Asa Akira Interview

May 22, 2015

Had the pleasure of interviewing adult film star, author, podcaster, reality series star and all-around amazing gal, Asa Akira, for Jenkem recently:

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MTV Style: The Jeremy Scott / Jim Phillips / Santa Cruz Rip-Off Debacle

February 22, 2013

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Full MTV Style article.

Spin article

Jim Phillips Facebook

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AAS Mid-Year Review show

October 25, 2012

If you want to see a blooper reel of me blowing it while trying to do a reading for the camera ... watch at 6:40 of this clip ... but because Adaptive Action Sports is so rad, you should watch it all!

Special thanks to Oscar Loreto!

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An Interview with Stoya ... The Porn Star

October 18, 2012

Interviewed adult film star Stoya a few years back and it's finally seeing the light of day ... Thanks Jenkem!

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Ryan Sheckler: Paying it Forward

August 1, 2011

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Ryan Sheckler: Paying it forward
Words: Robert Brink

Originally intended for 944 magazine this month, this piece never saw the light of day because the mag folded. Enjoy.

Sponsored at 6-years old and pro by age 13, it didn’t take long for San Clemente native, Ryan Sheckler (now 21) to reach the top of the game in skateboarding—and subsequently cross over to a mainstream success that 99.9% of his industry cannot fathom and most certainly won’t ever experience.

Sheckler was the youngest professional skateboarder to have a signature model shoe. He’s won multiple X Games gold medals, had his own reality show on MTV, achieved teen heartthrob status, sealed endorsement deals from Got Milk, Axe, Proactiv and more, scored roles in movies with the likes of The Rock and appeared on stage at a ‘Lil Wayne concert.

So what’s left when you’ve done everything there is to do before you’re even old enough to legally buy a pack of American Spirits?

Pay it forward.

And that’s what Ryan and The Sheckler Foundation have been doing for the last four years.

“In 2008 I wanted to donate my car to charity,” Sheckler says. “We held an online auction and raised $220,000. I realized in the process that we had a huge following who also wanted to help others. We knew if we started our own foundation, we could activate these followers and really make a difference.”

The Sheckler Foundation aims to create awareness and raise money to fund medical research that focuses on curing childhood disease and spinal cord injuries, as well as enrichment programs for kids in underprivileged communities.

“We want to let people, especially the kids of today, know that anyone can give back and that we all need to,” Ryan explains. “The world can never have too many people giving back.”

Since it’s inception, The Sheckler Foundation has partnered with organizations like the Rob Dyrdek Skate Plaza Foundation, Wings for Life, TACA, Road 2 Recovery, Bridger Hunt Fund, Tony Hawk Stand Up for Skateparks, San Diego Medicine Foundation, ARF, CCRF (Children’s Cancer Research Fund), A-Skate Foundation and Stoked Mentoring Foundation.

“We’ve done several different types of events over the years,” Sheckler explains. “The charity golf tournament and Skate for a Cause are two of our most successful and fun events. I really enjoyed our charity MMA fight as well. ‘Lil Jon performed and Jason Ellis turned pro that night. We are also planning on having a gala later this year, so I’m interested to see the outcome.”

ryan sheckler rob brink skateboarding

Ryan is currently working on his Plan B skate video part, mostly likely dropping before the end of the year. It's got the lovers, haters and every online skateboarding forum lit up. But are there enough hours in the day to juggle the foundation and the skate career?

“Skating and giving back have always been a priority for me,” Ryan says. “At the moment, the video is the biggest thing on my mind, but I’m loving my life and doing what makes me happy—traveling the world and helping people through my foundation. It’s all a blessing so there really isn’t anything difficult to speak of. I don’t feel I’m juggling anything.”

Sheckler aims high. And with a track record of success like his, why not? “There are so many great foundations out there,” he says, “I’d like our foundation to go the route of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And my hope is that everyone gets to experience what it feels like to give back because the takeaway is amazing!”

The Sheckler Foundation will soon be launching the Passion Project, which gives the Foundation’s community an opportunity to nominate a need and the Foundation will mobilize to help solve the problem. For more information and to learn how to get involved with upcoming events, visit www.shecklerfoundation.org.

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Elegant Fun, SoCal Style: Laguna Cliffs spa and resort knows nuance

May 18, 2011

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Elegant Fun, SoCal Style
Laguna Cliffs spa and resort knows nuance
By Robert Brink
944, May 2011

Looking for a bit of youthful fun reminiscent of carefree summers of yore? Enter Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point. Recently renovated and honored as Dana Point’s 2011 Business of the Year, the AAA Four Diamond Victorian-style resort overlooks the Dana Point Harbor and offers a true Southern California experience: sunshine, ocean views, palm trees, pools, hot tubs, a spa, yoga classes, fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor wining and dining, live entertainment, tennis, volleyball and close proximity to tourist attractions and destinations—all par for the course.

