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  • 06/14/13--14:20: Behold: Simpsons Converse
  • The_Simpsons_CTAS_Bart_Left.jpg
    Converse is releasing a small collection of shoes based off of everyone's favorite animated family from Springfield! The Simpsons Chuck Taylor All Star Collection will be available online and in stores tomorrow, and ranges from $37-$65. Check out all the styles below, and think about how much easier your life will be when you can just point at your feet instead of screaming "Woo-Hoo!" and "D'Oh."

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  • 06/14/13--14:25: Kanye West: Man of Steel
  • superman_kanye.jpg

    (Image via)

    Hesta Prynn A.jpeg

    In this weekly column, MC/DJ Hesta Prynn pairs pop culture stories with an original playlist.

    Summertime blockbusters are here! Man of Steel, the Zack Snyder-directed Superman reboot, comes out today and I couldn't be more excited. A major memory from my childhood is watching Superman II on the VCR over and over again. (Imagine my surprise upon learning years later that Terence Stamp was a "real" actor.) At the same time Kanye West, arguably the Superman of the music biz, is preparing to release his new record Yeezus in the most dramatic way possible. In this week's Five 'n' Five I pair some of the best Superman characters with their Kanye-penned theme songs.

    General Zod: "Jesus Walks"

    "We eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast."

    If a leather and velour tracksuit is good enough for the head of the Kryptonian military, it should be good enough for you. Zod is a megalomaniacal warlord in all-black errythang who can walk on water. Kinda like Yeezy, minus the "walk on water" part. I live for him.

    Lois Lane: "Love Lockdown"

    "I can't keep myself and still keep you too."

    This relationship has been shrouded in lies and secrecy from the start. How can it ever possibly work between Clark Kent and Lois Lane? Take a note from Jay and Bey - superheroes need to date superheroes.

    Lex Luthor: "Touch the Sky"

    "I gotta testify, come up in the spot looking extra fly."

    A mad scientist of high intelligence and technological prowess, Luthor was best portrayed by Gene Hackman in the original Superman film. His seventies fashions were impeccable: wide-collared polyester shirts, large gold medallions and a bald head. Key line: MISS TESCHMACHER!

    Brainiac: "Monster"

    "Everybody know I'm a motherfuckin monster!"

    A bald, green-skinned humanoid who would straight up shrink yo' city, Brainiac was one of the baddest mofo's in Superman comics history. Basically counting the seconds until we can see him on the big screen in full CGI glory.

    Superman: "Power"

    "I guess every superhero needs his theme music."

    Christopher Reeve's Superman was wholesome and socially awkward. Dean Cain's was a dorky family man. Brandon Routh's was a snooze, Tom Welling's was hot and George Reeves was just, well, doughy. By contrast, Henry Cavill's Man of Steel is said to be dark and angry.

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    Welcome to our Friday GIF roundup, featuring a collection of this week's most important, amusing and/or newsy GIFs and GIF sets by Mike Hayes of Buzzfeed and Gifhound.

    So Kanye's new album leaked today. I wonder, on a scale of one to this, how upset he is about it? [via Hey Veronica]

    anigif_enhanced-buzz-27414-1370833354-0.gifThe NBA finals have been pretty good, I'd say. Lebron has been playing pretty well, I'd say. [via Buzzfeed]

    tumblr_moeaht9B5L1qavkpxo2_500.gifCat. Croissant. Cat. Croissant. [via Max Sebela]

    tumblr_moe0msIuvR1qiavcao1_400.giftumblr_moe0msIuvR1qiavcao2_400.gifThe evolution of the S. [via Daily Dot]

    tumblr_moblrlKbUK1qhetyoo1_500.giftumblr_moblrlKbUK1qhetyoo2_400.gifPSA: This new meme is excellent. Super smash! [via Lonely Hearts Death Metal]

    tumblr_mo9qswP7gl1s6b4h0o1_400.gifOther PSA: Life will never be perfect because this will never exist. [via A Little Messed Up in the Tree House]

    This bird has more swagger than probably any other bird I've ever seen. [via Too Tricky]

    tumblr_mo1i1gP0vh1rp8v27o1_500.gifMan, pepperoni makes everything look edible. [via Extraterrestrial Dad]

    tumblr_mo0o5fZE5z1qa3emao1_500.giftumblr_mo0o5fZE5z1qa3emao2_500.giftumblr_mo0o5fZE5z1qa3emao3_500.gifAnyone else wish that these two would just date so that we could all be happy all the time? [via I'm Sirius]

    tumblr_mo86sqO6U31rm9sqwo1_400.gifAnd finally...boxing cats! I think that guy might be Hitler. [via Ok Kult Motion Pictures]

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    Move over, "22" -- Taylor Swift's newest anthem is here and it's called "Glitter and Ribs." Just kidding: it's Billy Eichner dressed in Taylor Swift drag! The parody music video finds Eichner trying to pull off Swift's endless procession of white and red sundresses while singing about grills, and, of course, about the hardships of love. Though you'll never be able to un-see Billy making come-hither faces through his wig, with lyrics like "with burgers on the grill / and sparkles on my eyes / he served me a fib with a side of lies," there's still so much to love here.

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    Jay-Z rapping to Marina Abramović [via CEDAR Vine]

    Earlier today, we got wind that Jay-Z was filming the video for Magna Carta Holy Grail track "Picasso Baby" inside Pace Gallery and decided to find out if Hova was "blowing up some Jeff Koons balloons or putting George Condos in his condo." And, actually, that wasn't far off. As we got there, we ran into Condo himself making his way inside the gallery, while police, crew and posh art and fashion types were scattered around the entrance to the studio. Publicists and other reps could be seen swiftly escorting VIPs inside the gallery's inner sanctum where Jay-Z was shooting a video that, from the looks of the Instagram photos below, will be more along the lines of an Marina Abramović performance piece, especially since word is, he's rapping "Picasso Baby" for six hours straight. Throughout the shoot, Jay-Z was dancing in the middle of the gallery with curator and Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg or rapping (and encircling) Abramović herself (above) while Judd Apatow, Girls' Adam Driver, designer Cynthia Rowley, artist/mother of Lena Dunham Laurie Simmons and New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz looked on. Check out photos, Vines and Instagram videos from the scene above and below.

