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    hiltd, header image.gifHow I Learned To Drive  

    This is Paula Vogel's masterful, dark and witty drama that won the Pulitzer Prize 15 years ago.  It's about an uncle who gives his young niece driving lessons, but wants to give her something more.  Two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz, a charming, dynamic entertainer, plays the amorous uncle, and Emmy Award nominee Elizabeth Reaser plays the besieged young woman, in a cast of 5.  Kate Whoriskey directs.
    Second Stage Theatre, 303 W. 43rd St. Previews Jan. 24, opens Feb. 13- Mar. 11. More info here.
    1.157958.jpgThe Total Bent

    Here is a new musical by the creators of 2008's marvelous, multi-award winning Passing Strange, Stew (pictured above) and Heidi Rosenwald, directed by Joanna Steele.  A cast of nine tells the story of a white music producer from South London (downtown favorite David Cale) who collaborates with a black gospel singer from the southern U.S., in striving for both a hit record and spiritual enlightenment.  Stew, who won a Tony Award for Best Book with Passing Strange, writes the book and lyrics here, and joins Rosenwald in composing the music.
    Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., (212) 967-7555. Feb. 14 - Mar. 4.

    russiantransport.jpgRussian Transport

    The New Group premieres a new play, written by Erika Sheffer, and directed by Scott Elliott.   It's a tense family drama set in the Russian Jewish community of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.  The cast of five includes Janeane Garofalo (!), who plays the mother of an immigrant couple who run a struggling car service, with a teen-age son and daughter.  When Diana's (Garofalo) sexy and mysterious brother Boris arrives to stay with them, things get tricky, and family loyalties are tested.
    The Acorn Theatre, Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., (212) 239-6200. Previews Jan. 17, opens Jan. 30-Mar. 10. More info here.


    As the television commercials fly by, does it seem that there is no limit to what pharmaceuticals aspire to do?  Here is a comical look at that possibility, written by Kate Fodor, directed by Ethan McSweeney, with a cast of six, led by the excellent Marylouise Burke (of Fuddy Myers fame) and Michael Bakkensen. The plot revolves around a woman whose job is making her unhappy, so she joins a chemical trial for a drug designed to cure "workplace depression." But she falls in love with her doctor, who's trying to join a trial group for a drug to relieve "heartbreak."
    Primary Stages @ 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. Previews Jan. 27, opens Feb. 7-Mar. 3. More info here.

     Artificial Afrika - A Tale of Lost Cities

    Vernon Reid, the charismatic Grammy Award winning leader of  the hard rock band Living Colour, has been developing this show for six years; and he will perform in it, in collaboration with Akim Funk Buddha and DJ Leon Lamont.  Using dance, film, music and visual art, Reid's piece shines a light on the conjunction between the Dark Continent, Africa, a continent with a multiplicity of cultures, and Afrika, a country of the mind, which includes everything from Tarzan to Aunt Jemima to The Darktown Strutters Ball.
    Dixon Place, 161-A Chrystie St., (212) 219-0736, Fri. & Sat. in Feb., 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, & 25. More info here.

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    "Old Friend"


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    On Saturday night in Los Angeles, an eclectic crowd gathered at The Ball of Artists to celebrate the closing of the Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival.  Not to be confused with another Pacific Standard Time event across town in Little Tokyo (where X and the Dead Kennedys played), this decidedly upscale fête was held in the rooms of Greystone Mansion, an elegant Tudor in Beverly Hills.  

    Organized by the Getty Research Institute and Culver City-based experimental art non-profit LAXART, the event included 20-plus artists with site-specific performances throughout the rooms.  As befits an invitation-only event in such a setting, the attendees were dressed to the nines in fashions ranging from traditional black tie gowns to multi-colored tuxes. 

