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Legendary More-Is-More Stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele on Fashion, Street Style and What's Never Démodé

cerfs2.jpgCarlyne Cerf de Dudzeele's life story reads like a fashion fairytale. She became obsessed with fashion at an early age growing up in St. Tropez and Paris, and made her first big splash in styling at French Elle before becoming a style icon in New York. Known for her opulent taste -- a crisp white shirt festooned with layer after layer of gold and pearl jewelry is her idea of a casual Friday -- de Dudzeele dressed Israeli model Michaela Bercu in a Christian Lacroix jacket adorned with a jeweled cross for the cover of Anna Wintour's first issue of Vogue, single-handedly launched a Pucci print revival and redefined the word panache. She brings together the chic of Paris with the enthusiasm of America and ties it all up in a leopard-print bow. De Dudzeele either "loves it, loves it, loves it" or declares it démodé. The stylist recently dressed Miley Cyrus in a sports bra for the cover of V and she's become obessessed with Jeremy Scott's "baroque sportif" tracksuits. (She's been feeling an athletic vibe.) While in L.A., we got de Dudzeele and Scott to meet up and chat about the "du chien" of Chanel and how fashion is still all about the attitude.

Jeremy Scott: What is your first fashion memory?

Carlyne cerf de Dudzeele:
It was "du chien." "Avoir du chien" is an expression, it means chic! It's an attitude, it is not physical. Chanel had "du chien," people with personality have "du chien." I wanted to work for Chanel.

JS: Were there things in magazines that you would draw inspiration from?

[German model] Veruschka [Von Lehndorff]! I had magazine subscriptions at home and I would stare at her for days. I was obsessed. I still like the idea of not having much makeup and hair. I was obsessed and I have met her since then!

JS: You lived in St. Tropez?

My mother divorced and bought a house in St. Tropez and took me and my sister there. My mother was studying. We would spend hours in the garden with our baby cat. It was lovely.

JS: It's important for creative people to have an environment where they feel loved and free and creative. When you left St. Tropez where did you go?

My father thought my sister and I were not raised the way we should be. So we went to Paris and lived with him and my stepmother. He put me in a very strict private school. I just wanted to make everyone laugh. I was doing a lot of bad things at that time. Later on they mixed the boys and the girls. That was perfection. One day my stepmother found letters that I had written to my sister and that night at dinner my father said, "I have to talk to you." After that, I left to live with my mother's sister and I never came back. I lived in my grandmother's room and became an assistant at Marie Claire. It was heaven. Then I went to Dépêche Mode where it was the beginning of everyone: actors, editors, all the photographers were there. And then I moved to French Elle.

(l-r) Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele hanging with designer Jeremy Scott

JS: Is Elle when you first started to feel like you were coming into your own?

It was good. We had a lot of fun. That is the key. And it was fast fashion, every week. If something was not so good, who cares? There was another one. It was quick. It was emotional, not cerebral.

JS: What is the biggest problem you see in fashion today?

Ninety-nine percent of people working in fashion are not people who love fashion. They are just there because they feel like they can make it quick. They are not passionate and they should not be there. They have no style, but they work in fashion. I see these girls who want to be in fashion because it is cool, but they are clueless. They don't get it. They don't know what an attitude is.

JS: What else has inspired you over the years?

CCD: I loved when traveling was glamorous. I drew inspiration from that, the people in the airports. Now people dress unstylishly to travel. They are no longer chic.

JS: You're not a very high heels kind of lady...

I am! I was best friends with André Leon Talley and he introduced me to my best friend in New York, [Manolo Blahnik CEO] George Malkemus. I don't wear anything that doesn't represent me, I just wear what I love. I don't have to show off. If I wear a black jacket, that is me.

JS: What is one thing that has been constant about style?

Jeans. I was raised with fur coats and jeans and big lace things. Don't dress trendy. Classic things are the most chic. I hate seeing things that are démodé. Things are like that right now, and it is not good. It doesn't work. Jeans always work. Classics are chic. A classic Chanel jacket will never be démodé. It's still perfection. Perfection is not about money. It is the way you put it together, the way you edit. All people care about now is designer names and that is not chic. I can go anywhere in my black pants and black jacket and it is perfection. I don't wear the designer clothes of the season. They are not always good. Alaïa is never démodé. The classic Chanel bag, the classic Hermès -- never démodé. The bag companies now... I can't look at them!

JS: Do you remember the first Chanel show you saw?

I know it was pre-'81, pre-Karl, because I moved here in '85. It was different back then, the models would talk and dance. Now they are babies, they have no idea. They don't have the culture that the girls used to have. No one is teaching the girls these days. I used to teach the models. Steven Meisel would teach them attitude. Now they have no idea.


De Dudzeele's over-the-top-styling in V magazine's Spring 2012 issue. 

JS: What do you think the future of fashion is?

I think it's too much fashion, too much clothes, too much boring, not in the now. Life is more active now. When I see an editor in the city, they are off to work, so being comfortable is important. If you put a dress on, it should be comfortable. There needs to be less rigidity. I think black people are more stylish than white people. They have more of a personal style. Even if black people go crazy, they don't look too crazy. It is more authentic -- it works. I miss when people used to mix high and low fashion. I mix things from Zara and Forever 21. Now people only wear designer.

JS: What do you think about online fashion resources like Instagram? How has that shifted power from magazines?

I don't look at magazines anymore, I prefer to be on the Internet. I love street style, but when I see all these photo collections, I don't like it. Before, you would never know they were taking a picture of you: now people know and it is all posed. They try to be photogenic. I do like the Internet, I don't know if it will change fashion.

JS: Were you ever into vintage?

Of course! I have all the periods of everything, but now I cannot wear something I have worn already. I keep everything. And I went for it back in the day, I wore everything. When I wear classic pieces, people go insane. This is fashion to me. I miss this. I miss the energy. Fashion should be amusing. Now it's pretentious. It's not fun.

V Magazine Photograph by Sebastian Faena. Jeremy Scott and de Dudzeele photograph courtesy of Jeremy Scott.

