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The 8 Fashion Designers With the Most Personality

Designers can always express personality through their creations, but it's even better if they can sparkle when they're actually positioned right up close and in your face. And they do! Still, though designers don't exactly tend to be an introverted bunch, we have to admit that naturally some of them sparkle more freely than others. And the ones that do so have become superstars, rounding out their brands with some riveting personas to swathe all the fine lines and beautiful hues in. Here are the eight most personable ones of all:

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.28.43 PM.pngMarc Jacobs

The openly gay New York-born designer is just so affable, blessed with the gift of gab, whether it comes to making honest, personal statements or to showering people he knows with personality and spirit. What's more, MJ has a very good sense of history. He seems to remember everyone he's ever met, and I've seen him even be cordial to them! Being the bland geek in the corner will never be something Marc is accused of.

BFA_3925_439566.jpg(Photo by Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com)

Isaac Mizrahi
As seen on QVC, Isaac is a tireless, reference-filled guy who can wax profound about everything from color to fringe to Joan Crawford movies and beyond. He's so much more than a designer. He's a personal force, and really comes off like a star personality who just happens to design -- very well.

BFA_10732_1303094.jpg(Photo by Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com)

Karl Lagerfeld
The German-born designer has said some ultra-kooky things, but he's never boring, and you have to admire his appreciation for off-center beauty. Describe KL however you see fit, but I'm sure "personality-free" will not be in the final edit.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.33.33 PM.pngIsabel and Ruben Toledo
Watching these two make it big has been one of the real joys of following the culture. A couple in work and marriage, they've stuck to their guns without sacrificing what makes them unique. They are part of the downtown fabric, even while their work has gone all the way to the top. (Cuban-born Isabel has designed for Michelle Obama and also for Broadway, among other things.) For those keeping track, by the way, I'm counting the Toledos as one person.

BFA_10056_1211268.jpg(Photo by Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com)

Donatella Versace
You don't get spoofed on SNL if you have nothing going on. And with her rather individual looks and stance and her deadpan pronouncements, the woman reeks of so much personality it's a wonder she hasn't branched out into a real talk show.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.47.40 PM.png(Photo by David X Prutting/BFAnyc.com)

Donna Karan
The long-running Donna is just so New Yawk and so very Hamptons. She seems to have found a bliss state ages ago and has remained kind of unspoiled -- just yakking away with her friend Babs about what makes things distinct and interesting. You gotta love huh. Calvin Klein gets a special mention here as someone else who would not disappoint in conversation.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 4.39.21 PM.pngTom Ford
A real aesthete (as witnessed by his beautiful film A Single Man), Tom has a hairy chest and a mouth that keeps going. As with Lagerfeld, you might not agree with everything he says, but you have to admire his persona and accomplishments.

Oh, and of course....

BFA_12069_1483178.jpg(Photo by Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com)

Betsey Johnson

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Nope, Don Draper is Not That Dude No One Thought He Was

don-draper-shrug.jpgThe "theory" that Don Draper, Mad Men's drifting hero* and the secret man who drinks at work, would turn out to be infamous airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper has floated around for years. With just days to go before the series finale and yet another round of "definitive" evidence, showrunner Matthew Weiner shut it down for good, telling Macleans' Adrien Lee that there was no way it was happening. He attempted to pin down the nature of the fans' relationship with the show's future:

I love that people care but I also think that there's a real desire for the audience to anticipate the ongoing story and feel that they have guessed it and gotten it right and anything where they do feel like they're right, they seem to say that the show is obvious and poorly constructed, and anything where they get it wrong, they think that I'm reacting to them.

He's not wrong -- because TV seasons are often more like winding marathons than a more compact film, it's easy to track them and try to figure out their patterns over the course of weeks and years (especially for long-running shows like The X-Files or Lost). In some cases, this makes sense, particularly since many shows ask to be treated as mysteries. But Mad Men? This is a show whose biggest "plot twist" to date is, depending on your perspective, either background information about the main character or a series of events at a workplace that eventually resulted in the main characters simply moving to a different office.

And it's not even the first ridiculous conspiracy theory Weiner has had to debunk -- during the fifth season, there was rampant speculation that Don's second wife Megan would be killed like Sharon Tate (because of a shirt she wore once). Somehow, a show that is often criticized for being boring has incited some of the most fervent, near-Biblical readings of anything in the past few years. Why?

One of the cool things about art is that you can engage in all sorts of interpretations, using very, very specific pieces of evidence. But like the night in Westeros, actually predicting the future rather than trying to understand what something means is dark and full of terrors and encourages showrunners to change course mid-stream, which, while occasionally productive (Doctor Who's last season pulled off the nigh-unthinkable feat of turning the cardboard cutout female companion into a real character), is usually bad for everyone (the entirety of The Newsroom). Maybe that's the whole point. Is Matthew Weiner D.B. Cooper? Is he Jon Snow's father? At the very least, he's one of The Others. Or a Cylon. Or something.

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Watch 10 Minutes of Iggy Azalea Saying "Like, Totally"

Welcome to hell, which is apparently a chopped version of the music video for "Pretty Girls," by Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears, in which Iggy says "Like, like, totally" over and over and over.

The secret is that if you make it through the entire video, you win a billion dollars. Or a medal testifying to the power of human endurance and spirit. Or self-esteem. Just kidding. (Not that it matters, because you will not make it through the entire video.)

