Ahead of the release of his debut LP, Ratchet, on May 19th, PAPER Beautiful Person Shamir just dropped a new video for his soulful album cut, "Darker," that takes the singer out of puppetland and into the Joshua Tree desert. Cutting back-and-forth between daytime and night, the video was directed by Anthony Sylvester who used high-flying drones to shoot the footage. It's a quieter clip -- and quieter song -- than the upbeat dance jams we're used to getting from Shamir but one that's a good watch nonetheless and an even better example of this young talent's range.
Some celebs have to sing for their supper at the Met Ball: Kanye performed in 2013, Frank Ocean serenaded the crowd last year, and this time it was Bad Gal RiRi who got onstage after shutting the whole damn party down with her Belle-meets-pizza gown. Though she performed "Pour It Up (Remix)" and "Diamonds," it was her rendition of her newest track -- "Bitch Better Have My Money" -- that had fashion crowd turning up. Wisely deciding that her yellow dress would probably get in the way of bending down and singing over Riccardo Tisci and Sarah Jessica Parker's heads, Rihanna changed into another look for the set. Watch the clip, above.
It seems like we can still listen to Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" eight thousand times without getting sick of it yet but, just in case we do, there's a new remix out today via Dazed Digital by Azealia Banks, Gucci Mane and Migos' Quavo. Azealia jumps on the track first, first giving the lyrical equivalent of the emoji hallelujah hands to the trap queen before switching gears and singing from what sounds like the perspective of said queen ("I get high with my baby / I'm gonna be the one that ride or die with ya baby"). Gucci comes next with his zonked out drawl before Quavo throws a few final verses before the track cuts back to Fetty. Give it a listen, above -- it's all we'll be playing at PAPER HQ all day.
"Met Gala Barbie just ran you over doing 150 miles in a Swarovski-covered Aventador." -- Elizabeth
"This is crazy but looks amazing but I also don't love the hair and it makes Beyoncé look like a showgirl? I'm confused." -- Abby
"This is peak "who me" red carpet spotlight stealing. This is beyond spotlight stealing. This is taking the spotlight, putting a giant blunt-shaped stake in it, and ruling her territory for years to come. This year's theme was a recipe for cultural appropriation disaster that some fell prey to (giving a hard stare to everyone who wore chopsticks in their hair last night (ahem, ahem, Emma Roberts, ahem). Rihanna was one of the few celebrities to actually wear something by a Chinese designer, Guo Pei, who, no less, has two pieces in the Met's exhibition. She looked incredible. She looked magnificent. She looked Bad Gal." -- Elizabeth
"Yes, it stole the spotlight but I just thought the dress was hideous. Sorry/not sorry." -- Abby
"I love Khaleesi in a statement sleeve."-- Elizabeth
"Anna looks like Paper Source gift wrap, which means I love it." -- Abby
"When I first saw this look I thought it was too 'meh' but on second viewing, I love it. When everyone else was trying to outdo each other with their "I'm basically just naked" gowns, Kruger was rocking motherf*cking sheer Chanel pants. Respect." -- Elizabeth
"Agreed. There were a handful of others who tried -- and failed -- to rock the black tie pants game but Diane really nailed it. I would've nixed the sash, though, otherwise she looks great." -- Abby
"'My name is Poppy, so my dress has poppies. Plus, poppies represent a painful part of China's history and European domination, so it's perfect." -- Elizabeth
"Touché, Biz. But I actually really like this dress despite the unfortunate socio-cultural connotations. She looks like a flamenco dancer." -- Abby
Sarah Jessica Parker
"If the Met Ball happens and Sarah Jessica Parker doesn't wear an insane headpiece, did the Met Ball really happen?" -- Elizabeth
"I'm not vibing with the one long sleeve but thankfully I can barely notice it before the headpiece gives me vertigo." -- Abby
Wendi Deng Murdoch
"I could have done without the cut-outs, but she looks great." -- Elizabeth
"The color is fantastic -- I like they she didn't just wear red or gold like everyone else. I'm also not a fan of the cut-outs...it cheapens the look." -- Abby
"Best-dressed of the night, after Rihanna. When in doubt, just be Grace Coddington, dropping all the spare fucks you have to give in the wake of your satin slippers." --Elizabeth
"She looks so comfy!" -- Abby
"This is fine." --Elizabeth
"The embroidery is lovely and I like that we're seeing a demure look from Emily but I wish the dress were either floor-length or a tad shorter. I've never been a fan of tea-length looks." -- Abby
"Katie Holmes used a burner phone to file for divorce from Tom Cruise." -- Elizabeth
"Katie's dress is gorgeous but the overall effect of the gown, the tan, the bob and the big diamond bracelet is kind of 'Scarsdale socialite.' For some reason I feel like this outfit ages her." -- Abby
"This doesn't do much for me. I like the embroidered detailing on the side but the draped beads and feather shoulder thing just made it veer off into "oh, well..." town. --Elizabeth
"I disagree. I loved this Donna Karan atelier dress, feathers and all. It's an interesting choice, color-wise, but it works. And she looks a bit like she could be a long-lost Kirke sister, no?" -- Abby
"One of the biggest red carpet décolletage crimes of the century. I think the three very different fabrics seem garbled and the fact that it looks like a weird bathing suit does not help. The floral print is really lovely and is incorporated down the back of the dress, which you can't see in this photo, but the sparkly cut-out is just a big no to me. What happened?" --Elizabeth
"There's a lot of 'hell no' going on, from the messy bun to the magenta lips to the confusing décolletage situation you point out, Biz...the back was much better though. I also just don't like how loose the top is, it just looks ill-fitting." -- Abby
"I think Gaultier was the wrong match for her. The skirt and the jacket just eat her up." -- Elizabeth
