díreach ag dul trí

The first time ever I saw your face, dreamy green island 🍀 An iPhone snap will never be able to do justice to my very first glimpse of Ireland . My eyes were as misty as this coastline realizing my epic solo EU adventure was about to begin. First country of three this sojourn!

I did a 32hr layover in Dublin and saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College, took in some beautiful works of art at the National Museum, walked along the River Liffey and did some time lapse photography on the Ha’penny Bridge, strolled St. Stephen’s Green, and braved energetic Temple Bar on a Friday night.

And then I was gone. ✈️

Like a pulsating mix of champagne and meteors

New York City skyline Photographs by Alessandra Nicole

A woman like me alone in a city like this spells trouble, which is presumed, and I wish that you were here for the adventure. I love New York City like I will never again love any inanimate object that seems real and breathing to me, she embraces me every time, my passionate lover.

I am seated in patient anticipation. I hear her voice from afar only to come around the curve after Newark and see her brightly dyed hair tumble upon the nape of her bone-white neck in the form of the latest color scheme on the top of the Empire State Building. Her hands stretch out to greet me with a different bauble for every finger of her warm-heart-cold-hands. I leave the train, climb the escalator, step through the automatic doors to 8th Avenue, and am intertwined with her once more. She steals my breath into her mouth and slaps me across the face with her icy January winds for not calling. I love her with all of my heart and I let her seduce me, caressing every part of me, until I look at my cell phone and see it’s after midnight and someone else is awaiting my arrival.

She pouts with her arms suddenly folded, the black lace strap of her bra slipping down over her shoulder, and I put my finger to her blood red lips, Shh, not tonight, but I will be back tomorrow. I’m just as disappointed to leave as she is to see me go, onto the ferry, where she closes her eyes in sorrow like a woman who knows she’s the Other One in my life, and I realize some of her glittering eyeshadow has rubbed off on my cheek. A man next to me thinks I am crying, and maybe I am a little teary at the heartstopping way her skyline is sparkling like a pulsating mix of champagne and meteors; he offers me a handkerchief.

Anyone would be jealous of the way I dream of her at night, the way I think about her throughout days away. In the morning, she awakes me with the memory of her warm deep kisses and here I sit at 9:30am, plotting the hour when I will steal away to my secret lover New York City. Oh, if only you could see us when we’re together…

words ©️Alessandra Nicole 2004

New York, New York

Enjoyed an unforgettable couple of days in the big apple with an important, beautiful (and camera shy) girlfriend of mine. We stood mere feet away from U2 at Madison Sq Garden (eeeeeee!!!), walked the Brooklyn Bridge, took a ferry ride to see the skyline from the lower Manhattan perspective, strolled through a heavenly italian market in Chelsea (Eataly!) and revisited Ground Zero together, having not been back since everything unfolded around us there on 9/11/01. It was thrilling, deeply memorable, and cathartic. 

   

Parting Shot

I always try to grab a little snapshot of the NYC skyline after emerging from the tunnel in New Jersey.

Though the day was seasonably warm last week when we left the City, it wasn’t remarkable weather. That’s alright though, unremarkable snapshots are fun to play around with using iPhone apps and a friend of mine turned me onto one that gave me this result:

via Instagram @Alessandra_Official

So, who cares? It’s fun. Don’t judge the bad snapshots, use them to experiment. I create something, however small, daily. Sometimes an unremarkable snapshot inspires sketches, paintings, illustrations, short stories, down the line. I open my eyes and explore. That (and a little bit of love) is the stuff of life.

Rainy Day Philly

I like to use my non-public Instagram account like it’s a sketchbook for inspiration for the days I dedicate to my drawing table for illustrating (Public Instas: @alessandra_official and @thetreegrows).

I liked a lot of the aerial perspective lines of rainy day Center City that led to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and imagination-inspiring things such as a rooftop tennis court. I also liked catching One Liberty Place peeking out from behind other buildings and in reflections at street level. Anthropomorphizing buildings and playing with the idea of uses for roof tops comes in handy when story boarding book projects and creating new settings.

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day tripper

Near the top of my list of Most Romantic Experiences is taking a train ride up to NYC on a lazy Sunday, just for the day. NY Times in my lap, his head resting on my shoulder, swaying in a train… We arrive comfortable, relaxed and emerge into the city unencumbered by the usual gear, baggage; untethered to any vehicle. Free as a bird. Grab your mate by the hand and try it!

A Day in the Life … Running around in Philadelphia

I often freelance in Philadelphia for a friend of mine who is the editor of a popular online food and entertainment website. This is a literal snapshot of a day in the life of a freelance videographer / photographer.

