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Articles on this Page
- 07/28/15--03:01: _Vic Mensa: Self-Des...
- 07/28/15--04:00: _Watch Jaden Smith's...
- 07/28/15--05:00: _"I Had a Foursome L...
- 07/28/15--05:01: _This Video of Shia ...
- 07/28/15--05:21: _Photographer Mayan ...
- 07/28/15--05:57: _DrinkMate is Both t...
- 07/28/15--07:00: _Gwyneth Paltrow Add...
- 07/28/15--07:31: _Watch The Fiery New...
- 07/28/15--08:23: _Twerking, Skating, ...
- 07/28/15--08:50: _Watch Lady Gaga, Ar...
- 07/28/15--09:01: _Celebrate the 20th ...
- 07/28/15--09:30: _Scenes from the Ins...
- 07/28/15--09:30: _Watch Jack Black, M...
- 07/28/15--09:55: _Bachelorette Recap ...
- 07/28/15--10:00: _Pornhub Says "Lesbi...
- 07/28/15--10:01: _3 Artists You Need ...
- 07/28/15--10:45: _#FeelTheBern: Will ...
- 07/28/15--11:45: _Jane Birkin to Herm...
- 07/28/15--11:55: _The Converse Chuck ...
- 07/28/15--12:10: _Hell Yes: Macy Gray...
- 07/28/15--05:57: DrinkMate is Both the Best App and the Best Case for Peer Pressure
- 07/28/15--07:00: Gwyneth Paltrow Adds 'Rapper-Themed Handbag Merchant' to Her Resume
- 07/28/15--07:31: Watch The Fiery New Video For The Weeknd's "I Can't Feel My Face"
- 07/28/15--09:55: Bachelorette Recap 12: The Lesser of Two Evils
- 07/28/15--10:00: Pornhub Says "Lesbian" Is the Term Its Female Viewers Search Most
- 07/28/15--10:01: 3 Artists You Need to Know Right Now
- 07/28/15--10:45: #FeelTheBern: Will Bernie Sanders Win/Lose Votes With Memes?
- 07/28/15--11:45: Jane Birkin to Hermes: Stop Using My Name On Your Crocodile Bag
- 07/28/15--11:55: The Converse Chuck II: The Same But New
- 07/28/15--12:10: Hell Yes: Macy Gray Wrote A Song About Her Vibrator
if you don't know who Vic Mensa is, seeing him walk into a room will
make your head turn. The 22-year-old Chicago-based rapper, who, on the
day we meet, has frosted tips and is wearing graphic black-and-white
custom pants that say 'Burn the Trump' and a pair of the new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star IIs, carries himself with a combination of youthful, puckish energy and
the kind of rock-star easy confidence you see in people who are
clearly comfortable in their own skin. Which makes it all the more
surprising when, over the course of our conversation, Mensa describes
spending his life feeling like an outsider.
"I've been a misfit for many years," he says. "I feel like I'm in-between these worlds with my arms stretched out as they pull apart...It's a constant source of tension that's existed in my life for a long time." The son of a Ghanaian-born father who teaches Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Caucasian American mother who's a physical therapist in the Chicago Public School system, the rapper was born Victor Mensah in Hyde Park, the neighborhood on Chicago's South Side famous for being home to both the University of Chicago and the Obamas. In a city notorious for its segregation, it's one of the few neighborhoods with noticeable diversity; you'll find fancy professors' townhomes and turn-of-the-last-century mansions walking distance from Section 8 housing and blocks where blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, Asians and Hispanics all raise their families. Even so, Mensa says having a biracial background wasn't always easy. "Growing up half-white and half-black, there were times when I was younger when I just wished I could be one or the other. Never being fully accepted somewhere is hard." He continues, "I'm still different, you know. I've never been 100% something that you could put in a box. I think that crosses into my music and my experience in the rap industry."
As a leader in Chicago's post-Kanye rap renaissance, Mensa draws from an experience that's distinct from that of his hometown rap peers like Chief Keef or Lil Durk, whose music describes their coming-of-age in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods and of navigating Chicago's violent gang scenes. A teen obsessed with skateboarding, Larry Clark's Kids and Nirvana, Mensa attended Whitney Young, one of Chicago's most prestigious magnet high schools and also Michelle Obama's alma mater. It was there that he and some friends formed Kids These Days, a rap-blues-rock fusion band that would go on to sign with a major label, play sets at Lollapalooza and on Conan, and record an album produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy before flaming out in spring of 2013 over creative differences. Post-breakup, Mensa didn't waste time wallowing in frustration or regret and instead focused his energy on starting a solo career. His well-received Innanetape mixtape was released in November of that year and officially marked the 20-year-old as an Artist to Watch.
It was also in this general timeframe that Mensa worked on a track with Chance the Rapper, a high school buddy he'd known since freshmen year when the two met at an open mic night. The song was "Cocoa Butter Kisses," the lead single off of Chance's career-launching Acid Rap mixtape. Both artists' stars began to rise, leading many music critics to compare them with each other or lump them together when talking about Chicago's hip-hop scene and the delineations between the psyched-out, genre-hopping sounds the two friends make compared to the harder drill music favored by Keef, Durk, King Louie and others. It's a lazy comparison that clearly riles Mensa a bit -- even though the two have gone on to form their own collective, SAVEMONEY. Even back as far as 2013, he told the Chicago Tribune that the comparison "is reaching in the dark, putting things side by side that don't compare...[but] the truth is we're different artists who make different music."
