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    lenadunhamjeezbel.pngLooks like Lena Dunham won't be responding to Jezebel's controversial $10,000 bounty offered for untouched photos from her Vogue cover shoot. She tweeted the above last night. [@LenaDunham]

    Slate offers a defense of Jezebel's 10K reward. "While Wintour and co. don't need to show their cover girl braless in sweats at the diner, they also could have taken a cue from her words and work."

    There's a new dog training service in Park Slope that uses the principals of Zen Buddhism. [DNAInfo]

    What are the most photographed places on earth? Of course there's a map for that. Zoom in and explore what's fueling all those Instagram accounts.

    Artist Shawn Hawkins'  The American __tier series combine classic American imagery with internet slang and it's glorious. [Flavorwire]

    AAmannequins14.jpgThe mannequins in the window on the Houston Street American Apparel are now sporting full bushes. [Gothamist]

    Funny! A new study by the University of Oxford says comedians have high levels of "psychotic personality traits." [Gawker]

    Another humongous concert venue (might) be coming to Williamsburg. The New York Daily News claims that Bowery Presents has a 2,000 capacity spot is in the works over on Frost Street in a factory building that is currently a steel fabricator.  They've already applied for a liquor license.

    Watch buzzy UK band London Grammar cover Chris Isaak's 1989 hit "Wicked Game"at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn. Hot Damn. [via According 2G]


    This weekend marks the final shows at DIY venue 285 Kent and they've got a doozy of a send-off lineup planned, with sets from Fucked Up, White Lung, Wolf Eyes, DJ Dog Dick, Dan Deacon and mooooore. $15. 

    Disclosure, Princes of Electronic Music's "middle ground" perform Saturday at Terminal 5.

    Basquiat-e1389727946828-760x509.jpgPaige Powell's "John Basquiat Reclining Nude" is now open at Suzanne Geiss through February 22nd.

    MH0670_2000.jpgIt's the last weekend to see Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at the Frick.

    Jay-Z brings his Magna Carter World Tour to Nassau Coliseum Sunday. [Tickets here]

    blood_simple.jpgThought Inside Llewyn Davis was dark? The Coen brother's brutal thriller Blood Simple screens at midnight tonight and Saturday at Nitehawk.

    Has David Bowie's music seemed real down in the dumps to you as of late? There's a "cheer up" party for him tomorrow night at Wiliamsburg's Viceroy, complete with cake, an Aladdin Sane face painting station and tunes from his peppier days. [Brokelyn]
    bcbflier.pngThe two-day Black Comic Book Festival kicks off today at Harlem's Schomberg Center.

    Normally we don't go out on Sunday night, but this Sunday's different since Monday is Martin Luther King Day.  So we might just check out the Body & Soul party at Webster Hall, and Nouveau York at the Standard is always nice; or maybe we'll even subject ourselves to standing line for  Horsemeat Disco at Output. [Via Resident Advisor]

    FREE! Janelle Monae  is playing a free show in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on June 4.  OK, it's a little soon to start think about summer, but we love Janelle and this announcement made our day.

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    randomoscarwinne.png Meet your favorite new time waster via Time Magazine: A genius Best Picture winner generator, which creates an Oscar-worthy storyline with each new click. The generator is based on an algorithm that analyzed 254 best-picture nominees. It's amazing.

    Here's Jonah Hill talking about being framed for stinking up a bathroom on an airplane in front of a girl he was hitting it off with. Womp womp. You're an Oscar nominee now, Jonah, so, yeah. [Reddit]

    WP1Q.gifHi! Hi! Hi!HiiiiiI! Hi! Hi!!! Hi! HIIIIIIIIIIIiii. [Mlkshk]

    tumblr_mzi2jxpprG1qasthro7_500.jpgFrom College Humor's "Honest Titles for 2014's Oscar Nominated Movies."

    WOZ6.jpgThis is a work of art. [Mlkshk]

    Happy Friday, from a video of a cat grooming a baby. [TasteullyOffensive]

    Weekend, weekend weekend! [FYouNoFMe

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    Model and chef Elettra Wiedemann recently traveled to Shanghai for a photo shoot, but as the host of the cooking show Elettra's Goodness on, she made sure there was time for some culinary treats.

    ew1.jpgBreakfast at the Puli Hotel
    Red Rice Congee
    This congee was not made with milk, but it was thick and heavy -- like plain oatmeal with a husky red-rice flavor. It was comforting, but after about five bites I was full. It would be good before a marathon or an Ironman race.

    ew2.jpgSweet potato stick
    I had this fried sweet potato in onion dust from a food stand in Tianzifang for a midday snack. It was like a huge sweet potato fry, but unfortunately I inhaled the onion dusting which was painful and resulted in a long coughing fit.

    ew3.jpgEggplant and French beans
    This dish at Di Shui Dong was amazing. It was spicy, but not overpowering and deeply smoky. By the end of the meal, I was actually sleepy from spiciness.

    ew4.jpgStreet Food and Snacks
    Steamed pork buns
    The photoshoot location was about two hours outside of Shanghai. As I was being whisked into hair and makeup, I grabbed several pork buns from a street vendor. I was hoping this would be a culinary high point, but I was disappointed. The buns tasted weird and I felt like little pieces of cellophane got stuck in my molars.

    ew5.jpgOut to Dinner
    Spicy Tofu
    Holy shit. This tofu dish at the restaurant Di Shui Dong was so intense with spice and flavor. I had a delayed reaction in feeling the heat, and suddenly my temples were dripping in sweat, my nose was running like I had a cold and my eyeballs were on fire.

