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Singer Storm Large Makes Going to the Dark Place Fun in Her Memoir Crazy Enough

storm-large-book-cover.jpgI love a nice, juicy memoir about an insanely horrible childhood -- and Storm Large's Crazy Enough is exactly that. Large's new book is a true page-turner and details growing up with a cuckoo-crazy mother and ending up a rock 'n' roll junkie and sex addict. But Large is able to laugh at herself and the various hair-raising situations she's found herself in. For instance, her mom serves Storm "shicken mush" with a nice dollop of Calgonite dish powder. She lies about her age (saying she's younger than she actually is) when having inappropriate underage sex at family gatherings. Basically, all horrifying stuff -- but somehow she makes us laugh as we groan and feel amazed that she survived it all.  We chatted with Large, whom we first met as a singer with the popular band Pink Martini, to find out how Crazy Enough was born. Oh, and check here to see when Storm is coming to a town near you!

What prompted you to write a memoir?

I got shanghaied into doing it. I wrote a one-woman show called Crazy Enough and my buddy, Larry Colton, sent the script to his book agent. From there, the agent, Richard Pine, along with Larry, started harassing me into writing a book proposal.

You've had a life that many people would describe as traumatic, but you seem to have such a great perspective and sense of humor about it. Has that always been the case?

Oh, heavens no. I felt sorry for myself most of the time when I was much younger. That's why I did so much reckless and stupid shit. The one thing that's been consistent, though, has been my sense of humor. As miserable as things would get, I could always find something funny about it, sometimes after the fact. But hindsight is 20/20 and, in my case, I can usually see clear through the crap to the funny.

When did you start being able to laugh at your past?

Usually within minutes of getting over something. It's a little obnoxious but it's kept me alive.

Has your dad read the book? 

I don't think so but a few colleagues of his have read it and give him glowing reviews on my writing. Many with the caveat: "Mmmm, maybe you shouldn't read it, Henry." However, the fact that his fellow teachers were impressed, he's feeling a little less tense about it. So far no one has called him and said, "Wow, Henry, what a big fat whore your kid was! I had no idea!" Which is nice.

Performing has been an amazing survival technique for you. What about it is so therapeutic?

Being on stage, for me, is the safest place I've ever known. Most of my life I felt completely unloved, unlovable, despicable and ugly. I saw no way to lift up and out, other than with the specks of transient pleasures in sex and getting high. Performing and playing music turned all that around for me. It's more tangible than sex, more satisfying and way healthier than speedballs. Music is where everybody goes to express something or let something go and to be at the helm of that energy, to be the conductor of that wild ride for people -- there are no words to describe it. But it sure feels like all the love in the world in that moment.

First-Ever Dutch Vogue + The Flaming Lips' Record with Ke$ha and Biz Markie = Eight Items Or Less


Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 5.35.02 PM.png1. Australian electro-pop artist, Gotye, is playing Saturday Night Live this weekend alongside host Josh Brolin.

TheoLondonShark1.jpg2.  While many SXSW goers took advantage of free music, free booze and free swag at the festival, others like Theophilus London helped themselves to a free tattoo.  The rapper partook of the free tats courtesy of Sailor Jerry Rum and got a Sailor Jerry Sharkflash on his neck.

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 4.37.49 PM.png3. Check out the cover of the first ever Dutch Vogue.  Eschewing Dutch supers like Doutzen Kroes or Lara Stone, the cover instead features Romee Strijd, Ymre Stiekema and Josefien Rodermans, shot by Marc DeGroot. [Fashionista]

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 4.52.34 PM.png4. Stifler's engaged!  Actor Seann William Scott announced at last night's American Wedding premiere that he's getting married to former Victoria's Secret model, Lindsay Frimodt.

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 5.22.17 PM.png5. In more crocheted doo-dads news, check out this crocheted bloodied Carrie Bear, inspired by the horror flick. [Laughing Squid]

Screen shot 2012-03-20 at 5.32.29 PM.png6. The Flaming Lips, Ke$ha and Biz Markie -- three names we never thought we'd utter in the same sentence -- have recorded a track together, "2012."  The song will appear on TFL's forthcoming Record Store Day double-album, Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, which also features Justin Vernon, Neon Indian, Erykah Badu, Chris Martin, Nick Cave, and Yoko Ono. [Vulture]

7. Apparently the Chinese government may be trying to censor internet searches containing the word "ferrari" after a Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder was involved in a car crash that may have killed the son of a high-ranking Communist party official. [Jalopnik]

8. For all you literary-minded peeps who'd rather listen to a books-on-tape version of Gravity's Rainbow than Watch the Throne, check this out: B*tches in Bookshops, a little ditty set to the tune of N*ggas in Paris. [Animal New York]

Danny Brown at Santos Party House


Hip-hop's boy-du-jour-by-way-of-Detroit, Danny Brown, fresh off a buzzy run at SXSW, stops by Santos Party House tonight to perform songs off his 2011 mixtape, XXX. He's joined by Queens rap supergroup World's Fair.

