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An Artist Is Trying To Crowdfund His New Bushwick-Inspired Typeface


Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 6.28.40 PM.png

Brooklyn-based artist Pablo Medina is currently trying to raise funds to produce and copyright a typeface he calls Bushwick. Yep, Bushwick. 

"A font inspired by a neighborhood" and the expanse of graffiti, murals and signage found there, it's apparently halfway done, but Medina needs your help to make it a reality. And while we're all for the DIY spirit of what feels like a sort of earnest campaign, there's something that feels a little off about commercializing an entire neighborhood already grappling with huges issues surrounding gentrification -- especially through something like graphic design. Sigh.

Spilling the Tea on The Craziest Moments From Last Night's Empire

After last week's cameo-filled Empire season premiere, it was hard to think of a way that the second episode could come close for sheer insanity (I mean, Don Lemon? Al Sharpton?). Instead, this episode focuses primarily on snappy turns of phrase, insults, and introducing totally insane premises to the world that surrounds the Lyon family. Let's run through a few of the best bits.

5. "Snitch Bitch"
That's right, the song Lucious records in prison and gets out to the world to be the hottest thing on the radio -- featuring Petey Pablo and a dude who looks like Jason Sudeikis -- is the fifth craziest thing that happened on the show last night.

4. Ludacris the Prison Guard
Terence Howard continues getting all the good guest stars, as Ludacris replaces Chris Rock as "famous dude named Chris who antagonizes Lucious in prison." This time, Ludacris plays a prison guard who does his best to stop Lucious from dropping fire new Empire tracks from prison, because he's a dick or something. If you're going to get someone to play an annoying, kinda cliche prison guard, you might as well get the best (or, at least, the most noteworthy, since Ludacris is not a very good actor).

3. Thurston the Thirsty Lawyer
Played by The Wire's Andre Royo, Lucious' new lawyer looks like a great addition to the Empire supporting cast. He's got hustle, appeals to certain parts of Lucious' nature, and has that great, Andre Royo charm. Also, his name is Thurston, a.k.a. Thirsty, a.k.a. Thirsty the Lawyer, because God loves us.

dynasty x empire.jpg2. "Dynasty... that's a dope name."
When Cookie tries to find a name for the new label she's starting with Hakeem (and Andre, for a hot second), she -- naturally -- uses the name of the show that Empire is not-so-subtly based on/influenced by. It's exactly the kind of winking boldness/insanity that often makes the show so much fun. But that's not even the craziest, most groan-slash-laugh-slash-clap moment from last night's episode, because...

1. Spilling the Tea
GUYS. GUYS. There's literally a talk show in the world of Empire called Spilling the Tea, because why wouldn't you do that? The only thing that stops this from being perfect is the fact that the Muppets belong to ABC, so there's no way Kermit could make his rightful cameo.

This Can't Be Good: There Will Soon Be a "Yelp For People" App

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 10.29.27 AM.pngAfter Lulu, the app where women could "rate" all the men in their life, caused a big stir a few years ago before quietly leaving the scene, new developers are taking a crack at the "Yelp for People" concept. Peeple, which unlike Lulu lets women and men give one-to-five star ratings and write reviews for anyone they know (from exes to friends to bosses to doctors etc.), hits the market in November. The scariest part? You can't opt out. As the Washington Post reports, "once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it's there unless you violate the site's terms of service. And you can't delete bad or biased reviews -- that would defeat the whole purpose."

Before you start fetching a brown paper bag to take deep breaths in, there are a few "safeguards" the app founders are putting in place. For instance, you have to have the cellphone number of a person you want to add to the system and you have to indicate how you know that person (personal, professional or romantic). Users also have to be at least 21 years-old with a valid Facebook account and while positive reviews are posted immediately, negative reviews sit for 48 hours before they go live and a notification gets sent to the subject who then has time to dispute them. And, perhaps in the biggest pseudo-opt out, the Washington Post says that "if you haven't registered for the site, and thus can't contest negative ratings, your profile only shows positive reviews." The founders are also outlawing bullying, sexism, profanity and mention of mental health issues in the reviews so the whole thing doesn't start devolving into a Gawker comments section. But it still seems hard to believe that this app isn't going to start making adults regress into high schoolers playing 'Hot or Not' in 3-2-1...