    I was feeling so jetlagged, and a Chinese person I was eating dinner with at the peninsula hotel's Catonese restaurant Yi Long Court told me to drink this soup to help with my strength. At first I heard it was made out of fish and mushrooms, then just mushrooms, then mushrooms and bamboo. It was not a taste I was used to, but I liked it. And I did feel better afterward.

    This fish at Yi Long Court was so incredibly light and yummy!

    ew8.jpgTea Time
    Bubble tea
    I've heard about bubble tea before, but really had no idea what it was or how it tasted. There is a tea shop on almost every corner of Shanghai, so I decided it was as good a place as any to try one. It was a win!

    ew9.jpgTraditional Chinese flower tea
    At the photo shoot, tea was served with little squares of plain tofu, strange, super-hard nuts that were good once you fought through the tough skin, pickled quail eggs and Chinese rice pudding that was hand-wrapped in leaves.

    ew10.jpgWorking Lunch at Lu Bo Lang
    Roasted duck stuffed with rice and peas
    Chinese people order many dishes and share, which is my new favorite way to eat. This duck was incredible. The sauce was rich and salty and the duck meat was succulent and moist.

    ew11.jpgMarinated duck tongues on peanuts
    I am not even sure about the taste of this dish, as I could not get past the texture -- but when in Shanghai...

    ew12.jpgBoiled fish in chili sauce
    This boiled fish was cooked with an insane amount of chili sauce and oil, and it was delicious!

    ew13.jpgFried radishes
    These were so good, I had to stop myself from eating all of them! The crust was warm and crunchy and the shaved radish on the inside was full of herbs and very flavorful.

    ew14.jpgScallops and mushrooms in coriander chili sauce
    This dish was so fragrant and wonderful. It reignited my desire to take Chinese cooking classes.

    ew15.jpgStir-fried fungus and pork in scallion oil
    I think "fungus" meant mushrooms, but elsewhere on the menu mushrooms were just "mushrooms," so I'll leave a big question mark over that one. the fungus was a little tough. it was good -- but not my favorite.

    Homepage photo by Billy Farrell/

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    Since tonight's Aretha Franklin show at Radio City was postponed until June, let's watch one of her great performances from back in the day. This version of her hit "Say a Little Prayer" is from a British TV show called It's Cliff Richard that was originally broadcast in 1970. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for Dionne Warwick and Warwick's version made it up to #4 on the U.S. pop chart in 1967. Aretha's version of the song came out in July, 1968, and became her biggest UK hit.

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  • 01/17/14--11:30: Top 10 Celebrity Rebrands
  • TGI-Muthafuckin'-F. Enjoy some Friday vibes by taking a shot at our interactive quiz on the biggest celebrity transformations of all time. And, ICYMI, chase it with this round-up of our favorite rappers' yearbook photos.

    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.54.31 AM.png1. Hint: Though she looks like she might be the president of Kappa Alpha Theta at Southern Methodist University, just think of the exact opposite.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.17.43 PM.png2. Hint: This musician would go on to trade his J. Press duds for some white-on-white flair.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.07.01 AM.png3. Hint: This is a rare image of this singer's hair de-poufed.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.14.11 AM.png4. Hint: This baby-faced footballer went from playing on the green to smoking it.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.23.49 AM.png5. Hint: Something tells us this might be the last time this English Rose got a blowout.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.29.34 AM.png6. Hint: Those lips!


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.08.29 AM.png7. Hint: This church girl went on to shoot whipped cream out of her boobs.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 11.44.31 AM.png8. Hint: Do a visualization exercise and picture this young man with long hair and eyeliner.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 10.55.52 AM.png9. Hint: Don't let the Sweet Valley High vibes throw you off -- this one has spent her entire adult life out of the sun.


    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 12.16.52 PM.png10. Hint: This kid's caterpillar 'stache didn't prevent him from getting laid in life. A lot.


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    jh-cs1.pngJeanette Hayes by Carlos Santolalla

    Forget Lady Gaga, Jeanette Hayes is your art-Barbie 2.0 for 2014. Hayes is a bleached blonde classical painter-babe whose canvases place fine art symbols in a cyber-realistic setting, resulting in a smart and digital culture-as-muse product that appeals to millennial and art snobs alike. 

    Landing on our radar after her 2012 Hearsay show (alongside Girls' Jemima Kirke) at the Hole Gallery, Hayes has collaborated on everything from text message art to Fashion Week GIFs via fashion and art world pals like Fabiola Beracasa of The Hole, Jack Donoghue from witch-house band Salem, and Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. (She's also worked as Rita Ackermann's assistant.) I sat down with the self-proclaimed "Ivanka Trump of the Internet" to chat about her year, her art predictions for 2014 and which late artist would have taken the best selfies.

    2013 was a big year for you!
    2013 was excellent --  lots of big things happened. I had my solo show in Rome, I flew on a private for the first time, I almost became a nun, I got an air conditioner, I met Jeff Koons, I downloaded candy crush, and I got featured in the New York Times. 2013 gave us Kanye's BBC interview, Citibikes, a polar vortex, "trolled" was added to the dictionary, "selfie" was added to the dictionary, Instagram private messaging was invented, and we got Beyonce's visual album. Oh and Jerry Saltz favorited one of my tweets, so I basically got a good review from Jerry Saltz. And I met an owl, and Grumpy Cat went to Disneyland

    How would you describe the past year in GIFs?

    tumblr_mhyxfooc5g1rtgzofo1_500.gifI'm_just_kidding.giftumblr_ml252mhGRm1qedlsro1_250.gifYou also made a pretty big dent in Miami Art Basel this year.