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This Tumblr Calls Out All-Male Panels

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Who knew that all of the experts on every subject, ever were men? All-Male Panels did! From now on (or for as long as the creators of the Tumblr continue to operate it), each time a brave group of event planners mans up and puts only dudes on their panel to discuss or explain an issue of grave importance, David Hasselhoff will be there to extend congratulations on behalf of bros everywhere. It's hard for old white dudes to avoid women, so it's truly impressive that All-Male Panels has proved capable of documenting everything from an all-male marketing conference to an all-male poverty summit (featuring President Obama himself, doing his part to contribute to being a man on a panel). Good work!

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Scenes From the Launch of Rekky, an App That's Like Yelp for Cool People

Last night, a well-dressed crowd of tech, media, and food folks came out to celebrate the launch of Rekky, a new mobile app that's basically like Yelp for cool people. The brainchild of Muhammad Saigol, the app is a social network that lets users follow friends and interesting people they may want to be friends with to find recommendations (or "rekkies") for restaurants, bars, hotels, clubs and other hang-out spots that are culled from users' Instagram, Facebook and Foursquare accounts along with curated lists from some of Rekky's members with more boldfaced names. Last night the launch, which was co-hosted by Harley Viera-Newton and The New Potato's Danielle and Laura Kosann, included drinks and snacks and an intimate dinner afterwards prepared by Chef Nini Nguyen (formerly of Eleven Madison Park) whose dishes, in the spirit of Rekky, gave shoutouts to some of her favorite NYC restaurants including The NoMad, Del Posto and Russ & Daughters. Take a peek at photos from the evening, below, and go download the app HERE.

Harley Viera-Newton

Rekky founder Muhammed Saigol with The New Potato's Laura and Danielle Kosann

Anastasia Bondarenko

Mehves Tangun and Sarah Abbasi

Justin Duran, Chris James, Tyler Benz and Josh Madden

Brittany Blake, Crystal Civil and Taylor Webb

Annie Shi and Caroline Soussloff

Johnny Rackleff and Tara Pollari

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Start Your Thursday With Diplo and Grandtheft's Remix of Rihanna's "BBHMM"

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.39.58 AM.pngSluggish? Hungover? All of the above? Neither? However you're feeling this morning, kickstart your Thursday with Diplo and Grandtheft's remix of Rihanna's smash "Bitch Better Have My Money." There's lots of Diplo's Major Lazer-y gun-cocking noises and militaristic horns, turning an already turnt up song up to an "11" on the dial. Listen, below.

[h/t Jezebel]

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The Coolest Person In the Room: Ryan Burke

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.38.51 PM.png(Photo via Instagram)

In our 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.

Last week we featured Domonique Echeverria and she's been kind enough to nominate our next 'Coolest Person In the Room': Ryan Burke.

Tell us about Ryan.

Ryan is a genius face wizard (makeup artist) and photographer. He is also my creative partner and one of my best friends. When he's not working for the legendary Pat McGrath, you can find him hosting the weekly 11:11, Holy Mountain or just stalk his Instagram, which I highly suggest.

He's a bona fide weirdo and creative dreamer. Most people are completely content with being a shitty person or slapping on a lazy look but he's a real artist in and out of the nightlife scene and takes his art very seriously. Sometimes he'll let an idea come to him as he goes, but most of the time, he'll carefully plan what he's going to do and tramp all over the flower district hunting for the perfect treasures to adorn himself with and plan the perfect face, thinking, so-and-so will really love this, or this will go perfect with the theme, or I've never gone in this direction too much lately so I'm going to go here instead, or this will really work with the dress you just made me...the kid takes 3 to 6 hours to get ready and sometimes after 1 or 2 hours he'll wipe everything off and start over because he wants it to be perfect.

When did you guys first meet?

I first met him when I was hosting Greenhouse for Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny. He was just sitting in the corner staring at me like an antisocial lil' creep, so naturally I went over to investigate. His face was decorated in a beautiful rhythm that caught my eye and I gave him a drink and forced him to get up and dance. The next day he wrote me on Facebook and I invited him over for a slumber party a few weeks later. We stayed up all night showing each other our art, talking about projects we wanted to work on together and I told him that we were going to be best friends...little did he know I was going to force him to live with me just a few months later! As I got to know Ryan, we both connected over how transforming oneself aesthetically is just another version of playing dress up and how it gives you that extra bit of courage to engage with others. Not only is he an incredible and innovative makeup artist and photographer, but he is kind and compassionate and I think that's really why people gravitate towards him. There's not that ego that grown-ups get, just an effortless, whimsical child-like aura that invites you in, and makes you want to play along.

What makes  him unique in the scene?

He's not an egotistical asshole. He dresses up because he loves it, because he's inspired to do so...even if he's not hosting a party, he'll come dressed up and talk to everyone, make sure the people around him are happy and having fun. He doesn't give a shit about being cool or popular, he just wants to dress up, dance like he's in his own little bubble and giggle with his friends...but don't get it twisted, he's sweet, but he does have a backbone and does not tolerate bullshit from jerks -- or at least, he'll tell me and I'll go yell at someone! 

What is your favorite memory you have of him?

He's such a humble and sweet kid, so I guess my favorite memories of him are when I look over and I see his confidence peeping through... he stands a little straighter, opens himself up and allows himself to shine.

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Watch Miley Cyrus Perform a New Song With Wayne Coyne While Dressed as a Butterfly

As obnoxious and embarrassing as Wayne Coyne's antics can be (even with his Flaming Lips bandmates), his musical collaborations with his BFF, Miley Cyrus, have been generally great. Last night, the pair debuted a new song, "Tiger Dreams," as part of a show at Adult Swim's upfronts party at Terminal 5, while Miley was dressed as a butterfly. (During this awesome, awesome set, Miley also covered "My Neck My Back.")

