It's a little after 10 a.m. on a Friday, and Andy Samberg isn't ready to make any big decisions. "I'm not going to order anything because I just woke up 30 seconds ago," he tells the retro-coiffed server poolside at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel. His face is still showing pillow creases behind his Warby Parker shades and his mop top is stuffed under an Oakland A's cap. "I think our waiter is that guy from fun.," he says, turning to Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, his partners in the Lonely Island, the kings of YouTube comedy, whose videos, beginning with their 2005 gangster-rap flip "Lazy Sunday," have amassed a staggering one billion YouTube views.
Samberg eventually settles on coffee and orange juice, but is immediately repulsed by the pulp. "I feel like I can't send it back," he says, scooping the pulp out into his coffee cup.
"I feel like you're grossed out like it's lumpy milk," Taccone interjects.
"It's a texture problem," Samberg responds. "It makes me kind of gag."
The three are assembled in Los Angeles to finish their third album, The Wack Album, a follow up to 2011's Turtleneck and Chain and 2009's Incredibad. Samberg and Taccone are in from New York while Schaffer, the only L.A.-based member, has been up since five a.m. helping his wife with their newborn and their selectively potty-trained two-year-old. "She'll say she wants to use the toilet to get out of something, like bedtime."
"I did that," adds Samberg. "All the way through high school."
It's been more than a decade since the three friends from the Bay Area moved to Hollywood after college to share a bachelor apartment. (Schaffer dubbed it "The Lonely Island.") Back then, they worked as production assistants by day and made videos on borrowed cameras at night. The difference between TLI and every other pack of young guns looking to break into the business was that they had a website that could stream their videos, thanks to Schaffer's tech-savant brother Micah and a friend with available server space. A collection of their earliest sketches -- anchored by a mock advertisement for a tooth-bleaching agent called "White Power" and a joke rap called "Ka-Blamo! -- landed them agents. Not that the rest of Hollywood had connection speeds fast enough to see them. "We'd tell our agents we posted new videos and they'd be like, 'That's cool, but, hey, can you get us a VHS tape of it so we can take it around?'" recalls Taccone.
Job offers were few and far between, so the trio took things into their own hands on their website, creating a parody of The O.C. called The 'Bu, and putting up whatever else they felt like. "Mostly, it was a way for us to keep motivated," Taccone says. Though they would eventually pitch to MTV2 and Comedy Central and even make a pilot for Fox (Awesometown), the trio's problem was, to borrow a phrase from comedian Steven Wright, they were so far ahead of their time that no one was there yet. "This was 10 years ago, remember," Taccone says, "but back then, sketch shows were taken from stand-up acts and converted to the show form. We were film majors, so our whole thing was to make a show built for TV. "
In 2005, they finally landed a gig writing for the MTV Video Music Awards ("a thousand dollars a week split three ways," Schaffer remembers), hosted by Jimmy Fallon, and staffed by Saturday Night Live producers and writers. That led to an invitation to audition for Lorne Michaels, and the three joined SNL that September -- Schaffer and Taccone as writers and Samberg as a performer.
Though they acclimated well enough to New York and to SNL's sketch-writing format, Taccone says that "by Thanksgiving we were getting a little ansty." On their first week off from the show, he and Schaffer parodied "The Whisper Song" by the Ying Yang Twins as "The Bing Bong Brothers -- a little more than two minutes of them whispering "You will like our penises" through caterpillar mustaches. It was immediately picked up by G4's Attack of the Show (and has since racked up more than 15 million views).
"We realized the thing we were best at was making these videos," Schaffer says. Encouraged by SNL producers, the three borrowed a video camera. Their first official SNL "Digital Short" was "Lettuce," in which castmember Will Forte tries to cheer up a melancholic Samberg while the two incongruously munch iceberg lettuce on a stoop. More than writing and performing, it showed the trio as producer/directors who could serve up fully-formed content.
Then came "Lazy Sunday," the dorky bromance-meets-Onyx (t)hug rap video, featuring Samberg and castmember Chris Parnell eating Magnolia cupcakes on the way to see The Chronicles of Narnia. The trio wrote and recorded the song in their office with Parnell, then shot the video in a day. "I think it cost us about $22 total," says Schaffer. They edited it on their office computers and submitted it to SNL producers without any expectations. "We had no idea it was even going to air," says Taccone. It premiered that December and became, if not the first, then certainly the most definitive viral joke-song video in YouTube history. The Lonely Island's origin story would be forever linked to the video-sharing platform's, even if they insist that it was just being in the right place at the right time.