    Art Basel is very reality TV --  it's like catty but fun but heartbreaking but ego-boosting and humbling, all in a weekend. I'm ambivalent about that aspect of it, but I really love looking at tons of art all at once. Look at art all day, party all night, sleep for an hour and repeat --  I love that, but thank god it's only four days a year.

     What are your biggest sources of inspiration?

    I'm mostly just very inspired by other art and current events. Also just beautiful things and exotic things and color and also being human and not a machine, but having a great appreciation for machines and wishing sometimes to be a machine. Also science and outer space and Wendy Williams' hot topics and TMZ. And all things sublime, actually --  especially in nature. Or you know what? Maybe my inspirations are polar opposites -- like very fleeting information, but also the timeless infrastructures and landmarks of our civilization

    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 3.49.45 PM.pngCome Si Dice Webcam Girls by Jeanette Hayes

    tumblr_inline_mwoqnrU2u91qekomj.jpgIs My iPhone Locked courtesy of Jeanette Hayes.

    What websites do you love? RSS is very 2014 

    What do you think the aesthetic of 2014 will look like?

    I wish this year for aesthetics in general to be more sophisticated, less thrown together, more considered. This year I want to see work unlike anything you've ever seen. Or, exactly like everything you've ever seen but in a way that makes you want more. Less post-modern, more post modem! 

    Dali, Warhol and Picasso all cultivated personas to help their careers. Do you think Internet popularity is essential to being an artist today? And how does that affect your work?

    Having social media as an artist is kind of like a very nontraditional studio visit where I will show you things, but you don't have to have an opinion (Even though I find people are more inclined to have an opinion with anything online).

    You can see my every informal thought since 2007 if you look me up online. I use social media like other artists might use a sketchbook because sketchbooks are too romantic for me. I'm too precious about them and can't spend time making something beautiful on a page of a sketchbook -- why not just make it an actual drawing or painting? With my paintings, when I'm planning them and drawing, these drawings are drawings and not sketches for a sketchbook. I understand working out ideas, but I prefer doing this on twitter. It feels faster and more straightforward. I don't think a social media presence is essential for artists today, but I appreciate artists who use it.

    I obviously like social media outlets because I love information, and it just feeds that desire constantly. I haven't been bored since I was like 7 years old because of the Internet.

    jhcs-4.pngLes Demoiselles de'Animeme by Jeanette Hayes

    jh-cs2.pngJeanette Hayes by Carlos Santolalla 

    What pre-Internet artists do you think would have the best social media presence if they were around today?

    I think depending on how old they were when introduced to it, every person and artist would be inclined to using social media. If Picasso or Bernini or Cimabue had an iPad and Internet as a baby, of course as adults they would utilize that into their work somehow. But if they got iPads as old men, they might have been a bit crotchety about it.

    Of course I think -- hope -- Warhol and Picasso would have been excellent with social media.
    I bet Rembrandt would have loved taking selfies. He painted tons of self portraits. But these artists didn't have it, and I do, so I'll take enough selfies for all of us

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    Best Throwback Thursday of the Week: This mesmerizing American Bandstand-meets-early '90s Staten Island clip of kids with perms and mock turtlenecks dancing to Vanilla Ice. It is excellent.

    Best Headline of the Week: This one from the Boston Globe: "Denver: High people, old people, and a really creepy airport."

    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 4.25.33 PM.pngBest Golden Globe Look:
    Lupita Nyong'o's red caped Ralph Lauren number.

    Worst Animal News of the Week:
    Skunks are invading Central Park.

    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 5.01.41 PM.pngBiggest "What's the Point of This?" Piece of Art of the Week: This skull by Dutch artist Diddo, made entirely out of cocaine.

    Best Time Waster of the Week: The Random Oscar Winner Generator. So, so good and we would watch every single movie.

    Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 4.36.57 PM.pngBest Bush News of the Week: The news that an American Apparel in downtown NYC has started putting mannequins in their windows with a full '70s bush.

    Most Interesting Tumblr Argument of the Week: That Beyoncé is basic. What? Really? Is she? I'm not sure! Wait? What? World. Is. Rocked.

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    Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 12.50.50 AM.pngLINKS:

    Here are some deets on Michelle Obama's big 5-0 party, which featured performances by Beyoncé and John Legend and guests like Paul McCartney and Samuel L. Jackson. Nice photos of the Carter family -- including Blue Ivy with Bo! -- c/o Bey's Tumblr.

    And, speaking of the Obamas, if you want to hear what President Obama thinks about Girls and weed -- oh and foreign policy and the conservative agenda, too -- read this excellent New Yorker piece by Editor-in-Chief David Remnick.

    Woot woot! Parks and Rec is officially getting a seventh season, y'all! In other great TV news, NBC, via Universal Television, has also signed a three-year producing deal with our cover girl, Amy Poehler. First up? A pilot co-produced by Poehler and starring Natasha Lyonne as "a woman trying to find where she fits in between her friends."

    Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) will play Dan Aykroyd in a new biopic about the life of John Belushi, starring Emile Hirsch.