But now, following the release of explosive singles with Kanye West (Mensa's "U Mad" and 'Ye's "Wolves," which also features Sia) and ahead of his debut studio album, Traffic, which he started working on after signing with Jay Z's Roc Nation, it's clear that there's plenty of room for both Windy City artists.
"My homie, the producer Mike Uzowuru, played 'Ye some of my earliest music where I was singing and rapping," Mensa says of how he first got connected to Yeezus. "When Kanye heard it, he pretty much instantly told his people to find me. I was on my way to Australia [when his team contacted me] so I just went into overdrive trying to find a bunch of music to play for him." He continues, "But before I even played him my music, he played me his new shit and it was like, fuck, is this really happening? One of the first things he played me was 'Wolves,' and I loved the edge of it. It reminded me of the type of music I was making with punky guitar and moody and dark soundscapes. I was like, Man, this is fucking amazing. And that was the first thing I worked on of his."
In "Wolves," the song off Kanye's upcoming album, Swish, which premiered in February during his NYFW show for his collaboration with Adidas, Mensa plaintively sings, "Don't fly too high/ Your wings might melt, you're much too good to be true / I'm just bad for you," a sonic 180 from the brash, cocky rhymes off of his banger, "U Mad." It's an audio-stylistic-emotional range that he shares with Kanye and one that neatly dovetails with the juxtaposition of Mensa as both the skateboard-loving South Side misfit and the insanely popular rising rap phenom. He also shares with his famous mentor a desire to address socio-political issues, particularly those affecting the black community. In previous interviews he's confirmed that many songs on Traffic touch on political issues and back in April during the Baltimore riots following the death of Freddie Gray, he tweeted, "Don't you understand? We're tired of being murdered in the street like dogs. How many times can you be shot at before you shoot back?"
"People say things like, 'It's just a coincidence that all these black people get shot by police' but we have to get people to understand that this shit is not coincidental," he says. "We live in a hell sometimes. The system has even been set up so [black people] kill each other [as opposed to getting killed by others]."
But though Mensa's spent a lot of time thinking about -- and experiencing -- the grim realities facing many black people living in America, particularly in Chicago, the artist has a natural reason to nevertheless feel optimistic: his youth. Like a lot of people his age, he sees the cross-pollination of ideas and the support and acceptance that's fostered among young people via the Internet as cause for hope. "I think youth culture is in a place where there is so much forward momentum while the world around us continues to flash its old opinions in our face," he says. "We're just determined to keep fucking driving forward even as the negativity of the past -- ingrained institutionalized racism and police brutality -- pulls us down. We're like a blazing comet with anchors hanging off it but still flying."
And for this rapper still flying, he shows no signs of coming crashing down.
PAPER's no stranger to getting smoking hot dudes to answer personal questions: just peruse the Model-Crush Monday archives for proof. But with Charlie Himmelstein, the boxer-turned-model-turned-photographer, we went deeper than our usual TMI Questionnaire. The Friday Night Throwdown champ dished about the sweet science, sexy photo shoots, and winning over his top model girlfriend, Ashley Smith.
Name: Charlie Himmelstein
Years boxing: 13
Number of bouts won: 27
Years modeling: 4
Number of underwear shoots in front of the camera: "69 dude"
Number of underwear shoots from behind the camera: "69 dude"
How did you start boxing?
I got into boxing because I was a bad kid. I got in a lot of fights so my parents put me into martial arts. But I switched to boxing because I didn't like the whole meditation bullshit. I just wanted to punch things in the face.
In boxing films, you always see these intense training montages -- is that what it's like to get in shape for the ring?
Yeah, I mean, if you want to be an athlete you've got to put in the work. I don't think I was naturally a good boxer. I was awkward and no one knew what to do with me, so that kind of gave me an edge. But I do work very hard. When I'm training for a fight, I train every day, and then take one day off. At this point, I don't see it as hard work. It's just kind of a routine.
Do you have a gym?
I train at a gym called Overthrow Boxing, and me and my friend Joey actually started it together. It's like New York City's home of underground boxing. We're about punk rock and keeping it underground and local and cool.
You were part of Friday Night Throwdown, which were the male model fights, and boxing became your entry to modeling, right?
Yeah. I don't like to say it because I sound like a piece of shit, but I'm the champion of Friday Night Throwdown. I'm undefeated. They started me off fighting a model and I beat the shit out of him, so they started putting me up against fighters. A bunch of articles came out about it, and then I got a bunch of photo shoots from it.
You never worry that boxing will mess up your face?
Well, that's the question everyone asks me. And my answer is, I'm a shitty model and a good boxer. I've never had a facial injury, besides once. And when I had my black eye, everyone wanted to shoot me, so it kind of helped.
How'd you transition from being in front of the camera to behind it?
You can't really go anywhere with modeling. It's not a career with longevity, so you've got to take something out of it unless you plan on being Kate Moss. I like being the center of attention and the photographer was definitely the person with the most attention, besides the model. So I paid attention to what they were doing and how the sets work. I made everyone believe I was really good when I was really shitty. And photography has longevity. As long as I don't break all my fingers in boxing.