"Our timing was such that YouTube had just launched earlier that year," Schaffer explains. Samberg adds, "I would argue that if YouTube had been around when 'More Cowbell' happened, that would have been the SNL clip that blew up." But it wasn't. "The day after the show," Taccone says, "a friend of mine called me and was like, 'Hey I just watched "Lazy Sunday" online, I'll send you the link.' So we discovered YouTube the same way a lot of people did -- by watching 'Lazy Sunday.'"
By the time NBC took the video off of YouTube to host it on their own website, it had more than 5 million views. The next most-watched video at the time had only around 50,000. The Lonely Island had helped define YouTube as much as it has defined them. In fact, Schaffer's brother Micah wound up going to work for YouTube -- back when there were only 12 people there," says Taccone.
At the same time, Schaffer says, the success of "Lazy Sunday" showed the perfect synergy between old and new media: "We had two things happening at once. First, we had a national TV show broadcasting our video, but we also had that moment in technology when anyone could stream it, so it could have that second life online. It wasn't just for early adopters or college kids with fast connections. Now it was for, like, my mom."
Even after they had proven themselves, the trio's video-making MO remained punk rock despite their privileges: It was almost all DIY on the DL -- huge celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Natalie Portman recording on a cheap mic in the trio's ad hoc studio set-up in their office, with minimal oversight from the show's producers. Everybody ran around shooting and editing right up to the last minute. (Betty White's Digital Short was famously broadcast while the video was still feeding into the system.)
From the Emmy-winning "Dick in a Box" with Timberlake to "I'm on a Boat" with T-Pain, their comic rap genius never failed to surprise. Most recently, they released a cautionary spoof of Drake's "The Motto" with Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar, redefining the millenial catchphrase "YOLO" from "You Only Live Once" to "You Oughta Look Out."
Tech chops may have had a lot to do with their success, but the Lonely Island's ability to channel everything great and terrible about rap into songs as funny as they are catchy is the reason they stay relevant to a generation raised on '90s rap videos.
To their credit, Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer are massive hip-hop heads. "I think it's a Bay Area thing," Samberg offers. "I mean, we love rock," Taccone says, "but we have an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop." And as Schaffer points out, "we can't sing." Asked to name their all-time favorite albums, they immediately answer: De La Soul is Dead (Taccone), Bizzarre Ride II the Pharcyde (Samberg) and Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (Schaffer). Right now, they're all listening to Kendrick Lamar, but admit to not keeping up with every last club trend. "I still don't get what 'trap' is," Samberg sighs.
There are other comedians making music -- Tenacious D, Flight of the Conchords. There are parody video icons like Weird Al. But where the Lonely Island guys distinguish themselves is in blurring the line between humor and pop music -- pointing out just how irrelevant the line is in the first place. "'Thrift Shop' and 'Gangnam Style' are both basically joke songs," Samberg notes. Says Taccone, "Actually I had to look up Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' work to figure out if it was supposed to be a joke or not."
The point, says Samberg, is that it doesn't matter anymore. "I've had friends tell me they were at a club in Thailand and 'I Just Had Sex' was on, and it's not a joke at all. Because to them, it's an Akon song."
"The difference is we will compromise a song for the good of a joke," says Samberg.
Besides "YOLO," recorded for a January SNL episode (the three still occassionally contribute to the show though they are no longer working there), the only information they can share about The Wack Album is that it will include a G-funk-inspired song, and another titled "Spell It Out."
What's most remarkable about the Grammy-nominated trio is that none of them are musicians. "It's staggering, the difference between a real rapper like E-40 nailing a verse in one take and us. I mean, we're comedians," Schaffer says. "We know just enough to know how to make an artist sound like themselves. So if Rihanna says to bring a song up a half-step, we can do that."
"We're getting pretty good with ProTools," says Taccone, who has produced his own beats for the group, though they have mostly worked with guest producers including Beck and Nu-Mark from Jurassic 5. Taccone admits that working with serious producers can present crises of conscience. "There are moments when I've been listening to a track and I feel really bad for the producer who made it, because we're just shitting all over it." To which Samberg adds, "If it's making me laugh, I don't feel bad."
