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Michael Musto On His Disco Concert: "It's Major Sh*t."

Ahead of Michael Musto's sold-out disco concert at 54 Below this Sunday, drag chanteuse Lady Bunny chats with the golden-throated gossip queen about performing with Madonna back in the day, partying at Studio 54 and what to expect when he takes the stage this weekend. 

I remember you singing in the '80s and you have a good voice. What's inspired your return to singing after a lengthy hiatus?

Last year, Tish & Snooky asked me to sing a Christmas song for a benefit at the Cutting Room. I didn't want to do anything too solemn, so I said, "How about if l do a rock version of 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful', with a tap dancing break in the middle?" They said fine, so I did it, with Tish & Snooky as my backups, and the band happened to consist of members of Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper's band, so it truly rocked. I got hooked all over again and when 54 Below asked me to sing a few songs, I couldn't get to that microphone fast enough.

Your group Michael Musto and The Musts shared equal billing with a budding Madonna  -- GIVE US THE DIRT!

Even pre-Madonna, she was a primadonna! She sound-checked the mic from every angle for so long that my band never got to check. The club had opened its doors and she was still checking! Then after our performance (we went on first), her manager Camille told me we couldn't greet our friends in the shared dressing room because Madonna was getting dressed. I said, "Sorry. It's a shared room" and kept the friends pouring in. It was ironic that the woman who made the world her gynecologist didn't want to be seen changing in front of strangers. But hey, I love the gal!

Diana Ross is one of your icons and mine too -- can we look forward to any disco era Ross like "Love Hangover" or "The Boss?"

I worship Diana because she is pure show biz. Instead of blood, she has sequins. She's radiant and real and a little plastic (in a good way) all at once. But though I was thinking of doing "I'm Coming Out," I thought people would throw things and find it absurd. "You ARE out. Go back in!" So I'll probably just reference Miss Ross by pushing one of the backups out of the mic.

You have some exciting guest stars and a live band. Tell us who'll be joining you onstage.

Orfeh is a Tony nominee from Legally Blonde and many other shows. She's a powerhouse, a force of nature, with amazing vocal skills. She'll grace us with some hot-buttered soul. And Randy Jones, the original cowboy from the Village People, is going to add some macho realness and classic disco spunk. The band we're singing with is Elektrik Company and they rock, with a horn section and all kinds of stuff. It's major shit.

How many parts music to how many parts comedy will this evening consist of?

In my case, even the music might come off as comedy, but I like to mix the earnest and the satirical in equal parts. For example, I'm doing a special version of "I Will Survive" with new lyrics about eating pizza. ("At first I was thin, I was extremely thin/Until the delivery boy with the anchovy pizza walked in...") I will perform it as disco diva Gloria Gainmore. On the floor laughing already? I knew it!

Did you frequent Studio 54 in it's heyday? Any noteworthy memories?

I was fresh out of college when I went and loved every head-spinning second. One of the best nights was a New Year's Eve celebration with a performance by Grace Jones and a "free breakfast served at 2 a.m." That meant they wheeled out one cart to make crepes for 2000 starving people, resulting in a French Revolution-like scene of desperation. But that was part of the insanity of 54, where Michael Jackson actually went out in public, people openly did coke and gave blow jobs, and I'd find myself dancing alongside celebs like Margaux Hemingway and Liza Minnelli.

Disco is party music -- will the audience be seated or encouraged to get up and boogie along? I know there's one ticket price for the dance floor only and one for banquettes.

They are clearing away the tables for people to dance their asses off. This is a dance party where you can boogie down to the DJ or stand there grinning over the live performances while shimmying in place. If you need to park your keister, you can spring for a banquette, butter me up to get a seat at one, or just hang in the toilet. That's where all the celebs will be anyway!

And is the audience encouraged to get dolled up?

Polyester is known to cause brain damage, but I still urge people to take a chance and get out their old leisure suits -- and more important to let out their old leisure suits. Big hair and lots of chains and crazy patterns are also encouraged. We will all look fabulous as we do bumps -- I mean THE bump, which is a line dance, of course. Everyone at the new 54 is only on prescription drugs.

Russian Baths, The Future of Love and Isaac Mizrahi Sings


Thursday, February 14

MUSIC: Big Ups/Flagland

Celebrate the new pink vinyl 7" split from these angsty local punks. With instrumental electrorockers Infinity Shred and heavy, bluesy power trio Low Fat Getting High.

Shea Stadium, 20 Meadow Street, Brooklyn. 9 p.m. $10.

PARTY: Steamy Valentine's Night

Gemini & Scorpio's long-running annual party offers "Russian, Turkish and Swedish steam rooms, jacuzzi and cold plunge pool; poolside dance floor; rooftop smoking deck; hookah lounge and chillout rooms." Plus live music by the Hungry March Band. Capacity is limited.

Brooklyn Banya, 602 Coney Island Avenue. $85 tickets get admission at 7 p.m., multi-course Russian dinner and open vodka bar 9-10 p.m.; $45 gets admission at 9 p.m. and open vodka bar. $35 gets admission at 11 p.m. Event ends at 2 a.m. Tickets here.

Friday, February 15

FILM: Baby Face

This notoriously risqué 1933 drama is often credited with ushering in the Hays Code of film censorship. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Lily, transplanted from Erie, PA to New York City, where, inspired by a Nietzschean cobbler, she sleeps her way to the top of the Gotham Trust. Film Forum screens the uncensored pre-release cut of the film that was unearthed in 2004.

Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, (212) 727-8110. 2:50, 6:00, and 9:15 p.m. 71 min., 35 mm. $12.50. Tickets here.

ART: Yevgeniy Fiks: Homosexuality Is Stalin's Atom Bomb to Destroy America

As the title might suggest, Fiks's new solo show takes as its subject two horrors of 1950s America: homosexuality and communism. Tonight's opening doubles as a book release for Moscow, which collects Fiks's photographs of former gay cruising sites in the Soviet capital.