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 3.39.02 PM.pngJay-Z dancing with RoseLee Goldberg [via liachavez Instagram]

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 3.51.37 PM.png
    Jay-Z and Jerry Saltz [via nately Instagram]

    Jay-Z rapping "Picasso Baby" for a seated guest [Ed note: Could that be Mickalene Thomas?] [via kiamak Instagram]

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    As we all know, Amanda Bynes, adrift in a world of wigs, court appearances and Twitter meltdowns, has taken to calling celebrities ugly out of the blue. No one is safe -- not Jay-Z, not Jason Biggs and not even the girl who came in at #1 on Maxim's Hot 100 List, Miley Cyrus. The irony, of course, is that every person she's ever accused of being ugly are all attractive. (You can see a complete list of the Bynes-deemed uggos of the world here, if you need any convincing.) It was tough, but we've selected the top ten hottest people (in no particular order) who Amanda Bynes wouldn't mind dropping a bong on.

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 1.47.52 PM.png"Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are ugly!" -- @AmandaBynes, July 8

    The Obamas
    FLOTUS has the best guns in the game (and, we'd add, some of the best brows) and, like a fine wine, the prez has only gotten better with age. Can't the Obamas just adopt Amanda and give her a character-building summer job working in the White House vegetable garden?

    drake-mom-1.jpg"The only person uglier than Drake is his mom" -- @AmandaBynes, June 28

    Drake's Mom
    Drake is cute. Drake's mom is really cute. (And really lilliputian-looking when she stands next to her 6'0 son!)

    Zac-Efron-showed-off-his-six-pack-abs-Shirtless-Photo.jpg"@zacefron has an ugly face" -- @AmandaBynes, June 27

    Zac Efron
    The man's hair alone has spawned thousands of YouTube tutorials.

    500px-Rupaul_blackpink_final.jpg "My dad is as ugly as RuPaul! So thankful I look nothing like you both!" --  @AmandaBynes, June 2nd

    Not only does Ru look fierce all of the time -- as proven by this compilation of every runway look RuPaul has ever worn -- but her wig, hair and makeup game is something Amanda (and everyone else) should aspire to. Sashay away before you get hurt, girl.

    lookpurdy-e28093-rihanna-in-tom-ford-e28093-2012-met-gala-2.jpg"[@Rihanna] unlike ur fugly faced self I don't do drugs! U need the intervention dog! I met ur ugly face in person! U aren't pretty u know it!" -- @AmandaBynes, May 26

    Curious about the intervention dog. Is he a golden retriever who signals to you with his kindly older eyes, one paw on your knee, "u r fugly?" We'd love to rent him for the next Paper party.   

    2011jasonbell02.jpg"Courtney Love is the ugliest woman I've ever seen" -- @AmandaBynes, May 28

    Courtney Love
    We'll let Love handle this one:

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 3.39.05 PM.png

    Jason_Biggs_Caught.jpg"@jasonbiggs you're so ugly I won't talk to you" -- @AmandaBynes, June 15

    Jason Biggs
    Biggs really got to the heart of the matter when he Tweeted that Amanda's "self-hatred really must stop." Which, if anything, makes him even cuter than he was during his American Pie days.  

    Miley-Cyrus-V-Magazine-7.png"@mileycyrus ur ugly" -- @AmandaBynes, June 12

    Miley Cyrus
    How can you resist the sexier, punky new look that Miley debuted in May? We certainly couldn't. Neither could V.

    3016571_orig.jpg"Macklemore The Singer Has An Ugly Face." -- @AmandaBynes, July 3

    What about Macklemore The Rapper?

    bps_sarahhyland.jpg"@mattpro13 your girlfriend [Sarah Hyland] has an ugly face like you" -- @AmandaBynes, June 15

    Sarah Hyland

    Bynes might do well to remember what Hyland said when she was featured in the 2013 Beautiful People issue: "Beauty is such a loaded word, but sometimes, when people focus on outer things that ultimately don't matter, I think of this saying that goes: 'Maybe if she ate her makeup, she'd be more beautiful.'"

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    Nirvana's In Utero is turning 20 and being reissued this September, which means there's no better time to revisit their crazy TV promo featuring Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic lying on gym mats, pregnant, and giving birth to dolls. Jay-Z's Samsung ad's got nothing on this. [via Uproxx]

    tumblr_mpnpz8bfiD1r03eaxo1_500.jpgThis image alone reminds us of the fact that c. 1993-1998 we had recurring dreams/fantasies where we got to meet MJ IRL. It still hasn't happened. [via Tall Whitney]

    tumblr_mpq63e2UDf1qe0wclo1_500.jpgThis balloon is doing more for the environmental protest than half those people holding signs. [via The Clearly Dope]

    Singer AHI and his daughter made an adorable -- and very well-done -- cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry." That salty discharge on your face? Sentimental tears. [via Hyper Vocal]

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 6.54.12 PM.pngNo, that's not a Real House Wife of Orange County, that's Goldie Hawn. [via I'm With Kanye]

    "What We Say Vs. What We Think (After the Bar)" is a 70% accurate portrayal of two people about to have a one night stand. They'd get the other 30% accuracy rating if the couple was a) a little bit drunker and b) nervously holding wine glasses/beer cans that they either are chugging or completely ignoring/not taking a single sip from.  [via Buzzfeed]

    We don't totally know what's going on here but this "Booty In The Air" video is kind of fabulous. [via Afternoon Snooze Button]

    tumblr_motxqug53j1rjcfxro1_400.gifHappy Thursday! [via Coin Farts]

    Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 7.01.08 PM.png"Hot Malm": The Ikea-themed porn parody site for Malm bed fetishists. We hear there's some really kinky shit when Malm teams up with Hemnes. [via Buzzfeed]

    Behold, men twerking to clASSical music. [via HuffPo Comedy]

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    The trailer for the trainwreck/best movie of the decade The Canyons is here and it looks as hideously acted and trashy as any Lifetime movie -- or, you know, as dramatic as the actual making of The Canyons. Through the shades of X Pro II-esque lighting, dubstep and some freshman lit meta-commentary on Lindsay Lohan's life (Lohan's character on movies: "Maybe it's just not my thing any more"; Lohan's character on everyone staying out of her business: "I guess I'd like to keep some parts of my life private.") emerges a bare-bones sketch of a storyline about how James Deen's character makes porn and Lohan's character maybe feels conflicted about that or something. Only one thing is certain: there will be a PAPER field-trip to see The Canyons when it opens on August 2nd and everyone is invited.

