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Tavern on the Green's New Proprietor On the Grand Dame's Re-Opening

Jim Caiola copy.jpgJim Caiola (Photo by Robin Caiola)

Monday night marked the grand gala reopening of Tavern on the Green, an iconic restaurant that's received a very natural-looking facelift. For proprietors and partners Jim Caiola and David Salama, it's been a long time coming. Last year they hired executive chef Katy Sparks to create a modern menu of well-sourced meats, seafood and seasonal vegetables then endured months of waits for all the permits and construction to be completed. We chatted with Caiola to learn more about this journey.

You were supposed to open by New Year's so there must have been a lot of hold-ups.

In a way we were thankful the opening kept getting pushed back but in another way we were biting our nails. Every week for four months we thought we were opening in three weeks. It gave us enough time to get it together. We didn't finish the landscaping until 5:30 the night of the opening party.

What was the low point?

Right when we were finally about to get gas the explosion happened at that Harlem apartment building and we went back to the bottom of the list. That was scary for us. We thought, "are we ever going to get gas?" We were worried we wouldn't be open for the summer.

Can you talk about when you studied acting with Lee Strasberg in the '80s?

I was about 21 and Lee was very loving one day in class about my acting -- he wasn't normally like that -- and he made me feel so positive I took myself out to lunch at Tavern as a gift to myself. I had a Romanian waiter and asked him to help me identify all the languages I was hearing around my table. We counted eleven. I remember thinking this is the melting pot of the universe. I thought if I went into the restaurant business this was the best location in the world, so magnificent and phenomenal, in the middle of Central Park.

How much was your check?

$36, not cheap. I think it would be around the same price to have lunch here now.

For a hamburger and a beer in the bar it might be less. I like that it's a place New Yorkers can stop in casually now, that it's not just for weddings. And it actually looks like a tavern.

One of the things David and I loved about this project was making it look authentic to what it is, a huge restaurant in a bucolic setting. The indoor seats focus on looking out and we have 700 seats outdoors.

You ended up running restaurants in Philadelphia. Have New Yorkers been welcoming?

It's not like I'm from Dubai or something, I'm from Philly. Most New Yorkers are transplants. The only true New Yorker I've ever met was Woody Allen and he was really rude. One night my partner and I were seated at his table -- we knew his assistant -- where he was playing clarinet and he wasn't in the mood to talk to us. Everyone else has been very friendly, even Steve Cuozzo.

What did you find when you were gutting the place?

The carpets were moldy and the cement was moldy underneath it. The whole foundation had to be dug out. Raccoon families were living there.

Did you go to Tavern in the bad days before it closed [in 2009]?

My sister and her husband moved to Central Park West and when I visited them about fourteen years ago I said, 'Let's go to Tavern on the Green for a drink.' My sister said, 'Eewww. You don't go to Tavern for a drink.' She thought it was so absurd she walked away from me. That's when I thought: This place needs me. I've had these big highlight-y moments about Tavern over the years that led me to think about it more. I left New York in 1984 so didn't see it become just an event space. When I lived here it was cool to go there.

So you never saw how bad it got?

I crashed a couple people's parties to see for myself and it was really rundown. I remember smelling the mold where the carpet was. They had a huge tent for the coat check then you were in this beveled mirror hallway that led to another huge tent. You could have been anywhere and never known you were in Central Park. One bride would be coming in the front and another going out the back. I'm an Upper West Sider now and one of the immediate things Katy Sparks and I wanted to do was make it a neighborhood restaurant. We're giving business to as many small, local purveyors as we can, serving Brooklyn beer and making desserts with Mast Brothers chocolate.

I understand you and Katy have been friends for a long time.

We worked together many years ago and then she opened Quilty's in SoHo and was on the cover of all these magazines. When David and I opened our restaurants in Philly she was so supportive and gracious and available to us. We never forgot that. When we won the bid to reopen Tavern we had fallen out of touch but I thought if I could get Katy we'd be in much better shape. She said yes to being a consultant and then I talked her into being our executive chef.

It really seems like you were meant to do this.

I had this feeling that if you went up in the sky Tavern would be like a light on earth. I still feel that way.

Tavern on the Green, Central Park West and 67th St., 212-877-8684 http://tavernonthegreen.com/

Debbie Harry Has a PSA For You Inspired by the Jay Z/Solange Incident


The international news media soiled its collective trousers in excitement when the Jay Z/Solange elevator video was released earlier this week. Despite the frenzy surrounding the world's most talked about vertical transportation device, a larger problem has been ignored -- until now. Last night, Blondie performed on The Daily Show and Debbie Harry was the first person brave enough to speak about the bigger issue -- the sweeping horrors of private elevator violence.

The clip starts at the 2:47 mark (before that you can watch Paper Beautiful Person and 'Senior Beyonce Correspondent' Jessica Williams talk about the incident). Fingers crossed this PSA is only the first of a series and that we'll see Debbie talk about this issue alongside Sarah McLachlan as "In The Arms of an Angel" plays over slow motion footage of the fight. Donate if you can.

[via The Daily Show]

The Walkmen's Walter Martin Breaks Down His 5 Favorite Albums from Childhood

WalterMartinppv.jpgWith his band the Walkmen on what might prove to be a permanent time-out, multi-instrumentalist Walter Martin just released We're All Young Together, a cameo-rich homage to the days when pop albums could be sophisticated, weird and kid-friendly. Below, a show-and-tell of Martin's childhood favorites.

