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Simon Doonan

A condensed version of this interview appears in the print edition of our Spring 2012 issue, on stands now.

"Nicki Minaj is definitely courageous and creative," Simon Doonan gushed over the phone about his recent PAPER interview subject while promoting his new book, Gay Men Don't Get Fat, on the West Coast. We could say the same about Mr. Doonan, the creative ambassador at large of Barneys New York, who, to us, is the foremost expert on fabulous, freaky style. Here, the author of Wacky Chicks and Eccentric Glamour chats about interviewing Minaj, why he loves douche bags and his new book, which argues that gay men hold the secrets to living life to its healthiest, most glamorous potential.

Despite the title, would you say this book is mostly for straight women?
Yes. I want to liberate the women of the world and show them how to live with the fearless stylish bravado of us homos. I see gay people as charismatic deviants. We have an eccentric world view and we have a creative way of seeing things. We, and only we, know how to enhance your tawdry, lackluster lives. Gay people are the bloodhounds of fabulosity.

You also have some good fashion advice for straight men in this book, even though you're not interested in making them over. 
I'm not one of those gays who wants to 'Queer Eye 'everything in the universe. I enjoy the spectacle. I see fashion through a Diane Arbus sort of lens, where everybody should look extreme and everybody should look well-differentiated. I'm anti-conformist. If a straight dude is really a straight dude, he should wear a belt pager and a Tommy Bahama shirt, because then we can recognize who he is.

You break down some looks that you think work well for straight men. What are those styles?
That's the one vaguely helpful part [of the book]. I don't have the helpful gene that a lot of gay people have. I'm more about inspiring people to break rules and buy a blue stripper wig. But, yes, there's one chapter where I outline the fact that for straight guys and gay guys, there's really no need for them to dress differently. So I outline three contemporary styles that work for both: Perverse Prep, Heritage Henry and the Douche Bag.

And what is 'the Douche Bag' look?
I love douche bag clothing. It's Ed Hardy, it's Abercrombie & Fitch, it's the costuming of reality show television. It's hedonistic and unpretentious and flamboyant and it's actually kind of great. It should be celebrated. I myself have a whole bunch of Ed Hardy t-shirts that are boys t-shirts, not the big baggy ones. I like to wear them and just horrify people.

People recoil when you wear Ed Hardy?
Yeah. Fashion people are very predictable. They have a prescribed reaction to things. With the exception, of course, of fabulous people like [PAPER editorial director] Mr. Mickey, [fashion people] seem sophisticated on the surface, but that sophistication and their understanding of fashion doesn't go beyond designer clothing. Where as I see it as this incredible landscape, a cavalcade of conflicting styles and ideas.

Earlier you said that there's no need for gay men and straight men to dress differently. Where does the idea of 'the metrosexual' fit in with that?
I think we're at a point in history now where gay men and straight men don't need to recoil at either ends of the room. Since the advent of the metrosexual, since gay people are now integrated into society, there's no need for gay men to be associated with the pouffy guy in the fluffy sweater on one end of the room while the super-straight guy in a hoodie's on the other. It's no longer a meaningful differentiation because of the metrosexual revolution, which is also not a past-tense, by the way. People tend to think 'Oh, the metrosexual -- that was in the early aughts.' It wasn't really. It arrived then, but now it has become pervasive. It didn't go away, it just sort of proliferated and gathered momentum.

Were you concerned the title of your book would offend gay men who do struggle with their weight?
I'm not fattist at all. The title of the book may suggest that, but as someone who's freakishly under-sized myself, I'm very size-inclusive. I've always written about plus-size clothing for women and I have many friends who struggle with their weight. In a way, the title makes fun of the well-toned, chiseled gay physique and super weight-conscious gays. I'm that generation of gay -- the gym obsessed ones who are determined to fit in to the same size for the rest of their lives. But it's a complex landscape today. You have a lot of people struggling with their weight in increasing numbers and the impulse to be sedentary is stronger, more people are stuck in front of their computers all day. I've always been more Sporty Spice. I like to go outside and skip about in a field.

You have a whole chapter on gay food versus straight food.
Yes. As you can tell, I believe in making sweeping generalizations. I think there aren't enough of them. There's nothing worse than being tentative.

What is gay food and what is straight food?
The basics of my philosophy about food is quite simple. Macaroons are gay food and
Aberdeen Angus Steak is straight food. You have to learn how to balance your straight and gay foods in order to have a healthy diet. But in applying my theories, I also noted a very big paradox: the biggest, hairiest, butchest chefs are also producing the most prissy, nelly, dainty food. Dishes like tiny little scallops with tangerine gelées on top of a miniature rice cracker are done by chefs who are astoundingly butch! I was a judge on Iron Chef and that's when I noticed this. Looking at these bign hairy chefs competing on the show I thought, 'Oh, we're going to have a leg of lamb and mashed potatoes.' Instead it was this Marie Antoinette kind of food --  all prissy colors and exquisite bon-bon-sized morsels. I found it very hilarious.