The biggest challenges now are logistical. "It's like casting a show, figuring out who's right for what," says Schaffer of corralling guests for the record. "On SNL we had the musical guest and host trapped all week so we could work with them," Samberg says. "Now this is what it's like: 'Hey Akiva, ask me for a favor.'"
"Andy, can you do me a favor?"
"YES. Okay, what?"
"Will you walk my dog?"
"And then it never happens," Taccone chimes in. "He comes home and gets a call, 'Yeah, this is Andy's manager, and, I know you were talking about walking your dog, but he and I are just not looking at the same calendar here.'"
These days, it's not even that easy to get the three of them in the same room. All are now in their mid-30s and settling down. Schaffer's married with two kids; Taccone and his wife live in Queens, and Samberg is engaged to his longtime girlfriend, musician Joanna Newsom. Samberg just hosted the Independent Spirit Awards and produced and shot a pilot for Fox, a cop show he developed with Parks and Recreation's Mike Schur and Dan Goor and in which he also stars. Since the trio made their collective big screen debut with 2007's Hot Rod, Schaffer directed last year's The Watch, while Taccone directed MacGruber and is currently working on MacGruber 2. While you've perhaps seen him most recently as a skeevy self-absorbed artist on HBO's Girls ("If you've seen it, you've seen his butt," Samberg says of Taccone's numerous nude scenes with co-star Allison Williams), Taccone also made those fantastic AT&T commercials where the guy in the suit hashes out the benefits of saving time and money with 6-year-olds.
"It used to be that the biggest challenge was it was 4:30 in the morning on Tuesday and we've got this show in a few days. Now, it's that we've scattered ourselves across the universe," Samberg sighs. "There are a lot of maybes in our world. Like, 'Will we make our album deadline?'"
The constant is their chemistry, even if the island isn't so lonely anymore. "It still feels really pure. There's no one giving us notes. It's informed how we are in other aspects of our careers," Taccone says. "To the point where we've had scenarios where we've been like, 'Can we lower the budget so we don't have to answer to anyone?'" adds Samberg.
YouTube is still a big part of that autonomy. The trio licenses their content to SNL for free, but retain all the rights so they can post it to their YouTube channel. "Everybody wants their content to go viral but they tend to quarantine it. And SNL is a very American show that doesn't travel well," Schaffer says. "We know our fan base is on YouTube -- there's a whole generation of people that are like, 'If it's not on YouTube, it doesn't exist.' So I know for a fact the reason we have two gold records in Australia is because of YouTube."
Their biggest legacy, perhaps even bigger than the one billion views, is that the three are still best friends just like they were in junior high. "We had a conference call to talk about what we'd be doing for the photos for this article," recalls Samberg, "and we wound up on the phone for 45 minutes, turning it into this party chat line, making each other laugh."
Shot at Milk Studios in Los Angeles / Grooming by Molly Stern at The Wall Group / Produced by Jett Steiger of Ways & Means Set design by Daniel Salin / Photographer's assistant: J. Mims / Stylist's assistants: Hillary Janvrin and Daisy Geoffrey / Film developing and scanning: Richard Photo Lab / Retouching: Dibou / Photographer's Studio manager: Jamie Patterson
Autumn de Wilde is at WeissArtists / Shirley Kurata is at Magnet Agency
Images via Amy Astley
Check out more pieces on sale below and go HERE, starting May 2nd, to shop the collection.
All photos courtesy of LN-CC
"A Dancing Shell" appears on the band's upcoming Empty Estate EP, out 5/14 via Captured Tracks.
As front man for Philly-based hardcore band Pissed Jeans, Matt Korvette isn't the typical fashion-obsessed dude. But, between Rick Owens' draping and Ann Demeulemeester tailoring, he's found an unlikely passion. (Korvette even writes a style column for Spin.) We caught up with him at Pissed Jeans' recent Bowery Ballroom show to discuss punk style, his lust for 'Loubs' and the future of originality.
Have you always been into fashion?
I've always been into clothes, but a few years ago this guy, Mike Nouveau, he's a DJ, opened the door for me. Getting into fashion is kind of like getting into punk. Someone gives you a record and guides you in. It's really hard to totally stumble upon everything.
