Aaron Mendez: irrepressible creativity
About this fellow Aaron
Aaron in Tokyo, April 2009 Since age 9 I've been a tax-paying professional in New York City, working variously as an actor, composer, producer, editor and software developer - not all at the same time (thank goodness), but until the beginning of 2009 with substantial overlap. Currently I limit my activities to parenting and crafting user interfaces. From November 2008 to October 2011 I worked almost exclusively on massive WPF desktop applications. Since that time I'm re-engaging the web browser stack, which is in a remarkable period of flux and technical fertility.

I formerly worked in the Financial & Risk division of Thomson Reuters and at the ninja village that is Lab49. These days I hang my hat in the Tax & Accounting division of Thomson Reuters. My multi-culti acoustic group, Washwasha, is sometimes available for very special engagement.
(June) I have joined Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting as UX Manager for Design Integration.
(September) I have joined Lab49 as a UX Design Integrator in the LabExperience Practice, though I work primarily with LabInteractive luminaries such as David Padbury, Pavan Podila, Davin Tanabe and Shah Kashani.
For the past couple years this site has served mostly as an archive, as well as a front-end to my private wiki.
Software development is arguably the dominant human creative activity of the current era, and I've become hooked on it.
You can find my professional profile on LinkedIn, and if you're so-inclined there is also a freshly minted Twitter account. I will tweet infrequently and on (hopefully) subjects of substance.
Spitzer Uncut DVD on sale from September 2010
"In an unusually casual and candid interview with filmmaker and author Stephen Trombley, FRSA, Eliot Spitzer talks about his parents, childhood, education, marriage to Silda Wall Spitzer, and his political career."
Approximately 100 excerpts from the film may be viewed at no cost here: http://spitzeruncut.com/.
For those who prefer to cut to the chase and simply purchase this fascinating historical document, here is your link: Spitzer Uncut DVD.
Fire Under the Snow DVD on sale from 25 May 2010
See more about the film below or visit fireunderthesnow.com.
I helped to make and promote the film over a period stretching from 2005-2009. The film is anti-CCP, but I personally no longer believe one can simply "take a side." The situation is much too complicated to be so simple. At any rate, the film tells a powerful story, thanks to the careful editing of Milica Zec.
Fire Under the Snow DVD
Semshae Heart Songs CD Release Party at Tibet House on 22 May 2010
Back in 2005, I produced 4 of the songs that belatedly made their way onto this new CD of traditional children's songs by Techung, one of the foremost traditional Tibetan musicians alive today, and a major artistic figure in the Tibetan diaspora.
Semshae-Heart Songs site
Tibet House US site (founded by Robert Thurman - Uma's father)
Hacking WPF/XAML for Investment Banking/Management desktop applications, Thomson Reuters
WPF is a big, Big, BIG pile of code. There is tremendous space for creativity in this technology.
Music & Film sampler
Jizo in Winter (performance event), University of Wisconsin
Saxophonist John Salerno and pianist Greg Pagel performed my saxophone sonata on 26 September 2009. It requires considerable stamina - clocking-in at about 20 minutes - and involves switches from alto-to-soprano-to-alto, respectively, between the 3 movements. John and Greg - bravo!
Spitzer Uncut (documentary film, 2009/2010), dir. Dr. Stephen Trombley, FRSA
It is a rare privilege to brainstorm with such a master documentary filmmaker, author and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. The project initiated with an HBO development deal but now seeks a new home. What matters is that the film not only be made, but be made the way the good Doctor wants to make it. What's it all about? The life of former New York State governor Eliot Spitzer.
Fire Under the Snow (documentary film, 2008), dir. Makoto Sasa
Venerable Palden Gyatso My roles in this production included associate producer, story consultant and composer.
The film is about human and civil rights, history, politics, and torture - all viewed through the prism of one remarkable life, that of the Venerable Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, former political prisoner and current human rights advocate. Please see the official site for dates and venues.
Fire Under the Snow screened most recently in Tokyo, from mid-March through mid-April 2009.
Fire Under the Snow Official Site
Argot Pictures (distributor)
YouTube: Annie Lennox interviews Palden Gyatso in 1998
New York Times: On My Mind; You Are Palden Gyatso (1995)
Amazon.com: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk by Palden Gyatso (Author), The Dalai Lama (Foreword), Tsering Shakya (Translator)
Herb and Dorothy (documentary film, 2008), dir. Megumi Sasaki
I made a modest contribution of editing promotional texts. If you have any interest in New York's avant garde visual art and artists of the past 40 years, you'll really enjoy this one! It is about a most unlikely pair of art collectors.