The Morning Funnies: Larry David Being Larry David + "Bad Barbie"


Watch Larry David have an extremely Larry David-esque moment while getting trapped inside a parking garage. [via TMZ, via Flavorwire]

Artist Mariel Clayton has created a series of "Bad Barbie" photos. [via Lost at E Minor]

Watch "We Care About New York," a pretty terrifying public service announcement David Lynch made in 1991, to raise awareness about New York's rat problem. [via Motherboard]

Oops. One of Mitt Romney's top advisors compared him to an Etch-a-Sketch. "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign," Eric Fehrnstrom said on CNN. "Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again." Guess it's better than being compared to a Sit-N-Spin. [via Talking Points Memo]

Microwhat: A site devoted to before and after pictures of microwaving everything. [via HuffPo]Screen Shot 2012-03-21 at 11.49.43 PM.png
Buzzfeed lists the first 30 tweets ever. And yes, they are riveting. Just kidding. 

Ed Helms and Bill Hader have joined Mindy Kaling's OB/GYN-themed new FOX sitcom. [via EW]

Are you feeling worried? [via The Curious Brain]

The real moral of Star Wars. [via Dangerous Minds]


Models dangling raw herring above their mouths in the premiere issue of Vogue Netherlands. [via Fashion Gone Rogue/Adriane Quinlan]

Look at this smiley dog! [via Buzzfeed]

Watch a two-year-old dance amazingly well to "Jailhouse Rock." Kids these days!! [via Videogum]

Logo will air a 24-hour Showgirls marathon on April Fool's Day. [via EW]

Tanlines' "All Of Me" Is Our Music Video of the Day


The video for Tanlines' "All of Me" features a performance mediated by a screen -- rather than playing live, the duo perform in front of an older crowd at a Soviet-era social hall via a small TV screen.  The group sits in a stupor until two gentlemen incongruously begin dance-swaying with one another and voilà, the spell is (semi)broken and the rest of the group get out of their seats, zombie-like, to join in.  It's a very lo-fi affair but enjoyable nevertheless.

Lou Reed, Jamie Burke + More Fete Mick Rock's "Legends Series"

Hunger Games Nail Art + Blossom Stars in Old Navy Ad In Today's Style Scraps

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 12.53.22 PM.pngKarlie Kloss proves models can be funny when she tweeted a side-by-side "Who Wore It Better?"-style image of herself and Will Ferrell wearing flowers on their head. [Fashionista]

American Idol, who recently enlisted Tommy Hilfiger as its "image advisor," will now have a clothing line at Kohl's produced by an off-shoot of LF USA, which Hilfiger co-founded. [Vogue UK]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 1.01.23 PM.pngThe new issue of i-D takes inspiration from royalty but Kate Middleton fashion, it's not. [Models.com]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 1.04.30 PM.pngThe Obama campaign is now selling a custom, three-piece nail polish collection at $40 a pop.  Take that Romney/Santorum/Gingrich/Paul! [Style.com/Politico]

2012_3_intel21.pngSpeaking of nail polish, Racked has compiled some Hunger Games-inspired beauty tutorials for hair, nails and cuckoo crazy Effie Trinket makeup. 

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 1.23.10 PM.pngStella McCartney revealed the uniforms she designed for Team Great Britain to wear at this summer's upcoming London Olympics but was criticized for not including enough red. [Fashionista]

In this new Old Navy ad, the brand reveals their Chief Floral Officer and it's none other than...Blossom!  Mayim Bialik steps into her signature sitcom garb (floppy hat, long jean skirt) and -- wait for it -- Joey Lawrence even makes an appearance with his muscles hanging out.  "Whoa!" [Refinery 29]

The Future is Now: A Spring Shoot from the Paper Archives

Amid all of the recent Mad Men hype, it's easy to forget that, stylistically, not everyone was as buttoned-up as the characters on the show. The '60s were also about style-upheavals: couture inspired by streetwear, impossibly cool style influencers (Mary Quant, anyone?), bright colors and bare skin. In honor of that side of the '60s -- and in honor of the insanely nice weather we're having! -- we dug into the Paper archives to recover this April 1997 ode to futuristic fashions of the Don Draper-era. Check out these images from spring fashion spread "The Future Is Now," styled by the fabulous Patricia Field, which is heavy on the Courrèges and Paco Rabanne.

1997_04_072_1.jpgJacket and overalls by Courrèges.

1997_04_082.jpgBathing suit, trousers and poncho by Paco Rabanne.