Winkleman Gallery, 621 West 27th Street, (212) 643-3152. Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6 p.m. Through March 16. Opening reception tonight 6-8 p.m.

PARTY: A Russian Party, Part III

Bust out your boyar hat and kaftan. Tsoi Sauce and Dasha Suralmasha DJ.

The Loft, 70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn. 11 p.m. Free admission until 11:30; $5 afterward. 21+


Saturday, February 16

ADVICE: Ask Isaac

This might be one of those cases where the invitation says it all: "Isaac Mizrahi answers all your questions and murders some tunes with the Ben Walzer Quintet."

The Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street. 8 p.m. $30 (plus two-drink minimum)

SYMPOSIUM: The Future of Love

This nine-and-a-half hour event commences with a meditation. It continues with informational panels, performances and discussions, including a "dommenstration" by Karley "Slutever" Sciortino and a presentation on polyamory by psychedelic esoteric Daniel Pinchbeck. It concludes with an after-party deejayed by Neon Indian.

Body Actualized Center, 143 Troutman Street, Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. $20. Tickets here.

MUSIC: Alex Waterman

An NYU grad student in musicology, Alex Waterman spent the past two years directing Robert Ashley's avant-opera Vidas Perfectas. Waterman's new solo works combine amplified cello and other string instruments with radios and found sounds. The evening begins with a screening of Cameron Keith Gainer's short film "Luna del Mar," "a filmic representation of deep space created by choreographing millions of single-cell organisms through the movement of an Olympic synchronized swimmer named Luna del Mar," scored by Waterman.

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn. 8 p.m. Free.

Sunday, February 17

FILM: Modern Romance

Albert Brooks directs himself in this 1981 comedy as a neurotic film editor struggling to define his relationship to his banker ex-girlfriend Mary (Kathryn Harrold).

Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, (212) 505-5181. 7 p.m. 93 minutes, 35 mm. $10

ART: Dave Miko and Tom Thayer: Baseless Legion of Architects Rent Asunder

Painter Miko and animator Thayer pooled their talents for this series, in which videos are projected onto mixed-media paintings on aluminum.

Eleven Rivington Gallery, 195 Chrystie Street. Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Through March 16. Opening reception tonight 6-8 p.m.

ART: Eli Lehrhoff + Ginny Benson

The inaugural show at the Silent Barn's new gallery space pairs Lehrhoff's drawings and sculpture with Benson's video projections. Alaskas, Eartheater, Mochs and Smhoak Mosheein perform at tonight's opening reception.

Big Law Country Club Gallery (Silent Barn), 603 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn. Through March 1. Opening reception tonight 6-8 p.m., followed by a party with $5 admission.

Our Valentine's Day Party Guide

Cool Celebrities Don't Have Valentine's Day Plans

Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 6.07.32 PM.pngOver the course of Fashion Week, we had the chance to ask various front row celebrity types whether they had any big V-Day plans and, contrary to what you might expect, the prevailing answer was that they got zilch. "Hopefully I'll be so hung over tomorrow that I'll miss the whole thing," Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine told us last night when we ran into her at the Luv Luv Luv Records x Bleach Salon party. Meanwhile, A$AP Rocky played it coy when we inquired about his plans after running into him at the Jeremy Scott show. "Yeah [I have plans]. Uh...what are you doing after 6?" When we pressed him to give us a serious answer, he doubled down: "[My plans are] wherever you take me. I'm so serious as a heart attack."

Whether you take their answers at face value or not, hopefully they'll make you feel better about celebrating Valentine's Day with a nice glass of Trader Joe's wine and a pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk while you watch Ally McBeal on Netflix. (And for those intrepid singles who prefer to spend Valentine's Day in stilettos instead of sweats, there's always these PAPER-approved parties to check out).

If Dog Parks Were Gay Bars

If dog parks were gay bars. [Vulture]
M0WExgd.jpgIt's the thought (you had as you ran frantically into a Party City at 8:20 p.m. on Valentine's Day) that counts. [Reddit]

3996.jpgWe could probably swing that but let us check iCal and get back to you.  [Funcork]

Your parents have a summer house there that you don't know about. [MajorTVJunkie]

tumblr_mi2zfwrhp21qknhswo1_1280.jpgThe best kind of finger snapping. [CampBasement]

tumblr_mi9nb0NK2y1qhytqfo1_250.jpgLL Cool Darcy. [LaughterKey]

A scarf that looks like a giant piece of pizza. (Only wear at home while having 'me time.')  [LaughingSquid]

tumblr_mi8pmnSMt31rkya1do8_250.gifGod that season was good. [ParisHiltonSexSlave]

Smash your half-full glass with a sledgehammer! [ThisIsntHappiness]

5092665058_350dabbab5_b.jpgBehold: The Day Dreamer desk by designer Nick Demarco. Aside from a notepad-sized hard surface for writing, everything else is foam. Night night. [Inspirez]

Marc Jacobs' Diet Coke Cans Are Really Cute

diet-coke.jpgOoh, we like the new Marc Jacobs-designed Diet Coke cans! [via WWD]

mathew-mcconaughey-clothing.jpgMatthew McConaughey is making a clothing line. It'll be called JKL, it'll be very sporty, and it won't actually be designed by McConaughey -- which is good, because dude is never wearing clothes. [via The Cut]

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 11.31.26 AM.pngTurns out the topless model from the Marc Jacobs show was none other than Lily McMenamy, daughter of Kristen McMenamy. [via The Cut]

121-MARNI-SUMMER-EDITION-13-ACCESSORIES.jpegLoving Marni's new eco-friendly jewelry made out of recycled and found materials. We can see Mr. Mickey sporting those necklaces around the office. [via Fashion Gone Rogue]

faint-march-2013-robyn-cumming.jpegThe new cover of Faint is vaguely terrifying and also makes our allergies flare up just by looking at it. [via Design Scene]

Belated Valentine's day present for the straight men in your life? Here's a video of Cara Delevingne in bed with lots of rose petals and pretty clothes for Love magazine. [via fashionologie]

These "Thumbs-Up" loafers by Del Toro and Five Story NYC are just what we need to charm the pants off our significant others after forgetting Valentine's Day. [via HypeBeast]

Bey vs. Jay: The Playlist

Hesta Prynn A.jpeg

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

An Open Letter to Beyoncé Knowles

Dear Bey,

You are a goddess and a living legend, but right now you are risking* overexposure. Your face is on our mascara, your movie ads are everywhere, your thighs are a meme. Perhaps your husband predicted this, as your ubiquity can best be described by his lyrics in the pairings below. We worship you, Mrs. Carter, but if we may speak frankly for a moment...we implore you to let us miss you for (literally) one second.