"Yeah, I think I would like this more without the jacket." -- Abby
"Cape game strong. This was one of my favorite looks of the night." -- Elizabeth
"I'm conflicted because I always love a cape moment from Janelle and I like that the top has a subtle nod to Chinese culture and fashion without veering into cringe-y appropriation territory but there's something about the material and the length of the skirt that makes it all look too casual. Love the hair, though." -- Abby
"Yes, a dragon because dragons are an important part of Chinese culture." -- Elizabeth
"J. Lo's face is exactly what I think of this dress." -- Abby
"She looks like a sex snowflake. I loved this." --Elizabeth
"This is the apex of Kimye style. He: deep-V and velour (velvet?). Her: form-fitting, sparkly and sheer. It's great and all we could've asked for from these two Paper cover stars." -- Abby
Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz
"These twooooooooo. Bonet came hard with the conceptual fug and Kravitz looks chill and boring. Best-dressed ex-couple of the night." -- Elizabeth
"[Said in a Stefon voice]: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes." -- Abby
"I think this is fine." -- Elizabeth
"From this angle, Selena's floral headpiece reads Little Miss Muffet bonnet but I'm okay with that." -- Abby
"She looks like intergalactic origami. I love it" --Elizabeth
"Whoaaaa. You could get high just from staring at Solange too long. In other news, this was one of my favorite looks of the night. It's so over-the-top but also so perfect for fashion's big night. Her dress looked like a gorgeous oil slick." -- Abby
"Bow down." -- Elizabeth
"I know that the show's theme is China but Karen's dress reads very King and I. It's like what would happen if the king didn't die in the play and Anna became his newest wife instead." -- Abby
"This is a snooze and a half but the dress is beautiful and her hair looks like a dream." -- Elizabeth
"This is very 'Oscars season,' which is to say, 'boring.'" -- Abby
"Very Calabasas Mao." -- Elizabeth
"She reminds me of a tassel." -- Abby
"The color is beautiful but there's just too much fabric happening and the skirt length is weird. Maybe if it had been shorter, it would have worked better?" --Elizabeth
"Agreed. I'm also not crazy about the bows on the shoulders. It looks like a bridesmaid's dress somebody decided to make fancier by draping a big swoosh of fabric along the skirt." -- Abby
"I thought she looked theme-appropriate without being totally, completely over-the-top. -- Elizabeth
"I will never be a fan of those loose-fitting, off-the-shoulder sleeves. I remember Shailene Woodley wore something similar last year. It just looks like they haven't finished getting dressed yet." -- Abby
"This was a big no for me. The dress is tailored weirdly, and the graffiti writing on it makes me think of the word "edgy." Still, this is some of the best red-carpet sex hair she's ever given." -- Elizabeth
"Bow down to Madonna's fingerless gloves, people." -- Abby
"See above." --Elizabeth
"I don't love the ruffles along the bust and above the mermaid skirt but I'm dying over Katy's hair. Praying it's real and not a wig (it's probably a wig)." -- Abby
"Rita Ora usually blows it hard on the red carpet, but I loved this on her. That collar is superb." -- Elizabeth
"The color, the collar, and the fur trim all remind me of, like, a 'sexy devil glamor queen' Halloween costume but it works." -- Abby
"She committed in the only way she knows how to, so this is what we got. Let's just move on." -- Elizabeth
"Gaga's feathery, Balenciaga look is a vision." -- Abby
"I really loved this. It's fun and what an 18-year-old should wear to the Met Gala." -- Elizabeth
"I'm still trying to figure out how Zendaya was able to sit down at all last night but that's not for me to worry about. The dress looked beautiful and I agree that it was a nice, age-appropriate choice." -- Abby
"Twigs will see your Chinese-themed Met Gala and raise you a dress with a dick on it." -- Elizabeth
"I don't care what anyone says: there was no after-party better than the after-party orgy happening on Twigs' dress." -- Abby
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
"The best. When was the last time anyone heard the Olsen twins speak?" -- Elizabeth
"I love that they always dress like glamorous 80-year-olds. I'm less into the messy hair though." -- Abby
"I would have liked for the dress to be floor-length or a different dress all together. And that purse has got to go." --Elizabeth
"Too casual. That is all." -- Abby
"I am so on board with all of this, down to the ankle tattoo showing through the fish-nets. I love celebrities with ankle tattoos because it usually signifies that they like beach days, cocktails on the patio and Fleetwood Mac. Fun people." --Elizabeth
"Cher looks so great even she's licking her lips." -- Abby
"I like that this looks like fruit roll-up armor. Do you even tier?" -- Elizabeth
"#SWISH." -- Abby
"Nice and fine!" --Elizabeth
"Beautiful and very 'Mayim Bialik-chic.'" -- Abby
"An alien empress from planet IDGAF." -- Elizabeth
"Very 'Back to the '80s Future.'" -- Abby
"Sad trombone. The jumpsuit looks badly tailored and I would have preferred to have just seen a bunch of prison tattoos made with pens and compact disc shards."--Elizabeth
"Yeah...not my favorite look of the night. I think the tattoos could've looked more interesting under a dress and the jumpsuit looks like a variation on what we saw Cara wear last year. Next." -- Abby
"When sunglasses are part of your indoor, evening red-carpet look, something has gone wrong." --Elizabeth
"Justin wants to be the fourth member of Migos." -- Abby
"Grimes looks like every girl who you were a little bit scared of but wanted to be friends with in your sophomore year photo class and hoped she wanted to be your friend too. Which is to say she looks perfect." -- Elizabeth
"I think the boots and the cocktail length makes the outfit seem too casual but Grimes gets bonus points for the mouse ears hair 'do." -- Abby
"Jade excellence. I thought she looked awesome." --Elizabeth
"Lovely." -- Abby
What do you think of when you hear "American Dream"? Has the meaning changed since you started doing Broad City?