1997_04_075.jpgMake-it-yourself paillette "dress kit" by Paco Rabanne.

1997_04_074.jpgBathing suit and tote bag by Pierre Cardin, vintage Charles Jourdan shoes.

1997_04_078.jpgDress and purse by Courrèges, shoes photographer's own.

1997_04_076.jpgBathing suit, purse and cigarettes by Pierre Cardin.

1997_04_073.jpgJacket by

Ilari Urbinati


What's that phrase -- if you want something done, ask a busy person? Case in point: Skyrocketing style star Ilaria Urbinati, whose plate is so packed, she's become the go-to gal for every Angeleno and their mother craving a piece of her fashionable assets. "I'm so swamped that I barely have time to eat, and I get about 50 work e-mails an hour -- not exaggerating." Urbinati's inbox could be filled with any number of pleas, from business partner Danny Masterson, blasting her with emerging designers to bedeck Confederacy, their chic Silver Lake shop, or clients like Emmy Rossum, Bradley Cooper or Chris Evans in need of last minute looks.

Armed with what she describes as an "insane meticulousness and total psychotic attention to detail," Urbinati's past is filled with elbow grease galore to prepare her for this deluge. After years of working for aunt Laura Urbinati's L.A. boutique, buying for a bevy of others and styling mountains of runway shows, commercials and print ads, she's learned that "it's important to know what you like and believe in it, and not be afraid to be incredibly vocal and assertive. Especially when you're getting paid for it."

What's perhaps most refreshing about Urbinati is that in a sea of "I die"-type stale stylists, this Rome-born, Paris-raised culture vulture remembers there's a wide world outside of just playing dress-up. She never lets a teeny detail pass without adding a poetic element or reference to her own past: "My European background is the reason why my biggest aesthetic fascination is with Americana. I aspire to dress all my male clients to look like '50s American icons like Paul Newman and James Dean." With a prominent art dealer for a mom, a shutterbug hub (Eric Ray Davidson, whom she met on a Paper shoot) and a novel-length inspiration list, Urbinati has more artistic allusions on the brain than just what her clients don. "For me, knowing your fashion and cultural references is everything," she says. "And never use the excuse that it's 'before your time.' Seriously, do your research. Know your shit."


Before They Were Mad Men: Jon Hamm

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 2.33.34 PM.pngWith Mad Men's fifth season premiering on Sunday, March 25th, we're continuing our feature looking back at the cast before they entered the doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. We already showed you clips from yesteryear of Christina Hendricks (Joan), Vincent Karthesier (Pete), John Slattery (Roger), January Jones (Betty) and Elisabeth Moss (Peggy). Today, we wrap it all up with look back at your leading man, Jon Hamm, who plays ad executive Don Draper, the most ikeable, identity-stealing, philandering megalomaniac in TV history.

Jonathan Daniel Hamm (sorry, we had to go there) was a late-bloomin' actor who didn't start landing roles until he was nearly 30 (which, incidentally, was his cut-off date for "making it" in the biz).  After bit parts in Space Cowboys and Kissing Jessica Stein (which starred his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Westfeldt), his career picked up steam with a two-season arc on Providence and later three seasons spent on The Division.  But, as was the case for many of his co-stars, things didn't really pick up until he was cast in Mad Men. Here, some highlights from his pre-Draper days.  

Space Cowboys, 2000

The YouTube video title says it all: Same Draper Smirk.  Check out Hamm playing a cocky pilot -- Young Pilot #2, to be exact.

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 12.27.52 PM.pngThe Hughleys, 2000

We deeply wish we could've found this episode on YouTube but no such luck. This still of Hamm in a flannel intently looking at something will have to do.  

Kissing Jessica Stein, 2001

Though he plays a dick in this flick, flirting with Jennifer Westfeldt's titular character during what is obviously a set-up only to announce mid-dinner that he's crazy about someone else, Hamm proved to be a nice fit for the actress in real life as the two have been together for fifteen years.

Providence, 2000-2001

Hamm had a two season arc playing Joanie's firefighter boyfriend, Burt Ridley. In this dream sequence, Syd imagines what they'd be like if they were countryfolk instead of residents in scrappy Providence. The answer? Shotgun wedding. 

We Were Soldiers, 2002

Click to 0:13 for a glimpse of Hamm playing Capt. Matt Dillon in the before-he-went-nutso Mel Gibson flick.

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 1.48.42 PM.pngGilmore Girls, 2002

Embedding was disabled for this clip but click here to see Jon Hamm woo Lorelai Gilmore after they haggle for the last glass of Merlot at a charity auction.

The Division, 2002-2004

Hamm with bangs! Bangs on Hamm! The actor sports a ribbed sweater and decidedly un-Don Draper-esque messy hair as Inspector Nate Basso on this cop drama.  Actress Taraji P. Henson also appears in this scene as a policewoman.