The Entire World


1. The Movie: Life is But a Dream

The Jay-Z Lyric: "Remind yourself. Nobody built like you, you design yourself." ("A Dream")

Beyoncé is the star, executive producer, narrator, co-writer and co-director of her autobiographical documentary premiering on HBO on Saturday. We all want an inside look, but when the machine itself controls the image, how unbiased can it be? Documentary or infomercial, we're all watching for the rare glimpse at Blue Ivy.

2. The Massive Event Followed by Blackout: Super Bowl

The Jay-Z Lyric: "I'm far from God but I work God damn hard." ("Breathe Easy [Lyrical Exercise]")

If there was ever a case to be made that Beyonce was not God, this is not it. Multiple lioness-like Beys filled the stage with inhuman energy. The other members of Destiny's Child actually shot out from below and proceeded to sing backup on" Single Ladies." (Kelly Rowland asks, "Can we sing 'Motivation' next?") Homegirl shut it down so hard that her version of dropping the mic was powering down the whole arena.

3. The Interview: Oprah's Next Chapter

The Jay-Z Lyric: "I never asked for nothing I don't demand of myself. Honesty, loyalty, friends and then wealth." ("Justify My Thug")

Bey is not only a superhuman diva with thighs of steel, she is also the nicest person you've ever met and an absolute delight to talk to. Judging from her previous sit-downs with O, odds are that she has never been more down-to-earth and her priorities never more in order.

4. The Magazine Cover: Vogue

The Jay-Z Lyric: "I'm so far ahead of my time I'm 'bout to start another life. Look behind you, I'm bout to pass you twice." ("Hovi Baby")

Queen B is omnipotent and omnipresent. Is it possible to be everywhere at once? Turn on the television, put on your face in the morning, open a computer, walk by a newsstand, spot a billboard, open your refrigerator, turn on your car radio... Beyoncé's image surrounds us 24/7.

5. The Endorsements: Pepsi, L'Oréal, et al.

The Jay-Z Lyric: "I'm not a businessman... I'm a business, man." ("Diamonds from Sierra Leone [Remix]")

Someone's gotta pay the bills, yo.

Wolf Alice, "Fluffy"


Londoners Wolf Alice's clip for "Fluffy" starts with a classic fake-out we're loathe to reveal. Suffice it to say the track seems to owe more inspiration to forgotten '90s punkettes Fluffy than to anyone's pet. (The video spotlights Bon Jovi and G.B.H. t-shirts as well as LPs by Bikini Kill and Captain Beefheart.) In other lupine music news, Tyler, the Creator just released a wrestling-themed video for "Domo 23," the first single off his upcoming full-length Wolf.

(via Pigeons and Planes)

Meteorites, Grammy GIFs and More


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

The Grammys happened last Sunday. We watched and didn't really love anything.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

However, Taylor Swift loved everything! (@ryanpbroderick)


Ellen explains why she was oggling Katy Perry's gazungas at the Grammys. (katying)


This was an owl in a pick-up truck's grill. This was a news story this week. (GIF Hound)


Speaking of news stories, this meteorite exploded over Russia this morning, injuring at least 1,000 people. (ibid.)


One more meteorite GIF. (JSTN)

Important Valentine Day's GIF on Twitpic

Valentine's Day was this week. An important Valentine's Day GIF for lovers.


I must learn more about the penguin highway in Antarctica. (Cineraria)

INTERNET! Here is your Joe Biden tinted glasses GIF: #SOTU on Twitpic

Two important GIFSs from State of the Union night: Joe Biden. (@ellievhall)

Marco Rubio takin' a sip of water on Twitpic

Marco Rubio. (@BuzzFeed)


THIS GIF of Chris Brown not giving Frank Ocean a standing ovation, once again proving that Chris Brown is the worst person, was the best GIF of the Grammys! (BuzzFeed)

The Most Biting Comments on NYFW

nyfw-sux.jpgNew York Fashion Week just ended (see our heaps of backstage photos, party coverage and front-row interviews here) and this season in particular a lot of the top fashion editors for newspaper and websites expressed some less than enthusiastic for this NYFW season. The editors seem particularly wary of the overabundance of brands, technology, and street-style celebrities, which admittedly gets overwhelming (though Mr. Mickey helpfully reminds me that these editors aren't exactly being forced to do hard labor). But since these critics are some of the most respected voices in fashion and have hit upon some universally disappointing and unfabulous developments in NYFW, we collected their most biting comments and arranged them by complaint. 

The clothes all looked the same/were boring:

"Casual observers of Fashion Week may not notice the difference anyway...The problem is there are too many labels and not enough genuine talent. Granted, we're only at the shallow end of New York Fashion Week, but it's shocking to see the lack of energy and imagination. You would think -- or anyway, hope -- that a young New York designer would want to...at least offer something that feels just as raw and connected. At a time when the talent in Europe is especially strong...the flabbiness of New York is puzzling. Maybe we are seeing the beginning of a generational shift in this country away from fashion as a creative medium." - Cathy Horyn, "There's No Dressing Up a Bland Start"

"Who you are, if you are attending New York's fashion shows this week, is most likely one unhappy puppy. But if it has been thus far, by general consensus, a dolorous season, a few trends (and how much do we hate that word?) have nevertheless surfaced..." - Lynn Yaeger, "S&M Fairy Tales Rescue a Dull Fashion Week"

