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He Wasn't Good Enough For Her: Chad Kroger and Avril Lavigne are Separating


It was a match made in... well, someone's heaven. Chad Kroger, lead singer and frontman of Nickelback, and Avril Lavigne were married in 2013 (after Lavigne's brief marriage to Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley), and were pushing along as a couple. The pair had long been rumored to be on the rocks, but until now it's been easy to just allow the existence of Chavril to seep into the background, something that exists and remains a fixture of the cultural landscape, like easily churned-out classic rock albums or Jonathan Franzen novels, both of which are relatively easy to ignore but vaguely comforting in their presence. Now, Avril has announced via Instagram that the couple is separating, because that's where these things happen now (along with shots at Taylor Swift).

They may have both been easy punchlines on some level but, as we as a society slowly admit that Nickelback maybe had some bangers back in the day ("Photograph" still goes, sorry guys), so, too, must we admit that Chavril as a celebrity couple was quietly reassuring -- a pairing of two people who had been through the cultural wringer in the tumultuous early 2000s, and maybe found each other as rocks to hold on to. Their separation can be met with nothing but anguish and a reminder of the fragility of all human connection. [via Billboard]

Premiere: PINS's Get Lost In America In "Dazed By You" Video


Indie popsters PINS hail from Manchester, and as such are legally required to coat their hummable pop tunes with enough waved-out distortion to satisfy the strict requirements laid out by The Johnny Marr Act of 1986. PINS have been touring America pretty hard following the release of their acclaimed new album Wild Nights, and based on their sunbaked new video for "Dazed By You," they've grown fond of our open roads.

"We knew we would be driving coast to coast across America on tour, and were caught up in the romanticism of the road trip," says singer and guitarist Faith Vern. "We had seen the film Badlands just before we went and took some ideas from that too -- not just filming there but getting lost in the isolation and the giant landscapes."

5 Ways to have a Happy Hour Feast in Provincetown

Happy hour should feel redundant and unnecessary when you're on vacation -- you're in the splendor of unlimited freedom! You're actively filling the time when you would be doing work with enjoyable activities, proving that you own each and every hour of your happiness. Yet the joy of a discounted drink is still unmistakable even on a particularly pleasant day. There may be panic then, when you vacation in Massachusetts and realize it is one of the few states to have outlawed Happy Hours (since 1984). Fear not, Provincetown has found a way to reward those looking for an afternoon delight (of the culinary variety) by turning Happy Hours into Raw Bar specials. Trading in a bottom barrel vodka soda for a fresh oyster on the half-shell sounds like a new form of freedom worth celebrating! Below, we look at five of the best.

When was the last time you were excited about something that was 99 cents? (3am drunk dollar pizza slices don't count.) Victor's Raw Bar happy hour goes for gold with oysters, shrimp and clams all coming in at justttt under a dollar. Each is paired with its own sauce and no one will judge what could otherwise be considered an over-order. This happy hour runs from 3pm to 5pm so it could be the perfect place to start a Happy Hour marathon if so inclined. And, if you like the happy hour, come back for the Drag Queen brunch.

Victor's, 175 Bradford Street Ext, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1777

Governor Bradford
The Governor Bradford restaurant feels both like a dive that has somehow avoided public inspection as well as the unofficial Provincetown Town Hall. It's been around since the late '60s, and the waitresses seem like they've been around even longer -- but both of those should be seen as positives. It's the type of place where you could run into a group of friendly foreign tourists, or a regular who hasn't left the bar stool for months. Happy hour includes dollar shrimp, oysters, and clams, and a cheap beer can often be found. There are plenty of other places in town to go for artisanal or fair-trade food, but Governor Bradford provides the rare delicacy of locals with good stories, and a bartender probably harboring some solid life advice.

Governor Bradford, 312 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-2781

The Red Inn
Usually reserved for date nights or celebratory dinners, The Red Inn is on the finer (more expensive) side of the dining scene in Ptown, so their Happy Hour is a particularly special occasion. Oysters, clams, and boiled shrimp will only put you back $1.25 per piece, but the special is extended to other menu options including creole pate, spicy lobster corn chowder, ceviche and more, meaning you can explore their well-crafted and even better respected menu at a discounted price. Feel free to still bring a date or celebrate, the ambiance is always at full value.

The Red Inn, 15 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-7334

The Whaler's Wharf
The Whaler's Wharf in Provincetown could be thought of as the most charming seaside imitation of a mall. Instead of central fountains, it looks out on an actual sea. Instead of a parking lot, it connects directly with the pedestrian-friendly Commercial Street. Instead of a food court, it houses a number of independent restaurants, with Ross' Grill among them. Located on the 2nd floor of the Wharf, Ross' Grill has great porch views and the best time to enjoy leaning out over the railing and exclaiming "I'm the king of the world!" is between 3 and 5pm for their raw and tapas bar happy hour. Wellfleet oysters and jumbo shrimp are only $1.25, and the tapas inclusion means cheeses, Serrano hams, chorizo and other Spanish snacking accompaniments.

Ross' Grill, 237-241 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02660, 508-487-8878

Ciro and Sals
It could be considered cheating, but the early-bird special at Ciro and Sals could also be considered the most extreme version of a happy hour. If a full day of sun and swimming gives you an early appetite -- or you're already in need of sobering up a bit -- then Ciro and Sals has your antidote in the form of a robust three-course Italian feast all for $30. It's a deal one would expect from a strip-mall Olive Garden with food you'd expect from New York's Eataly. It's pre-fixe so the hunger-crazed (or slightly tipsy) don't have to worry about sifting through their regular, extensive dinner menu. The stand-out pastas and seafood are still represented on the early bird menu, however -- try the locally-sourced calamari or leave it to the chef with his daily pasta special. Ease of ordering and your whole night free starting at 8pm on? Who knew taking on the elderly option could be so rewarding.

Ciro and Sals, 4 Kiley Ct, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-6444

Photo from Victor's at 175 Bradford St Ext.

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

5 Provincetown Pools That Give the Beach a Run For Its Money

It may feel criminal to think about a pristine, crystal-clear pool while lying on the beach, but no judge would commit you for such thoughts. A pool offers something distinctly different than a beach like blow-up toys, lap swimming, lounge chair to lounge chair flirtation, and a sand-free tote bag. The perfect summer vacation offers access to both, and once again Provincetown delivers. The perfect Ptown beaches are easy to find, but here's a guide to discovering a pool for every personality type. Enjoy guilt free.