The Fat Boys: Fat Boys
First album I ever bought. I think they're eating a giant cheeseburger on the front. I bought it because the older guy across the street from me must have told me that it was cool or something.

Kenny Rogers: Greatest Hits
I remember getting my first Walkman at Marshalls and this tape was in it. I guess they used it as a demo. I definitely listened to that a lot, just because it was the only tape I had.

The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks 1964-1971
My parents were rock n' roll fans, so I got Hot Rocks pretty early. I went to sleepaway camp in West Virginia when I was about eight, and I vividly remember listening to the intro to "Honky Tonk Women" over and over lying in my little tent.

Violent Femmes: S/T
I was the youngest guy [at camp], and everybody was listening to Violent Femmes' first record. I didn't really understand it, but I guess it just had a rebellious sound that I really loved.

Men at Work: Cargo
I have an older sister and we sort of got into music together. I think this was the first album where it was my thing and not hers.

Watch Jon Hamm, Amy Sedaris and Andy Cohen Talk About Dildos and Filming Sex Scenes


Last night Jon Hamm and Amy Sedaris went on Watch What Happens Live and Andy Cohen grilled the actor about which dude he'd, er, Hamm bone (sorry) if he ever decided to experiment and what it's like shooting sex scenes. Meanwhile, Amy Sedaris got in on the action by playing a round of "Pitch Perfect" with the Mad Men star, describing various products you'd find at a CVS and asking a blind-folded Hamm to guess what they were. Our takeaway? The man's got dildos on the brain. Watch the clips above and below.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jimmy Fallon Playing Box of Lies is Delightful


Jennifer Lawrence and Jimmy Fallon play Box of Lies and it's delightful.
Hey is for cats! [Reddit]

Beware. [Mlkshk]

tumblr_n5lmprXHtC1qam8b5o1_400.jpgThis is perfect. [FYouNoFMe]

JscON5T.jpgNoted. [Reddit]

Amy Schumer's spot-on sketch of every couple deciding what to watch. [Gawker]

A New Art Project Celebrates Kansas City's Mad Men-Era Drag Scene

PBP_PaperMag_02.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party)

In one image, a curvy, red-headed Joan Holloway-type stares confidently into the camera alongside a smiling companion wearing a shimmering, tight strapless dress. In another, two friends sporting matching blonde bouffants and elegant 60s-era gowns impassively glance at the photographer as if they've been interrupted en route to making a grand entrance at some black-tie dinner dance. And in a third, a svelte figure vamps for the lens in a long, gold gown and black feather boa, a long cigarette holder hanging from gloved fingertips.

Each of these images comes from "Private Birthday Party," a collection of found photographs documenting Kansas City, Missouri's drag ball culture during the '50s and '60s. Named for the coded signs that would hang outside nightclubs hosting the balls, Private Birthday Party includes an array of images showing groups of friends -- male and female, drag queens and drag kings alike -- posing, dancing, and laughing together.

The photos were unearthed in two separate -- and unrelated -- instances by artists and friends, Robert Chase Heishman and Michael Boles, five or six decades after they were shot. In both cases there was a degree of fortuitousness: Heishman found the first trove inside a slide carousel in 2006 while sifting through scrap metal and rubble in a salvage yard while Boles came across his stash two years later while helping a friend move -- the photos were piled inside an unmarked shoebox in the new house. It would take four more years before the friends compared notes and realized they had each made similar discoveries. Not long after, they concluded that it was likely their images were shot by the same photographer -- aside from stylistic and locational similarities, both batches included references to someone named "Jack," who Boles and Heishman think might be the man behind the camera lens.

PBP_PaperMag_08.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_11.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

In 2012, the two teamed up with their close friend, Chicago-based artist/writer Emily Kay Henson, to begin working on a long-term research project centered on the collection, with the hopes that one day the images might appear in a book. "We quickly realized that we had a really strong connection to the material, given that it was [shot] in Kansas City and that it's these incredible photographs depicting this dormant piece of history," Heishman says. He adds, "We felt a true responsibility with the material and wanted to go about [handling] it quite thoughtfully." To that end, the trio is working in conjunction with the Gay and Lesbian Archives of Mid-America at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has set up a tips hotline that anyone can call with more information about the photographs. The three say they get calls and emails nearly every other day.

"Things have really taken off," Henson says, "It's so exciting to hear from people who were actually involved in this scene...They couldn't be happier to meet with us." She adds, "We've been showing the photos to friends and more and more people in the [Kansas City] community and everybody has been so excited and enthusiastic...That's why we felt we had to share them and put them out there in the first place."

PBP_PaperMag_19.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party)

PBP_PaperMag_10.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

Over the last few months, they've connected with a Sacramento-based LGBT activist who lived above The Jewel Box, which along with The Colony, was one of the two major nightclubs that hosted many of the drag balls and performances in the photos. "He told us about the balls and how they'd start after the bars closed -- around midnight or 1 o'clock in the morning -- and go until 5 in the morning," Boles says. 

In a time when same-sex dancing was still illegal in Kansas City, these parties were a way for residents gay and straight alike to have a good time in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. Aside from the "Private Birthday Party" signs on the doors, The Colony club also employed a lookout who would open a curtain and peer through a window leading onto the street before admitting patrons inside. (You can even see the lookout peeking through the window in some of these images.) Once inside, guests were able to let their guards down and many, whether dressed in drag or not, were all too happy to pose for the mysterious "Jack" in front of the Colony's mosaic wall or inside the Jewel Box. It was a remarkable act of trust in a time when homosexuality was still taboo and when many people in the photos were at risk of losing their jobs and their families should the images have fallen into the wrong hands. Though they still haven't managed to track down "Jack," it's these details that have led Boles, Henson and Heishman to believe that he must have been someone with strong ties to KC's LGBT community.