What designers are you into?
He introduced me to Rick Owens, Damir Doma, Ann Demeulemeester, and I ate it all up. I'm also really into this guy Carol Christian Poell. He's kind of a maniac and does weird mutated shit. It's all super in-depth and the construction is crazy. He did a runway show in Venice where he asked everyone to show up to a specific address, and all of a sudden models just came floating down the canal in his clothes. Totally bizarre.
What is it about these designers that tripped your interest?
I feel like people still don't know how to respond to most of the designers I like. I was always into the idea of being a little weird and expressing yourself through clothes. When I was in high school it was about making my own shirts or going around to thrift stores. But now everyone is doing that and to look punk is as normal as anything. I think jocks look punk now. It's very confusing.
Yeah, especially right now. 'Punk' is a major fashion trend at the moment.
Oh really? Yeah, I guess even women's pumps have spikes on them.
What would catch your eye and make you think a person had style?
I like when women look sexy, which is such a stupid, obvious thing. With dudes anything that catches my eye, which is usually stuff that most people would consider 'bad' clothes. There is a difference between looking interesting and trying really hard, but if someone looks like they are having fun with their clothes, then it's cool. I mean who cares right? It's all such a horrible waste of time, but I am obsessed.
Speaking of women looking sexy, let's talk about your song 'Loubs,' It's about lusting after a woman in Christian Louboutins?
Yeah, I am totally into high heels. It's funny because my bandmates are all into girls that wear no makeup and brown moccasin flats that they got from their grandfather's closet. Which is cool too, but I can't relate. I think I've watched too much television or something. My brain got flipped in the wrong direction when I was six, and I haven't been able to repair it. I like a girl in expensive shoes -- -he higher the better. I just like that whole heavily made up look. The closer a woman resembles a drag queen, the more I'm into it.
Oh yeah. It's so hot.
Even if she can't walk in them? You see a lot of girls wobbling around in Louboutins.
Yeah, it's probably super sexist to want girls to wear heels. I guess I am conflicted about it. I don't want to impose my will on anyone, but what am I suppose to do? I don't want to fucking love these stupid shoes, but I do!
Above: Matt Korvette
You can't help what you love. It just seems very opposite of your personal style.
True. You won't find me in colorful Pucci for sexy men. I've tried that before, but it always felt like too much. You can easily put a crazy color on a shirt, but when you're wearing just shades of black, white and grey the textures and cut become more important.
Why do you think punk has had such a lasting effect on fashion?
Because there hasn't been any movement that's been that crazy and new since. And now with the Internet, you have access to tons of information, so you can be very specific with your look. If you wanted to look like Jasmine Guy and her boyfriend from A Different World, the second season, you could. It's the same with music. You could sound like San Francisco punk from 1982 to 1983 with a touch of Detroit proto punk from 1974. But, in 1992 you could maybe hear The Stooges from a friend and then go digging at the record store. Punk wasn't accessible shit. Now everything is accessible and no one is pushing forward because they are refining the past.
Is originality officially dead?
No, I just think it's really hard to be original -- especially if you're getting bankrolled. Like Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters are multi-millionaires, but they aren't going anywhere in music. Once you hit that level you just wade in your own pool because who cares? When you are Gucci do you really have to push for the future or do you just have to make things that will sell? By that point you're just a successful business compared to weirdo in his basement making clothes.
How would you like to see your style evolve?
I'd like to get into some gutsier shit. I really like things where I think 'No way could I ever wear that,' and then you start wearing it only to find something that is even more ridiculous to wear. It's all about slowly building your tolerance into looking bizarre. I mean there was a time in college where I was like 'A deep V? Are you shitting me? It goes down to here!' But I moved past that and start wearing it only to realize it's like the most boring shit and moved on. Maybe in 10 years, and I'll have a completely feminine wardrobe. I'll have just slowly altered into a woman.
Pissed Jeans plays Music Hall of Williamsburg May 11th with Mudhoney.
THR!!!ER, out now, is the fifth album from dance punks !!!, who have been explaining the pronunciation of their name for 16 years. (The general consensus is "chk chk chk," but you can repeat any syllable thrice.) With a recent glut of cryptically-named musicians, lead singer Nic Offer describes life in an early "un-Googleable band."
