Los Angeles Roller Skating Scene

So I just returned from a week long end-of-year rejuvenation trip to Los Angeles. So so needed.  New York you got me for like two more years and then ... I need better weather for longer. 

While I was in town I shot a little bit of my skate family at World on Wheels and the Venice Beach Skate Area. Wasn't really in photographer mode, but just wanted to catch a few flicks. 

LA Roller Scene Round-Up: 

Sk8 Mafia video I shot back in February 2016 at Fountain Valley Skating Center.

LA-Area Skate Crews: Sk8 Mafia, Mini Mafia, S.W.A., Wood Rydrz Skate ClubMoxi Roller Skate Team, Honor Roller Skate Crew, Venice Beach Skaters

Custom Skates: Sk8 Fanatics

LA Roll: An documentary about rollerskating in L.A. *Still in production*. 

Photographer, Alejandro Sanchez aka bellyflop66, has been documenting the skate community with beautiful large format black-and-white photographs. Check out his work. 

Annual Skate Parties: WestCoast Back-2-Cali (May 24-27 2018) and Cali Slide (Nov 9-11 2018)

Places to Skate: World on Wheels, Skate Express, Fountain Valley Skating Center, Venice Beach Skate Area (right next to the famous Venice Beach Skate Park), The Rinks - Huntington Beach, Moonlight Rollerway 

Probably missing stuff, but this is a good start. 

PhotographyBianca Garcia
Italy

This past August I had the opportunity to spend two weeks traveling around Italy. 

This trip was different for me as I set out to take a real vacation. Usually I'm running around taking photographs and sightseeing, but this time I had just had a summer of back-to-back trips for work and would be starting a new job and graduate school when I returned, so I told myself that I would see some sights, but mostly that I would relax and enjoy. 

Italy was beautiful and I was able to balance sightseeing with spas, beaches, bike rides and cliff jumping. As a history nerd, I felt kind of foolish not reading up before visiting as there's just so much in every monument, sculpture and ruin that you don't want to miss.  Next time, I'll visit the southern tip of the country and Sicily.

These photos were taken in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre and La Maddalena, Sardinia. 

Recommendations for High Season: 

Rome

Never show up to any of Rome's major tourist attractions (Colosseum, Roman Ruins, etc.) without a ticket. Just don't. It's way too hot (like 100F) and the line will be horrendous. 

Use the public water drinking sprouts. 

Ladies! St. Peter's Basilica does not play when it comes to modesty. If you show up with short shorts, a short skirt or a top that doesn't cover your chest/shoulders you will be turned away and told to buy a cover-up.  Pick your outfit accordingly.   

Rent an electric bike to cruise the Appian Way (aka Via Appia Antica). The Appian Way is Rome's oldest road. You can take Bus 118 from most of Rome's central tourist sites to Punto Informativo Appia Antica, where you can rent bikes.  Lots of very interesting sites along the way including the catacombs. 

If you're really in vacation mode, visit the spa at the Crowne Plaza St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.  Forty-five (45) euros gets you an all-day pass to an indoor pool, traditional sauna, turkish steam room, massage showers, fitness equipment, etc. 

Florence

Book ahead at least a week to get tickets to Uffizi Gallery and the Academy Gallery. 

If you care to splurge, 100 euros gets you access to the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze spa in Florence.  It was nice, don't get me wrong, but I thought the Crowne Plaza in Rome was a better value.  

Uber / Lyft do not exist in Florence as of August 2017. This made for a panicked morning before our flight to Sardinia. The phone number at the taxi stand also did not work. Figure out your transportation well ahead of time. The trains and buses work well. Use them. 

Where to Eat: Trattoria Acquacotta, Il Vezzo, Mattacena 

Cinque Terre  

Cinque Terre is super touristy, but worth a day.  The towns are picturesque and Monterosso has a beach, but it's overrun by people on guided tours and photo nerds looking to recreate Manarola's famous postcard shot.

As such, don't bother booking a guided tour.  You can take a TrenItalia train from Florence to La Spezia, then either walk or take regional trains to travel between the five towns: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. 

Spend 20 euros and get a full body massage from the Chinese ladies who walk up and down the beach in Monterosso. I was not aware prior to traveling to Italy, but immigrants, mostly from South and East Asia, hold up the country's tourism industry (especially the informal sectors).  Might as well support them and get the cheapest (and probably best) massage available in Italy at the same time. 

Where to Eat: Lapo's, gelato at Gelateria Vernazza (best gelato I had in Italy - try the Apricot Cinnamon or Stracciatella) 

La Maddalena, Sardinia

If you're looking to vacation where the Italians vacation I would suggest La Maddalena. I think I heard English one or two times while there.

How to get there: Fly to Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport, then take the TurmoTravel bus (3.50 euros one-way) headed to Santa Teresa di Gallura. Get off at Palau (stop before Santa Teresa) and then take the Delcomar ferry to La Maddalena. Quicker, but more expensive is taking a private car from the airport to Palau instead of the bus (it is $70-75 euros one-way).  The TurmoTravel bus schedule is optimist.  It says it takes 1-hour to get from Olbia to Palau, it really takes at least two. Plan accordingly.  Meridiana and Mistral Air fly frequently to Olbia and for pretty affordable rates. 

Skip the countless boat tours that line the port. Rent an electric bike instead from Nicol Sport and bike to the beaches of Isola Maddalena and Isola Caprera.  Don't bother eating lunch in town either. Grab fruit and bread from Le Delizie Sarde and cheese from La Casa de Formaggio and head out for the day.  Beaches to visit: Bassa Trinita and Cala Coticcio (bring water and good shoes for the 45-minute hike).

Make reservations for dinner at least one day before if not more.  Italians vacation in La Maddalena and they like to eat out and eat late.   

Where to Eat: Ristorante Magreta, Pasticceria Ottimo Dolce e Salato, Dolce Distrazioni, Osteria de Lio, L'Alternative Steak House 

All photos shot in August 2017.

Photos of me taken by Ana María Reichenbach (Thank you!)

Sometime ago I realized that being a photographer meant that I would have photographs of everything and everyone but myself. I've made a sincere attempt over the past few years to make sure I get photos of myself somehow someway. Even if that means arguing with someone about aperture in the street :)  

Mexico City

I only spent a day and a half in Mexico City.  If you know how large, spread out and dense this city is you'll know that that's not enough time to do it any kind of justice.  36 hours isn't enough time to do anything justice, at least photography related. Here are a few shots I took around Zócalo, Lagunilla, Plaza Garibaldi, La Condesa and Coyoacán.  I spent the other two days I was in Mexico hiking Iztaccíhuatl Volcano and exploring the ruins of Teotihuacan. A very quick, last minute trip. 

All photographs taken in April 2017.

Bianca Garcia
Late 90s/Early 00s Music Videos Were IT

So I am a STAN for the visual aesthetic of late 90s/early 00s music videos.

Everyone was hot, sweating, dancing, breathing all hard.

The tones were warm. Lots of soft orange and blue hues.

Can we all agree to do this again?  

Lenny Kravitz was a serious repeat offender. 

All his videos were just him walking around, laying around, strutting around being sexy. 

And Janet Jackson's Got 'Til It's Gone song/video is one of my favorites of all-time.

The homage to Malian photographer Malick Sidibé and apartheid is so crucial. 

Video, TunesBianca Garcia