Poolside Party

Houses with wraparound porches, a spacious front yard, or private beach access are amongst the most desirable in Provincetown, but perhaps the most coveted real estate in town is a poolside lounge chair at the Provincetown Inn. The hotel is a sprawling ranch-style campus, with the pool at the heart of the operation. The pool is open to the public and accessible via a winding wooden path off the start of Commercial Street. During the day, you may find yourself in the middle of a bass-thumping poolside party with lounge chairs fanning out around the perimeter of the pool flanked by a bar (featuring an assortment of frozen drinks that seem nearly doctor mandated on a scorching hot day), and burgers, fry cafe and grill station. The dance hits blast from the bar and the MC isn't afraid to call you out for trying to relocate a lounge chair or any other rule-breaking poolside behavior. Despite the code of conduct, the vibe here is neighborhood block party, where everyone seems at their summer peak. With adjacent beach-side access, it can easily turn into an all-day affair.

Provincetown Inn, 1 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-9500

Hot Hot Heat

Access to the backyard pool at 8 Dyer will cost you at least one night stay at the hotel but there's no better way to luxuriate during your Provincetown stay. The backyard is a jungle gym of grey wood, white trim and expansive glass, reminiscent of an expensive Hampton's house, fitting for the lush boutique hotel. The pool is heated seasonally so it affords a water retreat even during the chillier months in PTown. There's also an indoor jacuzzi and sauna, both of which are complimentary for guests. It's a spa, it's a hotel and it's the easiest way to come back from vacation feeling like an entirely new person.

8 Dyer, 8 Dyer St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-0880

Drinks on Deck

Acting as a full day-to-night one-stop-shop for Ptown fun, the Crown and Anchor houses bars and restaurants, as well as a pool on their back deck, which is open to the public and always down for a party. The pool features a slightly smaller deck and less chairs than Provincetown Inn but also boasts a burgers, dogs and fries grill and a lineup of delicious boozy frozen drinks. (If frozen isn't your thing, you can also grab a drink from inside the attached Wave Video Bar.) And because this is Provincetown, your bathing suit is your day-to-night ensemble so mingling between the pool and bars requires nothing more than a good towel, stamina and confidence.

Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1430

Family Friendly

If the best part of your vacation is the "escape" and "getting away from it all" element, The Seaglass Inn and Spa is the perfect option. The hotel is located on four sprawling green acres a short distance from downtown. Wooden Cape Cod reclining chairs dot the landscape, along with prominent American and rainbow flags giving the resort a stately suburban vibe that feels like a place JFK would have taken his family during one of his Cape vacations. A kidney shaped pool completes the picture and the big unencumbered land provides a perfect spot for kids or dogs to roam wild, play games or just enjoy greater air quality.

Seaglass Inn & Spa, 105 Bradford St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-1286

Hidden in Plain Sight

The Brass Key suggests a secret society where membership is passed on between the different generations of the upper echelons of society. But while the luxury price tag of the hotel may make it exclusive to some, it's ultimately an inviting establishment and only a little bit secretly located. It's central to Provincetown, a mere minute from the Pilgrim monument, making it convenient for all and just off the main street. When you're hanging out in the courtyard that connects the Victorian buildings, cottages, spa and event space, you'll feel like you've discovered a secluded retreat. Central in the compound is the pool, which is also visible from one of the many balconies on any pool-facing room. You're welcome to carry on the myth of a secret society but the accommodating staff and friendly poolside conversations may dispel any notice of pretension.

Brass Key Guesthouse, 67 Bradford St, Provincetown, MA 02657, (508) 487-9005

Photo of the 8 Dyer pool in Provincetown.

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

John Waters Gives Us His Picks For a Crazy Day in Provincetown

John_Waters_700.jpgJohn Waters' heart might belong to Baltimore, but the legendary camp filmmaker and "pope of trash" has had eyes for Provincetown since he was a teenager. "I've been going to Provincetown for 51 summers," Waters told us over the phone recently. "I hitchhiked there when I was 17. Someone said 'Oh, it's a really neat place. You'll like it.' It was. I did." Waters, who describes Provincetown as "a gay fishing village," knows the town in and out. We asked him to give us some of his favorite entertainment picks for an outrageously fun day in town.

My favorite store in Provincetown is called MAP. It's got great books, very hip clothes, great gift items. I love to hang out there. I'm always hanging out at the front corner like a store detective -- so don't even think about shoplifting there. I'll take you in the back and make you be on nudeshoplifters.com. I used to be a shoplifter in the old days, so I know the tricks.

MAP, 220 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-4900

Scream Along With Billy
On Friday nights I love to see "Scream along with Billy," which features Billy Hough, this great performer who plays the piano and performs entire albums as part of his show. He's the only gay man I know who can do Eminem's full album.

Check billyhough.com for locations and showtimes

The Beach
Longnook Beach is my favorite beach and I don't mind saying that because you need a sticker to go and they're hard to get. Every day I pray I see a shark eat a whale or a seal, because when you're swimming the seals come right up next to you in the water. So I'm always looking out for that. I love nature, as long as it's things killing other things.

Albert Merola Gallery
I very much like the Albert Merola gallery. I'm a little bit biased because I show there, but they have the best art gallery in town. They have great shows there. I'm a fan of one of the owners there -- he's a painter, James Balla. I collect his work. They also handle Pat de Groot, who is my landlady. She's an amazing painter and she's in her 80s.

Albert Merola Gallery. 424 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-4424

I love it, there's no irony. The food is good and they treat me well. And what else do you need when you go to a restaurant?

MEWS. 429 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA. (508) 487-1500

The Provincetown Book Shop
I worked there as a young man, and that was really what ended up being my college education, because I never really went to college. When I won a LAMBDA award this year I dedicated my prize to the owners because they were really my education.

