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2007 August Archive at Inside ontheinside.info

Monthly Archive for August, 2007

Subscribe to the ontheinside podcast!

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You can now subscribe to our audio podcast via Itunes. The podcasts consist of snippets of conversations with our featured personalities. New episodes are automatically downloaded to your I-tunes, so you can spend a few casual minutes with our New Yorkers each week.

We already have Gretchen Mol and Melissa Plaut in our opening 2 podcasts.

here’s the link to the i-tunes page:
http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=263114738

Melissa Plaut at ontheinside.info - Podcast

Melissa Plaut talks about how she became a taxi driver, and how her unique experience evolved into writing a book, Hack.

 
icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [10:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Photo credit at collegehumor.com

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Collegehumor.com is using our Will Forte backstage photo for their article. You can read their interview with Will here.

We’re credited at the bottom of the page:

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Blogging Project Runway

Bloggingprojectrunway.com mention and link our Jay McCarroll feature in their August 28th entry.

Melissa Plaut Interview

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Three years ago, Melissa Plaut left the corporate world to earn a living driving a New York taxi cab. Her first book Hack: How I Stopped Worrying About What to Do with My Life and Started Driving a Yellow Cab about her experience as a cabbie is out today, August 28th. Melissa also writes a popular blog, New York Hack, at http://newyorkhack.blogspot.com.

Questions with Melissa Plaut:

ontheinside.info: What were you doing before driving a taxi?

MP: I basically was working in advertising, even like the shittiest form of it which was copy writing for the websites of large companies. I hated it the whole time I was there but of course, you know, I was very comfortable, the money was really good.

ontheinside.info: Did you pursue advertising?

MP: No, not at all. I promised myself I would never work in advertising. I worked at a magazine for a little while. I even worked at Miramax films—that was my first job, I was the concierge. I worked at weird websites. I worked at some part-time job as a chat room moderator for some weird sex, non-sex site. You know like I was just doing a job making twenty bucks an hour and being pretty irresponsible and having fun. And somebody came along—a friend of a friend was like “Oh yeah, you should come work for the company I work at, it’s totally great”. I didn’t know what it was or what it meant. I went in and didn’t realize it was an interview.

ontheinside.info: So that was the copy writing job?

MP: I think the initial offer was half-writer, half-something else. And it was double what I had been making at the magazine. But I still said no, because I didn’t want to do it. It just seemed really weird and I thought I could do other things. And then they got a budget to have a full writer, like a second writer and for more money. So when they emailed me again, I was like “Oh yes, I need to just try and erase the air of desperation, I need a job—everything is going away, there’s no more dot com boom”.

ontheinside.info: How long did you end up working there?

MP: I worked there for three years. I was reduced to part-time after a year and a half cause they weren’t doing so well. And that was awesome, cause I made a good salary, three days a week, I made full benefits, you know? I never wanted to leave, but I was also disappointed in what I was going in and doing every day. Ultimately there wasn’t enough work in the end. They were suffering too much and laid me off. And then I collected my unemployment benefits. I love my unemployment benefits, I’ll never say no to that (laughs). And then I was like, “Fuck it, I don’t want a career, I’m not getting anywhere and I’m not happy”. So instead of going straight for another ad job, which would have been maybe the easier thing to do, I decided to go from one thing to the other to the other and do whatever the hell I wanted.

ontheinside.info: And so you started to drive a cab?

MP: Well that was the first adventure on the list. It’s something I thought about, even the previous time I had been unemployed. And when I thought about it then, it wasn’t even a real thought, you know, just like “Oh! I’ll be a cab driver, ha!” This time I was like, “Wouldn’t that be cool? I’m going to make it happen, I got nothing else to do”. And I went ahead. It scared the shit out of me. Because it’s really scary to go and be the only girl who’s doing this, first of all. Well, not the only one but you walk into a room to apply and there’s fifty guys sitting, waiting to turn in their applications, and I’m the only girl there that’s not working there, you know, behind the counter. So, it was scary to just break out into the total unknown, but that was I guess part of the adventure. So that was the first step, that was three years ago. Now, I’m kind of moving, slowly moving on. But I’m not going to probably ever give up driving a cab totally cause there’s something addictive about it.

ontheinside.info: How has driving a cab changed your perception of the city?

MP: I know it a lot better and I’m obsessed with traffic! When I’m not working I’m sort of watching it, just sort of interested, listening to the traffic even though I’m not going to be in a car. You know that channel on cable, City Drive Live, it’s like channel 93 or 91 and it’s just all the traffic cams. Sometimes I put that on and I’m like, “Ahh, Grand Central is so fucked up right now”. It’s really weird, it’s like a fetish at this point, I don’t even know. Maybe it’s just more like a professional interest. I am a terrible backseat driver as well. But I’ve met more people in the city than I would ever meet in the normal course of my life, in any other job. Even as a waiter or waitress, a certain kind of clientele comes into your place, but anybody and everybody takes a cab.

Interview by Thomas Collardeau, photo by Scott Gordon Bleicher for http://ontheinside.info

To check out Melissa Plaut’s profile and favorite NY places at ontheinside.info, click here.

