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- 11/02/12--18:57: _MoMA Hosting Free S...
- 11/03/12--14:30: _Lady Gaga, Madonna,...
- 11/05/12--05:40: _Check Out Syrup's S...
- 11/05/12--06:05: _Morning Funnies: Lo...
- 11/05/12--07:30: _"Gloria" by Junkie ...
- 11/05/12--09:50: _Nicholas Ghesquière...
- 11/05/12--10:00: _PAPERMAG Premieres ...
- 11/05/12--11:30: _Your Guide to Art B...
- 11/05/12--13:30: _After 20 Years, Deb...
- 11/05/12--14:20: _Guide to Election N...
- 11/05/12--15:30: _TLC Is Recording Th...
- 11/05/12--16:00: _Bad Girl: M.I.A. Wo...
- 11/06/12--09:45: _Booty Call: Novembe...
- 11/06/12--10:30: _Björk's Vision Quest
- 11/06/12--11:30: _Sample Sale or Line...
- 11/06/12--12:15: _Sandwich of the Wee...
- 11/06/12--13:45: _Big Bird Costumes, ...
- 11/06/12--14:30: _Dance Pop + Real Di...
- 11/06/12--15:30: _Lou Reed Wants You ...
- 11/07/12--07:00: _The Morning Funnies...
- 11/05/12--05:40: Check Out Syrup's Super-Cute New Moomin Collection
- 11/05/12--11:30: Your Guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2012
- 11/05/12--13:30: After 20 Years, Debi Mazar Is a City Girl Again
- 11/05/12--14:20: Guide to Election Night (and Day!) Parties In NYC
- 11/05/12--16:00: Bad Girl: M.I.A. Won't Play By the Rules
- 11/06/12--09:45: Booty Call: November 2012
- 11/06/12--10:30: Björk's Vision Quest
- 11/06/12--12:15: Sandwich of the Week: Kefi's Lamb Burger
- 11/07/12--07:00: The Morning Funnies: Obammmaaaaaaaa!!! Edition
On Sunday, along with Conservators from the American Institute for Conservation Collections Emergency Response Team, MoMA will be hosting a free presentation from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. for the public on how to conserve paintings, drawings, books, and other archival works damaged in Hurricane Sandy. The presentation is also intended for the many artists and galleries (like non-profit art publishers Printed Matter) who had works damaged as a result of flooding. It will be held in MoMA's Celeste Bartos Theater, in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, at 4 West 54 Street.
You can also download the guidelines for immediate response for collections here. It gives step by step measures for conserving water-damaged art in various mediums, including library and archive collections. The guide also provides a list of suppliers and emergency services that can provide some of the services listed. The guidelines are also available on MoMA.org.
If you can't make it tomorrow and would like to receive advice from the the American Institute for Conservation, call AIC's 24-hour assistance number at 202-661-8068. You can call the same number to arrange for a team to come to the site and assess damage and help with salvaging.
Meanwhile, MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach is organizing a relief mission to the Rockaways tomorrow at 10 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet at the MoMA Education Wing, 4 West 54th Street and must be able to spend the whole day in Rockaway -- the bus back to Manhattan will be leaving Queens at 6 p.m. Biesenbach is currently taking head counts on Twitter for the trip, so if you'd like to help, please reach out via Twitter ASAP. Biesenbach is stressing on both his Twitter and Facebook accounts that volunteers be aware that tomorrow's trip is "not a holiday excursion." He is asking for volunteers to bring large garbage bags, thick work gloves, bottled water, battery-operated flashlights, batteries, generators, gas, candles, gas-powered pumps, lanterns and food. Those who can't make the trip are still encouraged to drop off supplies. Volunteers should wear rubber boots and bring cameras to "document the damage in Rockaway and create awareness."
RELATED: Ways You Can Help Hurricane Sandy Victims, From Volunteering to Donating
Above: Destruction in Breezy Point, Queens, on the Rockway penninsula. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Below is an open letter to Mayor Bloomberg from members of New York's art community encouraging support for, and assistance towards, areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy. For more ways you can help, please follow links at the bottom of this story.
Open Letter to Encourage Mutual Citizen Support
New York City Artists Unite to Support the Rockaways and the Flooded Areas of New York City
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
The Rockaways geographically, as you know, are the area that is breaking the waves between the Atlantic Ocean and JFK Airport and New York City in general. Demographically, it is very diverse and not a privileged area.
In recent years, the Rockaways became an incredible inspiration and haven for the artists and creative community of New York. As the Rockaways are, at their best, a melting pot between the local community and the creative energies of the city, it is a location where New York is anticipating and creating the images and dreams we all live on.
Hurricane Sandy completely devastated the peninsula, and a couple of days after the storm, families with children are still standing next to their destroyed and ruined houses trying to keep warm without food, water, electricity, heat, or internet.
The artistic community is sending you this letter to support the city in your amazing, monumental efforts in all boroughs to save our city and to encourage the creative communities in New York to invent exemplary ways of helping our neighbors and fellow New Yorkers!
Anthony D. Curcio Jr.