Ilana Glazer: The American Dream is for someone who is more first-generation, like my grandparents and great-grandparents, who immigrated. A suburban upbringing is what my Russian great-grandparents would have hoped for me, but we're a little bit removed from that idea. People will say to us us, "You're living the dream!" I don't feel like we're making art on a patriotic scale, but with the access that we have in general, the world being the way it is with the Internet, everyone just gets to be a free agent. We're definitely living, like, a dream, a personal dream, but it becomes more grounded with the minutiae and tedious details that go into everything.
I think that when people talk about "livin' the dream" it tends to be kind of reductive, like, "Well, you did this one thing! I guess that's all you're going to do!" Or sometimes it's steeped in some kind of jealousy, or coded in something else. It becomes, "Can I get that?"
Abbi Jacobson: I don't always take it as a negative thing. It makes me realize that I'm very lucky with what I get to do. We're both doing a bunch of other projects outside the show, which is exciting and only fuels Broad City more. I think what people mean for the most part when they make those comments is that we're getting to be our own boss. The dream is to be your own boss and to have control over how you make money, and a lot of people don't have that luxury or are working in jobs that aren't their dream jobs. And, right now, we're getting to do our dream job.
Glazer: I do see how the idea that we're "livin' the dream" could be reductive. Just in general, in life, when anybody tells another person what they're experiencing, rather than asking them and finding out a person's personal perspective, it's reductive. Certain details get left out. It definitely reduces the whole experience to three words, you know?
Abbi wears a dress by Rachel Comey, a vest by Nanette Lepore and shows by the Santoni Rose Collection. Ilana wears a blazer by Comptoir Des Cotonnier, shoes and a bag by Jimmy Choo.
What were your aspirations before you guys met?
Jacobson: I moved to New York to go to the Atlantic Theater Company program and to be more of a dramatic actress. I was there for a week, and it was just not for me, so I quit. I stumbled across Upright Citizens Brigade because my roommate at the time said, "You've got to check this out; I just think you'll like it." I was doing videos in college that reminded her of that theater. Then I went and it was like love at first sight.
Glazer: I was a total comedy nerd growing up with my brother Eliot, who's a comedian and on the show, and we used to constantly film sketches. From a young age we'd watch Comedy Central, and I would also go into the city and see the alt-comedy scene happening around me and think, "Aw man, I wish I was there." I was a teenager when UCB popped up, and when my brother went to NYU, I thought, "I'll go to NYU and we'll join the scene together." I also got really into Stella, the Tank, Rififi; it was a very lucky time to see that there was an alternative to SNL or club comics in New York.
Is there anything you can tell us about writing season three?
Glazer: We're starting on Monday! We're just trying to be the bossest possible at it. When you first go through this sort of process, you just want to get it done, but now I'm less anxious about it and want to take it further.
Does the process start with just the two of you writing together, or do you bring everyone together right away?
Jacobson: I mean, Ilana and I have never left each other. [laughs] So it will be them coming in as we just continue to work over this hiatus.
I'm always impressed by your tenacity, and I wonder how your self-determination fueled your career early on.
Jacobson: This is stupid, but "tenacious" just means, like, an inner fire? Right?
Jacobson: Yeah. I think that when we were starting out, and even now, that's our thing; that's how Ilana and I ended up working together. It was just a string of, like, "You know what? Fuck it. You know what? Let's make this!"
Glazer: You know what? Let's keep making it.
Jacobson: Fuck it, let's fuckin' do it!
Like a dare?
Jacobson: It's like that! What's the worst that could happen? Being on this improv team that we're already on? Fuck it, right?
Glazer: Fuck it! You have nothing to lose in trying!
Top photo: Ilana wears a dress and shirt by Karen Walker and shoes by Richael Comey. Abbi wears a jumpsuit by Milly and shoes by Prabal Gurung.
Styling by Savannah White
Hair by Marcel Dagenais
Makeup by Kerrie Jordan
Set design by Amy Henry
Kendall Jenner, Madonna and Justin Bieber
Rihanna arrives to her party
Miley Cyrus and Diddy
Keri Russell and Elizabeth Banks
Jennifer Lawrence gets to the party
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union
Lyor Cohen and Xin Li
Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez
Jeremy Scott and Janelle Monae
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Madonna shows up
Zoe Kravitz and Miley Cyrus
Solange Knowles and husband Alan Ferguson
Solange and Alan
The Hadid sisters
Miley Cyrus just announced the launch of the Happy Hippie Foundation, an organization whose "mission is to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable populations." It's a cause Miley has been passionate about for a while now (you'll remember that she brought a young homeless man as her date to the 2014 MTV VMAs) and now with Happy Hippie, she's created a larger platform to discuss issues and find solutions to problems facing these groups (for instance, the organization cites a statistic that 40% of the homeless youth population identify as LGBT and family rejection is the most common reason given for their homelessness).
To announce the charity's launch, Miley enlisted Joan Jett to perform a duet of Jett's "Different" from her 2013 album, Unvarnished. The performance also marks the return of Miley's "Backyard Sessions" and we hear there'll be more backyard collabs in support of Happy Hippie including sessions with Ariana Grande and Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace. To find out more about the charity, go HERE.
Giorgio Moroder's upcoming cameo-filled album features tracks from Charli XCX and Britney Spears, and now we have the Groundhog Day-esque video for his new single with Sia, "Deja Vu." The video features a man bringing flowers to different Sia lookalikes in a hotel over and over again, until things go very wrong and an army of Sia-equw women chase him out of the building. Keep your eyes peeled for Moroder as the limousine driver. Moroder's album, also titled Deja Vu, is out 6/12.