For people who aren't TV nerds, upfronts are basically an extended marketing pitch for advertisers to buy time on networks, including presentations of new shows and parties (like this one). So most of the audience was too drunk, too dumb, and too douchey to fully appreciate what was happening. (Mostly I am salty because they obscured my view.) Watch Miley and Wayne Coyne perform "Tiger Dreams," because you deserve it and they did not.

Photo courtesy Getty Images for Turner.

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A Q With "The First Collection of Criticism By a Living Female Rock Critic" Author Jessica Hopper

untitled-article-1430493856.jpgWith her new book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, Jessica Hopper is proving that you don't have to be an old dead white man to be canonical, and, even beyond that, is making way for a whole new generation of bold, brave, groundbreaking female rock writers.

It seems glib to say, but Almost Famous made me want to be a critic. Reading Lester Bangs and imagining myself on the road, trying to get the truth from the music that I loved became my singular goal, and it wasn't until I was 20 years old and interning at The Fader that I learned that I'd been idolizing the wrong heroes. Fader's then-editor-in-chief Julianne Escobedo Shepherd became my mentor, and educated me on music journalist and former VIBE editor-in-chief Danyel Smith, her mentor.I started reading all the women music critics I could, digging around for Ellen Willis essays, reading Ann Powers, and bookmarking a blog called Tiny Lucky Genius, written by a woman named Jessica Hopper. That was seven years ago.

It never occurred to me that there hadn't been a collection of criticism by a living female critic until I saw the announcement for Hopper's book, and it shocked me: in 2015, most of the critics I follow closely are women. Despite this proliferation of female voices, the "canon" -- particularly when you're talking about rock --  is still largely populated by men. Hopper's book title is part fact, part commentary on this very thing: history has painted female critics as rare, when they're anything but. I spoke with Hopper a month prior to the book's release primarily about that title, her place in the rock critic canon, what exactly being a female critic means to her, and most importantly, what it can mean to the future generation of writers.

The forward and the title of the book are so interesting, and as someone who grew up with the idea of the critic, and wanting to be a critic, I'm interested in what you think the female critic is and how you're approaching that with this book.

What I always aim to present is, as a critic, but as a feminist critic. I don't necessarily go by, 'I am a female critic,' I'm more like, 'well, I'm a feminist critic.' From the first thing I wrote, everything was from a perspective that I knew very early on was underrepresented. I would go to shows and half the people there, or more, would be women, and there were always a handful of very visible female critics. I read everybody and I take inspiration from many places, but reading pieces that understood a band from a place that wasn't a 27-40 year old white male's perspective, and filled with what people with that perspective value in music, was pretty rare for me.

When did you first start writing about music?

When I was 15 or 16 years old is when I started getting my first checks for my rock criticism, and that came from when I would read the local papers in Minneapolis. I would call and say, ' you got this whole article wrong, and you guys don't understand this band like I do.' I really felt like I was living in a time in Minneapolis where bands like Babes In Toyland -- who were the sort of band I was seeing every week -- were being labeled by men as being 'caustic,' or 'hysterical,' rather than 'canonical.' Whereas I thought Babes In Toyland was the greatest band that had ever existed. Because it spoke to me so loud and clear.

What made you go from feeling like a band you loved was misunderstood to becoming a critic?

I knew my perspective mattered, so I was pretty assertive about putting it out there. We see that a lot today -- that there's a lot more value being placed on a multitude of perspectives in music media, and I feel like that was a long time coming. I think there was so long where we defaulted, and in some places we still do default to a macho ideal of good; a white ideal of good; and when I first started writing about music I was, like, in 10th grade and I wholly did not subscribe to the ideals that were being put on me.

Is there something in your upbringing that you feel empowered you to say 'I don't agree with you, and my voice matters?'

I was influenced by my mom, who's a feminist. But my mom was two things -- my mom was also the editor of the daily paper in every city I lived in as a child, and would come home at night only after she had closed the paper. There was a particular work ethic to that, and I grew up in newsrooms. My dad is a journalist and my stepdad was a prosecuting attorney who mostly did rape cases, and serial murders, so I grew up with these really staunch ideas about the importance of the truth, whether it be journalism or what my parents do for a living. I knew what my truth of experience was.

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You were very involved with politics as a very young teenager, how did you transition to writing about music?

I had a lot of interest in my own independence as a woman, and I saw a lot of the truth of the way women were treated in the world because I was paying an inordinate amount of attention. I loved music and I got burnt out on a lot of that political stuff...I was speaking at pro-choice rallies and stuff. I took myself very seriously -- and then I found punk rock. Shortly after getting into punk rock was the first Bikini Kill tour in the US and I was working in a record store and the people I was working with were like, 'we have this Bikini Kill tape and this seems like your kinda thing.' And through that I found a place in the world that was everything I was interested in, underscored a lot of my beliefs, and gave that feeling a name, and that was radical feminism and punk rock. All of those things, I believed in quite altruistically.

Writing about music can still feel like a political act -- there is still that feeling that you have to prove your worth in order to have a voice, you have to prove your credentials, while the canon of male critics gets to write whatever they want. Do you feel like, as a mentor, girls still have to prove themselves.