PBP_PaperMag_06.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_15.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

"We've [narrowed it down] to three different people but still cannot confirm his identity," Boles says. "Our research keeps taking weird turns but I think we're getting closer and closer. Since setting up the hotline, we've gotten a couple of leads who can't remember his name but remember a photographer who was constantly taking photos at the drag balls."

Henson echoes that "finding the identity of the photographer has always been a primary goal for us and it's something we're actively working on every day."

While they continue hunting down Jack, they've been able to get a better sense of what went on during the balls. Members of the community who have reached out to the trio have told them about watching drag queens sing live (no lip syncing back in the day) and listening to performances by popular local soul/R&B act Kings of Rythm (no relation to Ike Turner's band).

PBP_PaperMag_01.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_03.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party)

Some of these performers, like queens GG Allen and Skip Arnold, were quite well known within the Kansas city scene. There were even a few, like Allen, who "would travel around with a group called the 'Jewel Box Revue' and would travel around the country putting on shows in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans," Henson says.

Sifting through the photos and tracking down more information has led the trio to also become interested in learning more about the history behind some of the music acts and buildings featured in the images and to also consider what kind of legacy the community leaves. "These photos are an affirmation of the LGBT community and culture [in Kansas City]," Heishman says. "Drag culture is still very, very vibrant here." They also point to the sense of inclusiveness and support that existed within the community and how that family vibe is vital to KC's artistic community today, a community that has counted artists like Jaimie Warren, SSION's Cody Critcheloe and designer/stylist Peggy Noland among its members.

But perhaps the most telling sign of the drag community's lasting legacy on KC's creative scene can be found in the queens' gazes at the camera. Boles says, "One of the big things that carries on from what we see in the photographs to the present day is this sense of confidence. Everyone seems like they're owning who they are."

See more photo from Private Birthday Party -- including some never-before-seen images -- below.

PBP_PaperMag_04.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_05.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_07.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_09.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_12.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_13.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_14.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_16.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

PBP_PaperMag_20.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party)

PBP_PaperMag_17.jpg(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party/Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America, UMKC)

(Image courtesy of Private Birthday Party)

5 Thoughts on the Rosemary's Baby Finale

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 3.01.24 PM.pngOoooooh HELL. That's actually exactly what I exclaimed when I was alone at one point watching the Oscars and drinking $8 red wine and Anne Hathaway came onstage to present the first award. "OH HELL!" I wonder what this miniseries would've been like if Anne Hathaway had played Rosemary? Can you imagine that? I'll stop there. The second half of this disaster continued in its commitment to slapping its viewers repeatedly on each cheek for two hours, asking "Ya get it? Ya get it? Ya get it?" over and over and over and over. It was a slow, unorganized march into the sea, and no one made it out alive, but thankfully neither did Zoe Saldana's awful pixie cut. Let's begin!

1. So "Julie," Rosemary and Guy's close friend, and Guy's one time superior at work, seemed to have taken the role of Hutch in the original; she played the wise, strong-willed voice of reason amidst the insanity of Rosemary's painful pregnancy. While the heroine writhes in agony, Julie is like "WTF" and demands that Ro-Ro get a real check-up from a real doctor, and not just base everything off the sketchy Dr. Saperstein, as well as the Castevet's witch smoothies. At one point Guy goes to her office to get her to stop "putting ideas in Rosemary's head," a.k.a. grab a piece of her hair so the witches can get rid of the opinionated Brit (which he does by trying to forcefully kiss her). It's also revealed that Guy and Julie had slept together before he was with Rosemary but there's no follow-up, no point, nothing, just something the writers threw in for fun. That said, they did something right with her because Julie's character was the only one whom I invested any energy in. Of course, she dies a horrible and gory death in her cooking class (which looked really intense and not fun). SPOILER ALERT: the witches make someone throw boiling water on her, which causes her to slip and hit the back of her head on a sharp metal corner, which of course gashes it open and she bleeds and bleeds until she dies. Everyone in the class just sort of stands around confused like, "Oh, damn. OK."

2. After avoiding Rosemary both physically and emotionally -- because she's, uh, carrying the spawn of Hell -- Guy attempts to butter her up with a romantic dinner at home. "Voila!" he says, as he lifts the silver lids on the table to reveal two pastrami sandwiches with EXTRA pickle. "Pastrami? In Paris?!?!" Rosemary joyously asks. Why was this movie even called Rosemary's Baby? It should've just been called Pastrami in Paris. I'd watch that! Fed up with their selfish and insensitive boss, and suffering from an existential crisis, a slab of pastrami quits its job at an insurance company, and spends all the money it saved on a six moth Parisian adventure (1 hr and 47 minutes). "They're from Katz's Deli!" Guy says. Ah, yes. Apparently Katz's Deli in Manhattan delivers to Paris. Yes. OK. Good to know.

3. What was up with letting Rosemary enter the secret passageway -- the one that goes between the linen closet in her apartment and Margaux and Roman's apartment -- with nearly an hour left in the movie? This was a huge realization in the original movie; Rosemary finally understood how vulnerable she had been the entire time -- the passageway represented how easily this evil had access to her in a supposedly safe haven. The remake decimated that symbolism and had Rosemary just sort of waltz in during broad daylight with mouth agape, all while the virtually unexplained, galloping handyman is roaming around and grunting. What a terrible waste.

