Friday, March 23, 2012 1 comments

The Curious Corner--Mexico

Hi. I'm Sacha Breitman and I'd like to welcome you to my column, The Curious Corner. Now, a little about me: I'm a young guy who was raised in the fashion industry of this big--but small--city of New York. Some people may call me an airhead but I prefer to call myself a surrealist. What can I say? I'm a dreamer. I love music, poetry, books and rain. I also love meeting new people. Today I'm sharing a short story called Mexico. Enjoy!


I get up at 7 o’clock, walk my dog and off I go with a suitcase in one hand. I raise my other hand and a taxi stops. I hop on and tell him—while ending my demand with a please—to take me to Chelsea. I listen to The Cure on the ride there and in twenty minutes I arrive in front of my father’s apartment. I wait for him and call my friend Ryan. We talk about the gifts of life and once my dad, Gilles, and his girlfriend, Kylie, come down, I say goodbye, and he wishes me a safe trip. I say “thank you.” Gilles, Kylie and I get into a black cab that takes us to JFK airport. On the way I begin to talk about coffee, and then we slowly drift off into a sweet silence for the next hour.

We arrive at the airport and proceed to check in. We have trouble using the self-check in machine and a man approaches us. He says “You swipe your passport like this.” My dad hands him his passport and the man swipes it in the machine. The machine digests the information and we thank the man. He says, “No problem. Now all your information is in this computer—from all your past travels to this upcoming trip. By the way, where you off to?” “Mexico,” Gilles says. “Well, have a safe trip.” Off we go to customs. I decide to take a risk and not take out my computer, Ipad or Kindle. My bag passes security and so do we. I start wondering if my bag passing security is really a good thing. But that thought quickly passes with the thought of relaxing in Mexico. We decide to eat at a diner in the airport, but first I decide to stop at Duty-Free and pick up a carton of smokes. I go to Duty-Free and stare at the shelves of cigarettes. Once I ask for my carton, a young lady who worked there, charmingly asks, “How old are you? You look like a child.” I smile, trying to reciprocate the charm and say, “Don’t worry. I am a big boy.” She smiles then, asks to see my ID, and I say, “You make me feel so young.” She says, “You just turned 18.” I say, “Correct.”

I return to Gilles and Kylie and I decide to suffer by eating some gluten (I have a mild gluten intolerance). I order French toast and a coffee. The coffee tastes powdery and the French toast doesn’t taste that pleasant either. I eat it anyway and Kylie eats half of her breakfast burrito. Awful house music is playing and I get restless. I can’t stop obsessing about leaving this city. I can’t wait for Mexico. I imagine myself basking in the sun with a drink in one hand and a taco in the other. What a dream—but a dream that will soon become reality.

We get on the airplane and I sit alone in the aisle seat. After some delays, the plane takes off and once it's in the air a sense of comfort fills me—but that moment passes and I become restless. Four hours till paradise. How should I kill the next four hours? I take out my iPad and watch Good Fellas. If you haven’t watched Good Fellas, it's an amazing movie by Martin Scorsese. I implore you to watch it when you get the chance. The movie finishes two and a half hours into the flight and then I listen to music by The Smiths and The Cure. Thoughts and fantasies run through my head. The picture of me with a taco and a drink only gets more vivid. Now, the cloudless sky is drawn into my image of Mexico and also the peaceful sounds of birds ring into my ears. I check my watch but there is still another hour to kill. I fill my custom papers. I do my best to spend as much time as possible on them. I even mess up purposely and ask for another copy. When the copy comes I fill in all the information again in a lethargic manner. I finish, and then check my watch. Half an hour till landing. I listen to music by The National, but after listening to the song, Sorrow, I get depressed, and sad, and mentally I make my soundtrack for Mexico with music from The Cure, Cat Empire, Arcade Fire, and The Kinks. I then drift off into fantasy again—basking in the sun with a drink in one hand and a taco in the other. The sky is bright and blue; the sun beams its glorious light only upon me; and the birds continue to sing. Suddenly a voice says, “Prepare for landing.” Finally I pass out.