Offer's favorite un-Googleable bands:
The only un-Googleable artists I know of are o(+> and Pan Sonic's side project, Ø. How would I find any other un-Googleable bands? I guess I would find them the old-fashioned way, like looking for them at a record store. But who wants to go there?
Why he thought !!! was a good band name:
When we started, we felt like we were doing a completely different type of music than everybody else, and we wanted a name that would set us apart. We didn't know we'd still be answering questions about it 16 years later.
What the band has learned from being named !!!:
The moral of the story is not to be too different, I guess. It seemed like we came before most of the triple-name bands, too. Once we were a couple of questions into an interview in Belgium, and then the journalist goes, "Where's Karen?" She thought we were the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Awkward.
1. We don't know how to feel about Emile Sandé & The Bryan Ferry Orchestra's 1920's version of Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love." Is it good or is it spooky scary? [via Pop Culture Brain]
2. Remember Fred Armisen's Margaret Thatcher skit from a few weeks ago wherein he played Ian Rubbish, a misunderstood UK punk singer? Well, Ian Rubbish has an album now, which you can download for free here. [via Press Release]
3. Artist and designer Maripol directed this just-released documentary about artist Keith Haring, who was a close friend of hers. [via BoingBoing]
4. Our new favorite Tumblr: Sims Gone Wrong. [via It's Nice That]
5. Peaches' anti-jukebox musical film Peaches Does Herself will premiere on the West Coast this Thursday (May 2nd) at the San Francisco International Film Festival. She'll also perform at Mezzanine in SF on May 1st. Anyone who buys a ticket for the screening will get free entry to the live performance on a first come, first served basis. You can buy tickets here.
6. Frieze will hold a cooking tribute to the now-defunct artist-run Soho restaurant FOOD, which Kim wrote about eating at in her student days. In honor of the restaurant's artists-as-cooks structure, a different artist will cook every day of the fair. [via GalleristNY]
7. Love these wood-grain water bottles made by S'Well. For every bottle you purchase, environmental organization American Forests will plant a tree. (And don't worry, no trees were harmed in the making of the bottles.) [via Press Release]
This is apparently what happens when you pose for a photo on a nice spring day and Kevin Spacey happens to jog by in the background. [Buzzfeed]
Ellen Instagrammed this photo of herself and Cher last night with the caption "I had to change my outfit before the show. Cher and I were wearing the same thing. Don't miss tomorrow!" We have no idea what this photo means, but are excited no less. Ho! [Via ImWithKanye]
The always amazing Retta did stand up on Late Night Monday night, and she was real good. Woe to the white Republican BMW-driving woman in L.A. who cuts her off.
In this version all the wienerables go to live on a farm with lots of food, right? Right????? [TheClearlyDope]
FYI: Hot new pizza eating technique. [TheRumblr]
Iced coffee year-round 4 lyfe. [ThisIsntHappiness]
Dalten Duncan is invited to guest-edit Morning Funnies any time. [Mlkshk]
...or the spying on your ex-wife from your car, crying a little bit, wondering what you're doing with your life, Ted. [FYeahDementia]
If Downton really wants to break into the bridal market, they would do well to include Lady Mary's wedding gown in their collection -- although maybe sans the twenty foot long veil and the deeply doomed relationship.
We also love Lady Edith's beautiful cream dress from the same episode. If it were a tad more structured it would be very Valentino and maybe one of our favorite looks from the series so far, but, you know, a beautifully fitting dress would entail something going right for Lady Edith. Lady Edith is the embodiment of a sad trombone sound effect.
We love a good dressing gown and these robes look perfect for lounging around the apartment watching Downton on a spring day, rolling your eyes with an 'ugh, STFU' think balloon over your head every time Cousin Isobel comes on screen. Dibs on the orange one.
We'd want to shop this look because it seems like an easy evening option, both to wear and to make -- a wine-colored dress with beaded edges and a long chain necklace. Just kidding, we could never make a beautiful beaded dress. At best, we could maybe drape a red shower curtain around ourselves with some sequins and bits of Wrigley's gum wrapper glue-sticked on, then call it a day.
In a similar vein, Cousin Rose's bow dress is reminds us of those appliquéd Lanvin tees crossed with Thakoon's dragonfly dresses and has a nice flapper twist to it. Poor decisions sold separately.