Anna Deavere Smith
Rockaway Artists Alliance
Gus Van Sant
(Photo via CNBC)
MoMA Hosting Free Seminar On Preserving Sandy-Damaged Art + MoMA PS1's Klaus Biesenbach Organizing Rockaway Help
Ways You Can Help Hurricane Sandy Victims, From Volunteering to Donating
Adorable Japanese clothing line Syrup launched a line of clothing inspired by the Swedish-Finn childrens' book series Moomin and, of course, it's super cute. Inspired by the forests of Finland and characters such as Little My, Syrup weaves imagery from the iconic series into printed peter-pan collared dresses and knitwear. And can we just note how strange the pocket placement is on the above sweater? Maybe it's a pocket for holding all the wildflowers you've picked from the valley? Who knows! Check out more looks below from the lookbook.
Louis C.K. hosted SNL over the weekend and, in case you missed it, here's a hilarious and perfect spoof of C.K.'s FX show Louie, if it were about Abraham Lincoln. [Hulu]
Though we all have major get out the vote video fatigue by now, this clip of Cher and Kathy Griffin urging voters not to let Mitt Romney 'turn back time' on women's rights is pretty excellent. [Flavorwire]
Like last year, Jimmy Kimmel asked his viewers to film themselves telling their kids they ate all of their Halloween candy. It's cruel and so, so funny. [Gawker]
All business. [Reddit]
Surprise, the 50 Shades of Grey clothing for kids on Etsy is just horrendous. [Buzzfeed]
Ye Olde over-sharing. [TastefullyOffensive]
Serve with sawdust hash. [TheOnion]
PETA made this ad about the sexual benefits of going vegan, featuring giant swinging around giant dongs made out of vegetables in slow motion. Totally enticing, right ladies?? NSFW. [Buzzfeed]
Good morning. [Bunnyfood]
Katherine Hepburn giving us the Awesome Bitch Chills. [BridieQuilty]
Elvis' house of beauty. [ThisIsntHappiness]
Homer Simps-za. [Coinfarts]
Never change, Law & Order: SVU. [Interweber]
RU ready to rawk!!!!? Junkie XL collabs with Norwegian electro band Datarock on this "theme" for the new web comedy STD: Oddfjord about a NYC cop that gets transferred to Norway. We're guessing that "Gloria" is the news-making, gang-leading granny that invades the strange combo of record store/biker bar. Watch out, granny's got a gun. Check out the series here.
Nooooooo! Nicholas Ghesquière is leaving his position as creative director of Balenciaga! No word on why he left, who will take over and what he'll do after. [via On the Runway Blog]
Our minds are blown: these socks, made sometime between A.D. 250 and A.D. 420 -- that's over 1,600 years old -- wouldn't look out of place on, say, a Prada runway. [via Threaded by The Smithsonian]
These are the uniforms for the workers at the Interieur Design Biennale, made by Norwegian designer Damien Fredriksen Ravn. My god, we wish we had worked that festival. [via Dezeen]
Check out these Tarot cards made by Michael Willis for Kenzo. Psychic chic! [via It's Nice That]
Everyone can breathe easy now: Heidi Klum's Halloween party has been rescheduled for December 1st. [via The Cut]
We dig these PRO-Keds x Woolrich kicks. Hopefully we'll be able to get a pair before that Nor'easter hits the city. [via HypeBeast]
You can head to i am OTHER to see more episodes of Club Chrissie.
Club Chrissie Featuring Leah Dell
Club Chrissie Featuring Maxine Ashley
Welcome to the third edition of our ongoing guide to Art Basel Miami Beach (check out editions I and II HERE and HERE, respectively). Let's get started:
New York-based artist Desi Santiago is working on a huge installation for the Lords South Beach Hotel (1120 Collins Avenue) called "The Black Lords." The artist's work has been seen here in NYC at Deitch Projects, MoMA PS1, Mathew Marks Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he's know for elaborate theatrical and performance pieces. In South Beach, he plans to transform the hotel into a "ravenous black dog named Gypsy" that will tell fortunes and respond to visitors questions with sound, lasers and smoke. Perrier is sponsoring the installation and they are having a big VIP opening on Tuesday, December 4, but "Gypsy" will be on view all week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
We just received word that Vito Acconci has been named Design Miami's 2012 Designer of the Year. Born in the Bronx, New York, the acclaimed artist has also been commissioned to design a playground that will be built in Miami's Design District by 2014 and that is based on "The Klein Bottle" -- a structure conceived by the German mathematician Felix Klein. (That's Acconci's design above.) Past winners of the award have included Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson and Konstantin Grcic.
You're probably noticed airplanes pulling advertising banners over your favorite beach during the summer. Now imagine what those banners would look like if you gave 15 artists free rein to design the message or the image. The Morgans Hotel Group is doing just that in a cool project called "Plane Text" and several artists have already committed to the project including: Ed Ruscha, Richard Prince, John Baldessari, Jack Pierson, Gary Simmons and Jenny Holzer. The art will be airborne daily starting on December 5th. Look up! [image via NewTimes]
Sculptor Peter Anton is building a full-size carnival ride called "Sugar & Gomorrah" for Art Miami (Midtown Miami, 3101 NE 1st Avenue). You'll be able to "ride into a winding tunnel that snakes through tumbling pillars and images of fire meant to evoke Sodom and Gomorrah-like destruction...and encounter a wonderland of larger-than-life sugary treats while listening to Lesley Gore's 1965 hit 'Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows." Sugary treats + Lesley Gore = We'll see you there. (Above: Anton with giant candy from his 2009 "SWEETLIFE" exhibition in NYC.)
