February's Cultural Agenda with MILKMAN

man wearing white sweater covering his face

The Mexico-born, LA-based artist, musician, creative director to J Balvin and Soho Warehouse member shares his hit list for the month, including tips for two of his favourite cities – Chicago and CDMX

By Charlotte Steinway   Monday 10 February, 2020

This month, we’re welcoming creative director and party-thrower MILKMAN to Soho House Chicago during NBA All-Star weekend. In addition to being J Balvin’s creative director, Monterrey-born, LA-based MILKMAN is also the founder of Broke Kids Music Label, which counts artists like Jesse Baez among its roster of emerging talent. 
On February 14, he’ll bring his RECREO party – which happens monthly at Los Angeles’ Los Globos and has since traveled to Art Basel Miami Beach, Spain and New York – to Soho House Chicago for the day. Also on view will be an exhibition of his artwork, which will be installed in the Soho House Chicago stairwell for the duration of the month.   
‘Since I do a lot of creative direction, I started doing art as a way to express myself,’ he says. ‘I’ve been doing this series, called Smile Now, Cry Later, which are crying smiley faces on canvas. Over the past few years, I’ve suffered from super bad anxiety, so this work is a way to show people it’s ok to express these types of feelings.’ 
After Chicago, MILKMAN will take his RECREO party back on the road to another one of his favorite cultural capitals, Mexico City, where he lived for five years before settling in LA. Here, the jack of all creative trades shares his month’s hit list across the the cities: 

‘This past year, I went to Chicago about five times, and I’m really excited to go back for All Star Weekend. I’ll be doing the party at the Soho House there, then back to LA for our Los Globos party on February 20th, and then it’s off to Mexico City, which I’m super excited about. I never announce the lineup, but there’s always a big artist headlining – we’ve had J Balvin on one before. And the parties are only open to around 500 people, so it’s always a smaller crowd, which is fun.’ 
man leaning in doorway
‘This month, Jesse Baez will drop his new EP, Nitro, which I’m pumped for. There’s this other guy I’ve been really excited about recently, named Jhay Cortez, who’s fire. He’s from Puerto Rico. And I have to say I’ve been really into Kanye’s whole gospel thing recently. I think it’s because I come from a family of Christian preachers, so I grew up in the gospel tradition – but I stopped going once I realised they wouldn’t let me play drums. I’ve been to Kanye’s Sunday Service a few times - once at Coachella, once in Calabasas, and once at the Forum in LA. It felt weird to be drinking a cocktail in a church setting, but I loved it.’ 
james turrell blue light installation over steps
‘Every time I have to travel somewhere for work, I try to go out and see as much of the city as possible. I love the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and always make a trip there when I go. When I’m in Mexico, I always go to Museo Jumex, which is super cool. They’ve been doing a great job with their curation: they had a Jeff Koons exhibition recently and now they’re showing James Turrell’s “Passages of Light.”’
vintage car in studio with neon light sign
‘This March, I’m opening a store in the La Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City. I started a brand called Colmillo, and J Balvin is one of my partners. Everything about Colmillo is in Spanish, even the sizes and the website. I want to create the first high-end streetwear shop in Mexico City, similar to a Supreme or a Palace. There hasn’t really been a store that’s been dedicated to a single brand like that here in Mexico. Since the space I got for the store is so big, I’m going to have an art gallery in the back and have my friends curate it. I’m super excited about it. 

In Chicago, I love shopping at RSVP Gallery, and walking around the whole Wicker Park neighbourhood. In Mexico, I love HEADQUARTER in Roma Norte; it’s super well-curated. The owner sources super-cool Japanese and Korean brands and all sorts of stuff. I also go to the Louis V store whenever I’m there. It’s the one location that’s not sold out of everything I want.’ 
plates of food and glass of wine
‘Every time I’m in Chicago, I go to this Italian restaurant I love called Quartinos. I had dinner there the day before I got signed as a rapper, so maybe it’s a nostalgic type of love that I have for that place. But my favourite restaurants are in Mexico City, so I’m excited to get back there this month and hit all my spots. Maximo Bistro is so good, Contramar is so good, La Docena is so good - my friend owns it, so we’ll stay there from 5pm to 2am and then figure out where to go next.’ 

‘There’s always something to do in Mexico City. One of my favourite bars in Mexico is called Tachinomi, which means to “stand” and “drink” in Japanese. It was started by this Japanese dude who came to Mexico and opened Rokai, which is an amazing sushi spot. He went on to open a ramen restaurant and then Tachinomi - it’s a small, standing-room-only bar serving natural wines, Japanese Whiskey, sake and incredible small bites.’
close up shot of man's face
‘Honestly, I watch a lot of YouTube videos of people cooking. I’ve been watching videos of this Mexican dude who makes fresh ceviche. I try to take two hours out of my day each day to learn something, and lately, it’s been cooking. In terms of movies, I loved The Joker and Uncut Gems. If you haven’t seen Good Time, it’s also directed by the Safdie brothers and reminds me a lot of Uncut Gems, but better.’

‘On Instagram, I just follow a bunch of artists I like – Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) and KAWS (@kaws) – my friends, and the meme sites. I don’t like sharing my favourite meme accounts, because then I lose the sense of joy when my friends have already seen a meme before I send it to them. I will say I like @textsfromyourex, @shibuyameltdown and @sohohousememes is pretty cool. I feel like someone’s explore page on Instagram tells everyone about them.’

Images from top: MILKMAN (courtesy MILKMAN); Jesse Baez; James Turrell's 'Passages of Light'; RSVP Gallery; La Dulcinea; Good Time
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