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Meet Your New Favorite Sunglasses Brand: Smoke & Mirrors

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 4.39.41 PM.pngFrom Ethan Hawke to Sean Avery, everyone wants a pair of sunglasses from newly launched NYC-based eyewear brand, Smoke & Mirrors. Co-founded by born and bred New Yorker David Shabtai and inspired by the '60s and '70s rock scenes, the brand melds traditional craftsmanship with innovative manufacturing techniques (more on that later). We talk to Shabtai about the company's beginnings, their new campaign collaboration with DeerDana and why NYC is integral to the brand.

DavidShabtai.jpgDavid Shabtai

Tell me about your design background.

I grew up here in Manhattan and went to college here as well at NYU Gallatin. At eighteen I was working for my dad's jewelery company, Di Modolo, doing a bit of design and also overseeing production. I was learning how to make things, specifically in jewelry, and I was working with my cousin who is now my partner. While we were in Italy where [Smoke & Mirrors] started -- we now do all of our production in France -- we created the bones of this collection but we waited three years before we wanted to put anything out. We're just launching now -- this is our first season.

And what made you want to design sunglasses specifically?

Eyewear made sense because it was something that I always collected and loved. It's a really intimate accessory. There's also an utility aspect because people use glasses in order to see. It's a very functional piece that needs to also represent your own personal style. That's what we're about. My twenty five-year-old ex-girlfriend wears the same pair of sunglasses that my 67-year-old father does. Our brand is unisex.

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 4.51.51 PM.png

It's hard to find a ton of information on the brand. Is this vagueness intentional? Or is it because you launched so recently?

I wouldn't say there is an intentional vagueness. We're new. If you look at the way we are marketing ourselves and the way we put information about our brand out there, it's not a big blast. We've been doing wheatpaste campaigns and collaborating with artists and people we love. Our most recent campaign we worked on is a collaboration with DeerDana's Dana Veraldi.

How'd that collaboration come about?

We're starting this artist series where we want to be in the streets with different creatives all the time. I think Dana was a really great way to start. She's fun and I love her work. We wanted to do something with the faces of our favorite restaurants in New York. We're a New York brand so that made sense. We took Ali[reza Niroomand] from Sant Ambroeus, Maya [Jankelowitz] from Jack's Wife Freda, Arnaud [Hofmarcher] from Cherche Midi who used to be at Pastis, and Tom [Waugh] from ZZ's Clam Bar. I didn't want to use models. I think the people who represent Smoke & Mirrors are the ones with their own independent style, and people who have mastered a craft. Who love what they do. Who respect themselves and see art in whatever it is that they are doing. I think that Dana was a great person to use because she is really close, as are we, with the people we used in this campaign. 

But at the same time, you've collaborated with various celebrities like Ethan Hawke and Sean Avery. What's the story with them?

Again, it's people we know and love. I have a really good friend who has a bathing suit company called Solid & Striped and he was doing a campaign with Sean Avery and Hilary Rhoda. We had the glasses in the [Solid & Striped] showroom for a bit and they saw them so we were able to work them into different things like their campaign. Danielle Nachmani does the art direction for us and she is also a well-known, incredible stylist and human being. She styles Ethan Hawke so he wears the glasses. He has a bunch of pairs and loves them.

Do you think growing up in NYC helped establish these connections?

Definitely. Growing up here is definitely an asset in a lot of ways because you have a head start. You know how things work, where everybody is, who people are. I think it definitely gets the conversation going. You know who to go to and who to help you out.

golden brown havana and horn.jpgWhat makes Smoke & Mirrors different from other indie eyewear brands?

It's really all about craftsmanship. We have a technique of double shooting -- we're the first people to ever weld two pieces of acetate together seamlessly in a way that feels like one piece and yet it's two completely separate colors, two completely separate materials, not attached by metal or glue -- they are really one sheet. In terms of our styling, our designs are all unique. There's not a lot out there that's similar to us.

Where can you find Smoke & Mirrors?

We aren't selling online yet. In New York, you can find us at American Two Shot, Ultimate Spectacle, Fivestory. Tenet in South Hampton. And in Miami we're at Vault, and Babalu.

Check out Smoke & Mirrors' website here.

Kanye West is Love's Unsung Hero

BFA_10320_1245744.jpgKanye West, thinking about love and stuff. Photo by Julien Boudet/BFAnyc.com

In the midst divorce season (RIP Kris & Bruce, Wiz & Amber, Mariah & Nick, etc.), there's one man who is out to ensure that love springs eternal. And that man is none other than Kanye West, who has appointed himself love's vigilante since finding his true happiness as a "married, Christian man."

Page Six reports that West crashed a bachelorette party in New Orleans, proving that the rapper will stop at nothing to make certain that love wins out. A source said that West sent a bottle of champagne to the bride-to-be, later saying that "getting married was 'the best thing that's happened to him.'"

While that seems very sweet, we're not convinced that this isn't just a part of Kanye West's agenda to marry off all the singles. Lest we forget that West, only a few months ago, rattled off his marriage manifesto to GQ, in which he proclaimed -- with a repetition that evokes brainwashing -- "Marriage is cool!"

"I am an arbiter of taste, and people think that I have the ability to make things cool--or if I'm doing it, it should be cool. And I feel that this stuff's starting to be cool. And that feels good to me. Because I don't like walking around with people thinking I'm doing uncool shit, because there's nothing I'm doing that's uncool. It's all innovative. You just might not understand it yet. But it's cool. Family is super cool. Going home to one girl every night is super cool. Just going home and getting on the floor and playing with your child is super cool. Not wearing a red leather jacket, and just looking like a dad and shit, is like super cool."