There's a new fair called JustMad Mia setting up shop in Wynwood's SOHO Studios this year and -- besides the 30 galleries exhibiting their works -- this one will include a working re-creation of Madrid's famed San Miguel Market. There will be tons of Spanish merchants bringing their local food products to a gigantic space designed by Andres Jaque.
Louis Vuitton (170 NE 40th Street, Miami) just opened a temporary store in the Design District and they had the Los Angeles-based artist RETNA design a mural for the facade.
For the second year, Art Basel will be using the giant 7,000-square-foot video wall on the side of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center as a showcase for their Art Video series. There are 8 programs scheduled from December 5th to the 8th including works by Daniel Arsham, Theaster Gates, Rashaad Newsome and there will also be a special dusk-to-dawn screening of the 12-hour film "Bliss" by Ragnar Kjartansson starting on December 8 at 6 p.m. BYO food, beverage and blanket.
Debi Mazar is back where she belongs. After a 20-year hiatus, Mazar has returned to her NYC roots, moving to Brooklyn with husband Gabriele Corcos and their two daughters. We toasted the actress's return at her NYC Wine and Food Festival party at Double Seven (pictured above), where the champagne, cocktails and caviar flowed. Between sips, Mazar and Corcos talked with us about the third season of their hit cooking show, Extra Virgin (read our 2011 interview with the couple here); her new role as a porn star in Lovelace; and about how there's really no place like home.
I noticed you were in the New York Times crossword a couple of weeks ago. What a nice welcome back!
Someone else on the subway the other day told me that as well, but I first found that out through Kim Hastreiter on Twitter. She's always the one who announces it to me because I guess she's an avid crossword person. Her and Ellen Burstyn. I'm in it a lot I think because of certain letters in my name.
What brought you back to NYC?
DM: I am from here and I always wanted to come back. I went to LA about 20 years ago and I basically didn't plan on staying. I was bicoastal 12 of those 20 years, but once I had children, I gave up my New York digs because I thought, "Am I going to have another rent, or am I going to have a nanny?" And I found that everything I came to do, whether to see family, or do different jobs -- acting, advertising, voiceovers, meetings -- everything seemed to come out of New York. And whenever I would come back here, I would just feel alive. Getting on the train, moving, walking through the streets, the culture, museums, bumping into friends.... I just felt that LA had come to be vacuous and I enjoyed it for everything that I could. I still very much like it. I love the terrain but I need people and I need the New York energy. So I thought, before my daughters turn into teenagers, it would be a good idea to get them out of LA so
they didn't resent me too much, and try to give them a slice of real life. I pulled them out of private school and threw them into New York City public school. And now we are closer to our home in Italy and I'm closer to my mother who lives in Florida. I'm going to see autumn leaves change, and my children are going to have rosy cheeks in the wintertime and build a snow man. That to me is joyous.
Was it easy for Gabriele and the girls to adapt?
DM: With Gabriele and my kids, I didn't know if they would take to New York because he's from the Tuscan fields and my kids are from the Sunshine State. My kids had to learn how to adjust to the concrete jungle, and I had to educate them on New York life, how to cross the street, for example. But I'm loving taking my subway again. And there are so many more farmers' markets here, and what's refreshing about Brooklyn is its mom-and-pop shops. I love that my husband says that he is living the American dream. He goes to the local butcher. He walks our 80 pound dog, Lampo, half a block every morning to take my two daughters to school. And it was a huge adjustment for the dog, too. He was going, "Wait a minute, I have to shit on pavement?!"
Gabriele Corcos: It took him such a long time to figure out how to go to the bathroom, poor boy. But yes, this is the American dream to me. You feel like you are part of something that is beyond your own house and your own family. In LA it doesn't happen. We had neighbors for a decade and we never talked to them. And we tried. We never gave the key for our house for emergencies. Here everyone is always available. It makes me happy.
What can we look forward to on the new season of Extra Virgin?
GC: We'll have new guests, new occasions, and new scenery in Brooklyn. And we bring Tuscany to Brooklyn now. For example, I just can't find my bread here so I make it myself.
DM: He makes me Tuscan bread every other day. He's mastered it and it's the only bread we keep in the house. Tuscan bread is very specific and it doesn't have salt. So in the show we wanted to celebrate New York and show how we eat in our backyards, for example, and bringing the essence of family life, and Tuscany everywhere -- even to sitting on your stoop or fire escape.
Are we going to see the move on the show?
GC: Yes, we used the move to have a little bit of a storyline. We arrive in New York. We show a lot of New York's Italian American culture, like Arthur Avenue, and show the traditions that are still alive, like curing meat and having a real butcher. It goes back to the family dimension and the neighborhood dimension. It is a wonderful change of pace because it reminds me so much of the way I grew up -- you meet people, you talk to people, it's not about you going on a mission to the grocery store and coming home. I appreciate that New York is about constant interaction with everybody.
DM: On the show you'll see Gabriele discovering simple New York foods like bagels and Tuscanizing them. But this is the last time we are ever shooting and moving again. Five weeks of packing and then a crew in your house for six weeks? At a certain point you burn out. We're going to stay put for awhile.
Any other projects in the works?
DM: Gabriele is playing a porn star with me in Lovelace, my next film to come out, and it's
his first feature. I play a porn star and when I found out I had to have a love scene
with somebody I said, "Well who's going to be the actor?" And so I got him a gig.