The Provincetown Book Shop. 246 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA (508) 487-0964

For more on Provincetown, check out PAPERMAG.com/ptown

Justin Bieber Says Why He Cried at the VMAs, Reveals Album Release Date On Tonight Show

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 10.10.17 AM.pngIf you needed another reason to believe that Justin Bieber seems to be taking genuine steps to grow up, watch this clip of the pop star on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon last night. He's poised, charming and humble and answers Jimmy's questions about why he became so emotional after his Sunday night performance at the VMAs. "It was so overwhelming for me" he says of that moment. "I wasn't expecting [the crowd] to support me in the way they did. Last time I was at an awards show, I was booed." He continued, "I've worked so hard on this album, I've worked so hard at becoming the man I want to become and stepping into situations, you just can't help but feel judged. I was just feeling judged and wanting to win so badly and wanting to do what I love so badly that I just put everything on the line...It was authentic." He goes on to discuss his youthful misbehavior ("I just had a bunch of knuckleheads around me") and at the very end reveals the release date of his still untitled new albun -- November 13th. Watch the clip below.

Premiere: Watch Fort Lean's Nightmarish Clip for "Cut To The Chase"


Dating in the 21st Century isn't easy. How do you come off as interesting but not pretentious in your online profile? How long do you wait to text back? To duck face or not to duck face in your photo? In these troubled times, people need guidance. 

Never ones to ignore the cries of the people, the video for "Cut To The Chase" by Brooklyn indie-poppers Fort Lean serves as a very important cautionary tale for how things can wrong on a lovely karaoke date. Like, drastically, demonically wrong. 

"The video shows what happens if you're on a date, and you skimp on your Chinese food budget," says singer/guitarist Keenan Mitchell. "Demons come out to haunt your soul, torture your mind, ravage your body, and wear your head as a codpiece." 

Directed by Mike Anderson, it's the first video from their upcoming album Quiet Day, which will be released on October 2nd via ooh la la Records. As ambitiously weird as the clip is, it's really just the start. Fort Lean plan to make "make one larger, layered narrative" that will encompass all of the tracks on Quiet, says Mitchell, with "a few related baby-stories inside one big mother-story." We may never sleep well again!

"No matter how old I get, I feel 25:" Kathy Griffin On the Luxury of Time

Kathy Griffin 0137 flat.jpg
Alice & Olivia top / Makeup by Ashlee Mullen / Hair by Charles Baker Strahan

Chatting with Kathy Griffin requires letting go of any preconceived notions of time and space. You'll end up somewhere good, but there's going to be a lot of whiplash detours along the way. It's a testament to Griffin's prowess as a stand-up performer (with a Guinness record-breaking tally of stand-up specials), reality-TV star and celebrity bigmouth -- one whose fan base has ballooned since she started gabbing directly with them via social media in recent years. But as I learned during our call, Griffin's rapid-fire online engagement with her audience also comes with its own pitfalls -- something she has learned, like so many of her life lessons, the hard way. Here she is, in her own words.

Maserati o'clock
The time thing is truly something you have to learn. Earlier in my career, I didn't quite get that good shit actually does take time. I used to make fun of these middle-aged guys in L.A. with their Maseratis. And now I have one. I realized, "Oh! I had to be old before I could get a Maserati." I couldn't afford one when I was a temp and I was 25.

Releasing the Twitter-kraken
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I see certain things on the news or I hear through the grapevine that someone has "gotten in trouble" for what they said on Twitter. I feel that, frankly, if you're a comic, you really do get a pass. There aren't that many stand-ups and there are very few female stand-ups. You gotta give one group a pass to be inappropriate. If it's a comedian that someone is pulling up a joke from three years ago, don't even go there with me. It'll make me wanna be more outrageous. [But] I do have to limit myself, because sometimes I go a little crazy. I was doing this Twitter Q&A and it was after I had done two shows in Seattle and I couldn't sleep. I very innocently got a question, which was: "Who was the biggest douchebag in Hollywood you've ever met?" And I said, "Oh, probably Demi Lovato." And then all of a sudden people took it very seriously, and there were 23-year-olds in their parents' basement threatening to kill me. I'm now a little more savvy about who is out there.

Wild weeks and dinner club with Paris
I have a week coming up where I'm doing seven shows and they're consecutive. And on a week like that, I'm a complete vampire. Obviously I have to be at the top of my game at 8 P.M., so that's not when I want to be winding down. It's in my best interest to stay up till four in the morning watching a lot of very bad television so I can go on stage the next night and talk about which Duggar has decided that, because of a certain scandal, they're gonna be a missionary for a while outside of the United States. I do a shit-ton of talk shows. I'm also very into the dinner party sitch. I have a posse that I hang with in Beverly Hills. They're called the Loop Group, and it's everyone from Sidney Poitier to Jackie Collins to Michael Bolton to Paris Hilton. It's this crazy combo of people who are Beverly Hills mafia. The older folks I like the most -- the living legends like the Rickles -- because they have the best stories. But sometimes I'll put up with the kids. And by "the kids," I mean anybody under 90.

Tick-tock you don't stop
I am hardwired to be writing 24/7. My act is very improvisational and that's why I have done 23 stand-up comedy specials for television. I can't stop coming up with material because of the ever-changing nature of pop culture, politics, my own crazy family, some interaction I had on the way to the show in Knoxville, celebrities I met on a talk show. That is the great thing about the world we live in: it's fluid, and that's a comedian's dream. I'm constantly jotting things down. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and write something down. I'll put something in my iPhone in my notes. On the way to the show I have an old-fashioned notebook and I just jot things down that I see on the way there. I'm just kind of constantly thinking about the next show.

Forever 25
My good friend Cher said something to me that really rang true. She was joking around but she said, "I don't know what to do. No matter how old I get, I feel 25." And I really, really know what she was talking about. I feel the exact same way. I don't know what to tell you. I feel 25. I am definitely living the hope that, no matter what your real age is, you do whatever you feel like doing as much as you want. And if it's not fun, get out, because it all has to be fun. Earlier in my career I thought it was all about the achievements and being maybe a little too competitive, and now I realize it's really all about fun. Like, it took me time to get here but the more fun you have, the more success comes your way. I swear to God that's true.


GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS: Scope Images From a New Photo Exhibit Celebrating the Female Muse

Last night, if you happened to be walking down Orchard St. on the Lower East Side, you might have thought for a second you had teleported back to 1991. A stylish crowd of artists, musicians, and editors converged on (the new) Max Fish for a photo show featuring works by Richard Kern and Ricky Powell, among others. The exhibit was GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, a show celebrating the female muse and curated by photographer Brian Boulos; other photographers featured included Skye Parrott, Ben Rayner, Miyako Bellizzi, Nikola Tamindzic, Alessandro Simonetti and more. Works on display included all sorts of odes to female inspiration and included shots of fabulous women ranging from Debbie Harry to Jemima Kirke, Agyness Deyn to Florence Welch. We got our hands on a few images to check out in case you didn't make it to the opening -- take a look, below.

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS runs at Max Fish (120 Orchard St.) through the end of the month.

Agyness Deyn

Florence Welch

Debbie Harry

Sofia Coppola

Lana Del Rey Doesn't Really "Clarify" Her Earlier Statements On Feminism

photo by Aleks Kocev /BFA

Last year, Lana Del Rey came under fire for what were widely interpreted as dismissive remarks about feminism, saying in The Fader that "the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept," and that "I'm more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what's going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities." And now she's (sort of) addressing her statements in the upcoming issue of V Magazine.

Speaking to close friendJames Franco, Lana elaborates that "The luxury we have as a younger generation is being able to figure out where we want to go from here, which is why I've said things like, 'I don't focus on feminism, I focus on the future...It's not to say that there's not more to do in that area. I've gotten to witness through history the evolution of so many movements and now I'm standing at the forefront of new technological movements." 

Continuing on, she tells Franco that, "I'm not undermining other issues. But I feel like that's obvious, like I shouldn't even have to bring that up." 

Because while feminism may not be that important for youpersonally (as shown by your pro-futurism, "Whenever people bring up feminism, I'm like, 'God'. I'm just not really that interested"Fader comments), it should be pretty obvious to you that the girls around the globe being trafficked, beaten,killed and raped right now are very much stuck in the present with barely enough bandwidth to even think about the immediate future. Granted, Lana isn't obligated to speak about social issues but to completely write-off other women in less fortunate situations than her seems a little naive? -- especially since she could be using her platform for immense good. Tbh, not everything's a Honeymoon, Lana.


Janet Jackson's Album Features Missy Elliott and You Can Pre-Order it Now

We've been awake, quivering with anticipation, since Janet Jackson released "No Sleep," the first widely available piece of music off her upcoming album Unbreakable. There's an end date to our wait in sight -- not only does the record now have an official release date (October 2) and a track list (featuring Missy Elliott!), it's also available for pre-order today. Check out the full track list and the statement of producers and long-time Janet collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis over at FACT.

Dean Blunt Meets His Weed Dealer In His "Lit Freestyle"

Clocking in at just over a minute, mystery man Dean Blunt's latest surprise freestyle is quite the habit-forming hum. Featuring a video of Blunt appropriately meeting his weed dealer, it's a funky, mumbled slew that plays with what appears to be Prefab Sprout's "Cue Fanfare." To say it's an "obsession" is an understatement. Watch it below.


A Response to Director Joseph Kahn's Defense Of Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" Video

Taylor Wildest Dreams.jpg
Joseph Kahn, the director of Taylor Swift's new Africa-set music video "Wildest Dreams", has responded to claims that the short film has racist connotations, saying that to have included more black people would've been "historically inaccurate." Frankly, his defense is super disappointing.

Because while the overall concept was obviously inspired by Hollywood cinema à la Bogart and Hepburn in The African Queen and Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, that doesn't mean a video made in 2015 has to make the same mistakes as its predecessors. You know, the kind of mistakes that blatantly forget to put black people in a film set in, uh, Africa and perpetuate gross romanticization of the kind of white-washed colonial fetishism that revolves around the erasure of colored bodies and voices?

But what makes this especially disheartening is the fact that Kahn, as an Asian-American in the industry, should know that racial representation is essential and that our media landscape has a long way to go before we can ever consider it "equal."

And while Kahn said in his statement that the video's "diverse" creative team (which included him and African-American producer Jil Hardin and editor Chancler Haynes) "collectively decided it would have been historicially inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors," it seems highly unlikely that anyone would have accused them of "rewriting history" in the name of 21st century political correctness and fair representation.

Besides, it's pretty easy to argue that the reason a lot of people become creators is to influence and re-imagine history for themselves. It's sure as hell why I wanted to write, to help change the general perception of Asian-American women as meek, quiet and un-opinionated. 

As a fellow Korean-American, this hits extra-close to home because even though Kahn jokes that we can't be racist because we're a minority, he has to realize that Asian-Americans are in a relatively different position, largely because of the "model minority" stereotype. It's the kind of position that means the way we cause the most harm is by staying silent in the white versus minorities debate -- unwilling to weigh in, rock the boat and stand up for other POC from our ivory towers of semi-successful "assimilation."

Because while we're not actively in danger (at least in the same way our black and brown friends are), we're still oppressed by the same institutionalized racism that allows for the erasure of POC narratives, albeit in a less violent, overt way. These are the same forces that allow people to assume that we're nothing but quiet, hard workers, easily domitable and not leaders and it's our job to show people at every opportunity that we (along with other long-ignored minorities) have a voice and opinions that matter. It's equally important to join in the fight for fellow POC by using our opportunities to give a voice to other minority groups without the same circumstances. That's why it felt like such a missed opportunity to change the narrative and actually produce something inclusive and diverse.

While Kahn is under no obligation to do these things or to use his art as social justice, it would be wonderful if he used his reach and influence to create videos that celebrated minorities and put them front and center. And even if it's only to help out your pop star friend that's been enshrined in a series of tone-deaf PR blunders for the past few months, it's a step in the right direction. We're all a part of the system, man.

Alessia Cara: The Budding Pop Star Who's Making Introversion Cool

alessia2.jpgAlessia wears a top by Jonathan Simkhai, jeans by Baldwin Denim, and shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood

"I'm so shy. I mean, still now, sometimes, I get very nervous," confesses Alessia Caracciolo when we meet. Better known to the world as Alessia Cara, she's the voice behind wallflower-pride anthem "Here" that became a viral hit this summer and made introversion seem cool -- not quirky. The 19-year-old singer has been on a long promotional march, arriving to this shoot straight from a lengthy morning soundcheck for a Radio One performance, and she's heading after to a flurry of promos for her EP Four Pink Walls, which dropped last week to rave reviews. (Taylor Swift even tweeted, "After just a few listens through the Four Pink Walls EP, my <3 belongs to @alessiacara.")