Yeah, we'd wear Martha Levinson's crazy hat.
And Lady Mary's hat.
They could also do a lavender label à la Vera Wang. (Except, you know, everything would actually be lavender.)
If Downton did business casual, Countess Cora's and Lady Mary's blue daytime outfits would be the look.
You could make an argument for selling a version of Sybil's two-toned, high-wasted harem pants. We're not sure we would make it, but still. To each his own.
And for the menfolk: Mr. Bates' prison outfit or A/W '13 Damir Doma? Either way, make it and we'll buy it.
2. Joss Whedon is having a really good time futzing around with the Twitter bio for his upcoming movie Much Ado About Nothing. (Click the image to expand).
3. Here are Zach Galifianakis' upcoming promos for SNL. We feel you about no one appreciating your nail art, girl. [via Pop Culture Brain]
4. Well, this is a crazy trend: some couples are writing very specific "relationship" clauses in their prenups that are meant to dictate things like when they can play music in the home and how many times a week they have sex. [via Daily Mail]
5. Esquire writes that we should forget about Brooklyn food and go explore the Belmont nieghborhood in the Bronx, which apparently has some of the best fish markets, fresh pasta and mozzarella shops, and a ton of other Italian treats. Now we're really hungry.
6. Here's the top of Miley Cyrus's butt in V. [via Fashionista]
Where do you live?
Stoke Newington, London. Stoke Newington is an area of Northeast London with a great music scene and a huge amount of bars and live music venues playing everything from Turkish folk to dance music. It has a large population of musicians and creative people and is also one of the few places in London that has a village-type feel and a very warm and welcoming community.
What do you do?
Guitar player for Treetop Flyers & Graphic Designer
What British bands or DJs are you obsessed with and that you think Americans might not know yet?
I'm heavily into [classic] British rock and folk rock. Aside from [super well-known bands] like Fleetwood Mac and Black Sabbath, I like Fairport Convention, Fotheringay, Pentangle, Heads Hands & Feet and Steeleye Span. These bands all have insane guitar tones, something that seems to be a dying art. There are way too many bands playing now with complete awful guitar tones -- people seem to think it's ok to go on stage with an acoustic that sounds like someone scrapping a fork across a wire fence!
Where are the cool places to see live music in London?
There are great venues in Stoke Newington and around Hackney. There's great jazz at The Haggerston on Sunday nights in Dalston, which is free and always really packed.
What's your favorite bar/nightclub? Why do you like this place? What's its vibe like? What crowd goes there?
My favourite bar is probably the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington as they have an amazing selection of beers -- or the ScooterCaffè in Waterloo. I don't really go to clubs so in terms of that, I'd say [my favorite is] a music bar like the Quecum Bar on Battersea High street, which has amazing live Gypsy Jazz. It's a really mellow bar with great food and wine and really good sound.
What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in London?
Fabric or any of the super clubs. I can't stand the idea of paying £20 to listen to music that sounds like a car alarm!
Check out Laurie's band recs:
Fairport Convention -- "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
Fotheringay -- "Nothing More
Pentangle -- "Hunting Song"
Heads Hands & Feet -- "Safety In Numbers"
Steeleye Span -- "All Around My Hat"
Check out Laurie's nightlife listings:
The Haggerston, 438 Kingsland Rd London E8 4AA
Jolly Butchers, 204 Stoke Newington High St London, Greater London N16 7HU
ScooterCaffè, 132 Lower Marsh London, Greater London SE1 7AE
Le QuecumBar, 42-44 Battersea High St London, Battersea, London SW11 3HX
No Sleep Til...Paris
No Sleep Til...Sydney
No Sleep Til...Brussels
No Sleep Til...Bogotá
No Sleep Til...Copenhagen
No Sleep Til...Seoul
No Sleep Til...Oslo
No Sleep Til...Johannesburg
No Sleep Til...Gothenburg
No Sleep Til...Hamburg
No Sleep Til...Mumbai
No Sleep Til...Cartagena
Chicago's Chance the Rapper released his joyous, juke-y mixtape Acid Rap today. Earlier this week came the video for the unusually laid-back "Smoke Again," which pairs Chance's melodious croak with a slightly less distinctive verse from Ab-Soul, of Black Hippy fame. The video is similarly low-key (especially in comparison with his previous output): mostly shots of Chance smoking in, and on, a black Toyota sedan, with computer effects occasionally illuminating his bugged-out eyes. Ab-Soul delivers his verse ("I'll take a pound or two") surrounded by puffs of smoke before a black background. Afterward, you might want to press play again.