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    The xx's Jamie xx made a recent remix of "Sunset" and, to accompany the track, the group pieced together this hypnotic footage of a woman in a black and white tracksuit dancing in what appears to be a late '70s/early '80s French music or variety show. (Global Grind says the woman in question is French singer and ZE Records artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux performing the song "Fire.") Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a split-second cameo by Serge Gainsbourg at the very beginning.

    "Sunset" appears on Coexist, out now via Young Turks.

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    D.C. soul singer Raheem DeVaughn calls himself the Love King, which would be a bold move even if the title hadn't been appropriated by The-Dream on his third album. Still, DeVaughn has some expertise on his subject, with three love-themed albums under his belt: 2005's The Love Experience2008's Love Behind the Melody, and 2010's Grammy-nominated, Cornel West-narrated The Love & War MasterPeace. Now separated from his former label, DeVaughn is gearing up to release A Place Called Loveland on August 20. He recently visited the PAPER offices to perform and chat.

    How did you get to A Place Called Loveland?

    The last album, the deluxe double-CD version is like 28 joints. So I felt like I gave the fans a lot of music to live with. I felt like that was some of my best body of work to date. Every other album is pretty much socially conscious-slash-love, and then the next album will be like a love think-tank album. So I'm back to the love think-tank album.

    I think music constantly changes and I think we're in a '90s phase of R&B, it's like a futuristic '90s phase of R&B, and that's where I fit in. Definitely back to the future right now.

    Your last album was a mix of love songs and socially conscious songs. This one is all love songs. Would you ever do the reverse and do a record with no love songs?

    Yeah, eventually. I think that's where it's headed for me. Socially conscious music, folk music, I want to be able to do just the guy with the guitar, tour the world like that. Citizen Cope is a friend of mine, he's also from DC, and I'm a huge fan of his work. He was on my last album, the song "Nobody Wins a War." We've been following each other's careers. I know that right now he's doing a tour that's just him and his guitar. And he's selling it out night after night. I think the fans want that -- they like the raw and unplugged version.

    You've taken to calling yourself the Love King, and giving love advice. What's your authority?

    It can be misconstrued some times. You come off arrogant if you don't have an explanation for it. It's more like the "Love King" in the sense that, from a relationship standpoint, my music brings people together. From all walks of life. Race doesn't matter, none of that matters, whether it's for a lifetime or for a moment. More importantly, I feel like all of us as individuals, we're royalty. That's how you should demand to be treated. Definitely in A Place Called Loveland, you should be the Love King, and your significant other should be the Love Queen. It's really just about telling the listeners and the music lovers, "We're all royalty." I try to make a habit to refer to everybody, if I'm talking to a homie or whatever, to call him the King.

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    summer_kim.jpgI know, I know. It's been beaten to death, but I can't help but continue to wonder why the Met Ball (celebrating the opening of the Costume Institute show Punk: Chaos to Couture) was so cringe-worthy this year. This spring, the Metropolitan Museum's fashion exhibit and annual gala -- usually the pinnacle of fabulous glamour and spectacle for the who's who in the world of fashion stars and fashionable stars -- seemed painfully awkward and a bit wrong. Was it because the show itself was lacking a connection to the culture that inspired it? Was it watching the fashion and celeb VIPs celebrate this raw, radical, angry culture that they would have never gone near with a 10-foot pole had they been around it when it was actually happening? Was it Billy Norwich chitchatting about punk with the rich and famous on the red carpet? Or January Jones musing about her Siouxie Sioux-inspired eye makeup? Sarah Jessica Parker's Mohawk hat? Oy.


    Artist Paul McCarthy's subversive "Balloon Dog" at Frieze art fair

    Brit fashion critic Suzy Menkes asked in her review, "How could Andrew Bolton, the brilliant and cerebral museum curator, whose blockbuster shows have included the Alexander McQueen retrospective and last year's fusion of Elsa Schiaparelli with Miuccia Prada, have made punk seem so dull?" Ultimately defending the premise of the show (if not the execution), Menkes mused, "The true punks -- those who lived and survived that moment -- should find an exquisite irony in the idea that their no-future kick at a dead-end society should, 40 years on, have moved from a defiant statement from society's impoverished and self-proclaimed social outcasts to a display of clothes for global celebrities and the super-rich having a ball."

    The Economist ran a piece last month on the subject, titled simply "An Embarrassment," declaring that "doing punk through the clothes is like trying to do hippiedom with peace symbols. Punk was never about the threads." They also pointed out that to look at punk only through the attire, rather than the beliefs, is to make a cultural error. "How on earth were A-list celebrities ever expected to pull off the 'fuck you' look?... Punk was never going to work at a society bash because the women couldn't bring themselves to make the necessary departures from style....How can a slavish attention to fashion ideals be counter-cultural? How do fabulous jewels and ludicrously expensive accessories express the ideology of the angry and dispossessed?"


    Courtney Love stars in Hedi Slimane's punk Saint Laurent campaign

    I couldn't resist asking my favorite radical-thinking friend (and Paper's senior editor), the curator and underground culture hero Carlo McCormick, to weigh in. He told me, "Though I haven't seen the show at the Met, my suspicions are that it is wrong in every way and that its failure goes to the more problematic way that fashion is used to co-opt the radical energies of youth culture. The '60s were not about bangles and beads, though it was a convenient package for the industry to use to commodify what was of course an anti-materialist sensibility. Similarly, grunge was not about flannel shirts and lumberjack attire -- it was, in fact, about repurposing the energies of the punk era that had somehow failed most spectacularly in America.

    The legacy of punk rock is not torn T-shirts, safety pins, black leather, Mohawks, fishnets, fetish-wear or crazy-colored hair dyes. I hesitate to call anyone 'punk' who is not of that generation. These things are, after all, particular to their era, but on a more general level I think we can see punk attitudes and strategies still today."


    Vivienne Westwood pays proper tribute to punk at the Met gala, January Jones does not.

    Carlo's right. Although the Costume Institute's recent show is definitely not one of them, brave punk-inspired cultural moments are happening in front of our noses (even in mainstream culture) every day. Many applauded Vivienne Westwood's dis of the Costume Institute show on (asked what pieces in the show were her favorites, Westwood said she liked her own designs and would leave it at that) and her in-your-face support of the whistle-blowing WikiLeaks hero Bradley Manning (she wore a laminated photo of Manning safety-pinned to her gown on the red carpet at the Met Ball). Hedi Slimane's shocking Fall 2013 show for Saint Laurent, which horrified many reeked of a punk mentality -- and consequently shook the foundation of the 51-year-old French fashion house. And talk about a dis -- look at Paul McCarthy's gigantic balloon dog sculptures at this year's Frieze New York -- enough to give Koons collectors apoplexy.