Now photo shoots must get crazy. What's the wildest, raciest thing that's ever happened on a shoot?
I've had all different kinds of experiences on shoots. I've been on shoots where there's so much sexual tension between me and the model I was working with, right after the shoot we'd go hook up. There was one time after a show at Milk Studios, me and this model were really hitting it off, and we literally walked off the runway and into the bathroom.
That actually is a good segue into one of the usual TMI Questionnaire questions: Have you ever had a threesome?
I had a foursome like last week. I'm an open person and not jealous and I can handle that kind of stuff, so it's probably more regular than most people but I don't do it every week.
Back to photos: You must have a crew of people that you like working with now.
I have my inner circle of models that I use and that I'm loyal to. Sometimes I see a face and I'm like, "Holy shit, I need to shoot," but for the most part, I'm pretty clique-y and only shoot specific people. I like shooting people like Hailey Clauson or my girlfriend, Ashley Smith, who are both top models.
Did you meet your girlfriend on a shoot?
I was out shooting for Interview magazines -- I was shooting Polaroids. I saw Ashley, and she was like the only well-known person there and I needed to take her picture. So I was like, "Oh my god, you're like, my favorite model." And she just looked at me and was like, "Ugh, okay." Then, 20 minutes later she put her number on a napkin in my pocket with a kiss on it.
It must be pretty intense when you guys are working together.
Yeah, it's nuts. I hire her for all the good editorials I get. It's just totally wacky, fucking crazy shit happening, all comfort so we get the best photos.
Does she go to your boxing matches?
Sometimes. She likes that I'm a boxer. I try and train her sometimes, but she won't do it anymore, because I'm a tough trainer. I'm such an asshole.
Now that you've got the photography thing going, are you still modeling?
Yeah. I make most of my income from modeling. My face is still working. I'm going to milk it as long as I can.
He then goes on to brag about America's lax gun control laws, vapes and unsuccessfully tries to FaceTime Megan Fox. It's all supremely ugh.
"When I create things I want to make sure when people see it they feel better about themselves," says photographer and designer Mayan Toledano. She's always thinking about how to tell stories and connect with the world, whether she's creating sets for her own photographs or for music videos for bands like Garden City Movement, or coming up with ideas for the feminine and feminist clothing line, It's Me and You, that she started with her best friend, Julia Baylis. We talked with Mayan about the importance of bedrooms, being a woman and an artist, the art of the selfie, and former teen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio.
How did you get started as an artist?
I actually grew up as a dancer. That was the first form of art that I was able to express myself in. But when I was 18, I quit dancing because I felt like I didn't get enough support and I started seeing the negative side of it, in terms of what it is to be a female dancer. I went to fashion school, and there I realized that that was really unsupportive, too, and I wanted to do something really different. I would collaborate with my best friend, Julia Baylis, and we started It's Me and You together. We wanted to create better, more positive imagery for young women and young girls, and create something that we felt was lacking in the fashion industry. We just kind of made things for ourselves and for our friends, and the community here, and when we posted things online, we got really positive comments from people all over the world. I just want to make sure that I create the things that I don't see.
You do a lot of work as a set designer, and you create these really dreamy, soft environments.
I think that I'm attracted to certain colors, like pastels, and something that is kind of out of reach, as far as being dreamy. It's like going back to nostalgia, something really sweet that I like to revisit or escape to. Because escapism is also a part of my work and how I view things.
What are themes that you look to when designing a set?
I always feel like I keep going back to the aesthetic of teenage bedrooms and bedrooms in general. The bed is a big place for me. That's where I am creative. Your bedroom is the first place that is your own and private, and it's your first place to be creative. So you put posters on the wall and a photo of your muse or someone you admire or stickers or whatever you're into. And my bedroom was always like that. It inspires me and I feel like there's something really vulnerable about it and really personal. You create a story for someone. Like the music video I did for Garden City Movement, I made a room full of Leonardo DiCaprio posters.
That sounds like my teenaged bedroom!
Who wasn't like 12 years old and in love with him?
What's the craziest thing that's ever happened on a shoot you've been on?
Me, Petra Collins, and Julia Baylis went on a road trip that was filmed. Because we're all so close and our friendship is very much like sisterhood, it became really crazy. We got into really insane fights in front of the camera. Of course the camera guys and the producer, they were all guys, and they just don't get it. We were screaming at each other. We had to go and we all cried and made up. So the second we left the room we were all, like, happy, laughing, and were being just normal and they were shocked, basically. They don't know where it came from. Because it was like, a volcano, and then nothing!
You mentioned earlier that dancing and fashion weren't really supportive industries. Do you find it's hard to be taken seriously as a female artist?
It is harder, especially in the set environments, like either photo shoots or films, because when a female is responsible, or demanding, or knowing what she wants, you'll be called bossy or bitchy or names like that. And when males do the same thing, they're like cool and responsible and someone to look up to. I do see that all the time on set. And it's something I don't really struggle with because, at some point, I just kind of stopped caring what people think. I'm more driven by what I want to do and how I want to see things. But it is definitely still a thing.