Although we have to admit that picturing "Dad Kanye" is very endearing (as is almost anything Kanye does), we're not all going to get married because it's cool. That's hardly a reason to do anything. Much like Amanda Bynes, we'll get married because we're "very needy for friendship," "hate men," and "want to be away from people."

Jaden Smith Does Pantsless Parkour in "Fast" Music Video


Jaden Smith raps like he tweets. His newest track and video, "Fast" is more like a teaser, clocking in at just over one minute -- in contrast to the seven minute long vibe out that is "Blue Ocean." Jaden's rap also has the disjointed narrative of a Twitter timeline. The song starts out as a safe driving PSA and ends with the zen/threatening line, "I had to make you preexist."

Although we can't exactly comprehend the song, we're into it and his flow is pretty impressive. We also appreciated Jaden's skilled parkour moves. Watch "Fast" for yourself, above.

Ed Sheeran Takes On Ballroom Dancing in "Thinking Out Loud"


We'd be lying if we said that our heart didn't melt -- just a little -- watching Ed Sheeran's sweet new single "Thinking Out Loud." Unlike his past videos, which tend to be more fantastical, here he goes for a much more simple approach doing a choreographed ballroom dance sequence with quite the dance partner! The real question is... is someone ready for Dancing With the Stars?

This Dude Is the Worst/Best Boyfriend Ever


This dude is very good at sneak-attacking his girlfriend with "Lord of the Rings" quotes. We are mildly amused. Mostly annoyed. [TastefullyOffensive]
Mystery solved. [FYouNoFMe]
 tumblr_nd1zfft2Ym1qcqqpjo1_500.pngOmg. [Laughterkey]
New wallpaper. [Mlkshk]

10WY8.jpgSorry, all sold out of social media. [Mlkshk]

tumblr_nbm8m8Z1hR1qelyl4o1_500.gifThis would work as a good daily aphorism: "You're amazing and LOOK out Oprah!" See? You feel better already. [FYouNoMe]

Mary J. Blige Hits the Studio with Disclosure For "Right Now"


Mary J. Blige has been busy recording her fourth studio album The London Sessions. The R&B queen teamed up with Disclosure for "Right Now," and the slick video for the dance-meets-soul track shows their collaborative efforts in the studio. The results are a surprisingly perfect pairing.

The London Sessions
is out November 24. Watch the video for "Right Now," above.

[via The Fader]

Shia LaBeouf Cut His Face with a Knife for Art

BFA_4121_465980.jpgShia LaBeouf (with his face intact). Photo by Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

Shia LaBeouf -- whose bizarre craft includes not being famous, artistically running marathons, and misusing the word "meta" with confidence -- reportedly cut his face with a knife (for art).

The actor/artiste has taken off his spandex in favor of taking method acting to a thoroughly troubling extreme. Starring alongside Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman in the new World War II film, Fury, LaBeouf wanted his battle worn look to be as real as possible. His co-star Lerman told GQ magazine:

"We were in make-up and they were putting cuts on Shia and I said, 'Yeah, yeah, it looks good.' And Shia was like, 'No, it doesn't look real.' ...Then he walks out into the hallway and says, 'Hey man, wanna see something fun? Check this out...' and he takes out a knife and cuts his face. And for the whole movie he kept opening these cuts on his face. That's all real."

Yeah, REAL CRAZY. In addition to giving himself actual wounds while smiling with dead eyes, LaBeouf declined to shower for the duration of the shoot and had a few of his teeth pulled out to complete his war-ready ensemble.

Since we're morally torn between viewing LaBeouf's dedication to his craft as super badass or just insane, all we're gonna say is Fury better be the best movie of all time.

Fury hits theaters October 17.  

[Via The Guardian]

Chelsea Handler Frees Her Nipple


Last night via Twitter, Chelsea Handler belatedly joined Scout Willis in the plight to set the nipple free. The late night talk show host and former Paper cover girl probably didn't have the same political intentions in mind. But it's the gesture that counts, right?

The author of comedic memoirs styled as confessionals to hard liquor posted a picture of her liberated nipple as an addendum to a tweet promoting her upcoming radio chat with Dave Grohl. Besides the fact that it looks like Chelsea Handler has joined a J. Crew-sponsored moped gang, we're left wondering why anyone would want their nipples to be forever associated with the Foo Fighters.

If anything, Chelsea Handler's left breast is a fairly effective primer for her newest comedy special Uganda Be Kidding Me, which airs on Netflix this Friday. The 70-minute special, after her book of the same name, has been said to be her "raunchiest" yet.

Meet the Crown Prince of Health Goth, Chicago DJ Johnny Love

Johnny Love 2.jpgJohnny Love (left) and friend.

Like a lot of recent sub-cultures, 'Health Goth' started on the web, with hashtags and images popping up on Tumblr, Instagram or Twitter making reference to a style that blends fashion's simultaneous obsessions with goth-y streetwear (see: Hood By Air, Pyrex Vision) and athletic apparel (Nike, Under Armour). Generally thought to have entered the ether a year ago when Portland-based R&B duo Magic Fades started a 'Health Goth' Facebook page, the scene has picked up steam over the last few months thanks, in no small part, to Chicago-based DJ Johnny Love.

A major muscle behind Chi Town's underground party scene -- Love frequently plays shows under his electro-hardcore outfit Deathface and helped develop the city's popular pansexual party, "Soft Leather" -- Love sports jet-black workout gear everyday, chronicles his gym sessions on Instagram, and has even launched a line of Health Goth apparel. A successor to the high fashion logo parody trend popular in 2013, his debut collection is comprised of winking black t-shirts and sports bras with reworked sportswear logos and slogans (i.e. "Just Do Me") printed across the chest. We caught up with the DJ to hear more about his new line, get his thoughts on Chicago's nightlife scene and what he really thinks about all the 'Health Goth' buzz.

How did you first get into Health Goth?