[Washington Post via The Cut]

Watch Petite Meller Star In a Fashion Film Tribute to Vivienne Westwood


While we're in the midst of Paris Fashion Week, a new fashion video directed by French Emmanuel Giraud and starring French sensations Petite Meller and Olivier de Sagazan, is turning its gaze to their western neighbors: Britain -- specifically, Vivienne Westwood. "Too Much Future," a tribute to the legendary designer and punk icon features a subterranean rave where young people writhe, dance, and makeout amidst music by French punk band JC Satan. There's lots of great Vivienne Westwood fashion, some freaky faceless men and women in clay masks, blood, fire and general mayhem. Give it a watch, above.

Relive the Heady Days of 2012 With an Unreleased Heems-Childish Gambino Video

Here's a previously unreleased music video for "Tell Me," which was released on Heems' mixtape Wild Water Kingdom. We probably won't get a ton of new music out of either Heems or Childish Gambino for a while, since Heems is making a TV show or something while Donald Glover acts in stuff like Magic Mike XXL. Consider this video a bit of a time portal -- man, rap was a crazy place in 2012, right? [via Pigeons and Planes]

New Kanye Alert: Hear Ye Feature on The Game's "Mula"

If you've been eagerly anticipating Kanye West's new album and are fed up with Fashion Week snippets and VMA speeches, then The Game's new track "Mula," which features Ye, might help you out. This comes a couple of months after the release of "100," a track and video featuring Drake, with the release of the rapper's album The Documentary 2 set for next week. The Kanye material isn't his best, but it's loose, and feels like a much more relaxed Ye than anything we've heard off SWISH so far. And we should cherish it, because it might be the only new Kanye music we're getting for a while. Check out "Mula" below. [via Fake Shore Drive]

"It's Completely Wonderful But Also Kind of Eerie": Jack Antonoff On His New All-Female Bleachers Covers Album

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 1.16.43 PM.png[Photo by Daniel Silbert]

Fun. guitarist and Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff has put a new spin on the ubiquitous cover album -- he's covering his own music. Well, actually he's tapped some of pop music's leading ladies to cover tracks culled from Bleachers' 2014 debut Strange Desire, reimagined from a female perspective. From Charli XCX, who injects '80s pop-rock ebullience in "Rollercoaster," to Carly Rae Jepsen sparkling in a bouncy synth-laced version of "Shadow," and Sia's stark rendition of "Like A River Runs,"Terrible Thrills Vol.2, free and out now via RCA, is a beautifully eclectic amalgam of distinct female vocal styles and experiences that offers a fresh take on Antonoff's originals. We caught up with the artist and chatted about how he's able to navigate between penning female-centric songs and writing for himself. He revealed his long-term plans of creating a series of alternate, companion albums that inhabit parallel universes and relived the surreal experience of hearing one of his favorite childhood pop artists cover his music.

When was the seed planted to recreate Strange Desire using only female vocalists?

It started about six years ago with my old band Steel Train. I always write music starting from the female voice in my head, and it's not something that I ever really thought about but then it started to occur to me a long time ago that that's how I was creating the music and so I wanted to find a project that showed people where everything was coming from. And so I did the first volume with my old band Steel Train and since then I thought that with every album that I make I wanted to have a companion piece and one that was totally represented by the opposite gender. Both because I think that it's a fascinating way to hear the song but it's also extremely personal because I'm always doing things with that in mind. I'm always making music and thinking, if I was a woman what it would sound like? 

Why did you choose this specific cast of women to reinterpret the songs?

A big part of the project was to have people who inspired the songs to be written in the first place recreate the song, which is really fucked up in an amazing way, and so it had to be people that are the very artists that I'm literally thinking about when I'm writing music. Every song and every artist was very meticulously picked.

Strange Desire has been described as an '80s-inspired album, and you actually have The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs putting her spin on "I'm Ready To Move On." What new dimensions did she bring to the song as she deconstructed and recreated it?