You describe simple, local food as being 'lesbian.'
Yes. Basically, I love lesbian food. I hate contrived food. Right now I'm in Seattle on my book tour and I was just in Portland yesterday and there's a million places to eat where you're going to get a much purer, more lesbian approach to food.

There's also a lot of 'lesbian food' stuff going on in Brooklyn.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank God for Brooklyn.

What was it like interviewing Nicki Minaj for us? Were you nervous?
I was because I'm such a fan! She's such a force of life and such an extraordinarily, exciting new performer. Being of a certain age, I remember when Grace Jones first had her moment and how exciting it was to see her and David Bowie and glam rock and Culture Club. Any performer who combines musical innovation and an incredible visual style is always exciting.

I also think that Nicki Minaj, Gaga and Katy Perry are all examples of girls who are under such an extraordinary amount of pressure. I was really conscious of not annoying her or taking up her time because I keep thinking of the daily onslaught she must get in her daily life. [These performers'] lives are a deluge of demands and crazy stuff and I wanted us to have a very frivolous and fun chat. I thought, 'Girlfriend could use a laugh,' so I told her about the chapter in my book about being a stupid hoe. She was quite amused by that. We bonded over Mob Wives. It was really a delight. I told her that if I see her at Fashion Week again sitting next to Anna Wintour, I'm going to come up and fluff her wig for her.

Nicki Minaj's style seems like such a fabulous rejection of the conventional, midriff-bearing pop-stars of the early 2000s.
The Nicki Minajs, the Grace Joneses, the Gagas of the world -- they're fearlessly unconventional in a society where it's not easy to be a female performer and so "out there." In a way, I'm sure [performers like them] use all that costuming as an armor, to create some fence against all the attention. It's a lot to take on and it's so much easier not to succeed. But, once you have their kind of success, you've really bitten off a lot. And you have to chew it with your pale blue lipstick on.

You mentioned bonding over Mob Wives.  Are you a big reality TV fan?
I make sure I have a healthy helping of trash TV. I think it's important to be au courant.

What do you think is so attractive about over-the-top women on Mob Wives or Real Housewives? Are they the Nicki Minajs of reality TV?
I've always been attracted to women who are over-the-top. For me, what I love about Nicki Minaj, is that she's un-pretentious. Fearlessness and un-pretentiousness is a very appealing combination. Her style is not some form of snooty couture, it's more like Mardi Gras. 

Let's end with a question you asked Nicki -- what is the freakiest song on your iPod?
Probably anything by Yma Sumac. She was the Peruvian Nicki Minaj circa 1950. Young kids who discover her go crazy. She growls over this exotic music and makes all of these warbling noises. There was a rumor going around at one point during her career that she wasn't from Peru at all and that her name wasn't Yma Sumac, it was Amy Camus, and she was really a housewife from Brooklyn. She would perform on stage with Styrofoam totems next to her doing this strange squealing. Definitely someone for PAPER readers to check out.

Hey Nicki, You're So Fine
Nicki Minaj, Scene Stealer
Simon Doonan and Jonathan Adler Talk Paisley Ping-Pong and other 'P' Words

17 Old-Timey Mardi Gras Photos

Happy Mardi Gras! Instead of showing gratuitous photos of girls flashing their boobs for beads on Bourbon Street, we've decided to look back at Mardi Gras celebrations of yesteryear.  Below are photos we found from the 1910s-1960s featuring animal costumes, flappers and male and female drag. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

mardi gras_william vandivert--Tim & Life Pictures:Getty Images.png Mardi Gras Revelers, New Orleans, 1938
(Photo credit: William Vandivert--Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

mardi gras_nationaal archief_netherlands.pngMardi Gras costumes, The Netherlands, 1931
(Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.53.44 PM.pngOmega Mardi Gras, Washington DC, 1940
(Photo credit: Scurlock Studio Records/John Edwin Mason: Documentary, Motorsports, Photo History)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 3.37.44 PM.pngMardi Gras costumes, The Netherlands, 1911
(Photo credit: Nationaal Archief)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 3.55.28 PM.pngYWCA Carnival Court, Louisiana, 1932
(Photo credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.53.50 PM.pngOmega Mardi Gras, Washington DC, 1940
(Photo credit: Scurlock Studio Records/John Edwin Mason: Documentary, Motorsports, Photo History)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.30.18 PM.pngMardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, 1938
(Photo credit: William Vandivert--Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

