or five with him at the Villa Le Reve, where he broke out the negatives and showed us old prints of photos that he shot of everyone from Blondie to Michael Jackson. If that wasn’t enough, Elterman, who shoots regularly for Purple Diary, brought his talents to Milk Made in 2013, when he shot model Leila Spilman wandering in the streets of Hollywood. If you dig that, just wait to see what Brad has in store for Milk Made in 2014!

#5: Photo shoots are a lot of fun

In 2013 the Milk Made crew got to stretch their legs and get away from their desks. We traveled around the world on a One Way ticket, we drank the Kool-Aid at Coachella, and we partied until we couldn’t remember our own names at Shark Attack Sounds. The place we found ourselves having the best time though was on set shooting stories with some of our favorite fresh-faced actors and musicians. Whether it was inside the walls of Milk Studios shooting Shay Mitchell, Carice Van Houten or Taryn Manning, or on location shooting Kate Boy, Penelope Mitchell or Adam Driver it was on set that we felt most in our element.

This placemat is stained with soy sauce and beer, but I can still read that 2014 is going to be the "Year of the Horse." Definitely doesn’t sound as exciting or dangerous as Year of the Snake, but if this placemat is right, this coming year promises to be fruitful and full of good luck. It also says that everyone should wear lots of purple, blue and gray… but I mean, you can’t believe everything that you read.

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