From the Academy Awards to Tuna Fish

I think humility is a virtue. I do my best to practice it.  I feel uncomfortable with praise, and am usually far more impressed with the people I meet than I am with myself. This post, however, may seem to lack that humility. I’ve been trying to figure out how I could recap last night without seeming like a total douche. But that’s probably unavoidable, so I’ll pass on some highlights.

Last night we went to The Academy Awards. The Academy was extremely generous and made sure we had great seats and felt wonderfully welcome. My biggest concern before going was shallow at best. Would I fit into my tuxedo? I took it to Armani and asked them if I should let the pants out. They said no. I didn’t want to wear Spanx. Fortunately, it fit and I didn’t need the Spanx.

Driving along an empty Hollywood Blvd. was surreal, at best, weaving through barricades, with crowds of people with cameras watching from both sides. Like everywhere in Los Angeles, there was a valet. Once we passed through the metal detectors without incident, none of us were packing, we were in the middle of the official “Red Carpet” area. I expected the people in bleachers and press, but it was that times ten. The press was three people deep with television cameras and interviewers. The bleachers were filled with people shouting and taking photos. This was far beyond a premier at Sundance. Who knew?

The nominees and presenters were in the first few rows and like an AIGA Gala, were all out of their seats talking to each other at every commercial break. The announcer began the countdown at 30 seconds and then said “5 seconds to the world.” I liked that. It was a good way to start.

I did my best to stay on top of things on Twitter, but it’s hard to be witty when you are trying to type and not have everyone around us say, “Well! How rude.” This show is a machine. The efficiency was incredible. Within the three minutes of commercial breaks, a crew of stagehands in tuxedos changed the sets completely. Presenters in dresses were helped down the stairs that looked perilous for presenters with high heels and lots of fabric. Most impressively, at the end of a commercial break when the announcer said, “30 seconds,” people got back in their seats. Try that at an AIGA Gala. Obviously, designers need to be commanded to sit down in 30 seconds over a loudspeaker too.

Now the other trivial issue in the back of my head was the valet. How were they going to return 2,000 people’s cars? Would we be there all night? And, I somehow lost my claim ticket. I’ve never done that in my entire life. Now in the most complicated valet situation possible, I lost it. Like the rest of the evening, though, it worked out beautifully. I told the valet, “It’s a Range Rover with an American flag sticker,” and in five minutes, they found it. Now real life kicked back in. Monday is an Art Center day, so I needed to prepare for class. I, also, didn’t want to eat at 10:30 at night, so we all passed on going out for dinner. At home, I had a bowl of tuna fish and 3 pretzels. Glamorous.

Security, valets

Oh, To Be 80 Again

Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Blake Little photographer, 1997

It’s Wednesday, and I’m on the road to the AIGA Make Think Conference in Memphis. I’ll do my best to post about the conference (and not the standard press release stuff) over the next several days. Yesterday, I needed to find some images for a Japanese magazine including a portrait of Noreen and me. Now we have the official AdamsMorioka headshots that have been forced down everyone’s throats, but I came across all of the old images as well. So for a walk down memory lane, we will prove that we’re not so vain that we won’t remind people what we looked like 15 years ago (thinner and darker hair).

Noreen named the image above, "The War Bride" photo. We were trying to be serious in the hopes that people would believe we weren't just happy and clueless nitwits.

This photo was made for a Strathmore case study promotion. They asked us to look "professional". I think we look more like extras on LA Law.

Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Penny Wolin photographer, 1995

We were working on a book for David Hockney. On our first visit to his studio on Mulholland, Noreen asked for Gin and Tonics and for him to take Polaroids of us and make art. He gave us the Gin and Tonics, and kindly took Polaroids and made cool printouts.

David Hockney, Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, 1998

When we spoke at the Aspen Design Conference, we brought matching sweater without any planning. Being from LA, we aren't sweater rich, and these were the ones we bought at the Norway pavilion at EPCOT. In the middle of this bike ride, Noreen passed out in front of the Jerome Hotel. She begged for us to leave her, but it seemed wrong to leave a half-conscious woman lying on the sidewalk.

Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Aspen, 1996

A large French design company had expressed interest in merging with us. We thought this was a good excuse to go to Paris for a few days. The highlight of the trip involved Noreen, the Louvre, off-limits areas, security guards, and a chase. After meeting us, the French company owners politely said good-bye with a terrified look on their faces.

Sean Adams and Noreen Morioka, Michael Boshnaick photographer, 1999.

Jump forward to last year and our trip to South Africa for the Design Indaba conference. We spent several days on safari which was truly life-changing. I was concerned that Marian had been given the rifle, but was reassured that it only had 2 bullets, so she couldn't take us all out.

Donald, our ranger, Marian Bantjes, Michael Boshnaick, Sean Adams, Noreen Morioka, Rattrays South Africa, 2008

Surprisingly, the media in Capetown was deeply involved with the Design Indaba conference. It was great to see mainstream media cover all of the design arts and designers so passionately. The Design Indaba staff were incredible at organizing the interviews. As you can see, we have graduated to looking very mature and professional. Or we look like morticians.

Noreen Morioka, Sean Adams, TV crew, Capetown South Africa 2008.

A Trailer Park in Heaven

Marian Bantjes attacked by bear at Grand Daddy Hotel, Capetown In February, Noreen Morioka, Michael Boshnaick, Marian Bantjes and I went to South Africa for the Design Indaba Conference. One of the highlights was finding a trailer park on the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Capetown. When we heard about this we raced over to have cocktails and rudely insisted on seeing each one while they tried to clean. We were hoping for something more in the spirit of Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show: hopeless, depressing, black and white, with an air of deseperation. But people probably don’t like staying at places like that.

Grand Daddy Hotel, Capetown, South Africa

Love of Lace by Tracy Lynch

Love of Lace by Tracy Lynch