Though her slight figure and large dark eyes attest to her youth, she's self-possessed and at ease skimming through racks of clothing with the stylist, and chatting with the hairdresser about her dye-stressed hair, currently close to its natural dark reddish-brown. ("My mom's a hairdresser," she explains. "It was purple for awhile. Because I have access to it, I always want to experiment.") Cara speaks rapidly and warmly; she's affable and polite, and if she's feeling that shyness now, she's balancing it well.

Cara was raised in Brampton, a quiet city just outside of Toronto whose suburban peace she credits as being part of why she focused so much of her attention on listening to and learning music. "I'd keep music video reels on TV going, and if there was a cool artist I'd take a picture of the screen or write it down and try to find them," she remembers. "Or if I heard a song in a movie or on the radio, I'd type the lyrics into Google, because this was the pre-Shazam era." She joined choir and participated in talent shows, but cites that shyness as a factor that made playing and practicing at home more appealing. The rest of the Caracciolo family -- mother, father, and younger brother -- aren't particularly musical, beyond listening and appreciating it. "I sort of found singing on my own," Cara says, "which is why it was difficult for my parents to understand why I wanted to do this for a living."
Like another Canadian pop wunderkind, she began by posting videos of herself singing on Youtube, performing songs by artists she admired, from Lianne La Havas to Amy Winehouse. Unlike Justin Bieber (who she's covered and has "always loved his songs and [is] glad that his music is proving his talent"), she did not find monster viral success with her clips. Instead, her channel served as a platform to learn how to perform -- and to learn how to get used to having people hear her.   

Video for "Here"

While she had been posting videos since she was 13, it wasn't until three years later, in 2013, that her version of the Neighbourhood song "Sweater Weather" had a breakthrough. The cover didn't blow up online, but it did catch the attention of production company EP Entertainment, who signed Cara and teamed her up with writing partner Sebastian Kole. A year later, she was signed to Def Jam and hooked up with production team Pop & Oak, who have worked on tracks for everyone from Nicki Minaj ("Your Love") to Miguel ("Use Me") to Ariana Grande ("Break Your Heart Right Back"). Over these years, Cara honed her songwriting skills, mining her love for all genres of music for inspiration. "I want to make a sound for myself, but at the same time it's so versatile," Cara notes. "I just wanted to experiment. I want to be multiformat and I love all these genres, so why not do them?" True to that ethos, Four Pink Walls encompasses everything from anthemic pop to old-school hip-hop to the slinky soul vibes of her first single.  

That debut song, "Here," is a loungey track about feeling out of place at a party, and highlights Cara's husky, confident voice and snappy delivery. "I was just like, this needs to be said. It's so awkward and uncomfortable," says Cara about her inspiration for the tune, an actual party she attended in high school and left with actual feelings of disappointment and distaste. "I feel like a lot of people probably weren't happy. They were there just to get a good Instagram picture out of it. Great selfie, but you didn't have fun." She's still amazed by the track's success. It racked up 500,000 streams in a week when it was featured on Fader, went on to be a smash on Spotify's viral charts, and was highlighted by outlets from Billboard to Spin to Cosmopolitan. "I didn't think that people would even hear it," she says. Cara began working on "Here" with Kole two years ago, before signing with Def Jam or even really thinking of an album. "We didn't promo it, we just put it out and left it and saw what happened. Everyone just kind of pushed it up."

Cara's an engaging speaker when she talks about her music and her fans, but she gets really animated when we talk about other artists -- who she's listening to, who she's excited about, who she idolizes. To that last, Amy Winehouse is Cara's alpha and omega of influencers, the first singer she was captivated by, and traces of that admiration can be heard in Cara's own delivery. When I point out that the cat eye makeup she's sporting today is reminiscent of Winehouse's signature look, she corrects me: "[Winehouse] owns the cat eye. It's not even a cat-eye, it's like a lion-eye!"

But while she reveres Winehouse's talent, Cara is clear-eyed about the negative sides of her career. Of course, she's seen the documentary Amy, which was released this year and offers a window into the British singer's struggles with fame and addiction. Cara talks candidly about the ways in which it touched her, both as a fan and as a musician. "I'm new to the industry and I'm a female, and the things that she was saying resonated because I feel the same way, especially about her being terrified of being famous and not being sure she could handle it," Cara shares. "That's still my fear. Because I'm so shy and kind of introverted. It was kind of like a cautionary tale for me."

alessia1.jpgAlessia wears a leather dress by Leka      

Of course, getting your mainstream break as young as 16 has pitfalls beyond becoming a tabloid trainwreck, particularly with respect to getting respect. Cara has very definite ideas about her work, and involves herself in every aspect, including visuals and merchandise. "I think it's about how you let people see you, and how you carry yourself," she notes. "They're seeing that I'm serious about what I'm doing, and I'm not just a girl who wants to do things for fame." She wants to follow the examples of artists she feels have navigated the treacherous waters of early fame, noting that Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Lorde all appear to have found a successful balance while remaining unscathed.

Cara's seriousness about her work -- she's constantly writing down ideas for songs, and is trying to add drums to her repertoire of instruments, which currently includes guitar and ukulele -- is genuine, but it didn't stop her from enjoying and engaging in adolescence. When first signed with EP, in fact, she didn't even share the news with any of her friends. "The hardest part about it was trying to sneak around and juggle school and the studio at the same time," she notes. "I still wanted to experience high school in its entirety." Cara hit those high school milestones, going to prom and graduating, even applying to college, despite hoping she wouldn't have to go. "I always knew music was going to be my Plan A, and everything other than that would be settling," she says. "Deep down I was praying for a shot at this."     

Her shot has certainly arrived. The next few months will see her continue the full-court press, with plans to perform and tour, and a full-length album, Know It All, coming later this fall. But for all her self-possession and maturity in the face of this sudden slingshot to fame, there are still moments that leave her wowed. Cara cites a July appearance on the Tonight Show, where she performed "Here," as one of her biggest career highlights so far. "It was like, very, very surreal. I still can't believe I did that," she says. "[Fallon] came back stage before the show to say hi. It's so weird, because I watch that show all the time! It was really, really, really amazing."