I wake up. Everyone is getting up to retrieve their bags. I begin to do the same. Then I rush into the line-shaped mosh. I check my watch. Its 2 p.m. After enough waiting, the line moves and I try to walk as close as possible to the person in front of me so no one gets in my way. I meet again with Gilles and Kylie—and at last, I have arrived! We walk as fast as possible. The three of us are smiling bright. The exit is near. Then all three of us frown. Right in front of us is a massive crowd of tourists trying to get through customs and delaying our road to paradise. We look at each other with frustrated faces.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 0 comments

Things I learned from Jerry Weintraub

by Brittany Geragotelis

I recently picked up a book that I had bought my boyfriend as a present several months ago. It was called When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead and it told the stories of producing and managing powerhouse Jerry Weintraub. I originally bought it for my beau because it was about a producer and Matt has produced a few things in the past and has a tremendous love for film. Matt though, isn't really a book person, and still hasn't read it, and even though I have a to-read pile of about three dozen books, I decided to pick this one up.

Besides being a book lover, I'm also inspired by movies (Bring It On, Stick It) and TV shows (Hello, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). I think it's just one more way to tell a story and that's attractive to me. And of course, as we wait to see whether one of the major movie studios will pick up Life's a Witch, my interest in learning more about the film industry has been peaked. Lastly, I'm really trying to learn as much as I can about branding and marketing as I focus on building an audience for my book release later this year. So, I thought that When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead would be helpful in all these respects.

I was right.

Before I read the book, I didn't know all that much about Jerry Weintraub. I knew he produced a lot of movies. That was it. I didn't even realize which movies he'd done (FYI: he produced all the Oceans movies and The Karate Kid franchise), I just recognized the name and knew he was kind of a big deal. What I ended up learning about Mr. Weintraub and from him, was so much more though. The tagline for his book is: Useful stories from a persuasive man. And this is exactly what this book was. Through reading about his life, one can't help but learn a lot about business. And even though I'm not a producer or musical artist, there was so much advice that translated to my life.

Not to suggest that you shouldn't read the book for yourself (Because you really should. I don't care who you are, or what you do, it's worth the read), but I thought I'd give you The Top 6 Things I Learned From Jerry Weintraub.

1. "Work for the joy of the work." In the book, Jerry says that his father taught him this particular lesson. It started as a way to buy a particularly awesome red jacket (you'll have to read the book for more details on this), but passion quickly began to drive his professional endeavors. At one point he took his career in a completely different direction, stepping away from a business that was immensely lucrative and successful, simply because he no longer enjoyed the daily work it entailed. Not that he wasn't a hard worker--he was ALWAYS working--but he wasn't enjoying what he was doing anymore. So, he closed up shop and focused on something that made him happy. Surprise, surprise, he became rich and successful off of his next endeavor, too. And not surprising: he was happier for it.

2. "Do not get attached to the world as it is, because it's always changing." Although most people nowadays recognize Jerry as a movie producer, he started out in the music industry, booking acts for tours. One of the first significant things he did was see that the old model of how musical acts traveled and played at venues, was old. Smartly, he came up with a way to cut out the middle man and made a lot of people a lot of money. This angered the former gatekeepers, but it's his ability to change with the times that's served him so well over the years. And he not only changed, but led that change.

3. "Be willing to be lucky." Jerry was working in the mailroom at William Morris when he overheard a few young executives talking about an assistant job that was opening up at MCA. He took the information, contacted the man he'd heard was hiring, got himself an interview and landed the gig. He told his boss he could do a variety of skills, even though he couldn't, and managed to BS his way through it. When his boss eventually found out he couldn't do assistant work, he'd already proved his work ethic and drive so much that they bumped him up to an agent position and hired another assistant. As you read his life story, you see that this was often the case with Jerry. He was given a lot of amazing opportunities in his life--luck you might call it--the difference is that he took those lucky instances and used them to change his life.

4. "Interesting is valuable." While at MCA, Jerry tied up the phones one night, causing the president of the company to be unable to use the line. The president called him the next day and confronted him about the personal call (Jerry had been fighting with his girlfriend) and instead of making up an excuse, he told him the truth. It was because of the fact that Jerry zigged when others would have zagged that intrigued the president enough to meet him in person, which eventually led to a close personal and professional relationship. He learned that sometimes by doing the unexpected, the unexpected happens as a result.

5. "Potential clients will judge the health of the company based on your appearance." Though he couldn't afford it at the time, Jerry bought a Rolls-Royce and hired a driver because he figured that if he looked successful people would think he was successful. This fake it til you make it attitude is something Jerry used often. He made people believe that he could do anything--and then he delivered.