I'd seen the 'Health Goth' hashtag being used with photos of people wearing things like black Nike leggings and motorcycle masks and was like, "This makes sense -- it's what I wear to the gym anyway and I'm already a goth, so I guess I'm a Health Goth now." When my last Deathface record came out, I was interviewed by Thump and created a joke [article] "10 Commandments of Health Goth," which some Internet kids from Portland took umbrage with -- they all said I was making a mockery of Health Goth. So being an old Internet troll myself, I decided to go all the way with it. My friend actually bought the HealthGoth.com domain when she first heard about [the subculture], and gave it me because we were like, "This is great -- these kids are going to get so mad."

Why did you decide to design a Health Goth clothing line?

I wanted to actually create some real content behind Health Goth, instead of it being a hyper-real subculture. As someone who's participated in various subcultures, it doesn't make sense for there to be one that exists without real life participation. People post things in the Health Goth Facebook group like $500 sneakers and outfits that no one would actually wear unless they're going to New York Fashion Week -- it's like they almost don't want it to exist. They're creating a subculture that's become an advertising platform for corporations and it's become like a cyberpunk dystopia. My idea of a subculture is like DIY punk, grunge, rave stuff that doesn't buy into big-name brands.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 1.10.06 PM.png One of the Health Goth designs available for sale.

And that's what inspired your line of t-shirts and sports bras?

Yeah. I didn't want the clothes to be too expensive because if people want to participate in Health Goth, they should be able to without spending too much. For a subculture to actually take root, you need participation. If you don't allow audience participation, then anyone can shit all over it and it'll be over in six months because it was never something to begin with. Seapunk wasn't able to properly take hold before it got so quickly exposed, which is why it died out. Now when you think of Seapunk, you picture a fucking dolphin shirt and green hair. For my collection, I designed one of the t-shirts to look like a Juventus jersey, which is an Italian soccer team. Their original jersey is black, the sponsor is cheap and it was all really minimal, so everything made sense in relation to Health Goth.

How does Deathface fit into Health Goth?

My music makes me think of someone dropping weights in a sweaty gym that's really dark with a strobe light. It's fitting because Industrial DJs in the early '90s would perform onstage wearing a wife beater and combat boots, and they'd be really fit and muscular. Health Goth is all about having a fit body.

Tell me about your dance party, Soft Leather.

When I moved back to Chicago two years ago [from Atlanta], the scene was in a real bad place, mostly because of the rise of EDM. In terms of nightlife it was like, "this is where the douchebags go, and this is where more douchebags go." The club environment wasn't friendly to what my friends and I were trying to organize, which was a seapunk party in a dark room full of mattresses where everyone would trip and watch [animated Japanese film] Ponyo. After being bounced around, we finally heard about a new club called East Room, which is where Soft Leather began. We wanted it to not only be gay friendly, but also be a space for the girls to feel safe coming in a look without being harassed. The music also had to be forward-thinking to separate us from every club that plays Top 40 down Halsted [in Boystown]. It's more progressive than anything else going on in Chicago, right now.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 12.26.04 PM.pngPhoto via Instagram. 

How do you think Chicago's DIY scene compares to that of other cities?

A few friends of mine came to play a show recently and were talking about how the party they played in New York was really cool and that a lot of kids came out in looks, but they said it felt very superficial, like there were no personalities behind the looks. When they played our party in Chicago, they said we had all the same looks as New York kids, but that there seemed to be some substance behind everything. I personally like the Los Angeles scene a bit better than Chicago because it's more supportive. Here, it's like a barrel of crabs where everyone is crawling on each other to get to the top -- it's super competitive probably because it's so small.

Why do you think the Chicago's nightlife scene is so small?

Chicago is the biggest small town in America -- there are millions of people here, but we're still in the middle of Illinois with nothing around us, so culture is naturally going to be more conservative. People think, "Why would I go out, dress up and express myself if I'm just going to get harassed the entire way to the club and back?" Everyone ends up going to New York, where in reality, you have to work nonstop just to pay the rent -- it's not bohemian. You can't express yourself because you're concerned with expressing yourself in a way that will get you fed. It's bullshit. I don't think there are any bohemian places left in America. Wicker Park in Chicago used to be lined with lofts that were filled with art school kids hanging out and dancing all night. Does culture like that exist anywhere in America now? In Manhattan, you'll get a free bottle for bringing in your cool friends, but the only reward you get out of it is whatever they pay you for hosting and how drunk you get for free. You're not contributing to culture -- you're an ornament for the rich people. There's no actual place where you can create art and culture, anymore.

Somehow Nick Jonas Got Angel Haze to Be On His Album


With Nick Jonas' body taking up most of the media spotlight, it's easy to forget that he's also a musician. But, as a way of reminding us all that he's more than just his abs and, uh, what's below his abs, he's released a new single, "Numb," featuring Angel Haze. While the collaboration is a bit out of left field, they compliment each other well on the decidedly anti-Jonas Brothers sounding, drum heavy track. "Numb" will appear on his self-titled debut album, out November 11.

Jay Z Does Not Like Answering Questions When Taking Blue Ivy on Fancy Fieldtrips


Who is she?
is usually reserved for mysteriously effortless women whose hair flows behind them, even when there's no wind. But in a variation on the theme, an unfortunate videographer asked "Who is he?" as Jay Z was en route to the Louvre with Blue Ivy in tow. Jay Z's response was salty, well-timed, or, as some might say, flawless.  