Brooklyn-based duo Denitia & Sene have caught the attention of everyone from Red Bull Sound Select to Rolling Stone to Paper with their lilting electro-soul and striking style. Today we're excited to premiere the video for their track, "The Fan," off their new EP Side FX (out now via Rinse), which sees the twosome backstage somewhere singing amidst dancers, mannequins and Christmas tree lights. The visuals, directed by Shomi Patwary who's also done videos for Beyoncé, A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX, among others, are low-lit and mesmerizing (especially shots of dancers moving and writhing around the musicians) -- a fitting accompaniment to the quiet, moody jam. Watch the clip above and snag a copy of their EP HERE.
Veselka (144-Second Avenue)
Kielbasa, borscht, and some long running East Village ambience make for a yummy (if not quite cheap enough) place that has become as legendary as its unaffected wait staff. Long live their beets.
Strand Bookstore (828 Broadway)
The outdoor sale racks boast great bargains, especially if you have the time to pick through the castoffs and get to the gems. Inside, there are even better finds, especially in the theater and movie sections, with some cheaper bargains than at the chain stores. So if you still read actual books, please keep this place going -- and feel free to try and sell your own collection to them while you're at it, to increase the choices on display.
Jack's 99-Cent Stores (three locations)
Have I raved enough about their household items -- paper towels, sponges, deodorant, popcorn, and on and on? True, a lot of the merch has inevitably crept up to over a buck for some time now, but it's still way cheaper than in the trendy places -- not that Jack's isn't totally au courant and chi chi, mind you. Especially their sesame crunch, spice drops, pasta, peppers, salsa, mints....
Beacon's Closet (10 W. 13th Street, plus three Brooklyn locations)
They buy your clothes! On the spot! And you can buy other people's clothes! This seems very reasonable to me.
Quad Cinema (34 W. 13th Street)
Have you seen the most obscure foreign film in years? The littlest known documentary in ages? Do you even want to? Well, just in case, the Quad is there to serve you, if you're in a brave pioneer mode that's very New York. Even more out there than Cinema Village, its value is in never being obvious.
Dixon Place (161 Chrystie Street)
Puppet shows, dance, multimedia, theater, music, and open mic all populate this emporium for offbeat and passionate performance. I've seen some entrancing shows there and some works that need progress, but whatever they put on gives downtown performance art a home away from Brooklyn.
Marie's Crisis (59 Grove Street)
A house party posing as a piano bar, Marie's is the fun destination for anyone anxious to group-sing hits from Company and Chicago. Gather 'round the piano and be prepared to shriek out those high notes.
Julius Bar (159 W. 10th Street)
One of our oldest nightlife establishments, this is a comfortable place for a walk-in visit full of blather, burgers, and trivia games. Julius is so non-spectacular that it's basically spectacular. It feels like it'll always be there, and that's a good sensation, especially in the middle of NYC's transitory-by-nature nocturnal landscape.
ABC No Rio (156 Rivington Street) has a big group photo show presenting "a visual retrospective" of their 1990-91 Saturday Matinee showcases of NYC hardcore bands opening Thursday, May 7, at 6 p.m. The photographers include Chris Boarts, Brett Beach, Justin DeMetrick, Tracy Sham, John Hiltz and Chuck Miller + Boiling Point Zine. Also check out a collection of show flyers, 'zine covers etc. This show is a part of Lower East Side History Month. On view until June 4th.
"Lydia Lunch: So Real It Hurts" opens on May 8, 6 to 8 p.m., at Howl! Happening (6 East 1st Street) and runs thru June 5. This exhibition of posters, ephemera, photos etc. was organized by the gallery and Some Serious Business, Inc. and there's also an accompanying release of eight, limitied-editiont vinyl records with unreleased performances and a catalogue of essays by writers including PAPER's Carlo McCormick, Thurston Moore, Jerry Stahl and Tanya Pearson.
More East Village action with the opening on May 7th, 6 to 9 p.m., of "Rick Prol: Under the Stars" at Dorian Grey Gallery (437 East 9th Street). The show covers a thirty-five year period beginning in the early 80s and includes paintings and works on paper. On view until June 14.
David Zwirner (519 and 525 West 19th Street) opens a show by Yayoi Kusama called "Give Me Love" on Saturday, May 9, 6 to 8 p.m. and up until June 13. Look for new paintings, as well as the Japanese artist's seminal installation from 2002, "The Obliteration Room" --an all-white room that looks like the interior of a typical suburban house. Visitors will be given a set of colored sticker "dots" to apply to the surfaces throughout the show.
Yancey Richardson (525 West 22nd Street) has a reception on May 7th, 6 to 8 p.m., for Brooklyn-based photographer Mathew Jensen that's up until June 20th. Look for his series called "The 49 States," incorporating 49 shots taken from Google Street View in 2009, before they had mapped Hawaii; another series documents his weekly travels from NYC to Washington via bus.
Hauser & Wirth (32 East 69th Street) opens a five-decade survey of the American painter Leon Golub called "Riot" on May 11th, 6 to 8 p.m. There's a big selection of paintings and drawings by the Chicago-born artist who passed away here in NYC in 2004. It's on view until June 20th. Skarstedt (20 East 79th Street) also has a comprehensive exhibition of works by the German artist Georg Baselitz opening the same night. 6 to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, May 9th, 6 to 8 p.m., Petzel Gallery (456 West 18th Street) opens "Regeneratrix," a solo show by Keith Edmier. It's the New York-based artist's first large-scale show with the gallery in ten years and is divided into four interconnecting rooms. On view until June 20th.
Cecily Brown's "The English Garden" opens on May 9th, 6 to 8 p.m., at Maccarone NY (98 Morton Street) and is up until June 20th. The "intimately scaled" paintings were made between 2005 and 2014 and the show was organized by the novelist and art writer Jim Lewis. Another show with a Spring vibe, "Wild Flowers," by LA-based artist Sage Vaughn opens on May 6, 6 to 8 p.m., at Blueshift (196 Bowery) and is up until June 21st.