    Kanye's designed another collection for A.P.C. More info (and a few photos of the looks) HERE and HERE.

    Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 12.54.00 AM.pngTIPS:

    plays host to Whitney Houston Jukebox Musical: A Hastily Written Masterpiece Starring the Audience, which means, that you, dear readers/audience, will be given your 3.5 minutes to shine so long as you're up for belting out classics like "How Will I Know?" and "I Will Always Love You" in a musical concocted by UCB and Punderdome 3000 alums based on Whitney Houston's incredible catalog.

    Carol Channing and Mx. Justin Vivian Bond are teaming up for a night of song (Bond) and stories (Channing) at Town Hall.

    Ahead of the Muppets Movie, Union Hall is celebrating all things Gonzo with a night that includes Muppet Show screenings, sing-alongs, drink giveaways and more.

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    Drake hosted SNL this weekend and he was really, really, really good. Really good. Justin Timberlake and Alec Baldwin should be worried. Here's a funny little short about New Year's resolutions starring new cast member Sasheer Zamata.

    This "Hip Hop Classics: Before They Were Stars" sketch, in which it's revealed that tons of rappers and singers were on '90s TV shows before they were famous, was hilarious. Drake as Lil Wayne on Family Matters = perfect.

    Conan hangs out with his interns and it's amazing.

    billymurrayreddit.pngThe best part of Bill Murray's Reddit "Ask Me Anything." [Uproxx]

    This video of cats taking care of dogs is everything we wanted and more. Interspecies relationships are our achilles heel. [TastefullyOffensive]

    This video of Ellen interviewing a very, very, VERY excited/manic 7-year-old piano prodigy named Elias is too much.
      tumblr_mzk9ytsHnN1skvw4ko1_1280.jpg Do not even with this statue. [Ratsoff]

    If Samantha from Sex in the City was Samantha from Her.  [PopCultureBrain]

    WR7P.jpgWe're getting the old band back together! [Mlkshk]
     WQYF.gif How we feel about working today. [Mlkshk] ]

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    Much like the Knockout Game or the bar that's going into Williamsburg's forthcoming Urban Outfitters, Greenpoint's Girls walking tour is either a real Broooklyn thing that exists or very much not a real Brooklyn thing that exists. Regardless, Above Average's new Dream Jobs web series (written by Paper contributing editor Alex Scordelis and Celeste Ballard) shows us what a Girls walking tour would likely entail, and it feels hilariously, depressingly on point. Meet Madison, played by brand new SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata, a Girls tour guide who majored in "Dunham theory" at Oberlin and has a permanent heart murmur from the time she spotted Lena Dunham crossing Bedford Avenue. Watch as Madison takes you to Cafe Grumpy, shows you some garbage cans, brick walls and other illustrious Greenpoint sights that Hannah Horvath and co. vaguely/kind of/sort of have something to do with.

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    Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 12.44.12 PM.pngThis week, we meet Adam's sister and Hannah celebrates the big 2-5. Below, 10 highlights from the latest episode.

    1. Adam's sister is even crazier than he is
    In some inspired casting, Gaby Hoffmann appeared last night as Adam's unhinged sister, Caroline. It's the first time we learn about Adam's family and, judging by Hannah's reaction when Adam tells her Caroline is coming over, there's a very good chance Hannah is only learning of -- let alone meeting -- her now. We don't learn much about Caroline throughout the episode, other than oblique references to an abusive boyfriend (and some pretty nasty thigh bruises) and getting fired from her teaching job but it's interesting to watch the Yin-Yang-ness of the Sackler siblings. While Adam can be emotionally vacant and uncommunicative, Caroline is all sturm und drang. We don't yet know which one is the older sibling but if we had to guess, Caroline is the older sister whose emotional issues and neediness has caused Adam to develop into the opposite personality -- withholding and aloof. Let's hope we see more of Caroline throughout the season and get to meet other members of the Sackler clan.

    2. Marnie's music video is awful and perfect
    Like some horrible mash-up of Ke$ha and Sara Bareilles, Marnie appears in a YouTube music video and it's terrible but also exactly the kind of thing she would make. Marnie doesn't know what she wants -- or who she is -- and, in a way, this music video perfectly captures that. Alternating shots of Marnie wearing heavy eyeliner and over-emoting with coy close-ups, Marnie is caught between wanting to be assertive and confident and delicate and demure. Or maybe we're reading into it too much and it's just your typical pop music rip-off as seen through the eyes of an early twentysomething Oberlin grad. Regardless, it's good to see Marnie's getting out of her funk and actually taking action -- even if that "action" is talking to a customer service operator at YouTube about removing the video while wearing zit cream.

    3. For once, Hannah's relationships seem pretty healthy, stable, and -- dare we go there -- mature

    Hannah's parents have trucked it all the way from Michigan to attend Hannah's 25th birthday party at Bar Matchless (but not the Bar Matchless we're used to -- what is this 'fancy' impostor?!) and it seems like parents and child have mended their rifts from season two. Tad Horvath's wearing a fedora, both parents are yukking it up with Adam and no one has a fight about money. And they're not the only ones who seem to be on good terms with Hannah...  Laird's there, too!  