We prefer "pretty, pretty, pret-ty good." But that's just us. It's a triplicate. [via F Yeah Dementia]
You got PUNK'D! [via F Yeah Dementia]
Tia Mowry went down a dark, dark road and this is what she found. [via Afternoon Snooze Button]
It can be yours for $599 (or $299 with a three-year contract) after waiting in line outside the Meatpacking Apple store for six hours. Or, you know, you could just buy a Nokia for $20. [via Humor Train]
Miley Cyrus is on the new cover of V Magazine and came this close to giving herself some camel toe. [via D Listed]
White Men Wearing Google Glasses Tumblr. [via White Men Wearing Google Glasses]
Hi five, it's Friday. Oh shit, no, no, it's not. [via The Clearly Dope]
Have you been wondering what happened to Janelle Monáe since she was on the cover of Paper (and, you know, did a bunch of other cool stuff)? Turns out she was frozen in time at a living museum, of course -- at least that's the plot of her new video. Fortunately she wakes up in her signature black and white look and sings her new single, "Q.U.E.E.N." Plus Erykah Badu joins in the fun on this delightful track from Janelle's upcoming album, The Electric Way. And don't forget: You are not a freak if you "twerk in the mirror."
What: Syfy Movies With a View
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Harbor View Lawn, Brooklyn
Synopsis: For the sixth year in a row, the Syfy Channel is partnering with the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy for weekly summer film programming, music and food. DJs will start spinning at 6pm and classics like Ferris Bueller's Day Off (July 11), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (July 25), Rocky (August 15), Roman Holiday (August 8) and Vertigo (August 22) start at sundown. Moviegoers can munch on lobster rolls from Luke's Lobster, Blue Marble ice cream and sandwiches from No. 7 subs while they take in the flicks. For the full movie line-up, go HERE.
Dates: Every Thursday from July 11-August 29
What: Rooftop Films Summer Series
Where: Open Road Rooftop, 350 Grand St., Manhattan
Synopsis: Christmas may be coming early this year for cinephiles (particularly anyone who likes to keep up with all the buzz from Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes), what with Rooftop Films' screenings of festival breakouts and critics' picks like Sebastian Silva's Crystal Fairy (date TBA), Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha (May 11) and Sarah Burns' The Central Park Five (date TBA). Most of the screening dates are still in the works, but you can see the full line-up HERE. We also hear there will also be live music before the screenings, Q&As with cast and crew members and free after-parties.
Dates: Screenings start May 10th, most film dates TBD
Cost: Prices vary but most are free
What: HBO's Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
Where: Bryant Park, Manhattan
Synopsis: Perhaps the Grand Poobah when it comes to New York outdoor screenings, HBO's Bryant Park Summer Film Festival returns Monday, June 17th. The line-up is still TBA but check back here in mid-May when the film schedule is released.
Dates: Every Monday from June 17-August 19
What: Summerscreen in McCarren Park
Where: McCarren Park, Bedford Ave. & N. 12th St., Brooklyn
Synopsis: Millennial nostalgists will get their fill of '80s and '90s faves like Can't Hardly Wait, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, The Craft, The Goonies, and Speed when they head to McCarren park during its Summerscreen series. Brooklyn music promoter Todd P is curating the pre-screening music line-up (details are still TBA) and guests will have the chance to vote on the sixth -- and final -- film being shown. Choices include Heathers, The Big Lebowski, The Breakfast Club and High Fidelity.
Dates: Every Wednesday from July 10-August 14
What: Film Screenings at Lavender Lake
Where: Lavender Lake, 383 Carroll St., Brooklyn
Synopsis: The buzzy Gowanus bar recently launched free movie nights that will continue throughout the summer every Tuesday and Wednesday, with two films being screened per night. Who needs popcorn when you can snack on Lavender Lake's fried brussels sprouts and sweet potato gnocci while enjoying feel-good beach flicks like JAWS and Point Break in the backyard?
Dates: Every Tuesday and Wednesday, now through the end of summer.