Part of the reason I gave the book the title I did is because I feel like there are days when it just confounds me that some of these wonderful young writers who are light-years past where everyone is at 21 and 22, have to endure the same stupidity that I had to when I was coming up 19 years ago. I was lucky that when I was their age, people had to be angry enough to confront me in person, or people had to write me a letter. You have to be really angry to write a letter, as opposed to firing off some irate tweet and hoping it scalds the other person, the person you're looking to undermine. I think now young female writers, or young writers who aren't straight white dudes, have to have another layer or resilience in order to have a strong opinion.

Do you think this changes the quality of the writing that people are putting out there?

I think that's why you have a lot of people who are pretty wishy-washy writers, people who are afraid to have an opinion, because they're afraid Twitter will come after them. I've had my fair share of controversy in the almost two decades I've been writing, and I feel kind of immune to that, and it's a joy. It comes from not feeling like I need permission, but one of the things I try and teach the writers I work with is to not be afraid of backlash, because it's not the same as failure. And I know that failure can be very instructive, as someone who has failed spectacularly. When you're just succeeding, you don't learn shit. I think being a writer, in a lot of ways, is a lot harder than when I was coming up, and I try to help folks however I can.

It can feel like being silent is safer than being wrong, as if there can't be any room for creativity. If your choice is between speaking your truth of the music, and your experience of it, or, god forbid, being doxed by someone -- you're like, 'I guess I won't write this tweet,' or 'I guess I won't write this article.' And then you're existing in a kind of a cloister, and nobody gets to be a better writer, and more so, people don't get to connect with that experience.

Does that relate back to the book and its title?

I think in some ways, part of the reason I did [the book] and part of the reason I gave it the title it has, is because a lot of women write in isolation. We write from the place that every woman is the first and every woman is the only, and the title of my book intended to blow that out, to say, 'OK, well people can't keep saying there's no precedent, or that women are by the margins, because most of the music writers I know are women.' Part of it is how women's work is portrayed and women's history is reported -- it always makes it seem like we're new to the scene, that we're interlopers, that we're really up against it. All of these things, in some ways, are true, because of the patriarchy, but part of it is also how what we do is portrayed -- that perception that we're somehow new here or that our voice is coming in from the margins. We're here, we've always been here, and we'll continue to be here.

Did people tell you that you couldn't do this book?

People would say 'oh, that only happens once people die.' Or, 'you're not canonical,' or these excuses that were like, 'well that thing doesn't exist.' And in publishing, precedent is very important. So until someone does super well, you can't have that book. I would be like 'well, what about Chuck Klosterman?' And they would say, 'Chuck Klosterman's a special case; essays of rock criticism don't sell.' And then a few years would go by and I'd be like, 'Well, what about Rob Sheffield?' And they would say, 'Well, he's a special case because he works at Rolling Stone.' And it's like, 'Well, I feel like my body of work connects with people, and don't people put out poetry collections all the time? Why do I have to be an old, dead, canonical man for my work to fucking matter?' The answer is, I don't. The book is going into its third printing and it's not out yet. I want to send a postcard to everyone who said it would be really hard, and be like, 'Oh yeah, for real, we've sold like 6,500 copies. And it's not even out for a month. That's not nothing.'

Jessica Hopper's  The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic is out now. You can buy it here.

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The Voice of Mr. Burns Is Leaving The Simpsons, a Show You Do Not Watch

Harry Shearer, a longtime voice actor on The Simpsons, a show that has just been renewed for two additional seasons that you will almost certainly not watch, has declined to renew his contract to partake in those seasons. Shearer, the voice of, among others, Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, and Otto the bus driver, has long been contentious in negotiations, and reportedly rejected the deal the other main cast members took.

Is this news important to you? A helpful rundown of the possibilities:

  1. You have seen a few episodes of The Simpsons and enjoyed them, but have never been obsessive and do not currently watch the show. You experience a twinge of curiosity, thinking "Wow, I can't believe that's still on," before returning to work.
  2. You love the good seasons of The Simpsons, perhaps even to the point of obsessively quoting them. You feel a slight pang of sadness, but do not currently watch the show because it is too painful to see something you once loved be bland and generally mediocre. You file this piece of information in the same mental and emotional folder as the Facebook album of your ex and their new partner on vacation.
  3. You are currently watching new episodes of The Simpsons and are deeply concerned with how the show will recast Mr. Burns. Please reevaluate your Sunday night TV viewing choices.
  4. You have the correct opinion, which is that Futurama is better anyway.

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Rise Up and See Citizens Band Tonight!


If you a politically active cutie who also happens to love cabaret songs and trapeze work, then The Citizens Band is your dream come true. The troupe of singers, dancers and aerialists (and former Paper cover stars) are equal parts feminist and politically subversive and will get your electoral juices flowing for the upcoming primaries. HILLARY 2016!

The cast of regulars including Sarah Sophie Flicker, Karen Elson and Michael Cavadias don't play in the city all too often, but they're headlining Irving Plaza tonight for a very special show tonight. They'll be joined by special guests Andrew Rannells and Lea Delaria, Meridith Graves of Perfect Pussy and more.

Tickets here!

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The 12 New Art Shows to See This Week


Jonathan LeVine Gallery (557 West 23rd Street) presents their fifth solo show, "All My Bones," with SoCal artist Josh Agle, aka SHAG, opening on May 14, 6 to 8 p.m. The paintings -- in his distinct mid-century modern style -- were inspired by a children's book of Old Testament stories. Up until June 13. LeVine also opens solo exhibitions by Scott Musgrove and Eloy Morales on May 16th, 6 to 8 p.m., over at his 529 West 20th Street space, and also up until June 13.