There's being dismissed because of being a woman, but I feel like there's also some dismissal, at least from older generations and the media in general, about millennials and young people. Do you see that as an artist and part of the millennial era?
I think that with the internet we're able to put our work out there and get immediate response and find our own community. Even selfies -- selfies are a form of art! Selfies are like a way for us to accept ourselves. Because we're real people. We're vulnerable, we cry, we have dimples, we have cellulite. We are real beings and we post about it and we have no problem being exposed like that on the internet. When I see a teen girl's selfie, or anyone's selfie, I want to support it. I don't want to hate on it, I just want to be like, "cool."
Mayan wears Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II
Hey look, it's the rare extraneous-seeming iPhone app/accessory that actually looks like a really good idea! DrinkMate is a tiny breathalyzer that, just by plugging into your phone, can tell you legitimately important information like -- how long will it take until I'm sober? how drunk are my other friends? how can I tell everyone else how drunk I am? -- in addition to BAC, a number that often means nothing to drunk people.
The Kickstarter campaign has already more than hit its goal, but it's still useful to check out the video for more information on how the app works, as well as confirmation that the DrinkMate people understand one of the lesser-accepted truths that underlies the foundations of human social interaction: Peer pressure is awesome. "We recognized that in order to help people make better choices, we needed to utilize their friends and social groups to influence their decisions," founder Shaun Masavage says in the video.
No one who grew up going to D.A.R.E. assemblies will admit this, but peer pressure, when turned to good ends, is the best. In this case: Does your buddy keep saying he can drive back from the club? He (because it is probably a "he" with an idea this stupid) cannot. If all of your friends tell him he is being an idiot because they can see his BAC, heis far more likely to believe itand agree that it is a bad idea for him to drive home. Frankly, this basic model is applicable to all sorts of terrible things your friends may accidentally engage in -- showing off gross signs of wealth, mistreating partners, pretending to be an expert on urban education policy after watching season four of The Wire -- and if there is a higher power, hopefully soon there will be apps to help force them out of these vile habits as well. Get your Kickstarter fingers ready.
Paltrow teamed up with handbag brand Edie Parker on a series of two acrylic clutches made exclusively for Goop that sport the names of two iconic rappers on their front and backs. These pearlescent and glittery bags are engraved with pairings like Pac/Biggie or Hov/Shady and can be yours for a cool $1695. We hear they make a great accessory to a vaginal steaming appointment.
You can never have too many twerking gifs, right? We've pulled together a few of the supremely gif-worthy moments from the Paper and Converse collaboration videos (check back later today) highlighting some of our favorite young artists. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa's feeling like an outsider led to him embracing skate culture. Charlie Himmelstein, a boxer-turned-model-turned-photographer shared his non-musical path to rockstardom. Mayan Toledano, designer and photographer, invited the world into her world: her bedroom.
Twerking might just be one of the tamer things model/photographer/boxer Charlie Himmelstein's seen on a photoshoot.
Vic Mensa's skateboard skills are almost as impressive as his lyrical ones.
"What I do here in my bedroom, with the stickers and the decorating, it inspires me in terms of images. It helps me create my own world," says designer Mayan Toledano.
"That feeling of risk and being on the edge is what keeps me pumping," says Mensa.
"I'm shitty model, but a good boxer," says Charlie, but, given the capital-F Face he's giving in this GIF, that can't possibly be true.
Sticker shock: Mayan's giving you bedroom eyes (from her bedroom--get it?).
Today we learned that there is exactly one being on this planet more photogenic than the flawless Miranda Kerr: her tiny, adorable Yorkshire terrier, Frankie. The pup followed in her owner's footsteps by starring in Coach's latest handbag campaign alongside Lady Gaga's French bulldog, Miss Asia Kinney, and Ariana Grande's pup Toulouse. Miss Asia in particular seems to know how to work the camera -- her haughty gaze (and the heavy string of pearls around her neck) says: I have more Instagram followers than you do, and you know it (probably true; she has 158k of them). It's no surprise, then, that she also wields her purse with more finesse than we ever could. Check out the glamorous canine trio above.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Larry Clark's seminal 1995 film Kids, an unflinching portrait of promiscuous, skateboarding New York City teenagers that was written by Harmony Korine and starred a cast of New York City kids who, until the film's release, were best-known for their appearances popping ollies in Washington Square Park and dancing 'til dawn at NASA.
Though the PAPER archives are rife with late-90s and early-aughts coverage of Kids stars -- including pieces on Rosario Dawson, Leo Fitzpatrick, Korine and the late Harold Hunter and Justin Pierce -- the below Summer 1995 piece on Chloe Sevigny, who was already known as a New York City "it-girl", was tied directly to the release of the much-hyped NC-17 Sundance darling.
The feature was written by Daisy von Furth, Sevigny's friend and co-founder with Kim Gordon of definitive girls streetwear brand X-Girl. And because it just doesn't get more fabulously 1995 than that, we're re-posting it in honor of the film's milestone.
Below, our piece on then 20-year-old Sevigny, who told us about making the movie, her hopes of possibly becoming a costume designer and her plans to play drums in a punk band.