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 2.50.47 PM.pngSarah Silverman Program, 2007

As with The Hughleys, we were sorely disappointed not to dig up a clip of Hamm's appearance as "Cable Guy" on the episode in which SS thinks she might be a lesbian.


Before They Were Mad Men: Christina Hendricks
Before They Were Mad Men: Vincent Kartheiser a.k.a. Pete Campbell
Before They Were Mad Men: John Slattery a.k.a. Roger Sterling
Before They Were Mad Men: January Jones
Before They Were Mad Men: Elisabeth Moss

George Lois Chats With Ricky Powell About His Damn Good Advice and Why Mad Men Is a 'Piss-Ass Show'

DSC03769.jpgRicky "Rickster" Powell is a street photographer and local downtown legend who first achieved fame as the "fourth Beastie Boy," immortalized by the Paul's Boutique raunchy couplet, "Homeboy throw in the towel, Your girl got dicked by Ricky Powell." George Lois is the legendary ad man and art director responsible for some of the most ubiquitous branding of our time, including his iconic Esquire covers from the '60s and '70s and his "I Want My MTV" campaign, which helped launch the channel. Powell is a longtime fan of Lois, and we got the two together for lunch recently. They had a lot to talk about (our transcript of their interview was 62 pages long). Here, Powell writes a little about the experience and includes some of their chat.
I recently met George Lois, one of the illest white boys to come off the basketball playgrounds of NYC. That's what I like about George Lois first and foremost, 'cause that was my thing for a couple of decades. I love his passion. George is a tough cookie, which I know from reading and hearing about his street-fighting ways in the Bronx, where he grew up in a rough neighborhood, and in Harlem, where he went to the High School of Music and Art.
Now 80, and officially retired, Lois continues to work on select projects, including a new book: Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!). Among other pearls of wisdom, the influential art director and the master of "Big Idea" advertising (which put as much emphasis on words as it did visuals), advises a "healthy paranoia" to protect a creative person's work; "to keep the big boys honest, speak truth to power"; and to "never eat shit."
Lois is also still hip. Extremely hip. I'm tellin' ya, this guy's got snaps. He's got a million stories, and, as a history kook, I was fascinated by them all. I'm sure a lot of people will also be fascinated when this book jumps off. Here's a bit from our conversation:

RP: I've been tearing this book apart, dude. I'm all up in this book.

GL: Oh yeah? Good. Keep it clean.

RP: Alright, I will. Yo, let me just tell you, everywhere I go I've been busting your book out and people are just bugging. This book, to me, is a blueprint for success on and off the court. How did you set about writing it?
GL: I get a phone call from an editor in England and she says, 'I'm very excited to talk to you.' I said, 'Yeah?' She said, 'Did you ever see a book that we did called It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be?' I said, 'Yeah?' It was written by the creative director of one of those English fucking agencies, you know, the art collector? What's his name?
RP: Saatchi?
GL: Yeah, Saatchi & Saatchi ad agency. I said, 'Yeah, that was a terrible book.' She's like, 'Well, what do you mean? We sold almost two million copies.' I said, 'I don't give a shit if you sold ten million, the advice that bum gave basically teaches kids how to be phonies.'
RP: Oh, shit!

GL: I mean, if you read it, there's about ten things there that make you want to punch the guy out for telling kids. Stuff like, 'Hey do you want to get along in this world? Make sure you have a card that makes you important.' There's also points like, 'When you create work, never do your best effort. Show something that's good, but not that great, because if they turn it down you're dead.'

RP: That's bullshit.
GL: Anyway, so I said to this woman on the phone, 'It's disgraceful. I'm embarrassed to be talking to you.' And she said, 'Stop! I'm calling because we wanted you to do a book like that, but your way.' At that point I said, 'That's interesting. If you can keep it down to ten dollars a book we'll sell 2 million of them.' It's not only that it's great stuff, but every kid in the world, instead of eating a fucking Big Mac that day, they can buy a book.
RP: What would you say is your number one piece of 'Damn Good Advice' for kids?
GL: What I tell kids is simple: Go to the Museum of Modern Art every Sunday if you can. Read the New York Times. Go to old black and white movies, get involved in the culture, understand the culture. What's exciting about my world is that I understand the culture so I know when I'm ahead of it. How are you going to know if you're ahead of things if you don't understand what happened before you? It's impossible.
RP: Check this out. I walk around like, 'Shit is weak, shit is wack.' I'm kind of walking around bitter. I don't like the way things have gone, especially around my neighborhood. It's all new jacks. Nobody says hello, everyone's on a bullshit tip. Instead of folding and taking myself out, I'm trying to work with the new times, incorporating the old school with the new school like on my Facebook page.
GL: Yeah, one of the first points of advice I've got in my book is to be true to who you are, whether you're gay, Hispanic, Greek. No matter where you're from, don't apologize. Be proud of who you are. It starts with that.
RP: When I do a live presentation [of my work], I kind of go into Dean Martin/ Red Foxx mode and I just present. I have a drink and I don't try to present my show in a way that I think will be satisfactory for the audience. I do it the way I do it and they've got to adjust. Whether they're with it or not, I'm sticking to me.
GL: Right. I'm not trying to convert anybody I'm just saying, 'Be honest, work your ass off, be truthful, talk truth to power when you find the talent that you have.' Talent without passion...
RP: They go hand in hand.
GL: Talent without passion doesn't work.
RP: I love how you give props to your mentors in your book. Who are some of your early mentors?