Extra Virgin season three premieres Wednesday, November 7, 9:30pm ET/PT on the Cooking Channel. Photo by Hernan F. Rodriguez
Well folks, it's been a long, strange trip and tomorrow night it'll all be over (or will it just be starting?). Whether you're voting for Barry or Mittens, forget about partisan politics for a moment and unite with your fellow party people at these Election Night happenings around New York City. Check out our recs below.
Flavorpill, Gawker and Rock the Vote have teamed up for an election day party as part of Flavorpill's ongoing Lunch Break series. For one hour only, you can head to (le) Poisson Rouge at 1pm to dance to tunes spun by LCD Soundsystem's Pat Mahoney (and then tipsily stumble back to the office). They'll also be raising funds for The NYC Food Bank on behalf of Hurricane Sandy relief. RSVP here. 158 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village [via press release]
The election parties don't stop at (le) Poisson Rouge -- later in the evening they'll be home to a free bash thrown by Kevin Powell and BK Nation featuring music by DJ Herbert Hoover and rap producer Pete Rock. Doors open at 8pm. 158 Bleecker St., Greenwich Village [via (le) Poisson Rouge]
Who needs cable news talking heads when you can get your election coverage laughs from comedians? Along the lines of The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, UCBEast will host Anthony Altamanuik and Ryan Karels in character as a liberal and a conservative political pundit, respectively, riffing on the night's drama. Other UCB players will join them onstage as campaign insiders and political figures offering up some spin. 155 E. 3rd St., East Village [via Time Out]
SuperVegan is throwing down tomorrow at Fontana's, promising vegan treats from Chickpea & Olive and Dun-Well Doughnuts along with music, stocked bar and a giant wall-sized projection screen airing the results. 105 Eldridge St., Lower East Side [via SuperVegan]
Satirical performance troupe Billionaire Follies (formerly known as Billionaires for Bush) are hosting a cabaret show tomorrow night "hosted by Mitt Romney" at the newly re-opened Cutting Room. Expect music, costumes and audience participation. Stick around after the show for their election results screening party. 44 E. 32nd St., Midtown [via Flavorpill]
Because nothing goes better with politics than sex (scandals), head to Parkside Lounge for God Breast America: An Election Day Extravaganza featuring burlesque and comedy performances by the likes of Brownie Pointe, Bunny Buxom, Fancy Feast, Heather Whatever and Sincerely Yours. 317 Houston St., Lower East Side [via Time Out]
If you've made it to Housing Works to watch at least three of the debates, it's time to cash in: the bookstore will be doling out buckets of PBR to those loyalists who come back for their election night party. Games and drink specials will also be on offer during the night. 126 Crosby St., Soho [via Housing Works]
Galapagos Art Space will be celebrating their re-opening -- after Hurricane Sandy pummeled them with 5 ft. of water -- with an election night bash that includes specialty cocktails and a 14 ft. x 12 ft. big screen. And, FYI, all subway lines to the neighborhood have re-opened. 16 Main St., DUMBO, Brooklyn [via press release]
The folks at Brooklyn Winery have some great coping mechanisms for any anxious election watchers out there: a special Election Night menu and $10 off bottles and carafes of their house wines. They'll also be screening the results in both their Atrium and Parlor spaces. 213 North 8th, Williamsburg, Brooklyn [via Brokelyn]
Whether you're looking for an excuse to rage (in the "WK" sense) or rage (in the "If Romney wins, I'll be on the first flight to Toronto" sense), The Bell House has got you covered. They're throwing Raging Election: 2012 Election Viewing Party hosted by Liam McEneaney (Tell Your Friends!) with aptly-named drink specials like the Coke & Rumney and the Bahamobama Mama, a big screen TV airing the results and music spun by Mike Doughty. 149 7th St., Gowanus, Brooklyn [via Flavorpill/The Bell House]
Take advantage of the all-night happy hour at Sheep Station while you watch the returns and compete for trivia prizes at their election night party. 6pm-close. 149 4th Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn [via Brokelyn]
Everyone is welcome at Pillow Cafe's Big Queer Election Watch Party tomorrow night, which aims to bring people together so no one has to "get caught yelling at the TV all by yourself!" 505 Myrtle Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn [via Brokelyn]
Bushwick's Bat Haus Coworking Space promises "continuous election coverage, plentiful beer, munchies, swing-state bingo, partisan jello shots, political jenga, Bat Haus' 100% unskewed election tally and a special 'elephant room' for all you New York Republicans" at their election night party. Better take a Tylenol or two before going to bed after this one. 279 Starr St., Bushwick, Brooklyn [via Brokelyn]
2. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Google has launched "crisis maps" that include before-and-after photos of the devastation, traffic reports, gas availability updates and more. [via Gothamist]
3. Big news from TLC today (and, no, nothing regarding Honey Boo Boo or half-ton moms, this time we're talking about the pop R&B group): T-Boz and Chilli announced plans to record their first album in ten years and go on tour, possibly with a hologram of the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. [via Idolator/NME]
4. A big congrats to Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard -- they're expecting their child together. Another addition to our "It Girls and It Boys of Tomorrow" list, perhaps? [via People]
6. You can now post all of your high-contrast, sepia-tinged Instagram photos on the web. The photo-sharing app is launching Pinterest-esque online profiles (like the one above) over the coming days. [via Instagram Blog]
7. After Hurricane Sandy caused damages and disruptions to many polling locations, Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing New Yorkers to vote from any polling place so long as they present an affidavit. [via HuffPo]
M.I.A. is doing it wrong. For years critics and marketing execs have been telling her that if she were to choose a single medium -- art, music, politics, whatever -- she'd be more successful. But that's success on their terms, not hers. And above all else, M.I.A. has made a name for herself over the past seven years by not caring about their terms. This is a woman who is deep-down, ground-in, almost genetically punk rock. She's perhaps the most fiercely political performer active today, and that creates friction when the mainstream comes courting. The mainstream wants the music, not the message; the pretty wallpaper, not the hard questions; the style, not the substance. And even if M.I.A.'s substance is, at times, thoroughly inscrutable, there's no questioning she presents herself the way she wants to, not the way she's been told she needs to. She's not safe. You don't know what she'll do next. Unlike many of her celebrity contemporaries, she refuses to fade into the background, and she's been rewarded for her temerity. M.I.A. is the only artist ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, Grammy Award, Brit Award, Mercury Prize and the Alternative Turner Prize. More importantly, she's raised awareness of the strife caused by the civil war in Sri Lanka -- the conflict that displaced her family and precipitated her move to the U.K. as a child refugee.