She's one of the artists who took the song and totally just recreated everything from scratch. The arrangement she did on it, the instrumentation, it's all incredible; she completely made it her own. For me personally it was sort of weird to hear because the actual sound of her voice is something I literally grew up on.
What was the most surprising cover of the compilation for you personally?

Tinashe's "I Wanna Get Better" because it's such a personal song, and it's such an intense song, and at one point it was very hard for me to rehear it emotionally and I really couldn't imagine who and how that was going to come out, and I love Tinashe and we got to work together. We make such different music that I was really inspired by her taking that one on and what she did with it is just completely incredible. It was really intense to hear.

Will there be a Vol. 3?

It's something that I envision as part of all the albums that I ever make, provided I keep writing music like this and I keep with that process that I've had my whole life of imagining things in a female voice.

So would you say that these covers are all extensions of what you start with, like a more in-depth exploration?

Well it's a companion piece. What's really interesting in putting out a record is that you make a record and it's one way, it's something you've worked on, and then it's finished, it's done. But then the moment you put it out, in a matter of seconds -- the second it goes out to the public -- it changes, and it never stops changing because peoples' reactions change. It's no different than if you walked out of your house naked, but nobody saw you, nothing would happen, it would be no different than what happens when you wake up in the morning and you're naked, but if you walked out of your house naked and there's people on the street the reaction you would get would entirely change the experience, and that's what it's like to put out an album. And that just constantly happens as people reinterpret it and to me it's just another phase of the album.

You're known for writing songs for female vocalists. Do you find it challenging to shift back to your point of view when you're writing music for your own projects?

No because it's very separate. When I'm writing for myself it reads like a diary, it's not something that's too universal. It's very specific to my life so it's very easy for me to separate the two.

What's your first reaction when you hear music that you've written for yourself that's been reworked yet again to fit the sonic contours of a woman?

It's completely wonderful first and foremost but it's also totally bizarre and kind of eerie. First of all you're talking about women that I'm extremely inspired by, that inspire me to write music in the first place, but it also recalls when I'm first writing the songs and I kind of hear it in a female voice, so it's very strange, it feels like a secret deep within me is all of sudden out for everyone to hear. It's very weird to revisit the beginning and end of an album but I also think it's very interesting and important.

Taylor Swift, one of your highest profile collaborators to date, is surprisingly absent from the album?

She and I have done a lot of work together and I feel like the stuff that we did together is very well represented and I just wanted to push things in a direction that was unexpected. It's important for me to work with people whom I haven't worked with before.
What else are you working on these days?

The biggest thing at this moment is that I'm probably half way through the second Bleachers album. Tthat's kind of where my focus is, but I'm working on a bunch of things. But I'm not really supposed to comment because it involves other people and it has to remain secret.

Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 is free for the taking on Google Play.

Kool A.D. Forecasts Your October Horoscopes

horoscopes copy.jpgLIBRA
The difference between the self and the other is essentially negligible in the cosmic scheme of things. The world unfurls itself into ur eyeballs, ear holes, etc. and resides within u. The ears and eyes are really just for show, extraneous ornaments. Everything u see and hear (and everything u don't) is and always was and always will be u. A human body is a temporary manifestation of the infinite universe perceiving itself in one novel, subjective way. Expect nothing, desire nothing, quiet the ego and just be. Joy will well up from within. True existence is pure joy. 

Death is an illusion but the difference between illusion and reality is illusory so death is also real. Meditate on the reality of death. With great swag comes great funkability. If the pimpin is real then the funk is real. Endless pimpin equals endless funk, it's simple mathematics. Love and forgive everybody, including urself. Patience naturally sharpens with age, meditate on that with regular breaths. Allow any lingering impatience within u to implode and dissolve. Ask for forgiveness for all of ur wrongdoings but don't expect to receive it in this lifetime. 

Embrace ur inner wave god. Privacy is a myth. Walk thru the world as if everybody is psychic and infinitely compassionate, including urself. Communicate with an ex lover in ur dreams. Smoke weed with a Scorpio. Plant some sage. 