mardi gras 1952 c:o retronaut.pngMardi Gras Girl, Location Unknown, 1952
(Photo credit: The Circus Book: 1870-1950/Dominique Jando/Retronaut)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 3.53.11 PM.pngMardi Gras revelers, New Orleans, 1938
(Photo credit: William Vandivert--Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 5.03.31 PM.pngOrson Welles at Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, 1942
(Photo credit: Life Magazine)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 3.37.28 PM.pngMardi Gras Waiters Wearing Masks, Munich, Germany, 1933
(Photo Credit: Nationaal Archief)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.30.25 PM.pngMardi Gras, New Orleans, 1938
(Photo credit: William Vandivert--Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 5.05.28 PM.pngOmega Psi Phi Mardi Gras Celebration, Location Unknown, 1930s
(Photo credit: Scurlock Studio Records/Black History Album)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.19.28 PM.pngMardi Gras, Coney Island, c. 1910s
(Photo Credit: The Library of Congress/Flickr)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 3.38.10 PM.pngPrince Carnival Attending a Boat Show, Amsterdam, 1963
(Photo Credit: Nationaal Archief)

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 5.05.59 PM.pngMardi Gras Street Costumers, New Orleans, 1930s

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 4.27.58 PM.pngMardi Gras revelers in costume, New Orleans, 1938
(Photo credit: William Vandivert--Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Drew Barrymore's Sonogram + HBO's Official Girls Trailer = 8 Items Or Less

1. Pace University presents Laurie Anderson's Delusion at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts on March 9-10.  In Delusion, Anderson uses a series of vignettes combining video, spoken word and musical performance to convey themes of identity, memory, language and mortality.  Tickets run between $30-$65.

2. The official trailer for HBO's Girls, starring Friend of Paper Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke. Don't know about you but we can't wait for its premiere on April 15. [The Daily What]

3. A Maryland Senate committee approved a gay marriage bill today, bringing the state one step closer to legalizing gay marriage. [Reuters/Huffington Post]

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 6.02.27 PM.png4. Drew Barrymore is probably preggo as seen by these photos of her clutching sonograms. [TMZ]

5. A British woman has a rare food disorder -- Selective Eating Disorder -- which has caused her to only eat cheese pizza for 31 years.  [The Frisky]

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 6.08.00 PM.png
6. Weird Al is going to be on 30 Rock!  We can't decide if we'd rather see him playing himself or some other weirdo--maybe a long-lost Lemon? [Buzzfeed]

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 6.23.11 PM.png7.  Ann Romney's Pinterest account is a thing. [Gawker]

Screen shot 2012-02-21 at 6.13.36 PM.png8. Check out these crazy looks by designer Ashish at London Fashion Week.  We love them but feel like we're getting a little déjà vu. [nymag]

The Shins

Ports of Morrow
Remember in Garden State when Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff that The shins will "change your life"? Eight years later, only James Mercer, the band's singer-songwriter, remains from that "life-changing" lineup on this, the band's first LP in five years. As always, Mercer's songwriting is the highlight, and the shaggy-dog instrumentation of yore has been replaced with a coat of glossy production. Songs like "Bait and Switch" might not change your life, but they'll make you dance.

5 Phrases to Avoid on Grindr

Screen shot 2012-02-23 at 4.08.58 PM.pngGrindr, and all of the other online gay hook-up sites, can be a scary, scary, dirty, scary place to spend your time.  Alas, don't worry; I'm here to help!  In this post, and more to come, I'm going to show you the tricks of the trade, and how to navigate all of the tight little nooks and crannies of the gay Internet.

1. "VGL"

Captioning a picture of yourself with "very good looking" doesn't magically make
you very good looking.

2. "Masc musc only"

That stands for "masculine and muscular." Sorry boys, alliteration doesn't make it any less obnoxious.

3. "In shape only, no fatties"

Refusing to eat a burger, or repeatedly saying, "a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips," isn't very sexy.

4. "Only into white guys"

Do we really have to explain this one?

5. "No face pic, no reply"

Guaranteed to only be said on profiles... without a face pic.

Photo: Jordan Sternberg's actual Grindr profile. "VGL" added as a joke.

Zac Efron Drops a Condom + Mark Ronson Scores a Ballet = Today's Eight Items or Less


1. While at the premiere of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Zac Efron dropped a condom.  Check out Zac's priceless reaction: shades on, some heavy breathing into the fist and...keep it cool, keep it cool.  Guess we gotta cut him a little slack -- you never know when you're gonna get lucky... might even be at a Dr. Seuss movie. [Refinery 29]

2. Mark Ronson will score a new ballet piece with Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow Gareth Pugh is doing the costumes. The as-yet-untitled piece will premiere at London's Royal Opera House in April, and it will apparently "focus on the Jungian theme of anima/animus and the theory of collective masculine and feminine unconscious." Sounds vague and fabulous. [NME]

3. The Shins will play their second SNL performance on March 10th. Jonah Hill is hosting.

23horse-articleLarge.jpg4. Fossils have been found in Wyoming of Sifrhippus, or horse-like mammals that weighed between eight and fifteen pounds.  A real-life My Little Pony! [New York Times]

bulletsoverbway.jpg5. Finally!! Woody Allen is turning Bullets Over Broadway into a Broadway musical. Don't speak. Don't speak. Don't speak. [via Vulture]