"For a city - and a fashion week calendar - increasingly crowded with clones and conformists, a rapturous response from New York to maverick talent is a welcome sight." - Vanessa Friedman, "New York Womenswear: Outsiders Embraced"

There's way too much fanfare over what attendees are wearing:

"Ah, fame! Or, more accurately in the fashion world, the celebrity circus of people who are famous for being famous. They are known mainly by their Facebook pages, their blogs and the fact that the street photographer Scott Schuman has immortalized them on his Sartorialist Web site. This photographer of 'real people' has spawned legions of imitators, just as the editors who dress for attention are now challenged by bloggers who dress for attention. There is a genuine difference between the stylish and the showoffs -- and that is the current dilemma." - Suzy Menkes, "The Circus of Fashion"

"[The buzz was] not about clothes on the catwalk; the clothes on the audience, or wannabe audience, were being photographed right and left." - Vanessa Friedman, "Silver Screen Is Idealised in New York"

"Each time I worm my way through the mob inside the tent at Lincoln Center, I tell myself: these are not fashion people. But I'm wrong. They are fashion." - Cathy Horyn, "Some Fresh Ideas, and Wearable Ones"

"Playing King Canute and trying to hold back the wave of digital fashion stuff is doomed for failure. But something has been lost in a world where the survival of the gaudiest is a new kind of dress parade." - Suzy Menkes, "The Circus of Fashion"

The Internet is destroying fashion:

"I get that fashion is a marketing opportunity, just as I got that fashion was (once) theater and in the future will be confined almost entirely to the Web -- Oscar de la Renta via Netflix, an instantaneous, seasonless, highly controlled experience; an organism of new technology that will effectively eliminate the fashion system as we know it." - Cathy Horyn, "Some Fresh Ideas, and Wearable Ones"

"In the mid-1990s, when I stopped having to run from the shows to the film developing lab and first saw digital images, I blessed technology and was convinced that my working life was changing for the better. I had no inkling of the role that images would play, pitting fashion's professionals -- looking at shows for their own purposes of buying or reporting -- against an online judge and jury... Fashion has to some extent become mob rule -- or, at least, a survival of the most popular in a melee of crowdsourcing." - Suzy Menkes, "The Circus of Fashion"

"The thing is, runway shows are hard to photograph, especially from the sidelines using a cellphone. A lot of people miss the shows entirely, so focused are they on taking pictures that are almost always out of focus. It all becomes a blur." - Eric Wilson, "An Instagram Moment"

"At Lincoln Center, purported home base of Fashion Week, the scene in the main hall resembled nothing so much as the food court at the mall, with sponsors hawking their wares and crowds elbowing their way around to grab more stuff to tweet, blog or Instagram. In other words, as the autumn/winter womenswear season began, the hyperbole was heightened, the buzz was overwhelming - and none of it was about clothes." - Vanessa Friedman, "Silver Screen Is Idealised in New York"

Fashion Week is too long and too crowded:

"The fashion crew headed up to the tents in Lincoln Center, where the pre-show is increasingly depressing, like taking a bus to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets on the weekend before Christmas. Inside the front door, there are two signs. One says: 'Occupancy by more than 1,500 people is dangerous and unlawful.' The sign next to it says: 'Occupancy by more than 2,500 people is dangerous and unlawful.' Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. Is this a nightclub?" - Eric Wilson, "Scenes From a Mall"

"When Miley [Cyrus] appeared at the top of the runway and anyone with a camera bolted to her like metal to a magnet, the rabid, snarling crush began. People with smartphones and professional cameras alike pushed, shoved, and threw elbows, or just kept on walking and figured anything in their way would move or get trampled. We took a camera battery to the head and narrowly missed a repeat...And when it was over, the Cosmo army flanked her once again with ruthless efficiency, grabbing the back of her jumpsuit to make a human train as they cut through Crowd Surge 2: The Surgening. Hopefully everyone made it out alive." - Fug Girls, "Miley Mania at Rachel Zoe"

"When we walked into Marchesa on Wednesday night, the first thing we saw was Nina Garcia miming the act of stabbing someone. We feel you, girl, but hang on: Fashion Week is almost over. - Fug Girls, "Miley Cyrus Chills at Marchesa; Willow Smith Chills at Home"

"I mean, for the next four weeks, you are going to get trend reports once a week from these pages and reviews every day of a line-up of shows. Because all these shows happen during the same time and for the same season, there is going to be a veneer of sameness to their treatment but, truth is, they are increasingly not the same." - Vanessa Friedman, "The Catwalk in Your Living Room


Frankie Sharp Puts the Fun Back In Fridays


Tonight, nightlife maven and creator of Westgay at Westway Frankie Sharp is back with a new weekly party series at Santos Party House -- "Friday." Sharp, an NYC jack-of-all-trades, is a DJ, fashion consultant and party promoter who has our weekends wrapped around his fingertip. The night features two floors filled with go-go temptations for your visual stimulation and music by DJ Nita, Carlos Jadraque, Dicap and Joseph Trotto Junior. The night will feature a live performance by hip-hop's original aquatic nymph, Le1f. Your Fridays just got a little wetter. Check out the trailer above. Fall through! 

Doing Zumba With Jane Fonda On Valentine's Day


As a single lady, Valentine's Day is usually a non-event for me (unless you include drunken karaoke as romance), however, this year I was PASSIONATE about V-Day... the anti-violence movement. V-Day was started 15 years ago by famed Vagina Monologue playwright, Eve Ensler in an effort to end violence against women. In 2012, armed with the horrifying statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, Ensler took a bold step and birthed "1 Billion Rising". Created as an activist movement it spans 230 countries and urges women and men to rise and dance to stop abuse against women.

In Los Angeles, "1 Billion Rising" partner was what I call "The Forbidden Exercise", ZUMBA. Who better to lead a sassy 3,000-person dance off than the folks who created an exercise combining hip-hop, salsa and deep pelvic thrusts? "1 Billion Rising" coincided with the first day of the International Zumba Instructor Conference, brightly and scantily clothed Zumba instructors and fans converged at L.A. Live's Nokia Plaza to dance a Zumba created by the legendary choreographer, Debbie Allen in honor of the movement.