    4. Shosh continues to be a caricature of herself
    In a great piece on Vulture, writer Margaret Lyons asks, "What Is Going On with Shoshonna?" and we have to echo those sentiments. Sure, Shosh has always been a little nutty and immature but, as we mentioned in last week's recap, her lack of awareness and Emotional Intelligence of a pre-teen has been pretty unbearable to watch. This week we didn't get to see a ton of Shosh other than shots of her wearing a hairstyle that reminds us of a '50s housewife in hot rollers and talking (or not talking) to Ray while attempting to smoke a cigarette. We're really rooting for her to have more depth this season but, unfortunately, this episode didn't give her much of a chance.   

    5. Ray is not over Shosh and it's pretty cute
    There was always something oddly sweet about the fact that cynical, sarcastic Ray would fall for a naif like Shosh and the fact that he's still not over her made us like his character even more.

    6. Jessa's trying to stay on the wagon
    Like Shosh, we hardly get any time with Jessa this episode but she seems to be doing well -- or at least well enough that she's behaving herself at Hannah's birthday and sipping water.

    7. Hannah's editor is super lame!
    The whole time we've gotten to know Hannah's editor, he's come across as smart, self-assured, successful and charming but now, out of his element, we see he's a huge dork! He crashes Hannah's birthday, gets really drunk, asks to borrow an "Internet-enabled phone" to "temporarily download Grindr", asks the DJ to play LMFAO and gets into a physical altercation with Ray. Worst.guest.ever.

    8. What is Marnie's problem and why is she forcing Hannah to sing Rent?
    Just when we think that Marnie's shown some selflessness by throwing Hannah a big birthday party, she goes and coerces her best friend into singing some Broadway. Marnie often tries to mask her feelings and insecurities -- Allison Williams talked a bit about this in a new interview with the Times -- while finding horribly misguided ways to over-compensate (we're still cringing from her season two performance of "Stronger"). As much as she pretends to be bubbly, happy and the perfect best friend and birthday hostess, Marnie's still envious of Hannah and all the shit she has going for her so she attempts to create a situation in which she'll outshine her friend. And that situation is singing a showtune beloved by 12-year-old girls. Predictably, Marnie's plan to wow everyone with her singing backfires but thankfully Hannah's chill enough -- and confident enough -- not to be upset that her friend embarrassed her.  

    9. Adam might have patience for Hannah's weaknesses...but not for Caroline's
    We really hope we'll get more of Adam and Caroline's backstory because it was interesting to compare Adam's treatment of his girlfriend and her issues with how he reacts to his sister and hers. With Hannah, Adam shows a surprising amount of patience, generosity and concern but with Caroline, he acts like he gives zero fucks and tell her he wants her out of the house ASAP. Something tells us this isn't the first time Caroline's had a meltdown and come to her brother for help and we wonder if Adam's reaction has to do with how she's behaved in the past.

    10. Caroline's final bottomless scene was unnecessary
    We're used to seeing tons of nudity on the show but there was something a little gratuitous about the last scene where Hannah and Adam discover Caroline helplessly standing in the bathroom without any pants on. We've already had plenty of evidence that Caroline is nutty and vulnerable and so the last scene seemed to be more of a bid for buzz, especially considering the fact that Hoffmann's said in a well-publicized interview that she abstains from waxing down there.  

    Best lines of the episode:

    "Adam, can I borrow some pants, a shirt and dickie for the birthday party, please?" -- Caroline

    "I always have terrible birthdays. It's kind of my thing." -- Hannah

    "Can you get me a tall glass of still water and an Internet-enabled cell phone of some kind?" -- Hannah's editor

    "I'm just gonna download Grindr temporarily." -- Hannah's editor

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    Every year Askinosie Chocolate Founder Shawn Askinosie travels from his home in Springfield, Missouri, to Askinosie's "cocoa origin countries" -- Tanzania, The Philippines, Honduras and Ecuador -- to direct trade with the cocoa bean farmers he works with and check on community development projects Askinosie has started. Here he shares his 10 favorite moments from his 2013 Cocoa Origin Trip to remote southwestern Tanzania.

    shawn1.jpg1. I was able to plan a 26-hour layover in Istanbul before heading on to Tanzania. Because food is not only my job but also a big part of my life, I make eating a priority when I experience a new place. I have wanted to visit Turkey for most of my life, so I took full advantage of my short time there: I tried simit (a Turkish savory bread sold on every street corner); ayran (a staple drink made from yogurt, water and salt); a traditional chicken kebab; and baklava. I also really enjoyed sitting on a little stool at a sidewalk cafe sipping black Turkish coffee. The added benefit of an extended layover like this: It helps with jet lag, since it's the same time zone as my destination.

    2. In each of our origin countries, we are involved with projects in the farmers' communities. During my trip to Tanzania last summer, our team brought fully loaded laptops and projectors to the Mwaya Secondary School in Kyela. Since they don't have electricity, they use a generator, but the fuel is too expensive, so one of the first stops I made was to visit the Kyela District government offices to follow up with them on their promise to provide electricity to the school. At the meeting, I told the government official that we will stop our work at the school if they can't demonstrate true partnership and provide electricity. He agreed, and they began work immediately while I was there. This is another reason why we practice Direct Trade with farmers -- I would never have been able to make this progress if I didn't show up in person.

    shawn3.jpg3. One afternoon, I met with a secondary cocoa farmer group we've been working with at the foot of Mount Livingstone on Lake Nyasa. The members of this group -- which is led by a woman, a rarity in Tanzania -- were eagerly waiting to show me the beans we purchased. Typically there are some issues to troubleshoot (usually having to do with mistakes in storing and harvesting) but the beans were stunning and the group was supremely well organized. This was a huge relief. Together we performed a cut test on a random sample of cocoa beans, where we cut the beans in half, examine the inside and grade each sample with a special system we have developed in Swahili.