6. In 2013, artists and notable types like Ed Ruscha, Marilyn Minter and Jay-Z will turn 300 New York rooftop water tanks into art projects, to raise awareness about the world's dwindling water supply. [via Animal NY]

Screen shot 2012-02-23 at 6.02.53 PM.png7. Look at this crazy Starbucks!! It's in Japan, naturally. [via Flavorwire]

Tips for Today: Dustin Wong's Record Release + Gargyle's End of Season Sale + A Clockwork Orange Midnight Screening

Dustin Wong Record Release Show at La Sala

Tonight, at La Sala (the intimate backroom of Williamsburg restaurant Cantina Royal), distortion master Dustin Wong will be celebrating the release of his second album, Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, with two live sound and video performances (at 8 and 10 p.m.) alongside Highlife and Lichens.

La Sala, 58 N. 3rd St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 8 & 10 p.m. $5.

Gargyle's End-of-Season Sale

One of our favorite meticulously-curated boutiques, Gargyle, is cutting prices up to 80 percent off of menswear, womenswear and accessories. That means pieces by Acne, Lover and Surface to Air are in the $30 to $350 range. Yowzas.

16A Orchard St. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Through Feb. 26.

A Clockwork Orange at Nitehawk Cinema

After some drinks at your local milk bar, grab your best droogies and head to Nitehawk Cinema for a midnight screening of Stanley Kubric's violent masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange.

Nitehawk Cinemas, 136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Midnight. $11.

The Funnies: Stefon's Nightclubs Get Illustrated + Jimmy Fallon Sings "Jeremy (Lin)"


Here is Jimmy Fallon as Eddie Vedder singing "Jeremy (Lin)." Jer-e-my Li-iinn-saaaaan-it-y. [via Buzzfeed]
The folks over at Splitsider asked a crew of illustrators to draw up the nightlife characters whom Stefon -- Bill Heder's clearly meth-addled club kid character on SNL -- has mentioned throughout the four years he's appeared on Weekend Update. The results are amazing. (Above: a human parking cone... It's that thing where two jacked midgets paint themselves orange and you have to parallel park between them, and a Russian guy who runs on the treadmill in a Cosby sweater.)


Apparently Tim Tebow and Fred Durst are friends, and went out to dinner in L.A. on Wednesday night. Gross. [via Page Six]

1, 2, 3, 4, 4 white pugs puppies on the couch. [via The Daily What]

OB-RO744_brucel_G_20120130003226.jpgA Bruce Lee fragrance will be launching in Dubai. [via The Wall Street Journal]

Behold, an illustrated guide to who's diddled who in Mad Men. [via Wired]

Milan Fashion Week Photos: Ermanno Scervino + Street Scenes

The sound of bells and trotting hooves opened the Ermanno Scervino show fall-winter 2012 at Milan Fashion Week Thursday. The inspiration for this collection was taken from the world of horse racing, with models sporting leather hats, androgynous jodhpur pants and suede boots.
This was off-set by dresses, blouses and feminine tops with sweetheart necklines in vibrant  fuschias and green as well as autumnal coppers, browns and oranges. Check out photos from the runway show by Pierguido Grassano and Anzhelika Ardasheva as well as some

Street Scenes From Milan Fashion Week

Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine Set to Open Mar. 8th

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 12.41.04 PM.pngfrazier--300x300.jpg

Walt "Clyde" Frazier, the NBA's Jeremy Lin of his day and the current voice of the Knicks, is shooting for a March 8th opening of his Hell's Kitchen restaurant, Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine. The author of seven books, including the recently re-released Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball & Cool, Frazier is also famous for flamboyant sayings like "swooping and hooping," "dishing and swishing" and "hustling and bustling," all of which will be the names of drinks on the cocktail list. Frazier teamed up with Michael Weinstein's Ark Restaurants for the 10,000 square foot project, whose executive chef, David Waltuck (ex-Chanterelle) has created an American menu with Asian influences. In the kitchen will be Armando Cortes, formerly the executive chef at the Grill Room in the World Financial Center. Look for dishes like blackened Scottish salmon with vanilla bourbon butter and Thai lobster curry with jasmine rice. Even though there are 56 flat screens in the bar and lounge area and a half-court basketball court, complete with professional markings on the wood floors, Clyde's is not intended as a sports bar. The dining room will be TV-free, where the décor is more about Frazier's singular sense of style.

Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine
485 Tenth Ave.

Good News and Bad News for Ark Restaurants. Hint: The Good News Involves Walt Frazier!