The 37-year-old provocateur (aka Mathangi Maya "M.I.A." Arulpragasam) has released three full-length albums and a handful of mixes. (A recent mixtape, Vicki Leekx, is available for free on the Internet. At one point during the half-hour mash, she quips, "I'm not saying it should be freer, I'm saying music should be free," which, one imagines, was met with tight-lipped exhaustion by the suits at her label, Interscope.) She's also a visual artist, famously having gotten her start by designing album covers for Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and selling some of her early work to Jude Law. It's that part of her career--although, speaking with her, you get the sense that she'd never call what she does a "career"--that she's concentrating on now. "People have heard the journey through music," she tells me one recent evening over coffee at a hotel in TriBeCa. "Now it's like exploring the journey to this point through visuals."
So, the coffee-table book. M.I.A., out now from Rizzoli, is a gorgeous collection of the artwork she made to accompany each of her albums -- Arular, Kala, Maya -- as well as the Vicki Leekx mix and her record label N.E.E.T. (The acronym, commonly used to describe impoverished young people in the U.K., stands for "not in education, employment or training.") The art follows the narrative of her releases: the Arular stuff is all spray-painted Tamil iconography and photographs taken in the jungles of Sri Lanka; the Kala work is a riot of colors and plays on hip-hop lyrics like "Goat Rich or Die Frying" and "It Takes Immigration of Millions to Hold Us Back"; while the Maya pieces display a chopped-and-screwed obsession with the aesthetics of the Internet. There are lyrics, short intros to each section and an essay written by Steve Loveridge, a filmmaker and M.I.A.'s frequent collaborator and old friend who is currently working on a documentary about her. The two met while they were students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London in the late '90s. The school's fashion program is hailed for producing alums like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Loveridge and M.I.A. were in the school's less-celebrated film program. (Among the revelations in Loveridge's piece: M.I.A. wrote a script for a film called Gratis, a look at her younger brother's experience in a British young offender's institute. It was never shot. Loveridge writes that the script was "the best thing I had ever read.")
Click to enlarge image
Born in U.K. but raised in Sri Lanka, M.I.A. moved with her mother and siblings back to London at age 10. They were fleeing the political turmoil of the island nation, where among many other struggles, her primary school was destroyed in a government raid. When the family arrived in England, they moved to a rough neighborhood in London. M.I.A. barely knew any English. All those cultural and social factors -- her South Asian heritage, her adopted Western home, Third World unrest, her refugee status, what it meant to be young and in London and reading The Face -- are represented in her art.
If M.I.A. feels like a best-of book, that's the point. The idea was to show fans how the work came to be, as well as to help the artist figure out what she wanted to do next. "Even though kids embraced [my art], and people started making crappy fashion GIFs on the computer and disgusting websites and wearing weird leggings, there never was a place where people could go to be like, 'This is where it came from,' she says. "I didn't really care. Some of the pieces I made, I don't know where they are now. I would just go and live in a place and leave them. Then they would get lost. That's how it was. It's all recyclable and out there." The ones she didn't leave behind are reproduced throughout the tome, works that are as much about energy as they are about composition.
Click to enlarge image
She describes herself as an intuitive artist who doesn't belabor her work by self-editing. Loveridge agrees. "Maya works in single sessions of activity. There's no coming back tomorrow to rethink it, or add final touches. Either it works or it doesn't. If you need three weeks to gently craft and build something, then it's not right for M.I.A.," he says. "I think it's symptomatic of the environment she grew up in as a child. She works as if the computer or the camera might not be there tomorrow. There's a real sense of urgency to get the idea out there before the opportunity is snatched away from her."
On a macro level, M.I.A. is a wonderful pop star for the modern age. She's versed in the means and ways of hardcore rap, rave and punk rock, quoting from a variety of influences (like sampling the Clash on her biggest hit, Kala's "Paper Planes"). And M.I.A. brings an attitude to her music and artwork that totally redefines worldbeat. Her version comes without any of that pandering Sting funk -- the post-colonial sense of pity that's come to characterize that very tired genre. Hers arrives on the heels of tribal yelps and gunshots -- provocative enough by themselves, but when combined with her politics, her work is explosive.