[via Vulture]

This Drake/Danzig "Mother" Mash-Up Is Perfection


"What would Drake sound like mashed-up with Danzig," is a question you've likely never asked yourself. But that's what the Internet's for.  Here, we get Danzig's 1988/'93 hit "Mother" slowed down over the woozy synth of Drake's "0 to 100 /The Catch Up" James Blake outro. And doesn't it work beautifully?  Even better, the re-mix matches nicely with the drama (and Original Emo side-swept bangs) of the actual "Mother" video. This edit, however, cuts off right before the part where Glenn Danzig sacrifices a chicken over a woman's body. Given Drake's propensity for feathered friends, we agree with this edit. It's what he would want. Watch it above.

H/T @BrandonStosuy.

Robert Downey Jr. and Jimmy Fallon Have an Intense Stare-Down Feat. Man Buns


Robert Downey Jr. and Jimmy Fallon don man-buns and have an intense stare-down on a mountaintop.

Garfi might just be our new favorite grumpy cat. [via Huffington Post

Key and Peele nail the very real struggle of texting. 

A completely necessary wardrobe addition. [via FuckYouNoFuckMe] 


Ah how we long for the days when a cup of water brought us unbridled joy.

Six Things We're Obsessed With Right Now

Psych Babes

Lowell Photo by Norman Wong, Doja Cat Photo by Michael Creagh Creative Direction by Kyle Luu, Lia Ices Photo by Jersey Walz

Perhaps it's our nation's increasingly lax attitude toward marijuana, or fashion's newfound interest in all things hallucinatory (see: Dries Van Noten, Acne and Prada's mind-bending prints or Jeremy Scott's spring/summer 2015 show, Psychedelic Jungle), but in recent months we've noticed a spacey haze in the air. And right now, it swirls the thickest around indie-pop women. Zola Jesus' avant-industrial creations are as otherworldly as they are warm and romantic; her latest LP, Taiga, out early next month on Mute, is one of our favorite new albums. Lowell, a Toronto-based former stripper turned singer, makes distorted fizzy pop that sounds like she has a bubblegum- flavored tab of acid dissolving on her tongue. On the West Coast, the video for Doja Cat's woozy R&B track "So High" features the L.A. singer on a giant lotus flower like some 4:20 goddess, while California transplant Lia Ices' track "Higher," off her new Jagjaguwar album, Ices, is a kaleidoscopic freakout. Speaking with Papermag.com recently, Ices summed up the album as a celebration of the urge to "go outside of yourself, explore and travel." Looks like fall is going to be one big trip.

Text by Elizabeth Thompson


Superstar hairstylist Sam McKnight is best known for running his fingers through the hair of Vogue cover girls and creating trendsetting coiffures for the Chanel show each season. But these days our favorite McKnight moments involve the London-based legend posting selfies showcasing outrageous wigs. From the chic to the ridiculous, every tress-related creation this wizard touches turns to gold. Want more blissful wignorance? Head to Instagram and follow @sammcknight1.

Text by Mickey Boardman

To Distraction

ToDistraction.jpgCory Angel, Working On My Novel, 2014 Published by Penguin Books Ltd.

Phillips officially recognized net art when the auction house partnered with Tumblr to hold the first major all-digital art auction just last year, but Cory Arcangel has been one of the art world's OG digital hackers for a while now. At the 2004 Whitney Biennial, he made a name for himself by deconstructing Super Mario Bros. These days, the Brooklyn-based artist is turning from video games to social networks. For his book Working On My Novel, out October 8 via Penguin, Arcangel used a bot to search Twitter for the title phrase, mining tweets from hopeful novelists writing equally in Word documents and their feeds. Together, the tweets reflect a creative climate in which distractions triumph over breakthroughs. Like the book, Arcangel's latest show, tl;dr, at Team (gallery, inc.), makes a case for technology as a praxis in itself. He works with compression techniques on pop culture images, like a glitched picture of Beyoncé and Jay Z, to illustrate the process by which we consume and degrade them. In both tl;dr and Working On My Novel, Arcangel plays with the tension between technology and art, revealing what the two can do for -- and to -- each other.

Text by Gabby Bess

Men to The Front

MentoTheFront.jpgSibling, KTZ, Nasir Mahzar, Christopher Shannon, J.W. Anderson. Images (c) catwalkpictures.com

We confess that menswear can be a bit tame compared to the over-the-top fantasyland of women's fashion, but on a recent trip across the pond our socks were knocked off by the wild and crazy cuteness we saw at London Collections: Men. Jonathan Anderson is crown prince of London fashion; his show explored the J.W. Anderson line's signature elegant gender bending. (The week after LC: M, Anderson was in Paris presenting his first menswear collection for Loewe.) Meanwhile, a whole crew of youngsters -- like Astrid Andersen, Nasir Mazhar and Bobby Abley -- struck us as the sartorial offspring of Jeremy Scott. Inspired by style archetypes that run the gamut from hip-hop to The Little Mermaid, this talented new crop use heavy doses of whimsy to jazz up their wearable silhouettes. Looks like there's hope for menswear after all.

Text by Mickey Boardman

Man Braids

ManBraids.jpgGrooming by Dylan K Hanson for MAC / Cosmetics at Artists at Wilhelmina Image Board NYC / Modeled by Quiller Sharratt at Major Model Management / McQ by Alexander McQueen jacket

From Silver Lake to Williamsburg, the Mission to Wicker Park, men with buns are as ubiquitous as $4 pour-over coffee. It only makes sense, then, that these long-locked fellas would eventually seek out a new 'do: braids. The nascent trend found its ambassador at this year's Emmy Awards, where True Detective director and 2011 PAPER Beautiful Person Cary Joji Fukunaga sported long French pigtail braids. Unexpectedly versatile, these thick, full-bodied plaits (don't confuse them with cornrows) have popped up on everyone from models like Willy Cartier to rappers like A$AP Rocky and Lil Wayne. Whether you're down with man braids or think they should be left to Willie Nelson, at least one major benefit will come of this fad: kids in the 2020s are going to have dads with mean braiding skills. Lopsided ponytails will be a thing of the past.

