Lei Ann...Off Duty

acupuncturist kung fu sifu speed typist hawaiian-born bostonian zombie hunter...so what's a girl supposed to wear on her day off? leiannoffduty@gmail.com ~ FB: Lei Ann Off Duty

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*a day at the MFA boston part 3: the samurai collection*

the last part of my day at the museum of fine arts in boston involved touring their new samurai armor collection.  needless to say, the exhibition was quite spectacular & breathtaking in real life.  if you are a fan of anything japanese culture, past or present, this is definitely the collection to see this summer.  i’ll just let the photos speak for themselves :)   

disclaimer:  i received free admission courtesy of the museum of fine arts boston, but opinions are 100% my own.


*a day at the MFA boston part 2: stan sakai*

here it is!  the main reason for my trip to the museum of fine arts last weekend…stan sakai!  i’ve mentioned before that my husband is a huge comic book geek & *by osmosis* i’ve become one too.  the story of usagi yojimbo, a ronin (or masterless samurai) rabbit who roams feudal japan during the edo period, is one that quickly became my favorite over the years.  since mr. sakai is rarely here on the east coast, the chance to meet the creator of this amazing character & his adventures was too great to pass up!


in a collaboration done with happy giant who developed the usagi yojimbo video game for android & iOS, the MFA brought mr. sakai over to lecture.  it also fit in well with the museum’s theme of samurai saturdays for the month of may.  more details on that in my next post.  however, i wasn’t sure what kind of reception a “comic book” artist would receive at the museum of “fine arts”.  i even thought, well i hope mr. sakai gets at least 10 people in the audience so i don’t feel bad for him.  BOY WAS I WRONG!  the line at the MFA was crazy that morning & i could see drooling fan boys (& girls) with their usagi yojimbo graphic novels already spilling out of their messenger bags (MDH included), ready to be autographed!  he got a packed auditorium, no problem!


what i loved the most about mr. sakai’s lecture was the fact he illustrated while he talked…such a casual & entertaining demeanor he has.  he drew everything from his famed ronin rabbit to even an audience member (lucky!).  he talked about everything from his parents to his adventures with publishing to his creative process.  even something simple, one image or one line, he will see on TV or read about will inspire an entire story line for usagi.  it’s amazing to me that still, over his 30 year career, he draws & writes his cartoon all on his own.  most comic books you see, an artist draws the comic while a writer pens out the story.  unusual for such a successful cartoonist to do both for so long.  everything usagi & his friends do is entirely thought out by him.  he’s a true creator in the most authentic meaning of the word! thanks again to the MFA for the chance to meet mr. stan sakai!



*a day at the MFA boston part I: the outfit*

i spent an amazing saturday just recently courtesy of the museum of fine arts boston.  so much so that i’ll actually have to break that day up into several posts.  first up, my outfit.  a simple & easy dress for an afternoon of museum meandering :)

wearing: akira chicago red label dress || target tan heels || gifted DIY duct tape bracelet || dooney & bourke clear lunch tote (similar)


*an afternoon of fashion photography with tracy aiguier at the MFA*

i seem to be hanging out at the museum of fine arts a lot lately, huh?  don’t you know? in terms of events & exhibits related to fashion, it’s the place to be!  hahaha!!!

this time, i was invited back to watch a photography demonstration given by tracy aiguier, one of boston’s best fashion photographers!  now, being a personal style blogger, my daily outfit photos are important to me & i’ve definitely been more interested in the technical aspects of image capturing over the years…everything from just getting better cameras to learning more how to manipulate the different modes on the camera to achieve the effect i want.  however, that still makes me *far* from any type of real photographer…like tracy.