M.I.A. hasn't had an easy go of it these last three years. She had a son, Ikhyd, with former fiancé Ben Bronfman in 2009, but ended the engagement with him last year. She moved from Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn to Brentwood in L.A. -- about as wild an oscillation on the socio-economic scale as you're going to get in the U.S. -- and finally to London, to be closer to her family. Her third record, Maya, released in 2010, courted controversy for the redhead genocide depicted in the video for "Born Free," directed by Romain Gavras, which was pulled from YouTube the day of its release. That year she was the subject of Lynn Hirschberg's deeply unflattering profile in The New York Times Magazine, which she claimed to be innacurate after its release and was awarded a printed correction for having been misquoted. She remains a vocal supporter of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, composing the theme song for his television show, The World Tomorrow, and attending Assange's press conference in London last August when he was granted asylum by Ecuador. She's spoken out on a number of hot-button issues, from the violence in Sri Lanka and the plight of Palestinians to the U.K. government's response to the London riots of 2011, and she's gotten more than her fair share of hate mail because of it. The lady has opinions, a Twitter feed and a platform -- and she isn't afraid to use them. "Maya breaks rules, and I think people celebrate that and get really excited, until she breaks one of theirs," says Loveridge.
Which is what happened at the Super Bowl. Last February, M.I.A. helped the NFL further its tradition of halftime media debacles by flipping America the bird on live TV. She was performing "Gimme All Your Luvin'" with Madonna and Nicki Minaj -- perhaps the most inoffensive song Madonna has ever recorded -- when M.I.A. raised her middle finger to the crowd. She has not, to date, explained her actions. When I asked her if she ever would, she shook her head. (For more on the subject, see music critic Sasha Frere-Jones' blogpost for The New Yorker from February 6, in which he explains that M.I.A. was just replacing the gunshot hand gesture she makes in the video for the song, and that, let's be honest, there are far more important things to worry about than M.I.A. upsetting football fans.) "I feel like people being reactionary to what I do is really on them, not on me," she says. "The media freaking out is always going to happen. It's cultural, you know. If I stick a middle finger up in England, it's not shocking there. It's shocking here."
In putting together the book, M.I.A., she says she was forced to examine the last few years of her life. It was a valuable exercise: she went backward to move forward. "The first album is about dealing with these voiceless people in the jungle in Sri Lanka," she says. "The second one was the same situation, just extending it out to the rest of the world...and putting them on the map. The last one was me engaging with the Internet because that's how our generation deals with shit now." In August, she took to Twitter to release details about her fourth full-length album, due out next year. Along with some invectives against critics and those who have done her wrong, she wrote that it sounds like "Paul Simon on acid." (Two tracks are already on the Internet: "Bad Girls," which was on Vicki Leekx, and a preview of "Come Walk With Me.")
But before the new album, there's the art show. M.I.A. is creating an architectural piece for the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India, which opens in December. She says she plans to turn the work into the stage set for her next tour, and that it was working on this piece that gave her the clues to what she would do next. "When I went to India, I was looking on Google for stuff that was the color of a certain green, and that's when this green goddess, Matangi, popped up. I was like, that's weird, the whole time I've been alive on this planet, my mom never mentioned where my name came from. Matangi was the goddess of knowledge and the arts--music, art, dancing, spoken word. When they invented this mythology 4,000 years ago, the concept of someone being about all those things was normal."
The album is titled Mathangi, after M.I.A.'s given name, and in tribute to the goddess. M.I.A., who was raised with no specific religion, notes that there are more than a few unnerving similarities between herself and the Hindu deity. Matangi's mantra is "Aim," M.I.A. backward; she's the patron goddess of outcasts and the disenfranchised; and "her Mudra," M.I.A. explains, "which is basically like all these yoga movements on your hands, is the middle finger -- to top it all off." For M.I.A., the discovery taught her that her sense of herself as an artist-- someone who is able to create, no matter the medium--is time-honored and respected. Not weird. Not wrong.
"I felt like people put me down because I did too many things. Like, 'You put so much effort in so many directions that there's not enough yield. You don't focus on money. But you put all these things together and you don't make it work for you. You don't sell shit. Why don't you have your leggings line at American Apparel?'...I love that the freakiness [about Matangi] happened on the most mundane tool I have, the Internet, and I didn't have to go climb a mountain or anything like that." She continues: "I always stayed true to myself. Even on my last album when I got criticized, I knew I was sticking to something I needed to stick to. Whatever the consequences that led me to that point, the concept of somebody who fights for the truthfulness of words was my thing -- telling the story, getting it out, questioning it. Information -- that's what I fought for."
Styled by Tom Manaton
Photo 1: M.I.A. wears a custom-made shirt by M.I.A., vest by Versace archive and belt and jewelry by Tom Manaton
Photos 2 and 5: M.I.A. wears a jacket by Versace and jewelry by Tom Manaton and Delfina Delettrez
Photos 3 and 4: Artwork from the book M.I.A. is grouped by chapters corresponding to musical periods in M.I.A.'s life
Photos 5 and 6: M.I.A. wears tops by Acne and Crème de Silk, headpiece by Tom Manaton and ring by Delfina Delettrez. Custom made pants by M.I.A. and shoes by Kenzo. Backdrop images from the book, M.I.A.