    shawn4.jpg4. I spent one night in the home of one of our farmer families at the foot of Mount Livingstone. My hosts prepared a wonderful dinner of Kyela rice, beef and fish and they bought bottles of orange Fanta for the occasion, which they could not afford, but that's what they do here -- something I call radical hospitality. I set up my mosquito net around a mat on the floor and as I was falling asleep I could hear drums in the distance, and the mother singing a lullaby to her baby in Swahili in the next bedroom. I was humbled, not because of the conditions here, but because of the attitude with which my hosts thrive in them. I was reminded yet again of why it's important that I travel to see our farmer groups. It's not just so that we can teach them, but so they can teach us.

    shawn5.jpg5. The next morning I woke up to a rooster crowing, along with more songbirds than I could count, and then a group of farmers took me on a bicycle tour from one small farm to the next. We rode on trails, as roads do not exist. There is something so freeing and joyful about a bike ride under a cocoa tree canopy.

    shawn6.jpg6. One day I led a workshop for the farmers on how to roast the cocoa beans and make cocoa liquor, hot chocolate and tea from the cocoa bean shells. Compared to countries in South America, Tanzania does not have much of a cocoa history, so this is not only fun, but important. Now this group can develop a fuller understanding of flavor possibilities, which depend on how they treat the bean post-harvest.

    shawn7.jpg7. One afternoon, I met with about 200 Mwaya students under a huge shade tree. Most are in their mid-teens. We spoke in English, not Swahili (which was a good thing considering I speak very little Swahili, although I'm learning). Since this was my third visit, the kids and teens seemed really comfortable around me. We basically just sat and talked. One student told me that he wants to become a doctor and come back to his village. He is the top student (or what they call "Head Boy") in the school. I was inspired as I listened to him speak and I asked myself, "Is our partnership with this school helping remove these obstacles to his success?" That is our hope.

    8. There are about 50 farmers in the co-op we work with, and during one particularly productive and enlightening afternoon, we talked about their 10-year-vision plan. They said they hope to see improvements in electricity, housing and transportation (they want to get motorbikes and trucks to help transport beans). Interestingly, it is not their goal to grow in size, but to diversify into other businesses. One of the elder farmers said, "I'm an old man but this discussion makes me feel young again."

    shawn9.jpg9. I typically ate the school lunch of corn, hominy and beans -- the same meal prepared for 900 students who now have lunch everyday thanks to a self-sustaining lunch program we started at the Mwaya Secondary School in June. The PTA of the school harvests delicious Kyela rice, which we buy to sell in the States, and then we return 100 percent of the profits to them so they can purchase and prepare local food for the students' lunches. We all agreed on a timetable for the Mwaya PTA to take over the project completely. We've basically been providing them with access to the market for their product, and now we are teaching them how to do it themselves. This is what sustainability is all about. By 2016, we will serve in an advisory capacity only.

    10. On my last day in Tanzania, many of the farmers told me that because of our cocoa bean purchases they were able to afford the school fees for their children. This reinforced for me how important it is to share the profits with these farmers and pay them above Fair Trade prices.

    Askinosie Chocolate products are available at

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    Today, millions of us will take a moment to cue up "Pride (in the Name of Love)," or Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday," or maybe the late-sixties chestnut "Abraham, Martin, and John" (revived, most notably, by Leonard Nimoy). But who knew that Queen had an MLK song -- or at least a song that champions dreams and unity over laser beams of electric guitar? The year was 1985, and Freddy and the boys were flying high off the legendary Live Aid concert, where they'd played in front of 72,000 people. In other words, they were in no mood for somber attire black-and-white archival footage. Instead, they filmed themselves dicking around in a Munich recording studio. Let freedom ring!

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    This clip has been floating around the Internet for a few weeks now but has a criminally low number of views -- 1, 247 -- so we thought we'd share it for your viewing pleasure. It's Patti Smith covering Rihanna's "Stay" at her annual end-of-year show series at Webster Hall and we hear she even told the audience that she considers it to be the "song of 2013." Let's see if the Grammy committee backs her up.

    Watch the clip, above.

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    beyoncewhitehouse2.jpgBeyoncé wore one of Tina Turner's old dresses and Barack did the Dougie. We can only assume Michelle Obama enjoyed the hell out of her 50th birthday party. [Dlisted; pic via Iam.Beyonce]

    NYC is going to get pounded by a winter storm today, with snow starting at noon and continuing on through Wednesday morning. Enjoy your commute home! [NYTimes]

    There' a new CGI-riffic new trailer for Maleficent, featuring Angelina Jolie as Sleeping Beauty's evil witch and Elle Fanning as Aurora. [Flavorwire]

    Graphic novelist Julia Wertz has been posting some old strips and obscurities -- including an abandoned book about her struggles with substance abuse -- in advance of her forthcoming book, Museum of Mistakes: The Fart Party Omnibus.