Undoubtedly, there will be more amazing moments ahead. Cara is truly "here," and with Four Pink Walls rising as high as number six on iTunes's charts a day after its debut, it looks like she'll be staying.

Hair by Jillian Halouska / Makeup by Julianna Grogan

Today in Olds: Keith Richards Thinks Rap is for the "Tone-Deaf"

Continuing the unfortunate trend of aging rock musicians complaining about rap lacking artistry or whatever, The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has come out of the woodwork in an interview with the New York Daily News to dismiss not only rap as a genre (its fans are all "tone-deaf" because they just need people "yelling" over drums), but also Metallica and The Beatles. It's generally pretty sad when this kind of thing happens, because it's evidence not only that the inexplicably alive Keith Richards needs attention (which, yeah, he's getting), but also that he's unwilling to listen to and engage with new forms of art and understand how and why they're made, and what they offer to the world at this particular moment that Baby Boomer dudes with guitars ripping off the blues don't.

Perhaps worst of all, Richards might not understand the extent to which a lot of rappers actually like The Rolling Stones. In fact, one especially classic track features the lyric, "Like Mick Jagger said I can't get no satisfaction." Tone-deaf? More like Tone Loc!

Download Rick Ross' New Full-Length Mixtape

00 - Rick_Ross_Black_Dollar-front-large.jpgRick Ross has had a rough year or so -- his last major release, Hood Billionaire, had both middling reviews and sales, suggesting that after what felt like eons, his tenure of having a finger squarely on the pulse of hip-hop had started to come to an end. As much as his other artists have had successful releases, it's been a bumpy time for the boss. But the just-released full-length mixtape, Black Dollar, might just change that. Download it through DatPiff, then read our account of a night out with Rozay.

Writer Natasha Noman On How She Turned a Lesbian Tinder Date in Pakistan into a Successful Play

DSC_6049.jpgMic staff writer Natasha Noman has recently returned home to New York, after a stint performing her one-woman show, Noman's Land, in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The English-Pakistani writer's show chronicles her post-grad experience of working as a journalist in Lahore, Pakistan, where she went on a Tinder date with a woman whose father had been kidnapped by the Taliban. Combining comedy and drama, with a sharp eye for the challenges of adjusting to a new culture, Noman and her well-reviewed show have been featured everywhere from the BBC to a recent Twitter controversy. We caught up with Natasha to talk about her experience in Pakistan, creating narratives out of personal experiences, and whether she still uses Tinder.

So, you graduate from Columbia, then all of a sudden you're a journalist in Pakistan. How did that happen?

"What went wrong?" That's a perfect question. "So, you graduate from Columbia and you're mentally unstable. Walk us through it." First, I worked at Women's Refugee Commission and even though it's an amazing organization, which I respect enormously, the nature of my job was a little frustrating in some ways, because I was sitting in a cubicle and I'm too loud and need to talk to people too much -- I need interaction. So, then I thought, "I've always wanted to be a journalist, so why not go to the place where it's most difficult to be a journalist and see if I can survive? And if I can survive (literally), then I can do it anywhere!" Given that I'm half-Pakistani, I already knew some people there, which made it much easier and which made it a lot more feasible for me to go and work there than if I was just some random white person, because I could pass as a Pakistani if I didn't open my mouth. So, I sent some writing samples and expected to get an internship offer, but they offered me this really cool position as a features writer at this weekly newspaper along with work on the production team of a punditry show on the weekends. So, I showed up, and drove around in a bulletproof car and had all these exciting, amazing experiences, learning so much every single day. But I also got a little lonely, really horny and pretty repressed; it was like going back in the closet.

What happened when you eventually came out to your friends over there?

When I finally felt safe enough to tell my friends that I'm gay, one of them responded, "Oh, my God, try gay Tinder!" And I was like, "Noooope, I don't think that's a good idea." And she insisted, "Such fun! Gay Tinder -- the gay Tinder!" So then I said, "Alright, let's do this." I opened up Tinder and I put it on the maximum proximity setting and there were three women on there. Well, allegedly. I'm pretty sure two of them were men.

Are many young people in Pakistan on Tinder?

It's all relative - not many in comparison to the country's population, as it's a very elite tool. Anyone using it has to be A) rich enough to have a smartphone and B) have Internet access (telecommunications infrastructure being what it is means 3G isn't really a thing) and C) international enough to know what it is. Having said that, there are still way more than you'd think for straight people. There are enough of the Pakistani elite and expats to mean there are more than just a few options.

And this one chick -- given that the competition was so dire -- immediately agreed to meet with me. We were both rather desperate.

We met up and, on the first date, she starts telling me about how her dad was kidnapped by the Taliban. We ended up having sex once. And she was really tiny -- she climbed me like I was a beanpole. Anyway, we never spoke again after that. Clearly my skills blew her away... The whole encounter was very bizarre.

Did your date shed any light on what it's like to be a young, gay woman in Pakistan today?

Not my date in particular, but the whole experience gave me an insight into how gay people conduct sexual relationships in a country where homosexuality is illegal. Technology has made it easier to find one another and, more importantly, to do so under the radar. It's a mixed blessing. On the one hand it facilities clandestine encounters, making it easier to be gay in an immediate sense, but in the bigger picture, it strongly reinforces the modus operandi for gay people of conducting their romantic life underground and not exposing that side of their identity. Micro gain, macro loss.

What happened next? Did you have any more dates? 
I continued on as my merry, repressed self. A little while after that, things began to get more volatile. One of my colleagues was the target of an assassination attempt and there were lots of death threats because the paper I was working for was basically criticizing the government's negotiations with the Taliban, which was a big no-no. So, the Taliban essentially responded by saying, "We're going to come after all of you." My editor said, "They know who you are because you work for the paper, and they're coming after everyone associated with us, so you should really go." So I relented and said I was going to chill in England with my family for a couple months until things simmered down, and I'd come back. But then, when I was in England, another one of my colleagues was tragically shot and at that point I decided it just wasn't worth my returning.

So I went back to New York, and was a little listless and depressed for a while. It was around this time I had lunch with my friend Veds [Veda Kumarjiguda, director of Noman's Land] and I was like, "Hey, Veds, I've got this really cool story," and she goes, "Oh, my god, this needs to be a play right now. It doesn't need to be consensual -- it's happening." So we started it. The Fringe was just a pipe dream because it's the ultimate place to go for theater and I didn't think we'd get accepted. And then, after we did, I thought maybe if we could get two people in the audience that would be great. So, the confluence of the various outcomes is just insane. It's just been overwhelming and so wonderful. It's been hands down one of the best experiences of my life.