Hair by Bok-Hee at Streeters / Makeup by Mike Potter at De Facto for Chanel / Animal services provided by Birds of a Feather Animal Rescue / Manicure by Angel at De Facto for Chanel / Fashion Coordinator: Kelly Govekar / Photographer's assistant: Lauren Caulk / Stylist's assistant: Alex Boureau / Hair assistant: Marissa Bollman / Interns: Tara Homeri, Kevin Breen, Camille Kail, Attia Taylor
Rainboots by Matthew Williamson x Havaianas. $125 at havaianas.com
Lanvin macaroon box for Ladurée designed by Alber Elbaz. $28 at Ladurée, 864 Madison Ave., New York.
Lighter by Undefeated x Zippo. $105 at endclothing.com
Silk bow tie by Doug & Gene Meyer. $75 at dougandgene.com
Shirt by Ryan McGinness for agnès b. $295 at agnès b., 50 Howard St., New York
Sunglasses by Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama. $650 at Louis Vuitton,1 E. 57th St., New York.
Stripes by Linda O'Keeffe. $50 at monacellipress.com
Kiehl's limited-edition Crème de Corps packaging by artist Kenny Scharf. $48 at kiehls.com
Style assistant: Sebastian Perlman.
Top photo © Por Voçãco Model: João Coelho at Face Models
Even over the phone from Björk's cottage house in Reykjavik, visions of giant bears, swaying forests and gyrating landscapes are dancing in my head. I'm thinking of her first video, 1993's "Human Behaviour," directed, with trippy childlike esprit, by Michel Gondry. There's the epic "Joga" video, also by Gondry, in which the surrealism of Iceland's landscape melts into bits of clunky 1997 computer renderings. Or 2007's "Wanderlust," directed by New York's Encyclopedia Pictura, a stereoscopic trip down a rippling CG river. This is the world I imagine Björk lives in.
In her newest video, for the riotous "Mutual Core," commissioned by MOCA in Los Angeles, which will premiere this month on MOCAtv, the art museum's new YouTube channel -- the young L.A.-based artist Andrew Thomas Huang offers more clues to her tempestuous relationship with the environment. He placed the Icelandic singer in the center of a primordial sandbox, like an Earth mother at play. At the climax, lava-spewing sprites -- the result of four months of meticulous FX work with colorful hand-crafted puppets -- are crumbling and crashing around her. It is, of course, a classic Björk love song, imagined, appropriately, as an acid-induced episode of Fraggle Rock. "To counteract distance / I know you gave it all / Offered me harmony / If things were done your way," she sings with honesty, handling each syllable like a knife. "You didn't know I had it in me."
Björk has been a riot of surprises lately. Last year, she mounted a series of phenomenal performances for her album Biophilia, which featured a number of giant new instruments, including a singing Tesla coil and something called a "gravity harp." She also organized an educational program for local students at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, and corralled some of the world's best coders to turn each song on the album into a set of mesmerizing smartphone apps. A remix record, with contributions from the Syrian crooner Omar Souleyman and the Sacramento bit-hop band Death Grips, among others, is out this month.
How did this new video come about?
[MOCA's] Jeffrey Deitch contacted me a while ago, and he suggested that we collaborate on this, and it sounded like a good idea. Because I'm an old punk, I've never done commercials or sponsoring or anything like this -- I've been really strict with it -- but with this, [Jeffrey] seemed to be helping us to make a music video. That sort of makes sense to me. It doesn't feel like sponsoring.
How do you approach the relationship between the visuals and the music? Do you have a picture in your mind when imagining a song like "Mutual Core"?
Well, obviously music is where my heart is. But I feel through the years that visuals have helped me a lot to communicate music to people. It functions as a shortcut. Most people's eyes are more mature than their ears. Some songs perhaps need a dozen listens to sink in. With a visual, it will sometimes take only one or two takes -- as long as there is synchronicity between the two. If they are not connected, it will only confuse even more.
How do you clear your head amidst all the busyness of everything?
Well, yeah, it's tricky. I guess I try to sort of use the extremes. It's almost like schizophrenia. It's like I'm two different people. When I'm touring I sort of become this physical singing machine or something. And then I get kind of quiet, and when I'm at home I'm more off the grid.
I'm in Reykjavik right now. There are only 100,000 people, and I was born here, and for every street I have like five memories. All my family, all my friends live here, and since childhood it's been a pretty easy place to just sort of go for your daily swim in the swimming pool and bump into your friends in a food store or go to the bar and see bands.
You spend a good deal of time in Brooklyn, too. How do you like living in New York?
Of course, I enjoy it. But always in short spurts. When I was a teenager I was listening to Public Enemy nonstop, and stuff like that, and I would go to New York for four days and not sleep. And then I had a period during the '90s when I partied quite a lot with the drag queen scene. I ended up doing those kind of hedonistic things when I was in New York, for some reason.
But then when it's a question of living there full time, that's something else. I moved upstate, half an hour drive up the river, so I lived there for seven years, right next to a park. And then me and my boyfriend got a boat and thought, OK, now we're going to live on a boat, because that's the way we're going to work it out, how we're going to be connected with the natural elements in the middle of this urban space. It was kind of fun for like three years and then we sort of...
Were you just docked in New York?