Note From Kim: Trends From The Past Never Cease to Amaze Me

sept_kimsnote.jpgI cracked up when I heard that young fashion kids are obsessed lately with stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele and the over-the-top looks she became famous for almost three decades ago. It only makes sense that super edgy, equally over-the-top designers like Jeremy Scott have fallen for her big-time recently as well. (In fact, Scott interviewed Carlyne for us in this issue. Read their Q&A HERE). Her signature beyond-bling styling -- throwing furs, gold, leopard, and diamonds together with her rich French upperclass twist -- is the perfect antidote to the minimalism of current designers like Raf Simons and Phoebe Philo. I've even noticed hints of Carlyne's fancy je ne sais quoi influence on mainstream classics. Perusing creative director Jenna Lyons' uber-chic, crisp new J. Crew fall collection (which I loved, by the way) I noticed the opulent jewel encrusted Dudzeele-esque jewelry paired with denim or crisp white shirts. We even ran a story this month inspired by de Dudzeele's styling, shot by '80s-favorite fashion photographer Walter Chin.

So why does this crack me up? Because back in the day (when, yes, even I was one of those hipster, fashion-obsessed kids), I would have never been caught dead emulating fancy pants stylists like de Dudzeele or what I saw vibing in magazines like Vogue or on the runways. In those days I was much more infatuated with someone like the outrageous Brooklyn designer and pioneer Andre Walker, whose innovative work you would never find in Vogue or in Barneys but was regularly featured in the pages of Paper and sold at Patricia Field's super-alternative 8th street emporium. But culture changes and the context of style changes with it. Today de Dudzeele's vibe makes sense in the context of music, street, hip-hop and bling -- vastly different from the early '90s, when she made a powerful and unconventional high-fashion statement by showing a pair of well-worn jeans paired with a jeweled Lacroix sweater on Anna Wintour's first cover of Vogue as editor-in-chief.

Still, some things never change. Fashion kids will always be looking back and gagging at stuff from decades past that strike a nerve with the cultural context of their moment in time. I remember the radical American designer Geoffrey Beene throwing us all into a frenzy back in the day (much in the same way that kids are gagging over de Dudzeele today) as did the enfant terrible photographer Bob Richardson (the father of Terry), both of whom I worked with as much as I could in Paper. I even remember obsessing over photographer Francesco Scavullo, who, by the '90s had become a has-been. But I became hooked a second time around, inviting him to shoot crazy fashion stories for us for free. (Which he did!)

When I heard of the surprising de Dudzeele trend I went straight to my my friend Laura Wills, owner of the vintage emporium Screaming Mimi's, and my go-to source for fashion history, its future and even its back to the future. I wanted to know which designers we'd be shocked to see worshipped by the next generation of hipsters 30 years from now. (Because believe me, it's never who you think it will be!) Laura laughed in disbelief as she confided to me that all the hipper-than-hip fashion kids have been combing her shop for '80s and '90s Liz Claiborne and Tommy Hilfiger. She said she cannot keep it on the racks. WHAT? Who would have thought that Nicolas Ghesquiere's next collection (wherever he ends up) could very well be influenced by Liz Claiborne circa 1990? Oh. My. God. When I asked her what else she thought was in the future she said that '80s designs by Todd Oldham and Nicole Miller were starting to inspire the kids, and it was just a matter of time before it was a full on rage.

So you see, fashion is often just one big circle. I remember seeing a Marc Jacobs show in the '90s where '70s Biba inspiration came down the runway. Again, I cracked up. Why? Because those looks Barbara Hulanicki created for Biba in the early '70s (that influenced Marc so much in the '90s) were actually all inspired by the '30s! As they say, what goes around comes around (and around!).

Syd tha Kyd Shows Off Her Vocal Chops on The Internet's "Dontcha"


Very nice & smooth track by the Internet from their upcoming (September 24) second album, Feel Good. Lots of influences at work here, but the tune fits perfectly into your old-school mixtapes (Marvin Gaye, Boz Scaggs etc.), as well as new (Weeknd, Frank Ocean etc.). Who knew Syd tha Kyd had such an incredible voice? Nice and simple video, too...and it doesn't distract from the song like Future's clip for "Honest". A real winner from the Odd Future gang.

There's a Stoop Sale and More at PS1 This Weekend

512802f3b3fc4ba850000054_-white-noise-yap-moma-ps1-proposal-french-2design_f2d_moma_render_3-1000x600.jpgIf you didn't make it over to one of PS1's "Warm Up" parties, don't fret. Their annual summer music series ended last week, but there's still a lot happening at the Long Island City branch of MoMA. This weekend they're launching their first annual "Stoop Sale," with great bargains on art books, tee shirts, vinyl, CDs, comic books, artist's monographs and more from their Artbook shop. The sale takes place on the steps in the back courtyard on September 13, 14 and 15 from noon to 6pm daily and admission is free. Also on Sunday, September 15 at 4pm, the museum is launching "Sunday Sessions," a weekly series of events will offer "an amalgam of artistic programming -- from light, sound, and music installations to lectures by world-renowned scholars and special performances." This time around there will be two screenings of films selected by Dirty Looks NYC -- which you can RSVP to here. And don't forget that the big Mike Kelly retrospective featuring over 200 works by the late artist opens on October 13 and will be up until February 2.

Drag Queens Sing About Amanda Bynes to the Tune of "Blurred Lines"


DVW -- the trio of drag queens made up of RuPaul's Drag Race alums Detox and Willam along with Vicky Vox -- may be late to the "Blurred Lines" parody game, but they've found a way to really make it work: namely, by changing their parody lyrics to be allll about Amanda Bynes' breakdown. Yes, we know that they're a little late to the Amanda Bynes breakdown game as well, but this video really, really works. Yes, you'll find all the usual staples of a "Blurred Lines" parody video: the white background, the hot, barely dressed guys, and the silver balloons spelling things out. And, yes, you'll also find the requisite wigs, tweets and drug references found in any discussion of Amanda Bynes' current state ("So she smokes some weed? / You know you can't malign her / Saw how she tweets to Drake / to murder her vagina."). But there's also pretty great physical comedy (someone needs to make GIFs of every face Detox makes in this video), the lyrics are hilarious and, most importantly, the queens don't condemn Amanda. In fact, a lot of it seems to be just as mocking of the culture that facilitates these breakdowns -- the queens list Amanda's (great) predecessors and pepper the song with lines like "don't know what all the fucking fuss about" and "you just do you, boo." So watch above and Amanda, take comfort: you've got allies and they're fierce.

What If Monty Python and the Holy Grail Were a 2013 Big-Budget Blockbuster?