Swoon celebrates the debut of her non-profit organization, The Heliotrope Foundation, with a pop-up exhibition called "The Road By Walking" opening on Thursday, May 14th, 6 to 9 p.m. at 287 Gallery (287 10th Avenue) and running thru Saturday.  The foundation supports projects that "use art to make lasting social change" and the exhibition (and auction) looks at the people and places that inspired the artist to get involved.  Swizz Beatz & The Dean Collection co-host.

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The first NYC show, "Topography of a Daydream," by the Tel Aviv-based artist KLONE opens on May 14, 6 to 8 p.m. at Garis & Hahn (263 Bowery).  Though born in the Ukraine, KLONE says he doesn't identify himself as either Israeli or Russian, and the works in this show address his diaspora and "outsider" status.  Look for several new sculptures, drawings, animations and a sight-specific mural.  Check out FATCAP's 2010 Q&A with the artist HERE.

Creative Time launches their big spring exhibition, "Drifting in Daylight," ) on Friday, May 15, noon to 6 p.m. outdoors in the north end of NYC's Central Park.  Look for works by Spencer Finch, Marc Bamuthi, Karyn Olivier, Lauri Stallings and four other artists as you wander through the park starting at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (enter at 110th Street and Malcolm X Blvd.).  The works are "performative, participatory or perceptual" and they'll be on view for six weekends only, from noon to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.11.37 PM.pngRaul de Nieves and Erik Zajaceskowski

Black & White Gallery (56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn) has a show by two Brooklyn artists, Raul de Nieves and Erik Zajaceskowski called "Thank You" opening on Friday, May 15, 6 to 9 p.m.  They've constructed a large installation out of plastic and other refuse from their neighborhood, and hope to "engulf the viewer."  They're also doing a live performance during Bushwick Open Studios, June 5 to 7.

Since the weather is finally getting better, the outdoor art season is gearing-up. Storm King Art Center (Mountainville, NY) presents an exhibition called "Water Sources" by Lynda Benglis opening on May 16th and running through November 8th. Over a dozen outdoor sculptures will be on view, including several that haven't been shown before.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.17.31 PM.png"Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life" opens on May 16th at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx with a re-creation of the artist's garden and studio, plus more than a dozen works.  It's up until November. 

Though it's not outdoors, Jack Shainman's Kinderhook, NY, gallery celebrates its first anniversary on Sunday, May 17th from 1 to 4 p.m., with a solo show by El Anatsui and a musical performance by Imani Uzuri. Check it out before the end of August.

10985050_834555319931234_502714463026702966_n.jpgHaluk Akakce

If you can't sleep on Friday night, May 16th, head over to Richard Taittinger Gallery (154 Ludlow Street) 11:59 p.m. for the opening of a solo show by Turkish artist Haluk Akakce called "Come Midnight."  The reception runs until Saturday morning at 8 a.m.  Plan to "investigate the delicate balance between the earth and the spirit world."  The exhibition of new video, paintings, drawings and sculptures runs until June 21st.

coverhalf.jpgSandra Schulman will sign copies of her new book, "Spiritual America: The Catalog 1983 - 1984," about the early East Village art scene on May 14th, 6 to 8 p.m., at Dorian Grey Gallery (437 East 9th Street).  More book action at Other Criteria (458 Broome Street) with the release party for Damien Hirst's "The Complete Psalm Paintings" on May 15th, 4 to 7 p.m.

The annual New York Academy of Art MFA Thesis Exhibition (Wilkinson Gallery, 111 Franklin Street) opens on Tuesday, May 19th, 6 to 8 p.m. and will be up until May 25th.  Works by 57 artists will be shown.

Art in General (79 Walker Street) opens three new shows on Saturday, May 16, 6 to 8 p.m.: Andrea Galvani "The End," Halmos "INCUBATORACCELERATOR" and Katie Torn "Myopia's Toil."  Halmos' work co-opts the Silicon Valley "incubator" as a mode of art production.  Collaborations/contributions will be displayed in the gallery's storefront.


Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.21.23 PM.pngThere are benefit auctions galore all week including "Choice Works" hosted by Marilyn Minter, Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons for Planned Parenthood on May 15th, 6:30 to 9 p.m., at Sotheby's (1334 York Avenue).  VIP preview party tickets are HERE and the auction via Artsy closes on May 15th at 9 p.m.

NarBall2015042alexis.pngBOFFO's spring benefit, aka The Narcissists Ball, happens next Monday, May 18th, 6 to 9 p.m., in the Elizabeth Street Garden (209 Elizabeth Street).  This year's theme, "The Garden of Earthly Delights," promises " a self-love affair of epic proportions" and honors Larry Clark, Karim Rashid and SHoP Architecture. Tickets (if available) are HERE.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.23.23 PM.pngThe Tenth Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards are also on May 18, 6 to 9 p.m., in the Prince George Ballroom (15 East 27th Street) , hosted by Mike Albo with  a silent auction, cocktails, dinner and music by DJ Aaron Tilford and special performance by Justin Vivian Bond.  This year's honorees are Jim Hodges, Julie Ault and Luna Luis Ortiz.  Tickets for this one (if they're still available) are HERE.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.24.11 PM.pngJoshua Abelow

White Columns 2015 Benefit Auction is on Wednesday, May 20th, 7 to 10 p.m. in their gallery at 320 West 13th Street (enter on Horatio).  You can check out the works on offer -- by artists including Joshua Abelow, Alain Biltereyst, Elizabeth Jaeger, Meredith James and Margaret Lee and over 100 more -- by stopping by the gallery Monday through Friday before the auction.  Tickets for the party and auction are $150.

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Happy Thurs'ye: Here's Some Art Inspired by Kanye

Starved for Kantent after reading Kanye's essay on The American Dream? Check out some new pieces of West-inspired art, both over at The Fader.

First, if you're unsure what day of the week it is, try "What 'Ye Is It," an animated series of videos depicting each day of the week as a Kanye album.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.31.39 PM.pngThen, have a baby just so you can read to them from Bound 2Gether, an illustrated children's book about Kanye and his "chick" Kim.
fqrpgmspuz3llkjrmmq1.jpgThe death of the monoculture is a lie. Within a few months, everything will be Kanye-themed. Is that such a bad thing?

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Nine Models of Color Show Us a Vast Spectrum of American Beauty


For our American Dream issue, photographer Plamen Petkov and makeup artist and all-around creative powerhouse James Kaliardos teamed us to give us this breathtaking fashion story. In the following introduction, Kaliardos reveals the inspiration behind "American Beauty." 

When I was growing up outside of Detroit, my mother would borrow magazines from our public library that were filled with women of all ages and all colors. This became my early fashion and beauty training. I'd rip pages from Vogue, Bazaar and W (when it was a large newspaper) and make collages on the basement walls that were filled with models, celebrities and performers with every color of skin and every kind of face.

That's why it's been so strange to see the fashion industry take such a big turn toward milky homogenization. It just doesn't represent what is currently out there in popular culture or the real world. I've seen designers who sell millions in China, Japan and Korea fail to include a single Asian girl in a show. When a show of 100 girls has only one black girl, it sends out a very clear and unfortunate message. African-American pop stars may sing songs for millions of fans that popularize fashion labels, and yet women of color are nowhere to be seen on those same labels' ads or catwalks or in editorials. Diverse women sell music, movies and TV shows; they report the news and get voted into office. So why is the appearance of a woman like Serena Williams on the cover of Vogue (incredible on so many levels) so rare?

These days, fashion favors uniformity, an "army" of one type of girl. Hairdressers and makeup artists are often impossibly tasked with making this "army" look the same when each girl has different hair and facial features. As for me, I love the individual, and that is what diversity is all about. Each model in this story has her own identity, her own personality and her own beauty. The faces of America have never been just one color -- and neither has the definition of American Beauty. 


Melodie Monrose (next model mgmt.) wears M.A.C COSMETICS and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter M

All throws available at bloomingdale's


Shanina Shaik (IMG) wears Nars and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter S


Iesha Hodges (Ford) wears Tom Ford beauty and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter I


Lula Kenfe (Wilhelmina) and Kayla Clarke (Trump) wear Estée Lauder and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklaces, letters L and K


Tian Yi (IMG) wears Marc Jacobs beauty and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter T


Rasika Navare (Wilhelmina) wears Make Up Forever and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter R


Leomie Anderson (Fusion) wears Bobbi Brown and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter L


Tsheca White (Ford) wears Smashbox and Louis Vuitton Me & Me necklace, letter T

Photography by Plamen Petkov / makeup by James Kaliardos at Art + Commerce / hair by David von Cannon at Streeters / manicures by Candice Idehen at Deborah Lippmann

Casting by Roger Inniss for Boom Productions Inc / makeup assistants: William Jay Kahn and Yoshie Kubota / hair assistant: Mario Sisneros

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Why Tel Aviv Is One of Street Art's Most Important Hubs Right Now

It's no secret that some of the best art comes out of social turmoil and, in recent years, nothing is a better reflection of this than the burgeoning street art scene in Tel Aviv. Appreciation for art and architecture runs deep in the city's history; at Tel Aviv's center, you'll find the UNESCO world heritage site, the White City, a collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings. Some of these properties are currently being restored while others are aging, beautifully crumbling relics covered in intricate graffiti that tells the story of Tel Aviv's new generation: the art form shares the young residents' views on love, war, housing policies and everything else driving them.

While a lot of street art is illegal (in certain areas of the city there are hefty fines if you are caught), there is an interesting understanding that the police have "more important" things to do and there is not as much "broken window theory" police work. Often, graffiti is not covered up if it's deemed "art." This is not tagging. The municipality actually provides about 40% of the annual budget to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art who has an exhibition funding these same street artists. Some of Tel Aviv's homegrown artists have exhibited internationally at museums from Kobe, Japan to Berlin, Germany to Artsy.com. As their work continues to gain momentum both at home and abroad, we're spotlighting some of the biggest names in the Tel Aviv street art scene today.

Know Hope 1 Unarmed_128x163cm.JPGKnow Hope, "Unarmed," from the Truth and Method series, courtesy of Know Hope

Know Hope
Know Hope is among Tel Aviv's most well-known street artists with some of his work appearing on Artsy, Complex, and Dazed Digital. Active in the scene since 2004, his works typically feature a lanky man with a red heart on his sleeve. In his most recent project, 'Truth and Method,' which opened in March at the Gordon Gallery in Tel Aviv, Know Hope moved his art from street walls to people: he tattooed individuals with text seen in some of his previous pieces and took portraits of them in Tel Aviv.

Dede 2 Wind Up Teeth.jpgDede, "Wind Up Teeth" seen on the abandoned Tel Aviv Dolphinarium, 2015. Photo courtesy of Dede

Dede, a born and raised Tel Avivim, known for the images of Band-Aids that pop up in his work, has displayed his art on the streets of Tel Aviv since 2006 following the completion of his service in the Israel Defense Force. According to Dede, the Band-Aid is a "symbol for all kinds of difficulties -- personal and societal -- seeking remedies" and, to that end, his illustrations typically reflect on current events in Israel, including the West Bank occupation and ongoing housing crises. Starting in 2009, he began showing at several galleries throughout Israel as well as on streets internationally in places like New York, Germany, and Switzerland.

Sened 2.jpgImage of Sened's work courtesy of TelAvivStreetArt.com

A veteran in the Tel Aviv street art scene, stencil artist Sened is known for his kufsonim (little boxes) or stenciled figures that have been popping up around the city since the late '90s. What's unique about Sened's art is that in a landscape where art is often created on a large, visible scale, Sened's kufsonim are often very small and situated in out of the way places, interacting with their surroundings.

untay 1_something_is_moving.jpgUntay, "Something Is Moving." Image courtesy of Untay

A former visual communications student with a graphic design background, Untay's work has revitalized some of Tel Aviv's most neglected landscapes with bursts of color. Creating art on the streets of the city since 2009, he is well known for his series of exuberant bandanas, shown in the air, mid-flight, that commemorate the Tel Aviv protests of 2011 against the high cost of living and social inequalities. Untay is currently taking part in an Israeli street art group show in Vienna at the Inoperable gallery with another artist on our list, Dede, along with Broken Fingaz and Pilpeled.

Maya 1 Black Birds .JPG"Blackbirds." Image courtesy of Maya Gelfman

Though street art is often a male-dominated practice, Tel Aviv is home to a well-respected crop of female artists. One of the most exciting members of the scene is Maya Gelfman, who is as well known in the street art world as she is in the gallery circuit where you'll find her works using higher end materials, like etchings with gold thread. To add to her prestige, Maya has participated in a TED Talk with other prominent Israeli women from different fields, as she's become a respected voice of the younger, creative class in Israel. While she uses a large array of mediums, for her street art, Maya works with string to create really dynamic compositions like flocks of black birds, or vibrant hearts. This August, Maya will be flying to Kobe, Japan with these "black birds" to create a massive scale installation for the 2015 Biennial.

Klone Yourself 1 tel-aviv_2012_1.jpgImage courtesy of Klone Yourself

Klone Yourself
As his moniker suggests, Ukraine-born, Israeli-raised, Klone Yourself's work is a commentary on societal norms like individuality and often features mash-ups of warped human and animal forms. Finding the street art process renewing and an essential to revitalization, Klone has been known to go back and paint over locations where his previous work has been erased. If you can't make it all the way to Tel Aviv, Klone has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Garis and Hahn Gallery in New York.

Nitzan 3.jpgImage courtesy of Nitzan Mintz

Nitzan Mintz
Named one of Israel's most promising artists in 2013 by Israel's leading business paper, Calcalist, and Time Out Magazine, Nitzan Mintz is a street poet and leader among a growing crop of young writers bringing a new vibrancy to the country's literary scene. Her unique, beautifully blocked Hebrew can be seen throughout the city offering commentary on the surroundings and societal critiques of topics such as God, sexuality, social attitudes towards women, politics and relationships.

Dioz 1.jpgA work by Dioz. Image courtesy of TelAvivStreetArt.com

In artist Dioz's world, the bigger the better. Visible on the streets of Tel Aviv for a few decades, Dioz's artwork will usually take up all of the space on his canvas, be it wall, trash bin or gate, unless he's working with another artist. Dioz's decorated trash bins can be seen popping up all over the city as many of Tel Aviv's homeless steal them and take them from run-down neighborhoods to more pristine ones on the hunt for refund bottles. Inspired by people he meets and fellow artists, Dioz's work features striking characters and a laid-back attitude that's more light-hearted than the politically-charged work of some of his peers. As he says, he's just "try[ing] to put some color and some fun [in]to the streets." Starting on April 30th, Dioz began showing at the Jaffa Salon Gallery in Tel Aviv-Jaffa with another artist on our list, Signor Gi. This will be the third collaboration between the artists mixing their two styles and then cutting the canvas into smaller pieces.

signor_gi_alfred.jpgSignor Gi, "Alfred." Image courtesy of Signor Gi

Signor Gi
Signor Gi's work began appearing in Tel Aviv about six years ago, first starting with stencils and paste ups and eventually evolving into the paint brush technique that we see now with his skull signature. Sometimes accompanied by tongue-in-cheek statements, Signor Gi's art makes reference to the construction of identity, an idea that is extremely important in Israel as it was founded as a nation just a bit over fifty years ago.

Wonky Monky 1.jpgA work by Wonky Monky. Image courtesy of TelAvivStreetArt.com

Wonky Monky
Whether solo or in collaboration with art created by his peers, artist Wonky Monky's signature monkey is ubiquitous on the streets of Tel Aviv. Using his ever-present monkey as an "allegory of the human condition in contemporary society," Wonky Monky paints scenes of a post-apocalyptic world -- he often features broken technology -- and poses questions about everything from the progress of the human condition and hunger to boredom, loneliness, sadness and violence.

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Watch Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande Sing in Onesies

Betty Wap: Why Elizabeth Hofstadt Francis is the Original Trap Queen

Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" is an absurdly fun and catchy song, an ode by the rapper to his Trap Queen. But as much as Fetty's Trap Queen may make him happy, fulfilling all of his emotional, physical, and spiritual needs for the few minutes before the song ends, the object of his affections is not the prime instance of the Trap Queen. That would be Betty Hofstadt Francis.