"Kids' It-Kid: On the Down Low with Chloe Sevigny" by Daisy von Furth
PAPER: Summer Issue, 1995
When I met Chloe Sevigny about three years ago, we instantly bonded like the former Sassy interns we were. While a lot of us ex-Sassy interns have gone on to bigger and better things, Chloe has cornered the market on cool. She's the best dresser, a drop-dead looker, a merry prankster and a total sweetheart (to the people she likes). Jay McInerney wrote a 7-page article on the joys of Chloe The New Yorker, for chrissakes. Soon she will also be renowned as the hottest little actress in the hottest movie this summer. She plays Jenny, the lead female role in Larry Clark's already blazingly controversial film, Kids. Penned by boy genius Harmony Korine, Kids is your basic underage kids doing drugs, getting raped and basically wreaking havoc movie, and it's so eerily real that some people are freaking out as if it were a documentary.
How Chloe got the role is an only-in-New York kind of thing. She met Harmony when she first started coming into the city and was hanging out in the park with her skater boyfriend. Harmony and Chloe became best friends, and one night, Chloe recounts, "Harmony brought Larry Clark to NASA, this rave club. It was a strange place to meet him." Not too many 52-year-old world-renowned photographers hang out at cutting-edge techno joints, but Larry was down. Harmony was soon fast at work on the Kids script for Larry. "When Harmony was writing the script, it took him three weeks and he never left the house. I was the only one he spoke to 'cause we were best friends. He would call me up and read a few pages he had written during the day, and um," Chloe lets out her distinctive braying donkey laugh that is somehow adorable. "What was the question?" How were you cast as Jenny? "Originally, they cast somebody from out of town, but it didn't work out. So two days before the shooting, they needed someone, they were racking their brains, and Larry said, 'Harm, who did you have in mind when you wrote it?' and Harmony said, 'I guess Chloe.'"
Ironically, Chloe doesn't see herself as Jenny at all. "She's really young and naïve and doesn't speak up for herself, more like when Harmony first met me." Kids was scripted after all. "It's a little exaggerated, but true to life; lots of the script was taken word-for-word from conversations or events that had taken place in the past." Chloe notes that Justin Pierce, the pro skater who plays the character who rapes her in the movie, basically plays himself (except for the rape part, of course). While a Jodie Foster type would go on ad nauseam about the trials and tribulations of the rape scene, Chloe doesn't take herself quite so seriously: "It wasn't creepy at all, because I've known Justin for three years. It was actually really funny."
The Kids cast had a ball on the set. "It was sort of like a reunion," says Chloe. "Now there are smaller cliques. Back in the day everyone would hang out in the park and was cool with everyone else. Everyone is still cool with each other, but not everyone hangs out." A lot of the kids have gone back to their lives of skating and hanging, but Chloe is fielding scripts and calls from agents. "As for acting, I'd like to have a career like Linda Manz. She's my favorite actress. She did three movies and all of them are masterpieces, except for The Wanderers. Now she lives in a trailer park with three or four kids, I think. But I'd rather do that than do 10 movies and make millions of dollars and have them all be trashy films."
It's not like Chloe doesn't have other options. She often dresses like she just stepped out of a Fassbinder film, so it's only natural that she'd also like to get into costume design. Her Bambi eyes sparkle when she discusses movie costumes. "Christiane F. is one of the best movies, as far as fashion goes, as is Streeetwise, which was a documentary, but still... And Over the Edge, two years ago, that was definitely how we all looked." But don't bring up modeling; while she's done it in the past for easy money to help out her friends, it's definitely not her cup of tea. "I think the movie industry is much better than the fashion industry. I would like to create as many enemies as possible in the fashion world. I think I've done O.K. so far" She's not a snob though, and isn't above doing a music video now and then. She's practically a video vixen. Her favorites: Sonic Youth's "Sugar Kane," in which she has to stand naked in the middle of designer Marc Jacob's showroom, and most recently the latest Palace Brothers clip. She's pretty punk for a Darien, Connecticut girl whose brother is sailing in the Olympics. "I was styling Thurston Moore's video and he said punk rock is dead. I'm starting a rock band called Fuzzy Peach with Rita Ackermann, the artist, and Mary Frey, the entrepreneur. I'm going to play the drums; the drummer's always odd one no one really wants to see. I think that should change." If anyone can make drumming glamorous it's Chloe.
Is Hollywood ready for a 20-year-old who cites Scum and Road by British director Alan Clarke as her favorite films? Let's hope so, 'cause Chloe's one sophisticated lady and out ultimate New York City ambassador. *
Thanks to 2015 Paper interns Juliette Kang and Hollie Pollak!
To celebrate the relaunch of the iconic Chuck Taylor sneaker, which hits stores today, Converse threw a bonkers party last night on West 50th street. At check-in, guests were given a pair of the new and improved Chuck IIs, along with a Tyvek suit, goggles and a respirator. After an hour of cocktails and chit-chat, people were given squeeze bottles full of colored liquid and invited to decorate what appeared to be blank white walls. Simultaneously, a team of men with spray paints doused the walls, revealing a mural by Dutch post-pop artist Parra, which had been painted with a special reactive substance. Chaos ensued quickly, especially when the wheelbarrows full of green powdered-dye rolled out and a punk band (H09909) started playing. Once everyone was thoroughly coated in a film of green dust and out of water balloons (did we mention the water balloons?), Venus X hit the DJ booth to bring some quick-and-dirty dance party vibes. In addition to the booze, all this fun was fueled by quinoa cheeseburgers, burnt broccoli (all good parties have carmelized cruciferous vegetables now -- that's just how it is) and some delectable sour frozen yogurt. The crowd included Matt and Kim (who are sponsored by Converse now), Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School, Ladyfag, Ricky Powell and Promise Smith. Photos, below.