I'm interested in the shaping of the show -- how did you craft a narrative out of your experiences?

I'd be lying if I didn't say the lesbian Tinder date with the dad kidnapped by the Taliban wasn't a sensationalist hook. Because the minute you mention those three words -- Taliban, lesbian, and Tinder -- people are like, "Can I get my ticket now, please?" It's a hook and also a framework -- the date happens throughout the course of the play and it weaves in and out of vignettes and asides. So, it functions as a map for dealing with much more serious themes, the two major ones being the narratives we create for ourselves in order to make our situations tolerable and also the extent to which people are willing to make compromises.

Living in Pakistan, especially living around gay people who end up entering into heterosexual marriages because that's really their only option, I suddenly saw that there's a difference between compromise in life, which everybody has to do, and compromise of oneself. And I think the degree to which we are willing to compromise is something that everybody all over the world has to deal with. But, in more extreme circumstances, it's something that's more acutely demanded of people on a daily basis. So, we deal with that in the play: we talk about people I know being shot and people persisting every day, despite the risks. Well, that and the awkward sexual encounter. I hadn't done it in six months, so I was pretty sure I'd forgotten how to at the time.

It's like riding a bike.

Ha, sort of. I was a little wobbly at first, but I got there in the end. We had nowhere where we could have sex. We're getting off track here, but I had these wonderful friends who said, "Ok, you can come and use my apartment for sex. We'll go out for the evening." I mean, we couldn't do it in the car because there was a driver, and we would be arrested or worse; basically, sapphic, roadside car sex was not advisable. And we couldn't do it at her house because her parents were there. I couldn't do it where I was staying because I was staying with a family.
Anyway, ultimately, this bizarre and surreal date involved so many essential themes -- from extremism to sexuality to identity -- it offered the perfect window into an often inaccessible world. I guess something rewarding came out of it, even if it's not what I expected.

Now that you're back in New York, how has your experience of being in Pakistan affected what personal identity means to you?

I don't know how to emphasize this enough -- and it sounds trite and hackneyed -- but the freedoms and luxuries that we're afforded on every single level are really remarkable. Because the majority of the world just doesn't have what we have. I think also, ironically, it's watered down my identity politics because I realized obsessing over these ideas is in some ways arbitrary and synthetic, when this isn't the reality that most of the world is facing. Obviously, it's important to live in a place where there's pluralism and transparency and people can be who they are, but there are many more pervasive, fundamental issues that need to be dealt with before one starts talking about gay rights. And I feel like the inability to be gay somewhere is symptomatic of larger issues, rather than the source of the problem. So, it made me more grateful for being a gay woman in New York, but also less feisty about identity politics.

Do you think that there's any sort of work that people can do to create the sorts of environments, on a global scale, in which which people can be free to live as they choose?

I think caring, first and foremost. People are so myopic and self-centered -- and I don't say that in a censorious way because I'm incredibly guilty of that, as well. But if people can take even five minutes out of their day to do something that either is contributing to a larger movement or even just reading about an issue that you didn't know about before, that makes all the difference. I was on this BBC panel in Edinburgh with these South Asian, female comedians and one of them, Bisha K. Ali, said, "Existing is a political act." And I never thought of it like that before, but she's absolutely right. And what you choose to do with your existence is just as much a statement as being the loudest voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. And it's important to recognize there are people who desperately need their voices heard and compassion from a world that is often uncaring and complacent and selfish. Doing nothing perpetuates this kind of disenfranchisement.

Do you have any plans for this show going forward?

Well, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown for about three months leading up to the Fringe, because I was working long days -- I fucking love my job at Mic, it's like a dream, but it is a very intense job. So, doing that in conjunction with editing the script and dealing with PR and all those administrative details of the Fringe at night and all the rehearsals on weekends, it literally felt as though I was on the verge of a breakdown. And I kept telling myself, "OK, all I've got to do is get through the Fringe and, after that, it's over." But then, unfortunately, the play was received rather more favorably than either of us anticipated.

What a bummer.

Yeah, I know, it's the worst. So, after it was received favorably and got quite a bit of media buzz, Veda and I thought, "It would be really fucking stupid to end it here because we have a momentum that we've worked hard to create." Also, we're very passionate about offering voices to people who ordinarily don't have them, and I think characters in my story have that opportunity. Even if it's contributing in only a small way to this larger theme of giving a voice to people who are marginalized, that is what drives me to keep the play going. And if people are interested in seeing what it's like for Pakistanis on a daily basis -- a country that's so often misrepresented as something that's two-dimensional and violent -- if people are interested in seeing another face of that, then that's to be celebrated. Who knows what's next?

I wanted to save my most important question for last: are you currently on Tinder?

Let me check! I think I have a folder in my phone called "Dating," or something. Or maybe it's just called "Sex." I don't think it's on here. No, I don't think it is. I had it on my phone for a while. I don't ever want to use it again -- it's pretty gross.

Well, sorry, ladies.

Sorry, ladies, indeed. You'll have to come to the show and be my groupies and hit on me afterwards. If a one-woman show is the product of every Tinder date, I just don't have the energy to use it anymore.

Listen to Two New Songs from the Empire Cast (and Pitbull)

We're just a couple of weeks away from the September 23 premiere of the new season of Empire, complete with live-tweeting Cookie insults, obnoxious Lucious business plans (from behind bars), and Hakeem on a scooter. Tide yourself over with two just-released tracks from the next volume of the show's soundtrack -- "No Doubt About It" (featuring Pitbull and co-written by Ne-Yo) and "Ain't About the Money." Neither is quite up to "Drip Drop" standards, but that'd be pretty greedy, wouldn't it? [via EW]

Our Guide To Labor Day In NYC

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 5.58.36 PM.pngJunglepussy. [Photo by Class NYC via]

Summer is coming to an end, and with it your opportunity to at least pretend that there are no consequences to your actions (try finding a whole new neighborhood to hang out in through the snow). So get your Labor Day in New York on with our guide to the list of some of the best parties, shows, and screenings the long weekend has to offer.

