Articles on this Page
- 04/24/13--07:30: _Relive 1999 in 10 m...
- 04/24/13--09:00: _Premiere: Dragonett...
- 04/24/13--11:05: _Here's Emma Watson ...
- 04/24/13--12:50: _A RuPaul's Drag Rac...
- 04/24/13--13:20: _5 Cool Things to Ch...
- 04/24/13--13:40: _Coming Soon: Photog...
- 04/24/13--14:30: _A Cartagena Local T...
- 04/24/13--15:10: _Jessie Ware Covers ...
- 04/24/13--16:06: _Here's The Song The...
- 04/25/13--07:30: _Tilda Swinton Start...
- 04/25/13--09:20: _Design Duo Lernert ...
- 04/25/13--09:30: _Rapper Cakes Da Kil...
- 04/25/13--10:30: _Io Echo Use Interac...
- 04/25/13--11:10: _A Henry Miller Fest...
- 04/25/13--12:40: _Classixx' Upcoming ...
- 04/25/13--13:15: _Why Are We So Obses...
- 04/25/13--13:41: _Chatting with Broad...
- 04/25/13--14:15: _AndrewAndrew Insta-...
- 04/25/13--14:45: _See Greta Gerwig Pl...
- 04/25/13--15:54: _Nicki Minaj Will Fi...
- 04/24/13--07:30: Relive 1999 in 10 minutes
- 04/24/13--09:00: Premiere: Dragonette Clowns Around In a Barn In "Giddy Up"
- 04/24/13--11:05: Here's Emma Watson Being Awful in the Bling Ring Trailer
- 04/24/13--12:50: A RuPaul's Drag Race Video Game Is On Its Way
- 04/24/13--13:20: 5 Cool Things to Check Out at the Ideas City Festival
- 04/24/13--13:40: Coming Soon: Photography Book of Little People, Big Food
- 04/24/13--14:30: A Cartagena Local Tells Us About Her City's Music and Nightlife
- 04/24/13--16:06: Here's The Song The XX Made for The Great Gatsby
- 04/25/13--07:30: Tilda Swinton Started An Awesome Dance Party In Honor of Roger Ebert
- 04/25/13--09:20: Design Duo Lernert & Sander on Ugly Shoes and Helping Found BUTT
- 04/25/13--09:30: Rapper Cakes Da Killa On Everything You Need to Know About Twerking
- 04/25/13--10:30: Io Echo Use Interactive Technology in "Ministry of Love"
- 04/25/13--11:10: A Henry Miller Fest Is Coming to Williamsburg Next Month
- 04/25/13--12:40: Classixx' Upcoming Album Hanging Gardens Is All We're Waiting For
- 04/25/13--13:15: Why Are We So Obsessed With the '90s?
- 04/25/13--14:15: AndrewAndrew Insta-Review Matilda and More!
- 04/25/13--15:54: Nicki Minaj Will Finally Have a (Non-Animated) Role in a Movie
We've remembered 1997, now let's remember the culturally rich year of 1999 in 10 minutes, including Smash Mouth's music, two good movies, two good TV shows, one good music video and some video games. [Gawker]
Books we could write: "A Guide to Dry Shampoo," "Fine" and "I Did My Taxes Right, Right?" [Butthorn]
Night night, Godzilla. [PizzzaTime]
Hey hermano, there are engraved Arrested Development pencils for sale on Etsy! [Neverr]
Bored cat in a shark costume, riding a Roomba, chasing a duckling. [Dlisted]
Robert De Niro met Lil' Bub. We repeat, Robert De Niro met Lil' Bub. [ImWithKanye]
Wear, cry, repeat. [AfternoonSnoozeButton]
Meanwhile, how can we own this? [FYouNoFMe]
Us listening to Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman." [KimJongChill]
The trailer for Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring is finally here and, though the film is only loosely based on Nancy Jo Sales' 2010 Vanity Fair profile about a pack of L.A. teenagers who robbed the homes of various celebrities from 2008-2009, let's just say Emma Watson does a spot-on impression of Bling Ring suspect Alexis Neiers as her track-suit-and-Uggs-loving character, "Nicki." (We would have gone with the character name "Shmlexis Schneiers" for Watson, but you're the Academy Award-winner, Sofia.) Check out Adderall-filled millennials behaving badly in the trailer above and, below, check out a clip of Neiers calling Sales to yell at her about the story on erstwhile E! reality show Pretty Wild. Twenty nine dollars!
The four-day Ideas City arts and culture festival returns to New York's Lower East Side May 1st to 4th. Since 2011, it's been held in the galleries, storefronts and streets surrounding one of the event's founders, the New Museum on the Bowery. The goal is to explore the "future of cities" with workshops, conferences, projects and a big "Ideas City StreetFest" featuring interactive exhibits, performances, food and fun. The complete schedule of events is available here and below we've listed some things that caught our eye:
1. Video/installation artist Marco Brambilla will screen his trippy, 3-D extravaganza, "Creation," with a live score in St. Patrick's Old Cathedral (Mott Street between E. Houston and Prince) on Friday, May 3, 8:30 to midnight. This is the third part of the artist's "Megaplex" trilogy. If you've ever ridden in the elevators at The Standard Highline hotel, you've already seen part one.