Papermag's 2012 Oscars Predictions: Part II

Earlier in the week, we gave you a list of our most hard-hitting, scientifically calculated Oscars ceremy predictions (like that the camera will cut to Meryl Streep chuckling and smiling warmly precisely six times) and now we've undertaken a straw poll throughout the entire PAPER, PAPERMAG and EXTRA EXTRA office to see who they think we'll take home an Oscar. There were a few close calls (the Best Supporting Actress race was fierce!) but ultimately there could only be one winner. (Also note that we've only included the major awards everyone cares about -- you'll have to find out who's pegged for a Best Sound Mixing for an Animated Foreign Language Documentary Short win elsewhere.) Check out our predictions below and let us know if you agree with us or think we're dead wrong. We'll be live-tweeting the big night so make sure to follow @papermagazine on Twitter Sunday night.

Drum roll please....


best picture.pngNominees:

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

PAPERMAG Predicts:

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 12.38.33 PM.pngThe Artist


Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.11.10 PM.pngScreen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.11.40 PM.png


Demián Bichir--A Better Life
George Clooney--The Descendants
Jean Dujardin--The Artist
Gary Oldman--Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt--Moneyball

PAPERMAG Predicts:

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.09.21 PM.pngGeorge Clooney--The Descendants


Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.19.45 PM.pngScreen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.20.12 PM.png


Glenn Close--Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis--The Help
Rooney Mara--The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep--The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams--My Week With Marilyn

PAPERMAG Predicts:

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.10.28 PM.pngMeryl Streep--The Iron Lady


Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.31.59 PM.pngScreen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.32.18 PM.pngNominees:

Kenneth Branagh--My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill--Moneyball
Nick Nolte--Warrior
Christopher Plummer--Beginners
Max von Sydow--Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

PAPERMAG Predicts:

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.29.58 PM.pngChristopher Plummer--Beginners


Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.35.02 PM.pngScreen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.35.29 PM.pngNominees:

Bérénice Bejo--The Artist
Jessica Chastain--The Help
Melissa McCarthy--Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer--Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer--The Help

PAPERMAG Predicts:

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 1.31.20 PM.pngOctavia Spencer--The Help

David LaChapelle Talks Old Masters, Quitting the Fashion Game and Newt Gingrich at His Opening Last Night

Last night, the art crowd gathered at the Fred Torres Collaborations gallery for Earth Laughs In Flowers, a new exhibit of still life photographs by famed photographer, David LaChapelle. At first glance, the photos feature expansive and lush flowers reminiscent of paintings by the Dutch Masters but, upon closer inspection, elements of LaChapelle's signature blend of wealthy excess and the grotesque are present: phallic doll parts, Cheetos, pill bottles and toilet paper peek out from fancy floral arrangements and mingle amid ripe fruit.

LaChapelle, who famously quit shooting fashion for magazines and moved to Hawaii in 2006 at what some might say was the peak of his influence, has clearly not lost any admirers.  The packed gallery had people spilling down the stairs and into the street where a long line waited to get in PAPERMAG had the chance to talk to LaChapelle about his exhibit, about his decision to move off the grid and buy a farm in Hawaii and what he'd do if he got a call to photograph Newt Gingrich.

081126_08_TheLovers.jpgThe Lovers, 2011 by David LaChapelle

What can you tell us about your show?
It's a group of still lives, the vanitas, which is this idea that the Old Masters had about the brevity of life and to remind us of life's seasons and our connection with nature.  That really intrigued me.  The use of the objects in all the Old Master paintings had a great significance or symbolism that told a narrative about the piece.  I love this idea of doing flowers.

Are you turning more to paintings and Old Masters for your influences nowadays rather than contemporary subjects or profiles?
Prior to television, people would look at these paintings and try to figure out what they meant by the symbolism and how the objects were together to tell a story.  I love story telling.  I have a strong love of the history of art especially when you can make it relevant today.  Art in antiquity was once contemporary art and a reflection of that society.  We look at it now in a decorative sense--it doesn't have the same power as contemporary art--so in some ways, [this exhibit] is rescuing the ideas of the Old Masters and reclaiming them in a contemporary context.  That fascinates me and really excites me because as much as we've progressed with technology, we haven't progressed spiritually and morally as humanity.  We would hope we'd have been more enlightened than we are but the reason why Botticcelli's Venus and Mars or the Greek myths are still valid is because we're still dealing with the same issues of greed and love versus war and all those ideas.  We haven't really gone beyond that or evolved from that.  I think right now there's a real hunger for artwork that speaks to people, that they can decipher, that they can understand. 