The event wasn't all dancing (although I did learn the salsa version of the "running man" from a swarthy young Zumba instructor), there were also rousing speeches from celebrity activists/actors, Dylan McDermott (Ensler's stepson), Frances Fisher (she has BAWDY and knows how to move it), Christine Lahti, Sufe Bradshaw (she may play a no-nonsense assistant to the president on HBO's Veep but she cuts loose on the dance floor) and two times Academy Award winner and O.G. of human rights activism, Jane Fonda.

While taking photos Fonda flashed what I thought was the "Peace" sign, but when interviewed she made it clear that the "V sign" stands for "Valentine's Day, Victory, V-Day and VAGINA". Fonda is a cool lady, but Barbarella doing Zumba? I couldn't picture it. She explained that V-Day enlisted Zumba as a partner because "Zumba is about dancing, dancing is uplifting, it's empowering you take up space, you know you exist, it's sexy and holy and wonderful, it's unifying".

When I asked Ms. Fonda what advice she would give to young women in abusive relationships. "Get out, get out, love has nothing to do with causing pain and hurt to somebody. If you're with somebody who is  causing you pain, emotional, psychological, physical pain, you've got to get out because you have a whole life in front of you, a whole world ahead of you and this will only drag you down."

Right on Ms. Fonda, we can rise and ending violence towards women starts with US! "1 Billion Rising" is a global event, but it a grassroots movement; that's YOU! For information on how you can be a part of "1 Billion Rising" go to onebillionrising.org.

Above: Zumba instructor Gina Grant and V-Day Board Member, activist, and Academy Award winner, Jane Fonda.  Photo by Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

Dale Talde Heads to Yakitori Taisho For Late Night Izakaya

daletaldechefsoffduty.jpgEach week in our Off Duty series, we'll talk to some of our favorite chefs and industry folk around the country to find out their secret late-night spots where they like to grab a bite and a pint when their kitchens are finally closed. Next up: Dale Talde, Top Chef alum and chef/owner of nouveau Asian spot, Talde, and gourmet whiskey dive bar Pork Slope. He was also recently named chef of Park Slope's Thistle Hill Tavern.

What's your favorite late night spot?
I love an old izakaya in the East Village called Yakitori Taisho. I don't know if it's more sentimental because I used to go there all the time so I don't know if the food's that great. I first discovered it when I came to New York City in '05. The sous chefs I was working with at Morimoto were like, "Hey, come out to this place, it's banging." We'd get out of work at 12 and if you go out with the sushi guys, they don't want anything cold or raw. They want to get hot food and they want to drink. This was one of the places where we were like, "Here's some skewers of grilled meat." It's a sketchy joint. You're usually there way too late but it's cheap and that's what we were looking for -- someplace cheap and someplace to drink.

What's their specialty?

Cheap beer. Really cheap beer. Their other specialty is that it's open really late -- til 4 or 5 in the morning.

What's your favorite thing to get there?

Cheap beer...It's hard to resist those ice cold cheap beers.

As for food, it's like, "Uh, I'm not gonna go for the roasted quail egg skewers...I'm pretty sure those aren't going to be good." They do a stir-fry kimchi and squid dish and a grilled squid that I really like. They have their chicken kara age, which is a fried chicken and is pretty good. They have this weird dish -- it's really weird but I love it -- that's a fish cake with cheese. It reminds me of a mozzarella stick -- it's so bizarre. It's a breaded fish cake with some kind of mozarella-y cheese in the middle. It's called "chikuwa with cheese" and when I first heard of it, I was like, "What the fuck is this, dude?" [My colleague] was like, "Try it, you'll like it." When it came out, I was like, "Is that mayonnaise on the side with it?" And it was Japanese mayonnaise -- kewpie -- and I ate it and was like, "This is so bomb!" But it's gross. I really feel it in the morning.

tumblr_lgmadxvMzL1qemlbl.jpgWhat's the overall vibe of the restaurant?

It's tiny and down some stairs. It also doesn't open until 6 or 7 pm and it's open until 4 or 5 am. I think what makes the food so good is that you're eating it at 2 or 3 in the morning with pitchers of Kirin or Sapporo. It's nothing crazy but it kinda epitomizes New York City: I'm in an izakaya on St. Marks and we're all doing too much -- too much booze, too much beer. Overindulging. You're commiserating with the staff, which you probably shouldn't be doing anyways. People are sleeping together. It's not what you should be doing but it's so good to do it.

Do you have any funny memories or stories from nights there?

There was always stupid [stuff]. You'd take the staff out and the servers would come out and there was always just mad hook-ups.

One of my line cooks was this Brazilian guy who lived here named Renato. Really great guy. A Brazilian Jew. Spoke Portuguese and was the epitome of that fiery Brazilian. He was a trained boxer at one time and also did Brazilian ju-jutisu before that shit got cool. You could tell he was a boxer because his nose was broken in a couple of places and he was a big stocky dude. We got on this tangent like every stupid drunk conversation gets on and someone called him a pussy and I was like, "You can't hit hard," and next thing you know, it was 4:30 in the morning on St. Marks and I'm like, "Go ahead, hit me as hard as you can." He wailed on my chest and I collapsed on the ground. The next morning, I woke up with a bruise on my chest and it hurt to breathe. It was awful. I could tell that as hard as he hit me, he held back. He hit me exactly where he knew it wouldn't do massive damage. I crumpled like a leaf.