Gridskipper covers OTI

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Gridskipper.com introduced us to their audience today. You can read the article here:

http://gridskipper.com/travel/new-york/ontheinside-people-guide-293630.php

Jay McCarroll interview

Here’s a few questions from our conversation with OTI personality of the week Jay McCarroll. He chats mostly about his experience with the design and fashion industry in NY.

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Q: How has New York affected your inspiration and your fashion designs, if it has?

Jay McCarroll: New York is a very inspiring place but I’ve definitely felt crippled here creatively because there is kind of too much stimulation visually here. You could wake up one day and have the idea to make a pair of white pants and on your way to your work studio you see yellow pants, red pants, orange dresses, jungle print tunic and by the time you get back to your studio you’re so exhausted that you don’t want to design anything at all. So that’s kind of my experience, I get overwhelmed very easily. Everyone works differently, for a lot of people New York gets their juices flowing but for me I feel kind of creatively stumped here. Thats why I get out of the city as much as I can.

Q: How would you define your New York woman fashion-wise, how would you like to dress her up?

JM: New York is very on-the-go kind of place. I feel like you should dress accordingly. If you go to work in a cubicle for 8 hours a day you don’t know who’s going to call you throughout the day and if you are going to go for sushi or see the ballet or someone has an exhibition happening. As a New Yorker you have to be kind of dressed ready to go for any kind of situation. I don’t really ever think about this by the way because I think people should just dress how they want to dress. The summer is disgusting in New York so I’d say probably the least clothes the better. The winter is pretty rough so the more clothes the better and then everything in between. Basically just dress like you are ready for anything, you don’t know what’s going to happen.

Q: What are you working on?

JM: I have some projects coming up which you’ll have to stay tuned and see. I’m working on a line for February Fashion Week. Fashion week is a very exciting thing. Very exhausting and draining. I think people think especially because of the show [Project Runway] that you can make a wedding dress in two days. It’s not really like that. It’s hard for any young designer. It’s a really, really hard and very expensive endeavor. It takes a lot of money to put a line of clothes together.

Q: Can you take us through some the process?

JM: Even for a t-shirt, where is the fabric coming from? The color, where is it getting dyed? Is it getting made in China? Is there minimums that you have to order? Usually there are minimum of 1,000 t-shirts you have to order. You have to pay for someone to produce the fabric, sew it, cut it, ship it, and take 30 days on a boat from China. It’s a $7 t-shirt and all of those costs have to be distributed. Then you’re ordering a thousand and you instantly need $7000 to order them. That’s just a t-shirt, where are the buckles coming from, where is the strap coming from, is it the same fabric coming from India getting shipped to China? Is it getting made in India? Where is the dye coming from? Is the dye toxic? It has to be tested and washed. That’s just for a t-shirt and multiple that times a whole line of clothes and you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars later. Everyone wants to see your line of clothes, but where is the $200,000 to make it? So that’s the hardest. We are in a very disposable time in fashion right now where you can easily go to Old Navy and buy a t-shirt for $11 but someone is getting paid all along the way. Then they just wear it for three months and make it into a rag. I think it goes back to the couturiers of France in the 1950’s. It has a value on it and it is very expensive. It’s cherished and taken care of. We don’t think that way in society anymore.

Q: Is the finance aspect the most difficult?

JM: You wouldn’t expect a business man who works at Goldman Sacks to design dresses so why do you expect me to figure out how to pay people. I had employees and payroll is a nightmare, on top of putting a whole line of clothes together and you have to do it every 6 months so money just keeps piling up. You wonder why so many designers fail. Why so many designers sell their company and get 1% back. They own 1% of their name. I’m not interested. I’m a simpler person and I just want a simple life. I just went on a TV show and I didn’t really expect to have to know everything else about it. I was also kind of delusional and thought since I did win this I’ll be fine and just get driven around in a car all day. That lasted to about one minute and I woke up from that dream. Now I have to get back to why I do fashion in the first place. That’s because I love color and fabric and like to play with those kind of things. I’m a craftsman.

Q: Tell us about the documentary?

JM: They film me for a year. It’s about the whole process of building and designing clothes. How expensive it is and all the people you have to deal with, from conceptualizing the line to getting money for it. Dealing with sales, PR, hair and make-up, model casting, just the whole thing. I’m pretty excited about that so I’ll be going to film festivals as well. It’s called 11 Minutes. It’s kind of like Unzipped but much more griddy. It just shows the inside scoop that you work for months, for 11 minutes. People think a fashion show lasts an hour but it’s only 11 minutes. You put so much time and energy into it. It’s a weird business, it’s fascinating. It’s amazing how many people really rely on it and think “Oh,how glamorous, luxurious, you’re a fashion designer”. Talk to the girls above me who have their own line and have maxed out ten credit cards and tapped up every member of their family for money. You just keep loaning. Times 400 different designers in this town trying to do it. It’s a tough business.

Interview by Alvina Collardeau, photo by B.A. Van Sise for http://ontheinside.info

To check out Jay McCarroll’s profile and favorite NY places at ontheinside.info, click here.