081126_06_DeathlessWinter.jpgDeathless Winter, 2011 by David LaChapelle

A few years ago you quit doing fashion shoots but now you've recently gotten back into that with the M.A.C. campaign starring Nicki Minaj and Ricky Martin.  What can you tell us about that?
I quit [shooting fashion] to change my life and start a farm [in Hawaii] where I live now.  The farm is great--it saved my life.  You need balance.  It was time to quit working for magazines.  My pictures weren't fitting with their needs and their publications weren't fitting my needs and what I wanted to express so I knew I had to stop.  My life was so out of balance at that time that I had this whole revelation with this farm and got the farm and started working there.  After that, months later, I got a call to show in a gallery, which is where I started in the East Village in the '80s.  I started showing in galleries way before magazines so I was surprised to do that.  At first I was very adamant that I wouldn't do anything commercial but then when Gaga, who is a friend, asked me to shoot her first cover of Rolling Stone, I said, "Well, yeah, I'll do that."  I just don't want to have rules for myself.  I want to be free and do what I want to do.

How were Nicki and Ricky?
They were fun. We had a really fun day and it's really great for my staff to mix it up.  I like the variety of every once in a while doing a job. It was something I couldn't say "no" to.  

Is there anyone you'd still like to shoot but haven't already?
Um, no.  People come to me but I've photographed everybody [I've wanted to].  I can love Adele without having to photograph her. I can just appreciate her.

I hear you're a huge Adele fan?
Yeah.  I've been a really big fan [laughs].  

I liked that they were playing "Rolling in the Deep" when I walked in.
They should only be playing Adele.  I told them that.

You've photographed Hillary Clinton before--would you ever shoot any other politicians?  What would you do if you got a request to shoot someone like Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich?
I don't really care for Newt Gingrich.  It wouldn't excite me very much to do that.  I really don't think that that scenario would ever happen because of my photographic history so as much as I love fantasy, I don't want to indulge in that.  I like to indulge in fantasies that are in some way plausible or at least erotic or sexually exciting but Newt Gingrich is none of the above! [laughs]

081126_04_FlaccidPassion.jpgFlaccid Passion, 2011 by David LaChapelle

Earth Laughs in Flowers runs from February 23-March 24 at Fred Torres Collaborations, 527 W. 29th St., New York

Event photos courtesy of
Matteo Prandoni/Billy Farrell Agency


Our New Favorite Newsstand

We were just strolling through Astor Place, after stopping by the PAPER Beautiful People shoot at the Standard East Village, and what should we see, but a newsstand that's essentially an ode to PAPER magazine! Our Julianne Moore, Duran Duran, Elena Anaya, La Roux, Mary J. Blige, Pee-wee Herman, Kristen Wiig and Joe Jonas covers were displayed front-and-center, with very little sign of other publications. The stand is helmed by Jerry Delakas, who's been on that same corner for 25 years, and is apparently facing eviction from the city. He's the subject of a documentary that just wrapped filming last week. Anyway, Save Jerry! And buy a copy of PAPER from him!

Bar Crawling With the Boys From Hella Bitter

hella-head.jpgThe boys from Hella Bitter know how to have a night out. I've seen it in action. The creator of the Brooklyn based bitters company, the dapper Benjamin Ahr Harrison, almost always shows up with a tie and pocket square. (That's him in the photo above). Eduardo Simeon's a flannel guy and Tobin Ludwig, ever slightly woodsmanesque, might walk into a bar rocking a  a button-down and work boots. Though I've never met the fourth partner, Jomaree Pinkard, I'm told he keeps the other three in line. I also have a sneaking suspicion he's just as much trouble as the rest of them. Hella Bitter, the result of home-grown kitchen cocktail experiments by Harrison, is going official next Friday and launching its line of bitters at Windmill Studios in Williamsburg. In anticipation of their debut, we chatted with them about their favorite places to toss back a few around town. 

The Everyday Drink
: We tend to go between two kinds of places. We've got a great appreciation for the neighborhood dive -- a shitty bar with cheap beer where we're friends with the bartender -- or a place like Miller's Tavern -- the local staple that has good bartenders and good food. Miller's has really upped their cocktail game. It's a win-win because you can get a good cocktail and a Miller Highlife.

The Suspenders and Bow-Tie Bar: We love Maison Premiere for its cocktails. They make a good negroni. Hotel Delmano is a good place to experiment and try new things. Ben is usually the first to try a new cocktail. He'll often order the most unusual-sounding or intriguing drink on a menu. Eddie and Tobin are usually happy getting something neat. It depends on the mood.

Shitty Dive of the Moment: Our shitty dive of choice right now is Midway on Grand. Ideally a dive bar is within 200 feet of where you live. So it's great to be in Williamsburg because there are so many options. We like their 'happy meal' special -- $5 for a Miller High Life and a shot of Old Crow.

The Nights for Fancy Pants: Raine's Law Room is one of our favorite cocktail bars and our special occasion bar. It's a good place for something classic like a Last Word, but their house cocktails are always great."

Where to Drink with the Bartenders: We were at Summit for the first time a couple of months ago. We started with some nice house cocktails and shot the shit with the bartenders and found out that they love their tequila there. They were really generous and gave us shots of really good tequila. It's really nice when they take something off the top shelf and drink with you.

