Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wait For Your Laugh..entertainment legend Rose Marie

IN NYC NOW 
If you are a nostalgia buff, a fan of the golden age of Television .. situation comedies, variety shows... the glory days of vocalists and comics... the untold story of an entertainment legend.. special events starting NOW


If the names Rose Marie, Carl Reiner, Peter Marshall, Dick Van Dyke, Margaret Whiting. Rosemary Clooney, Tim Conway, Dick Cavett,  Bebe Neuwirth mean something to you ... don't miss out on these amazing events  CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR FURTHER DETAILS
https://www.angelikafilmcenter.com/nyc/film/wait-for-your-laugh

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Anniversary to ALCONE ... 65 and going strong



Many New Yorkers, especially of a certain age, will lament the fact that New York City has become homogenized or in other words the city has been cleaned up to such a large extent that it has lost some of its allure and a lot of its grit. One of things that has happened in the process is that the smaller retailer, often referred to as mom and pop stores, have all but evaporated from sight. The gentrification has left a trail of victims but there are some steadfast persevering retailers who have made the transition from the old New York to the new glossy version which includes online shopping.
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The upside to the survivors is that instead of being just local they have now become international and no longer dependent solely on foot traffic. Thank you INTERNET… which has unarguably changed the complexion of retailing on every level and in every conceivable category. Today it’s all about a brand that was once confined only to the cognoscenti of the theater world … thespians and hair and make up professionals. The brand is ALCONE and I tip my hat to a brand that has still retained a retail outlet in the heart of the theater district as well as expanded exponentially on the worldwide stage.
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So if you are looking for anything from lashes to eyeballs, from masks to mascara, from blood to brushes,  and just about everything and anything you might imagine to fill your makeup needs then you have indeed found the premier resource.  Just perusing their offerings will entertain and educate as to just how vast their world is and how equally encyclopedic the selection. 
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Think of Diana Vreeland who said  ... “give them what they never knew they wanted” and I will add “what they never knew existed” when it comes to this universe of makeup needs. So now in the words of the founders’ descendants here is ALCONE who is about to celebrate their 65th anniversary this coming month….
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you give us a brief history of your brand up to this point?



Maria Stewart: Alcone Company was founded in 1952 by Alvin and Harriet Cohen. Alvin’s parents owned a pharmacy on West 20th street which also served as the first location for Alcone Company. At the time, they specialized in stage makeup and theatrical supplies, which we still provide to numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. However the professional industry we serve now has grown to include all avenues of production - television, film fashion, art. So since its origin, Alcone Company has grown to become both distributors of professional beauty brands and special effects makeup as well as our eponymous products. Even though we still predominantly cater to the professional industry, the everyday consumer and makeup fanatic multiplies daily, which is why we created Limelight by Alcone. Limelight is a direct sales company which allows an individual to sell our most popular products and receive a commission for their sales.
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Jeffrey Felner: What is your assessment of the beauty business of today as opposed to when you began this journey?



Maria Stewart: Today it is a multibillion dollar industry that is seemingly unstoppable. When we (the Mallardi’s) began this journey into the world of Alcone and professional makeup, there were not nearly as many makeup brands on the market as there are now. Social media and the internet has changed all that for us and has remarkably us and the beauty business overall. “Everyday people” now know about professional makeup products and the demand has just skyrocketed. All it takes is one “influencer” to mention a product, often one that we’ve sold for many years, and then it flies off the shelves and we literally cannot restock that item fast enough. There is also no warning when this will happen, so it can shock the system a bit, especially for small, independent manufacturers.

What’s interesting about this is that professional makeup brands have traditionally not used any kind of fancy packaging and certainly no gimmicks. It was just great products in simple jars that makeup artists repotted to customize their own palettes for their kit. This kept costs down for everyone, the brands and the artists. So it’s amazing that in the beauty industry where there are so many product options, we find that die-hard makeup lovers/enthusiasts want authentic professional makeup. In fact, we often get product developers in our store, or at the industry trade shows that come looking for ideas … sic rip off. 
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Jeffrey Felner: If you could rewrite any part of your history what would it be and why?



Maria Stewart: For the most part I think that everything worked out the way it was supposed to as far Alcone’s history. That said …  looking back it would have been great if we had invested in commercial property in the NYC years ago - rents have just skyrocketed in New York City and many of the cool, boutique type stores are gone and have been replaced by huge corporate chains. When looking back on our little store on 19th Street that we acquired in the 90’s, Chelsea was not yet on the rise and I just wished we had invested more in that area at the time. We were the only ones bringing outside foot traffic to that street and now it is one of the most expensive locations, residential or commercial, in all of Manhattan. Still, we are happy and proud to have been (and still be) a part of NYC’s community of small businesses with unique shops.
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you share your most prized memory or collaboration during the brand’s lifetime and why is it so prized?



Maria Stewart: Blue Man Group will always have a special place in Alcone’s heart. This was a situation where three complete strangers walked into our office and pitched their performance art concept to my brother Vincent and my sister Mary. They said their concept involved blue makeup, bald caps, drums and catching things in their mouths. This really intrigued Vincent and Mary who then searched high and low for whatever products might fit their needs. Vincent actually just gave them the products for free (especially since they had shopping bags filled with cream cheese and bananas-Vincent assumed they were struggling but turns out that those were actually props used for the show.) To this day, Vincent oversees the integrity of their signature blue shade. The reason this collaboration is so prized for us is because at the time, no one had any idea of how huge the Blue Man Group would become. We just embraced the project because it was an opportunity to help these artists fulfill their vision, which is always our goal. Now they are so ingrained in American artistic culture, that originated right here in New York City, and we are truly proud and grateful that they chose Alcone to be a part of this amazing journey.
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Jeffrey Felner: What is your opinion of online selling vs. brick and mortar...?  Upsides? Downsides? Why?



Maria Stewart: There are many upsides of selling online- first and foremost the ability to reach huge audiences in an instant, at their convenience, in the comfort of their homes, 24 hours a day. Part of our mission as a company is to make our products available to people outside the industry, who love high quality at a great value, and selling online has allowed us to do that.




The downside of course, is that you can only see the product on a digital image, which doesn’t allow one to know the texture or color payoff, which is critical to buying makeup products especially for professional artists, but also for today’s savvy consumers. So we find that most people who buy online are most often engaging in repurchase of items they have tried or used before.





Brick and mortar is still, in my opinion, the most important channel for selling makeup. For us specifically, it allows our customers to experience the products as well as get personalized recommendations from our pro artist staff, who are all working makeup artists in the industry. Our store location is really quite unique in that it’s always been a place for artists to gather, share ideas and discuss different approaches to the challenges of a particular project. They’re encouraged to play and give the products a test run before their makeup gig so they can go away confident that the products they purchase are going to achieve their clients’ desired results. So it’s a bit of an interactive environment so to speak.

The same with our “consumer” customers who are looking for products for themselves. For them, the opportunity to have one-on-one time with a professional makeup artist and get advice is much more personal than online shopping because they’re getting real solutions to their beauty questions. That’s where brick n mortar is the really the star when it comes to professional makeup.



The downside for us from a business perspective are the rising costs in rent if you want to operate out of a storefront in a popular neighborhood or even expand our retail presence. Being a distributor for professional products means that we sell high quality products to a wider audience but at affordable pricing. In a way, we are a “little engine that could” being a small family run business competing with a luxury market. But still, we hold true to our heart, and are happy to have a hub where our customers can still go to, shop and interact with others.
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www.alconemakeup.com/buying-guides

Monday, October 16, 2017

Meet Chris Young... the triple threat



What do you get when you cross Bruce Lee with Jackie Chan and the boy next door? Well , you are going to get a man named Chris Young who combines martial arts with dance with modeling and then to ice the cake ... acting!
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The discipline of martial arts is apparent in this man’s demeanor and yet he is totally at ease and very well spoken on all subjects concerned. To say he is a rarity within the business of fashion would be an understatement or possibly an anomaly and yet he fits right in with the flock. He is the essence of athleticism meets esthetics.
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Chris is one of many who fights against the stereotypes and ill-conceived notions of what makes a model. He is dedicated to all his crafts and skills and as he duly pointed out to me that they are not always inextricably linked; one is learned and one is honed. That is a rather astute and a telling observation for a man whose intelligence belies his professional choices or maybe not!
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So in his own words and with some prodding on my part    in his own words please allow me to introduce you to Chris Young.
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Jeffrey Felner: What is your most prized possession and why?