A show of recent paintings and drawings by Judith Bernstein, one of the early members of Guerrilla Girls, opens on May 7th at Mary Boone Gallery (745 Fifth Avenue). The exhibition, "Voyeur," was curated by Piper Marshall and the works "employ an in-your-face approach to painting" and "satirize the expression of male ego." Marshall also curated a show of new works by Angela Bulloch opening on May 9th at Boone's Chelsea gallery, 541 West 24th Street. Both are on view until June 27.
Last chance to check out "John Giorno: Space Forgets You" at Elizabeth Dee (545 West 20th Street) before it closes on May 9th. There's also a special performance by Giorno on Friday, May 8th at 6:30. Don't miss it. The next show at Dee will be by the Williamsburg artist Julia Wachtel opening on May 16th.
Marianne Boesky and Alison Jacques co-present a solo show by the late Dorothea Tanning at 118 East 64th Street, with an opening reception on Monday, May 11th, 6 to 8 p.m. "Murmurs" includes paintings, watercolors, drawings, collages and objects from 1960 to 2005. Up until June 27th. Boesky also has a show by Jessica Jackson Hutchins called "I Do Choose" opening on May 9, 6 to 8 p.m., at 509 West 24th Street.
A show of recent photos by Frederic Brenner called "An Archeology of Fear and Desire" opens on Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. and runs to July 3rd at Howard Greenberg Gallery (41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406). The photos look at Israel and the West Bank "as place and metaphor" and were taken for his contribution to a bigger project by 12 photographers called "This Place," which Brenner also initiated.
Clocktower and Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn) host their monthly "Open House" on Sunday, May 10th, from 4 to 10 p.m. Check out several performances by their artists-in-residence, plus studio visits and live music. The complete schedule is HERE and HERE.
What do you call fast food when it's still fast and it's still food, but when it does away with all the bad associations -- nutritional, corporate, aesthetic -- that have plagued it for decades? You call it Loco'l. Born out of a partnership between San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson and L.A. chef Roy Choi (with help from a couple of legendary chef friends), Loco'l is designed to offer a new kind of fast food that depends on fresh ingredients and the culinary skills of real chefs but retains the ideas of quickness, convenience and, most important, low price. Following one of the most successful crowdfunded food campaigns ever, the first restaurant is opening in the Watts neighborhood of L.A. late this summer, with a location in San Francisco's Tenderloin district following in the fall. I have run into both Daniel and Roy in various culinary circles -- I host food salons, and I'm beginning work on a book about innovation and creativity in the food world. For this story, we discussed their philosophies, community outreach, price point and what their version of the 99-cent burger will be. They even shared an exclusive with me (shhh... they haven't told anyone yet).
Questlove: What's your concept for Loco'l?DanielPatterson: I have a charity foundation in San Francisco that teaches kids how to cook. We work with schools, but also with an organization that takes kids off of the street and gives them job training, counseling and support, but what it doesn't do is teach them how to feed themselves good food. I realized that we could teach them how to cook very basic things. But before you can cook something, you need to know what you want to cook. There's an eating problem in this country; all they know is what they grew up with. What if there was a fast food that was community-embedded? What if there was a way to do healthy food for not too much money? And then I went to [annual food symposium] MAD a year and a half ago and saw Roy talk about hunger, how there's whole parts of our country that really aren't given options the way the rest of the country is. I felt like I'd found my long-lost brother. I called him up and said, "Hey, I got this idea. What do you think?" And he's like, "Let's go." And that's it -- a fast-food restaurant cooking real food at the same price point as the other fast food places.
Questlove: That's amazing. There's a well-respected hip-hop artist who recently just lost both of his limbs, mainly because of his horrible diet, and he revealed to his doctor for twenty years straight that he's only been surviving off of gas-station food. Like, him eating pickles was his idea of having vegetables. So then where does your idea go to you actually making it a reality?
Roy Choi: Oh, we're deep in reality right now. We're still at this place where millions of our kids are still growing up in poverty without restaurants, without access to food. It's ridiculous in this time, with this information, with this technology, with all the resources and education and information and everything out there. So instead of looking at it from a cerebral point of view, we just got in and just started as if there were no barriers.
Patterson: Cooks are "get it done" people; like, "get it done yesterday." You're talking about going to a place like Watts, where they have one sit-down restaurant for 40,000 people. All they have is fast food and liquor stores. The guy that owns the building that we're going into is a friend of Roy's and very deep in the community. Roy went there first and got everyone's support. It's a very tight community, and they're like, "Yeah, we want this."
Questlove: So you had a meeting with the community leaders?Choi: Everyone -- from the triple OGs to the double OGs, the community leaders, the teachers, the mothers, the youngsters, the gangbangers, everyone. They're just like, "Yo, bring this shit right here. We got you."
Questlove: What types of foods are you going to try to introduce to them?
Choi: Right now, we have a whole society that's been eating preservatives and processed food, that's being brainwashed by billions of dollars of industry, and we can't just say, "Yo, eat this kale." So what we have to do is pick food in a structure that makes sense. But then inside the structure is real food. So, for example, there are chicken nuggets, but those chicken nuggets are made using really good birds, using rice flower to coat it, making a sauce out of real tomatoes and soybean and fermented chili paste. But they don't know any of this; they just think it's chicken nuggets.
Patterson: Our burger is 30 percent grains and tofu. The bun is made with whole grains, but then we smash it down a little bit so it has that "driving with one hand, eating a burger with the other" kind of feeling. You've got to go close to the cultural standards, 'cause like I think a lot of people make the mistake that it's either processed food or "everything has to be perfect" food. It's ridiculous. Sometimes I listen to people go on and on about the importance of how animals are treated in meat, and I totally agree with that in theory, but part of me is like, "Man, what about the human animals?" You're spending so much time concentrating on cows, but then there's whole parts of our country that we're not feeding real food. Maybe we start close to them; go to where they are and get them excited.