Text by Abby Schreiber / Photo by Diggy Lloyd

Best Medicine
BestMedicine.jpgPhotography by Ashley Nguyen, Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions

"As late as 1967, it would have been illegal for my parents to be married in the States." Actor Tessa Thompson is placing her life in the context of her new film Dear White People, a spirited satire on America's never-was "post-race" mentality. Thompson plays Sam White, a mixed-race student navigating life on a predominately white campus where the semester's tensions culminate in a "themed" frat party complete with watermelons and blackface. Eight years in the making, Dear White People is finally hitting theaters October 17 -- just over two months after Ferguson erupted. "This is something that needs to be an ongoing conversation in America," Thompson says. "We have quite a bit further to go, and I think it's okay to have a sense of humor about that." Writer-director Justin Simien, who won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance this year, took to Twitter to road test jokes; the result is a hilariously honest script. And laughter, Thompson says, could be part of the solution. "Losing a young boy like Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin, these are serious issues. But I think [Dear White People] offers one perspective that is not so adversarial -- we are all just trying to figure it out."

Text by Maggie Dolan

Hot Hunky Men Take Off Their Shirts For A Good Cause

Mark Delannoy poses with Taylor the dog. Photo by Mike Ruiz

Cute and cuddly puppies are probably the one thing we love more than ripped, shirtless men that we can project our completely unrealistic fantasies onto. But luckily, an NYC-based animal rescue group created a calender that doesn't force us to choose between the two. And while we're at it can also support a great cause.

h-HUNKS-AND-HOUNDS-768x768-1.jpgCamilo Hatuka and Lenny the dog. Photo by Mike Ruiz

Hunks and Hounds, shot by photographer Mike Ruiz, is the calendar brainchild of Louie's Legacy Animal Rescue that uses hot guys to promote animal adoption and welfare. But it's not just the dogs that are available -- the hunks are too. Ruiz told Huffington Post, "As far as I know, and I know a lot, they are all single." ;)


11 Must-See Art Shows Opening This Week


Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 11.56.04 AM.pngStill on view here in the Big Apple -- it's up until October 19th -- is a new show of works by the acclaimed music photographer Mick Rock called "Exposed" at Tribeca's Sumo Gallery (37 Walker Street). There are lots of cool shots of Queen, Janelle Monae, The Black Keys, Daft Punk, Bowie and more

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 11.38.16 AM.pngJonathan LeVine Gallery -- actually we should make that plural, since he's got two spaces now -- has four openings this week to keep you busy.  First, there's a new solo exhibition, "Future Tense," by Alex Gross opening on Thursday, October 9, 6 to 8 p.m. at 557C West 23rd Street.  The L.A.-based artist will be showing a series of paintings and mixed media works, in conjunction with a new book published by Ginko Press.  On Saturday, October 11, 6 to 8 p.m., at 529 West 20th Street, LeVine opens three new shows: "Theatre de la Memoire" with works by the French artist Marc Giai-Miniet; "West of Ovest," a series of paintings by the Italian artist Fabio D'Aroma; and "Epilogues," by the L.A.-based artist Esao Andrews.  All four show will be up until November 8th.

saul_raccoons_paint_a_picture_2011_10907_ps_high_res.jpgBrooklyn Rail publisher (and artist, writer and curator) Phong Bui has a big group show called "Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior" opening on Thursday, October 9, 8 to 11 p.m. at Red Bull Studios (220 West 18th Street). The works on view are by artists "with common interests in psychedelic experience," including Gregory Crewdson, Robert Gober, Ryan Trecartin, Roxy Paine, Fred Tomaselli, Lisa Yuskavage and many more.  For the opening, DJ Nelleke will be spinning. The exhibition is up until December 14th.

petzel11.jpgPetzel Gallery  (456 West 18th Street) opens a new exhibition by the London-based artist John Stezaker on October 9, 6 to 8 p.m. featuring several large-scale silkscreens based on classic movie stills, plus the U.S. premiere of a film called "Blind."  It's on view until November 8.

richardhambleton.jpg"Shadows & Blood" at Dorian Grey Gallery (437 East 9th Street) is an exhibition of works by the New York artist Richard Hambleton, curated by Robert Murphy.  It opens on Thursday, October 9th, 6 to 9 p.m. and will be up until November 9th.

On October 10th, 6 to 9 p.m., there's a group show called "D(RAW)" opening at Bullet Space (292 East 3rd Street) with works by several artists including Brigitte Engler, John Farris, Tony Pinotti, Nadia Cohen, Margaret Weber and eight others.

Aslo on Friday, October 10th, 6 to 8 p.m., Marianne Boesky East (20 Clinton Street) opens "Mimetic Pleasures," a solo exhibit of new paintings by the London-based artist Melissa Gordon.  There's also the launch of a Gordon monograph at Printed Matter (195 10th Avenue) from 5 to 7 p.m. on October 11th.


Joseph Gross Gallery (548 West 28th Street, second floor) opens a group show called "So Far, So Good" with works by L.A. street artist Hueman, New Yorker Erik Jones and Alex Yanes, from Miami.  It's the first major New York show for all three, and the opening is October 9th, 6 to 9 p.m.  The exhibition will be up until the beginning of November.

1781.jpgJack Hanley Gallery  (327 Broome Street) opens "Six-Thirty," a show by Brooklyn-based artist Elizabeth Jaeger, with a continuous performance called "Draft" that's been choreographed by Madeline Hollander, on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition stays up until November 9th.

41_liveworkflierweb450.jpgThe artist, blogger -- and probably the coolest Etsy contributor ever  -- Brad Troemel has a new show called "LIVE/WORK" opening on Sunday, October 12, 6 to 8 p.m., at Tomorrow Gallery (106 Eldridge Street) and up until November 9th.