There is a long history of celebrities helping politicians shill -- and explain -- their positions and particular causes. Some of these are powerful, allowing for the distillation of complex issues into simple, striking terms, like this PSA speaking to men about their role in facilitating rape culture. Other times, they are just inexplicable and weird -- like this video of Oscar Isaac, Jack Black, Natasha Lyonne, and Morgan Freeman arguing in favor of making a deal with Iran.
So... call your representative... because maybe nuclear war with Iran will happen, even though it's also really unlikely... because a bunch of celebrities and then also the Queen of Jordan and Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Valerie Plame snuck in and actually explained some of the policy concerns involved? Global Zero, a social movement looking to get rid of the world's nuclear weapons, certainly seems like a good enough (and sufficiently unobjectionable) cause for its celebrity backers, which also includes Matt Damon -- but who had the idea for this ad? Why did they get these particular celebrities? Why does the official press release play something so weird with such a straight face? And why does it look like it was made by Funny or Die?
Honestly, those are all legitimate questions, but they don't even touch on the weirdest thing about this video -- Natasha Lyonne casually reading the collected stories of Flannery O'Connor.
Are we being trolled?
[via The Hollywood Reporter]
Hey, everyone! We did it. We've made it through the horrible premise on which this journey to find love was wrought (#tbt to Britt), umpteen instances of male entitlement, some run-of-the-mill slut-shaming and some very specific slut-shaming, a healthy dose of cyber-bullying, and what felt like 12 years of purgatory in Ireland. It was exhaustive, but shout-out to Kaitlyn Bristowe for being human, fallible and the most relatable Bachelorette I've seen yet. She's been through the ringer, and she deserves all the endorsement money she'll make off her Instagram for whatever protein-infused drink she chooses to pretend she consumes.
First, it's time to meet the parents! Kaitlyn's mom (who wore at least four different looks during her screen time, respect) and sister watched Nick on Andi's season, and are understandably reticent to hear he's one of the top two dudes. Kaitlyn conveys to her mom that she and Nick had sex in a brilliant way ("the cameras went off and it was like, whoops!") so Nick has the added pressure of knowing that Kaitlyn's mom is aware they have known one another as man and woman. She grills him pretty hard, saying "I'm very surprised to see you, a little shocked actually. I have to be honest with you. You were possessive, you were jealous... who are you? Are you surprised that you're here?" Nick has such a peculiar blend of overconfidence, sensitivity, and manipulation, because he point-blank tells momma Bristowe he's not surprised he's here, before breaking down in tears over his love. Obviously this works, because at the end of their conversation she's convinced, saying that if Nick proposed to Kaitlyn she would be very happy. Kaitlyn's dad Mike seems like his profession is Going with the Flow.
Next Shawn takes his shot, further illustrating that I don't understand who uses Snapchat for what, because upon seeing Kaitlyn get dumped by Chris Soules he took a screenshot of her sad face, drew a heart around it, and (texted? Snapped? I'm old) it to his bros with the caption "Don't worry Kaitlyn, I'm coming for you." Shawn, that is creepy.
Kaitlyn's mom gets down to business yet again, telling him "I'm concerned about jealousy. There's no love lost between you and Nick. How do you handle that feeling of jealousy in the outside world?" Shawn very much doesn't answer this question, saying he's been jealous but they also have a lot of trust and honesty. Uh-huh. Tell me about how aggressively sensitive you are over jumbo shrimp next time, buddy. However, Shawn makes the better impression, sitting both parents down and telling them he plans on proposing next week. This goes well: "We love our daughter and we want her to be happy. I say 1000% you have our support."
Time for the last dates! I'm going to fast-track these, because this episode was three hours long and nothing really happened. Also, it was the exact same date, was it not? Hang out on a boat, bring her back to your room, give her a weird gift? Anyway, Nick is up first.
"I got you sometning. It's in my bedroom," he compellingly tells her. Instead of running or dropping a pin to her family with a scared emoji Kaitlyn goes to his room, and is rewarded with framed photographs of the two of them accompanied by poems. Sample line: "There is electricity in your lips/When I kiss you I feel your energy." However, she loves it, because I'm pretty sure no matter how bad your poetry is, ladies will dig it. Pro tip, guys!
"I know that I am in love with Nick, but I love the way that Shawn makes me feel," Kaitlyn says, before confessing her extreme anxiety about her last date with him. Healthy! What in the world went down over their famed off-camera hang? Was it the best six hours in history? Of time? Because ever since that point they've basically fought and miscommunicated the entire season.
Short story? Shawn seems jealous and controlling, and I very much hope that most mostly situational and due to editing. I liked him initially but I wish she'd turned them both down. For his gift he threw a bunch of random shit in a mason jar, which is actually exactly the kind of gift I'd have cobbled together, so, ~shrug~. However, they reconnect about that fact that Kaitlyn actually made out with Joe, which is pretty funny. Southern boxtroll of my heart. "Sitting here tonight looking into Kaitlyn's eyes sealed the deal for me. I'm going to ask her to be my wife," Shawn says, and for Kaitlyn's part she's "in love with two guys and two guys are in love with me. No matter what I'm going to hurt somebody."
Looks like that somebody is Nick yet again, because he's first out of the limo and we all know what that means. Watching him get dumped like that was rough sauce. I don't know why she'd let him go through 80% of his proposal wind-up before stopping him just as he takes out a ring. "I did need every single second that we've had together. The only single explanation i have...my heart is just with somebody else," she says, before doing the worst thing you can do when you break up with somebody: Make them talk to you about how you feel about what just happened. Just let the man go, woman. "If you were in love with me we would be having a different conversation...What I felt for you was greater than a moment, he says. "It's not fair for you to tell me that we feel the same things because we don't," he continues, and I agree. The only good thing that happens out of this exchange is Nick throwing that horrible claddagh ring off in the limo.
Over to you, poor man's Ryan Gosling. Their proposal was sweet; I'm ultimately kind of soft so it's always nice to see two people confessing their love, even if the actual engagement has a short shelf life. I mean: "Everytime I look into those blue eyes I can't hear myself think. Everytime I look at you I see a partner in crime and my best friend. I love you so much, Kaitlyn." Is that ridiculous after eight weeks? Sure! Do I like Shawn? Not really! Did that do it for me? Totally. Kaitlyn is just living her truth, and for her that means she "never wants [him] to question what we have ever again, because I am completely yours and I will always be faithful to you. I love you with all of my heart."
Oh, did you think we were done? We are very not done, there's still an hour of this left. Kaitlyn and Shawn emerge, and he got a nose job, right? Either that or some Kardashian-level contouring is going on. He shows that aforementioned weird-o Snapchat again, and between him and Ian, I don't understand the fascination with her sadness. Anyway, they seem happy.
Nick comes out to some off-brand, sad sack Charlie Brown music, and his family is there? Why? They look like they're at a funeral. His mom is even dressed all in black. If you recall Nick has been in this position before, mumbling to Andi that he didn't understand why she made love with him if she wasn't in love with him. So basically: Just don't do that again and you'll be fine. And you know what? He doesn't. Overall, I would say he handled himself well.
They discuss his communication with Kaitlyn beforehand, and I maintain (based on nothing but my "women's intuition") that they slept together before coming on the show. Just a feeling. When asked by Harrison why Shawn hated him so much (fun question!) he takes the high road. "Obviously I had my frustrations with Shawn get the best of me. At the end of the day I ended up being not much better, and we let our insecurities come out. I give Kaitlyn a lot of credit because she didn't let that get in the way of making her decision."
Of course, they bring out Shawn, because who can resist two men exchanging snippy asides? Shawn really cannot handle this. I think Nick is just straight-up trolling him, which I like (oh God, do I like Nick?) crossing his leg over his knee in a way that really makes me wish they would just press their feet together to see who's bigger. That's got to make them some type of Eskimo cousins, right? Shawn just had a "bad feeling" about Nick (chalk that up his guy intuition), and you know what? I like his nose job. Good work!
Next Kaitlyn and Nick sit down to speak, and due to her body language and the repeated grimaces on her face, something happened here. She's pissed at him. I can speculate as to what (he gossiped about her to former cast members, she knows she can't show any kind of affection or consideration to him given Shawn's jealousy, Chris Harrison keeps farting) but something is up. "At the end of the day, no love that I had was stronger than the love I had for Shawn," she says, and he presses her: "Did you think that taking out a ring and going through the proposal speech was the best way to end it?""No, I don't" she responds. Can that please be that?
What's next for Kaitlyn and Shawn? Some semblance of normalcy, hopefully. "The best thing that can happen is that I can stand up for my girl and defend her now. This girl is the strongest woman I've met in my entire life," Shawn says. Who knows? Maybe these two crazy kids will make it. It's been a pleasure taking this amazing journey with you all. Until next time!
Men have traditionally been mainstream porn's target demographic, but recent years have shown an increase in female traffic to adult sites -- and as the number of women viewers has grown, so has interest in their preferences. To better understand how women engage with porn, Pornhub, Redtube, and the Daily Beast teamed up for an article series dubbed "What Women Want," the latest installment of which looks at popular Pornhub search terms and the gender breakdown of site visitors by country. Here are 5 of the most entertaining findings:
"Lesbian" is the term most frequently searched -- and the category most often viewed -- by women.
Is it because a higher proportion of female visitors to the site are queer? Is it because women in lesbian porn actually look like they're having fun? Or is it, as Dazed puts it, "simply because women are prettier than men"?
Terms related to cunnilingus are searched nearly ten times more often by women than by men.
No surprises here -- as with the lesbian porn, a focus on female pleasure takes center stage.
The Philippines and Brazil have the highest percentage of female porn viewers, at 35%. Japan and Germany have the least, at 17%. The U.S. sits at 23%, one percent less than the worldwide average.
The proportion of women visiting the site is actually up across the board, with India seeing the most dramatic increase (26% to 30% over 10 months).
Women spend 48 seconds longer on the site per visit than men -- except in Russia, where they spend 15 seconds less.