    And thank God the kids are continuing the punk legacy. Just last week I was invited to the premiere of a new film made by some friends called Pig Death Machine. As the director Jon Moritsugu (also known in the underground scene for cult classics like Fame Whore and Mod Fuck Explosion) and his wife Amy Davis (a former Paper contributor, who stars in all his films) explained in their press release, the "triumphant" film is about "a brainless bimbo who is transformed into a total genius after eating rotten meat while a misanthropic punk botanist babe gains the power to talk to plants." Pig Death Machine even includes some glittery "bacon animation!"


    Still from the underground film Pig Death Machine

    Somehow I can't picture fashion editors, stylists and hot celebrities getting half as excited about Pig Death Machine as they did about the very un-punk-like fashion exhibit at the Met. But have no fear, because remember what Heidi Klum always says about fashion on Project Runway: "One day you're in and the next day you're out." I'd bet money that all this punk talk is moot by now and that fashion peeps will soon declare punk passé as they steel themselves to hop onto the next big thing. How punk is that?

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    GtoG_Cookbook_Cover.jpgFamed chef Alfred Portale recently released his fourth cookbook, The Gotham Bar and Grill Greenmarket to Gotham Recipe Journal. Not only does Greenmarket to Gotham feature 36 original vegetarian recipes to take you through the summer season, a portion of the proceeds benefit GrowNYC's educational initiatives. We chatted with Portale about why he chose to self-publish, which '80s-era dishes he's embarrassed of, and how annoying restaurant specials can be.

    Even respected writers like David Mamet are self-publishing these days. Why did you decide to go in that direction?

    The genesis for the book was to celebrate our relationship with the farmers and the Greenmarket to Gotham program, where we've been involved in buying produce for over 25 years. We wanted something to happen very quickly, have the book out at the start of the season. With the conventional route it usually takes a year. We're changing the menu each week and we wanted to capture the moment.

    If it sells well, the idea is you'll make a higher percentage of profits than if you'd gone through a conventional publisher.

    I hadn't thought of it that way initially, but yes.

    Your previous cookbooks weren't vegetarian. Why this one?

    We decided to pick a farm from the Greenmarket for each week of the summer: twelve farms, twelve weeks, twelve menus, so vegetables needed to be the center of attention. It really forced us to think outside the box.

    Did you use a ghostwriter when creating Greenmarket to Gotham?

    I did not write [the prose], but I wrote all the recipes. Bret Csencsitz, Gotham's general manager and operating partner, wrote a little bit of it and his wife Cassandra wrote the majority of it. I must say she is a gifted writer. She wrote the head notes about the recipes, interviewed me and the farmers.

    When you're developing recipes for the restaurant, do you ever have failures?

    That doesn't happen. There are certainly some miscues in the development of a dish, but everything I do is meticulously thought through and planned. There's a lot of tasting of the components and once we get it to where we want it, only then does it go on the menu. We've never run so-called 'specials.'

    When I first moved to New York, I was really naïve and thought when I ordered a 'special' at a restaurant that meant it would be cheaper. I learned the hard way it could be twice as much as something on the menu.

    I never really understood specials. I always used to think: Isn't everything on the menu special? Restaurants don't always tell the prices when they're listing specials verbally; they don't want to print fifty-two dollars on the menu. At Gotham we have what we call 'page three,' listing dishes that go on the menu on a weekly basis, and that's the only page we print every night because I don't like to waste paper. There are some funny Italian restaurants where they tell you about twenty specials, like Rao's. Rao's is the real deal. Carbone has that whole shtick, too. It's a really cool space and they're great chefs, but it seems slightly contrived, the waiters out of central casting. It's a minor criticism. I still think it's a great restaurant.

    Are there any chefs you mentored [including Wylie Dufresne, Tom Colicchio, Diane Forley, David Walzog, Scott Bryan and Bill Telepan] who have surprised you with their success?

    There have been a lot of successful chefs who have come through here and I'm reluctant to take credit for their success. Working here you can garner a lot of practical, organizational-type knowledge, plus we use a lot of great techniques like other chefs do. If you had worked at Charlie Trotter's you might have forty cooks working on twenty plates, which doesn't necessarily translate well to other restaurants, it's so rarefied.

    Where have you enjoyed eating recently?

    One place I've been recommending is Pearl & Ash. They have a phenomenal wine program developed by Patrick Cappiello, who used to be at Veritas and has relationships with collectors. He has lots of different wines with age on consignment and just marks them up a little bit. The food is very interesting.

    Do you compost at Gotham Bar and Grill? It seems like the mayor is planning to mandate it.

    No. I wish we could but I don't see how. The amount of compostable stuff we create in a day would blow your mind, but we don't have a way of hauling it away. You kind of have to pick your battles. We do recycle our cooking oil.

    In Gotham Bar & Grill's early years it was famous for vertical, architectural food. Is any of that in the cookbook?

    No. Plating is very typical, not like the olden days when we did tall.

    Do you ever get embarrassed by looking back at the things you did in the '80s?

    I have never felt embarrassed about the skyscrapers we used to do. Well, yeah, maybe a dish here and there. Today things are much more sophisticated.

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    Last month, Michael Holman launched a Kickstarter campaign to release a 30th-anniversary DVD of Graffiti Rock, the first nationally-syndicated hip-hop TV show, whose pilot aired the weekend of June 19, 1984. Holman plans to use the funding, as well as his years of experience in television production, to make an hourlong documentary about the show he created and hosted. Despite its influence (it was sampled by the Beastie Boys and formed the basis for Gnarls Barkley's "Run" video), Graffiti Rock might not be the most impressive achievement in a career that runs from Basquiat to Blue's Clues. We got Holman to narrate some of the cultural developments he's witnessed and shaped.

    New York's proto-hip-hop subculture:

    I grew up an army brat all over Europe and the United States. And when my dad was stationed in Vietnam in '66, we moved to California. That was where I grew up. Went to the University of San Francisco. In the beginning of my sophomore year, that summer, I visited the East Coast. Coming to New York in '74 was a real mind-blower. It kind of sets the stage for hip-hop later.

    Our version of glam was 1930s zoot-suit thrift-shop gear.