Friday, September 4

Broke City is a consistently excellent Friday night bash that happens in Bushwick's gorgeous Lot 45 space, and their 4-year anniversary celebration is obviously no exception -- especially seeing as how local favorites Ital, Soul 2 Seoul and DJ Wey will be spinning an intriguing blend of analog and industrial techno. 

Lot 45, 411 Troutman Street, Brooklyn; 9:30 p.m.-4 a.m.; Tickets $10

Cutie DJ Doss is combining forces with Destiny (fka Princess Nokia) for a headlining show that combines some of the underground's best and brightest. And coming alongside Bruce Smear, Tallesen and Sadaf, it's bound to be quite the late nighter.

Baby's All Right, 146 Broadway, Brooklyn; Midnight; Tickets $8

New York's premiere electronic music festival, Electric Zoo is the perfect place for partiers to don their best day-glo outfits and fistpump the night away -- even if this year's featured artists are sort of a mixed bag with electronic godfathers The Chemical Brothers headlining alongside the likes of Zeds Dead and Alesso.

Randall's Island Park, Randall's Island; Fri, Sat, Sun, Get tickets here.

Martin Scorsese's classic comes to MoMA as part of a series of companion screenings to an exhibition of movie posters in the lobby outside of the museum's theaters. We know, it's complicated -- just take our word for it, you'll want to see Peak De Niro on the big screen in this great film about a disturbed outsider, his delusions, and his violence.

MoMA Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters; 8 p.m.; Tickets $12

Technophiles, rejoice, because Lost Soul is bringing a 12-hour, 2-room party stacked deep with local talent à la Volvox, Adrian Rew and The Long Count Cycle to a secret warehouse in Brooklyn. Prepare to sweat till the sun comes up.

Secret Location, Brooklyn; 11 p.m. - 11 a.m.; Tickets $20

Well... it is going to be Friday. And the success of Straight Outta Compton makes director F. Gary Gray's earlier comedy Friday an especially appropriate viewing selection if you're looking to get out to the movies this weekend.

BAM Rose Cinemas; 2 p.m.; Tickets $14

Saturday, September 5

It's an understatement to say that Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage family have had a huge impact on NYC nightlife -- spawning careers and entire musical genres from a spot off Houston. And now they're back for one night only this Labor Day weekend, so whether you're in it for new experiences or the nostalgia factor, you better make sure to grab tickets quick, because they're going to sell out fast.

Verboten, 54 North 11th Street, Brooklyn; 9 p.m. - 6 a.m.; Tickets $30

Billed as a queer Caribbean dancehall fete, BRUK 0UT! is bringing some of NYC's brightest talent à la Juliana Huxtable, Joey LaBeija and Shybøi to one place for a night of tropical-tinged tunes. 

Black Bear Bar, 70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn; 11 p.m.

Saturday afternoons won't be the same without MoMA PS1's impeccably curated summer series, but at least their Labor Day Weekend closer is a show to knock it out of the part. Featuring Detroit house legend Derrick May, rapper Vince Staples, underground dance don Egyptrixx, cult electronic producer Clark and left-field pop songwriter Dan Bodan, trust us, it's gonna be a smash. 

MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens; 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Tickets $18

What more could you want than a dance party with some of the hottest EDM talent (aka Skrillex fave, Mija) on Output's roof in the middle of a heatwave-y afternoon? Yeah, we thought so.

Output, 74 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn; 3-10 p.m.; Free Before 4 p.m. with RSVP

Sunday, September 6

If you're not fucking with Junglepussy now, then you're gonna regret it later, because trust us, she puts on quite the show. Performing a rare daytime set in Trans-Pecos' spacious backyard, we'd recommend rounding up all your friends, ordering a pizza to the venue and drinking all the $4 Narragansett in sight.

Trans-Pecos, 915 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn; 1 p.m.; Tickets $12

A Tiki Disco with voguers? On a boat? With an included after party. Yeah buoy!

Pier 83, 42nd St. & 12th Ave., Manhattan; 6:30-10 p.m.; Tickets $30 Advance, $40 OTD

Crown Height's West Indian American Day Carnival is always a mad ting with a parade bookended by live bands, Jamaican Patty-Eating Contests, costume competitions and more. Gwan now. 

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn; 7 p.m.; Tickets $35

The South London party dons behind Horse Meat Disco are teaming up with the Spank DJs to throw their annual NYC Labor Day Weekend bash at mega-club Cielo and it's bound to be bonkers. Come prepared to dance all night and party hard.

Cielo, 18 Little West 12th Street, Manhattan; 10 p.m.-4 a.m.; Tickets $30 

Monday, September 7

Since its start in 2010 in a parking lot, record label Fool's Gold's Labor Day party has turned into a real, one-day festival. This year's installment boasts label co-founder A-Trak, the recovering Meek Mill, and human thirst trap Skepta.

The Inlet, 50 Kent Ave, Brooklyn; 4 p.m.; Tickets $30-$40

FILM: Wet Hot American Summer Marathon

Videology will be screening the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer not once, not twice, but five times over the course of the day, with quick intermissions and special drinks to give the event that special end-of-summer-camp feel. Then you can go watch Netflix's inexplicably hilarious prequel series (made decades after the original).

Videology, 308 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn; 2 p.m.

The popular story-telling competition has an installment on Labor Day, which, combined with the drinks at Brooklyn's Bell House, might be exactly the right level of intensity for weaning yourself off a three-day weekend. Learn something and be drunk -- it's the way.

The Bell House, 149 7th Street, Brooklyn; 8 p.m.; Tickets $16 in advance, $8 at the door

Anti-Fur Activists Crash Rihanna's Perfume Launch Party

Looks like a group of anti-fur activists are looking to rain on Rihanna's parfum parade, as a bunch of them stormed her launch party earlier this week at a Brooklyn Macy's. 

Taking to the stage holding placards and chanting "shame on Rihanna," a group called Their Turn came to draw attention to RiRi's penchant for animal accessories. And even though she wasn't wearing fur at this particular event, she's been criticized in the past for fashions choices like the hefty fur trim on her Guo Pei Met Gala dress and the ostrich feather dress she wore to her 2011 Reb'l Fleur perfume launch. Yikes. Watch footage from the demonstration below.