Still_Life_Cropped_Shot5.jpgAlso check out the cool and minimal exhibition of two, juxtaposed works at Nahmad Contemporary (980 Madison Avenue, third floor).  One is called "pink out of a corner (to Jasper Johns)" by Dan Flavin and the other is "Lens" by Alex Israel.  They'll be up until November 1st.


Out-of-towners (and jet setters) should check out the month-long biennial called "Photography in Dialogue" curated by FotoFocus, opening this weekend in Cincinnati.  John Waters and Jeff L. Rosenheim, head of the Met's photography department, are expected to be on-hand this weekend.  Check out the schedule of events, exhibitions, screenings, etc. HERE

And if you're going to be in Phoenix on Friday, October 10, stop by the opening of the Arizona Costume Institute's exhibit "Fashioned in America" from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Phoenix Art Museum.  Over 40 ensembles from U.S. designers will be on view through the middle of March, 2015, plus there's screenings of a new documentary called "Make it in America" directed by James Belzer.

Milan's Cardi Gallery (Corso di Porta Nuova 38) opens a big, new show of over thirty works by Louise Nevelson on Thursday, October 9, 7 to 9 p.m. The late American artist would have been 115 years old last week.




Ladyfag: The Woman Saving New York Nightlife

Portrait by Richard Burbridge, Ladyfag wears a jumpsuit by Adam Selman.

It's a classic New York story: she arrives from Toronto, expecting to stay for three months before returning home to her life, selling vintage clothes and moonlighting as a performance artist. She's discovered on the dance floor by nightlife doyenne Kenny Kenny, who asks her to work for him. She starts hosting and performing at parties, and then she starts throwing parties of her own, attracting the attention of fashion demigods like Riccardo Tisci (whom she writes about in this issue's cover story). And the rest is nightlife history. In the nine years since she moved here, Ladyfag has become a force, her roving club Shade a legendary destination, her marketplace Pop Souk a wild mirage of fashion, art and club culture. She has become a frequent Fashion Week presence here and abroad, and when she's home, crossing from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back again is all in a night's work. How does she do it? What's next? And what's the deal with her name?

What you've done is really major. It's not that easy to come into the city and end up in the center of the circle.

I don't know. I feel like that's a New York thing.

Is it?

Yeah. I feel like New York is one of those cities where, if you bring it, they embrace you. Because everyone's been here at one point. You know what I mean?

A lot of people have left with their tails between their legs.

That's true. It definitely weeds people out, but that's one of the things that I love about New York. I came here, I didn't know anybody, and now I have this entire life. Because everyone has been new here once it doesn't have that small-town mentality.

What was your impression of New York before you moved here permanently?

PAPER was part of it. I remember reading PAPER magazine in Toronto. I remember sitting there really distinctly and looking at 20 Years of Style and going through it with my friend, and we were packing my stuff and being like, "Oh my god! Imagine meeting all these people." Now I look back and I'm like, "ah, my friends, my friends." Now I'm like the jaded New Yorker. I'm still excited, but everything just seems much more normal than seeing it from a distance.

Do you think the expense of living in New York is a hindrance to having a good time?

I don't think it's a hindrance at all. I still think there's no place like New York City. Even if there's more obstacles thrown at you, that's part of living in New York -- that's always been a part of living in New York -- and people always find a way to live around other creative people.

You've embraced Brooklyn, right? You do a lot of events in Brooklyn as well.

I've lived in Brooklyn since I moved here. And even though a lot of the things I do are Manhattan-based -- I'm a Manhattan person in that way -- I spend so much time in Brooklyn, and I feel like that's where youth culture as a whole really is.

If you plan an event for Manhattan, as opposed to Brooklyn, do you do things differently?

Absolutely. Manhattan still has that different kind of caché. Whereas a lot of Manhattan people would never have crossed the bridge, now they cross the bridge to Brooklyn for something special. They're like, "We're gonna go to Brooklyn today for brunch. Or we're going to go to Brooklyn for this party."

And then there's global nightlife. Do you do much traveling?

I travel quite a bit, yeah. I definitely think there's mirror scenes in different cities and they're all interconnected and incestuous in a way. We all visit each other's cities and try and work together. Kind of like Manhattan and Brooklyn people!

How about your name? I need to understand...

There's this woman Sook-Yin Lee. She was a VJ on our MTV, on MuchMusic. She came up to me and she goes, "Oh, I'm doing this art show, and it's all about being outsiders in whatever way. Do you want to be a part of it?" I was like, "I'm not an outsider!" I didn't know what she was referring to. She was like, "Well, you're kind of this woman but you're surrounded by gay men all the time at all your events and everything you do and you don't seem like a fag-hag; it just seems like you're one of these guys." So I started thinking about it, and I did this entire performance about being a woman who is also the same as these men that she's around. The woman who runs with the wolves, and she thinks she's one of them. It was called Ladyfag: A Love Story. Because I was like, I'm definitely a lady, I don't feel like a drag queen or a transsexual; I'm a woman. And I definitely don't feel like other women in that way, but I don't feel like a complete fag, but at the same time I am!

You're also a businesswoman.

I enjoy that part of it too. There is nothing romantic about that part; that's the shitty part sometimes. I came here so I can be free and do all this stuff, and I'm like, "Wait a minute -- why am I up? It's seven fucking thirty in the morning and I'm looking at spreadsheets!"

So you're less about industry, more about the creative...

Mine is more about the community and the actual artists. I hire real DJs I have real respect for. I would never hire celebrity DJs. I love the freaks! I think there's so much talent in them. Even in fashion. If you think about so many of the biggest designers, where do they all come from? Nightclub culture.

ladyfagTWO.jpgPhoto by Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

Let's talk about that: fashion and nightlife. Who influences who?