    Visiting New York with my cousins and their friend, I witness this amazing scene at the Bethesda fountain in Central Park on the East Side, near 72nd Street. It was a whole like urban disco outdoor party that was populated for the most part by uptown kids. Black and Puerto Rican, white kids, but all down with this urban disco vibe. There were fifty or more boom boxes planted all around the fountain area, all tuned to WBLS playing the sickest tracks. MFSB, "Love is the Message," and the Trammps, all of these amazing tracks from the height of disco. Kids hanging out there wearing this fashion, it was like this thrift-shop aesthetic that kids wore in New York. It was the American version of glam fashion. Going on at the exact same time as London was having its glam moment, with T. Rex and Bowie and everything, except that in New York, and to a lesser extent in San Francisco and L.A., it was much more of an R&B/disco music sound. That was our indigenous glam movement. And the fashion, instead of it being like space-age glam shit that you'd see in London, our version of glam was 1930s zoot-suit thrift-shop gear. This is something you do not hear very much about today. You do not see very many pictures of this period. Even though it was massive at the time, it's not very well documented. The band that really rocked that fashion was Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band.

    Anyway, so I came and visited New York and bought that gear and went back to San Francisco just turned on by that whole look. Guys would wear peg-leg pants, with pajama-top-type tank-tops; girls would wear 1940s and '50s summer dresses with penciled-in eyebrows and 1940s hairdos.

    Going on tour with glam-rock band the Tubes:

    So I bought all this gear, and when I went back home to San Francisco after this couple-of-week trip to the East Coast, I'm going out to the clubs. As a straight guy, I would oftentimes go out to the gay clubs because it was so easy to pick out all the models. I went to one of these clubs called the Cabaret, dressed in my whole New York gear, and Michael Cotten from the Tubes is there with another good friend of his. They spot me, and they go up to me and they go, "Oh man, are you from New York?" This would have been probably the summer of '75.

    (Holman appears at 5:11)

    He had seen me dancing, and I was a really good dancer, and he invites me to be in the cast of thousands at the end of their show at Winterland when they do "White Punks on Dope." This show was perfect timing because that was the time that they blew up. From then on they became a household name all across the country. You just don't have a sense of it today. They were in every newspaper, every town we showed up in, it was like major news! There were people there protesting that we were irreverent, saying bad things about religion, or there was a lot of nudity.


    Holman (right) onstage with the Lewdettes. Courtesy Michael Holman

    That was my baptism into show business. It was my introduction into theater and to performance art, what I learned from the Tubes, and especially from Michael Cotten and Prairie Prince. The two of them were the visual force behind the Tubes. They designed all the sets. It could easily be the most fun I ever had in my life, on the road with the Tubes. I had my own groupies, I had chicks that wanted my autograph, and I wasn't even a musician in the band, I was just a character onstage!

    Moving to New York and starting the no-wave band Gray:

    I dropped out for a year to join the Tubes. Went back to school to get my degree. I was an economics major. I come to New York and got a job soon after arriving here working at Chemical Bank. A lot of people think that was crazy, that I was a Wall Street banker. But I was, for a year, working on Wall Street during the day and then at night going out to CBGB's, Max's Kansas City, Mudd Club, you name it. Mickey One's, the Ocean Club, all these great spots that were in New York at the time. And gradually realizing that I didn't belong in any structured world, I belonged with these artists, partying and clubbing and writing and painting.

    When you're in a band with Jean-Michel Basquiat, you're not going to be doing anything that anyone can accuse you of being boring.

    The first, most important creative venture in my young artistic life was meeting Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Canal Zone party and he and I starting Gray together. A lot of the Tubes' theatrical DNA was used in some of the sets that I would design for Gray. It was very theatrical but in a fine art way, like the "ignorant geodesic dome," things that would look good in a museum. And we played CBGB's and we played the Mudd Club and we played Tier Three and Hurrah's.

    You had bands like James Chance and you had the Del-Byzanteens, you had the Girls, which was George Condo's band. The scene had been set with the no wave bands and the new wave bands. We were like, "We see what's out there and we want to do something different and better and more interesting." You know, when you're in a band with Jean-Michel Basquiat, you're not going to be doing anything that anyone can accuse you of being boring or like anybody else or trying to follow the trends. But at the same time, being inspired by musique concrète, Stockhausen, John Cage. I think one of our biggest influences, certainly mine, was This Heat.

    When Nick Taylor joined the band -- who, he and I are now Gray today -- we started rehearsing at his apartment on West 82nd. [Now] we perform not as frequently as most bands because we mainly perform in museums. We're working on our second album. It's pretty exciting, we're gonna have people like Sal Principato from Liquid Liquid, trying to get some of the artists from Bush Tetras, and Al Diazfrom Samo. We're trying to make it like an all-star thing from the downtown scene. We really want to get Jim Jarmusch. Do you know him?

    Documenting hip-hop:When Jean blew up from the P.S. 1 show [New York/New Wave] in '81, he quit the band, because he didn't want to be distracted, which I understand, and the band kind of fell apart because of that. That was my time to really delve into filmmaking. My first actor in my first film was Vincent Gallo. We made a film together called Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ. It's kind of a famous film. It must be twelve or thirteen seconds long. It's like an art film, shot on Super 8, and it was his first film, it was my first film. We did other films, too, short art films.


    Still from "Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ"

    One of the things I wanted to film was what I'd been hearing about, these guys called breakdancers who could spin on their heads, perfectly in the milieu of the kind of films I was making. That surrealistic imagery, and human claymation-type filmmaking I was making, using in-camera editing and whatnot, somebody spinning on their head made perfect sense. So I was hunting these guys down, and I went to a party that Henry Chalfant threw in the Lower East Side called Graffiti Rock, funny enough, which is where I got the name from, years later, unconsciously.

    I go to this Graffiti Rock event, and actually it didn't happen because it was broken up by the Ballbusters, this gang that had beef with the Rock Steady Crew, who were performing at the event. I ran into some breakdancers outside: IBM, the Incredible Break Masters. I said, "Are you breakdancers?" "Yeah, yeah!" "Well can you spin on your head?" And they're like, "We're not gonna do that on the concrete sidewalk." So I got to know them, they gave me their numbers and we became friends, and I went to visit them, they showed me what they did, and I started taking them downtown and filming them. I filmed them at this club called Interferon and I filmed them at the Mudd Club. I thought, "People have to get hip to this!"