Choi: And the price point is important too. The price point is 99 cents to six bucks. Currently, there's what we call fast-food plus: there's a big difference between $2.49 for a triple cheeseburger at McDonald's and a seven-dollar burrito at Chipotle. So price is a big part of what Loco'l is. You know, whether you go to Asia or Europe, even South America and Mexico, you can eat cheap but well. We're just trying to translate that in a new way.
Questlove: Has anyone ever tried to do this before?
Patterson: Unbelievably, straight up no. Think of all of the amazing chefs in this country; no one has ever said, "I wanna open a fast food restaurant and go to places where there isn't any good food." With the fast-casual places, the business model is you go to all these places with high density and people who are affluent, and then you spread from there. We have a backwards business model: we could open 15 in South Central L.A. alone. Then you go to East Oakland, Detroit, North Saint Louis, the Bronx -- we could open 150 without going anywhere near an affluent area. It's not like there's no money there. They're spending money, but no one's giving them the option of something better. It just blows my mind.
Questlove: So what is the biggest challenge that you're facing to make this a reality?
Choi: There haven't really been any challenges, man, because when we get our minds on something, you can't stop the show. I already see neighborhoods filled with kids who, in seven years, will see a whole new world in front of them. Streets that were filled with liquor stores turning into fourth-wave coffee shops and artisan bakeries and providing jobs. The challenge for me is just staying at pace and realizing that the physical world has to catch up to what I see in my dreamworld. I think the only other challenge is the money side a little bit. It's been a heck of a road trying to convince investors -- not that people haven't been convinced and supported us. We have the best chefs in the world: Chad [Robertson, of Tartine], Daniel from Coi, and René [Redzepi] from Noma. And then you got the X-factor, me, who's the street cook from L.A.
Patterson: We're including you in that group, Roy. Don't even...
Choi: Yeah, yeah. So you got the four of us, right? If the four of us said we were going to open a restaurant in Manhattan, San Francisco or Chicago -- you know, tasting menu, full bar -- we'd have checks for $10 million yesterday. But right now we're getting this cat-and-mouse: "OK, we'll give you this now, but we want to see the model proved." That's been kind of weird.
Questlove: How will you deal with supply and demand?
Choi: I run places where we open and there are lines out the door; every food person within 100 miles just ends up at my places. So I was almost warning them: "Yo, when we open [in Watts], there's going to be people here that you've never seen before. Are you guys cool with that?"
Questlove: Backwards gentrification.
Choi: Yeah, yeah. [laughs] Like, German tourists are going to get off the airplane and end up in Watts. But everyone's like, "We're ready for this."
Questlove: I'd love to see your version of the 99 cent burger. I'm very curious to see it from both angles: how people react to it and how you guys adjust to working within kind of a parameter.
Choi: A lot of it is zero waste on the food supply end. We know how to use every single peel and seed and the flesh and bone of everything -- stem, roots, top, everything. And so we're going to apply all that knowledge and science to this. Daniel and I are both in our early forties; we've been cooking 20 years each, respectively, and we're at the point where we want to give everything we've learned back to this -- not to a new fancy restaurant. So how do we reengineer how to feed the masses and then morph that into even further stuff? Get the fast food model going first in our inner city and grow that out to our bigger suburbs, and our malls, and our larger society, and then get that into schools, hospitals, prisons, supply chains...
Questlove: Is the endgame to spread this to a point where it spreads, or do you want to keep it local as long as you can?
Choi: I think it can be anything it wants to be. I see it being a spark to a movement. I see our business itself growing, but I think it also becomes like a hip-hop collective, where others will latch onto it.
Patterson: You know, we talk a lot about the food, and the food's super important, but also the economic aspect is really important. We're not just creating jobs; we're creating vocations. So you're bringing people from the community, you're training them, and now they've got experience in how to communicate, how to show up to work in a disciplined way. Suddenly there's a portal, so that they've maybe done two years at Loco'l and they're like, "Hey, I want to work in a different restaurant." And then Roy and I will set them up somewhere. And all of a sudden you have a flow of a totally different kind of community going into the restaurant community, which I think is really exciting. Because let's face it: the top level of chefs in our country is very white and very male. And a lot of that's basically access.
Questlove: I've actually dreamt of this moment happening. Last conversation I had with Magic Johnson, we were joking about the fact that all these businesses have had his name on them -- Magic Johnson Starbucks, Magic Johnson Fridays. He was explaining to me that he was especially proud of the Fridays, simply because he, as an athlete, was just jaw-dropped at the fact that he could never find a salad in the hood. It became his obsession in the '80s and '90s to find one farmers' market or one salad spot in the hood. He figured at least through Fridays, you could get a green salad. Ever since he told me that, it's always been in my head. So is this your idea of the American Dream?
Choi: Yeah. We want to create a new franchise model for each inner city we go into. So every single job in Watts is being offered to the residents of Watts: the contractor, the architect, the demolition crew, the dry-walling crew. All the money goes back into the community.
Patterson: Plus a percentage of profit. The community supports it; it supports the community. Everyone wins.
Choi: I got a piece of information for you that no one knows yet, but I figure you're the best person to share it with. Alchemist and Evidence from Dilated [Peoples], they're going to be our first celebrity endorsement. You know how Subway has Apolo Ohno and Michael Strahan? We're going to keep it underground to start, and Al and Ev are going to be like our first spokesmen, and they're going to have "The Al and Ev Sandwich." It's going to be dope. There you go, PAPER. That's your exclusive. Things like that, you reveal them when it feels right -- and how could it get more right than telling Questlove?