As playable by the mysterious, withholding, and deeply unknowable January Jones, Betty is one of the best characters on Mad Men, which makes it all the more devastating that, as of the penultimate episode of the series, she is the only one to be on the receiving end of Chekhov's smoking habit. Betty Draper. She is pushed and pulled and held in place by massive societal forces that lead her to a life of appearances and housework, but has enough privilege to be the recipient of anger from those who are not as comfortable. She is a Difficult Woman and the embodiment of the spirit of "Trap Queen."

Fetty Wap uses the lyrics of "Trap Queen" to define his ideal partner-in-crime -- a stripper and quick learner who's just as much of an uncaring badass as he is -- but he doesn't realize that they're actually more applicable to Betty Francis. Here's why:

"Married To The Money, Introduced Her To My Stove"

Betty is barely in the Mad Men pilot, and when she appears her very existence is used as a "twist" to say something about her husband: he ignores his wife, who he treats as more of an archetype than a human being. Don is frequently absent during the first few seasons, so Betty is, essentially, married to the money that takes care of her material needs. With her primary responsibilities bounded her duties as the queen of the home, she is forcibly introduced to the stove via the domestic tasks required to maintain her role as a wife. Betty is the best Trap Queen she can be, even after being put into a profoundly unfulfilling position by the patriarchy.

"Showed Her How To Whip It Now She Remixin' For Low"

By the time Betty marries Henry Francis and becomes a political wife, she takes her anger at Don and turns it into a focus on status and appearance that effectively advances her husband's career in exciting ways -- a full queen, willing to engage in serious arguments about Vietnam (even in front of dinner guests). And her second marriage is tense, but sweet -- Sally describes her and Henry as "the Dynamic Duo," because in addition to being a Trap Queen Betty Francis is also Batman (sorry Henry, you are Robin), setting goals and getting Lambos. More importantly, she is also an absolutely terrifying, delightfully frosty ex-wife, and an infinitely better character. When the show shakes up the status quo after the Draper divorce, it's the rare remix that benefits from tension within the squad.

Betty n Fetty 2.jpg
"Man I Swear I Love Her How She Work The Damn Pole"

Betty_gun.pngThis image speaks for itself.

"She Ain't Wanting For Nothin' Because I Got Her Everything"

Once she gets remarried, Betty's story goes from one of Mad Men's blunter explorations of ennui and attendant psychological effects of having everything you want (perhaps the most important theme of the series) to one of its subtlest. With everything provided for her, she still tries to make something for herself in a world that has denied her the opportunity--where Joan and Peggy have work and Megan has a successful creative career, Betty has always done what she is told. But in the end, she does something for herself and goes back to school, acknowledging once and for all that she is worth the investment. The closest Fetty's Trap Queen comes to establishing her own identity is taking over most of the frame in the whip. Betty reads Freud. Come at her.

Betty Fetty 3.jpg
"Everybody Hating, We Just Call Them Fans Though"

Yes, we get it. You don't love Betty. She is a bad mother much of the time, and deeply emotionally stunted and stunted upon. Now get over it -- you are supposed to hate Betty, which not only explains why she is vastly more fun as an ex-wife, it also means that finding her irritating plays into the show's hands. As narrow in range as January Jones often is, she's still perfect at the kind of flash that Betty is supposed to carry. (How does she not have a lifestyle blog with readers named Fanuarys?) And when she gets the biggest acting moments of the penultimate episode, first receiving her diagnosis and then dealing with her daughter, Jones knocks it out of the park. Confused by how a decidedly not-great actress totally wrecked your shit? Too bad.

Struggling against a lifetime of societal pressure and a decade that upends all of her expectations for her existence (not to mention cancer), Betty maintains poise and startling levels of hidden depth and competence. She has proven herself the original and ultimate Trap Queen. We're not ready for Sunday.

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Subway Dance Team Takes "Showtime!" Above Ground to the Brooklyn Museum

Image via Facebook

The "X" train stops at the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn) on Sunday. This imaginary NYC subway is actually a performance art piece by two local artists, Rebecca Posner and Jackie Danziger, who will bring "Showtime" to the world-renowned art museum, via a local dance team called WeLiveThis.

The Kickstarter-funded event,"Public Disruption/ Private Powers," happens on May 17th, 12:30 to 3 p.m., in the museum's Beaux Arts Court. The artist's goal is to "re-imagine the interactive space of public transportation, challenge notions of shared space, and give power to the creative vision of our young collaborators."

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Watch Fetty Wap's New Video, "679"


While Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" continues to reign supreme, the New Jersey rapper is making his case for being more than a flash in the pan. Azealia Banks, Gucci Mane and Migos' Quavo remixed "Trap Queen,"Drake did the same for Fetty's track "My Way," and now we get the video for "679." The clip features Fetty & friends hanging out at a big, boisterous surprise party -- the rapper looking happy and at ease with his newfound success. Give it a watch, above, and be sure to check out our story "Betty Wap: Why Elizabeth Hofstadt Francis Is the Original Trap Queen" ahead of the season finale of Mad Men.

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Watch Run the Jewels' Hot-Button New Video for "Early"


Killer Mike and El-P continue their run of politically-charged music videos with this new animated clip for Run the Jewels'"Early," off Run the Jewels 2. Following their stirring police brutality video for "Close Your Eyes," the animated lyric video for "Early" by Bug & Sluzzy bombards you with grimly familiar images of police violence, shootings, protests and political back-and-forth. Watch above.

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