Yet it’s the unexpected—the attention to fun detail—that sets Laguna Cliffs apart from other Southern California resorts — for starters, arriving at the valet to a fully restored, $175,000 1940 Ford Woody that’ll thrust any car or surf enthusiast into geek overdrive.

The pool, of course, is an important facet of any resort stay. Each of the two pools at Laguna Cliffs features hot tubs, a full-service bar, a grill menu and an outdoor lounge. While laying poolside, guests will be pampered hourly by servers delivering complimentary fruit, Otter Pops, Evian misting and sunglass cleaning. Why the latter? Because who wants sunblock or Otter Pop debris slathered all over their glasses while trying to watch kids surf a simulated barrel or run through the “mini Bellagio” fountains in the one-of-a-kind Splash Zone?

Activity options also include catching a showing of Star Trek or Finding Nemo at the indoor movie theater, fully tricked out with an old-fashioned ticket booth, popcorn and refreshment stand—all complimentary. The stub is also good for a free breakfast buffet as part of the seasonal Kahuna Laguna Kids Club.

The Vue restaurant and lounge offers a tapas-style menu with snacks like cilantro popcorn and doughnut holes that’ll leave any inner child planning another visit before the meal is even through. In the mornings, the bar converts to a Starbucks, with plenty of space to fire up the laptops.

The full-service spa is equipped with a hair and nail salon, a massage and steam room, showers, a healthy menu, an array of self-serve hot tea, citrus waters, snacks, a gift shop and an outdoor patio with a hot tub and fire pit—all private.

“You aren’t going to see a spa like this at any other resort in the area,” says general manager Jim Samuels. “We’ve created an environment where you can check in and stay self-contained if you want. More importantly, you don’t feel like you have to wear a sports coat to walk through the hallways. It’s elegant and comfortable. You can walk to the beach or harbor, get a boat to Catalina, Jet Ski, whale watch, deep-sea fish or drive to Sea World or Disneyland.

“We do things to create the value for our guests,” Samuels continues. “We’d save money if we didn’t offer the tea or the fruit water in the spa, or the movie theater and Splash Zone, but we’d rather focus on providing a great experience.”

25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point
949.661.5000 | lagunacliffs.com

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Preservation and Progression: Nieuport 17 Honors its past while embracing the present

May 18, 2011

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Preservation and Progression
Nieuport 17 Honors its past while embracing the present
By Robert Brink
944, May 2011

“We’ve become the finest photo, art and aviation museum in the country,” says former Naval aviator and Nieuport 17 founder, Bill Bettis. “There’s not a thing on these walls that wasn’t given to me personally by an aviation legend who walked into this restaurant.”

Founded over 40 years ago on the corner of Newport Avenue and Irvine Boulevard in Downtown Tustin, Nieuport 17 (also the name of a World War I airplane) began as a restaurant and accidentally evolved into a historical landmark and encyclopedia of aviation.

The entire interior of the restaurant features a unique collection of museum- worthy artifacts, photos and paintings from aviation history, many of which are autographed by world-famous pilots and decorated military officers, including the father of Nieuport 17 co-owner, Cameron Irons, who served with Bettis in the Navy. Even the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. is trying to get their hands on some of the extremely rare and valuable collectables. “When I die,” says Bettis, “I told them they can have some of the pieces they are looking for.”

The main dining area is a Disneyland Haunted Mansion and old school hunting lodge hybrid. A myriad of antlers, elk heads and vintage fighter plane art lines the walls. The vaulted ceilings are grandiose, but not as grandiose as the banquet room that seats 100 guests ... at one table.

“There’s no other restaurant in Orange County that can seat 80 guests at a single table, let alone in such a unique and intimate setting,” says Rob Hallstrom, owner of 714 Media and public relations for Nieuport 17.

The fine dining menu is traditional, known for its steak, seafood, free sides and salads, along with its wine list and classically crafted cocktails. The clientele is equally traditional and has been loyal for decades. And loyalty like that doesn’t come without exceptional service—opentable.com recently recognized Nieuport 17 as “number one in service” for Los Angeles and Orange County.

For younger, hipper foodies, Nieuport 17 revamped it’s bar and lounge area, and appointed new executive chef Marco Collin. The Barnstormer Bar is now serving up local craft beer, signature cocktails and gastropub fare like flatbreads, mac and cheese, sliders, tuna tartare and truffle fries alongside nightly live music, including jazz, piano and acoustic performers.