The Whiskey Bar: Noorman's Kil is one of those places we would go to three times a week if it was closer. It's a whiskey lovers' bar. Those guys are so knowledgeable and do a great job at education. We like that because it's what we're trying to do at Hella Bitter -- tell the masses what bitters and booze are about.

Bars We Aspire To Be Involved With: If we had to give a shout out to bars that we'd love Hella Bitters to be in, first would be Pegu Club. It's the pinnacle of the cocktail resurgence. Kin Shop would be a great place and also David Chang's new place, Booker & Dax. We want Hella to be at places we love to eat and drink. There's no better feeling than going into a place you love and seeing your stuff on the bar.

Hella Bitter launches on Friday, March 2nd at Windmill Studios, 287 Kent Avenue. 7:30-10:30, $10 at the door. Endless cocktails and free samples. In the meantime you can find Hella at Miller's Tavern, Noorman's Kil, The Beagle, Red Cat, The Meadow, Whisk, Le Du's Wines and Astor Center.

Decoding Gym Types For More Efficient Cruising

gaygym.jpgMany assume the gym is a place to exercise. A facility designed to help one strengthen their muscles and keep in shape. Well, yeah, sure. But more importantly, the gym serves as the ultimate location to feast your eyes on other gay men. In between rows of treadmills and bench presses are homosexuals flexing their bodies, wearing revealing clothing, and generally strutting around while acting aloof. The array of guys can be overwhelming, and in such large numbers, down right dizzying. To help you get the best eyeball workout you've ever had, I've decided to let you in on an easy way to find your potential husbands; analyzing what they wear! Here you'll find a breakdown of the classic gay types' preferred gym uniform.

The Chelsea Queen: "Girl, that Adele remix is turning me out!"
Hat: None. Prefers styled, product groomed hair.
Tops: Tankini or tank top.
Bottoms: Mesh, tights, spandex shorts, anything that hugs the booty.
Shoes: Fruit boots (Fruit boots are high tops in garish colors that have zero athletic function.) Underneath: Teeny-tiny Calvin Klein briefs.

The Disco Bear: "Are you going to Pines Party this year? See you at the Eagle later tonight."
Hat: Rarely, usually just a buzz cut.
Top: Sleeveless T-shirt, vintage, revealing massive biceps and very hairy forearms.
Shorts: Camo cargo shorts, or comfy-looking sweatpants in colder months.
Shoes: Converse high tops.
Underneath: Tighty-whities, occasionally the good ol' jockstrap.

The Jock: "Did you row crew at Brown?"
Hat: Sports team or athletic brand, backwards or forwards
Tops: Worn in plain T-shirt, just snug enough to see the outline of his pecs.
Bottoms: Nike mesh, cut at the knee.
Shoes: Running shoes, actually designed for sport.
Underneath: Under Armor compression shorts.... wait, maybe he's just straight.


5 Phrases to Avoid on Grindr

Michael Bolton's "Said I Loved You...But I Lied" Is Our Music Video of the Day


It's Michael Bolton's 59th birthday this Sunday, so in homage to the long-locked crooner and sometime paramour of Nicolette Sheridan (remember when that was a thing and then another thing?), we've made "Said I Loved You...But I Lied" our Music Video of the Day on Oldie-But-Goodie Friday.  With sweeping skyscapes, stallions galloping over fire on the beach and eagles soaring all within the first 30 seconds, this video has everything you need to kick off your weekend.

Photographer Diggy Lloyd Takes Us to Cabo Polonio

Papermag photographer Diggy Lloyd was recently in South America, traveling to Colombia, Buenos Aries and Uruguay. Here, she shares photos and a little diary entry about her favorite place she visited -- a tiny Uruguayan hamlet called Cabo Polonio that's surrounded by sand dunes and lit entirely by candles at night. Sounds lovely. Take it away Diggy!

Cabo Polonio is an extremely small beach town with a year-round population of 30 people. There is no running water, and, with the exception of the light house, the town has no electricity. Every house has a water tank that is filled with water brought in from a lake two hours away. When the sun sets around 9:30 p.m., everything is illuminated by candles. January is the height of summer, and is also the busy tourist season, attracting lots of people from Argentina and other parts of Uruguay. Cabo is located on a small tip of land that is surrounded by the Atlantic on either side. The beaches are surrounded by huge sand dunes! When you stand on top of the dunes, you feel like you're on the edge of the earth. Cabo also has the largest population of sea lions (more sea lions then people). I went under the impression that I would only stay for a weekend, but I ended up staying for 10 days. I'm in love. 
 dll-24.jpg The truck ride to the center of town dll-23.jpg The center of town- The grocery store and bus station (all in one!) Typical Houses in Cabo

dll-3.jpg dll-4.jpg dll-5.jpg Sunset walk through the dunes.
 dll-6.jpg dll-7.jpg A house built in the dunes.
 dll-8.jpg The horse I named England...
 dll-9.jpg Walking up the hill...
 dll-10.jpg The town of Cabo Polonio
 dll-12.jpg We rented a room from a man named Marcelo who spends his summers in Cabo, and the rest of his time in Italy making documentary films. This is his house.

 dll-11.jpg View from my room at Marcelo's.
 dll-13.jpg dll-14.jpg dll-19.jpg dll-20.jpg dll-22.jpg Cabo Polonio Lighthouse.
 dll-15.jpg dll-16.jpg dll-17.jpg Houses on the coast.
 dll-18.jpg Accommodations by the Lighthouse.
 dll-2.jpg A view of the town.
The best place on earth...Cabo Polonio!