Yakitori Taisho, 5 St. Marks Pl., Sun-Wed, 6pm-2am; Thu-Sat, 6pm-4am

More From Our Off Duty Series

Morning Funnies: Djesus Uncrossed


Christoph Waltz hosted SNL this weekend, and the episode included this amazing Django Unchained spoof: Djesus Uncrossed. He is risen and He is pissed. [PopcultureBrain]

Here's a strangely captivating super-cut of goats yelling like humans. They all sound like old men! [Vulture]
The Internet's raison d'etre: A photo of Patrick Stewart asleep, holding a cat. [Reddit]

tumblr_mhigzcmVIM1r4d2x7o1_500.jpgOh to be a fly on the wall in Dolly Parton's wig room! (You'd be a dead fly on the wall, suffocated under the sticky varnish left by thousands and thousands of aerosol hairspray particles daily, but still! Fun!) [AlsoHere]

OG9Y.gifSnow Crump and the Seven Crumps. [MlkShk]

tumblr_mibmewm8Um1qkej80o1_500.pngDads are always watching. [ThisIsntHappiness]

How to write good. [FYeahDementia]

Dogs breaking up a cat fight. [MlkShk]

tumblr_mhgytxDO591qearaqo1_r1_1280.jpgHappy Presidents day! Here's a photo of Richard Nixon and Robocop hanging out together. [AwesomePeopleHangingOutTogether]

True. [ThisIsntHappiness]

If you're sad about having to work on Presidents Day (NO COMMENT), just smile at this pic all day. [MlkShk]

A Gucci Mane Double Feature


Having wrapped his big-screen début in Spring Breakers (he was previously in the straight-to-video Confessions of a Thug), rapper-turned-thespian Gucci Mane flaunts his range by taking on three roles in his new clip for "Choosin'": Larry Jenkins the AC Man, Chief Lotsadoe the Rain Maker (a Jay-Z reference?) and Jack Murnoff the Hard-Working Husband. Following that is the heartfelt Autotune ballad "I Wonder," which finds a tuxedoed Gucci gazing Romeo-style at his lover's window. Neither track appears on his (recommended) new mixtape, Trap God 2, which you can download here.

Former Disney Star Vanessa Hudgens Gets Wild in Harmony Korine's New Film, Spring Breakers

vanessahudgenscover1.jpgSweater by Marc Jacobs and bracelet by Cartier.

During one magical chapter of her childhood, Vanessa Hudgens lived in Anaheim, California -- home of the 510-acre Disneyland theme park. On many days, Hudgens, her mother, and her younger sister would wake up, do schoolwork for a few hours and then head to the Happiest Place on Earth, where the family's season passes became a regular part of their home-schooling curriculum. "I don't know if it was very conducive to a good learning style," she laughs, "but it was fun."

As it turns out it was time well spent. When Hudgens was 15 she was cast as the leading lady in the Disney Channel's High School Musical. The 2006 TV movie not only jump-started Hudgens' acting career, but inspired a lucrative multimedia franchise.

"In 10,000 hours, they say you can master anything," Hudgens deadpans. "10,000 hours in Disneyland and you're the queen of Disney."
During her reign, from 2006 to 2008, Hudgens reprised her role as the sweet, brainy songbird Gabriella Montez in High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year. She collected enough tween-centric awards and nominations to fill a Disney-licensed tote bag; dated her on-screen love interest and frequent duet partner, Zac Efron, in a highly publicized romance; recorded two studio albums--the gold-certified solo pop record V, and its follow-up, Identified; and zigzagged across the continent for a High School Musical concert tour. According to Forbes, she became one of Hollywood's top-earning young stars, alongside Daniel Radcliffe and the Olsen twins. But these years weren't all shopping mall tours and generous Mickey Mouse paychecks. In 2007 nude photographs the actress had taken ended up on the Internet. "That was just a really shitty situation that sucked," Hudgens tells me over breakfast at Kings Road Cafe in Studio City, her mood deflating for the first and only time in the two hours that we spend together. "That was by far the worst moment of my career."
But perhaps those photos were a blessing in disguise, signaling to the world that she was not just the one-dimensional squeaky-clean face on the HSM collectible lunch boxes. She was a typical 18-year-old girl with a camera phone and a sexual appetite. Hudgens manned up and took responsibility for the pictures, apologizing to her fans. (Disney stood by her throughout the ordeal, simply admonishing the actress with an afterschool special-worthy message: "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson.")

Five years later, Hudgens is about to embark on the most crucial year of her career yet -- one which could cement her as a wide-ranging dramatic actress. After supporting roles in projects like Zack Snyder's fantasy thriller Sucker Punch and the sci-fi adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Hudgens will plumb markedly darker depths in her next three movies -- all scheduled for release in 2013. If the first of these films -- Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, out March 15th -- is any indication, the 24-year-old is headed into legitimate adult acting territory -- a leap that few Disney stars have managed to land.
 vanessa_second.jpgDress by Dior, vintage choker from Screaming Mimi's and bracelet by Cartier.

Korine is the unconventional filmmaker -- who shocked audiences and no doubt many parents, with his 1995 breakout film Kids -- from whom the idea for the wickedly original Spring Breakers sprung. The cra-mazing crime comedy stars Hudgens as one of four bored best friends who bust out of their small-town college and rob a restaurant to finance their spring break. After a raucous few days, the bikini-clad quartet is arrested, only to be bailed out by a corn-rowed rapper/gangster named Alien (James Franco), who incorporates them into his Florida crime scheme. After making twisted, experimental films like, Gummo and julien donkey-boy, Korine returns to the same gritty world of unsupervised teenagers that he explored in Kids. But he tops himself in Spring Breakers, showing uncensored displays of debauchery that would make even the hardest-partying frat boy blush.

In other words, it's a father's -- and a certain corporate mouse's -- worst nightmare. Ironically, though, it was Hudgens' father, a retired firefighter, who flagged Spring Breakers as a script worth reading. "He loved Kids so he was really excited for the project," she says, then quickly adds, laughing, "He didn't read the script, but when he saw that Harmony's name was attached to it he said, 'That's going to be a really interesting project.'"

Asked what she considers the key to making the tough transition from Disney star to grown-up actress, she says, "It's always been hard for actors to cross that bridge but honestly, you have to hold out and do what you think is right for yourself," she says, adding, "But I also think it is about finding someone who truly believes in you. Harmony took a really big jump in hiring me and [co-stars] Selena [Gomez] and [ABC Family actress] Ashley [Benson]."