I think it's a circle. It's not just nightlife; it's youth culture and nightlife and the arts and the creatives. They all feed each other. It's circular. I feel like nightlife is definitely this nexus, this meeting point of all these various different creative outlets. You've got the music, fashion, dance, performance. It's kind of like a petri dish, a breeding ground for creativity.

And community and information. People have a chance to network and find out what's going on.

It's also this platform, like a stage where people are actually seeing how it really works. Especially in fashion. You see how the kids actually wear it, and you're inspired by that in turn. When you think about how many designers in the fashion world were club kids...

Nightlife today usually gets a bad rap when compared to the creativity of the past.

When everyone used to be dressed up, and you could have no money and it didn't matter! But the people reminiscing are these are people who are only going to these big events in Manhattan. On any given night that you go out in Brooklyn, there's going to be kids doing some crazy show, usually either in a dive bar, or it's illegal, or they are just setting it up in a loft in Bushwick. It doesn't necessarily get tons of press, the mainstream media doesn't care about it in a major way, or they do [care about it but only] for their token articles about the Brooklyn-Bushwick underground -- but the kids are still doing it! Bushwick in particular, and Fort Greene, and all these different places are little pockets of what people in the '80s and early '90s considered downtown New York.

What happens when people are over it before it even starts because they feel like they've read about it five times already...

You want the people to acknowledge what you are doing, but then at the same time, when everyone starts acknowledging it in this kind of way, you start hating it. It's natural. In my head I can't fathom things not being possible. You make them happen -- that's what you do. Maybe that's a production thing, maybe that's a New York thing, but I live for that kind of energy. I feel like when people say, "Oh, New York, it's such a tough town, you can't make it." You have to work for it! Because everybody is working for what they want to do. Everybody is here chasing dreams. So if you're not trying to make it happen, you're not going to make it here. You're not going to make it, and you're going to find that people are overwhelming you because everyone is doing things!

And speaking of making it, your Shade parties are legendary.

Basically we're building nightclubs -- you're basically building a nightclub every time you throw a party. We completely change everything.

So why start a new party?

You can feel buzz in a city when it wants something new. Shade is now established but I can only do it a few times a year. Then I have this other party called Lowbrow, which is kind of like Shade. It's more exclusive in the sense that you have to find out about it in secret, because they're a lot smaller. And Shade is a monster.

Where is it?

They're in warehouses. No one knows till the day of. Not even staff.


Yeah, same with Shade. Nobody knows until the day of, unless you help us come set something up. Then I needed a new Manhattan party. I feel like now there's this whole thing about Brooklyn. I was doing parties in Brooklyn, these warehouse parties, and none of the Manhattan people would really be going to them... and then people started coming. Now everyone is jumping on that bandwagon. I'm still doing it. I'm gonna do something big in Manhattan! 'Cause no one's doing that. So I'm always causing more trouble for myself.

Hair by Andrew Fitzsimons for Oribe Hair Care  / Makeup by Julie Harris at the Wall Group / Digital Tech: Kevin Kunstadt

"Someone Had Just Died on the Dance Floor:" True Tales of '80s Nightlife Insanity

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.28.10 PM.pngThe crowd waiting to get into Area in the '80s.

It's arguable whether New York used to be better than it is now, but it was definitely wilder -- a time when crack addicts outnumbered strollers and bohemian life was so vital that major club events would have even more people waiting to get in than line up today for organic clam dip at Trader Joe's. Comic Nora Burns has tapped into this reality by throwing a series of rollicking, nostalgia-drenched events at Stonewall Inn called New York Stories, whereby survivors of the golden age hobble to the stage and remember the good, bad, and ugly of a time when the only rule was to not be boring.

At last week's edition, Burns began by admitting that she doesn't want to be one of those people chronically complaining about NYC's changes. "If you're 22," she said, "it's still exciting, with the artisanal beer gardens and Brooklyn things. But when I was young, it was this wonderland of freaks and weirdos and little old Italian ladies leaning out of windows."

Writer Anthony Haden-Guest talked about walking around covered in fake blood after shooting a cameo in a 1980s Troma film. "No one batted an eyelash," he marveled. "This was crazy New York."

Moving on to other bodily fluids, fashion publicist James LaForce remembered going to the raunchy gay sex club the Mine Shaft in the 1970s, dryly admitting, "I really envied the guy who laid in the bathtub there every night. He really owned it. The Mine Shaft was his Cheers."

Writer/actor Ryan Landry spoke about another sexually charged gay club, the Anvil, where he would go cruising at the age of 15. To look older, he said, "I put mascara on my upper lip, on the few hairs that were there." One night, a hot stud asked Landry to dance, so he obliged, and as they were bumping to the beat, the guy started spraying ethyl chloride on him, apparently a common practice in those parts. "He accidentally sprayed it across my eyes," related Landry. "I kept dancing as I was crying, and it was really painful, but I was trying to keep my cool. After a while, he looked me in the face and walked away. The mascara had run down my face! I looked like Fu Manchu! I realized it was all over."

But the nightlife stories kept coming. Performer Clark Render sprayed metaphorical ethyl at us by recounting the horribly funny tale of a skankhole called the Fallout Shelter, a hard-hat clubbing experience for those who dared. "It was on 43rd Street in a building that was later condemned," he said. "The entranceway was strewn with garbage and dead birds. There was no plumbing, as we think of it, so they had rented Port-o-sans. The bar was a folding card table. The cash register was a cigar box. And if you worked there, you had a 50/50 chance of getting paid." Remembering a night when the Port-o-sans exploded, thereby "spewing chemicals and feces over the entire street," Render decided that Fallout Shelter was the best club ever! It was certainly more interesting than a trip to the Olive Garden.