There’s something delightfully relaxing and rewarding about sinking deep into a premium oxblood leather sofa in front of a 14-foot fireplace, with an all-antler chandelier overhead, listening to live jazz and sipping on Nieuport 17’s signature Old Fashioned on a Friday night, while droves of OC scenesters in fedoras, with chest tats creeping out of their V-necks, are out at Club X or Lounge Y, waiting in line for a shot of Jägermeister. If smoking indoors weren’t against the law, OC’s finest pipe and cigar smokers would be here in the N17 lounge, kicking back and having conversation that isn’t muffled by the mind-numbingly loud auto-tuned hip-pop played by a “DJ” with a MacBook Pro in the corner.

Nieuport 17 may not be for everyone, but thankfully it exists.

13051 Newport Avenue, Tustin
714.731.5130 | nieuport17.com

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Chef Inspired: A new twist built on the success of Vine

April 7, 2011

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Chef Inspired: A new twist built on the success of Vine
By Robert Brink
944, April 2011

Almost as tired as Charlie Sheen sound bytes (but far less entertaining), the term “gastropub” gets tossed around a lot these days. According to Wikipedia, a gastropub refers to “a bar and restaurant that serves high-end beer and food.” By that logic, for many, an Applebee’s is a gastropub.

“The term ‘gastropub’ sounds like a disease to me,” says Vine’s head chef and proprietor Jared Monson, who recently got the seven-year itch (literally, as Vine opened in 2003) and transformed Vine’s bar into St. Roy: a Chef’s Pub at Vine. “We chose ‘Chef’s Pub’ because it implies a chef’s take on pub food,” Monson continues. The name St. Roy is derived from four of his favorite wine country towns: St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville and Yountville.

“Culturally, our guests were looking for a more casual dining experience. St. Roy now gives them an opportunity to do so,” he says. “Seeing young customers pop in and start texting and calling friends to come down and to join them is great. The next thing you know, they’ve filled the communal table and are having a good time.”

The new pub boasts more seating with high-top wooden tables and a communal butcher-block bar table that offers a view of the exposed kitchen. Rustic and casual, it’s far from an Applebee’s — although the Dave Matthews Band and Goo Goo Dolls playlist is definitely comparable.

When Monson was looking to reinvent the Vine’s bar and expand the menu, he re-imported Chef Jared Cook from Crow Bar in Corona del Mar. “Jared was one of our sous chefs in the past,” Monson says. “He missed the experience at Vine and called me. It was great timing.”

The menu changes seasonally and guests are hard pressed to make a swift decision. From simple snacks like the olive and bar nut assortments, to small plates like pumpkin ravioli or mac and cheese; cheese and cured meat plates; classic and not-so-classic entrees and large plates; and even one of the best cheeseburgers in the region, there’s no way to try it all in just one visit.

Yes, there’s dessert too. Commitment-phobes should avoid the chocolate soufflé, which must be ordered 30 minutes in advance.

Monson personally suggests the duck confit salad to start, the West Coast paella with seafood as the main course and vanilla bean crème brûlée with fresh berries as an ender. Adventurous foodies should try the Mexicali burger (house ground burger blend, quasi fresco, roasted chilies, avocado, onion, cilantro, chile de arbol crème, brioche) and Fixin’ Fries (sharp cheddar mornay, bacon crème fraiche, scallions), as both are dishes that Monson calls out as “risky.”

“We’re branching out from our wine country cuisine and being influenced by our regional and cultural environment,” he says. Monson and crew go on walkabout to the Santa Monica Farmers Market every Wednesday and the produce they return with inspires the pub’s specials.

St. Roy also offers ten microbrews on tap, including local beers from Stone and Port Breweries. St. Roy’s new beer and wine-tasting bar faces a unique wine-on-tap system that houses 20 regional wines. For an enjoyable night out in San Clemente, whether for food or drinks, it’s winning.

211 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente
949.361.2079 | stroychefspub.com

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Rising Stars in Action

January 17, 2011

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Rising Stars in Action
Words: Rob Brink
944, January 2011

Progression, like time, waits for no one. If you don’t do it, someone else will beat you to it. Period.

Actions sports are no different, however, progression isn’t always about winning a medal, being number one or the money. Most times, it’s simply for the greater good—to push the envelope.

The athletes involved are intensely creative, dedicated, persistent, innovative and expressive individuals. Even in an event as high profile as the X Games or US Open, they are most likely battling themselves, not the other competitors.