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First we began at 9am with Brad Spence at AMIS (412 South 13th Street – amisphilly.com) and filmed the making of a Turducken.

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Brad carves up the finished version of the two Turduckens that were prepared for the shoot.

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The finished result, Turducken with a Cranberry Mustård

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AMIS’ busy kitchen during the daytime preparing for dinner service.

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Brad and my editor, Adam, chatting about the industry, the big topic yesterday amongst many people involved with food being NYTimes’ Pete Wells’ scathing article about Guy Fieri’s Time Square bomb. (read here)

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the quintessential Center City snap

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Next, we headed to Philly-famous sports outfitter Mitchell & Ness (http://www.mitchellandness.com/) to pick up some threads for our next project.

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My editor was assigned a light editorial piece in anticipation of Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon and our job was to go “carb up” at 5 Philadelphia eateries.

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My editor dressed as a marathon runner and holding an iced latte from Elixr (207 S. Sydenham St. – www.elixrcoffee.com)

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First stop was Pizzeria Stella (2nd & Lombard – http://www.pizzeriastella.net)

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Pizzeria Stella’s Rigatoni Bolognese

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I photographed my editor in a small stunt using pizza boxes outside the restaurant.

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Next we headed to Market Street for my personal favorite Old City restaurant FORK (306 Market St. – http://www.forkrestaurant.com/)

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…and then to South Philly for THE INDUSTRY (1401 East Moyamensing Avenue – http://theindustrybar.com/), lambs neck gravy with grilled baguettes and some pushups.

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over to charming restaurant LE VIRTU (1927 East Passyunk Avenue – http://www.levirtu.com/)

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one of Philadelphia’s infamous urban murals outside of Le Virtu

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Lastly, we photographed these at VERNICK in Rittenhouse Square (2031 Walnut Street – http://www.vernickphilly.com). Pumpkin butter and Squash toast and Pea and Bacon toast (tasted like split pea and ham soup, mmm!)

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My editor reviewed some of the still shots I took throughout the day. We debriefed and then he left to edit the photos and caption them for his deadline. This is the most difficult part for me as a freelancer: walking away from my files and allowing someone else – someone who doesn’t typically – edit them.

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My phenomenally empathetic boyfriend treated me to a bottle of one of my favorites at dinner back at home so that I could wind down from such a hectic and long day of shooting over in Philly.

Yesterday came and went, and this morning my professional work (as opposed to these Instagram snaps) was published for public consumption on the regional and national branches of my editor’s site and my fears were confirmed. Oh well! It was a fun, exhausting day of running around in the cold in a great city and getting to do one of the things I love best.

extra, extra

© Alessandra Nicole 2012, All Rights Reserved

So, this morning I got up at 4am to do something I’ve done periodically since I was studying film and acting in college. I worked as a background actor (as in, “extra”). In my particular friend and colleague circle this is certainly nothing groundbreaking so I’m not posting this blog for them. I’m posting it for those who haven’t ever done anything like this before or who have and still find it as cool and interesting as I do.

This particular work was for the new Harrison Ford / Gary Oldman thriller so far titled Paranoia (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1413495/). It was the first day of shooting and it featured Aussie Liam Hemsworth (Hunger Games), a few supporting cast members, and about 400 of us, both union and non-union. It was the biggest extra day scheduled so they wanted to make great use of us while they had us all there.

After conferring with wardrobe, hair and makeup and hanging out in holding for a few hours, we began filming at 830am and didn’t wrap the day’s shoot until 630pm. It was an outdoor day for the majority of us, thank goodness for mild temperatures and plenty of fluffy white clouds to shield us from long bouts of direct sunlight. We worked hard, had a blast, and made new friends. Here are a few snapshots that I sniped throughout the day.

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getting our hair & makeup done

 

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Comcast Center in Philly turned into a NYC corporate building

 

Crew working on the building’s transformation

 

an intersection in Philadelphia is turned into NYC for the day. This included fake NJ and NY license plates for cars, fake street signs reading “44th St”, NYPD uniforms and cars (see background), trash cans reading “Keep New York City Clean”, fake hot dog carts, newspapers, cabs, and a fake MTA bus stop amongst other things.

 

sweet camera on a dolly and track that I watched production assistants assemble as fast as a pit crew on the auto racing circuit

 

Wilma Garscadden Gahret observes the monitors for the current scene being filmed.

 

Director Robert Luketic watches the feed from the main camera and revealed that he “stole” the idea for the particular establishing shot from David Fincher and his 1997 film “The Game”.


an over-saturated snap I made of the Comcast Center in Philadelphia this afternoon

 

along my drive into Philadelphia at a quarter to 6 this morning