6. "Persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up." So much of Jerry's success came after he was told "no." What separates him and others with big dreams is that he didn't take no for an answer. He was always moving forward and eventually turned every "no" into a "yes." It just goes to show you that rejection is often just the beginning. Imagine what Jerry's life would've been like if he'd given up every time he heard "no." Now imagine your life as a bunch of "no's" just waiting to be "yes's."

This is only six of the amazing lessons you can learn by reading Jerry's book...and trust me there are dozens and dozens more. Seriously, pick up your copy today. And if great advice isn't your thing, there's a lot of scoop on celebrities in there too (Hello Brad and George!).

Monday, March 19, 2012 1 comments

Curious Corner--Specialty Coffee

Hi. I'm Sacha Breitman and I'd like to welcome you to my column, The Curious Corner. Now, a little about me: I'm a young guy who was raised in the fashion industry of this big--but small--city of New York. Some people may call me an airhead but I prefer to call myself a surrealist. What can I say? I'm a dreamer. I love music, poetry, books and rain. I also love meeting new people. Today I'm going to talk about specialty coffees. Enjoy!

Cup of Joe

Coffee has always been an important crop in America and Europe. But recently it's evolved from that bitter, watered down drink with milk and sugar, to a cup that has depth and flavor. This unique coffee is known as Specialty Coffee. Specialty Coffee is coffee from a special geographic microclimate that has been perfectly brewed and freshly roasted just enough so its distinct flavors are released.

Specialty coffees have been exploding throughout New York over the past few years. I, myself, have been to shops like Stumptown and Ninth Street Espresso, where my black coffee has more of a sweet citrusy flavor with a lighter body one day and then one that tastes fruity and full on another.

I was talking with my friend Andrew Blumhagen this afternoon, who's an extremely talented barista. He happily shared with me the process that goes into serving Specialty Coffee--and there's a lot of thought and care that goes into it. Like wine, each cup of coffee is distinctly different from another.

Coffee is actually a fruit that grows on trees. The soil, climate, varietal (type of coffee tree) and how the coffee is processed helps to define the taste of the coffee. The processing stage occurs after the coffee cherry is picked but before it's roasted. I wish I could write you a recipe on how coffee is processed but each origin processes their coffee differently; for example, in Kenya the bean is soaked in a tank of the coffee fruit’s mucilage three times for periods of 24 hours each—allowing the fruit to ferment. Coffee beans from Ethiopia and Brazil on the other hand are dried out in the sun. The different processing techniques combined with the different environments make coffee from each origin more distinct. You can really taste the difference of coffee from each area.

The varietal of the coffee also affects the taste of your special cup of joe. For example coffee from El Salvador is usually from a bourbon varietal while Kenyan coffee is often from a SL28 varietal.

The beans in Specialty Coffee are all hand-picked and only the good, ripe beans are used and sent to the distributors. Professional coffee tasters scale the coffee and only the finest may be sold. Unlike Starbucks, specialty coffee roasters tend to roast their coffee to bring out the most sweetness, acidity (like in food, not PH acid) and body. This tends to be a lighter roast than the typical coffee you will find in more commercial coffee shops. Specialty Coffee doesn’t revolve around the bitterness, the roast, the certified organic sign, or the fair trade logo (most Specialty Coffees would fall under fair trade or organic if they applied to be certified. Most coffee roasters actually work directly with coffee farms. This not only ensures that the money goes right to the farm, but means they are paying higher prices for higher quality coffee).

The philosophy of Specialty Coffee is to do as little to the coffee as possible, so it can speak for itself. But the process of finding the voice of the coffee revolves around a lot of trial and error during the extraction process. This means when trying to make one’s coffee taste vibrant, the barista must experiment with the amount of time the coffee is brewed, the water temperature, the size of the grounded coffee, and the dosage of coffee in the cup.

If you're a daily coffee drinker, like myself, I advise you to try some Specialty Coffee if you haven’t already. Some of the major distributors of Specialty Coffee are Intelligencia, Stumptown, Counter Culture, and Ritual. My favorite cup is Ninth Street Espresso’s Brazilian Coffee from Intelligencia. Ninth Street Espresso is located on 700 East 9th Street and is open 7a.m.- 8a.m. everyday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 0 comments

A great interview and Fashion Star

by Brittany Geragotelis

Hey all!

Just a quick stop-by to let you know about this really great interview by the very cool Roxie...she was kind enough to feature me as one of her spotlighted authors on her book blog, and it turned out really great! So, please, be sure to check it out and then let your friends know about it, too!

Writing's coming along steadily....I'm writing 10 pages a day of the prequel/spin-off of Life's a Witch, called What the Spell? and I'm already 170 pages in! I've still got about a hundred pages to go before I'll be finished, but the story's shaping up. For those of you who were fans of LAW, WTS is going to definitely be an adventure. See, it's a prequel, so it takes place the year before LAW begins and is focused on Asher and his ex-girlfriend (yes, there was a girl before Hadley!). Brooklyn is the exact opposite of Hadley, but definitely an interesting character that I think you'll identify with. Anyways, I'm having fun with the magic again and can't wait for you all to read it!

On another note completely, I tuned in to the new show, "Fashion Star" last night and totally loved it. It was very inspirational and I think no matter what your passion is--be it acting, singing, designing, writing, etc--it's a great reminder to follow your dreams and never give up. And watching the stores duke it out for the clothes is exciting--kind of reminded me of my own auction for Life's a Witch!

Okay, gotta get back to writing now!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1 comments

The Curious Corner--A Life of Dreams

Hi. I'm Sacha Breitman and I'd like to welcome you to my column, The Curious Corner. Now, a little about me: I'm a young guy who was raised in the fashion industry of this big--but small--city of New York. Some people may call me an airhead but I prefer to call myself a surrealist. What can I say? I'm a dreamer. I love music, poetry, books and rain. I also love meeting new people. Today I'm going to share another one of my short stories. Enjoy!

A Life of Dreams

I love the sound of rain splattering upon my air conditioner. I don’t know why—but it makes me feel warm and comfortable—and grateful that I am not sleeping outside on the streets. Those nights—no matter how boring they are—are always the most memorable. Even though the rain has ceased to beat upon the air conditioner, I can still hear the tapping sound in my mind. “Everything’s okay,” the rain seems to say. Only if I could believe it. I am a skeptical person.

The lonely nighttime has now passed. Should I invite the sun in? I don’t think so. I’d rather the sun mind its own business and stay outside. I sit on my couch and take out my ovation guitar. I then play some melodic chords but then The Cure lodges into my mind and I begin to play Just Like Heaven—then my phone rings.


“Hey,” someone says.

“Who’s this?” I do not recognize her soft voice.

“Its Janie.”

“Oh. What’s up?”

“Nothing, just got up.”

“Me too. You want to meet for breakfast?”

“Sure. Where?”

“You decide, Alex.”

“Le Pain?”

“Be there in thirty.” She hangs up.

I brush my teeth, dress as nicely as one could in ten minutes and walk to Le Pain while listening to the Smiths.

You shut your mouth, how can you say, I go about things the wrong way?

When I arrive at Le Pain those lyrics still linger with me. I repetitively repeat the lines. How can you say, I go about things the wrong way? Janie isn’t here yet. I get a table for two and sit down on the far corner facing the glass door. Suddenly a middle-aged man sits down in Janie’s seat.

“Excuse me sir, someone’s sitting here.”

“Well, where is that person?”

“She is still on her way over, but I assure you she’ll be here shortly.”

“Well, may I sit till she comes?”

Trying to be polite I smile grudgingly and say, “Yes of course.”

“Why thank you. Call me Dave. What’s your name?”


“Like Alexander the Great!”

“I guess so.”

“May I tell you a story about my gruesome life? —don’t worry it is a very short story.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“My father was a cab driver and my mother was a fool. They met one fine day when my father picked her up in his rented yellow car—and nine months later, I was born. They were a careless couple—but aren’t all couples carless? I never saw my father and my mother died when I was ten. I remember staring for hours at my window—oh is that your friend?”

“Oh yes that’s her,” I say.

“Well, I’ll be on my way. Thank you for listening.”


Janie slowly cat-walks my way. She is a model—but so is every decent looking girl now a day. Anyways, I think she’s prettier than a model can be. I always fail to notice the clothing she wears in her ads—and sometimes she is not even wearing any. It’s actually a problem. Every time I talk with her I picture her naked. I can’t help myself. She sits down.

“How’s it going?”

“Swell. You?”

“Good. Glad to see you.”

“You too.” I order a coffee and she orders a quinoa salad with chicken on the side. She is one of those health-freaks.

“We need to talk,” she demands.

“About? Haven’t seen you in quite a while.”

“Yeah, I know. I am not sure if it has been too long or too soon."

“I guess we’ll find out. What is it you want to ask?”

“Did you never have any feelings for me or were you just angry that day when you said it? I can’t stand not knowing.”

I wonder if I should tell the truth, lie, or make an attempt to avoid this subject. You shut your mouth, how can you say, I go about things the wrong way? The Smiths run through my mind again. “Did you ever care for me?” I ask defensively.

“There was a time when I did—I mean I tried and tried and tried to do anything I could to please you for some time. Wasn’t like it mattered to you.”

I stare so hard at the door that my vision gets all fuzzy. Then I say, “There was a time when I cared for you.”

Janie smiles, looks up and then walks out. In confusion I continue to sip my coffee.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 0 comments

Exciting stuff: Interviews and appearances

by Brittany Geragotelis

Hi all!

This is a big week for me: Matt's birthday is today (sadly though, he came down with food poisoning and has been throwing up all night :( All the plans I'd made are now cancelled for the time being.), I'm speaking on a panel at the Digital Hollywood Summit tomorrow (If you're in NYC, be sure to stop by; Adrian Grenier is the keynote speaker that night!) and Friday I'm meeting the whole team at Simon & Schuster! I'm SOOOO excited!

In the meantime, here are a few things I just had to share with you:

Cents-ible Reads, a really cool new website that celebrates books at a deal, was kind enough to do this awesome interview with me. So, if you like books, and you like them at a discount, check them out for suggestions!

I also just found out that Simon & Schuster put me up on their website as one of their authors! Woo hoo! I don't have a pic or anything up there yet, but I exist on the Simon & Schuster website...and that's pretty freaking cool.

Okay, so I've gotta get back to taking care of my beau and getting ready for the rest of the week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012 0 comments

The Curious Corner--Juicing

Hi. I'm Sacha Breitman and I'd like to welcome you to my column, The Curious Corner. Now, a little about me: I'm a young guy who was raised in the fashion industry of this big--but small--city of New York. Some people may call me an airhead but I prefer to call myself a surrealist. What can I say? I'm a dreamer. I love music, poetry, books and rain. I also love meeting new people. Today I'm going to be talking about juicing. Enjoy!

The Juice Press

This past year juicing has not only become a big part of my life, but it's also exploded onto the New York scene. Healthy, vegan and gluten-free diets seem to have become the new hip thing. I mean, being skinny and looking good has always been important to our society, but since when did we take health so seriously? Juicing can improve one’s looks by clearing up skin and providing a great tool for losing weight. It also adds to your overall health.

Yet, despite all these benefits, I thought it was gross at first. I mean, if I didn't want to eat my vegetables why would I want to drink them? As you know, I'm into food and drinks that taste good and are extra sweet, and I’ve never really been one to care about my health--until my health kicked me in the butt.

Fortunately, I've found a juice bar here in the City that makes veggies taste as good as they are healthy. And no, I'm not talking about another place that calls itself a juice bar like Jamba Juice. This juice bar actually serves juices that are made with organic, raw and alkaline-filled products—so their juices don’t just taste good, they're actually a lot healthier than their competitors' products. This life-changing juice bar is called The Juice Press, and is located in several places around the city: 70 E 1st St (hours: 8am8pm), 279 E 10th St (hours: 10am–10pm) and 1050 3rd Ave (hours: 8am–8pm).

The Juice Press mainly serves cold pressed juices, but also sells health products and bottled coffee. Though their juices are a bit pricey—all around $10 each—they're worth every penny. Because juices in general are made of raw products, inorganic juices often have chemicals in them from pesticides, which can be toxic to the body. And let's be honest...what would be the point be in drinking something so healthy if it actually wasn’t? The Juice Press’ drinks are all chemical free and packed to the brim with vegetables and fruits.

My favorite drink at The Juice Press is the "Green Giant." It's made of coconut water and meat, kale, apple, dates, cacao, spirulina and lemon. This drink is practically a meal and after having a juice, I feel so clean and fresh. If I'm feeling extra healthy, I’ll get the "Mother Earth," which consists of cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, dandelion, Swiss chard and ginger.

If you haven’t tried juicing before, I highly recommend it. And if you haven't tried The Juice Press before, I urge you to check it out. The Juice Press is where juice haters become lovers, and for those who already love juicing it will just make you love it even more!

Thank you!