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INTERVIEW : JESSICA LAWRENCE

This commendable lady just biked across the nation from Portland, Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean this summer, with a brief stopover at Ace Hotel New York before she crossed the finish line. In a self-initiated tour de wellness supporting an active, grounded and playful lifestyle, Jessica has taught us so much. When she’s not riding the steel pony like a boss, she runs Cairn Guidance, consulting with public schools about health and wellness. Soon, Jessica will be celebrated by our friends at the Clinton Health Initiative and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation at the Healthy Schools Forum in Little Rock, in honor of the funds her adventure raised to fight childhood obesity.

We were really inspired by her journey and wanted to snag some photos of her in the photobooth and ask her a few questions, to which she obliged.

What was the moment at which this idea came to life and started germinating for you?

I was 15 years old and had just returned from a bicycle tour trip with other teens in Europe. I told my parents I would someday ride across the US. 23 years later, I fulfilled my dream.

When you first set rubber to road after your send-off breakfast, how massively free (and terrified) did you feel?

Three friends joined me for a few miles on their bikes from the Tin Shed Restaurant to the Springwater Corridor Trail. I remember my body was buzzing. Buzzing with excitement, independence and freedom. It was a gorgeous day. Once my friends left me, I remember looking ahead on the beautiful trail and thinking, “I’m doing this. I’m bicycling all the way across this country.” I felt more proud of myself in that moment than I ever have in my life.

Was there ever a moment where you wanted to give up? Who egged you on?

Of course there were challenging moments and days. My first challenge brought me snow in Montana (blog post entitled First Tears). My second challenge was in Kansas with thorns (6 flat tires in 2 days), 105 degree weather 4 days in a row and brutal head and side-winds. My third challenge was fatigue starting in the Appalachian Range for the last few weeks. These challenging days taught me to ask for help and reach out for support when I needed it. I might have been the one pedaling and carrying 80lbs of my own gear, but I never felt alone. Hundreds of people supported me, texted me, emailed me, posted about me, loved me, prayed for me, donated to my cause, fed me, hosted me, cheered me on and celebrated with me. A few people were there for me on a daily basis. My parents, Elin and Rick Lawrence, my personal trainer Aaron Sompson, at Kinetic Integration Manuel Therapy and Performance, Jamie Sparks, a colleague and close friend in Kentucky and Jamie Waltz, Alison Hansen and Ginny Ehrlich, all close friends. There was one day in particular I reached out to Aaron and cried. I was fatigued and didn’t know if I’d make it through the day. I rarely felt lonely as a result of all the people mentioned above.

Any revelations from the road?

Many. I would say my top three revelations include: 1. I’m so proud to be an American. I never want to take for granted how safe I felt as a female bicycling across this country (in spandex!) alone. We are fortunate that we live in such an amazing country with access to potable water and well-paved roads. Meeting Americans was the best part of the trip. People were unbelievably generous, inquisitive and supportive. 2. Laugh a lot. I loved the uncertainty of what my day would look like and where I would stay each night. It could be scary, stressful but also incredibly freeing. And, with that much alone time, you heal, process, reflect and laugh at yourself. Laughter played an important role on my trip. 3. My last revelation is the belief I can do anything I want. Doing something like this, as a solo female was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly proud of myself. Road to Rhode was a dream come true.


One of Giuseppe Penone's sculptures rolling in to Madison Square Park this morning in advance of his installation through early 2014. Watch here for more from Mr. Penone and the Mad. Sq. Pk. Conservancy.

One of Giuseppe Penone's sculptures rolling in to Madison Square Park this morning in advance of his installation through early 2014. Watch here for more from Mr. Penone and the Mad. Sq. Pk. Conservancy.






Santa Fe rare book shop Photo-Eye is among dozens of jewels gathering at this weekend’s Art Book Fair at PS1 in Queens. Their books light a flame of book greed in our hearts so strong it hurts. This specimen from their shelves, Shuji Terayama’s Photothèque imaginaire, was designed and handbound in Tokyo, 1975, and belly-bound in an original printed obi.
"Playwright, poet, photographer, filmmaker and all-around provacateur Shuji Terayama is one of the most important figures in the Japanese counter-culture of the sixties and seventies. He produced over 200 literary works and over 20 shorts and full-length films as well as untold works of theater with Tenjo Sajiki and others. Like his films, the photomontages in Photothèque imaginaire… are self-consciously experimental, often surreal, and frequently confounding. And, like the Parisian Surrealists of the 1920s and 30s, he was a great fan of Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror. He vehemently opposed the protection of the status quo and attacked the righteousness of the Japanese family system and any vestiges of nationalism."
Suzanne Feld, Between Two Worlds: Selected Postwar Japanese Films, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Ace Hotel New York Art Book Fair 2013 Photo-Eye Shuji Terayama

Ace Hotel New York Art Book Fair 2013 Photo-Eye Shuji Terayama

Ace Hotel New York Art Book Fair 2013 Photo-Eye Shuji Terayama

Ace Hotel New York Art Book Fair 2013 Photo-Eye Shuji Terayama

Santa Fe rare book shop Photo-Eye is among dozens of jewels gathering at this weekend’s Art Book Fair at PS1 in Queens. Their books light a flame of book greed in our hearts so strong it hurts. This specimen from their shelves, Shuji Terayama’s Photothèque imaginaire, was designed and handbound in Tokyo, 1975, and belly-bound in an original printed obi.