    Nightclubs as social networks:It's quite easy to meet people in this town. You'd be at an art event or something and you'd be introduced to somebody. Fab Five Freddy, early on in '79, kind of introduced me to the whole scene. And then I'd go up to the Bronx, and when you know [Afrika] Bambaataa you'd meet other people in his sphere. I forget how I met Phase Two, but Phase Two was very much a liaison for me to connect to a lot of people and places and things and concepts that were going on uptown that I didn't know about. Once you start meeting a few people, then it snowballs. Especially if you want to find them, if you're fascinated by it, if you're looking for it, it comes to you, in New York.


    Holman's Soul Party installation at the Mudd Club, 1981. Photo courtesy Michael Holman

    We didn't have social media. You had to meet people in a much more human way, on a much more human scale. You'd meet people at clubs all the time. Back in the day the nightclub was the singular most critical way to build your network of friends and collaborators and contacts. Which was great, because you could have fun, get high, oftentimes get laid, dance, do all kinds of things, while you could make the excuse that you were working.

    The Mudd Club, singularly, was that. The Mudd Club was this super-networking club that had different themes going on almost every other week. I did one myself, an installation that covered the whole club called the Soul Party, it was a real seminal party at the Mudd Club. There would be all kinds. The Dead Rock Star party. The Combat party.

    Making hip-hop history:

    Malcolm [McLaren] ask[ed] me to put together a revue to open up for Bow Wow Wow at the Ritz, which is now Webster Hall, on East 11th street, September 15, 1981. [It] includes DJ Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Jazzy Jay, the Rock Steady Crew, graf artist Kel-1, my film "Catch a Beat," which is part of this footage I'm shooting of these breakdancers and everything, which turns out to be the first hip-hop film. I had graffiti pieces by Rammellzee up on the wall. DJ High Priest, who is Nick Taylor from Gray, performed, not only did he perform on the turntables, but he played audio tape loops, which was completely bugged. On the mic you had Ikey C, Fab Five Freddy jumped on the mic, Futura jumped on the mic, it was crazy. You had all the four major elements of hip-hop in front of an audience really for the first time in history.


    "Hip hop'"s first print appearance: East Village Eye, January 1982. Photo courtesy Michael Holman

    And Ruza Blue, who was a friend of Malcolm, has a night at Negril, invites me to bring that revue every Thursday night. And that took off like wildfire. That really turned the whole downtown hipster scene in the East Village onto what was going on uptown without them having to risk life and limb going up to the Bronx to witness it themselves. And so it also allowed the local national and international press and film and television media to come to this very convenient club downtown in Manhattan to witness all of this, to then take it to the rest of the world, as much as they did. I think there might have been only 8 or 9 evenings, some in '81 and some in '82, but we had people like Grand Wizzard Theodore and Kool Herc and Cold Crush Brothers.

    You had all the four major elements of hip-hop in front of an audience really for the first time in history.

    I'll always argue that if it wasn't for the downtown scene and kids like me and Freddy and Charlie Ahearn and Barney Cooper and Henry Chalfant bringing this culture downtown, it wouldn't have happened. Not the way it did. No way.

    And then from there it kind of built to me getting to know Bambaataa and doing a big interview with him for the East Village Eye, which was the first article that ever printed the term "hip hop." I didn't coin it, I didn't invent it, but I was the first writer, journalist, to use the word in an article and define it as well. That was in January 1982 in the East Village Eye. By '82, we would throw around the term "hip hop" to loosely define the entire uptown culture that we were witnessing from downtown, and also kind of innocently and ignorantly thinking it was one cohesive culture.

    Putting it on TV:

    And I went in an entirely different direction. I went into television. I applied for a [public access] show and I got a slot. I decided, "I'm gonna put this culture that I've been cultivating, at least as an impresario and a journalist, on TV." And so I created a couple of shows. "On Beat TV," I had Fab Five Freddy as the host of a number of episodes, DJ High Priest was on there, K-Rob from the Rammellzee rap battle on Basquiat's Beat Bop record. So as early as '82, two years before Graffiti Rock, I was already putting hip-hop on TV, but limited to public access and only New York City.

    On Beat TV was very magazine-like, I would go to people's places and interview them or go to a nightclub and film it. TV New York was more of a studio show, much more like Graffiti Rock, that I shot at SVA.

    Creating Graffiti Rock:

    I've taken a lot of flack from different quarters that I had designed it as a studio dance show. "Why didn't you make it raw and from the streets?" Something that a lot of people don't understand today is that back then, the kids who made up what would be called the hip-hop scene, all of them wanted to take what they were doing, whether it be b-boying or graffiti art or turntablism or rapping, and they wanted it to become mainstream. They wanted to be recognized and appreciated and enjoyed by mass audiences in a context that was not the rough streets that they came from. They wanted to escape that. And I understood that, and I wanted to create a vehicle.

    I was actually more inspired by Shindig and Hullabaloo, I wasn't even thinking about Bandstand or Soul Train. You could easily argue that they're all the same. I had already explored hip-hop, I had already videotaped it and shot it in its natural element, and I was bored with that. I wasn't looking to sanitize it or make it safe or anything. I was just looking to make it big.

    I didn't want it to be "Soul Train." And I did want to reflect what hip-hop really was.

    On that note, I did have producers who put a lot of money into it, who I had to listen to when they wanted things to be accessible to a larger general audience. I had to make sure there was X amount of white kids dancing, because all the artists were black. There was me, there was Special K, Kool Moe Dee, there was Run-DMC, there was Shannon. They needed to have an audience that wasn't all-black, they needed Puerto-Ricans, Latinos, and white kids. Or it would have been "Soul Train." And I didn't want it to be "Soul Train." And I did want to reflect what hip-hop really was.

    Hip-hop's multicultural nature:

    As important as the black influence to hip-hop was the Puerto-Rican influence. And in many cases, when it came to graffiti, there was also a certain New York white influence. Hip-hop very much owes its existence to the city itself. It's not like jazz and soul and funk and blues, a black thing that comes from the South. If you wanna say rap is primarily a black thing, yeah, but if you talk about hip-hop culture -- and DJ Afrika Bambaataa -- will back me up on this, hip-hop culture is really a multiracial thing that a lot of people have a hand in. And the city itself has a big hand in.

    If you look at the style, hip-hop style, the way somebody might wear their cap at an angle, sort of flapped-up, the way they might wear their sneakers, the way they might wear their clothes, you can see that same thing worn by a dead-end kid in the 1930s, some Irish dead-end kid. You can see a certain aesthetic within hip-hop that's like straight-up Italian gangsterism! You can see in hip-hop a certain Chinese martial art influence.

    The failure of Graffiti Rock:

    In my naïveté, in my confidence, in my ambition, I sort of thought that Graffiti Rock was a slam dunk and I was gonna get to do many more episodes. We got really good reviews, we got great Nielsen ratings. But then when we went to NATPE [the National Association of Television Programming Executives], where you go in Vegas at the end of each year to peddle your wares. You try to sell your show to the wandering station managers from the different stations around the country, enough of them to make the show viable economically. 9 out of the 10 station managers felt in 1984 that rap was a passing fad and that it would never last. I would have been a superstar, I would have been like Russell Simmons if it had been picked up.

    After Graffiti Rock:I went back to film school. I exhibited in film school certain skills and certain talents that made me a perfect writer, producer, director for children's television. I wrote, produced and directed for two different shows: Blue's Clues and Eureeka's Castle. I even taught how to write and produce for children's television at the New School and a few other places. I also made a few commercials and I made a lot of music videos, hip-hop music videos, for Doug E. Fresh, Run DMC. The "Christmas in Hollis" music video was one of the most-played videos in history, because it played every Christmas. It won all these awards, [Best Video of the Year] from Rolling Stone magazine, I was really proud of that.

    Then as a feature filmmaker, I wrote the Basquiat script. That film, Flying Vince Gallo, that's in Basquiat. Benicio del Toro's character shows the Basquiat character, played by Jeffrey Wright, this film that he made. He's kind of playing me and a lot of other characters, like a composite character, and he says, "Check out this video I made," and it's "Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ."

    Hip-hop's future:

    The goal is to make the documentary, of course, and to talk about the behind-the-scenes, to interview people like Q-Tip and find out how he felt about the show when he was a kid and how it impacted those 1990s rap stars who were 12, 13, 14 years old when the show came out. And also talk about my experiences as a hip-hop pioneer.

    But then I started thinking, too, what if this Kickstarter campaign becomes a bug in the ear of somebody who says, "Well, shit. Hip-hop today is just rap." B-boying is a thousand times bigger than it was back then. It's massive, it's powerful, it's commercial, it has incredible wealth and exposure, but it's not connected to rap anymore. Graffiti art is all over the world, making hundreds of thousands of dollars a canvas! Bigger than it ever was then, but not connected anymore to hip-hop culture. Turntablism. Competitions all over the world with battles that are televised now. But again, not connected to hip-hop.

    What would happen if all the elements got back together and started a second movement of hip-hop?

    So what if that bug got in somebody's ear, somebody with money and power who said, "Fuck! What would happen if hip-hop returned? What would happen if early-'80s hip-hop culture, a cohesive culture, joined together like a fist, the different fingers making a fist of b-boying and turntablism and graffiti art, rapping, fashion, language, what would happen if all those things came back together again and became a movement?"

    I think freestyle rapping would become bigger. I think the music behind the rapping would change. I think the DJ would take his place again at the top of the game. The DJ was always king back in the day. In certain worlds, dance music, the DJ is like a god, but in hip-hop the DJ was the god in the early days, and then the rapper just kicked everybody to the curb. What would happen if all the elements got back together and started a second movement of hip-hop? Now that is fucking exciting. To think that my innocent little Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to make a documentary could maybe spark a new movement in music and culture? Not hip-hop the way it was, something else, that's what I'd like to see happen. And let me tell you something. My dreams back in the day were no less fanciful, and I made it happen. Boom. You know what I mean? Boom, for real.

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    javi_obando_buenosaires.jpgPhoto by Inés Cufre

    Each week in our new column, "No Sleep Til...," we'll be talking to cool kids around the globe, asking them to fill us in about the bands, DJs, music venues and night spots they and their friends are obsessing over. Next time you visit their home city, leave your Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides behind and go party like a local instead.


    Javi Obando



    Where do you live?

    Buenos Aires

    What do you do there?

    Photographer [Ed note: Javi has a very cool street style blog called On the Corner.]

    What Argentine bands and DJs are you listening to right now that you think we should know about?

    Bambis, Hurricane Heart Attacks, La Kobra Kei and Nakatomi Plaza DJ sets. I discovered them through mutual friends. Bambis is a new band -- they only have three songs online. It's very romantic, lots of poetry and I think that in a way, they managed to mix some of our Argentinean musical heritage -- such as Spinette and Virus -- with newer, indie experimental rock. Hurricane Heart Attacks are the new psychedelic, experimental rock band in town. They sound like a calm storm. La Kobra Kei -- her rhythm is the new color! And Nakatomi Plaza started a couple of summers ago DJing and live-streaming their music on the Internet so you could listen to their sets during your pre-party at home.

    Where are the cool places to see live music in Buenos Aires?

    La Oreja Negra, Club Niceto, La Trastienda, Salón Pueyrredón, Club Cultural Matienzo and Plasma. Most of them promote independent bands, the others have great sound systems.

    Describe your perfect night out in Buenos Aires.

    A great dinner with friends and Korean karaoke.

    What's your favorite bar or nightclub?

    I don't have a favorite nightclub -- any dump is ok as long as I'm in good company. Though I'm also not really into bars, I would recommend Isabel as a good option for getting a drink on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Antares is great for drinking beer. Niceto Club is a good party option but it depends on the day. I would recommend El Cuartito as the best piza place in town, it's two old saloons and is a very unique experience. And El Pobre Luis is the best grill/parilla for meat in Buenos Aires.

    What are the fun neighborhoods for young people in Buenos Aires?

    Downtown, San Telmo, La Boca, Colegiales, Puerto Madero, Palermo, Belgrano and Recoleta.

    Check out Javi's music recs:

    Bambis -- "Puñal"

    Hurricane Heart Attacks -- "High"

    La Kobra Kei -- "Lovers & Love."

    Nakatomi Plaza -- July 7 Live Stream

    Check out Javi's nightlife listings:

    La Oreja Negra, Uriarte 1271, Buenos Aires

    Club Niceto, Av Cnel. Niceto Vega 5510, Buenos Aires

    La Trastienda, Balcarce 460, San Telmo, Buenos Aires

    Salón Pueyrredón, Avenida Santa Fe 4560, 1425 Buenos Aires

    Club Cultural Matienzo, Matienzo 2424, Buenos Aires

    Plasma, Piedras 1856, Buenos Aires

    Isabel, Uriarte 1664, Buenos Aires

    Antares, Armenia 1447, Buenos Aires

    El Cuartito, Talcahuano 937, Buenos Aires

    El Pobre Luis, Arribeños 2393, Belgranos, Buenos Aires

    More from our 'No Sleep Til...' series including nightlife and music in Paris, Mumbai, Seoul, Bogotá and more!