    01Yudelson-Dianne_ChileanFlamingos.jpgBird portraits: every bit as spooky and gorgeous as they sound -- especially when they're are painstakingly modelled after ancestral tintypes. [New Yorker; Photo by Dianne Yudelson]

    What's even better than Isabelli Rosellini creating a TV series that explores the weirdest mating habits in the animal kindom? Isabelli Rosellini discussing those habits live and in person -- and in costume. [NYTimes]

    emily-in-space_gif.gif Here are the unretouched images from Emily Altman's shoot for Above Average. Let the healing begin. [Above Average]


    MoMA's "American Modern: Hopper to O'Keefe" show closes this weekend. Don't snooze on this explosion of modern goodness, spanning 1915-1950.

    The Dismemberment Plan's Travis Morrison has two shows coming up: a solo set at the Grand Victory on Friday, and a rare appearance from his new band, the Burlies, at the Cake Shop on February 1.

    Now that Sherlock's third season is underway, it's a great time to stream the first two seasons on Netflix Instant and swoon helplessly over (or at least harbor deeply confused feelings about) Benedict Cumberbatch.

    With another cold front setting in, you might just want to hole up with David Remnick's massive profile of President Obama. (Is the President's fondness for "doing the Dougie" repeated here? Read it and find out!) [The New Yorker]

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    Watch your back, Miley: Ron Jeremy covered "Wrecking Ball." And it's totally a no-nonsense cover, too. No gimmicks, no bells and whistles, just the aging porn start recreating Miley's visuals (and semi-nudity), shot-for-shot. [via Heeb]

    Here's a great supercut of actors saying "Is That What I Think It Is?" in some of your favorite movies. [via Tastefully Offensive]

    tumblr_mz8z4yDxzq1rn7bzro1_500.jpgEmbrace your burger. [via Knusprig Titten Hitler]

    Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 6.24.46 PM.pngGenius. [via Pleated Jeans]

    tumblr_mzpfroeWi31r0wqrdo1_500.jpgDoge subway. [via Humor Train]

    tumblr_mzoey1b4aj1qdlh1io1_400.gifBoop. [via Fuck Yeah Dementia]

    Here's a clip of Fuku the French Bulldog trying to drink water from an iPad because she's tricked by the koi pond app. [via Tastefully Offensive]

    tumblr_mzg8tkMC8O1qbt0vwo1_500.jpg"Usher riding a meatball sub to work." [via Rats Off]

    tumblr_mzcsvpEAzp1rj6lpxo1_400.gifTuesday is brought to you by sparkly, twirling Prince. [via 100 Years of Lolitude]

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    Perhaps fittingly, what's most noticeable about indie dream pop duo Pure Bathing Culture, made of real-life couple Sarah Versprille and Daniel Hindman, is their chemistry. Blending synths and keyboards, their songs have an ethereal quality, inspired, they say, by an interest in spirituality. Having recently moved from Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Portland, Oregon, the duo returned to the East Coast this fall for a string of tour dates and to play a few tunes in the Paper kitchen. We sat down with Versprille and Hindman to talk about their debut full-length, Moon Tides, Swiss spas, and what happens when significant others form a band.

    Where does the name Pure Bathing Culture come from?

    Daniel Hindman: My brother was studying architecture in Switzerland and he went to the Therme Vals spa. We were talking on the phone and he told me about the last session of the day, whose name, when translated from German to English, translated to the words Pure Bathing Culture. It was completely beautiful. You weren't allowed to speak during the session, you waded through a series of pools in different ways. It stuck in my brain and we Googled those three words and we found all these really beautiful images of bath culture.

    Sarah Versprille: Also, at that time, we didn't have a lot of songs written and finding that name really helped us to say, "This project [has] a name, this is something." It brought it more into focus for us and resonated with some of the lyrical themes we were working with at the time.

    What themes?

    Versprille: Spirituality in general is something that's been useful to us, not necessarily specific to one type of spirituality but bathing for spiritual purposes, cleansing, transformation through that process. That was really interesting and inspiring.

    What about spirituality is inspiring to you?

    Hindman: It's something that human beings have been dealing with and have used to make sense of the world around them and their lives and the things they go through. Whether they choose to participate in an organized religion-type of spirituality or something more loose, it's something that's existed in the world for so long and something that everyone deals with in some way, even if they reject it. That's a fascinating part of the human condition in general. It's something we were thinking about a lot when we were working on the record.

    What are your musical backgrounds? You were both in Vetiver prior to this, right?

    Versprille: I started playing piano when I was really young, and then I played trumpet in high school, also went to college for music, studied voice and jazz. Dan and I both joined Vetiver in 2009. Pure Bathing Culture is really the first foray into songwriting for me.

    Hindman: My musical background is mainly playing the guitar. I played guitar in a lot of bands and Pure Bathing Culture is the first band I've really been a prominent co-writer in. So it's my first creative project. I used to play a lot of jazz music and improvisational music.

    How did you decide to go from being a couple to being musicians together?

    Hindman: It wasn't a decision we made. That's why writing the EP and the record are coming full circle. The first song we wrote together was "Lucky One," which is on the EP. After we did that, it wasn't, "Oh, we'll have a band." It was more like, "Cool, we wrote a song."

    What's coming up next for you? What's on the menu?

    Hindman: We're just getting into writing and conceptualizing a new record that [we want to] put out in 2014.

    You can catch Pure Bathing Culture on tour with La Luz this month and next

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    Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 11.08.14 AM.pngThe Business Development team is looking for organized, creative thinkers with an interest in learning about brands' marketing initiatives and how they can fit in with PAPER. Ideal applicants are proactive self-starters with good problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills who will bring positive vibes to the team -- bad 'tudes need not apply. Applicants should be available to intern three days per week.