GL: People who don't talk about their mentors aren't good. I had two mentors. First, I'm at public school and my teacher Ms. Angle comes up to me and says, 'George do you have 10 cents?' [I say,] 'For what?' [She says,] 'To go on the subway to 135th St and Convent Avenue. You're going to take a test at the High School of Music and Arts. You have to be there at 10:30 this morning.' Then she tells me, 'You have to bring drawings with you,' and she had one of those black straight portfolios. I opened it up and there was about 100 of my drawings from the time I was 7 or 8 years old to the time I was 14.
RP: She kept them.
GL: She kept them. Then, later, I go to Pratt and I meet this teacher my second year. He says, 'What in the world are you doing in school?' I say, 'I'm trying to...' He says, 'Forget it,' gives me a phone number, and says, 'Ask for this woman. She'll hire you.' And, boom, I'm working.
RP: Before that, you were working for your dad's floral business?
GL: Yeah. When I graduated high school my father expected me to continue working in the florist and in another five years, when I'm in my twenties or something, I would take over the store.
RP: And art was a weird thing for him.
GL: Art was a weird thing. He never said anything about it but, later, I met a woman by the name of Valerie Salembier, who was a publisher at Harper's Bazaar. She said, 'My father and your father were good friends,' her father was a wholesale florist, and she said, 'My father once told me that your father said to him, 'Robert, my son draws all the time. Is that a good thing?' My father was a great man but he just didn't understand.
Anyway, instead I go to Pratt. September comes and it's the first day of class and my dad comes into my room at four o'clock in the morning and he says, 'George. Flower market today, we got to go.' And I said, 'Papa, I'm starting college today.
RP: Oh shit!
GL: He says, 'College? What college?' I say, 'I'm going to Pratt institute in Brooklyn Art College. [He says,] 'Did you have to pay?' I say, 'Yeah,' [he says,] 'How much?' I say, 'Three hundred something.' [He says,] "Where'd you get the money?' I say, "Papa, I've been putting my tip money in the bank since I was 8 or 9 years old." He goes, "OK, boy." And he turned around and he walked out like..
RP: He didn't know what to think.
GL: What the fuck, a couple hours later I'm at Pratt taking attendance and I meet my wife. It's a class of maybe 30 kids and they're calling out the names and you're supposed to say where you're from. So it gets to L and Lewandowski and I hear this blond about four rows in front of me. I didn't see her face but she says, 'Saracuse' in that fucking accent. And like an asshole wise guy I call out, "Saracuse.'
RP: You were goofing her.
GL: She turns around half way and I say, 'Whoa, who's that?' So we finish class and everybody gets up and I'm sitting with three guys and she starts walking up the stair case and I go, 'Whoa!' Then I look at her legs and go, 'Whoa!' and I look at the guys and say, 'She's mine.' I got up and I walked over with this guy Artie Stevens and I say, 'Artie take a picture.' He takes a picture. I've got a picture of us five minutes after meeting.
RP: That photo's in the book. I also love that there's a shot of you wearing Adidas in the book.
GL: That photograph was taken by the New York Times. They were doing a story in 1970 or something about the way people at ad agencies weren't dressing in suits. They were asking around and they say, 'Hey you've got to talk to that hot-shot art director George Lois because he's been walking around in funny looking shoes for a couple of months.' I bought the Adidas shoes in Paris or something. They weren't even really here yet. I'd wear them and people would be like 'What the fuck are those?'
RP: Those are nice. Those look like the top tens.
GL: Six months later they were selling them all over the place. That's why I got the picture with my feet up.
RP: You're setting new standards. I love it. So Mad Men is coming back. I don't watch it. I never watch it. It looks like bullshit to me. What do you think of it?
GL: It's OK to do a show like that, but when they announced that the show was going to be about 'the incredible period of the advertising industry in the 1960s,' everybody thought it was going to be about me. All over the world I'm called 'the original Mad man.' My bitch about it is the fact that it's a show about a bunch of scum bags. All they do is screw the secretaries, drink themselves to death, smoke themselves to death and produce piss advertising. And this is happening during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and women's liberation? All the important things going on in the world and they've got that piss-ass show?

Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) is out now via Phaidon.

Sara Driver Gets Long-Overdue Retrospective at the Anthology Film Archives

18DRIVER1_SPAN-articleLarge.jpgOne of the most compelling, original and regrettably overlooked filmmakers to emerge from the creative maelstrom of downtown New York City in the daze of yore, Sara Driver is the subject of a long-overdue retrospective at the Anthology Film Archives. After Driver was relegated to recent obscurity, the discovery of You Are Not I (Driver's haunting psychological portrait of a young schizophrenic let loose upon the world but not from her mind) and its stunning inclusion in the New York Film Festival, has brought new attention to this most idiosyncratic and personal of directors. You Are Not I was thought long lost, until a print of it was found in the home of writer Paul Bowles -- whose story was the basis for Driver's film.

YOU ARE NOT I 3[2].jpgSuzanne Fletcher in You Are Not Alone. Photo by Nan Goldin courtesy of Sara Driver.

Independent in a way that makes us realize how corrupted that term has become, smart in a way we rarely expect from cinema, and deeply intimate to a degree that wider audiences are neither accustomed nor entirely comfortable with, Sara Driver's films ask so little of story and action that we never so much witness them as experience them conjured in a dream.

Driver amassed a modest body of work for a career that spans more than a quarter century -- two features, one near feature-length movie and a short -- that sadly is more a testimony for how hard it is for the women auteur than any lack of things to say. Much like her long-time partner Jim Jarmusch -- for whom she produced Stranger Than Paradise and Permanent Vacation -- Driver is a rare maestro at forging ensemble casts into atypical new spaces while allowing the camera to linger in ways that evoke the eerie specter of fantasy around which we wrap our fallible sense of reality.

WHEN PIGS FLY 4.jpgMarianne Faithfull and Rachel Bella in When Pigs Fly. Photo by Nan Goldin courtesy of Sara Driver.

Even with such notable figures as Steve Buscemi, Anne Magnuson, Marianne Faithfull, Luc Sante, Nan Goldin, Seymour Cassel and Alfred Molina populating Driver's otherworld, this week of screenings offers the a truly remarkable respite from the familiar. And if you don't smoke a joint before watching her masterwork When Pigs Fly, you might risk wasting a most beautiful encounter with one of the greatest cinematographers (Robby Muller) and composers (Joe Strummer) who've ever lent their genius to this debased medium we call movies.

"Sleepwalking: The Films of Sara Driver" runs from Mar. 23-Apr. 1 at Anthology Film Archives. More info here.

Photo by Jim Jarmusch

The Hunger Games: The Reviews Are In!

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 5.20.24 PM.pngIn case you've been living in a bunker somewhere, The Hunger Games premieres at midnight tonight and has already sold out advance ticket sales in 2,000 theaters nationwide, surpassing the first of the Twilight saga films in pre-sale numbers (if you're keeping score).  For all its hoopla, the critics have either meted cautious praise or witheld it entirely.  Reviews ranged from mixed opinions about Jennifer Lawrence's performance as central character, Katniss, to questions about director Gary Ross' suitability for the project to the critique that the film watered down the intensity of Suzanne Collins' original novel.  See what they had to say below:

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times:
Gary Ross, the unlikely and at times frustratingly ill-matched director for this brutal, unnerving story...has a way of smoothing even modestly irregular edges...Again and again Katniss rescues herself with resourcefulness, guts and true aim, a combination that makes her insistently watchable, despite Mr. Ross's soft touch and Ms. Lawrence's bland performance...A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission. The graver problem is a disengaged performance that rarely suggests the terrors Katniss faces, including the fatalism that originally hangs on her like a shroud.

Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post:
That perverse dystopia is brought faithfully, if un-spectacularly, to life by director Gary Ross...Ross judiciously sidesteps the most barbaric aspects of Collins's tale, saving it from becoming a Scholastic version of Cormac McCarthy at his most ruthless...[Jennifer] Lawrence is never less than grounded and believable as a young woman forced by circumstance to assume wisdom far beyond her years.

Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times:
Making a successful "Hunger Games" movie out of Suzanne Collins' novel required casting the best possible performer as Katniss, and in Jennifer Lawrence director Gary Ross and company have hit the bull's-eye, so to speak...Lawrence's ability to involve us in her struggle is a key to the effectiveness of "Hunger Games." The film's strengths are not so much in its underlying themes or its romantic elements, (the weakest aspect, in fact) but its recognition of the book's narrative strengths and its ability play them straight. If, as the ads suggest, the whole world will be watching this, viewers will likely be satisfied with what they see.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times:
"The Hunger Games" is an effective entertainment, and Jennifer Lawrence is strong and convincing in the central role. But the film leapfrogs obvious questions in its path, and avoids the opportunities sci-fi provides for social criticism; compare its world with the dystopias in "Gattaca" or "The Truman Show."  Director Gary Ross and his writers (including the series' author, Suzanne Collins) obviously think their audience wants to see lots of hunting-and-survival scenes, and has no interest in people talking about how a cruel class system is using them. Well, maybe they're right. But I found the movie too long and deliberate as it negotiated the outskirts of its moral issues.

Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
Was it wrong to expect something from a "Hunger Games" movie other than pajama-party fodder?...What director Gary Ross opted for is an earnest, plodding thumb-sucker -- a sugar-coated pacifier to appease the screaming hordes. This is a science-fiction movie of the blandest, most generic order, technically adequate but devoid of any wit or insight or anything more substantial and lasting than the cool image of Jennifer Lawrence wielding a wicked bow and arrow...If you haven't read the book, opt instead for "Battle Royale," the controversial Japanese movie made in 2000 that has a near-identical premise and is (not coincidentally) being released on DVD for the first time in the United States this week. That movie takes no prisoners: The Hunger Games takes no risks.

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal:
In life it's usually feast or famine. In "The Hunger Games" it's both a feast of cheesy spectacle and a famine of genuine feeling, except for the powerful--and touchingly vulnerable--presence of Jennifer Lawrence as the 16-year-old heroine, Katniss Everdeen...Young audiences are sure to embrace Katniss on screen--the movie is off to an epic start--and all the more so because Ms. Lawrence is the perfect choice for the role...But this movie about kids being manipulated--literally unto death--manipulates its audience clumsily, and shortchanges it shamelessly.

Justin Chang, Variety
Proficient, involving, ever faithful to its source and centered around Jennifer Lawrence's impressive star turn, this much-anticipated, nearly 2 1/2-hour event picture should satiate fans, entertain the uninitiated and take an early lead among the year's top-grossing films. Yet in the face of near-certain commercial success, no one seems to have taken the artistic gambles that might have made this respectable adaptation a remarkable one.
 here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/22/2707579/the-hunger-games-pg-13.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/22/2707579/the-hunger-games-pg-13.html#storylink=cpy

Awful Library Books Is Our New Favorite Blog

Behold: AwfulLibraryBooks, a blog featuring amusingly outdated and/or just generally terrible books that are still sitting on the shelves of libraries across the country. Highlights include a creepy book about hot tubs that definitely could have inspired Rachel Dratch and Will Ferrell's 'love-ahh' SNL sketch, a deeply depressing '60s home-ec guide and Charles Atlas' tips for achieving his 'perfect manhood.' The site, run by two Michigan librarians, also highlights the necessity of weeding (or the discarding) of books to make sure collections stay fresh and useful. I sent a link to my mom, a former librarian, who said weeding was her favorite thing to do. She also wrote, "The home-ec book is exactly why there was a hippie/feminist/anti-establishment/drug movement. In fact you could say it led to the hot tubbers. It makes my skin crawl to read from both of those books and see the pictures. Oy!!!" Above, some of the worst/best books from the site. [Via HuffPoComedy]

Lana Del Rey Gets Cozy With Marilyn Manson + Bruno Mars Hangs With Hef at Playboy Mansion = Eight Items Or Less

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 5.33.17 PM.png1. Holy crap!  A 10-year-old girl just broke the world record for weightlifting in the 97lbs division by lifting 215lbs. [Buzzfeed]

2.  Martha Stewart will play a private school headmistress on an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU. [Perez Hilton]

Bruno Mars Playboy - Cameron Duddy - 3856 - 1.jpg3. Singer Bruno Mars covers this month's issue of Playboy and is only the tenth man to do so in the magazine's history.  Somehow we think these photos of Mars and Hef at the mansion party are delightfully funny -- they make an odd awesome pair. It's as if Hef has spent so long in the company of young women, he doesn't really know what to do with a young dude. [Photo by Cameron Duddy]

mariolight.png4.  Check out a Super Mario Bros.-inspired "Question Box Hanging Lamp."  And, no, a magic mushroom will not make you grow when you press it, a light will just turn on (though we do hear it emits a coin noise). [Laughing Squid]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 6.10.34 PM.png5. UK-based designer Jonathan Williams created a hilarious series of drawings illustrating 21st Century "musical tribes" for Q Magazine.  He includes everything from the Bro-Stepper (above) to the Earnest Pitchforker to the Old Raver nursing a baby. [Flavorwire via Q Magazine]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 6.17.20 PM.png6. Here's a 150-carat ring made entirely out of diamonds.  It can be yours for only $70 million. [Daily What]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 6.22.11 PM.png7. This is all types of wrong: Lana Del Rey is seen hanging out with Marilyn Manson (when he's not playing Johnny Depp's son's 10th birthday), inevitably leading Oh No They Didn't gossip blog to cry "Couple Alert!" [Buzzfeed via Oh No They Didn't]