Though we lost Jaden Smith's wondrous twitter account this week, we've gained so much more from the release of his sister Willow's excellent new single and video "F Q-C #7," (pronounced "Frequency Number Seven"). The video, which debuted today via the Fader, features the Otherworldly Goddess representing the four chakras, hanging out near a creek in a forest and rocking a Tupac t-shirt and face-paint. The wiry track was written and produced by Smith and, if it reminds you of tUnE-yArDs' jittery folk-hop hybrid, that makes sense -- Smith says the track was inspired by Merrill Garbus and co., as well as Girlpool and Cree Summer. Watch the video above. Willow for President 2016.
Once every two years, Venice takes a timeout and is transformed into the epicenter of the art world. The Biennale spreads itself thickly over the city, taking over 30 pavilions in a decrepit park built by Napoleon, filling the huge halls of the Arsenale and overlapping with frescoes in small chapels and churches. And, as with any massive cultural event, the city turns into a nonstop party during the vernissage, which continues today and tomorrow before the Biennale officially opens to the public on the 9th. Basel may have pop-up beach clubs but the Biennale has parties in grand palazzos. While there's a slew of invitation-only dinners and receptions, some of the best action (not to mention people watching) will go down before-and-after the main events. Here are the best pop-up clubs, hotel bars, and local joints to enjoy a few drinks after a long day soaking up art.
Loulou's at the Bauer Hotel(San Marco, 1459, 30124 Venice)
Loulou's, the swanky London nightclub tucked away on the cobble streets of Mayfair, is relocating to the Bauer Hotel's B-Bar from May 1st-10th. "It's going to be ten days of complete extravagance," says Garrett Moore, whose production company, Immersive Cult, is bringing the colors and patterns of Loulou's to Venice for the opening days of the Biennale. "We've taken the materials from Loulou's and made them completely crazy," he says, describing the ambience as "patterns on acid." An actor dressed in a giraffe costume will be roaming the streets by day to promote the club -- we're guessing he'll become the city's best-bribed employee.
Le Baron at Palazzina Grassi (Ramo Grassi, 3247, 30124 Venice)
Imagine Le Baron's Chinatown location, then take away the karma sutra wallpaper and fog machine, add chandeliers, a "Krug Lounge" and a longer bathroom line and you're in the club's pop-up at Palazzina Grassi. This collaboration is hosting the annual Gagosian dinner as well as smaller evenings for Italian artists and curators. Sponsors include Belvedere and Hublot so expect a hefty earpiece and gold-plated clipboard at the door.
Harry's Bar (Calle Vallaresso, 1323, 30124 Venice)
Grab the makeshift table sandwiched between the entrance and the bar for a good view of this establishment's notorious crowd filtering habits. The bar is usually cramped with tourists looking through the photos they've taken that day, and the small tables at the back are on permanent reserve for aristocratic-looking, elderly Venetian couples and their handsome children. After glugging a couple of overpriced Bellinis and wolfing down a plate of Paccheri alla Genovese, you'll be ready for a long night.
Al Timon (Cannaregio, 2754, 30121 Venice)
On the other side of the island, far from the Biennale Giardini is Al Timon, a small joint that should hit the spot if you're looking for a local pre-game. The tables overflow out of the bar, spilling across the sidewalk and onto a docked barge boat. You're probably not going to bump into Klaus Biesenbach and his crew but go for a cheap plate of cicchetti (Venice's answer to tapas) and big glass of red wine before heading to more extravagant festivities.
Piccolo Mondo (Dorsoduro, 1056/a, 30100 Venice)
Founded in the early '60s, this old haunt is a great spot for the last ones standing. It usually stays open until 4am, depending on the crowd. Expect a mixed batch of local oldies, gap year students in baggy tie-dye and other wanderers dancing and drinking, trying to delay the moment when they have to go back to their Airbnb.
El Sbarlefo San Pantalon (Calle San Pantalon, 3757, 30123 Venice)
This cozy, wood-paneled bar is great for a low-key drink. Try not to be distracted by the table lamps that have champagne bottles for bases or the sauces artistically drizzled over your pre-dinner snack and focus on the live jazz and strong drinks.
Venice Jazz Club (Dorsoduro 3102, Ponte dej Pugni, S. Margherita S. Barnaba, 30123 Venice)
Visit the Venice Jazz Club and you'll enter an underground, live jazz scene that only the locals usually experience. A team of musicians and instruments take over the cramped stage every night of the week (except Thursday and Sunday) from 9pm onwards. Book in advance to get a good table, close to the band.
Hotel Excelsior(Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 41, 30126 Lido, Venice)
If you want to get away from the art hype and treat yourself to some alone time, hop on the Vaporetto to the Lido and have a drink on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior. Roll around on the well-manicured lawns and dip your toes into the filthy Adriatic waters before slipping back into a pair of fancy sneakers and heading back into town.
Campo Santa Margherita (30100 Venice)
If you're all pumped up with nowhere to go, head to Campo Santa Margherita, a bustling piazza in the Dorsoduro district, and sit outside at one of the local bars. Whatever time of night you saunter through, you'll be sure to find toddlers running around the square and university students squatting on the ground drinking beers.
Cantina Do Mori (Sestiere San Polo, 429, 30125 Venice)
A classic Venetian haunt that has been open since the 1460s, Cantina Do Mori is worth stopping by for a round of drinks on the post-Giardini, pre-party-hopping Vaporetto ride back home. With its chalkboards, copper pans and old wine barrels, this classic bacaro, (Venetian wine and snack bar) is Medieval Italy with the perks of real bathrooms and electricity.
In our brand-new column, "The Coolest Person In the Room," we're asking our favorite nightlife pros (hosts, DJs, door people, promoters, bar/club owners, club kids, bartenders, socialites) to tell us about who they think is the one party person whose look is always on point, whose energy is contagious, and whose scene is worth checking out -- basically, that person at the club who they've got their eye on and think we all should know. In each installment, the previous "coolest person in the room" will pass the baton and nominate someone else.