4. The most climactic scene in the original was when Rosemary realizes "Roman Castevet" is "Steven Marcato" in anagram, via Scrabble. The doomed Hutch, just before slipping into the witch-induced coma, had left the seemingly cryptic message in the book he sent Rosemary (All of Them Witches) that "The name is an anagram." After several attempts at understanding what her friend had meant using Scrabble words, she sees he underlined Steven Castevet in the book, the son of Head Witch in Charge Adrian Marcato. When she rearranges the name, this moment (enhanced by Krzysztof Komeda's drowned up, relentless music) is the moment the dreamlike haze this movie had existed in abruptly ends, ushering in the horrifying reality of the Castevets and their now-confirmed malicious intentions. This remake rushes through that build-up, and ends with Rosemary gasping at seeing Roman's name is an anagram for Steven Marcato. The next scene has her surfing the 'net, confirming that Steven Marcato was born in 1846, making Roman, like 170 years old? WHAT???

5. The one thing the remake did well was its consistency in how bad it was. The finale was no exception! Polanski's finale was delightfully and intentionally camped up, with everything coming together in an almost comical but nevertheless terrifying way. "Hail Satan! God is dead!" these old, smiling people shout while surrounding the black shrouded crib of Adrian, the antichrist, as a silver inverted cross hangs over like a hellish baby mobile. This perversion of Jesus in the manger is hilarious! It scares you, and makes you feel insane, and you almost have to laugh. But this remake has Rosemary's baby ACTUALLY be seen as this beautiful, blue-eyed cherub. Mia Farrow's widened, horrified eyes, while screaming "What have you done to its eyes?!" is far more effective than actually seeing the baby's eyes. Oh, it just made me sad. The re-make ends with Rosemary, after agreeing to mother Adrian and stay in Paris, walking him in a fancy stroller along the river, while a couple stop and say, "He's so beautiful!" "I know. He's perfect," Rosemary replies. I felt perfect in that moment, too, because I didn't have to watch any more of this movie.

Ease Into a Swingin' Weekend with Propellerheads + Shirley Bassey's "History Repeating"


Love the understated intro -- and the whole 60s vibe -- of today's oldie video from the Propellerheads: "The jazz world has split in two by a new wave of musicians calling themselves disk jockeys." And those DJ guys have only gotten bigger since "History Repeating" came out in 1997. The UK duo of Alex Gifford and Will White had already been working on a James Bond tribute album when they hooked up with "Goldfinger" singer Shirley Bassey for this single. It peaked at #10 on the dance chart here in the U.S.

Andrew Garfield Is a Drag Superhero in Arcade Fire's "We Exist"


Not sure where your fantasies have been taking you lately, but we've never imagined Spider-Man in drag. OK, it's just Andrew Garfield playing a different role for the latest video from Arcade Fire's Reflektor album, and he moves easily from what could have been a scene in "Dallas Buyers Club" to one from "Flashdance." Near the end of the clip, he jumps through a wormhole and into some live footage shot at this year's edition of Coachella. LGBT anthem indeed.

Friday Superlatives: The Best, Worst and Weirdest of the Week

adultsonly_final.gifMost Exciting Nightlife News of the Week for People Over the Age of 27: There's a new party launching next week at Louie & Chan called "Adults Only," courtesy of former Six Six Sick girl Feng-Feng Yeh and friends, targeted to the late twenties/thirtysomethings crowd. Per Yeh: "We're kids from the old New York scene in our late twenties to thirties who have seen a lot in nightlife.  We wanted to do this party because there is such a gap that needs to be filled in Manhattan. All the cool parties are in Brooklyn and/or for college kids.  We wanted to bring a rawness, originallity, diversity, and newness to breathe life back into downtown Manhattan." Can't. Wait. The party kicks off next Friday with DJs Dubble Dutch, Morgan H, Jess Blaze, Diamond J B2B,  and F2. Admission $10 at the door (Free w/ RSVP before 12AM) Adultsonlynyc@gmail.com. --Elizabeth Thompson

Best Piece About Jill Abramson's Disastrously Handled, Infuriating Ousting from the Times:
Ms. magazine's Women Don't Fear Power. Power Fears Women.

56349733.jpgMost Exciting Bronx-Based Real Estate News of the Week: New York Subway Folk Hero/Dermatologist Dr. Zizmor is selling his mansion in the Fieldston area of the Bronx. It looks quite nice, actually. Guess more than one straphanger was swayed by his rainbow-ified, '90s-era 'before-and-after' photos. -- Abby Schreiber [via Gothamist]

Most-90's '90s Video of the Week: Surf dudes with attitudes. THIS IS THE 90's. -- Tucker Chet Markus

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 5.19.40 PM.pngMost Groundbreaking Semi-Scientific Study of the Week: "What Guys' First Names Say About Them." Findings include "Anthonys are college students who date girls in high school," "Bryans have bad hair and are just Canadian," "Harry = human equivalent of sheepdog," and "Joshs are hot but they always know it." That last one is a FACT. --AS

Hey Video of the Week: Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. --TCM

Bnu3ZS9IgAAIaYj.jpgStar Wars News of the Week: Filming has begun. I'm so exctied I'm swloy losng feelng inm y extremietis !!!11! --TCM

Best Theory About What Really Went Down Between Solange and Jay Z In That Elevator:
50 Cent's, as exemplified in this video. -- A.S.