Although Hudgens seems to think Korine gambled on her, the filmmaker says that he wrote the female roles with both Hudgens and Gomez in mind. In part because he loved the idea of incorporating actresses whom the audience "is not used to seeing in this way." ("This way" meaning that the girls writhe suggestively over each other, wield shotguns, take bong rips and snort coke off other spring breakers' stomachs.) Korine even suggests that it was Hudgens who took a chance on him. "From the very beginning, I'd say, 'This isn't going to be like anything else you've done before. We're going to push it. So I need you to be bold.'"

Hudgens heeded his advice. And in what Korine considers her most impressive scene -- one in which she and Benson shove a gun in Franco's mouth -- the actress not only holds her own against her Oscar-nominated co-star, Franco, but with the help of Benson, overpowers him with the kind of unexpectedly aggressive and manipulative temperament you might see in a David Lynch villain. "The scene wasn't even written like that," Korine says. "She took it to this other place where she kind of tried to emasculate him and then he ends up strangely turned on by it."

"In 10,000 hours, they say you can master anything...10,000 hours in Disneyland and you're the queen of Disney."

vanessa_coverspread2.jpg Dress by Jeremy Scott, shoes by Pedro Garcia and bracelet by Cartier.

The actress refers to the scene as the one in which she and Benson "make James our bitch" and explains that it was not difficult to get into the Franco-taming mindset. "You sit there. You're smoking your fake blunts. You just do it."
It was Franco, her avant-garde co-star, who attracted her to the unlikely project. ("I saw that James was already attached and I am his biggest fan. I thought, 'I need to be in this movie.'") But even though they shared intimate scenes together, including a three-way love sequence in a swimming pool, Hudgens is not any more familiar with the enigmatic actor now than she was when she first read the script.

"I still don't know him," Hudgens says in wonderment. "I have no idea who James Franco is. I know who Alien is. He's that into method acting. He comes on set as his character. In between scenes, he is still his character. When I first saw him, I was speechless because he just completely transformed himself. The way he talked, with that accent... Everything he does is so organic." She did, however, bond with her co-stars Benson, Gomez and Rachel Korine (Harmony's wife) over crushed-up vitamin B, which the actresses snorted on camera in lieu of cocaine. The foursome quickly realized that the vitamin's effect was not unlike that of the drug it was simulating. "We would run around set like mad men, and people would wonder, 'Did you switch that out with anything?'''
Although her acting career began rather innocently -- when she played Mary in the nativity story at age three -- Hudgens has always yearned to test her dramatic limits. She'll follow Spring Breakers with the thriller Frozen Ground, in which she plays a drug-addicted prostitute. "Ever since I was young, I wanted to play really heavy and intense roles and really push myself in a dramatic direction. So I was like, 'A prostitute! I can play a prostitute! This is going to be exciting.'"

The role that demanded the most transformation, however, is the wayward teenager she plays in the upcoming Gimme Shelter. For the survivalist drama, which is based on a true story and co-stars Rosario Dawson, Hudgens gained 15 pounds, chopped off her hair, wore three fake piercings and prepared by spending two weeks inside several covenant shelters for pregnant teens. She describes the film as "my Monster," and says she was so unrecognizable, even to herself in the mirror, that it took her time to regain her confidence and sense of self. "It's nice to be girly!" she exclaims. "I need my nails and my hair."

Dress by Louis Vuitton and underwear by Missoni.

Exiting the restaurant to head out on a hike, the actress protectively warns, "There are a lot of paparazzi outside, just so you know. So don't get freaked out and scared." Indeed, a swath of photographers lie in wait, and trail us to a nearby park. They document her paying the parking meter, and station themselves at the bottom of the hill to await her return. Pulling a basketball cap far down on her face, Hudgens whispers, "I'm always afraid that when I'm wearing a hat, I'm just going to run into a pole or something."

A clumsy misstep might be the most exciting thing these paparazzi could catch her doing these days. She spends most of her free time decorating her house (she just finished a Moroccan-themed room) and watching Girls and reruns of The Office with her boyfriend, Austin Butler, the handsome male lead in The Carrie Diaries.
The couple has been together for a year and a half but they're not quite ready for the next step -- a puppy. After cooing at several passing dogs, Hudgens laments the fact that she can't commit to canine ownership -- even if she was a successful surrogate to her sister's toy poodle, Moonshadow. "I took her with me to shoot a movie once. After that, I realized it's a lot of work, and she was kind of bitchy. I'm always traveling, so it's hard."
As we round a bend and overlook Los Angeles on an unexpectedly clear day, our conversation returns to Disneyland. The actress still adores her frequent childhood destination, and after a recent visit to the park's legendarily private Club 33 -- the only place in the park that serves alcohol -- Hudgens has a new appreciation for her former home away from home. "There's nothing more fun than being drunk at Disneyland," she giggles. Vanessa  Hudgens has officially left the theme park.

Styled by Heidi Bivens  / Hair by Adrian Clark / Makeup by Stevie Huynh at the Wall Group
Produced by Ahmer Khan at Jed Root / Photographed at Dune Studios

Fashion Coordinator: Kelly Govekar / Stylist's assistants: Jake Skolnick and Connor Krill Photographer's assistants: Paolo Stagnaro and Austin Kennedy

Wait, There Are Two YSL Movies Coming Out?

ysl-movies.jpgIn keeping with a movie trend we all really, really hate, two different biopics about Yves Saint Laurent are currently in production and coming out at the same time. Saint Laurent (on the left) is bigger budget and stars Gaspard Ulliel who is maybe my dream man, while Yves Saint Laurent (on the right) has the backing of Pierre Bergé, Saint Laurent's partner. I already have a headache. [via WWD]

westwood-climate-change.jpegAfter her Red Label show, Vivienne Westwood informed journalists that "the main message we want to get out there is that climate change is caused by the rotten economic system. If we don't change public opinion, we're going to have mass extinction of the human race very, very quickly, in two or three years." We think her 'mass extinction' timeline is a little off but hey, we like the sentiment. [via The Cut]