    But if you want to get a real feel for the party, picture that black-tie crowd in a room of plate-smashing clowns.  The clowns, part of Kathryn Andrews' "Fork Hunt", were just one of the many performances that happened throughout the mansion.  Other acts included Mungo Thomson's heavily attended orchestral performance "Crickets" and an ethereal dance which greeted attendees at the entrance, performed by Alexa Weir and choreographed by Jedediah Caesar and Flora Wiegemann.  

    The performances were so abundant, hiding in every nook of Greystone (made all the more exciting by the fact that the location is generally off-limits to the public), that the event took on the feel of a surreal scavenger hunt.  Turning a corner or climbing some stairs, an attendee could come across ever more musicians, films, or perhaps an eerie poker game--although the poker game, part of Glenn Kaino's "The Nothing Happening," was off-limits to those without a special pin (or particularly well-honed pleading skills).

    With a bar in nearly every room and a general sense of giddy enthusiasm for the performances taking place, the crowd and the atmosphere made the event a fitting close to the Festival that it celebrated.  On the shuttle ride back down the hill and back to the real world, you could feel the attendees yearning to turn back around.

    All photos by Stefanie Keenan/Wireimage

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    letterman-slide-2CRW-blog480.jpg1) David Letterman is marking 30 years as a late-night television host tonight. Howard Stern and Bill Murray are guests, which is pretty fun, but otherwise he isn't really doing much to celebrate. At least bring back the tea party monkeys for one night, Dave! [NYT]

    2) Despite tabloid reports out today, Snooki is not pregnant. Everyone return those "Mommy's Lil' Meatball" onesies you just purchased from the Shore Store. [MTV]

    3) Mitt Romney gets glitter bombed. [Buzzfeed]

    4) A 'Shit People Say' search engine. [LaughingSquid]

    ty-lor-boring-portrait.jpg5) Everyone's favorite NSFW Top Chef contestant (who also has the best name), Ty-Lör Boring, has a pop-up restaurant opening next week in New York.  For $75, you'll be treated to a 5-course meal.  Let's hope he's wearing chef's whites when he's in the kitchen.  For tickets click here

    6) A kitten was born with two faces in Florida! [Huffington Post]

    7) The British Fashion Council announced that Scottish print designer, Jonathan Saunders, is the winner of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund.

    8) A new NYC map shows how much energy your block consumes. [Gothamist]  

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    1. Mayor Bloomberg donated $250,000 to Planned Parenthood after the Susan G. Komen foundation announced earlier in the week that they'd be ending their donations to the family planning organization. [NYT]

    2. David Beckham has his own line of "body wear" (underwear) at H&M.  Of course.

    Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 6.33.04 PM.png3. Check out this beautiful but highly depressing photo of a 19-mile crack in the Antarctic glacier. [Gothamist]

    4. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means we're in for six more weeks of winter.  Wah wah.  [Washington Post]  

    Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 6.44.38 PM.png
    5. Someone snapped a creepy photo of super-realistic heads used from the New York Lottery's "Little Bit of Luck" commercials.  [Animal New York]

    6.  Oy.  Taylor Momsen is on the new cover of FHM. [Just Jared]

    7. ¡Feliz cumple Shakira!  The Colombian cantante turns 34 today.

    8.  Dream cast!  Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen will star in Showtime's Masters of Sex as Virginia Johnson and William Masters, the couple who famously conducted sex studies. [Huffington Post]

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    hospitality_band.jpgHospitality Record Release Show at Glasslands

    This Brooklyn trio's much anticipated self-titled debut dropped on Tuesday, and to celebrate, the jangly, jagged indie-rockers are playing a record release show tonight at Glasslands, along with Glass Ghost and Dustin Wong. We wrote about their amazing video for their amazing song "Friends of Friends," that starred Alia Shawkat and Gabe Delahaye, here.

    Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 8:30 p.m. $10.

    Some Kind of Wonderful Feat. a Q&A with Mary Stuart Masterson at the 92Y Tribeca

    This John Hughes classic stars Mary Stuart Masterson as a tomboy drummer in love with her best friend, played by Eric Stoltz, who himself is in love with the preppy popular girl at school. MSM herself will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A moderated by Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams.