Juggalos Are Headed to SXSW + Delta Spirit Pub Crawl = Eight Items Or Less


1.  Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as General Aladeen from The Dictator, released a video statement from the Republic of Waddiya Media addressing the news that he'll be banned from attending the Oscars (General Aladeen, not Cohen, that is).  "While I applaud the Academy for taking away my right to free speech, I warn you that if you do not lift your sanctions and give me my tickets back by 12pm on Sunday, you will face unimaginable consequences!"

2. Indie rock group Delta Spirit will host a Brooklyn pub crawl this Saturday, February 25th during which time they'll play tracks from their forthcoming eponymous third record and, if you make it to the third stop, you'll have had the chance to hear the whole album.  The rockers will finish the crawl with a performance at Williamsburg's Public Assembly.

3. Paris Hilton (remember her?) has a bizarre new video for her spoken word performance art, "Drunk Text."  In it, Hilton mostly talks in her fake baby voice over ambient "club music."  She gives advice, defines what a "sext" is and shares anecdotes.  Enjoy -- with references to bottle service and "my bitches," it'll make you feel like it's 2007. [Mashable/Perez Hilton]

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 5.50.23 PM.png
4. Check out these amazing custom-made bike frames by Paris-based art director Juri Zaech that spell out words and names.  [Laughing Squid]

Screen shot 2012-02-24 at 5.56.39 PM.png5.  Whoops.  On Time's new cover about Latino voters they accidentally included a photo of a journalist who's half-white and half-Asian. [Gawker]

6. Someone made a parody video of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" that's straight out of Super Mario Bros.  Princess Peach and her lips are lonesome, Luigi's a pizza-eating goof and Mario's a cad (but any 80s/90s kid probably knew that already). [Buzzfeed]

7. Oh no he didn't!  Tom Selleck dissed Uggie, the adorable pup from The Artist, on HuffPost TV. [Huffington Post]

Justin Vernon juggalo.pngGet ready!
8. Music nerds should be prepared for an onslaught of juggalos at this year's SXSW because Insane Clown Posse has been added to the Saturday line-up. [Austin 360]

Tips for Today: Patti Smith + Amy Ray + Brisket King of NYC

Patti+Smith+2012+Sanremo+62nd+Italian+Song+arHo0q2Dzsbl.jpgPatti Smith at The Strand

The iconic punk musician and recent National Book Award-winner Patti Smith heads to the Strand today, where she'll be reading from Woolgathering, her 1992 collection of poems/autobiography, which has been reissued and expanded, and explores Smith's struggle with what it means to be an artist.

The Strand, 828 Broadway. 7 p.m. $25. (Price of admission includes a copy of the book, and a Strand tote bag.)

Amy Ray at Housing Works

Tonight, Amy Ray, best known for being one-half of the Indigo Girls, sings from her forthcoming solo album (it's out tomorrow), Lung of Love, considered to be her strongest solo record to date. She's joined by Seatttle-based, "souther gothic" singer-songwriter Lindsay Fuller.

Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby St. 7:30 p.m. $25.

Brisket King of NYC at Santos Party House

Over ten of the city's finest brisket-makers (chefs from the likes of Edi & the Wolf, Murray's Cheese, Jimmy's No. 43, Bierkraft, among others) will be competing to make the best slow-cooked beef product at tonight's second annual Brisket King of NYC event. $55 will grant you unlimited brisket as well as free-flowing artisinal spirits, beers and two signature cocktails. Proceeds benefit the New Amsterdam Market.

Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St. 6:30 p.m. $55.

Bon Iver's "Towers" Is Our Music Video of the Day


There's a definite Old Man and the Sea vibe happening in Bon Iver's new video for "Towers" but Hemingway aside, Justin Vernon's falsetto crooning suits the sepia-tinged visuals, which show a graying fisherman exploring terrain that looks like it could be a fantasy-version of the Pacific Northwest. Without any other humans in sight, the sea man's isolation rivals Vernon's cabin in the woods circa For Emma, Forever Ago and, if you're like us, you'll probably be a little puzzled by the videos' ending. Perhaps this is an occasion to just enjoy the mystery and leave things unsaid.