News

Self-Portrait with Frida Kahlo with Monkey and Parrot

This all hit me in Buenos Aires a year or so ago when I turned the corner in a museum and saw a famous painting, described in the nameplate as:

“Self-portrait with Monkey and Parrot. Frida Kahlo, 1907–1954.”

I know it seems the height of philistinism, but I always read nameplates first. And, in this case, maybe because I’d seen the image on a million totebags, it was the nameplate, rather than the painting, that affected me most. And mostly because it told me I was alive at the same time as a nigh-mythical figure from impossibly remote history.

Now I’m sure it’s not a good and honorable way to respond to art (can you say “narcissistic personality disorder”?). But it did get me to wondering, who else? What other surprising historical figures from what seems like way, way back were alive — and maybe alive nearby — same time as me?

Doing the exercise, it turns out a lot of them were musicians, which is how I justify putting them here:

Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Bird. Founder of be-bop. Still playing when I was born (the day they elected Ike). Finishing off founding be-bop, in fact (whether he knew it or not), with a few good and bad years to go. Lost his cabaret license when I was already born. Actually had a cabaret license! An official government document required to play in bars in New York. Bird and I breathed the same. The same, come to think of it, he blew through his horn. “Bird lives!” So did I — and at the same time.

Buddy Holly. Down in the Village, with Maria Elena, three or four subway stops south — 10–15 minutes away from just-moved-to-NY me — plotting how to transcend pop.

Thelonius Monk. Three or four subway stops north, near school. I remember walking by the funeral home when his mortal remains were, briefly, in residence there.

Louis Armstrong. Three or four subway stops east of yours truly, and for much of the same time. The extraordinary man in ultraordinary Queens.

Albert Einstein. An hour away in Princeton when I was a kid in New York. Einstein!

Humphrey Bogart. Just the other side of Central Park, with Bacall, smoking unfiltereds, probably by a window. I should’ve looked up.

Billie Holiday. Lady Day. Waiting for her man. In Manhattan. And I’m there, too — well, a little young to be waiting for my man, but in Manhattan.

Lester Young. Prez. Billie’s mentor. Hanging in the Apple. Same time.

Jackson Pollock, out on the Island. Same time.

Herbert Hoover. Another Prez. The one who kickstarted the original Depression. Died in NY, but — check this — lived long enough (90) to see the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Just like you know who.

Jack Kerouac. Trick question: he didn’t even die till ’67. Roni’s would-be boyfriend was his pal and gave her one of Jack’s manuscripts, possibly purloined, in order to seal the deal. Then, alas, took it back, having failed to seal it (or so she claims).

Winston Churchill. Well, he didn’t live in New York. But that’s where I received the National Geographic that included a Flexi-Disc recording of his funeral. Now there’s some good listening!

Stalin! Joe Stalin! Not a New Yorker, but we overlapped in time. Just seems such vastly more ancient history. But, no.

Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, of course. Well, they weren’t New Yorkers, but I did see them all in NY, on multiple occasions. So not as left-field as Stalin. But at the same time, to me, not anywhere near as way-back. I’m sure you feel otherwise, which is why I count them. Also because I get to mention that Joplin said “Excuse me” to me in the Different Drummer, a hippie clothing boutique on Lex.

Astor Piazzolla. Frida’s fellow Latino, on my mind when I saw her painting in his native B.A. He turned tango into wonderful Nuevo Tango, with aspirations (like Buddy) way beyond pop. Dipped in and out of NY in the seventies and eighties. In fact, we practically lived my whole life together, chronologically. He didn’t pass until 1992.

Frida and Bogie and Bird and Einstein and Buddy and Stalin and Billie and Astor and Monk. And me.

Weird.

Work + News

This way to health insurance

Today marks the launch of our first campaign for Covered California as part of a five-year, $400-million effort to help all Californians get the health insurance they need.

female presenting person wearing teal shirt and white e.l.f. branded face mask, holding orange pumpkin while sitting inside pop-up vehicle with purple sparkly wall behind her with the words

e.l.f. 2020 Halloween activation

Duncan Channon’s LA team kept the halloween spirit alive by bringing a spooky holiday pop-up straight to beauty influencers’ homes.

Female identified person with short-cropped brown hair, holding a baby to her chest. DC and Covered California Logos overlay the image on left and right, respectively.

Covered CA on Adweek’s cover

DC is thrilled to announce that we were awarded the five-year, $400-million Covered CA account. We are resolute in helping at this crucial time when more Californians need coverage than ever.

“They can’t take your ballot”

At a time of unprecedented voter suppression, the mission of Vote From Home 2020 is more essential than ever. Our new “Suppress This” campaign helps them get ballots into the hands of disenfranchised voters of color. You can help, too.

CBS x Alfred Coffee · Emmy Awards

DCLA partnered CBS Studios with Alfred Coffee to reach Emmy voters and garner support for Star Trek: Picard. The timely work tapped into the diversity and inclusion central to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.

Beautyscape influencers launch e.l.f. collection

It’s a beautiful day at DCLA with the launch of the e.l.f. Cosmetics Retro Paradise collection — the new collection from e.l.f.’s Beautyscape winners Alissa Holmes, Diana Curmei, Elicia Aragon, Jessa Green and Valeria Loren.

Two female presenting teens are at a table in a school library. One female with dark curly hair is sitting down with her back to the frame. The other is standing over the table with SweeTarts gummies in both hands and smiling.

SweeTARTS' Be Both is back

After the sweet success of last year’s 'Be Both' launch, SweeTARTS is doubling down on the campaign to Gen Z with brand new work in market now — and more to come in 2021.

Nicotine equals brain poison. Two images in a grid. Image to the left is the campaign example featuring two male presenting teens with their heads down smoking a vape pen with a copy overlay that reads Nicotine equals brain poison. The right image is the gold Clio award on a black background.

Nicotine = Brain Poison = Clio

Our work for CTCP has awakened parents to the teen vaping epidemic and won a slew of awards in the process (not nearly as important, but nice). The latest is that most venerable of ad accolades: the Clio.

Female presenting influencer posing for the camera in a sleek white blazer and leather black pants. She is confident and raises her hand to perfect her long brown hair that is styled in a middle part and she's wearing make-up that accentuates her strong features. She's in front of a mirror with a table with SGX NYC products.

SGX NYC · #hairgoals

SGX NYC wanted to increase awareness around winning two Allure Best of Beauty Awards and reinforce the brand’s positioning with cost-conscious consumers looking for premium products. We hit the bullseye with three well-known #hairgoals influencers.

Birds eye view over a male presenting young adult on the fire escape playing a guitar. Next to him is a notepad and pen and lush green plants creep into the frame. He appears relaxed as he plays his guitar.

Citi · Citigrammers

Citi wanted to increase awareness and favorability on social media, particularly within the music and dining categories. We assembled a team of influential visual artists to create the sort of shareable content the brand couldn't.

A grey-blue background with a circle of screenshots of various people speaking in a video conference call. In the center of the screenshot is text in white text letters that reads “Work Together.

Million-dollar talent from Upwork

To support COVID-19 projects, Upwork is donating a million dollars of time from their network of independent professionals. And who better to tell us about it than the pros themselves?

Diverse group of individuals and posing for the camera during the Coachella Music Festival. They are all self expressive through their make-up and fashion choices. Their individuality shines through as they each pose in their own unique way.

e.l.f. Cosmetics · Coachella

e.l.f. wanted to launch Beauty Shield, an all-new skincare line powered with antioxidants and SPF to help protect your skin against environmental aggressors. DCLA provided the perfect testing ground.