    92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudston St. 7:30 p.m. $12.

    Blurghesque: A Burlesque Tribute to 30 Rock

    At tonight's burlesque tribute to 30 Rock, Marinara Stardust has taken over Bar Matchless for an evening of sexy, night-cheese-themed dancing, performing and general blerghing, featuring the likes of Bambi Galore, Fem Appeal, La Maia, Vada James, Vanil LaFrappe, Vivvienne LaFlamme and Sincerely Yours.

    Bar Matchless, 587 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 9 p.m. $5.

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    This morning Madonna premiered the video for her new single "Give Me All Your Luvin," featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, just in time for her Super Bowl half-time performance this weekend. The video's football theme could have been a groaningly bad 3-minute PR plug for her half-tme show (and still sort of is), but its actually pretty fun and weird. The clip features Madonna as a dominatrix assassin (we think?) who needs a football team to protect her from hit men and Minaj and MIA as her cheerleaders. Everyone looks great and, better yet, we get a cameo from Madge's old Dick Tracy hair! A win-win. Also, all music videos going forward should end with people's heads getting ripped off and flames shooting out. You can download "Give Me All Your Luvin" on iTunes today and the rest of Madonna's new album, MDNA ,is out March 26th.

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    We're super intrigued by Y-3's new Spring/Summer collection inspired by the city of Brasilia.  The pieces, while simple and monochromatic, feature unexpected silhouettes and structures that resemble the 1950s Modernist buildings scattered around the Brazilian city.  Check out a few of the looks below as well as their campaign video, all shot and directed by Collier Schorr.

    Y-3 ad dual.jpg

    Y-3 ad mens.jpg
    Y-3 womens 1.jpg
    Y-3 ad mens 2.jpg
    Y-3 womens 2.jpg

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    1. This does not appear to be a joke, but is so insane that it is almost funny: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation (which famously withdrew its funds from Planned Parenthood two days ago -- and is now apparently un-withdrawing it) teamed up with Discount Gun Sales on a pink "Hope Edition" semi-automatic pistol, with a portion of each sale benefiting Komen's Seattle chapter. [via The Daily What]


    2. Mayim Bialik, aka Blossom, recreated her 1992 Sassy cover for XO Jane. (And in the corresponding interview talked about having her Sweet Sixteen at Spago, with Neil and Johnny Galecki and Stephen Dorff in attendance!)

    3. Here's Tim and Eric (of Tim and Eric Awesome Show fame)'s new amazing commercial for Old Spice, featuring Terry Crews on a jet-ski, that's set to run during Sunday's Super Bowl.

    4. Forget pizza on a bagel. Behold: Pizza in a jar. (And a recipe for how to make it.)


    5. Chris Rock says he's writing a new script wherein he and Melissa McCarthy will play a "Jerry Springer couple."

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    Finally, Stephin Merritt and his Magnetic Fields have released a video to go along to the insanely catchy and wonderful song, "Andrew in Drag," off their forthcoming album Love at the Bottom of the Sea (out Mar. 6th). And it doesn't disappoint!  The song is apparently about a straight guy who falls in love with the drag persona of his straight friend Andrew. The video is directed by Scott Valins, and as Dan Raby over at NPR aptly put it, "feels like an infomercial on a channel you can't comprehend." It features Darrell Thorne and Stormy Leather transforming into their drag personae, as Merritt and co-MF-er Claudia Gonson do some rotating.

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    Two celebrity hair-related bits of news for your Friday afternoon:

    1. Michael Cera has proven he can grow a mustache. [via Buzzfeed]

    2. Willow Smith shaved her head. [via New York Daily News]

    We are rocked. ROCKED.

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    Just in time for fashion week, a Karl Lagerfeld pop-up shop has opened in the West Village. For the month of February, the shop will sell select women's items from Net-a-Porter's collaboration with Kaiser Karl and, March through August, the entire collection will be stocked in-store as will men's items, sunglasses, fragrances and more accessories. Throw on your fingerless black gloves, hire someone to follow you around with a Diet Coke on a silver platter, and get shopping.