We moored it off of Long Island City and then we actually sailed quite a lot, across the Atlantic once, sailed a few times to Guatemala. And now it's the third stage. We sold the boat and now [we live in] Brooklyn Heights, but I'm only there from January to June, so I'm usually fine. It used to be I could only do it for just two weeks, but now I can do like two months. And then I really freak out.
Why do you freak out?
Because, obviously there are a lot of concerts and a lot of cosmopolitan things; you cannot do [it all]. I have to say I do prefer Brooklyn to Manhattan. It's more like a European city. It reminds me of when I lived in London. It feels like a village, and you can walk around and you can actually see the sky. And I live on the roof, on the top floor, so that's really helpful. So I think I'm getting better and better, but then I get half the year in Iceland.
What do you like to do when you're in New York?
I go to Other Music and Opening Ceremony -- those are my guilty pleasures. I go more to bars than clubs. I'll go to friends' houses. It can also be complicated for me if I go out, because people recognize me, and I don't really enjoy that so much, so I prefer to go to places where people sort of don't know who I am.
Don't you have a good way of disguising yourself when you go out? Besides a swan outfit, of course.
[Laughs] No, I'd just rather not go to those places. Last February, I think, I went to SoHo, and I was kind of hung over. And then, in like five minutes, there were 50 paparazzi on bicycles following me around.
Do you look at YouTube for inspiration? Are you on the Internet every day?
It's a bit of both. I will have periods where I cannot even look at my computer for a few weeks. I think my friends are used to me, I'll just sort of disappear. And then I will find a reason to come fresh to it again. I mean, obviously it's an amazing tool. It's not like the Internet is evil or anything. And you find all these incredible things, and you do a bit of hunting and gathering. I Google pretty seriously, then I will have weeks where I'm off it. I'll do both extremes, as usual.
The Alexander Wang sample sale line keeps getting mistaken for a line of people waiting to vote. Glad to see that fashion people have their priorities straight. [via Fashionista]
Love this necklace by Dana Walden jewelry and love even more that 100% of proceeds will go towards Hurricane Sandy relief. [via High Snobette]
Just a day after news came out that Nicolas Ghesquière is leaving Balenciaga, rumors are swirling that he could be launching his own line via LVMH. Meanwhile, other sources say that Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou are among those being considered to replace Ghesquière. [via Fashionologie]
We're a little obsessed with the fact that newly-minted Victoria's Secret angel Cara Delevigne wore this tiger onesie en route to NYC to walk in the upcoming show tomorrow. Let your freak flag fly, girl! [via Racked]
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tomorrow will feature real, taxidermic snake eyes. We're grossed out but intrigued. [via Fashionista]
When asked last night if Anna Wintour is her rival, Carine Roitfeld responded "Never. This, the press tries to do. I've worked with her. She's very helpful. We're so different, but I think she's very special." [via The Cut]
Chanel No. 5, arguably the world's most famous scent, might be banned in the EU because a lot of its ingredients are allergens. [via Telegraph UK]
Check out these cuckoo crazy shots by Geoffrey Lillemon for fashion eccentric Bernhard Willhelm's Spring/Summer '13 women's collection! [via It's Nice That]
A good burger can be hard to come by on the Upper West Side. Sure, Shake Shack is reliable, but equally reliable are lines around the block. Our solution: skip the wait and head a few blocks up Columbus to Kefi, a neighborhood gem from attorney-turned-restauranteur Donatella Arpaia and James Beard Award-winner Michael Psilakis, where a unique and different Cypriot-inspired lamb burger awaits you. "The patty is seasoned with coriander, cumin and fennel -- and instead of using the ground versions, we like to toast and grind our own. This makes for a much more complex and flavorful burger, and people don't usually realize where that boldness comes from," Psilakis explains. This rustic Mediterranean burger is leaner than its American counterpart, but the condiments are what really make this dish a hit. "We top our burgers with a house made htipiti -- a combination of feta, roasted pepper, herbs and garlic," says Psilakis. "It's tremendously rich, and compliments the lamb very nicely." Agreed.
505 Columbus Ave.
Community's Gillian Jacobs got in on the action in patriotic ensemble.
3. There's a new box set from no-wave relics Mars, one of four bands on Brian Eno's classic No New York compilation. Rehearsal Tapes and Alt-Takes NYC 1976-1978 will be out on three cassettes from Anòmia records. [EastVillageRadio]
4. Dig Dee-Lite's twenty-year-old get out the vote spot [@tmcgev]:
6. But don't Instagram your ballot -- it's a misdemeanor in New York! (Sharing your ballot can be seen as evidence of voter intimidation.) See other states' laws here. [AllThingsD]
7. New York City parks, playgrounds, and beaches will be closed starting at noon tomorrow in anticipation of another storm.
Word. [via Instagram]
Barack Obama's victory unicorn ride with rainbow lasers shooting from his hands. [via Fashion of the Christ]
This is sort of irrelevant, but funny nonetheless! [via claudiasangelshez]
Second best Tweet of the night, courtesy of Invisible Obama.
Honorable mention: People with angry Republican dads. [via Decrux]
Best knock knock joke of the night. [via The Girl Who Waited]
"Donald Trump, who has driven well past the exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible here..." Brian Williams schooled Donald Trump. [via Business Insider]
Sarah Palin was giving us Tan Mom meets Lisa Vanderpump. [via BuzzFeed]
"Three Wolf moon." [via Fancy Pipes]
Dope. [via Slavic Inferno]