What: Tropfest at Prospect Park
Where: The Nethermead at Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Synopsis: Actor Liev Schreiber will host Brooklyn's installment of the "world's largest short film festival" (the festival, which began in Sydney, Australia, also hosts screenings throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia). A panel of industry and celebrity judges will choose the winning films after the screenings, which will follow an afternoon of music, art installations and food.
Dates: June 22
Cost: Free but register HERE to attend
What: Films at Summerstage
Where: Locations vary, click HERE for calendar
Synopsis: From hosting the closing night screening of the Brazilian Film Festival to one-off screenings of documentaries whose subjects range from soul food to Stevie Wonder, Summerstage will be scheduling film programming throughout the five borough's many parks this summer. For a complete list, click HERE.
Dates: Dates vary
What: Hudson River Parks River Flicks
Where: Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers, Manhattan
Synopsis: Miss a bunch of 2012's biggest hits and wish you could've seen them on the big screen? You won't have to see blockbusters like The Avengers or Argo on your 12" Macbook, thanks to Hudson River Park's summer film series, which screens those hits and more, including Silver Linings Playbook, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Hunger Games.
Dates: Every Wednesday from July 10-August 21
What: Celebrate Brooklyn!
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell (Prospect Park West & 9th St.), Brooklyn
Synopsis: Though the movie line-up is still under wraps, it's a safe bet that Celebrate Brooklyn!'s music and movie roster will include some old-school fan favorites (the 2012 season featured Saturday Night Fever -- complete with live music from a Bee Gees cover band -- and Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet). Additionally, they boast NYC's largest outdoor screen (it's a whopping 50' wide x 21 ' high) and musical acts booked to perform live during the night.
Dates: July 13 and August 8
What: Intrepid Summer Music Series
Where: Pier 86 (12th Ave. and 46th St.)
Synopsis: Action movie freaks will be in good company at the Intrepid, who's screening such blockbusters like JAWS, Top Gun and Star Trek. Rounding out their "hero-centric" series will be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Karate Kid and National Treasure.
Dates: Select Fridays from May 24 through August 23 (for all dates, click HERE)
What: Outdoor Movies at Hell Gate Social
Where: Hell Gate Social, 12-21 Astoria Blvd., Queens
Synopsis: The folks at Hell Gate Social cheekily told us to expect "goofy, stupid shit" being screened in their backyard every Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Though the line-up is still being finalized, the first few "goofy" movies to be shown will be Team America and Captain America ("the 1990 version") on Memorial Day.
Dates: Every Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day (May 26-September 1)
What: Outdoor Cinema at Socrates Sculpture Park
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens
Synopsis: The Long Island City park hosts the 15th annual International Film, Music, Dance and Food festival, promising lots of tasty regional cuisine from nearby restaurants, musicians, dancers and international film screenings. The line-up is still TBA but will likely be announced sometime in mid-May.
Dates: Every Wednesday from July 3-August 21
GIF by Isabel Alcantara
Between mounds of guacamole and plates of enchiladas verdes, some will drink salt-rimmed margarita after salt-rimmed margarita, others will knock back shots of Sauza like it's sophomore year and a few will even resort to shy sips from a bottle of all-in-one Skinnygirl. This weekend, the tequila will inevitably flow.
But pitchers are not mandatory for Cinco de mayo reveling, nor must you join an inebriated horde. Instead, Mexico's defeat of the French can be celebrated at Empellón Cocina with, say, Chioggia beet and Oaxacan blood sausage tacos and an elegant cocktail by Mat Resler.
One concoction to consider is the vibrant Rooster's Claw, combining tequila, mango-habanero puree, fresh lime juice and agave nectar. "We needed a tequila with character to stand up to the bold flavors of the mango and habanero, but light enough to not overpower the cocktail," says Resler of his preference for Pueblo Viejo Reposado. "You can still taste the tequila, but it acts more as a leveling agent."
The balanced puree is inspired by Empellón chef Alex Stupak's liberal use of the small, potent orange chile pepper. Says Resler, "Once you get past the initial heat you have a beautiful, fragrant floral note that works really well with tropical fruit."
2 oz. Pueblo Viejo Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Mango-habanero puree*
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. agave nectar
Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.
*The restaurant makes a purée from scratch, but you can also make your own by blending a ratio of one chile pepper per bottle of high-quality mango juice.