"Playwright, poet, photographer, filmmaker and all-around provacateur Shuji Terayama is one of the most important figures in the Japanese counter-culture of the sixties and seventies. He produced over 200 literary works and over 20 shorts and full-length films as well as untold works of theater with Tenjo Sajiki and others. Like his films, the photomontages in Photothèque imaginaire… are self-consciously experimental, often surreal, and frequently confounding. And, like the Parisian Surrealists of the 1920s and 30s, he was a great fan of Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror. He vehemently opposed the protection of the status quo and attacked the righteousness of the Japanese family system and any vestiges of nationalism."

Suzanne Feld, Between Two Worlds: Selected Postwar Japanese Films, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


With the dough it takes to make one of the rehashed gazillion dollar shoot ‘em ups that flopped at the box office this summer (it was nicer outside anyway), Gregg Araki could theoretically make Three Bewildered People In The Night several thousand times, even if you adjust for 1987 money. As it turns out once was enough. His no-budget portrait of three West Village artists was as refreshingly open in its fluid sexuality as claustrophobically confined by its murky lighting and landscapes. The film slow-launched Araki to a pioneer role in the New Queer Cinema. And though his films probably cost more now than a single sequence of a muscle car exploding in flames, he still keeps it weird and candidly queer. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is screening a retrospective of Araki’s career that kicks off [next] Thursday and Friday, respectively, with The Living End and Three Bewildered People In The Night. On September 28, Araki his bad self will lead an intimate master class. We’ll be partnering with MAD to curate some music and other happenings at Ace Hotel New York soon. More on that later. 

With the dough it takes to make one of the rehashed gazillion dollar shoot ‘em ups that flopped at the box office this summer (it was nicer outside anyway), Gregg Araki could theoretically make Three Bewildered People In The Night several thousand times, even if you adjust for 1987 money. As it turns out once was enough. His no-budget portrait of three West Village artists was as refreshingly open in its fluid sexuality as claustrophobically confined by its murky lighting and landscapes. The film slow-launched Araki to a pioneer role in the New Queer Cinema. And though his films probably cost more now than a single sequence of a muscle car exploding in flames, he still keeps it weird and candidly queer. The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is screening a retrospective of Araki’s career that kicks off [next] Thursday and Friday, respectively, with The Living End and Three Bewildered People In The Night. On September 28, Araki his bad self will lead an intimate master class. We’ll be partnering with MAD to curate some music and other happenings at Ace Hotel New York soon. More on that later. 


If somebody scoped your skating spot via satellite while you were in mid-swagger on one of our new Ace x Shut Skateboards Dazzle Camo Decks we’re not sure if they’d be frankly overwhelmed by your freshness or just not see you at all. Therein lies the mystery of dazzle — patterns used by US and British naval ships to stay off the radar during the war to end wars, and the one that followed shortly after. The camouflaging properties of dazzle are an unsettled science but its flyness has been a matter of public record since naval camofleurs and Cubists began to infiltrate and inspire each other’s respective circles. Our bedazzled deck is the latest from our ongoing partnership with the Lower East Side’s Shut Skateboards, makers of decks and gear for riders on the meanest city streets since ‘86. 

If somebody scoped your skating spot via satellite while you were in mid-swagger on one of our new Ace x Shut Skateboards Dazzle Camo Decks we’re not sure if they’d be frankly overwhelmed by your freshness or just not see you at all. Therein lies the mystery of dazzle — patterns used by US and British naval ships to stay off the radar during the war to end wars, and the one that followed shortly after. The camouflaging properties of dazzle are an unsettled science but its flyness has been a matter of public record since naval camofleurs and Cubists began to infiltrate and inspire each other’s respective circles. Our bedazzled deck is the latest from our ongoing partnership with the Lower East Side’s Shut Skateboards, makers of decks and gear for riders on the meanest city streets since ‘86. 