Jackie 60 legend Chi Chi Valenti talked about the feeling that permeated the creative, pre-Giuliani clubs in the early '90s. She said that involved "doing something with terrible tech and taped-together shoes and a sense of doing something so important it was bound to succeed."

10645186_10152761915962044_4952126987386912051_n.jpgPhoto by Linda Simpson.

Ex-door-gal Sally Randall Brunger spoke about the goldmine of opportunities back in the '80s, if you happened to be in the right place and looked right. When Sally worked in the office of a fashion company, "this woman came by like the wind and looked back at me. It was Diane von Furstenberg. She said, 'Who are you?' I said, 'I'm a file clerk.' She said, 'No you're not. You work for me!' " That led to two and a half years of fabulous employment -- "everything from compiling the fashion show seating charts to meeting with Polly Mellen to show her the collection." Not to mentioning hobnobbing with major celebs. At one von Furstenberg event, Sally ended up on a couch with Paul Schrader and Marisa Berenson, who were gabbing about the glories of Studio 54, insisting she come with them to the dazzling disco. But just in case we were getting too entranced by the past, Sally added, "They dumped me at the front door, of course."

Jump ahead to 1985, when Sally was working for another designer, Norma Kamali, who doled out a wake-up call of her own. At one point, Kamali handed Sally a pink slip and a phone number, saying, "I love you, but you're a terrible sales person." The number was that of former 54 co-owner Ian Schrager, who was opening the splashy new Palladium on 14th Street. Sally promptly met with Schrager and suggested she do PR for him, but he said, "No. I know who you are. You wear wigs and are friends with [scene queen] Dianne Brill and you really know Raquel Welch. You're the doorperson. You're the bridge between two worlds." And they called it the birth of the clipboard.

And finally, Jorge Socarras, who worked for the high-concept Tribeca club Area, remembered the night when a 40-something man in a suit collapsed unconscious while dancing there. Knowing that drugs could be bad press for the club, Socarras called 911, then ran to the bathroom to warn staffers that the EMS workers were coming. "I hoped they'd make it look like a real bathroom by time they got there," he said, laughing. When the help arrived, patrons started realizing this wasn't part of the club's monthly theme, but most of them kept dancing anyway. But by time a blanket was thrown over the corpse, "a concentrated hush" came over the room, and it threatened to interfere with the fun. They dragged the guy out on a stretcher, and at just the right moment, DJ Johnny Dynell pumped up the hot Madonna song of the moment, "Holiday," as the crowd went wild. Said Socarras, "No one who walked in at that moment would have known someone had just died on the dance floor." It was to die for.

By the way, I also spoke, reading a 1992 column about Grace Jones throwing cake at clubbies and pouring champagne on them too, warning, "Close your eyes. It burns." Oh, and it makes your lip mascara run.

Missing Ja'mie? Paragon School For Girls is a Webseries to Watch

millicent1.pngJim Hansen, the mind behind those genius Chloë Sevigny parodies, is back with an enchanting new webseries, Paragon School For Girls.

Like Ja'mie, the show's all-male cast -- which includes Michael J. Willet from MTV's Faking It as the new girl "Violet," Drew Droege (Chloë) as the headmistress "Ms. Click," and Jeffery Self as "Millicent" -- don fabulously bad wigs and school girl outfits. But as their friends and classmates start mysteriously disappearing from this "special school" it becomes clear that the girls of Paragon are not just in for campy fun and games.    

If you're not already, follow the wildly weird mystery that's afoot at Paragon School For Girls. Watch the trailer, below, then head here for optimal binge-watching.   

New Revelations About the Beastie Boys From an Unauthorized Biography

photoshot B4557_199033_06650.jpgA new Beastie Boys biography not only comes from a highly credible author, Frank Owen, it includes an "Unofficial and Unauthorized" warning on the cover.

Owen is a well known investigative reporter (Playboy, Washington Post, Miami New Times etc.) whose Village Voice articles about NYC's club kids, Peter Gatien, Michael Alig et al. led to the book Clubland. But with Beastie Boys Book Deluxe, published by Carlton Books, he returns to his roots as a music journalist, starting with a 1986 interview with the band in a London hotel room. His initial, mostly negative, impressions that they had "(crossed) the line between being humorous and being retarded" are soon replaced by accolades: "The Beastie Boys' music changed the world, but the trio also changed themselves."

MP h_00163430.jpgOwen quickly understood that, in the beginning at least, the Beastie Boys were, "playing the roles and speaking the lines that someone else had written for them." All that crack smoking (while high on angel dust) was probably just "posturing." They hadn't actually "pulled out any jammies" or "capped" a lot of people in the knees; and, sorry to debunk any myths about your idols, but Ad Rock didn't really cut a hole in a hotel room floor to reach MCA below.

The boys quickly tried to distance themselves from their "Fight For You Right to Party" shtick. And the period following the release of their first album and their legal battle with original label, Def Jam, contain the book's most revelatory passages. Owen claims that after they "sold their souls to Rick Rubin for a hit record," they moved to L.A "to make an album that could compete at the highest level with hip-hop heavyweights like Public Enemy." A goal he feels they quickly achieved with the the release of their first album, Paul's Boutique, on their new label, Capitol.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 2.42.45 PM.pngMCA, Mike D, DJ Hurricane and Ad Rock. (Photo credit: REX/Ilpo Musto)

Overall, the book is an enjoyable, enlightening and easy read -- filled with tons of photos and exclusive interviews. When we reached out to the author to ask why he had written the book, we were a little surprised by his answer: "I hadn't written a piece of music criticism in nearly two decades and had no intention of writing about music ever again. But I had a bad accident while running on the beach and needed money to pay for a foot operation. I wrote the book in 28 days with my trusty companion, Billy Whiz. It was surprisingly enjoyable. Writing about music sure is a lot easier than investigative reporting."

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