Screen shot 2012-03-22 at 6.00.14 PM.png8. Street artist Mark Jenkins created these wonderfully freaky mannequins, which he's installed in public urban spaces throughout the world. [Laughing Squid]

Joshua Foer at Book Court


Joshua Foer, an old chum of ours who also happens to be a brilliant writer, reads from his best-selling tome, Moonwalking With Einstein, wherein he attempted (and succeeded at) becoming a "mental athlete."

Breathless at the Film Society of Lincoln Center


Breathless, Godard's first movie, and one of the most influential French New Wave films, follows an innocent-seeming young American in Paris (Jean Seaberg) who falls for a Parisian ne'er do well (played by Jean-Paul Belmondo). It's playing at 1:15 in the afternoon so... take a "long lunch"?

Longchamp Debuts Footwear Line + Jennifer Lawrence's Hunger Games Dress Is Now For Sale in Today's Style Scraps

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Shoe designer Matt Bernson (who's creations have been sold in Madewell, Scoop and Urban Outfitters) is opening his first store on April 2, to be located at 20 Harrison St. in New York's Tribeca neighborhood.

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 1.32.10 PM.pngJennifer Lawrence's knockout Prabal Gurung dress she wore to The Hunger Games premiere can now be purchased at Moda Operandi for a cool $4,695. [Fashionista/Moda Operandi]

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 1.38.46 PM.pngNicki Minaj's cuckoo crazy outfits have conquered another arena: food.  Her latest confection features popcorn glued to the bodice (we assume) and a skirt resembling the movie snack's box. [Stylelist]

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 1.46.04 PM.pngLongchamp debuted its first line of footwear today -- they should arrive in stores this summer. [Glamour via WWD]

In a new interview, Hunger Games hairstylist Linda Flowers reveals that she spent $30k on wigs.  Wigs! [Elle]

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 1.51.37 PM.pngTyra Banks goes 'librarian-chic' in a new guest spot on Disney Channel's tween hit, Shake It Up. [The Cut]

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 2.00.25 PM.pngWho can focus on buying headphones when looking at Kate Upton's new ads for Skullcandy? [NYPost]

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Converse is launching Chuck Taylor All Star DC Comics Wonder Woman and Killer Croc shoes today.  They'll be available exclusively at Journey's for $59.99. 

The Cars' "You Might Think" Is Our Music Video of the Day


In honor of Oldie But Goodie Friday and the fact that today is Ric Ocasek's birthday, we're making the Cars' "You Might Think" our music video of the day. For some reason this video scared us when we were little, but watching it now, it's really enjoyable. Especially the dentise office scene where Ocasek is inside the actress' mouth with a tiny drill. Fun fact: this was one of the first videos to use computer graphics and was also the first video to win the Music Video of the Year award at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards. Also, Ocasek has an undeniable bat-meets-giraffe hotness in this video, so there's that too. Happy birthday, Ric! 

Lana Kim


Lana Kim says she's not one to quote the Bible, but on a cool January morning that's precisely what she's doing. "There's this one verse about having a calm and quiet spirit," says the 33-year-old music-video producer, sitting between her two dogs at her Frogtown office. "And I sometimes think that sounds so nice. Really, though, I always feel a little crazy."

How could she not? Best known in industry circles for her seven-year stint at the Directors Bureau -- a production company that's home to such A-list auteurs as Mike Mills and Sofia and Roman Coppola -- Kim recently founded her own company, Hundreds + Thousands, through which she continues to represent Bureau stars along with a host of younger directors. And that's in addition to her other new-media pursuits, including videos Kim has helmed herself (for Stephen Malkmus, Bleached and Blouse, among others) and The Lana Show, an Internet talk show built around her endearingly awkward interviews with the likes of St. Vincent and Will Oldham. Of her seriously hyperactive streak, Kim says with a laugh, "I just get so excited about good creative work." Indeed, her close friends include members of her favorite bands (No Age and Bleached), and proprietors of her favorite stores (Ooga Booga and Family).

That unbridled enthusiasm helped power Kim through countless film production jobs following her move from Las Vegas, where she was born and raised. (One gig involved transporting rolls of film every night from a movie set to the nearest airport, two hours away.) And today it's what keeps her hunting for fresh opportunities even beyond her ample workload. "Yesterday I was helping Doug Aitken out on his next project, this huge film installation for the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.," she says with a gleeful little-kid grin. "It's gonna be amazing."