    Please send a resume and brief cover letter to

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    suster1.jpgIn 2011, after working as an editor for fashion magazines like Instyle, Harper's Bazaar and Lucky, El Salvadorian-born Ariela Suster founded Sequence, a jewelry line inspired and handcrafted by local artisans, in Tepecoyo, El Salvador. In just two short years the Sequence workshop, which offers work and classes as a positive alternative to local gang culture, has become a second home to its employees and surrounding community.

    suster2.jpgFrom the moment you arrive in El Salvador, you are immersed in its culture. The airport perfectly describes the country. It's one of the craziest places! When a visitor is coming from abroad, one person doesn't pick them up, 10 people pick them up, so when you walk off the plane, it's a sea of people waiting for their one person to arrive. It's scorching hot, totally packed and not an easy place to be, but there is so much happiness that you just embrace it.

    suster5.jpgSpending time with family is big here. I have a large family, so any meal can include around 50 people. We'll get together at my mom's or my uncle's house, have dinner and spend the night at home. It's the same on the weekends, but you go into the town where other families are gathering. It's a big party.

    Even with so much love and beauty, El Salvador is still very dangerous. It's one of the most violent and dangerous countries in the world. I grew up in San Salvador during the civil war, and although I had opportunities that other kids didn't have, I was always exposed to the realities of the war. You could never lose track of where you were and what was going on around you. I stopped going to school for almost a year when the war was in the city. I came to the United States for college and began working in fashion, but always went back and forth because most of my family lives there. Now gangs are the biggest problem in El Salvador, and everyone has experienced the violence. I always wanted to find something to do where I could really make a difference. Eventually, I came up with Sequence.


    The scene around Tepecoyo, El Salvador where Ariela Suster and her artisans create Sequence collection's vibrant designs.

    I set up the Sequence workshop in Tepecoyo, a small, colorful and artistic town full of young people outside San Salvador, which is where I spend most of my time. It's safer compared to other towns in El Salvador where you can't really walk around or go to the beach or park. I started with two artisans, and now we have 15. Everyone usually gets to the shop around 8:30 a.m. Some of them live in town; others walk 30 or 40 minutes, and one walks two hours to get to the workshop each day.

    suster4.jpgOnce everyone arrives, we'll have breakfast, which is usually coffee and pupusas, a traditional El Salvadorian dish made of thick corn tortillas filled with beans and topped with coleslaw and some red sauce. I eat one, but some of the kids eat like six or eight of them. It's very easy to eat like crazy here! The town is full of artisanal shops that sell local candy and food. In the afternoons we'll have this local bread called semita. The food is simple, but really fresh.

    The designs and techniques used in our jewelry are rooted in and inspired by the local craftsmanship. You'll find the same knots and braiding used in furniture, hammocks and clothing. All the materials -- except now we're working with Swarovski crystals -- are from here. When I started working with the artisans, they already knew how to make woven bracelets, but with each collection, they step up their techniques to create new designs.

    suster7.jpgWe also offer our artisans classes in computers, English and cooking. On the weekends, we open up our workshop for the local community and give classes based in the arts like jewelry making, painting and theater. The whole vision is to transform community through art, so once my artists learn these skills, they can teach them to other people in the community.

    I love seeing the artisans have a fresh beginning. They don't have to be a part of gang violence because they have new opportunities. They don't have to put themselves at risk because they have safe work. I feel that as the collection continues to grow, I can give more opportunities and more young people will choose to do something better with their lives then join the gangs. I hope we can break the cycle that way.

    suster3.jpgThe most inspiring thing about El Salvador is the people. People are always attentive to what you need, and there's always that feeling that somebody will help you out. Nobody feels above or beyond anyone. Even in the really, really poor areas you see people smiling and willing to help, even if they have absolutely nothing to offer you. That is El Salvador.

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    Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 12.34.18 PM.pngEach week in our Chefs Off Duty series, we talk to some of our favorite chefs and industry folk around the country to find out their secret late-night spots where they like to grab a bite and a pint when their kitchens are finally closed. Next up: John Seymour, co-owner of Williamsburg fried chicken and waffles emporium, Sweet Chick.

    Where do you like to go grab a bite when you're leaving Sweet Chick?

    I grew up in New York so I eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner and my favorite slice is at Di Fara Pizza on Avenue J. I used to be an electrician a long time ago in Howard Beach and I'd go eat at New Park Pizza and I thought that was my favorite slice. But then a friend told me about Di Fara and I changed religions, you know?

    Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 12.41.03 PM.pngDi Fara Pizza

    What do you like to order when you go?

    I always get the square as my first slice but I always order too much. It's always just the plain, margherita-style slice. Even though it's kind of a mission to get over there, the guy [pizzaiolo Dom DeMarco] cooks all the pies himself. He's almost eighty years old. This guy may not be around forever. He makes everything himself. He's the only guy behind the counter and he's grating the cheese himself. It's all on-site -- he's not pulling from a batch that's already done -- he's doing everything. And slowly, too. I'd like to be able to say I went a thousand times.

    Any fun anecdotes from trips out to Di Fara?

    I think probably the coolest memory is when I brought my kids out there and having them eat pizza on the street with me. I was introducing Di Fara to the next generation.

    Di Fara, 1424 Avenue J, Brooklyn NY; Open Wednesday-Sunday, noon-4:30pm, 6:30pm-9pm 

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