2. Fringe-ish architecture firm, Snarkitecture, is building a large-scale temporary installation on Mulberry Street between E. Houston and Prince that will open on Saturday from 8:30 to midnight. Not sure exactly what's involved with this, but these guys just did the fantastic "Lift" installation with 45 giant balloons that filled Cipriani Wall Street for the New Museum's recent party and they also did last year's entrance to the Design Miami tent for Art Basel. Photo via Architizer.
3. After everything shuts down for then night, you can walk along the Bowery and check out the new murals that have been painted on the steel, rolling shutters of ten storefronts. You'll see new works by Ellen Berkenblit, Laura Owens, Alex Israel, Mel Bochner and others.
4. Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau will be screening their award-winning documentary, Doin' It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC, in the theater of the New Museum (235 Bowery) at 8 p.m. on Saturday. They'll be doing a Q&A after.
5. If you're feeling hungry, just stop at one of the many food vendors set up along the Bowery during the StreetFest. Look for Hot Bread Kitchen, Mexicue, Thirstea,SweeteryNYC, Coolhaus Ice Cream and more.
Honey, I shrunk the art! Big Appetites is a series of photographs from artist Christopher Biffoli, who, using tiny figurines, captures various playful man vs. food adventures -- from climbing sugar crystal glaciers to mowing an orange peel. Biffoli's most recent endeavor, Big Appetites: Tiny People in a Big World of Food will be made available as a book to coffee tables as of September 10th, 2013.
[via Christopher Biffoli Photography]
Where do you live?
Between Bogotá and Cartagena, Colombia and Paris, France
What do you do?
I bring fashion franchises to Colombia (so far we have Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange and Vilebrequin and we hope to bring more in the future.) I also like to plan events in my free time as a hobby.
What Colombian bands or DJs do you really like these days and that you think we should know about?
I really like ChocQuibTown, Superlitio, DJ Memek, DJs Gomez & Victoria, and J Balvin. I discovered ChocQuibTown and Superlitio through a friend who organizes this really cool music festival here in Colombia called Estereo Picnic. They always have a mix of upcoming local bands but also established international bands like The Killers and MGMT. I discovered DJ Memek in New York through these underground DJ parties called Minimoo and now we've become friends -- I often hire him for my parties. DJs Gomez & Victoria are friends of friends and I have often been invited to parties where they play. J Balvin is everywhere in Colombia -- he's very mainstream but also fun to listen to.
DJ Memek and DJs Gomez &Victoria play minimal, electronic music and I would describe ChocQuibTown as a hip-hop group with a Latin influence. My favorite song of theirs is "Somos Pacifico." I love their music because it also touches on the history, culture and realities of Colombia. Superlitio I would say is more indie and my favorite of their songs is "Te Lastime." And J Balvin is reggaeton -- I'm currently obsessed with his newest song called "Yo Te Lo Dije."
Where are the cool places to see live music in Cartagena?
The best place for me to see live music in Cartagena is on the streets. All over the old town of Cartagena there are bands ready to play Colombian classics. On the street, music is played only for you and your group of friends so you can request songs and also have the band play and walk behind you while you dance to someone's house or to a bar. My favorite restaurant in Cartagena, La Vitrola, also has a live band come play. You'll find Colombians from all over the country as well as tourists at the restaurant. Although they mainly play salsa, they also mix in all types of Latin music. There is also Cafe Havana, which is a salsa bar that has live salsa bands come play and attracts a great mix of real locals and tourists.
Describe your perfect night out when you're in Cartagena.
If I'm not sleeping at the beach, my perfect night out would be to have dinner and drinks at La Vitrola followed by salsa dancing at my favorite salsa bar, Quiebra-Canto. If I want a change of music or if Quiebra-Canto is full (it is very small and very popular), I like to go to Bazurto Social Club. That place is a lot more local and "underground" then most places people know in Cartagena and it has a mix of different kinds of music from reggae, to reggaeton, salsa, etc.
What's your favorite bar/nightclub in Cartagena?
My favorite place is Quiebra Canto. Although there is no live music, for me, it's the original salsa club in Cartagena (Havana came after). I really enjoy it there and it's where I grew up going. The crowd is a mix of locals, young Colombians and tourists. There is also a balcony with a great view in case you want to have a breath of fresh air after dancing. Quiebra-Canto, along with Basurto Social Club and Cafe Havana are all in the neighborhood Getsemaní, which is the best area for young people. It's up-and-coming and although it's getting "cleaned up," it still feels very authentic.
What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in Cartagena?
In Cartagena there are a lot of bars and clubs that are now playing more international music to attract more tourists and I tend to avoid those places. I like to stick to the more authentic spots in which you feel like you are in Cartagena. There's one place that I used to go to when I was younger but would never go to now -- Babar. It's a very young crowd and the music is very mainstream.
Check out Cloclo's band and DJ recs:
ChoQuibTown -- "Somos Pacifico"
Superlitio -- "Te Lastime"
J Balvin -- "Yo Te Lo Dije"
La Vitrola, Calle Baloco no. 33-201, Cartagena
Cafe Havana, Intersection of Calle de la Media Luna and Calle del Guerrero, Cartagena
Quiebra-Canto, Camellon de los Martines, Edificio Puente del Sol, Cartagena
Bazurto Social Club, Avenia del Centenario Carrera 9, 30-42
No Sleep Til...Paris
No Sleep Til...Sydney
No Sleep Til...Brussels
No Sleep Til...Bogotá
No Sleep Til...Copenhagen
No Sleep Til...Seoul
No Sleep Til...Oslo
No Sleep Til...Johannesburg
No Sleep Til...Gothenburg
No Sleep Til...Hamburg
No Sleep Til...Mumbai
One reason Jessie Ware is so admirable is the singer's own overt admiration for semi-obscure movements of 20th-century R&B. A one-time teenage raver, Ware has paid tribute to that scene by covering Bobby Caldwell's 1978 R&B hit "What You Won't Do for Love," a staple of '90s hip-hop and house. Today, she unveiled a fairly faithful cover of Martika's 1991 new age smash, "Love...Thy Will Be Done." The song was co-written by Prince, whose demo for it has lately popped up in the same corners of the Internet as "Moonbeam Levels," which Ware's compatriot Elvis Costello recently covered at Carnegie Hall. (For a third British tribute to the Purple One, stay tuned for Jamie Lidell's recent performance in the PAPER office.)
1. Here's "Together," the song that the xx made for The Great Gatsby. [via Vulture]
2. Rob Kardashian told Ryan Seacrest that since he's gained weight, he sometimes cries when he sees himself naked in the shower because his penis "looks so small now." [via The Blemish]
3. This week in "things that have apparently been known for years but we'd never heard": Ulf Ekberg, one of the founding members of Ace of Base, apparently started out as a neo-Nazi skinhead in a band called Commit Suiside. Wut? [via Noisey]
4. Brooklyn Bowl will be livestreaming Vampire Weekend's Roseland Ballroom show this Sunday from 6pm-9pm. The livestream will be directed by Steve Buscemi, in case you haven't been following our round-the-clock Steve-Buscemi-Vampire-Weekend coverage.
5. Nine new letters of reclusive author J.D. Salinger's have been acquired by the Morgan Library. Things we've learned from them: he thought that "Tolstoy will go places," recommended reading The Great Gatsby, wrote come-ons like "Sneaky Girl. You're pretty." and was sort of self deprecating. [via Gawker]
6. Williamsburg club/bar/restaurant (depending on which floor you're on) Output is debuting its 2,500 square foot penthouse/rooftop bar this weekend with a big bash thrown by ReSolute. [via Commercial Observer]
7. Here's the new $100 bill. Thoughts? [via BoingBoing]
Like. [via Tall Whitney]
God, British subways are so much more clever than American subways. [via Knusprig Titten Hitler]
The National Enquirer is alleging that John Boehner's son-in-law-to be is this rastafarian-looking dude who was once busted for weed possession. God, we hope this story's true and that someone gets wedding pictures. [National Enquirer via Gawker]
We're Chancellor Hissy Pants. Dope. [via The Clearly Dope]
Larry David Bowie.
Sander Plug (Left) and Lernert Engelberts (Right)
Sander Plug and Lernert Engelberts, better known as Lernert & Sander, have been quiet arbiters of cool for over a decade. Fashion companies and bands have long been using the duo to inject chic minimalism, humor and the occasional sexy moment into their campaigns. We've been following them since they helped found BUTT magazine but they've really come into their own in the past year: their video "Natural Beauty" -- wherein the duo re-applies a model's makeup for 9 hours straight without washing her face -- went viral, and they've recently landed campaigns with Viktor & Rolf, Kenzo and Brioni. They also recently launched their own scent, "Everything," featuring every perfume released in 2012 . We caught up with Lernert and Sander to discuss their work, the founding of BUTT, hiding from Grindr hookups and their mutual crush on Mark Ruffalo.
How did you two meet?
Sander Plug: We met at the launch of a magazine of a friend of ours, Jop van Bennekom. I saw Lernert standing, and we were wearing the same shoes, which were very strange shoes.
Lernert Engleberts: Nike shoes! I'm maybe making this up, but I think we were given them. At the end of the '90s there was this guerrilla marketing technique where you'd give shoes or sweaters to "early adapters." You'd just hand them to poets, DJs, or designers and hope that they would infiltrate the flock. We talked about the shoes and became quite good friends. And they were hideous shoes.
SP: Yes, they were quite hideous, but we liked that they were hideous and no one else was wearing them.
LE: And today we're wearing different shoes.
SP: I'm not sure about my shoes -- they're quite lesbian.
LE: And they look quite small.
SP: Thank you.
What's your process? How do you work with each other?
LE: Because we want to do everything together, and we do do everything together, it's basically sitting around all day at the table, thinking and talking, having fights about nothing. We work to just get to the point where we agree on something and feel it's okay. Then the rest of the world can execute it.
Do each of you have a different design style?
LE: I would be more the artist, [Sander] would be more the cartoonist.
SP: I would Rembrandt and you would be Picasso.
Do you choose between projects or take whatever comes?
SP: We take everything and try to make it into our own.
LE: We'd have a lot more work if we didn't take everything and make it our own! Of our 50 or so pitches, we loose 48 because we tend to change the story or idea.
SP: Sometimes you just need to be very surface and do a job which is not very interesting. That kills us because we don't get any energy from it. The only thing that's nice is getting the money.
LE: We'd rather be poor, basically. It's good to stick to your ideas and lose 48 out of 50 pitches, right?
"Natural Beauty" by Lernert & Sander for Nowness.
Who's influenced you the most?
LE: Well, I see one influence on the wall: Andy Warhol. I don't know why it's there.
Who would you like to work with?
SP: Dior. I wouldn't like to work for Chanel, but I would like to work for Dior. They're much more interesting.
LE: Mykita. They made my glasses. Rayban? They made Sander's. Basically [whoever makes] what you wear.
LE: We don't like working for what we don't believe in. We actually got a question in from CERN [The European Organization for Nuclear Research], a nuclear propaganda thing. They were like, "If you were going to make propaganda for nuclear energy..." And we were like, "No. We Can't."
What are you guys working on next?
SP: Film is interesting for us but we'd like to build it out a bit. A dream project would be to design something that's salable outside of a film. It would be interesting to find out if we can widen the scope of our work, and also sell something. Make a film for Nike but also design a shoe.
LE: It's frustrating to only make only front-ends, and never back-ends.
SP: Sometimes we get bored of not having physical things in our hands.
How does the Internet influence you?
SP: We think the Internet is too big of an influence for people.
LE: It's better to make an effort for inspiration -- go to a museum or read a book. But pictures in an endless stream of blogs -- I don't believe people can make well-thought, consistent and good work from it. I don't have Internet at home anymore. We don't even know how much the Internet knows! It's an ugly beast.
SP: I hope that the internet will be functional, but will fade away.
You tend to use objects and instead of people in your work. Why?
SP: It's nice to not work with people because you don't have to worry about a person's energy.
LE: And you don't want to spoon-feed an idea to the viewer. You want them to feel smart. Take the music video we made for [the song] "Elektrotechnique." We could've used people to let them know it's absolutely about sex. But when you make machines, people have to use their own dirty minds.
How does sex affect your work?
SP: We're homosexuals and it's part of our life. It influences us.
LE: I think it's also because you can use the shame culture around sex easily. Things automatically become edgy. The way we execute it is always tasteful and never so shocking that you don't want to see it, but people become a little uncomfortable. We like that.
"Elektrotechnique" by Lernert & Sander for De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig.
You were played a role in founding BUTT magazine. Tell us about that.
EL: BUTT was created by a group of friends and we were part of the first meetings about what it should be. [Founder Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom] had the great idea to make a magazine about the new generation of gay men who didn't feel comfortable embracing a commercialized version of "gay." It was hugely influenced not by visual, but textual gay magazines like Straight to Hell, which were very subversive and about real people. It came as a shock because any gay magazine [of the time] showed these ripped, Photoshopped, unreal people.
I actually was in the photo shoot for the first issue. It was a photo shoot where Jop had the idea to reclaim the David Beckham shoot that was by Arena Homme + that was basically a gay photo shoot. You saw Beckham making very suggestively "gay" poses. We made this photo shoot where I mimicked Beckham's exact poses, but you could see everything. The shoot was called "We Want It Beck!" Basically the point was to bring gay culture back to gays. Straight, highly commercial magazines were learning from us and making money off us. It was really a proposition of, "Stop exploiting us homos as a lifestyle you can bank on. Stop banking on us faggots."
SP: It was fun time. It was made with friends, a small community of people that grew. But we all grew older, eventually leaning toward Fantastic Man, something that was a better fit. BUTT magazine served its purpose and is now an online community which I think is very good.
What magazines did you love as kids?
LE: We both liked this magazine that was like a Nordstrom or JC Penney catalog.
SP: We always went straight to the guys who were only in their underwear. For us, it was our way of getting to see male nudity.
LE: And then your mother would find the catalog and order the underwear because she would think her son really liked this underwear.
Are you domestic or do you like to party hard?
SP: Ugh, parties.
LE: We're very domestic. We like to stay at home. We're 9 to 5 workers and then we like to go home and cook and go to bed at 10, 10:30. Boring, I know.
SP: We're also old.
LE: Maybe I should go to one tonight and see if I can be changed.
Do you think apps like Grindr are going to become the main way gays meet?
EL: I think the best way to meet is to go to bars.
SP: Yet you were just saying you are very domestic.
EL: I can't recall ever having a really good date or a really hot date when I invited someone home on Grindr. Home for me is private, so I instantly shut down when someone's at the door. I'm not a slut with my pants open or anything. When I let someone into my house, it means something.
SP: I don't really use this stuff. I used it once -- I think when I was on holiday -- and I had sex. I don't like that way of interacting with people.
Actually once we were having tea [in Lernert's] apartment and the doorbell was ringing. Then Lernert says, "Ah! Now I remember, I made a date! Get on your knees, because that's some guy I hooked up with on Grindr." So I needed to sit for ten minutes on my knees.
EL: Not to suck me off, but so no one could see us!
SP: So this guy couldn't see us from the outside.
EL: So that's basically my relationship with making Grindr appointments online.
"Everything." by Lernert & Sander.
If you could have sex with a celebrity or public figure, who would it be?
LE: Justin Bieber, no? [Laughs.]
LE: Mark Ruffalo.
SP: Yeah. He has a great ass.
LE: Wait, you also like Mark Ruffalo?
SP: I said to you last week, "This is a very hot guy." And you said "Ah, well I have photos of him on my iPhone."
LE: Yes, I said that. We'll see who he likes better when we run into him on the streets!
SP: I also liked a guy from Mad Men who wore glasses. He's a New York guy. He's very cute.
LE: Mmm. Mark Ruffalo.
If you could have dinner with any celebrity or public figure, who would it be?
LE: Same. Mark Ruffalo.
SP: Viktor & Rolf said Freud. Let's do Freud.
LE: Freud would just be doing cocaine in the bathroom. He was such coke addict you wouldn't even see him. I don't want to go to dinner with Freud.
SP: Well now I don't.
From Miley Cyrus breaking it down in a unicorn onesie to Vanessa Hudgens popping it on The Tonight Show, it's clear that twerking has crept its way from the strip clubs of America and into our living rooms. The dance, firmly embedded in urban hip-hop culture, comes in various forms, from the booty bouncing stripper dance featured in David LaChapelle's 2005 documentary Rize about L.A.'s krumping dance culture to the sensual gyrations of Carribbean dancehall.
Though bumping, grinding and booty dancing are nothing new, it seems like twerking is having a moment of its own. From celebrity twerkers to DIY videos, the dance (and the term) has become ubiquitous. And, as someone who studies the art of assology and has been twerking on bar stools, college campuses and venues across NYC for the past two years, I've compiled this breakdown of twerking from its conception and evolution to the dos and don'ts of the dance (you don't want to end up looking like this at the next office party).
Twerk's Origins in African Dance
Before Nicki Minaj had teenyboppers popping to "Superbass" or rapper Lady was showing us the true essence of the twerk technique, a similar jiggle was spotted in a near-identical dance known as mapouka, which originated in the Ivory Coast town of Dabou. Traditionally the intricate moves were used during religious ceremonies but it quickly became popular in nightclubs, thanks to its suggestive nature and a trio of performers known as Les Tueuses in the 1980s. The vulgarity of the dance prompted a government banning in 1998, which was eventually lifted after the fall of President Henri Konan Bedie.
Bounce Bounce Bounce
While mapouka was causing its own share of controversy in Africa, thousands of miles away in the U.S., artists in New Orleans were taking a similar format and applying it to their own original style of hip hop -- bounce music.
New Orleans' frenetic club music changed drastically during the late 1980s/early 1990s thanks to MC T.T. Tucker and DJ Irv's 1992 track "Where Dey At," which helped lay the groundwork for bounce music by artists like Partners-n-Crime, Cheeky Blakk and Choppa. Bounce's hallmark is its call and response-type chants that are always accompanied by a mash up of samples. All bounce music uses the punchy "Triggerman" beat that is mixed and looped with other beats like the Showboys' "Drag Rap," "Brown Beats" by Cameron Paul and Derek B's "Rock the Beat" producing the signature repetitive, frantic bounce sound.
Many bounce tracks also sample popular songs from other genres of music like Katey Red's "Where Da Melph At?," which samples Jill Scott's neo-soul hit "He Loves Me" to Sissy Nobby's "Beat it Out the Frame" which takes from Eve's "Gotta Man" from her 1999 breakout release. Samples, however, are usually unauthorized use, which restricts the sale and national radio airplay of the records. Even with these restrictions, the distinct sound of bounce along with its accompanying dance -- twerking -- are finding their way into the mainstream.
Today, some of the most recognizable bounce artists fall under the "sissy bounce" subgenre, which follows the same basic structure as bounce but is made by artists who identify as LGBTQ and who have reclaimed the derogatory term "sissy," wearing it proudly as a badge of honor. Artists like Big Freedia, Nicky Da B, Sissy Nobby and Katey Red have gained national press over the past couple of years and last May, super producer Diplo released "Express Yourself," a twerkalicious video featuring Nicky Da B and a slew of booty-bouncing gals that helped further cement bounce and twerking's crossover into the indie music blogosphere. (Nicky, I've been practicing my booty dribbling so if you ever need a new backup dancer, holler.)
(I also recommend watching this short informative doc featuring Diplo and the movers and shakers of the genre.)
Crunk and the "Twurkulator"
Twerking certainly isn't limited to queer-identifying rappers. Southern rap styles like crunk and Miami bass along with Baltimore club music and Chicago juke have been influenced by bounce and often incorporate some major booty-popping in their music videos. Artists from these genres, including Lil' Jon, David Banner and Gangsta Boo, and, of course, crunk vets the Ying Yang Twins, have all referenced twerking or "twurking" in their lyrics. In the 2000s, the twins were at the forefront of a southern rap takeover that filled airwaves with their crazy dirty lyrics ("Wait (The Whisper Song)" anyone?) accompanied by equally provocative dances.
Twerk Pioneers Head to YouTube
Even before Diplo and Nicky Da B were bringing twerking to the masses, YouTube stars were sharing their moves across the Internet. Originators of this DIY twerk video trend include Mizz. Twerksum and Lady Luscious, an Atlanta-based duo and founders of the original Twerk Team. In 2005, the two decided to film and upload their routines on YouTube and, since then, the team has seen their clips get millions of views, prompting them to start a small empire that includes apparel, club appearances, features in rap videos and now their own career as artists.
Video of the duo twerking to the viral hit Harlem Shake below.
The Assimilation of Ass Shaking
The convergence of twerking and the Internet brings us to today, when even Miley Cyrus has caught the bug (Exhibit A: this video of Cyrus shaking her booty to "Wop Wop Wop" by J Dash).
Even Spring Breakers' star and former PAPER cover girl Vanessa Hudgens couldn't contain herself -- watch her pop that thang on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Ashley Tisdale, the former Disney channel sensation went on Sway in the Morning and demonstrated some twerk skills that were fine-tuned after a few visits to Atlanta strip clubs while filming Scary Movie V.
Though watching former Disney stars twerk on national television (or in YouTube videos) makes it tempting to dismiss twerking as just another flash-in-the-pan, "Harlem Shake"-esque dance trend that's been co-opted and watered down by the mainstream, thanks to the rise of ratchet culture, twerking is a huge part of our zeitgeist right now. The term "ratchet" first started getting traction in 2005 when Anthony Mandigo and Lil' Boosie recorded the track "Do Tha Ratchet" and, recently, it seems that "ratchet" has become slang du jour when describing a particular zero fucks lifestyle adopted by females living in urban areas (though the term can also apply to the fellas).
Actress/writer/Awkward Black Girl genius Issa Rae offers further clarification on her web series "RATCHETPIECE Theatre," defining ratchet as "if ghetto and hot shitty mess had a baby, and that baby had no father, and became a stripper, and then made a sex tape with an athlete and became a reality star."
Initially a slur, lately a number of artists from Azealia Banks to Beyoncé have started to reclaim 'ratchet' to instead reflect a sort of flashy confidence, bringing ratchet to the masses along the way. (Recent photos of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga wearing hoop earrings with ratchet inscribed in the middle helped ignite a rumor that the duo, along with Banks, would be releasing a track called "Ratchet," though Banks has since denied the super collaboration.) Aside from pop stars, the Internet seems to have a fascination with ratchet culture, as the 40 million views on the viral video "Ratchet Girl Anthem," released this past January, attest
From the verbal confrontations betweek NeNe Leaks and her Real Housewives of Atlanta costars, the physical altercations on Oxygen's Bad Girls Club to Beyoncé commanding her fellow entertainers to, "bow down bitches!" ratchet behavior is becoming more and more common in the songs we dance to and the television shows we watch. And it makes sense then that twerking, a dance as in-your-face and unapologetic as the ratchet lifestyle, has become associated with ratchet culture. If the ratchet lifestyle has arrived (whether spread by pop stars or viral videos), it's safe to assume its 'artistic embodiment' -- twerking -- has finally arrived too, and probably isn't going anywhere for a while.
And now for some Twerk Tips...
But whether you're Miley Cyrus or a YouTube twerking sensation in-the-making, be warned that twerking is not a right, it's a privilege -- if you're going to do it, do it correctly! A twerk here or there has become my go-to move during a live set and is an important addition to many of my back-up dancers' routines. A successful twerk takes toned butt muscles and rigorous hip isolation and if you've seen my dancers you know the skill helps keep your body in shape. (But just remember there's a time and a place for twerking -- don't end up like YouTuber Caramel Kitten who turned a regular trip to Walmart into a twerkfest.)
If you're looking for some basic tips to twerking, first, refer back to Nicky Da B in the "Express Yourself" video when he explains the basics: "Spread your legs, arch your back, go up and down, and make it clap." Next, make sure your backside isn't tense as you'll need to be as loose as possible to maximize your wiggle. Also, the looser your pants are, the better -- you don't want to contain your butt in a pants prison, you want it to bounce as freely as possible. I do my best twerking in a pair of old sweatpants in the comfort of my own home, but whenever I feel the need to do it in public I find a twerk can be accomplished in just about anything that's not too restricting. Finally, don't be afraid to use to a wall, chair, garbage can or even car door to help support your body as you bounce your booty to a beat.
If you're looking for more twerk tips, watch this instructional video below. (Take baby steps! My track "Get Right (Get Wet)" is the perfect starter before you get into the advance stuff, if I do say so myself.) Happy twerking!
Black and white portrait of Cakes da Killa by Alana Yolanda
When not talking to us at Coachella about their love of Yanni concerts and listening to R. Kelly's "Ignition" in the car, goth pop duo Io Echo made this beautiful interactive video for their track "Ministry of Love." Working with some of the same people behind Arcade Fire's "We Used to Wait" video, the band created a series of surrealist, Tumblr-esque visuals that you can play around with. Mix-and-match Rubik's cube-like panels of singer Ioanna Gika's face, drag Gika and bandmate Leopold Ross in a black-and-white vortex or roll a dice whose sides contain images of the band -- it's all there for the messing around.
The song is the title track off their debut album, Ministry of Love, out now, and you can catch the band on tour with The Joy Formidable.
Upon his 1980 death, novelist Henry Miller's (Tropic of Cancer) ashes were scattered in Big Sur, California. The following year, Miller's friend Emil White chose the mountain city, midway up the California coast, as the location for the Henry Miller Memorial Library, which continues to host writing workshops and performances by the likes of Patti Smith and Neil Young.
Miller lived in Big Sur from 1944 to 1962, but his turn-of-the-century childhood was spent in Williamsburg and Bushwick. In recognition of that fact, the Memorial Library has announced a weeklong Brooklyn residency starting May 12. By day, Miller's ephemera -- including manuscripts, watercolors, and correspondence -- will be on view at the City Reliquary on 370 Metropolitan Avenue. By night, there will be parties, performances and panels featuring such figures as Peter Stampel of the Holy Modal Rounders and Magnus Toren, the director of the Henry Miller Library. The Upright Citizen's Brigade will present an event called "Tropic of Laughter." The whole thing concludes with a pairing of minimalist composer Philip Glass and art-pop savant Van Dyke Parks at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 19. Tickets for that event cost $75 and go on sale tomorrow at noon at http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/.
We asked Laura Wills, the owner of NYC's legendary vintage store Screaming Mimi's, to share some insight. "It always takes 15 to 20 years for the resurgence of a trend," Wills explains. She says she first noticed the craze among her own stylish employees. "A lot of my staff and customers were '90s babies and like to romanticize a period that they barely knew and now want to live in." She adds, "I think kids feel much more drawn to the '90s now than the '80s because they don't like the excess or the fashion [of the '80s]. To them, the '90s are much more interesting because there was so much going on in fashion and music." Aside from ubiquitous grunge mainstays like flannel and babydoll dresses, Wills points to the rise -- both on the runway and on the street -- of crop tops, tube skirts (or "bodycon" skirts as we know them today) and graphic, oversized t-shirts, all of which can be traced back to the popularity of hip-hop and streetwear trends during that decade.
At Screaming Mimi's, Wills has noticed customers taking a similarly expansive approach to '90s styling, flocking to everything from "big, shapeless dresses like what Elaine from Seinfeld [wore]" and "boys' vertical striped shirts from Polo or Tommy Hilfiger -- a mix of preppy and streetwear." And, just as the reinterpretation of any fashion era brings modern day tweaks and changes, Wills says she sees people contemporizing '90s looks by "mixing two kinds of silhouettes...like wearing an oversized long jacket with a tiny crop top under it."
And what current trends will the cool kids be scouring Screaming Mimi's for in 2033? Wills has a hunch that the avant street style made famous by brands like Y-3 and Jeremy Scott will be making a comeback. So save your old rainbow computer key head-to-toe look and drop crotch pants for your children, folks.
Many legends come to mind when one thinks of Pippin. First there's Wicked and Godspell composer Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the musical about young prince Pippin who is looking for his way in the world after graduating from college and is guided by a "greek chorus" of sorts as he figures out how to make his life "extradordinary," while still in school at Carnegie Mellon. Then there's Bob Fosse, who directed and choreographed the musical's Broadway debut in 1972 and Ben Vereen, whose portrayal of the Leading Player, Pippin's chief advisor, launched him into Broadway stardom. And don't forget Michael Jackson, whose recording of the first act finale, Morning Dew, brought the soundtrack's catchy song book to the masses. Now, 30 years later, the first Broadway revival of the musical is opening at the Music Box Theatre and, from the looks of it, another legend is about to be born: Patina Miller. Miller, who first became known for her role as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act: The Musical, is taking over the role of the Leading Player and holds her own performing much of Fosse's choreography (recreated by original Pippin castmember Chet Walker) and belting out Schwartz's legendary tunes against a backdrop of actual circus performers. Here we chat with her about taking over such a legendary role, ditching her nun's habit and the dangers of working with circus folk.
I heard you had never seen a production of Pippin before signing up to play the Lead Player...
I was very familiar with Stephen Schwartz, but was just waiting for the opportunity to do something with him. Pippin was the first thing he wrote out of school, and we actually went to the same school, so I did kind of feel a little bad that I wasn't as aware of the show as I should have been. But it's great because I came into this with a blank canvas and I was able to kind of create on my own and be surprised and just let it all happen in the moment, and not have it be, "Oh it should be like this because this is what I remember it being."
Was this your first time dancing Fosse's moves?
This is my first foray into Fosse. You know that's one thing that people are surprised about. Everyone keeps asking me like, "Have you ever danced before?" And I have to say, I'm a mover and a dancer. I studied in school. I wouldn't call myself a ballerina, but dance is a language I know and Fosse just works so well with my body. I love everything about it and when I got the role I worked day in and day out to perfect it the best way I knew how. I'm still learning, but it's such a good language, dance, and the fact that I get to do it on Broadway is pretty fantastic.
What's your favorite Broadway show in general?
Well listen I grew up in the South and I wasn't afforded the opportunity to see a lot of theater but I do remember looking at stuff in the library and watching the Tony Awards to get my snippet of the shows that were going on. I think one of my favorites, because it was just one of the shows that I thought, 'Oh my God I could be a part of this,' was Dreamgirls. I've always loved it. And Annie was the first musical I was in. I played Miss Hannigan when I was 13. That was when my mom was like, "Ok she's serious about this." From there everything just kind of happened and she was on board.
The chorus in this adaptation is played by circus performers. What was it like working with them?
The one thing that I love, and that I've learned about them, is that they are so committed to their craft. Their skill set is very, very risky. A couple of them come from circus families so it's all they know and to watch them do something that they've done since they were 10 and not have any sort of like, "Oh I'm frightened by this." They just do it. I think that's why the show is the way it is now, because we're all there together and we're all doing this piece of theater together that is kind of death-defying. Pippin is all about being extraordinary and taking risks and everyone is physically taking risks.
In one part you're holding up a hula hoop that an acrobat jumps through -- was that scary?
In the beginning I was like, "Oh my God, please don't let me mess this up for him," but then it became this sort of trust. I'm not from the circus, but he trusted me from the beginning--everybody has. It's the trust that you have to put into the other people on stage and that's been the most amazing thing. I put the hula hoop up, someone on the side whispers and lets me know if it needs to be higher and he just launches himself. But I gotta tell you when we first got into that room I was like, "Ok how is this going to work? How is this person going to be doing flips and I'm right here under them? Are they going to fall on me? I know they're good at what they do, but things happen so it was a lot of like watching out and being cautious and a little scared--but that all went away very quickly. We all became a team.
The thigh-high boots you wear in Pippin are amazing! Your costume's a little different than your costume in Sister Act...
It is! Let me tell you, it's nice to be out of that habit. I mean no offense, but I was in the habit a long time. I love my Pippin costume -- it's so slick and I feel like it has an attitude to it with the boots and glued-on pants. You know who's in charge.
What's the worst costume you've ever had to wear?
Oh Jesus lord, let me tell you. I did this show in school called Marisol and, I don't know why but someone had the nerve to put it on YouTube, so I went back and I saw this costume and it was the rattiest. I was supposed to be a war angel and and I was a little bit chubbier because it's college and things happen in college and I had these acid wash striped huge jeans, baggy and tom boyish with these huge angel wings and this makeup -- I think I had pastel purple eye shadow. And then the biggest white t-shirt with paint splattered all over it. The fact that someone let me wear that for a show--I was a little upset about it. I can't believe it's out there. If you try to look it up, you're welcome.
Matilda, based on the much beloved children's book by notorious weirdo Roald Dahl (Willy Wonka etc.), is the biggest thing to hit musical theater in recent memory. Now that's it come across the pond from the UK to the States, will we find out if this kid is over-hyped or truly gifted? Find out in our full review!
Jekyll & Hyde
After almost six months of touring, Jekyll & Hyde has landed on Broadway. That should be good news for audiences and creator Frank Wildhorn alike. Having been given almost half a year to perfect their show, this may be the first of his many productions to recoup its cost and actually turn a profit on the Great White Way. Find out if this perennial beast has a good side in our full review of Jekyll & Hyde!
One of the cleverest writers working in theater today, Doulgas Carter Beene, has penned a play about the fabulous but closeted world of Gay New York in the '30s, as told through the lens of the seedy world of Depression-era burlesque? We're in! But wait there's more you say? Nathan Lane is the lead? Marvelous! Of course we did recently re-watch 1996's The Bird Cage and Mr. Lane's portrayal of a rather similar character no longer hit the right notes in 2013's progressive climate of marriage equality. Let's see if going back in time another 60 years provides a deeper take on what it means to be gay in America.
1. Nicki Minaj is going to be in a movie (a non-animated one). She'll play Cameron Diaz's "opinionated" assistant at a law firm -- who also happens to be on her third marriage -- in the revenge comedy The Other Woman. We need to see this, stat. [via THR]
2. David Bowie was reportedly seen in NYC shooting a new music video. Bowie was spotted wearing monk robes and Gary Oldman was spotted on set wearing priest's clothing. We're very excited. [via Pitchfork]
3. We love Jourdan Dunn. [via Fashionista]
4. The Bellgrove Hostel in Glasglow is now ranked as one of TripAdvisor's top 100 places to stay in Britain after a bunch of pranksters gave it 5-star reviews complete with descriptions of high-end amenities it doesn't have. [Thanks Abby!]
4. 30 new subway stations throughout Manhattan now have WiFi and cell service! The full list is here.
5. According to a survey from Ashley Madison -- a website which helps cheaters connect with other cheaters -- adulterers in New York tend to gravitate towards upscale chain restaurants around 6:30 as their preferred time and place to have dinner with their "other" men and women. So if anyone ever invites us to a sexy 6:30 dinner date at a midtown chain, we'll run.
6. On May 2nd, The Red Bull Music Academy is throwing a party called "Drone Activity In Progress" at the Knockdown Center. Stephen O'Malley, Kim Gordon and other will be performing on three stages and there will even be pizza from Roberta's. As with any event that serves Roberta's, we'll probably be there. [via Press Release]