i honestly didn’t know what to expect from this demonstration.  utilizing 2 models & 4 different looks/outfits…tracy showed us different lighting conditions & basically her thinking process on how to achieve the shot she wants.  even though i would never use this type of studio space or have lights like these (check out the huuuuuuge profoto parabolic light that’s twice as tall as tracy!), it was all fascinating to watch, and i was able to take away some tips & tricks that i will try to implement the next time i pick up a camera :)

i’ll be honest too…i just thought the models were super pretty & their outfits, i would totally wear all of the clothing.  the cut away back LBD with interesting poufy shoulder detail (you know i loves me some poufy sleeves!) was even modeled by school of fashion design student, sherika pitsch, who designed the dress herself!  i myself got caught up in analyzing the models, their best angles, how best to showcase their outfits, etc.  plus, joking & smoking with my photog buddy blogger, smita, made the interactive demonstration that much more fun!

if you’re a photographer, blogger or just someone who is interested in either fashion or photography, i highly recommend attending this demonstration.  you have one more chance as tracy will be at the MFA again wednesday, nov. 14 from 5:30 - 8:00 pm.  so go! learn!  enjoy!  and don’t forget your camera :)


*mario testino: in your face/british royal portraits at the museum of fine arts*

i love boston…i really do.  there’s always something fun & exciting happening in this city.  however, something of the greatest magnitude happened last week that you’d expect from someplace like new york or los angeles.  you see, mario testino, famous vogue and vanity fair photographer, debuted his first ever USA photo exhibition right here in our humble city.

i was invited by my blogger pal, sami, to the press preview of his collection 4 days before its public opening.  we met up with other friends, smita & renata, organized our agenda for the day & proceeded to make our way through testino’s hand-picked gallery of gloriousness! 

karlie kloss, bao bao wan & shaolin monks || beijing || 2011 || american vogue

right away, i was taken in by the above photograph.  yes, it’s a fashion spread & a beautiful shot, but obviously with me being a martial artist, how could i not immediately recognize shaolin monks whom i’ve trained & competed with in years past?  the fact that testino could speak to my heart so directly with the juxtaposition of kung fu & power…fashion & grace…literally, the both halves of me…it took my breath away!

as we wandered through the 5 rooms full of photographs…some literally life size & some could easily be framed pictures hanging in your home.  we ooh’d & aah’d over celebrity photos we recognized from magazine covers of madonna & lady gaga, to our high fashion model favorites of stella tennant & gisele bundchen, to even the most candid & intimate moments caught of the partying glitterati.  because honestly, who else but mario testino could bring you a glimpse into that world where donald trump is lighting kate moss’s cigarette? 

daria werbowy || cusco || 2007 || british vogue

even this breathtaking wide angle picture placing a high fashion model in all her avant-garde regalia against the backdrop of mario testino’s native peru.  it literally took me to a whole ‘nother world.

gemma ward || los angeles || 2004 || vogue paris ——- lara stone || paris || 2007 || british vogue

the above photographs i found very interesting because the one on the left immediately reminded all of us of another blogger friend of ours, holly of covetous creatures, & her pale lavender hued silver hair.  the other photo of lara stone just purely spoke to the fashionista in me who wanted to lounge about at home on a chaise lounge in the most fabulous of wedding ball gowns :)

after we had finished perusing the main gallery, we headed over the more intimate collection of testino’s portraits of the british royal family.  such a stark contrast to the glitz & glamour (even nudity) we just walked through.  this much smaller exhibition showcased the quiet & more candid moments of the queen, the princes, kate & the late princess di.  even though this collection was more subdued, it was nonetheless just as awe-inspiring.

the last part of our day involved listening to ann & graham gund MFA director, malcolm rogers, in a very casual, almost conversational manner, interview the man himself.  mario testino chatted about everything from growing up in peru, having such outlandish personal style himself, his big breaks working with madonna & versace and how even after this session at the MFA, he had to go to work! (as if photographing beauties karlie kloss & alessandra ambrosio is work…hahaha!)  after that, he kindly fielded questions (mostly from us bloggers) & he seemed amazed that there were so many of us.  he even asked “should i start a blog???”  no, mr. testino…but you should start an instagram!  could you imagine the kinds of photos we’d see of his everyday life?  now *that* would be amazing!

mario testino:  in your face & british royal portraits are currently on display at the museum of fine arts boston from now until february 3, 2013 & june 16, 2013.  please go to the MFA’s website for visiting hours & more information.  

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