From the New York Public Library, a stereoscope of the Fireman’s Parade on Labor Day, 1887 in Union Square. The first Labor Day celebration in New York took place in the square 5 years earlier when a parade of more than 10,000 workers marched up Broadway and past a reviewing stand in Union Square. Not only is it the last day you can tastefully wear white or seersucker (but we don’t care), but Labor Day gives us occasion to honor the contributions to American labor rights and culture by slaves, indentured servants, union activists, women in the workplace, migrant workers and everybody who’s driven a nail into our tallest buildings and soundest bungalows. Labor Day in stereoscope aptly reminds us of the many versions of truth, justice and liberty (and eight hours for what they will) inherent in our national, and now multi-national, dialogue about labor. Remember not to step on anyone’s head on the way up, and always remember where you come from. And enjoy your weekend, courtesy of the labor movement.

From the New York Public Library, a stereoscope of the Fireman’s Parade on Labor Day, 1887 in Union Square. The first Labor Day celebration in New York took place in the square 5 years earlier when a parade of more than 10,000 workers marched up Broadway and past a reviewing stand in Union Square. Not only is it the last day you can tastefully wear white or seersucker (but we don’t care), but Labor Day gives us occasion to honor the contributions to American labor rights and culture by slaves, indentured servants, union activists, women in the workplace, migrant workers and everybody who’s driven a nail into our tallest buildings and soundest bungalows. Labor Day in stereoscope aptly reminds us of the many versions of truth, justice and liberty (and eight hours for what they will) inherent in our national, and now multi-national, dialogue about labor. Remember not to step on anyone’s head on the way up, and always remember where you come from. And enjoy your weekend, courtesy of the labor movement.


Brooklyn’s Bird Courage make their own (see figures above and below for evidence of off-duty making). The trio bring their gracefully crafted ballads and hymnals to Ace New York with a September-long residency at Sunday Night Live, curated by Chris Tucci. With new accompanying guests every weekend including Morgan O’Kane, Meaner Pencil, Streets of Laredo, Ricci Swift (of Gondola) and Wilder Maker, their lobby reign begins tomorrow night.

Brooklyn’s Bird Courage make their own (see figures above and below for evidence of off-duty making). The trio bring their gracefully crafted ballads and hymnals to Ace New York with a September-long residency at Sunday Night Live, curated by Chris Tucci. With new accompanying guests every weekend including Morgan O’Kane, Meaner Pencil, Streets of Laredo, Ricci Swift (of Gondola) and Wilder Maker, their lobby reign begins tomorrow night.


Ace friend Thomas Callahan is the master builder and founder of Brooklyn’s Horse Cycles. If you’ve stayed with us at Ace New York chances are you’ve cruised the bike-laned blacktop on a steed of his making. He recently Kickstarted his Urban Tour project, a plucky attempt to grow his little corner of the Brooklyn bicycle industry by putting more asses on handbuilt beasts of burden. This Labor Day weekend you can see what Thomas, and a couple dozen other makers, have been up to at Bike Cult, a Hand-Built Bicycle Show at the Warsaw Concert Hall in Williamsburg. It’s something like the Let Me Ride video off The Chronic, but with bikes and more East Coast flavor.

Ace friend Thomas Callahan is the master builder and founder of Brooklyn’s Horse Cycles. If you’ve stayed with us at Ace New York chances are you’ve cruised the bike-laned blacktop on a steed of his making. He recently Kickstarted his Urban Tour project, a plucky attempt to grow his little corner of the Brooklyn bicycle industry by putting more asses on handbuilt beasts of burden. This Labor Day weekend you can see what Thomas, and a couple dozen other makers, have been up to at Bike Cult, a Hand-Built Bicycle Show at the Warsaw Concert Hall in Williamsburg. It’s something like the Let Me Ride video off The Chronic, but with bikes and more East Coast flavor.


A few rough-and-tumble coding gangs from our Clinton Health Initiative code-a-thon with Tumblr at Ace Hotel New York. FastCo. confetti’ed us, and Chelsea released balloons.

A few rough-and-tumble coding gangs from our Clinton Health Initiative code-a-thon with Tumblr at Ace Hotel New York. FastCo. confetti’ed us, and Chelsea released balloons.


Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.

Thirty years ago Wild Style gave a world stage to New York City’s burgeoning hip hop culture while deftly skating the chasm between its subject — young graffiti writers, break dancers, MCs and DJs making something from nothing — and the Manhattan elite that had begun to take notice. So much has happened since. Hip hop would soon bypass the cultural elite with no regard to established rules of etiquette and make its appeal direct to youth worldwide. The graffiti styles documented in Wild Style inspired a generation of street artists who have now thoroughly infiltrated the overground art world. Stateside, hip hop eventually surpassed country as the number one music-of-choice for working and middle class America, and continues to thrive in the post-record sales music business. And though the Manhattan elite has to some extent re-established its dominance as an arbiter of culture, young hip hop artists from the Bronx to Meridian still insist on ignoring its conventions. NYC Parks SummerStage is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Wild Style Monday with a free outdoor screening at the East River Bandshell with live performances by Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Grand Wizard Theodore, the Cold Crush Brothers and Rodney C, and appearances by director Charlie Ahearn and stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones and Patti Astor.


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