Chris Young: I would say my health and physicality. I know that isn't exactly a possession in the way, say, my favorite sword or an heirloom is, but I derive a lot of my peace and happiness through movement. To me, it is as much spiritual as it is physical. So my health and physicality is central to my happiness and the way I live my life.
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why

CY: I have to admit I’m a little torn, so I am going to cheat and give two scenarios.

First is very simple: it would be fascinating to me to have my teachers and mentors together at dinner. That would actually be six people but I’ve never been good at math. I believe that despite the obvious differences, there is an underlying type of thinking and discipline that is in common with all these arts in which I engage.

Then there is a more fantastical ideal of having historical heroes of mine at dinner. For that,  I am inclined to choose Liu DeKuan, who was a great martial artist and who is part of my martial lineage,  Mestre Pastinha who is often considered the father of Capoeira Angola, Richard Bolislavski the actor, director and teacher who to my mind really first made acting technique understandable to the actor with all due credit to Stanislavsky, Herb Ritts, the photographer,  and Rumi the founder of Sufism which is a joyous spiritual tradition so profound you need not be a Sufi to benefit from it.
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JF: You are a triple threat ... actor, model and martial arts professional; would you tell us how this all came about to bring you to this point?

CY: It was all very unplanned since I was actually on track for a career in artificial intelligence (AI) research and development. I had been engaged in martial arts and gymnastics most of my life. While I was pursuing this career in AI, I started a Chinese lion dance team, which is based upon kung fu skills. Eventually the guys on the team wanted to learn to fight so I started teaching these guys a martial arts, specifically a style called Eagle Claw. Then my Sifu (teacher) suggested I start teaching an additional style, known as White Ape Connected Back. While all that was happening, I was scouted by an agency in Pittsburgh which  I actually thought was a scam, but eventually signed with them; it never amounted to anything but another agency found me and signed me  and started sending me out. It was a lot more fun than I expected and As I started to explore modeling, I discovered that taking it to a higher level required a lot more skill and understanding than I had expected. On the advice of a friend, I started taking acting lessons to enhance my performance as a model. I was fortunate enough to have an acting teacher from Carnegie Mellon who helped me develop a love for acting as well as modeling. During all this expansion of martial arts, modeling and acting, I found the tech industry was not a good fit for me, whereas martial arts was a much better fit. I continued to increase my martial arts skills and established a school and eventually became a master. Serious martial arts, in addition to skill development, requires and benefits from solid physical conditioning in almost the same way as modeling. I was already attracted and fascinated with movies involving plenty of action so physical conditioning was essential for those types of roles as an actor. Additionally acting requires good physical coordination with one’s body, as obviously does martial arts. So they all have overlapping components.  I really love all three of the crafts and skills. When I was a kid I watched Kung Fu movies with my grandfather and loved them but I also remember seeing models in magazines thinking “man, that’s pretty cool”. I never seriously considered the possibility I could do it … But…. here I am where life has lead me.
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JF: If you could choose any collaboration at all … what or who would it be and why?

CY: Man this is tough. I think for modeling I’d love to shoot a campaign including video and print with an athletic bent, maybe some martial arts even, with Rick Day for an underwear brand like Jack Adams or CN-2, maybe GNC or a sport brand if he was into that. That guy produces some of the coolest video campaigns I can remember… I think I recall some for CN-2…. And of course his still photography is amazing.

For a movie, my ideal is to bring together really good writing, acting and martial arts worked into a single movie directed by Ang Lee. I actually have a story idea but I’m still working on it so I don’t want to give it away right now, but I think Ang Lee would be the ideal director to pull together a project like this.
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JF: If there is any part of your history that you would rewrite”… what would it be and why?

CY: There are some specific things I would do differently… for instance, I had a chance to go to China with my grandfather and see where he grew up but I didn’t because of a new job, and never got another chance… but overall, I don’t think I would really rewrite any part of my history. I have made plenty of mistakes and have lived through some quite difficult and miserable periods, but I feel I am in a pretty good place in my life right now and headed in a good direction.  I think lessons learned from the difficulties as well as the fortunate, happy times all helped to bring me to this place. 
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JF: Where would you like to see Chris Young in 5 years ... what’s the end game for you ?

CY: I would like to be booking regular work in film, print and television and also seeing my martial arts students advance in their skills. In addition hope that I will be continuously honing in my own skills as an actor, model and martial artist.


Photographers: Rey Romero, Alahn Brezan, John Falocco, Rodney Logan,  Jason Paluck,  Alejandro Jesus and Thiek Smith.