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins, Kyle Loza and Brett Simpson are all in “the window” right now. It’s the age and place in their careers where they’ve accomplished more than most will ever dream. They’re at top of their game, but still rising stars and we don’t mind staring up at them. Not one bit.

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins: Professional Skateboarder
Age 21, Cardiff By the Sea

Lyn-z Adams Hawkins owns eight X Games Women’s Skateboarding medals—three of them are gold.

She’s the first female in history to land a 540 on a halfpipe and has never played her own character in Tony Hawk’s latest Activision release, Shred, because she’s “not too big on video games.”

Humble much? Yes, Lyn-z is in video games while most are just playing them.

Hawkins is currently traveling the globe with Travis Pastrana on the Nitro Circus Live tour and somehow still finds time to be a 21-year-old: chilling with her boyfriend (who has his own backyard skatepark), surfing, snowboarding and learning to ride dirt bikes.

“It’s still a man’s world,” Hawkins says of action sports, “but we're working hard and it’s slowly but surely changing for the better. We [men and women] are built very differently but I don’t see why girls can’t be as good as the guys one day.”

What will you be up to when you’re 30 and no longer eligible to be in this article?
I’m working on figuring that out right now. I’m sure I’ll still be skating. I plan on being a mother too.

Well, you certainly have time … of all your contest wins, which is the most special to you?
My first X Games medal. I was 14. My father died between the previous X Games and the year I won, so I did it for him.

No better reason to win than that. So you’re on tour right now?
Yeah. I just spent the last six weeks in Australia skating the Nitro Circus tour. Next is three weeks in New Zealand, a few more weeks in Australia, then Europe and the States. I’ve been learning how to ride a dirt bike too and I’m lovin’ it!

What’s a common misconception about your job from people outside your industry?
A lot of people think I was just handed everything on a silver platter, but I worked hard to get where I am— and I still work hard.

Traveling is a lot more tiring and stressful than people think. It’s not its all cracked up to be but it’s still better than a real job. As much as I have to be places, I’m kind of on my own schedule, My job allows me to do whatever I want as long as I’m performing well when I need to.

How incredible is it being the first female to land a 540?
It was a big step for women’s vert. I would have been just as ecstatic if another girl had done it but I’m stoked it was me. I like to help grow the sport and pave the way for all the younger girls coming up who will soon be passing me by.

rob brink 944 magazine lbrett simpson

Brett Simpson: Professional Surfer
Age 25, Huntington Beach

When your father spends five seasons as a professional Safety for the LA Rams, being thrust into the world of little league sports is inevitable. Two-time US Open champion, Brett Simpson, was no different. That is, until he stepped on his first surfboard at age 11.

“We went to Seal Beach and were just messing around,” Simpson says. “My buddy had a surfboard and that was the first time I ever did it. That Christmas I asked my parents for a surfboard, got one, and from that point I was hooked.”

There are hundreds of pro surfers out there, but only 32 make the World Tour. Simpson is one of them. He’s competitive and focused on staying at the top, but not in the “intense alpha male at a pickup game who only cares about winning and ruins the afternoon for everyone else” kind of way. It’s part of Brett’s charm actually.

When you’re on tour what do you miss most about Huntington?
We stay at some cool places around the world, but tend to return to a lot of the same spots. You miss your own bed and the food back home after a while.

Hard to argue. Of all your contest wins, which is the most special?
The first US Open win was definitely my breakthrough. But to go back-to-back proved it wasn’t just a fluke. The first year I also won “Breakthrough Performer of the Year” at the Surfer Poll Awards. Any award there is a big achievement.

How does life change after two US Open wins?
You’re definitely a bit more recognized than before. You dream of it when you’re young but don’t really understand what comes with it until it happens. It’s meant a lot to me and has given me the drive to do well. I’ve committed a lot of my life to contests and the Tour.

Do you actually “train” for contests or do you surf like you would for fun?
It’s definitely a simulation. When you’re surfing a heat you only get 30 minutes to perform well on two good waves. That’s the hardest part. It’s what separates a good surfer from a top surfer. Plenty of guys surf really well, but the guy that can consistently surf well in 30 minutes … that’s been the toughest part for me. That’s what I’m practicing. Consistency is huge at this level.

What will you be doing when you’re 30 and no longer eligible for this article?
Hopefully, I’m still on the Tour. Kelly Slater is 38 and just won his 10th title. Careers are maturing later these days. Hopefully my body is healthy and I’m still competing at a high level and still wanting it.
rob brink 944 magazine kyle loza

Kyle Loza: Professional Moto X Freestyle Rider
Age 24, Rancho Santa Margarita

Kyle Loza only showed up at the X Games three times. Each time he walked away with a gold medal in Moto X Best Trick. You know why?