Best Vine About What Really Went Down Between Solange and Jay Z In That Elevator:
This one. --E.T.

Most "You're Super Cool But Please, Please Don't Do This" News of the Week: Michael Sam's purported new reality show. -- A.S. [via Gawker ]

Viral Bunny Video of the Week:

Schwarzenegger of the Week:
Arnold says pumping is like coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take these exceptionally disturbing words and images with you into the weekend!!!!!!! Go forth my friends!!!!! God bless u -- TCM

Stylist Solange Franklin On the Obama Girls and Eating Leftover Lasagna For Breakfast

SolangeFranklin.jpgIn our ongoing series, "Ladies Who Lunch," 2014 Beautiful Person, cook, co-founder of catering company bigLITTLE Get Together and Marc Jacobs' personal chef, Lauren Gerrie, will be whipping up lunch -- and conversation -- with some of our favorite New York City gals.

"Pork & bacon. It's absolutely the best where I'm from and the smell reminds me of Sundays and my Dad's tradition," Solange Franklin says while reminiscing about foods she grew up with in Des Moines, Iowa. Now living in NYC and working as a stylist -- for, among other outlets, PAPER! -- Franklin's entry in the fashion world was initially a bit roundabout. While attending Mount Holyoke College -- her mother's Alma mater -- she first decided to major in African American Studies with a concentration in Literature and Economics before switching gears and studying Pre-Med for two years. But it was while working in labs (microbiology / biochemistry / gastroenterology) that she found herself daydreaming about fashion.

After taking a year off to "figure her shit out" she returned to the humanities and finished school, knowing she could always return to medicine later. Her transition from science to fashion started in earnest with stints working in the theater department at Mount Holyoke before landing internships at Condé Nast publications like Teen Vogue. It was there that she was first exposed to the world of styling while working with casting director Claire Rhodes. She went on to assist stylist Avena Gallagher and organize a show for Rachel Comey before becoming the first assistant to W's Giovanna Battaglia. Below, Solange chats with us about styling the Obama girls, her favorite Bed-Stuy restaurant and why challah is her go-to "solo-styles eating habit."


Healthy "Chinese Take Out"
Herb Jasmin Rice with Sugar Snap Peas & Meyer Lemon
Coconut Oil Roasted Cauliflower & Celery with Maple Syrup / Sesame Seeds / Red Pepper Flakes

SolangeFranklinWATERCOLOR.jpgRecipe for Three Herb Jasmine Rice

How were you able to transition from being an assistant to a full-fledged stylist?

I'm definitely a 'keep your head down and just work'-type of person -- but not necessarily with blinders on. I like to wait until I'm absolutely ready to do something before stepping out and trying it. In terms of becoming a stylist, I started speaking with photo assistants on set and suggesting we build our books together. There were a lot of test shoots and exploring my own style. I was actually referred to PAPER through a high school friend of mine -- they were having an open call for stylists and I went. I hit it off with Mickey and it took off from there.

What shoot are you most proud of thus far?

The Rita Ora shoot for the cover of PAPER Magazine's April "Beautiful People" Issue. I think it is the best she has ever looked. It was a nice timeline for her own personal growth and style. Very clean.

Who would you most like to style?

I would love to do the Obama Girls. Really and truly. I feel like we always see them dressed down walking across the lawn holding their dad's hand. I feel like there could be a play on "Daddy's Girl" or something completely different. I think it would be cool to see them as bad-ass princess biker girls or just talk to them and see what they were into. I respect that Michelle has kept them sheltered -- I think it's very important for young girls in their formative years who are in the public eye.

Moving on from fashion to food, what's your favorite meal of the day?

Dinner. I often times won't eat until noon. I'm not a breakfast girl and if I do eat that early it's probably leftover lasagna. I cook, but my schedule is so varied so I don't do it often. Luckily my boyfriend makes it happen most of the time. Thank you, Brian.


What food makes you feel most nostalgic?

I love southern food so black eyed peas, cornbread, mac'n cheese. Growing up, my mom would bake sweet potatoes just to fill the house with the aroma. Living in Bed-Stuy, it's amazing because there are a bunch of soul food and Jamaican jerk spots. It's dangerous.

Where is your go-to neighborhood restaurant?

Soul Food Kitchen is within walking distance and they have the most delicious and tender fried whiting. They have bomb cabbage too. I don't know what kind of spices they put in it, but it makes me salivate.

You just moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn, what WAS your favorite go-to dinner spot?

Bianca, an Italian restaurant between Broadway and Lafayette. I love carbs.

If you could learn to make any artisan food product, what would it be?

Challah! I am not eating processed white flour or sugar... or at least trying. But I will buy the whole wheat challah at Whole Foods. That is my secret solo-styles eating habit. When my boyfriend goes out of town I will buy a loaf of challah and dip it into anything I can get my hands on. It's so good with tahini or fig jam -- oh I love fig jam with cheese on challah. So good.

If you weren't enjoying this wonderful lunch with me, what lady would you like to be dining with?

I would probably choose Michelle Obama. If not her, then Nina Simone. I want her to serenade me and tell me stories with that syrupy voice. I would make her something really easy that I couldn't mess up. Plantains in coconut oil with coconut rise & shaved coconut. I'm really into coconut right now. I might try to fry her some fish, too.

Scout Willis Walks Around NYC Topless, Launches a Nipple Crusade

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 6.24.15 PM.png
In case you were wondering what Scout Willis, of Gus + Scout (and Bruce + Demi), has been up to lately, she's launched a crusade -- #FreeTheNipple. After getting kicked off of Instagram for violating its Community Guidelines (i.e. posting a photo of a sweatshirt she designed featuring two topless women), Willis has taken her top off and hit the pavement in protest of our collective problem with breasts in general and Instagram's in particular.

You can follow the whole saga on Willis' Twitter.

Vive le boob!

Harry Styles Pantsed Piers Morgan


Here's an excellent clip of Harry Styles pantsing Piers Morgan at a soccer game. What a scamp. [via Gawker]

tumblr_n6bjssnOYk1svrsbpo1_500.jpgMeet your new favorite Tumblr: photos Drake liked, which is made up entirely of photos Drake liked on Instagram. [via Katie Notopoulos]

Are you an actor known for appearing on dating website commercials and looking for love of your own? Check out CommercialActorsMingle.com.  [via Tastefully Offensive]

It's all dad all the time. [via F You No F Me]

50 Cent made an Instagram video about his god awful first pitch at the Mets game. We have no idea what he says. [via Uproxx]

tumblr_n67e9vKQSh1rn7bzro1_400.jpgWhen you gotta go, you gotta go. [via Knusprig Titten Hitler]

Fred Armisen teaches guitar in thirty seconds. [via Pop Culture Brain]

tumblr_n69yogDayq1qb5gkjo1_500.gifIt's almost the weekend -- just keep going! [via The Clearly Dope]

10 Historic Heroes of Marijuana Legalization

Weed legalization is now an American reality. In the last year and a half since landmark legalization passed in Colorado and Washington, we've all had plenty of time to absorb the changes taking place and anticipate the new, weed-legal world we are gradually but surely entering. The shift in our national psyche toward acceptance of medical and recreational cannabis seemed rather sudden, and it's opened the floodgates for proposed marijuana reform across most US states. The tide is turning quickly, but what we are witnessing now is merely the tipping point, coming after decades of foundational work by legalization advocates that didn't always see a light at the end of the tunnel. Here are 10 heroes of the pro-cannabis movement whose pioneering work shaped the legalization and reforms we're witnessing today.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.17.48 AM.png1. Dr. Lester Grinspoon

Before becoming an outspoken academic voice for the benefits of marijuana, Dr. Lester Grinspoon was convinced that it was an awful drug plaguing the youth. As Grinspoon once put it in an interview, "I had been brainwashed like just about every other citizen in this country." After he initially set out to research the severity of weed's dangers, he discovered its awesomeness instead. His research formed the basis for his influential 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered, which scientifically explains the effects and benefits of cannabis, as well as an outline for legalization. (Fun fact: This lucky bastard smoked weed with Carl Sagan.)

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.19.16 AM.png(Photo by Maureen Hurley)

2. "Brownie" Mary Jane Rathbun

A major buzzword in state-level medical marijuana efforts is "compassion." Seeing the relief that cannabis can bring to severely ill patients makes the laws restricting them seem cruel and unjust. The highly publicized story of Brownie Mary was one of the first to inspire this sentiment. As a hospital volunteer, she distributed weed brownies to AIDS patients on the sly. When she got busted for it, the public was on her side. Who can get mad at a sweet old lady giving brownies to sick people? Brownie Mary spent most of her life dedicated to charity work, and was instrumental in the passage of California's Proposition P and Proposition 215.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.23.03 AM.png3. Rick Steves

Rick Steves spent years establishing himself as a trusted guide for Americans traveling abroad through a series of books called Europe Through The Back Door and his long-running public broadcast television show, Rick Steves' Europe. The time he spent traveling through Europe revealed to Steves that the American approach to drug enforcement is severely flawed. In his book Travel As A Political Act, he says, "I've traveled with an appetite for learning why Europe has fewer drug-related deaths, less drug-related incarceration, and less drug consumption per capita than we do here in America." His support is cautious, often acknowledging that weed is still unhealthy and that he only supports adult use, but as far as beloved public figures go, he's one of the most prominent advocates out there. Steves has been on the board of NORML [National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] since 2003 and continues to speak out in favor of legalization.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.25.13 AM.png4. Tom Forcade

High Times Magazine plays a significant role in the current legalization movement, most ostensibly by hosting America's first fully legal Cannabis Cup events in Denver. But the publication's role in activism dates back to its establishment by underground journalist Tom Forcade, a prominent agitator who pioneered pieing as a form of protest. The magazine espoused the medical value of weed and the foolhardiness of the drug war. Though it has evolved over the four decades of its publication, High Times has remained a mainstream venue featuring indispensable celebrity support and enthusiasm for cannabis.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.25.59 AM.png5. Keith Stroup

In many ways, the NORML was the first credible, organized effort to legalize weed in America. Keith Stroup established the organization in 1970 and led the legalization movement to some of its first significant victories. When he stepped down from his second stint as NORML's executive director in 2004, he listed some of these victories: "All 50 states have reduced penalties for minor marijuana offenses from a felony to a misdemeanor; 12 states have decriminalized minor marijuana offenses; 10 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana for serious ill patients." The momentum sparked during Stroup's tenure has reached a fever pitch, more than doubling the number of medical marijuana states in less than a decade.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.26.59 AM.png6. William F. Buckley Jr.

A libertarian and founder of the staunchly conservative National Review, Buckley didn't share many views with the other people on this list. He wrote a book defending McCarthyism, claimed multiculturalism is an attack on Christianity, and once called Gore Vidal a queer. Despite his pronounced dickishness on those matters, Buckley had a sensible eye toward marijuana. In 1996, he wrote a column for the National Review called "The War on Drugs is Lost," rattling many of his conservative followers. Buckly explained his views on the interview show The Open Mind: "A conservative seeks to be grounded in reality. That which works is quantifiable; that which simply does not work, isn't... My position on drugs is that... the drug laws aren't working, and that more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books." His common-sense view was a precursor to the wider bipartisan support for legalization today.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.28.15 AM.png7. Jack Herer

If you've heard the name Jack Herer, it's probably because you've smoked the award-winning strain named after him. The man behind the bud, however, was an author and activist widely credited with spawning the modern legalization effort. And he didn't even smoke his first joint until age 30. Cannabis advocates continue to revere his 1985 book The Emperor Wears No Clothes as a guideline for reasonable cannabis regulation.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.32.25 AM.png8. Bob Marley

Beyond his personal efforts toward activism, the image and persona of Bob Marley have grown into a symbol of casual and spiritual cannabis use. Despite a politicized life, his legacy represents weed as a universal catalyst for peace and good times. As far as lowest common denominators go, legalization advocacy has an effective vessel in Marley.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.33.06 AM.png9. Valerie Corral

Medical marijuana was not a thing in America until Valerie Corral challenged California law. With the assistance of her husband Mike, Corral treated her epilepsy with cannabis for several years before being arrested twice for cultivating plants. The state refused to prosecute the Corrals both times, but the incident put them at the center of a newly forming push toward medical legalization in California, culminating in the passage of Proposition 215. She formed Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the country's first caregiver co-op, which continues to function today.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.34.30 AM.png10. Dennis Peron

The concept of a medical marijuana dispensary is quickly becoming common knowledge across America, and any state passing medical marijuana legislation naturally looks to a dispensary system for their distribution needs. Dennis Peron opened the country's very first public medical marijuana dispensary, The Cannabis Buyers Club, in San Francisco in 1992 following a long career in activism for cannabis, LGBT rights, and support for AIDS patients. He also authored and co-authored the propositions that led to the first medical cannabis legislation in California.

Miguel "Just Wants to Smoke" With Gigi Hadid In New Video "Simple Things"


We always love it when two Paper People pair up: in this case it's former cover dude Miguel and Beautiful Person Gigi Hadid. But don't start combing the gossip blogs just yet -- they're not dating IRL (at least not that we know of) but instead appear in the R&B singer's new video, "Simple Things," which originally premiered on an episode of Girls. It's a sultry track that's heavy on distorted guitar riffs and pleasantly mellow beats -- perfect for a summer afternoon of cruising in the car. To that end, the video -- beautifully shot in black and white -- features clips of Gigi and Miguel sharing tender moments in and around L.A. that alternate with slightly-surreal shots of wolves running through the streets. Could the track be a dark horse contender for Song of the Summer?

Give it a watch, above.

Take a Tour of Sub Pop's Seattle Airport Store

Sub Pop Photo 1.JPGLast week, I was horrified when I discovered that I'd absentmindedly booked a flight from Los Angeles to New York with a four-hour layover in Seattle.

Lucky for me, I remembered that Sub Pop Records, the venerable grunge-peddling indie label, just opened a record store in Terminal C of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport earlier this month. For a mosh-pit junkie like myself, it'd be the perfect place to kill time.

I found the Sub Pop Airport Shop upon landing (just across from the Life Is Good! Neighborhood Shop), and was given a deluxe tour by two employees, Rachel Rhymes and Jacob Powers. "The shop is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 365 days a year," Powers said. That's 5,840 hours of mile-high-ready indie-rock a year. So move over Starbucks, there's a new hot spot for tourists and businessmen with connecting flights. Let the tour begin!

Sub Pop Photo 2.JPG"This sweatshirt ($40) is by far our best-selling item," Powers said. "It's been flying off the rack." And that bitchin' gas-station jacket next to it is perfect if you're traveling back in time to attend Lollapalooza '93.

Sub Pop Photo 3.JPGStop by the listening station before choosing which vinyl to carry on your flight. All the Sub Pop classics are here: Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dum Dum Girls, Fleet Foxes, Beach House, Postal Service and more. Can you spot a shirtless Chris Cornell?

Sub Pop Photo 4.JPGEven stewardesses were getting in on the fun! In fact, in the time I spent in the shop, the majority of customers were flight attendants. "Look, Suzanne!" I overheard a JetBlue attendant remark to another. "At least they've got a Heart CD. They're good."

Sub Pop Photo 5.JPG"We had a bunch of TSA guys in here this morning," Powers said. "One of them really liked the yellow pencils, but then when he saw they had the Sub Pop 'LOSER' logo on them, he looked at me and said, 'That's rude.' "

Sub Pop Photo 6.JPG"Many of the items on sale are co-branded with local artists, like these dinner plates," Rhymes said. I asked if the dinner plates are a big seller. She smiled.

Sub Pop Photo 7.JPGLike any airport store worth its salt, the Sub Pop shop carries neck pillows. Perfect for a red-eye nap, or to nurse post-headbanging neck pains.

Sub Pop Photo 8.JPG"Mudhoney stopped in recently on their way to play shows in Brazil," Powers said. "One of the guys was unhappy because he was on a different flight from the rest of the band."

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"Right now, everything on sale is exclusive to this shop, except for the records," Rhymes said. "The other stuff might go on sale on the Sub Pop website at some point, but for the time being, the only way to get your hands on these products is to have a plane ticket. It's the world's most exclusive record store."

9 Must-See Art Shows Opening This Week

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.48.44 PM.pngThe 8th annual Bushwick Open Studios starts on Friday, May 31st, and runs through Sunday. Hundreds of studios will be open to the public daily from noon to 7 p.m. The "launch party" is Friday night from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Radio Bushwick (22 Wyckoff Avenue) and admission is $10; the "closing party" is Sunday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Bizarre (12 Jefferson Street). Check out the complete list of participants, performances, parties etc. HERE.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.49.49 PM.pngMeryl Meisler, Prom Queen Contender, Les Mouche, NY, NY, June 1978

The book launch and exhibition for Meryl Meisler's "A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick" is Friday night, 7 p.m. to 4 a.m, also at Bizarre (12 Jefferson Street) with Merrie Cherie, Elizabeth James, Ariana Huffenstuff, go-go dancers, DJs and more.

_7381981_orig.jpgWalter Robinson, Target Dresses Cardis and Wedge Sandals, 2013, Acrylic on linen

Lynch Tham (175 Rivington Street) opens a new show by NYC artist Walter Robinson this week. The paintings are based on "common fashion promotional photos" referenced from ads, marketing materials etc. from stores like Macy's, Target and JC Penney. It's on view until July 13th.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.44.46 PM.pngLeo Gabin, All Facts, 2014

Adam Lindemann's Venus Over Manhattan (980 Madison Avenue) opens a group show this week by 21 artists that defined The Journal Gallery. The show also celebrates the 10th anniversary of that Williamsburg space, with works on view by Rita Ackermann, Joe Bradley, Peter Demos, Michael Williams, Ida Eckblad and more. It's up through July 26th.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.53.45 PM.pngOn Thursday, May 29th, 6 to 8 p.m., Callicoon Fine Arts (49 Delancey Street) hosts a reception for a new exhibition of photographs by Herve Guibert. The French writer and photographer was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and died in 1991 at the age of 35; he had captured his family and friends in intimate portraits and had written over 30 novels in his short life. At 7 p.m., during the opening, there will be a reading from the first English translation of his journals. The exhibit is up until June 29th.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.54.37 PM.pngOn Sunday, June 1st, from 5 to 7 p.m., Long Island City's Sculpture Center (44-19 Purves Street. LIC) hosts the opening reception for their summer exhibition of works by Katrin Sigurdardottir, Liz Glynn and Jory Rabinovitz. The works are all on view until July 28th.

NontsikeleloMutiti_RecessSession-1.gifRecess (41 Grand Street) presents the latest in their "Session" series with a new work called "Ruka" by the Zimbabwean-born artist Nonsikeleto Mutiti that runs from June 3rd to August 2nd. Mutiti will be "playing the role of artist, designer and researcher in a space for the study and practice of hair braiding." Over the summer, there will be braiding workshops, film screenings and more. HERE's the schedule.

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 2.58.56 PM.pngEven though this isn't in NYC, we had to give a nod to Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos who painted the official jet for their country's World Cup soccer team. It's way cool. [via Juxtapoz]

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 3.26.27 PM.pngAnd, one more thing: there's going to be a big art exhibit that you can't see. In fact, this group show featuring works by 39 artists including Chicks on Speed and Marian Abramovic, has supposedly been buried on an island near Costa Rica by an "ecology awareness" organization that plans to raise money by auctioning a map of the location. [via Guardian]

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender Impersonate Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen


Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen can all do impressions of each other and it's the best. [Uproxx]

The most confident spelling bee mistake ever. Slow clap for Jacob, then go drink whisky in a dark room alone while softly crying. [Uproxx]
tumblr_n6ccit6OFU1qewacoo1_500.jpgNever just settle for nationwide hotdog person.  [TastefullyOffensive

Z6YT.pngEveryone remember, please! [Mlkshk]

Be gone. [AnimatedText]

Z6K0.jpgDon't ever say you can't even. [Mlkshk]

tumblr_n6chxxntnh1qckp4qo1_500.pngEspecially if there are wings. [The Onion via RatsOff]

baddiewinklebitchesallhateme.pngDon't forget to channel baddiewinkle this weekend.

Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan Star In a Millennial Version of "When Harry Met Sally"


There's a new trailer for Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan's new flick, What If, and we're getting major When Harry Met Sally vibes...in a good way. A Millennial version of the Rob Reiner classic could be completely awful but watching Radcliffe play the cute, guileless Wallace and Kazan as his star-crossed love interest, Chantry, we can't help but be charmed. Rounding out the cast are Adam Driver -- who plays a very Adam Sackler-esque character (or so it seems) -- and Rafe Spall, who play Chantry's cousin and boyfriend, respectively. Peep the trailer, above.

What If opens on August 1.

Lenny Kravitz's "Let Love Rule" Is 25 Years Old and Still Going Strong


Went to a giant 3-day music festival in Ibiza and, after days of EDM DJs and sparse attendance, the headliner on the final night went onstage to a massive, sold-out crowd of fanatics. Who was it? Well, it was the artist that recorded today's oldie-but-goodie: Lenny Kravitz. This was the title single from his debut album, Let Love Rule, and after it was released in 1989, it become a huge hit everywhere except the USA. (Rather than argue about which song was his biggest and best, let's just say that we personally loved "Are You Gonna Go My Way.") Lenny's ex, Lisa Bonet, appears in the video and, if you prefer a little more "updated" version, check out THIS 2009 re-mix by Justice.