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    Since the NFL decided to let Indianapolis host the Super Bowl (as opposed to a warm weather city like Miami or New Orleans), it's now the Hoosier State's time to shine.   By the way, did you know that Indianapolis has more residents than both San Francisco and Miami?  While maybe not as glamorous a setting as South Beach, that doesn't mean there'll be a shortage of parties.  All of the biggies -- ESPN, GQ, Maxim, Playboy and more -- will be heading out to the Midwest and throwing down.  Here are our picks for the must-attend events should you find yourself in Indianapolis this weekend. For the most part, these are invite-only. But we trust you wily PAPERMAG readers to figure out a way to weasel in!


    Screen shot 2012-02-03 at 11.40.46 AM.png1. The GQ and Lacoste Party

    GQ and Lacoste's party at The Stutz will feature performances by Questlove and LL Cool J (Ed. note: LL Cool J!).  Patrón is one of the sponsors so get ready to raise a margarita up to Ladies Love Cool James.

    2. ESPN The Magazine's "NEXT" Event

    This event at Jobsite Supply Warehouse has a rumored performance by Drake, a celeb guest list that includes a rather interesting melange of people like Michael Douglas, Gene Simmons, Nick Jonas and Paris Hilton and a prime downtown location that makes it easier to party hop.

    3. The Playboy Party

    Playboy will decamp from the mansion and head to The Bud Light Hotel.  The party has a "Carnival Mystique" theme this year (but it basically doesn't matter because no one will be wearing much anyway).  Sixteen Playmates will host the fête, which also features a performance by Ne-Yo.

    LeatherFriday.JPG4. The Leather & Laces Party

    Held at Regions Bank Tower, this party gives Playboy a run for its money with hosts Carmen Electra, Jenny McCarthy and JWoww.  Though it's February in the Midwest, pale faces need not attend.


    1. DirecTV's Super Saturday Night Party

    Hosted by billionaire Dallas Mavericks' Owner, Mark Cuban, and Peyton Manning, this party at Victory Field at White River State Park will come on the heels of a celebrity flag football game. But should you think it'll just be a bunch of sports bros geeking out at the Super Bowl, don't fret: the two have tapped Katy Perry to perform.

    Note: This is the real Indiana State Fair, not the Maxim Party

    2. The Maxim Party

    This year's Maxim party will be, interestingly enough, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. But don't let the venue choice throw you off: Maxim has long been known to have the best Super Bowl party.  In fact, the fairgrounds will provide ample space for what will become more like a mini-carnival than an intimate soiree.  This year's event is 'Super Hero themed' so bust out your spandex (or long underwear?) and get ready for a kryptonite-esque Cristal bar and a performance by a surprise Grammy-winning artist.

    3. The Rolling Stone and Bacardi Bash

    The first-ever Rolling Stone and Bacardi Bash is a worthy competitor to the myriad parties offering special music acts.  From their perch at Crane Bay, they'll have performances by Lupe Fiasco, LMFAO, Cobra Starship and Gym Class Heroes.  We also hear that this is Bacardi's 150th birthday so get ready for never-ending mojitos and cuba libres.

    50cent12.jpg4. The Bud Light Hotel Party

    This party at, natch, The Bud Light Hotel (which, in case you were wondering, is not the actual name of a hotel in Indianapolis but is a Hampton Inn that the beer company took over for the week) does not mess around.  They've basically booked a mid-aughts rap super group with performances by 50 Cent, Lil' Jon and Pitbull.


    1. The Celebration Sunday Party

    Though there are a few tailgate-style party options, for our money, Super Bowl morning should be spent recovering from the two nights prior and eating and drinking with friends.  That said, if the hale and hearty out there have strength to continue the festivities post-game, here's one to check out at Indianapolis' chic Asian fusion spot, Sensu. It's hosted by Michael Strahan and Sports Illustrated model (and John Legend fiancée) Chrissy Teigen and Fabolous will provide the musical entertainment and, we assume, give the crowd a second wind.

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    mapvirtue.jpgPlaywright Erin Courtney is the 12th of the original 13 playwrights, aka the 13P, who decided about 10 years ago to work together to help each one get a full-scale production.  In the ensuing decade, Courtney has had a number of other well-received productions, such as  Demon Baby and Black Cat Lost, which, like this one, A Map of Virtue, were staged by the very fine director, Ken Rus Schmoll (The Internationalist). Courtney and her husband, playwright Scott Adkins, were 2009 PAPER Beautiful People, as co-founders of The Brooklyn Writers Space, which now has three locations. I spoke with Erin.

    Hi Erin.  What can you tell me about your new show?

    I think the play is a little bit of a formal adventure, because it's symmetrical, but it contains a varied emotional landscape which includes love, horror and friendship.  It's also about the present, the supernatural, and the ways we try to understand evil.
    How many are in the cast?
    Seven people.  The lead is the fabulous Maria Striar, artistic director of Clubbed Thumb.  She plays Sarah.  And the other main character, Mark, is played by Norman Schneider.  They meet under unusual circumstances. Their first three meetings take place over three continents, and they don't speak to each other.  They stare at each other and they imagine things about each other's life.  Then, as the play goes on, we meet some other characters:  Birgit Huppuch plays a bird statue, which guides us through the story, and Alex Draper plays Sarah's husband.  The other characters I can't tell you about because there are some surprises...  But I can tell you that Jesse Lenat sings some songs, and Annie McNamara might give you a scare.
    Can you give me some details of what happens?
    I don't want to give it away. The thing is, you think it's about something and then it's not.  It's vague, because you have to invest in the story.  There's a possible love story, and then there isn't.   There's all these bird images.  Mark and Sarah are obsessed with birds, and that's what brings them together.  Once things happen in the middle of the play, the second half of the play is these characters trying to understand what they saw, and how to live with it.
    I've seen most of your plays and I know that surprise is always a great part of them.  Ken Rus Schmoll directed one of my favorites, Demon Baby, and that was some surprise.
    That play was also about depression.  Ken also directed Black Cat Lost, and that was about death.  And A Map Of Virtue is about morality.  Very light subject matter that Ken and I are exploring.
    OK, we've got morality, birds and surprises.  Tell me how this play came about.
    I started writing it at a silent playwrights retreat in the woods that Erik Ehn runs.  A lot of the fear and mystery and silence came out of the fact that I was in the woods; I wasn't  able to talk, and I was a little bit scared.  The flip side of that is: when you're out in nature, and you're silent, you can explore issues that are more complicated than when you're in the city, when you're so busy multitasking and your imagination can get somewhat limited.  Going out into the woods gives you a larger creative landscape that you can play around in.
    4th St. Theatre, 83 E. 4th St., (866) 811-4111. Feb. 6-11, 14-18, 21-25. 8 p.m. $18. More info here.

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    Being the professional, very driven journalists that we are, we left the season 3 launch party for Jon Glaser's hilarious Adult Swim show Delocated before Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader arrived. But it was getting late and some people have to work, you know! It was still a nice little bash, however, complete with potato skins, ice cream, and watching Bobby Tisdale reach in to goose Kurt Braunohler while our photographer took his picture. Check out Atisha Paulson's shots from the evening at the Pit above and read Alex Scordelis' super-funny interview with Glaser about Delocated's new season here.

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    Chrissie Miller is now working with K-Mart? Who would've thunk! Miller, who designs  downtown cool-girl line Sophomore, has teamed with the mega-chain retailer to make a "Fashion Week Problems" T-shirt, featuring a pump with a broken heel and named after the company's NYFW initiative by the same name. When you tweet the hashtag #FashionWeekProblems to @KmartFashion during NYFW and name your fashion week conundrum, a friendly KMart helper will come to you with whatever it is you need. (Got a blister from running from fashion show to fashion show in stilettos? They'll bring you band-aids. Spill a drink on your fabulous frock at some party? Tide to Go. Whether they can help you get into Le Baron, though, is likely a different story.)

    So why did Miller pick a broken heel as her number one fashion week problem? "I thought, 'What's the worst thing that could happen to someone during Fashion Week?'", she told us at the t-shirt launch yesterday. "At first, I thought about models falling, and doing, like, a screen-shot of Naomi Campbell or something, but then I realized we would get sued." Still, breaking a heel is pretty damn bad.

    Anyway, Miller was kind of enough to give PAPERMAG a medium-sized #FashionWeekProblems t-shirt to give away on our site. Would you like it? Just leave a comment telling us about the worst woes/problems/mishaps you've had in fashion weeks past, and we'll give it to the person with our favorite answer. We'll pick a winner by 5 p.m. Monday, February 6th. Start complaining! 

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    166994_321620877854777_260194787330720_1561436_1452200954_n.jpgNate Smith changes the menu every day at Allswell, his cozy, quirky pub in Williamsburg, and archives each bill of fare on Tumblr. After several years at the Spotted Pig, the chef has really come into his own, going wherever his creativity takes him, from bar snacks like chorizo pie and Welsh rarebit to hearty mains like pork belly with yellow-eyed beans, lovage and kale. He took some time today to talk about his process, the music that goes with his food and why his cooks can't show up with a hangover.
    I saw a rough draft of one of your menus on Tumblr and it was incomprehensible; there were so many things crossed out and penciled in. It was interesting to follow your thought process on how your menu evolves, but how does anybody who works for you know what they're doing from day to day?

    You have to be able to roll with it. I have a solid crew. I am very particular but I also trust my cooks to be chefs and make decisions. They have to be responsible, and that's the hardest thing to find when I'm hiring. You can't come in hung over. You have to be able to think clearly because everything's always changing. It's funny. I looked at that rough draft and couldn't imagine anybody understanding what the hell I was actually thinking. I write in code.
    I know you cooked at the Spotted Pig for a long time, but where did you come from before that?

    San Francisco, where I paid my dues at a great restaurant called Farallon. I moved to Williamsburg 11 years ago because the Bay Area became unaffordable during the dot-com bubble. I was looking for a more creative environment. Williamsburg was a no-man's land back then and a lot of San Francisco people were moving here. I met my wife Sophie [Kamin, his pastry chef] the first day I moved to New York.
    How did you meet?

    Our sisters were dating. They introduced us. We've been together ever since, with two children, three and five years old.
    Are your sisters still together?

    They broke up but it's all okay now.
    What was it like working at the Spotted Pig?

    I got there a couple months after they opened. April [Bloomfield] and I had a mutual friend who introduced us. I was looking for something that fit my personality, that wasn't just a job. I wanted to be part of something special. I got that with April. I owe her a lot in giving me standards that I adhere to today.
    Was it hard to leave?

    It was. As much as I loved April and Ken [Friedman], I just felt like it was time for me to pursue something on a smaller scale. They were growing so much [adding The Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar to their portfolio], which was really great for them, but I wanted to have something in Brooklyn. I was attracted to the people here who are really interested in food and supportive and looking for a good time.
    Your first stop, at Dean Street [a tavern in Prospect Heights], wasn't such a good fit. You were gone after a month?

    That was a big wake-up call for me. I really felt like I had something I wanted to share with people in the neighborhood, something of quality, but they didn't get it. My ideas were pretty basic stuff in my mind, but what's obvious to me is not obvious to you. I think the owners felt my ideas were unreasonable. From that experience, I knew I needed to be an owner so I could have a say in the final word. I'm actually glad it worked out the way it did or I never would have opened Allswell.
    I remember reading you had a problem with the jukebox.

    The thing with a jukebox is that at the height of dinner all of a sudden something mellow and sleepy would come on. It felt inconsistent to the vibe of the restaurant. As great an idea as a jukebox is, I didn't feel it was appropriate for maintaining a mood. At Allswell we have an ever-evolving list of music because I get tired of things. I like rock and roll, '80s stuff. I want our place to feel fun, not over-serious or stuffy, not boring. I'll listen to mellow music in my  off-time.
    What would you never play in your restaurant?

    Smooth jazz.
    What works for you right now?

    Davy Graham, an English guy. You should listen to him on Pandora.
    The danger with changing your menu every day is that people won't find the dishes they loved the last time.

    We'll bring things back around that were successful. We order from farms that deliver once or twice a week and don't stockpile anything so we run out of things. By always improvising, using what we have, it keeps our brains fresh, keeps us creative. There's a fluidness to what we do.
    Has April Bloomfield been to your restaurant?

    She has. She seems proud of me, in good spirits. It's always intimidating to cook for your mentor once you've stepped away. She's a busy woman, very sparing with her time, so it was an honor and a pleasure to have her here.
    In the year or so in between leaving Dean Street and opening Allswell, what did you do?

    My wife and I had been working at Dean Street together and suddenly had nothing. We wanted to open our own place so we had to figure out how to make that dream come true. We started making savory pies and selling them at the Bedford Cheese Shop. I delivered them on my bike. It wasn't easy and we had to get some support from Sophie's mother, but I didn't want to sign on with somebody at another restaurant and not make a real commitment to it. We didn't want to make any rash decisions that would prevent our own place from happening. We opted to struggle it out until we found investors, found a place. It paid off.
    124 Bedford Ave.
    (347) 799-2743
    Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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    Though the Giants-Patriots rematch is pretty exciting, thank god for Super Bowl commercials to liven things up when football time is keeping the action at a snail's pace.  Several have already leaked, including the return of Ferris Bueller in a Honda spot, and we've graded ten of the big ones.  Disagree with our assessments?  Write your comments down below!

    Title: "Transactions"

    Product: Acura

    Starring: Jerry Seinfeld, The Soup Nazi, Jay Leno

    Grade: B We're a major Seinfeld fan (and so is Eli Manning!) so this one receives extra points for the Soup Nazi cameo.  It's entertaining and lively with a real plot hook but, frankly, Jerry was always the weakest of the four on the show and some of his jokes fall flat.

    "King's Court"


    Elton John, Melanie Amaro and Flavor Flav

    Grade: B+
    Elton John as a tyrannical king is priceless and the ad also gets bonus points for the elaborate costumes.  Those aside, what sealed the deal was the ingenious addition of Flavor Flav--we won't spoil where he pops up but we will say it's pretty damn funny.


    Chevy Silverado

    No big name actors

    Grade: B-
    The Mayan Apocalypse meme is overplayed though we did get a kick out of the idea that after the end of the world, the only think left is a few guys, a Chevy and twinkies.  (Hey, wait a minute, maybe this would've been a better ad for Twinkies!) 

    "The Dog Strikes Back"

    Product: Volkswagen Beetle

    Starring: Bolt the Dog and
    Darth Vader

    Grade: B
    Clydesdales were so aughts; in 2012, say "hello" to your new favorite corporate spokesperson animal, Bolt the Dog.  Watching the pooch try to loose his, er, pooch on the treadmill was adorable but the Star Wars surprise at the end didn't make a lot of sense.  It was fun pretty random and, unlike some of the other commercial cameos, didn't relate to the rest of the earlier storyline.  


    "Matthew's Day Off" a.k.a. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off Commercial"

    Honda CR-V

    Starring: Matthew Broderick

    Grade: A-
    We said it before and we'll say it again: this could've been really cheesy but Matthew Broderick & Co. did a great job.  (Then again, maybe we're just a sucker for the movie and would basically watch a Ferris Bueller-themed Local Access infomercial.)  Beachfront tai chi, a contemplative walrus and Chinese karaoke were nice little moments but the real zinger was the Valet Guy 2.0--a classic. 