Take your time, dudes! It's not a race to the finish -- unless you're hoping to go for a few more rounds.
As a new generation grows up, the much-maligned millennials are coming into their own, embracing the power of the internet and social media to find new ways to make themselves heard. PAPER magazine and the new Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star IIgot together to introduce the world to three of their favorite creative personalities making art today. These artists are carving their own unique way in the world and turning their respective fields on their head. In the videos below, Vic Mensa, Charlie Himmelstein, and Mayan Toledano share what inspires and motivates them, and how that has helped them forge their nontraditional, totally kickass paths to success.
Raised on the Southside of Chicago, rapper Vic Mensa didn't feel like he fit in anywhere. "Am I a misfit? Yes. I've been a misfit, a rebellious kid for a lot of years," says Mensa about his youth. "So people being scared and surprised is familiar to me." Lucky for us, Mensa found his fellow misfits in skateboard culture, and from there his impressive lyrical talents were able to flourish.
Who knew that stepping into a boxing ring and putting your face at risk could land you a modeling deal? It worked for Charlie Himmelstein, whose run as champion in New York City's underground boxing fights launched his career as a model and a photographer. There are many paths to rock stardom, and for Himmelstein, he had to pass through the ring (and the occasional pummeling) to find it. As Himmelstein reminds us, "Losing sucks. You gotta win to be a rock star."
Mayan Toledano is a woman of many talents. Whether she's designing sets for photoshoots and music videos, or collaborating with her BFF to create their girl-friendly clothing line, Toledano is constantly creating, inspiring herself to explore new ideas and art. With the help of social media, she shares her work and has created a community of supportive like-minded young women, all without leaving her bedroom.
Everyone is "feeling the Bern" lately, especially the politically-charged youth who have found him to be the most conscious candidate when it comes to contemporary socio-economic issues. And it's these youngsters who have started inundating us with puntastic Bernie Sanders-related Internet trends that span the positive (Feel The Bern), the negative (#BernieSoBlack) and the eyeroll-worthy (Berning Sensation) -- which begs the question, will this be the first presidential election where memes will make a huge impact on who becomes the 45th President of the United States? Will Bernie be the first to win a decisive amount of votes via young Internet users? Do you think he'll hire a campaign meme creator at this rate? Do you think his upcoming Bushwick loft party will have its own dedicated hashtag? Well, before we jump to any conclusions, let's take a look at what we have to work with thus far.
English actress, singer, and style icon Jane Birkin has decided she's had enough of Hermès using her name on their famous handbag. Or, more specifically, she's decided she's had enough unless the French luxury brand puts an end to, in the actress' words, the "cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter" to make the Birkin Croco style. The actress, whose name has been affixed to the bag ever since 1984 when then-president of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, met her on an airplane and heard of her desire to find a chic -- but practical -- bag, may have first been keyed in to the brand's practices by watching a recent PETA exposé that showed reptile farms in Texas and Zimbabwe and their inhumane treatment of the crocs. These farms, which are allegedly where the brand sources its skins, "cram the animals into barren concrete pits" and hack them to death. "I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place," Birkin said.
PETA has applauded the actress' stance but Hermès has yet to comment. Perhaps the brand could use this as an opportunity to do a 180 and change their practices to be among the first ultra-luxe purveyors of cruelty-free handbags, which, we'd imagine, also make the perennially wait-listed item *slightly* more affordable. Wishful thinking?
In third grade, three friends and I started our own gang: the Converse Cousins. We were the only ones at our school who hadn't gone in for the just-launched Air Jordans and their countless imitations. The fact that we stuck with our thin, thrifty Chucks assured us that we were different, cool, somewhere between the jocks and the drama kids. So did the fact that we could change colors whenever it was time for a new pair and scrawl the names of our favorite bands on the white toe caps. The Converse Cousins walked the grounds of Westlake Elementary proudly (albeit without much in the way of arch support), knowing we followed in the footsteps of unfuckwithable stars from Larry Bird to Ice Cube to the Ramones.
As I write, I'm wearing a pair of putty-gray high-tops; a glance around the PAPER office reveals a dozen other iterations, high and low, black and pink, Taylor and Purcell. Clearly, the Converse Cousins had other chapters around the world. As the years went by, we all stuck with the design we knew and loved but started fitting them out with insoles -- perhaps one of the most common signs that a certain breed of cool-kid was finally growing up.
And now, along comes a development both simple and profound: after almost a century of not fixing what was never broke, Converse introduces the Chuck Taylor All Star II, a model that mostly looks the same on the outside (the biggest giveaways are the premium canvas, the subtly retooled eyelets and the patch, now stitched on instead of painted) but that boasts a handful of minutely conceived internal tweaks that give each pair the feel of a Nike. A cushy Lunarlon footbed, a padded, no-slip tongue and a breathable microsuede lining are just a few of the innovations design director Damion Silver and his team obsessed over. Their goal: to raise feel and style to the same timeless level; to make cool-kids of all ages a little surer on their feet.
"The All-Star has become one of the world's most legendary sneakers, with fans, artists and musicians adopting the sneaker as a badge of creativity and self-expression," Silver explains. He sums up the Chuck II with a simplicity that matches the shoe itself: "They help you do more of what you do."