Here's a trailer for Monty Python and the Holy Grail re-cut as if it were a big-budget action movie c. 2013. [via The Daily What]

Our favorite Bar Mitzvah Boy, Sam Horowitz, went on Ellen and performed another dance routine. This kid is made for showbiz! [via Jezebel]

Ahh fucking triangle. Lolz. [via Knusprig Titten Hitler]

ICYMI: Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake did "The Evolution of End Zone Dancing." [via Hyper Vocal]

91113sign2.jpgWe love you, New York. Never change. [via Gothamist]

tumblr_miu93hMuou1qcjm4lo1_500.gifWe found our new fashion week look. [via Julia Segal]

tumblr_msxmwyAsnn1qzcv7no1_500.jpgNote the "Who x-actly?!?!" scrawled up top. [via Pleated Jeans]

xIHVUeB.jpgThis kid sounds awesome and we would like to join him when he eats a rack of ribs covered in bacon. [via Reddit]

Jimmy Kimmel Tricked "Fashion Types" Into Talking About Nonexistent Designers


Jimmy Kimmel's made asking fanboys and fangirls about things that don't exist into an art form and now he's made a new segment where fashion-y people are asked their opinions on cuckoo designers and fashion week goings-on that aren't real in any way, shape, or form. At the beginning of the clip, we felt a little sorry for the interviewees: NYFW has such a packed schedule with so many different brands that it's totally possible to get mixed up and think that "George Costanza" might be an up-and-coming hipster label. But when Jimmy & Co. started showing photos of Photoshopped watermelons and dog poop on runway models' heads and all people said was "it's called fashion, look it up," we lost all sympathy. If there's one thing these clips consistently teach us, it's NOT to comment on something you've never heard of.

[via Towleroad]

Icona Pop Embrace the Drag Ball in the Video for "All Night"


We're no strangers to drag balls and voguers, so we were delighted to see Swedish duo Icona Pop's new music video for "All Night" paying homage to the 1990 voguing scene documentary Paris Is Burning. Part-music video and part-documentary, "All Night" divides its time between interviews with various high-profile NYC voguers (including Pony and Chi Chi from our New York ballroom feature) and a classic voguing competition. Icona Pop know their place -- the twosome may know how to rock a lewk, but no one brings it as hard as these queens do -- and spend most of the video singing to the competitors as they shantay, sashay, and talk about what the drag scene means to them. Watch above.

Dev Hynes Reunites With Relatives in the Video for New Blood Orange Track "Chamakay"


We can't get enough of Dev Hynes and thankfully, he's back. Last night the music man debuted a video for the Blood Orange track "Chamakay" off of his upcoming album Cupid Deluxe. Directed by Adam Bainbridge and featuring vocals from Chairlift's Caroline Polachek, the video captures Hynes' first trip to his mother's hometown Georgetown, Guyana, where he connects with family members for the first time. When he's not meeting his 92-year-old grandfather or playing with a little baby relative, Hynes hangs out and dances around the city. What could be more heartwarming than that? Check it out, above.

When In Doubt, Propose at Home Depot


Marriage proposal flash mob videos are the opposite of fun at this point, but this clip of a Salt Lake City man proposing to his boyfriend in the lumber aisle of Home Depot (swoon) while their friends and family perform a choreographed dance routine is pretty fun. Have some tissues nearby -- we started crying as soon as the parents showed up. [Gawker]

Welcome to the nightmare factory: Someone who hates your eyeballs went ahead and edited Nicolas Cage into Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" video.

tumblr_mfs8s5ptd51qew5eeo1_500.jpg We found everyone's holiday card for 2013! Sorry Papyrus, you should probably just close up shop from now through January. [FYouNoFMe]

tumblr_mt0zhiCdGH1qztt73o1_500.jpg We could look at this for hours, hating on fake tomatoes, loving on Oprah's strangely giant floating head. [RatsOff]

Oh. [OutGayedMyself]

tumblr_msfchyWe3u1s4adebo1_1280.jpgLook on the bright side!  [FYouNoFMe]

tumblr_mspyksU0Ac1r3gb3zo1_400.gifTGIF, amiright? [FYeahDementia]

tumblr_ms0hzgdVmS1rt28efo2_r1_500.gifChug, chug, chug! [ScorpionDagger]

Gorillaz Channel The Good, the Bad and the Ugly With "Clint Eastwood"


I have a hard time remembering the name of today's oldie-but-goodie video, so it will always be "Sunshine In a Bag" to me. Of course it's really called "Clint Eastwood," because it sounds vaguely like the theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It was the first single from Damon Albarn (of Blur) and Jamie Hewett's virtual band Gorillaz, and was released in March 2001. Pop Quiz: Who raps the verses?

Assessing the New York Fashion Week Backlash Pendulum

BFA_6978_814128.jpgKanye West sits front row at Hood By Air (Photo by Angela Pham/Billy Farrell Agency)

To say the fashion industry loves to complain about riffraff style bloggers and C-list celebrities hijacking Fashion Week is like saying the Kardashians love publicity: the behavior's consistent, it rarely brings about significant results, and it's insufferably self-indulgent. But, one thing that does change is the focus of the fashion community's eye-rolling.

Eric Wilson writes in The New York Times that back in 1941, members of the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union "balked" at inviting journalists to visit the showrooms, "not seeing how writing about clothes would help sell them." (Now, of course, not only are editors and fashion journalists a keystone of the fashion week structure, they're also some of the most vocal whiners.) Since the days of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, fashion's collective annoyance has trained its lens on everything from the size and scope of fashion week (or, rather, fashion month) and the over-shadowing presence of the celebrity front row circus to unwieldy street style hoopla and hackneyed personal style bloggers.

But just as fashion likes to take the most démodé styles and make them "mode" again, so too does the pendulum seem to swing back-and-forth when it comes to this backlash.

It was only three years ago that Cathy Horyn observed in the Times that whether due to the poor economy or celebrity fatigue or both, many designers were cutting back on the number of famous faces they were accommodating with front row seats. "Like a worn rut in a road, the whole business of celebrity seems so well established as to be old and familiar, and in fashion, hopelessly preoccupied with the new, that makes it worthy of contempt," Horyn wrote.

Over the past few seasons, it seemed that for every A-Lister turning up front row to Calvin Klein or Marc Jacobs, there'd be three times as many reality TV stars, unknown teeny bopper actresses and has-been tabloid subjects attracting the flashbulbs' attention elsewhere. The fact that previous New York seasons coincided with celebrity-heavy events like the MTV VMAs, the Grammys or the BAFTA Awards didn't help either. Depending on where you fell on the optimism-pessimism scale, it either felt like fashion week was finally returning to its roots as an industry event for editors, professional buyers, and wealthy socialites or like it was becoming totally tragic.

Somewhere down the line, those front row seats that had once been reserved exclusively for celebrities started going to personal style bloggers. For the most part, those A-1, B-1 or C-1 seats were only being meted out to established influencers like Bryanboy and Susie Bubble or wunderkinds like The Man Repeller. And, in the absence of real celebrities, these high-powered bloggers started taking over their roles, getting breathlessly photographed at the shows and receiving invitations and deals to host after-parties.

Meanwhile, the higher rows -- and standing section -- became home to ever-growing legions of less-trafficked (and less glossy) bloggers, who, it was perceived, did little more than post Instagram photos of themselves wearing cute (and, often, gifted) designer clothing.

These bloggers, who were used to dressing in crazy get-ups and photographing themselves for the benefit of their followers, brought their peacocking to fashion week, aided by the growing frenzy of street style bloggers and photographers camped outside Lincoln Center or Milk Studios. Now you didn't have to be industry leaders like Jenna Lyons or Taylor Tomasi Hill to see your photo on someone else's blog -- you just needed a "crazy" look and the wherewithal to hang around the tents all day.

Recently, it seems we've reached fashion week street style's nadir, as more and more people are getting dressed and showing up to the shows with the intention of getting photographed -- even when they don't have an invitation to attend anything. "I've seen so many people who don't even go to shows -- they just hang out outside [Lincoln Center]!" Bryanboy says. As a prime street style target himself and one of the original crop of fashion bloggers to rise to fame and prominence, even he says bloggers are getting a bad rap.

"The term 'bloggers' has such a negative connotation," he says. "It's tainted because of the circus [outside the shows]."

Amy Odell, Editor of Cosmopolitan.com and formerly of Buzzfeed Shift, wrote a piece for the latter outlet titled "Why The Era of Personal Style Blogs Must Come to An End" and says she's noticed industry people debating the longevity of the style blogger phenomenon. "In terms of personal style bloggers, I think people have always wondered where this is going. Is this going to fizzle out?...Are they going to be fixtures for the next ten years? I think that will come into focus over the next couple of seasons."

"Eventually it's gonna die down," Bryanboy predicts. "Because ultimately if you're there with no purpose, that doesn't last very long. For somebody to get dressed and [in some cases] fly to, and stay in, New York, it costs so much money. I don't think it will be -- for lack of a better word -- a shitshow in five years."

But while a "shitshow" of beautiful nobodies rages on outside, another shitshow of beautiful somebodies is revving up inside. Just as fatigue, budget concerns and scheduling kept certain A-Listers away in recent years, all of these factors seem to have shifted this season, resulting in New York getting an extra dose of mega-watt glamor at more than a few shows. Rihanna's been spotted out and about, ditto Anna Wintour's Spring/Summer '12 seatmate Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber made his NYFW debut. And Kanye, that indefatigable fashion fanboy whose absences at New York Fashion Week in seasons past caused New York writers to respond like snubbed girlfriends, was back in form, attending Alexander Wang, Diesel Black Gold, Louise Goldin, Hood By Air and countless parties.

"I think this season has been better [in terms of celebrity sightings] than the last few years," Jessica Morgan, one-half of the Fug Girls behind the popular fashion blog Go Fug Yourself, writes in an email. Along with her partner Heather Cocks, Jessica has tirelessly chronicled the celebrity front row at fashion week for The Cut in addition to their own blog since 2006. "Sometimes on our beat, you get to the end of Fashion Week and you've only seen the same five people. [There's been] more diversity this season...thumbs up to the celebs this season."

Cocks echoes her sentiments. "It feels like we got good guys, too. Bieber, Kanye, the Jonai."

Bryanboy agrees. "People-wise, it's definitely one of the glitzier fashion weeks."

And with backlash or fatigue focused on personal style bloggers and the street style parade, it seems like celebrities in the front row are trés mode again. (Hey, at the very least, we can watch them on TV or in the movies -- not just the Internet.) Tweets like "Two Kanye sightings in one day? Yeah, we love #NFYW" from @HuffPostStyle were not an uncommon sight on the #NYFW hashtag scroll. Even Anna Wintour was tickled (or at least smiled) at the sight of little Harper Beckham sitting front row on her dad's lap at her mother's show. 

"I definitely think there has been a change in the front rows," Morgan says. "I think both celebrities and brands are trying to be a little more focused on whom they're aligning themselves with."

Of course, a lot of this has to do with the caliber of the star and their relationship to a particular designer or to the fashion industry in general.  Kanye, for instance, has a well-known interest in fashion and it makes sense that a guy who name-checks Alexander Wang in his music and whose style/art director has collaborated with Hood By Air, will sit front row at both of those shows. Nicki Minaj sat front row on Jeremy Scott's runway, which is fitting since the two are friends after the designer created costumes for Minaj's Pink Friday tour and the rapper appeared in an ad for Scott's Adidas Originals sneakers. Rihanna, meanwhile, sat front row at Opening Ceremony's cuckoo fashion show debut; the boutique is the exclusive U.S. retailer of her River Island collection.

But even if celebrities are the new, uh, celebrities this season, some are skeptical that this will last indefinitely. "There will always be celebrities but, strangely enough, I've been seeing a lot of designers going to other designers' shows," Bryanboy says, when asked about front row demographics down the road. "I also think editors are going to be even bigger stars for sure."

"I feel like fashion week will become more insular and intimate," he adds. And, with designers like Oscar de la Renta down-sizing their shows and invitation lists, the fashion blogger might be right.

Oscar de la Renta aside, this all remains to be seen. For now, the celebrity front rows -- and this year's phonebook-sized list of over-the-top parties -- seems to speak to excess and to the flush luxury market -- not intimacy. "I've never seen New York so vibrant and so full of parties," Bryanboy says. It's all about optimism -- people are spending money again. I feel like the good times are back."

Behold: Petri Dish Paintings, Made Out of Toxic Chemicals and Dyes

San Francisco-based artist Klari Reis has found an artistic use for toxic chemicals and plastic-epoxy polymer with her series of mind-blowing "Petri Dish Paintings." Reis had been enamored with plastics and dyes used to create terrazzo flooring in buildings and airports for years. But when she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and her doctor let her see her own cells react to different drugs through an electron microscope, she decided to add a scientific element to her love of terrazzo-makings. The results are fusions of chemicals and polymers in Petri dishes which range from bright and kaleidoscopic to dark and botanical-looking. Reis posts a new "painting" every day of 2013, so be sure to re-visit out her site to check out her new works. A few of our favorites, below.


DJ Mister Cee's Comeback Paired With Fashion Week Highlights

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

"The Box" has many distinct meanings -- two of which were particularly relevant to New Yorkers this week. The first, of course, refers to the studio at Lincoln Center where many of the collections are shown during the fabulous madness known as Fashion Week. The second refers to the radio -- in this case, Hot 97, where legendary DJ Mister Cee was returned to his throne last night. After an abrupt resignation Wednesday night, Mister Cee came out of the closet during an on-air interview yesterday morning. Ebro Darden, program director of the station, begged him to return in what might be a watershed moment of acceptance and love for the culture of homophobia that pervades hip-hop. In this week's Five 'n' Five I've chosen great moments from Fashion Week and paired them with inspiring songs from DJ Mister Cee's utterly awesome "Back on the Box" mix which played last night. Much respect to a legendary pioneer -- today and always.

331-641x961.jpeg1. Most Awesome - Mark and Estel

"Hi Hater" -- Maino

The duo's rocker style was not only apparent in the collection -- full of awesome grunge inspired separates, tees, zipper dresses and skeletal knits -- but also in the music they chose. Designers and a band, Mark and Estel walked the runway themselves singing their own theme song alongside the models for the show's closing. So awesome.

Alice_Olivia_011_1366.450x675.JPG2. Most Consistent - Alice & Olivia

"No Letting Go" -- Wayne Wonder

Every girl in New York loves Alice & Olivia. Designer Stacey Bendet has cornered the market on quirky dresses with unexpected elements -- leather here, sequins there -- that flatter and make you feel cool.

Erin_003_1366.450x675.JPG 3. Most Romantic - Erin Fetherston

"I Am Blessed" -- Mr Vegas

Erin Fetherston showed her colorful, dreamy collection in her studio the night before FW officially began. Her garden-party themed collection was inspired by her own fantasy wedding in Barbados. Let's face it, if real-life Disney princesses were to be married, they'd be married in Erin Fetherston.

Hesta Prynn 1027x770.jpg 4. Most Fun - Stylecaster 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers Launch Party

"Where I Wanna Be" -- Shade Sheist, Nate Dogg

Of all of the best dressed lists, this year Stylecaster's 50 Most Stylish New Yorkers is the one to be on. Early in the week, the stylish set threw down at Lavo to tunes from Robyn to Diplo to Miley Cyrus to Shade Sheist -- mixed by yours truly, of course.

brittany-snow-austin-mahone-just-dance-boy-meets-girl-nyfw-17.jpgPhoto via Just Jared

5. Dopest Integration - Style 360 Party: Just Dance/Boy Meets Girl

"You Can Make it if You Try" -- Sly & The Family Stone

One of the coolest things I saw this year didn't even happen on the runway. The video game Just Dance had an installation at the Boy Meets Girl show and Style 360 closing party -- the video game was synched along to the music in the house, bringing a whimsical party vibe that was much needed after a bonkers eight days. Til next season...

David Wondrich on His New Brooklyn Gin and Why the Spelling of "Whiskey" Is Nonsense

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 4.18.09 PM.pngSeptember saw the release of Brooklyn's latest spirit, Chief Gowanus New-Netherland Gin, made from an 1809 recipe discovered by spirits historian David Wondrich. The former English professor and author of Imbibe and Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl, chatted over the phone about the development process, his favorite bars, and why Irish whiskey is the new vodka.
How did you get involved in making Chief Gowanus?

I came across this recipe in The Practical Distiller, printed in 1809, and thought it was kind of cool, a confirmation of the theory I had that Colonial Americans were drinking Dutch-style gin made from American rye whiskey. I was talking to Allen Katz [co-founder of The New York Distilling Company] about it last year, who said they had plenty of rye whiskey and it sounded like fun. I figured out the quantities of the recipe, which was by no means clear, and we spent an afternoon at the Brooklyn Brewery learning about hops, one of the key ingredients. We fired up the still and gave it a try. The idea was to do a little living history.
How was the first batch?
Definitely Dutch-smelling, malty, grainy, with a little bit of juniper. It's a very butch genever.
Can you use it for a martini?
You should drink it in shots with beer backs, in simple cocktails or punches. It does not make a good martini.
The Dutch influence is still pretty strong in New York City, right?
Amsterdam in the early 1600s was built on tolerance. It didn't mean you loved your neighbors, you just tolerated them. The other side is the Dutch are extremely hard-working and don't like people who aren't hard workers. Since they were always in danger of war and flooding, everyone was expected to do their share. Those values were passed on to New Amsterdam. The Dutch were cosmopolitan and didn't care about making other people be like them, unlike puritanical New England and Southern values. To this day that's very much New York culture: hard-working, tolerant, a little bit grumpy.
In light of our Dutch-style tolerance, what do you make of the recent mayoral race?
As in Weiner? Okay, we're tolerant, but we're not stupid.
Who was Chief Gowanus?
The legendary chief of the local Indians down in Red Hook, the swampy lowlands. Gowanus is his name in Latin. I'm endlessly amused by the Gowanus Canal, my chance to label it on a bottle.
Why does it amuse you?
Have you seen the Gowanus Canal? It's green. There's something seriously wrong with it. For me it stands for the old, unreconstructed Brooklyn, this industrial ditch.
Swampy lowlands doesn't sound like a great place for his tribe to live.
Paddling around Governors Island, fishing and harvesting oysters, must have been pretty pleasant without the pollution.
Why is American whiskey spelled with an 'e' and Scotch whisky isn't?
This is complete nonsense. In the early 19th century it was spelled indiscriminately with an 'e' and without it. There is no consistency at all. Bottles of Paddy Irish Whiskey were sometimes printed with an 'e' and sometimes without it. The pedants finally won and decreed that Scotland, Canada and Japan would spell it with no 'e' and the U.S. and Ireland with an 'e.' There's no rational basis for it whatsoever.
What trends are you seeing in the bar world these days?
There's been a longstanding split in the fancy bartending movement that's getting further and further apart. You have your complicated, lab-inflected showpiece drinks at cocktail destinations like Booker and Dax, and on the other hand you have people reintegrating the neighborhood watering hole, saying 'this is just a bar,' and we make good cocktails.
What are your favorite bars?
I like Tooker Alley very much. I like the Dead Rabbit. I like Swift's a lot these days in the afternoon. And Clover Club always.
How are you seeing people's drinking habits change?
Irish whiskey is the new vodka. The most interesting thing about that is it was a deliberate strategy by the Jameson people to go after young vodka drinkers. It's working. Vodka sales are flat. Whiskey sales are through the roof. They're taking away a lot of business from mainstream mass-market beer. Jameson is a very pleasant whiskey, very accessible. It's for the more epicurean drinker. For stage two they've managed to turn Jameson drinkers onto pure malts and aged single malts from Ireland and not lose them to Scotch entirely.
Are you involved in making any other spirits?
I helped out with The Emerald Oregon Whiskey, an old, Irish-style, pot still whiskey with oats and rye along with malted and unmalted barley. It should be out any day. I made it with Tad Seestedt, an old friend who has the Ransom distillery. It's been three-and-a-half years in the barrel.
It's an interesting way to use your Ph.D.
A Ph.D is very flexible, as it turns out. It covers anything you want to do. Look at Dr. Phil.

photo by Danny Valdez


vanessaandJM copy.jpg
For the first thirty seconds of John McCauley's kitchen concert (look for it here early next week), I worried that his guitar amp would drown out his voice. Then the Deer Tick frontman hit the chorus, jumping up an octave, and suddenly I could hear his razor-sharp rasp ricocheting off the walls. Throughout the set -- two songs from the band's forthcoming album, Negativity, including a duet with pop-phenom Vanessa Carlton -- McCauley sang with the command of a guy who's helmed five albums, logged countless tour miles, and battled some serious demons since Deer Tick's inception in the mid-aughts. 

Afterward, a jarringly mild-mannered McCauley talked about his previous life as one of indie rock's most committed hell-raisers and his recent move to Manhattan. Carlton was also on hand to discuss working with McCauley and reveal some fascinating factoids about the "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" campaign. 

A lot has changed since you guys got started on Negativity. Are the shows feeling different this time around? 

JM: It's pretty exciting to have an album where we actually want to play every song off of it. And we have our entire catalog rehearsed now, every single song that we've ever released. So it'll be fun to make the setlist every night. 

Deer Tick has a reputation as a band that's always on the road. What daily routines keep you going? 

JM: I'd say it was a pretty unhealthy one for a long time. But we're trying to take a new approach to touring. We try to play less and make more money. We want to be home more often. And I think we all are really enjoying the creative process and recording a lot, so I'd like to do more of that. But a good couple months out of the year, I always want to be out there on the road. As far as a routine goes, I like to stay at hotels that have a fitness center and swimming pool, just in case I wake up early enough to use them. 

Have the changes in your life affected the whole band and their habits? 

JM: Yeah, 'cause I was a pretty shitty leader for a while. When you got a leader like how I used to be, morale sinks. But I figured a few things out and I kind of got interested in leading the band again, and everything's been pretty good since I pulled my head out of my drunk ass. When I'm excited to be a part of doing everything, everybody else seems to get more excited. Everything feels balanced again. 

Vanessa, have you been traveling with these guys? 

Vanessa Carlton: A little bit. Newport Folk Festival was awesome. These guys did a tour in March after they recorded the record, and I went out with my dog for a couple days. Victor cheers up the guys. They love the hairy wiener. 

JM: We love Victor. We love Vanessa too, but...Victor's pretty special. 
VC: He's a special dude. You need stuff like that on the road. 

So you two wrote together during the making of Negativity

JM: Oh, we tried. It'll happen. Who knows when. 

VC: It happens in an organic way. Sometimes John sits and plays some cool thing on the piano and I'll start humming over it. I feel like that'll probably be how we end up writing something. 

John, how're you adjusting to New York life? 

JM: I was in Nashville for about three years and I just moved up in July. I haven't been here much, really. I lived in Brooklyn for a year once -- about four, five years ago -- and I just said, I'll never come back unless I move to Manhattan. So that's what happened. Now I'm in Soho, and I think I'll be here for a bit. Eventually I'd like to buy a house in Nashville, but that's something I'll think about next year. 

Why Manhattan over Brooklyn? 

JM: I feel more at ease knowing that I'm closer to the action, I guess. When I was in Brooklyn, I was way out in Bed-Stuy. I was like a hermit. So it's pretty cool to take the elevator downstairs and, bam, I'm in the middle of everything. 

What's a day in the life when you're home? 

JM: Well, depending on if I got anything to do, I'll do sit-ups in the steam shower for a while, and then I sit around naked till I stop sweating, and then I take a cold shower, and then it's time to make breakfast -- this is around 3:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes I take a walk, sometimes I watch TV and read, and then it's time to get dinner and maybe go catch a show or a movie or just go back and watch some more TV. I'm in bed pretty early, honestly. Last night I was in bed at midnight. I felt like such an old man. 

OK, last question: what's the first album each of you fell in love with? 

JM: Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison. It came out in '87 I think, so I would've been one or two. What a voice. Operatic. 

VC: For me it was this cassette tape of Aaron Copland's take on his Americana writing. It's all classical, though, very over-the-top, huge dramatic dips and things like that. I guess my mom was really into it 'cause she would play it on repeat whenever I'd go back and forth to dance class. Then he got known in pop culture for the beef ad. You know, it's like, [sings intricate classical melody]. You know? 


JM: Like "Beef. It's What's for Dinner"? 

VC: Yeah! They used one of the little snippets of the music from that album. So you do know it. And part of why that campaign works so well is because of how dramatic that riff is. It's totally over the top. I liked it before the beef. 

Negativity comes out September 24 on Partisan Records. Deer Tick play Brooklyn Bowl tonight as "Deervana." (Yes, they're doing In Utero front to back.) 

The Best, Worst and Weirdest of the Week

weiner13n-3-web.jpgWorst "Election? What election? Hahahahaha!" Staged Photo Opp: Anthony Weiner conveniently playing with his son in a Union Square playground and doing other fun, normal guy stuff after eating shit in the mayoral race. -- Elizabeth Thompson

1175562_10151528597456266_1120856439_n.jpgMost Inspiration Taken from Sigfried and Roy: Lil' Kim's new album cover. That's some Golden-Era-of-hip-hop-meets-early-show-at-the-Mirage-Resort-and-Casino shit. -- M.K.

julian-morris-naked.jpgScreen-shot-2013-09-05-at-14.56.15.pngThe Two Best Reasons to Start Watching Pretty Little Liars: these very, ahem, naked pictures of PLL actor Julian Morris in Wonderland magazine. -- Max Kessler

Best Longread: this L.A. Review of Books piece which explores Kendrick Lamar's relationship to black memoirists in relation to the decline of the black blues narrative. -- M.K.

blonds01.jpgBest Fashion Week Everything: The Blonds show. Over-the-top, camp, and fabulous as usual. -- E.T.

Cutest Space Exploration News: Voyager 1, which was launched in 1977 and "carries an 8-track tape recorder and computers with one-240,000th the memory of a low-end iPhone," is the first probe to edit the solar system. Go, little guy, go! -- M.K.

arizona-hellscape.jpgMost Embarrassing Arizona News of the Week: This story about a Mexican food chain in the hellscape that is Litchfield Park, Arizona that gave a bunch of people "bloody diarrhea" and are trying to lure customers back with free burritos and an appearance from "The Queen of Clean." -- E.T.

No Wait, This Is the Most Embarrassing Arizona News of the Week: "Man Who Branded Initials on Girlfriend's 'Vaginal Area' Seemed 'Normal'"

JGL_228_SS_7.jpgMost Swoon-Worthy Cover Story of the Week: OUT magazine's, which not only features Joseph Gordon-Levitt being as thoughtful and sensitive and amazing as usual, but also features this pic of JGL cuddling with a kitten. -- M.K.

Best Mash Up: "It's Still Kanye West To Me" pairs Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," the anthem of every 50-something dad and personality-less frat boy, with Kanye West's "Black Skinhead" and it works together surprisingly well! -- E.T.

GIFs of the Week: It's All About Miley-Nic Cage

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.

tumblr_mt2rorPm0o1rtpb3fo4_500.gifGIFs of the week! Long live GIFs! Because without GIFs, Miley Cyrus...

...probably couldn't become Miley Cyrus chicken

Thumbnail image for giphy.gif...or Miley Nic Cage on the wrecking ball

tumblr_mszonrqNa31r9ee4eo1_500.gifAnd Miley and Homer would probably never happen.

tumblr_mrzuobHRKv1rqd0kpo1_400.gifWe wouldn't get to see Kanye melt without GIFs.

tumblr_msztmifhCn1qdlh1io1_400.gifOr this bully beat up by a tae kwondo champ.

constant-eating.gifWithout GIFS, this guy's skills would be under appreciated.

hair-fishing.gifAnd this guy's skills.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-19163-1379018982-28.gifSo, appreciate GIF! Because Miley Nic Cage says so.

Daft Punk Play It Safe in Their New "Lose Yourself to Dance" Video


This track, "Lose Yourself To Dance," is the second single from Daft Punk's latest album, Random Access Memories, and again it features Pharrell and Nile Rodgers, and it's got a very similar vibe to "Get Lucky."  That's not necessarily a negative, but the slower tempo almost makes it seem a little too laid-back for a dance party and nothing really happens in the video -- actually the Soul Train clips in the version below have more flair. The boys have gone with a "don't-mess-with-a-good-thing" formula, instead of trying something a little more adventurous.  Factoid: There once was a nightclub here in New York City called The Saint that had a giant, domed dance floor like this.

Recap: I Found My Voice in Arizona

Each Monday, Eli Yudin and Carey O'Donnell, authors of the very, very funny Twitter account @NotTildaSwinton, will be recapping the Real Housewives of New Jersey for us. Below, their next installment.

real-housewives-of-new-jersey-season-5-gallery-episode-516-06.jpgCarey: There is no more desert. The cast has since fled the pretend-healing retreat Miraval and returned to their respective marble tombs in Northern New Jersey. There's a lot at stake now! The Gorgon/Giudice fam squads made a truce in Arizona, uniting over their mutual vendetta against the mysterious scarecrow rat-person, Penny. But first, they continue to show off the excruciatingly shaky peace they've made via a glutinous lunch with Mama Giudice. Teresa and Brudda join their mother, alongside Melissa for some wine and seafood at yet another vast and cold-looking restaurant. Teresa tells her mother that everything is fine now between them, to which the off-the-boat matriarch responds, "I'm-a glad-a!" I'MA GLAAAAAD. I wanted one of them to poke her in the stomach and listen to a hearty Italian giggle. Juicy Joe and his characteristic wine encrusted under-eye bags join them late. It's a nice sight: the five of them toasting with red wine and a literal prawn-adorned fountain while other restaurant customers snap pictures of them on their smart phones. Gorgon and Juicy even give each other a kiss on the cheek to demonstrate their togetherness. Awwwwwwwwwwww! Their big juicy lips smackin' on one another's oily, sweaty skin. Mmmmmmmm. Still, an extra seat at the table is left out for the mounting tension; a small crack in the glass floor they stand on, spreading out like a time lapse video of a tree sprouting from infancy and extending skeletal branches. It's only a matter of time. Penny waits somewhere nearby, panting like a dog gazing up at a slab of bloody meat dangling from a wire above. Later, Gorgon heads over to Chris and Jacqueline's with his kids, where Jacqueline talks about a speech she has to make at an upcoming charity event for autism awareness. She's nervous! She's afraid of public speaking. She's afraid of the comments she'll get on Twitter about her philanthropic endeavors. Twitter: the constant undertow running beneath the rocking life boat these people sit in. It's smart to be afraid of Twitter. Twitter is terrifying. Chris points out a parallel between Jac's fear of internet trolls and the cheatin' rumors getting flung at Melissa and Gorgon every day on social media. Autism and US Weekly go hand-in-hand. RIGHT, GUYS?! Right? Great.

real-housewives-of-new-jersey-season-5-gallery-episode-516-12.jpgEli: I'll gloss over Carey pointing fingers at Chris, who as we all know is the MESSIAH AND IS INFALLIBLE. I have a picture of him smiling that I look at whenever life gets rocky for me. And for anybody else on Team Chris, his best moment yet is in this episode, when Teresa comes over to discuss public speaking with Jacqueline and Chris attempts to say that it's nice of Teresa to help Jacqueline with her public speaking, but CRACKS UP in the middle of it; he tries to hold it together but it's just too funny. He almost seems like a plant. Maybe he's an actor? Maybe Jacqueline's real husband has like a huge goiter on his neck or something, and as to not to scare away their viewership, they auditioned Chris and now he has to act like he's not in a whirlpool of diarrhea all the time. Meanwhile, Rosie and Juicy Joe are hangin' and by god if it's not delightful. Carey and I are in agreement, we'd watch a spin-off following Juicy Joe and Rosie's adventures in the great state of... wherever, really. Juice is cooking up some steaks, and he and Rosie chow down while discussing the lack of testosterone in Juice's offspring, because small talk does not EXIST in Rosieland. It is true that Teresa's uterus has a decidedly feminine slant to it, which makes her lucky she doesn't live in medieval times. First of all, they hadn't invented sequins yet, and second of all, she'd probably be beheaded for her inability to bear a new head of family. NO SEQUINS! We then get a simply amazing glimpse into Joe Giudice's flabbergastingly loose grip of procreation, when he asks Rosie if he has eggs. MAN EGGS. "I doesn't know what comes out of there," laments Joe, "my mudda told me it was bad juju, so I just closes my eyes until Teresa tells me I'm done, and then I sits in the corna while she cleans up."

real-housewives-of-new-jersey-season-5-gallery-episode-516-19.jpgCarey: The episode explores the two business ventures of Melissuh and Kathy. Melissa is continuing on her unnecessary, half-hearted foray into the music industry, while Kathy makes some MAJOR moves with her cannolis. Melissa and Gorgs meet the manager of Justin Timberlake and some other randos at the boorish Gansevoort in the Meatpacking district. I walked by the Gansevoort every day when I worked at another hotel in that neighborhood last year: it's strewn with neon pink lights and it always made me sad. Anyway, Melissa says this manager is "interested" in her music, and he wants to talk shop with Melissa, but NOT WIDDOUT HER HUBBY. Joe has to facilitate anything Melissa does; he sits at her side, making awkward and embarrassing jokes and statements. The manager is essentially double-checking if Melissa is actually serious about being a singer. She kind of is, I guess. "I've been doing this for two years," she says confidently. The manager sort of just nods his head. TWO YEARS! He tells her she's not living up to her music's "club vibe," being a mom and all. She also has to be okay with occasionally abandoning her family at the label's beck and call. Understandably, Melissa is wary of this prospect. He also tells her she may have to go down to Orlando to record some tracks and work with a vocal coach. You could tell she was thinking, "Oh shit." You asked for this, siren! You wanted to be on display! Scary Manager tells Melissa she needs to immediately get to work in the home studio/holding cell that Joe made for her. Meanwhile, Kathy is gearing up for a launch party for her cannolis at Dylan's Candy Bar. Rich finally decides to stop being a douche about Kathy attempting to forge a career and goes with her to meet "Candace," a PR exec who wants to work with Kathy. Candace looks like she is constantly 5 feet away from a large fire. But she knows those damn cannolis are good! She's gonna work it for Kath! During the meeting, Kathy's eyes looked past her fish-lipped hubby and the wind-burnt PR woman in front of her. If the cannoli biz doesn't work out, I hope Kathy sneaks out of her house while Rich is sleeping and moves to a bungalow somewhere in British Columbia and changes her name.

real-housewives-of-new-jersey-season-5-gallery-episode-516-21.jpgEli: The opportunity that arises for Kathy's cannolis is that she may be able to partner with Dylan's Candy Bar, the business of Dylan Lauren. "Who?" says Rich. "Ralph Lauren's daughter," they reply, and Rich goes, "Oh." Yes, the very same Ralph Lauren whose polo shirts you purchase exclusively in teal and pink, Richy-Roo! By the way, it is Lauren, like the first name Lauren, not LO-ren as every sun-hatted twat with a Lilly Pulitzer insists -- which has become a pet peeve of mine -- but BACK TO TELEVISION DRIVEL AND NOT FASHION DRIVEL. Kathy sets up the event and invites all the people you think she's going to invite, who all end up showing up late, which, to be truthful, is quite a dick move. Also, I don't know where they were before, but I'm going to hypothesize, based on their vocal patterns, that it serves hard liquor. We also get treated to maybe the bitchiest talking-head of the season thus far, where Teresa discusses Kathy's business venture by saying "she makes cannolis, and it turns out they're edible, so good for her." Strong words for a woman who's had two cookbooks ghost-written for her. They also made me curious as to how good Kathy's cannolis actually are, which means I'll have to first get my hands on a regular cannoli, as I've never had one (always seemed a little cream-heavy) and then on one of Kathy's cannoli kits, and do a thorough review. Overall, the event seems to be a success, and I'm happy for Kathy. Rich even seems to be keeping his ego in check and is generally more pleasant. What happened? Did Joe Giudice and Rich both meet up in a cigar bar somewhere and develop more pleasant personalities together, maybe with Chris' coaching? And then, just when we thought we might make it through a single episode without any appearances from god's nectar, the ambrosia that is blk water--

real-housewives-of-new-jersey-season-5-gallery-episode-516-25.jpgCarey: YES! blk. The autism event being held at a large warehouse called "HOUSE OF SPORTS" is sponsored by blk water. The clash between pretend-businesses begins. The Laurita/Manzo clans don their blk black promo long-sleeves while Teresa VERY subtly wears her Milania Hair Care hat, also worn by company muse, Milania. It's a thunder-dome battle that no one will ever win. (Coincidentally, last night my roommate pointed out a new addition to the drinks section at the over-priced organic convenient store in my neighborhood. BLK WATER HAS ARRIVED IN BROOKLYN. Maybe it had always been there. Maybe my subconscious had simply rejected its presence. Tucked away between various iced teas and Vitamin Water knock-offs were eight-or-so bottles of blk water. After about 30 seconds of consideration, I decided to purchase it. The phrase "MINERAL INFUSED" in gigantic print assaulted my eyes as I slowly unscrewed the cap. Essentially, blk is lake water. I imagined Uncle Chris, Albie and Stripper Car Wash Chris rowing out into the middle of a lake at night, dragging wood buckets along to collect water, algae in silence. I was suddenly overcome with a sense of duty to this family; I owed them this. I thought, 'If I somehow die soon, I don't want one of my last thoughts to be, 'Oh, I never tried blk water.' So I tried it. I drank about ¼ of the tar-liquid before realizing all it did was make my bones feel cold. Right now, it's sitting on the top shelf of my refrigerator.) Even as I watched Jacqueline give her genuinely touching speech about her autistic son Nicholas, even as Kathy was frustrated at the tardiness of the other cast members at her cannoli launch party at Dylan's Candy Bar, even as Melissuh and Gorgon confronted scarecrow Penny and her horrendous hair extensions at the end of the episode, where she revealed that Teresa had put Penny and her gross husband up to spewing out the cheatin' rumaz on Twitter, all I could think about was the blk water. The opaque substance standing tirelessly in my fridge. How long will I leave it there? Does blk water go bad? I feel overcome by this terrible destiny that I have to fulfill. Maybe I'll just keep it with me for as long as I can, taking it to new apartments and new places. "This is my blk water," I'll tell friends I have over to celebrate the first home I purchase. When I am (hopefully) old and sick and my essence is being vacuumed out of my crippled body, next to me, on my nightstand, the ¼ empty bottle of blk water will stand in vigil. My tireless companion.