Herb and Dorothy Official Site
Washington Post: 'Herb and Dorothy': You Can't Spell Heart Without Art
Music for kids' multimedia (online distribution, 2007-2008), dir. Raul Fernandez
I contributed to various productions for Palabra Media's bilingual Spanish-English programming.
This is a small ensemble for live performance. Washwasha (meaning whisper in Arabic) is available for engagement. Please try to book at least 8 weeks in advance of your event. We debuted at the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn on 10 February 2008, in quartet configuration:
David Cohen, oud and classical guitar
Jeff Hudgins, clarinet and saxophones
Timothy Quigley, darbuka, bendir, shakers, etc.
Aaron Mendez, acoustic bass guitar
Compositions by Anouar Brahem, Erik Satie, Aaron Mendez and David Cohen: Stream Washwasha Live.
Tangier Treehouse (documentary film, 2007), dir. David Shadrack Smith and Charlotte Mangin
When a group of Moroccan street children are invited to take part in a tree-house building workshop, they find themselves unexpectedly transformed.
Sweet people, sweet film! Tangier Treehouse ran on PBS in selected regions, but deserves much more exposure. It chronicles a great example of Americans going out into the world to do the right thing (in this case, helping kids in Morocco to develop skills, creativity and confidence), rather than the wrong thing (engaging in gratuitous warfare and horrific torture). David and Charlotte are Wooway Films. David is also a principal at Part2 Pictures.
Tangier Treehouse screened most recently on 3 January 2009 at the Anthology Film Archives.
Life on the B Side (song, 2007), Psychoneedles
Producer, orchestration, bass, rhythm guitar, synth programming
Sour Hills and Dr. Yes of the Psychoneedles came up with yet another brilliant song. The fecundity of their songwriting partnership is truly remarkable. They allowed me great creative freedom in producing a finished track. The final mix was done by Wade Alin in Chicago. The song relates to the Phil Spector/Lana Clarkson murder trial. Spector created the "Wall of Sound" pop production technique in the 1960s. Accordingly, I went for a big sound in my orchestration, but no direct imitation was made of his signature style.
Life on the B Side is now for sale ($.99), and can of course be previewed, here: the Psychoneedles on MySpace.
Cold Cold Ground (remix, 2006), Psychoneedles
Producer, bass, taanpura-box
I had the honor in late 2006 to be the first remix artist to work on material by the Psychoneedles, a Salem/NY-based supergroup of alt-rock industry vets.
Cold Cold Ground Remix
Sempai Rewa (CD, 2005), Tashi "Techung" Sharzur
Producer: 3 tracks; performer (bass, synth, guitar): 5 tracks
Techung's album of new songs and studio creations debuted in January 2006 at Kalachakra 2006 in Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Now on CD. Buy it from Phayul Online.
Sem Shae (online distribution, 2005), Tashi "Techung" Sharzur
Producer/performer (bass, synth)
Techung's lovely collection of traditional Tibetan folk songs for children.
A couple of them may be heard here: Sem Shae on MySpace.
Brazilian Acoustic Ensemble/Billy Newman Quartet (CD promo, 2005), Billy Newman
Edit and mix for the very fine New York-based guitarist and composer.
Sony's World Event Village (online distribution, 2004), dir. Masako Tsumura
Music and sound for documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian problem, the massive Buddhist conclave called Kalachakra, and more. Now offline.
Arakimentari, Tokyo mix (film trailer, 2004), dir. Travis Klose
Arakimentari had good theater runs in Japan. Omedetou gozaimashita, Travis-san!
Sauerstoffzelt (remix, 2004), Klaus Appel
A dub inspired remix-transfiguration for German jazzman Klaus Appel, featuring the rhyming of New York's Malik Burke.
Arakimentari (documentary film, 2003), dir. Travis Klose
Sound design for the film about Japan's controversial master-photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. Now on DVD. Google Arakimentari or buy it from Amazon.com or from Barnes and Noble.
2002 and before
I worked for a year with a rhymer called Tranquill on a volume of sensitive hiphop (huh, whuzzat?); composed music for a few Off-Off-Broadway plays; developed Mieko Take's brilliant cycle of Japanese avant-pop songs; tortured audiences and musicians alike with my neurotic jazz; wrote a small amount of classical chamber music; was deeply influenced by and peripherally part of the early Knitting Factory scene; in High School was into bass (actually I am always into bass); as a kid was a TV commercial actor and classical guitarist.