Innovation.

Loza doesn’t do amazing tricks like everyone else—instead, he invents them.

Years later, no one else has been able to learn Loza’s signature moves—a few are trying though. And what he’s currently working on is going to change Moto X forever—again.

It’s the stuff legends are made of. But, at 24, Kyle’s no one-trick-a-year pony. He designs his own signature line of footwear and apparel with etnies; builds furniture by hand with a friend; is a tattoo artist; plays in a band with his wife (sister to Audrina Patridge of The Hills fame) and records in their home studio with Rhianna’s producer. Did we mention he’s got two babies, the eldest being two and a half years old?

Explain how fatherhood impacts your life.
Every way you could imagine your life changing, it changes. It’s ridiculous. It’s the greatest thing ever, but then you start realizing that if you don’t find a way to get some sleep, you’re gonna die.

How did you initially get invited to the X Games?
I made up a trick called “The Volt.” My agent showed a video to some dudes at ESPN and they were super pumped on it. I hadn’t landed it to dirt yet. I tried it for two years, broke a bunch of bones and beat the hell out of myself. ESPN is a giant company that wanted a rad back-story and a rad trick. Everything turned out perfect.

Have other riders learned your tricks yet?
I think there have been two guys trying “Volts” for a while now, but haven’t landed it. It’s been pretty rad. I enjoy watching. No one’s touched an “Electric Doom” yet.

Tell us about this new video project you’re working on with etnies.
We’re trying to bring motocross out of its box and into the streets. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s basically jumping off stairs, landing on roofs of schools, airing off roofs down sets of stairs. It’s about finding new stuff that’s totally possible to do. Nobody really does it yet. There’s a way to try any trick—anything you could ever imagine—anything’s possible.

What’s your advice for anyone considering a face tat?
Make sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it’s not gonna affect you making money. You don’t want to get married one day and have a face tattoo and screw your family over because you’re ignorant.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
My friend Toby, who passed away four years ago, gave me this advice for riding but I relate it to anything I do life that I want to succeed at and move forward in. Every day I rode he said, “Make sure you either ride through five gallons of gas, crash three times or ride until you throw up.”

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Sky Ferreira

September 8, 2008

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Sky Ferreira: Hurricane Lolita
By Rob Brink
Missbehave Autumn 2008

Prior to meeting 16-year-old Sky Ferreira in her hometown of LA, I mentally envision a sketchy Roman Polanski-esque aftermath to our first encounter. The V-card-holding model and soon-to-be-pop star chills in LA clubs that I can’t even get into. She can hold engaging conversations with people twice her age. She’s gospel-trained with the same vocal range as Mariah Carey and prefers Sarah Brightman to Cat Power. What’s not to desire? It’s practically a setup for “Catch a Predator.”

“There was like, this 40-year-old singer from Europe,” says Sky, “and he goes ‘You’re 15? Can I put my head between your knees?’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to throw up.’ Older guys like my braces, and I’m like, ‘You’re gross.’” Sky’s not well-trained in the art of girly. She can’t walk in heels and doesn’t wear makeup, “I’m really lazy when it comes that stuff, but I just want people to know I don’t smell. I don’t brush my hair but I shower.” Sky says, following the beauty regimen of that other LA Internet “muse.”

While Sky is just too damn young for me to want my head between her knees, I kinda do want to buy her a milkshake and have her sing to me like she did for Michael Jackson when she was 11, “I sang some gospel for him and he cried. I was surprised. That was when I realized I wanted to do this.”

And do this she did. Listening to her MySpace track “God Bless,” I think “OMG, you got some pipes on you, girlfriend!” when normally I neither say “OMG” or “girlfriend!” I imagine her in some lounge, leaning on a piano looking all cabaret, singing to a bunch of lonely local older dudes who may not even be paying attention, but are really in the zone and wishing/thinking she was singing to them.

At 15, Sky used the Internet to stalk and write letters everyone she wanted to get her music to, including Swedish producing team, Bloodshy & Avant, who actually wrote back, asked for a demo, and liked it. The result: Sky will be heading to Europe to begin recording her first album with them this fall. “I’m very good business-wise and at promoting myself. make sure to respond to every single person who writes me. The kids in Illinois and Venezuela—those are the kids that are going to go out and buy your album or actually see you live, whereas people here in LA are just going to steal it Limewire.” This giggly earnest innocence might be a schtick, but truly, you can’t knock her hustle.

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