To kick things off, we decided to feature one of our all-time favorites and a 'Coolest Person In the Room' par excellence, Ladyfag. The hostess hardly needs any introduction so suffice to say that whether you're catching her throwing one of her regular parties like SHADE, 11:11 or Holy Mountain, presiding over her Pop Souk market or popping up on Riccardo Tisci's Instagram, Lady makes New York sparkle a little brighter. Below, she nominates the inaugural "Coolest Person In the Room,"Domonique Echeverria.
Tell us about Domonique.
Domonique Echeverria is one of my favorite nightlife creatures in this city -- she's a party hostess extraordinaire and designs fabulous clothes not only for herself, but lots of nightlife folk (including me!). She's basically a nightlife fairy spreading love and good vibes wherever she goes and when she walks in the room, everyone feels it.
When was the first time you ever her?
She moved here a few years ago, and Michael Magnan, who's my DJ sidekick, was like, "you have to meet this girl Domonique, you will fall in love." He was right. We're born on the same day, so the minute I met her it all made sense. We actually gave her her first gig guest hosting at my old Family Function party a few days after she moved here. She now runs this town like a magical Mother Hen, with all her boys following her everywhere she goes!
What makes her unique?
She's the real deal. She loves nightlife and really cares about people and in turn they trust and love her back. Her energy is contagious. Her looks are always next level. She's hilarious and keeps us all laughing. Her promo style is her just ranting honestly, which is what it makes it sooooo amazing: "I'm PMS'ing. Can someone come to 11:11 & bring me weed & chocolate?!" I could go on and on, but I think what is really telling is the fact that in this scene full of catty queens, I have still yet to meet a Domonique naysayer...everyone loves her! Also, she has the best ass in the business. It's so big and voluptuous, it hosts the party on it's own -- seriously!
What's your favorite memory of Domonique?
I'm sitting here laughing at all these crazy Domonique memories. Unfortunately they are seriously too scandalous even for Paper -- but just ask her, she's notoriously honest. You get more then you bargained for with Domonique, and that's a deal with the devil I happily would make.
The dog isn't the only one listening. As the years go by, her critique of the patriarchy and its devastating impact on culture and society has become part of the feminine discourse, disseminated widely on social media channels everywhere and embraced by a new generation of millennial feminists. It wasn't always so.
Landing like an asteroid from planet Rochester, she imposed her will on New York's '80s downtown scene with primal performance pieces, boundary-breaking Super 8 films like Fingered (directed by Richard Kern) and her seminal, radical no-wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, leaving an indelible impression on anyone brave enough to stand in her line of fire.
Times have changed, but Lunch continues to speak out, her post-punk, no wave sensibility as sharp as when she first alighted on the isle of Manhattan at 16 with an ax to grind and an unhealthy attraction to the New York Dolls. "The music was trashy and here were hot guys dressing like women," said Lunch. "What could be better? What else could I do? Stay in Rochester and hang out with Hell's Angels for the rest of my life?"
Her point of view -- once very personal -- has become more universal, an all-out assault on the patriarchal industrial complex. "It's not men that are the enemy," she clarifies. "It's the system that's run by men. It's never been men. It's always men in positions of power. I used to be called 'The Great Exaggerator.' Can't exaggerate reality."
She describes herself as a "faggot truck driver in a Mae West body" for whom "pleasure is the ultimate rebellion. It is the only thing. We have to take back pleasure. Because this campaign of terror and fear and homicidal genocide the world over kills our capacity for pleasure by numbing us. And to reclaim that as women is very important to me."
"You mean, like Hillary," I ask as we pick at our quiche.
"Don't let those boobs fool you. Those are her balls. She's a war whore like all the others."
And other outspoken musicians still making noise today, like Courtney Love?
"Don't blame me for her crimes," she says.
I add Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Madonna to the mix. "What's shocking to me is this," says Lunch. "Middle-aged women in leotards, you know how bad those smell, running around without their pants, playing really fucking bad music which they didn't write, are basically playing pop-princess-whore to steal the corporate big-daddy. This is not a step forward for women. This is grotesquerie. It's got us nowhere. It turns 12-years-olds into copycats. So the mainstream offers me nothing and I don't even pay attention."
Still, Lunch says she's mellowed over the years. She says she finds peace in making art. "No matter how heavy everything is, I always have this ridiculously positive side of me. I may be negative about the global situation, but on a one-to-one level I've been the cattle prod. I always consider collaboration and art the sacred place where no bullshit can exist. When you're in the mainstream corporate bullshit, you've got to be able to suck and provide the bullshit. It was never an option. I can't follow that program. I want to be known as someone who promotes the encouragement of the individual to drop their fucking traumas, to get over their fears, to relentlessly be seeking something better."
Lunch views her controversial spoken-word work, some of which accused her father of sexual abuse, and her transgressive films with Kern, as a sort of public psychotherapy. "It was all based on real life. I knew I wasn't alone and therefore I wasn't embarrassed that my first spoken-word piece was called 'Daddy Dearest.' We did those films because I'm not the only one who's got the sickness."
More than anything, Lunch says promoting positivity and self-acceptance is her mission as an artist. "All the shameful things I've done, I never felt shame. I feel like I'm not doing this only for myself. I'm doing this for other people who are also suffering. We can and must feel better. Contrarian, confrontational... at the end, I always had a bizarre positivity because its my ultimate rebellion. It's what I want to give to anybody I spend five minutes with."
According to the cafe's site, Anderson took design inspiration from Golden Age Italian films from the '50s and '60s. The mint greens and sherbert-purples are meant to be "reminiscent of Italian popular culture and aesthetics"from that era. A formica wonderland, Bar Luce includes a Steve Zissou pinball machine and a retro jukebox that are so perfect you just want to punch yourself in the face.
Here's another shot, via Grub Street: