33,500 FEET

This might sound a little cliché, but I'm somewhere around 33500+ Feet writing this...don't you love technology?

This morning I left from Dallas for Philadelphia to help launch a new menswear platform my friend, Ian Crumm, is launching. It's geared towards men's grooming products, tips, and reviews. Baseline built the platform and I can't wait to attend the launch party tomorrow night.

Moving on, what to talk about today...hum. I think addressing the idea of doing what you love seems important. I had a very interesting conversation with a friend last night about what it means to do what you love. For me, I love people. At the end of the day, I'm happy doing anything that involves people. I also love traveling and culture. I've never been much of a homebody. Since I was very young my parents let me go places and do things. I remember my first church trip in second grade that was basically cross-country. They were very supportive of me getting out and seeing the world. I think this is attributed to my curiousity of culture.

Experiencing other cultures gives you perspective on your reality, not to mention how others live. Whether you're visiting New York City or Egypt, odds are domestic or international you're going to learn a lot about a culture the minute you step off that plane.

A lot of my friends took a college "gap year," I never really did this seeing as I didn't go to college. From their experience most of them learned a lot about themselves and about the world we live in. Most of them, now being in our mid-twenties, would give anything to go back to that year and do it all over again. See most people my again in Arkansas are either living at home with their parents, stuck in a career they hate, or have lost a sense of wonder when they look at the world around them.

How do we, as millennials, parents, or those of us who are just not content, get out and see the world?

Self-Employ or Find A Remote Employer

This first one is easier said than done. For me, the luxury of my own schedule, my own salary, and my own travel time, is more valuable than stability, job safety, or even job happiness. It isn't for everyone, and as some of you have read over the past few weeks, it isn't easy either.

The other option is to find an employer who will let you work remotely. This is a bit difficult depending on your line of work. I've got friends who are designers, coders, and managers, that their employers encourage them to work remotely as an added value to stay with the company. Obviously if you're a doctor, this isn't an option.

Save

If you don't have the luxury of being self-employed or apart of a company that encourages remote work, saving is the only option. You can do this in a few different ways, especially if you have a hotel or airline partner credit card. Things like this make day to day trip saving easier!


All in all, perspective is everything. Traveling and spending time and money on moments is sometimes better than things. Get out and see the world, or as Jamie Wilson likes to say, "take a little time to enjoy the view."

I hope you enjoyed this not-so-serious post :)

Featured Image - In-Air edits Evan Addison Photography


6 Highlights from 2016

2016 was quite the year. It had its highs and lows, but it also brought some very inspiration and life-changing moments. I've selected 6 of the most inspirational moments from 2016 to share with you.

1. Attending A Trump Rally - February 2016

Now go with me for a second on this one...I'm not a Trump supporter and definitely didn't vote for the guy. I did, however, attend his only rally in Arkansas to see what was up. This was a very inspirational moment for me because it showed the true democracy of our country. It was at this moment I realized just how divided our country was and still is. I overheard good and bad. You can read my full review here. All in all, it made my beliefs stronger. It rooted me in my perspective.

2. Moving Into My Own House - March 2016

Yes, I had never lived alone before March of 2016. I've either lived at home or with roommates. This was probably the most liberating thing about 2016. While a lot of responsibility came with this, it gave me freedom and relieved stress in ways I hadn't felt before. Knowing that I had a space that was truly mine was so refreshing.

3. Bentonville Film Festival - May 2016

This one might be even weirder than attending a Trump rally. I spent almost a week, with my best friends, working. That's usually a recipe for disaster, but it brought us closer together as friends and gave me a unique perspective on what the future holds. We had great fun, but also learned a lof of lessons. We're all in our early twenties and running a major festival together was one for the books!

4. Beyoncé in New York City - June 2016

As shallow as it might sound, seeing Beyoncé up close at Citi Field was life changing. You don't exactly understand until you've been there. She was not only inspirational but her passion for her music and fans was contagious. I'll forever remember standing there, literally 15ft. from her, questioning if my dreams were big enough.

5. Vegas With My Best Friends - June 2016

This was one of the more fun inspirational moments of the year. My friend Zak had his 21st birthday. We surprised him with a trip to Vegas and the see our friend DIPLO. There is nothing like traveling to your favorite city with your best friends to really put life into perspective.

6. Finally Doing Me - August 2016

The photo above pictures Chairman of the U.S. Marshals Museum Board of Directors, Cole Goodman with President & CEO of the Museum, Patrick Weeks. Just an hour before I took this photo I had gotten off the phone with my inner circle of friends letting them know I was going to leave the Museum and transition to my full-time role at Baseline Collective. What is so unique about the situation is the support I received from my Museum family. They were supportive and I couldn't have asked for a better former boss(es) Jim and Patrick to give me their blessing to transition.


Tennessee Beats

This past weekend I spent some time with friends in Nashville, TN. I'm always up for any excuse to get out of town with friends and go exploring. If you follow my instagram you might have seen a recent post about creativity. Personally, I've been struggling the past few months with this idea of creativity and what exactly that means. I decided this next year I would relentlessly pursue this idea and make it personal to me. In this post I want you to meet some of my friends. Yes, I'm going to unashamedly brag on them because they are incredible. These guys help me push my own creative limits, and I hope their stories inspire you as well.

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Harrison Kindy is not only a close friend, but probably one of the most creative people I know. He's a music producer from Arkansas, but now lives in Nashville. This dude is working with some of the top names in the game while he consistently pushes boundaries of music. He moved to Nashville a few months ago and invited me and some friends to join him for a weekend.

On the heels of my thirst for creativity I invited Zak Heald, Michael Kelley, and Douglas Spicer to join me.

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Zak is the owner of Intercut Productions. Let me just start by saying he's 20. His company has worked with some of the biggest names in Arkansas and throughout the country. I'm inspired every time I get around him because he's constantly reminding me of why I love what I do. Creating things, and telling stories.

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Michael is the better half of Zak, at least in the business sense. Michael is an incredibly talented editor and creative. He makes something out of nothing and I deeply admire that. Not everyone can take someone's vision and turn it into a thing of substance, but Michael can.

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Douglas has been a friend of mine for a while, in fact, my best friend. He won't ever let you hear it, at least not yet, but he can sing. Keep an eye on this one, big things to come from him.

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Lastly I got to meet Dustin this week. He's a friend of Harrison's and this dude can kill on some drums. I'm looking forward to the next time I can hang with him.


Now on to the good stuff! Seeing how everything right now is centering around creativity, I've come up with a few points that might give you something to think about.

1. Creativity doesn't need to make sense

Just like in music, sometimes in the very beginning you start with a few chords, a beat, or some verbiage. You might not have any idea what to make of it. As time passes and you add more pieces, it begins to make sense. That is all part of the creative process. Sometimes I'll sit down and begin to work on a project and what I'm doing makes no sense to anyone around me. I think we all face this. Keep pushing and pursuing that idea until it begins to make sense. Your creative vision was given to you, not someone else to execute.

2. Creativity isn't a respecter of demographic

You've seen the conflict of nature vs. nurture and read statements like you are a product of your environment but the encouraging thing is that creativity isn't a respecter of where you come from. If anything, your background feeds into the type of creative you become. For me, I was fortunate enough as a kid to travel and experience the world through a unique light. To this day those experiences play into how I create.

3. Creativity thrives on inspiration

This is probably my favorite observation I've made recently. Have you ever felt so dumb for not knowing something? This is how I feel about point #3. Sometimes I get stuck – I mean, really stuck. Maybe it's on a project, writing, or something personal. Often times I look up and realize I'm sitting in a room with no windows and fluorescent lighting. This isn't the most inspiring of places. When I decide to get up, go outside, flip through a magazine, or just get some vitamin D, inspiration suddenly hits. It's different for everyone and not every creative process is the same. Analyze what inspires you and try to participate in that daily.


Here's our weekend in images through the eyes of Michael and Zak. They documented the weekend and all images you've seen in this post have been shot by them.

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BONUS PHOTOS

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So in case you didn't know - I joined a boy band. I think we named ourselves Slightly innocent, or something like that. And if you're wondering, we're a Christian rock band... 😜

I'M GOING TO GET KILLED FOR THIS ONE!

Morning Us...

Morning

Thanks for reading, more to come...

M


Intercut Productions

Harrison - InstagramTwitter
Zak - InstagramTwitter
Michael - InstagramTwitter
Douglas - InstagramTwitter
Dustin - Instagram

 


We Survived Wakarusa 2015

Well we made it. It's never been so hard to wake up on a Monday morning. The team and I had a great experience this weekend at Wakarusa. If this is your first time reading this, checkout the Friday Highlights and what it felt like for the first time entering Wakarusa. By the second day we had our schedule down and our game plan together. Before I go any further I'd like to again thank the amazing team that put this together, Leigh McGruder, Tyler Mazaheri, and Shane Gray – you guys are my heroes. Incredible Job! Also, Huge thanks to Bridget Hargrave of Planet Sun Tanning Salon for making this all possible! Here are some highlights from Saturday at Wakarusa.

YOUNG THE GIANT

o basically my life was made after seeing Young The Giant. I love these guys. I've followed them since the beginning and seeing them live for the first time was such a nostalgic experience.

Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog

THE ROOTS

Yes. The Roots. Need I say more? Classic and Iconic these guys rocked the stage. What I would do to be able to play like Questlove.

Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog

BEN HARPER

So funny story, Ben Harper was one of the only performers to get an encore that I know about.

Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog

MAJOR LAZER

Ok, I'm going to admit – By the time MAJOR LAZER came on all I wanted to do was dance. And I did. I have witnesses and I'm sure they were embarrassed to be standing next to me.

Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog Photo by © Shane Gray for Mason Kesner Blog


The Real Wakarusa - Friday Highlights

Let me just be honest for a second, going into this I had no clue what to expect. This is my first Waka and honestly, I was nervous. Festivals carry so many stigmas whether that is Bonnaroo, Coachella, whatever festival - they all have a similar stigma. The festival scene really isn't my world. I love the music but 4 days with no shower and camping in all that heat – I'm secretly a 500lb man on the inside – I need my AC. So pulling up, I had no idea what to expect.

I'm here to put the questions to rest (with photo proof). No, it's not a land full of crazies that will scare your children. Easily said, everyone was nice and friendly. The staff and volunteer teams were very helpful. We had stopped and talked to several people about camera gear – because we're nerds, and much to my surprise everyone we met was so enjoyable to be around. No, it's not a land full of people doing drugs and other unspeakable things. This cracks me up. Everyone always told me that Waka is nothing but druggies and people The Duggars would shame on national television. To the parents who were reluctant to let their kids go – just like anything in life, If they seek it, they will find it. Ok is that real enough?!?

Since that's out of the way and hopefully I've put your mind to rest, on to the fun stuff! We legitimatly had a lot of fun. There was lots to do, food to eat, and people to meet. They had some really cool installations ranging from graffiti art, aerial silks, free drawing and painting. There was even the opportunity to fly in a helicopter over the festival, I think we will try and do that today. The food options were very surprising. I wasn't sure what to think initially, but walking in we saw tons of organic options and fresh fruits with everything being made to order. The grounds themselves were not actually muddy. We've had a ton of rain here in Arkansas and I was expecting the entire grounds to be nasty and muddy. Some parts were still muddy, but overall it had all dried up.

Before we get to the music, here are some shots from our perspective of Walking into Wakarusa for the first time...

Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Mason Kesner Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Leigh Photography Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri Photo by © Tyler Mazaheri

We were a bit strategic when choosing what bands to cover. Most of us had some priorities, but for the most part we picked our favorites and went! Our three for last night were Chance the Rapper, HONEYHONEY, and STS9.

CHANCE THE RAPPER was up first on MainStage. He was the opening act for the evening. Chance Bennet is a 22 year old American Hip Hop Artist. His new album Surf is now available for download on iTunes.

Once Chance was wrapping up we headed over to the Revival Tent to see HONEYHONEY.

HONEYHONEY is an American Folk band from LA. I usually don't care for folk music, but when we saw they were playing we decided to check them out. I couldn't stop listening. There is a pop thread within their music. I didn't know I could like Folk as much as I did coming from them.

Photo by © Shane Gray Photo by © Shane Gray

After HONEYHONEY we headed back to the mainstage for one of my favorite live bands - STS9.

SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9 or STS9 is an instrumental band that blends rock and electronic to produce some killer tones. It's one of those bands that their tracks don't do them justice. You have to see them live.

We decided to end the night early so we have plenty of energy for Saturday. If there is something you'd like to see, snap me or tweet me and we'll be sure to get a shot of it! SNAPCHAT, masonkesner.