    "Vampire Party"

    Audi S7

    No big-name actors

    Grade: C+
    Okay, once you realize that they're promoting Audi's new LED lights, this one is pretty clever but clever doesn't always equate interesting.  We get that vampires are so totally in and the actors are attractive but ultimately it's not as attention-grabbing as some of the other auto ads where they shelled out $$$ for washed up celebs.

    "The Catch"


    Digital polar bears

    Grade: B-
    This one gets an extra boost by alleging that Coca-Cola execs will be on-hand at the Super Bowl to make a final decision about which of two versions will air...though from this ad, we're not sure why.  It's not clear what situation could change--does the polar bear drop the bottle?--but the graphics are cute and Coke always tends to play it a little safer than Pepsi anyway.    

    Title: "Adriana Lima"


    Starring: Adriana Lima

    Grade: C
    Adriana Lima looks stunning and every heterosexual male will be putting down their beers so as to give Lima their full attention when she comes on-screen but ultimately there's nothing terribly exciting about the ad.  "Guys: give your gal some flowers on Valentine's Day and she'll, um, reciprocate."  We get it.  

    Title: "Green Hell'

    Product: Cadillac ATS

    Starring: No actors

    Grade: C- There's not a whole lot to say about this one other than that it's your run-of-the-mill, glossy car commercial...we know Big Auto is still recuperating but we wanted more from you, Cadillac!  If you're going to spend this much money to buy an ad slot, can't you have, I don't know, David Hasselhoff driving the car?

    Title: "It's Reinvented"

    Toyota Camry

    No big name actors

    Grade: A
    Of the commercials already leaked, this one's our favorite.  It has all the right elements and doesn't even have any famous people!  Sexual exploitation is never funny when it's equal opportunity sexual exploitation, we totally had a weird déjà vu moment with that lady in the DMV scene and we really want a Lionel Richie-playing blender.

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    1. Check out this amazing latte art made by a barista at The Breslin in New York City. [Smith Ratliff]

    Screen shot 2012-02-03 at 6.13.04 PM.png2. Apparently Adam Lambert is going to replace Freddie Mercury as the new lead singer in Queen. [Rolling Stone]

    3. An Etsy shop called CatAtelier makes fancypants cat couture.  We're partial to the newsboy cap look. [Fashionista]

    Screen shot 2012-02-03 at 5.56.14 PM.png

    4. In other news, a Pennsylvania man allegedly stabbed his brother over a McDonalds brownie.  [Huffington Post]

    5. Check out this video of 42 panting Saint Bernards out for a walk with a cute tow-headed toddler.  So much heavy breathing!

    6. Author Vahram Muratyan came out with a book called Paris Versus New York that's full of chic illustrations comparing the two cities.  For what it's worth, we asked a Parisian living in Brooklyn what the equivalent "hipster neighborhood" in Paris was and she simply replied "Brooklyn."  Guess all the 'eepsturs leave the City of Lights for the 'burg.  [Gothamist]

    Screen shot 2012-02-03 at 6.29.42 PM.png
    7. Speaking of France, a French court ruled that Scientology is a fraud. [GlobalPost]

    8. Happy Ice Cream for Breakfast Day tomorrow!  [Mental Floss]

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    With all the attention Nicki Minaj is getting for her much-anticipated half-time performance with Madonna at the Super Bowl tonight, we thought now would be a great time to announce Ms. Minaj graces the cover of PAPER's upcoming Spring Fashion Issue! On stands February 20th, the issue features a great interview with Nicki by style expert and creative ambassador-at-large of Barneys New York, Simon Doonan (whose new book, Gay Men Don't Get Fat, is a must-read). The two talk about everything from how Minaj deals with the pressures of fame to their mutual obsession with Big Ang from VH1 reality series Mob Wives. Stay tuned for the story as well as more photos of Nicki in the coming weeks and, in the mean time, enjoy this sneak peek pic!

    Photo by Howard Huang

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