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    dream_on.jpgTerius "The-Dream" Nash has long been R&B's secret weapon, but his cover's about to be blown. Having penned such monster hits as Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and Rihanna's "Umbrella," in addition to his solo career and day job as an executive VP of A&R at Def Jam, he has influenced every corner of the industry. His fifth solo LP, IV Play, out now, shows The-Dream outgrowing the updated doo-wop catchiness of his earlier works, and making a sexy return to old-school R&B expressionism.

    On your new track "Slow It Down" you sing, "DJ, you know you're wrong / Enough with the motherfuckin' dance songs." Is that a statement about the current state of R&B?

    R&B used to be about family and love and the blues. And it seems it's just not about that anymore. Right now, it's about 15 percent music and 85 percent bullshit.

    What else is on the roster for you this year?

    I'm working on stuff for Jay-Z's new album and I did some records with Kylie Minogue. And whenever Bey's ready to go back in, I'm ready.

    You've worked with a lot of big stars. Have you ever been star struck?

    Surprisingly no. God made everybody and all of us are great at what we do.

    Do you think you can bring R&B back to the way it used to be?

    You need help to do that! I need people who want to make love again, people who want to slow dance again instead of making those "ratchet"-type records for the club. [The industry] needs to understand that R&B will never be as quick of a hit as hip-hop is. Rap is urgent. Love takes time.

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    Kenzo's Humberto Leon (who is co-creative director Opening Ceremony as well) tapped the Beastie Boys' Mike D to make a track for their upcoming Spring/Summer 2014 show, and, lo and behold, punk and trap have now been wed with D's "Humberto Vs The New Reactionaries: Christine and the Queens Remixx." While the idea of a 10-minute-long punk/trap extended remix may sound exhausting, when you give it a listen you may actually wish it were longer: the hardcore beats have been cut, layered, sped up and rearranged to become danceable without losing any of their edge. Give it a listen (and imagine strut-moshing down the Kenzo runway) above.

    [Via Pitchfork]

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    Hi Fashion, the queer electro-pop duo whose music has been featured in gay clubs and Drew Droege's Chloe Sevigny parodies for years, are back on the scene with upcoming EP You Are Gorgeous, out in July. Their new single, "Lighthouse" -- which we're proudly premiering -- is a departure from their usual upbeat and cheeky attitude: in fact, it strikes a distinctly "Dancing On My Own"-esque balance of catchy electro beats and lyrics about the rough side of love. The video finds Rick Gradone and Jen DM holding a baptism for a troubled relationship in a high-fashion (sorry), alien world. Not to worry: they find the light at the end of the tunnel -- or, rather, they find some kind of light emanating from their own mouths. Watch above.

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    Oh no, Britney Spears, what are you doing? Britney's newest single, "Ooh La La," is pegged to the Smurfs 2 -- the CGI and live-action movie based on everyone's favorite Saturday morning cartoon -- so obviously the video is going to be shill-y, a little cringe-y and more forced than the usual post-2007 Britney video fare. Sure, OK, fine. But there are so many terrible things going on here: her deranged mugging; the brain-searing conflation of cartoon characters from our childhood and Britney's own sons matched with sexxxy lyrics; and of course, the mandatory hellish dubstep interlude with As you watch this, try to remember Britney as she was, not as she is.

    [via Gawker]

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    ICYMI: Last Night's Sharknado chainsaw scene, featuring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Holy shit.
    . miaphillipsharknado.pngJust FYI, Mia Farrow and Philip Roth watched Sharknado together. Update: HuffPo says the tweet was a joke, which makes us love Mia Farrow that much more.  [Gawker; HuffPo]
    This compilation of intimate objects (and 2 lizards) freaking cats the fuck out is the best. Watch to the very very end.  [TastefullyOffensive]

    tumblr_mnbh6u9iZ61qav7n4o1_1280.jpgThe Great Wave off Cookie Monster. [LaughterKey]

    tumblr_m79h8gkHRA1qbtauwo1_1280.pngTell us more... [AfternoonSnoozeButton]

    tumblr_mnp6x1mpN01r03eaxo1_500.gifThis is Jake. He drives. [TheClearlyDope]

    SI12.jpgJust make it easy on yourself and buy this shirt. [Mlkshk]

    tumblr_mpou7aEq6M1qhp3nro1_1280.jpgVenezuelan artist Pablo Iranzo has a new series called "Epic Pukes," featuring photos of famous singers spewing colorful barf, and we're obsessed. [LaughingSquid]

    tumblr_mpqmfvIt2g1qarjjvo2_r1_400.gifOh hey, weekend! Let's do this. [RatsOff]

    Sharknado GIF via TheFW

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  • 07/12/13--09:23: The Lansky at Galli
  • Screen shot 2013-07-12 at 11.34.34 AM.png

    Satisfying bowls of Fettuccine Bolognese are often the allure of a neighborhood trattoria -- not ingenuity. "You can only get so creative," points out Steven Gallo, co-owner of Italian restaurant Galli, a cozy, candlelit escape from Soho's Prada-prowling masses. The Long Island native's childhood was filled with visits to traditional red sauce joints, and for Galli he envisioned a more compelling interpretation of familiarity.

    One way of amplifying the comfort food menu is through the drinks, an "opportunity to explore new tastes." Consider the Lansky. On stifling summer evenings -- of which we've had plenty -- even the most ardent of whiskey fans may pass on their usual Manhattan in favor of a more refreshing tipple. But the balanced Lansky makes savoring rye a possibility in the stickiest of hours. Named for bootlegger Meyer Lansky, Gallo's "favorite gangster," it's illuminated with Aperol and lemon, while amaro ensures its backbone never goes weak. "Even with the power of the rye and the strong flavor of the amaro, the freshness of the orange twist pulls it all together for a light, unexpected, easy-to-drink cocktail," says Gallo. While waiting for your pea-studded rice balls to arrive, sip on one instead of that go-to glass of Soave.


    ¾ oz. Rittenhouse Rye

    ¾ oz. Ramazzotti Amaro

    ¾ oz. Aperol

    ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice

    Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a rocks glass. Finish with an orange peel.

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