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 11.35.07 AM.pngThe editors at CR Fashion Book really know how to make people happy -- their newest spread to leak online features an Armani-clad monkey named Bentley. We repeat: a monkey wearing Armani named Bentley. [via The Cut]

161815132-300x475.jpegBelgian designer Christian Wijnants won the Woolmark Prize, besting fashion heavyweights Sophie Theallet and Dion Lee. Along with the award, he'll receive $105,000 and his collection will be sold at Bergdorf's. Congrats! [via Fashionista]

Rihanna-RiverIsland10_V_17feb13_James-McCauley_240x360.jpegHere's our much-shortened breakdown of Rihanna's River Island runway show per The Cut:
- It started very late.
- Drinks were served and lots of people got drunk.
- Cara Delevingne was grinding on every celebrity but Tyson Beckford.
- There was a rogue mouse in the building but people were too excited about Rihanna to care all that much.

Andre+Leon+Talley+Celine+Fashion+Show+Paris+v1K3SLs5w9ol.jpgRumors are starting that André Leon Talley will no longer be at Vogue because his forays into TV aren't in sync with the magazine's "high-end image." Talley has such a long and storied history with Vogue that we're gonna take this one with a big grain of salt.

wish-x-10-deep-2013-by-any-means-necessary-t-shirt-1.jpegLove this Malcolm X "By Any Means Necessary" shirt. [via HypeBeast]

The Gossip Nailed Our Vibe Today in Their New Video, "Get A Job"


While everyone else is out and about -- or, you know, inside nursing a hangover -- in honor of President's Day, we PAPER editors are at work as usual. How lucky for us, then, that we just discovered The Gossip's new video for "Get A Job." While bringing the classifieds to life, Beth Ditto manages to sum up everything that we were feeling last night with her opening chant ("I'd love to stay and party but I've gotta go to work."), and does a great job of nailing the new hipstery breed of scrubs ("Just had your hair done but we're not asking for the rent / Poor little rich girl, you don't know where the money went"). For those of you who are also stuck in the office, watch and be glad that you're not responding to one of these ads. And if you're unemployed, approach with caution.

9 Presidents We Wouldn't Kick Out of Bed for Getting Wig Powder on the Pillowcases

In honor of Presidents' Day, we're resurrecting one of our favorite hard-hitting Papermag.com pieces of all time, originally published in 2011...Enjoy!

Happy Presidents' Day! We hope you're enjoying your day off while we slave away at PAPER HQ, muttering and crying. Just kidding, we're not working -- we're putting our journalism degrees to great use and making top 10 lists of the hottest U.S. presidents. Check out our picks below and tell us who we left off!

2JeffersonThomas.jpgThomas Jefferson
They say the third time's a charm and our third president looks like he was all kinds of charming. (He also apparently had pretty good style.) Like us, he loved hanging out in  Williamsburg (Virginia), hated public speaking and had terrible posture. Swoon.

Andrew Jackson-600.jpg
Andrew Jackson
Handsome here is the founder of the Democratic party and was a total bad boy, fighting in 13 duels and being the first sitting president to be both attacked by a random crazy person and have an an assassination attempt carried out against him. Being president is sexy and dangerous! 

Screen shot 2013-02-18 at 12.43.33 PM.pngJames Polk
"Personally, I've always been into Polk." -- Whitney Spaner

franklinpierce.jpgFranklin Pierce
"He looks like he could be in the Arcade Fire" -- Alexis Swerdloff

Abraham Lincoln
Bearded, lanky and depressed. Yes, yes and yes. 

John F. Kennedy
YES. ALSO YES. (2013 Update: Is JFK Hamming it in those khakis?)  

Ronald Reagan
"Republicans make the best bottoms." -- Mickey Boardman 

Picture-574.pngBill Clinton
Other than the time we met Bill Clinton, shook his hand, and then, before we knew it, were trying to shove our tongues down his throat as the secret service rushed in and tackled us, we really don't get his appeal.

Barack Obama
Hugging adorable children and doing this. Come on, Barack, are you trying to make our hearts explode?

Non-presidential runner up:

Alexander Hamilton
We sort of get a Conan O'Brien vibe from Alexander Hamilton, whose not-too-shabby mug is on the $10 bill. We would totally have an XYZ affair with him and let him implement an excise tax on us any day of the week. 

Originally published on 2/21/11

Scenes From the Russian Party

Promoter Seva Granik of ABRACADABRA recently launched a new series of parties for Russian New Yorkers and those who love them, called simply, The Russian Party. Friday saw its third edition, this time in a Williamsburg loft, with DJs Dean Bein from True Panther sounds (as DJ Tsoi Sauce) and Dasha Suralmasha. Lasers with illustrations and Russian phrases (example: a sports car and a phrase which translates as "Daddy, buy this") pierced the air above a boisterous dance floor fueled by retrofuturistic Russian electro hits from the '80s and 9'0s. The party started as a personal project for Granik, who recruited fellow Russky pals Darya Zhuk and Veronika Ossi to co-promote, throwing the party jointly as "Three Muskateers," and it's caught on with Russians and non-Russians alike, each crowd gawking at the other. Check out scenes of the Soviet fun-times, below.


Azealia Banks Made a Video for Her "Harlem Shake" Remix


...And no, it's not anything like the million other half-minute long Harlem Shake videos. Azealia Banks's version is a full-length jam and features her signature spitting over Baauer's original beat. In keeping with the meme's history, Banks's video is a no-frills affair that probably didn't take longer than a few hours to shoot. That said, the hype surrounding it was anything but low-key: Baauer had Banks's remix taken off Soundcloud when it made the Internet rounds on Thursday because it wasn't her song. (That's pretty ironic given that Baauer didn't admit to using a sample from Plastic Little's "Miller Time" on his version of "Harlem Shake" until Jayson Musson called him on it.) Either way Banks is no pushover and went ahead and released it. The song is catchy, the video is fun and Banks can hair-flip like no other.