That Super Blood Moon last month really cleared the air for u. U did some kharmic burning and some ego reshaping. Ur in a new phase, u should be feeling productive, creative, refreshed, invigorated. Eat a lot of protein and iron. More raw fruits and vegetables, less dairy. Ur hecka skrong rn, thaswasup. U should be listening to a lot of Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. Listen to All Eyez On Me and watch Mike Tyson knock out compilations on YouTube. Read bell hooks, Nikki Giovani and Audre Lorde. Watch that architecture documentary narrated by Ice Cube. Study the Annunaki. Listen to Everything is Everything by Lauryn Hill. Or whatever, recorded music is fun but ultimately unimportant. Every song ever written is already playing on loop in ur heart. Focus on ur breathing and posture. Ur keyword for the month is "unflappable." 

Have a long conversation with ur mom. The conversation can occur on the earthly plane or the astral one. Reflect on ur blessings and be thankful. Better than guilt or regret is compassionate action. Better than sadness or anger is the will to change. Kick it in a sauna. 

Have dinner with a Scorpio, Gemini and/or Libra. Ur deliberate in ur actions and that's crucial right now. Stay on course and be patient. Keep ur eyes open, there should be some yaperistic opportunities springing up here and there. There are universes within u and universes that stretch out eternally from u. Each breath u draw contains a multitude of possible realities. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the concept of infinity but if u take the right angle, the concept of infinity is very relaxing and reassuring. Listen to John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane. 

Quit ur job and work four times as hard on ur own project. Limit ur extraneous desires and focus instead on what it is u really want. Zero in on the prize and eliminate the distractions. Spend free time either working on what u love or being with loved ones. Cut off any casual or obligatory friendships. U don't have time for that right now. Cut out the noise. Nose to the grindstone, silence, breathing, sweet harmony. 

What a Time to Be Alive was what everybody was talking about last month but go back to Dirty Sprite 2 with new ears and hear it for the classic album it is. Light a San Lazaro candle and pray for Fetty Wap's leg bones to heal. Buy, pick, or steal a bouquet of flowers for somebody u love. Take a Vicodin and watch Interview With a Vampire. 

Read The Great Gatsby then watch The Great Gatsby and take a shot of gin for every discrepancy between the book and the movie that u notice. Swim in the ocean or at least take a dip. Get some pumpkin spice flavored ice cream. I don't understand memes that are like "White people love pumpkin spice flavor." Who cares, talk about real estate redlining, racially disproportionate incarceration, police brutality, etc. Kill George Zimmerman, who gives a fuck about pumpkin spice. 

Tranquility is at the root of all things. Dig to ur root and find tranquility. Do what u must when u must. Do what u want when u can. Peace is a state of existence but maybe more importantly it's a feeling. U can be surrounded by energy that is not peaceful and yet still find peace within. And that peace can work to change the space around u. Love, forgiveness and patience heal all wounds and contribute to all successes. 

Communicate psychically with a Gemini and an Aries in the dream plane. Learn from them and teach them. All instruction is learning and vice versa. Female energy is surging globally right now, walk with that knowledge. U are ascending. Go on at least 4 dates with a Libra this month. Or just one if 4 seems O.D. but it's probably not. 

More weed than drink this month. More fruits and vegetables, less meat and dairy. Take at least one long walk a week. Ur soundtrack is Dead Prez, Black Star, early Common, Living Legends, People Under the Stairs and Equipto. Aside from that, hella Bob Marley. Be in nature. Kick it with family. Buy a water purifier and drink hella water. Go to a shooting range and fire off at least 100 rounds. Focus on aim in all respects.

Chinatown's New Release Gallery Opened With a Bang Last Night

DSCF9338.JPGInside New Release's Launch

Back in June, an excited art crowd gathered inside a narrow room covered with floor-to-ceiling carpeting, equipped with stacks of VHS tapes and old TVs, to attend New Release, an art show in an abandoned Chinatown video store-turned-temporary gallery. Three months later, at the first opening of what is now known as New Release Gallery, a show featuring works by painter Kaim Franko, many of these same faces could be seen through the glass storefront holding cheap beer and mingling down the rickety stairs onto Mulberry Street. But this time, things are permanent. Erin Goldberger, who curated the show earlier this summer and embraced the video store's nostalgic history, has taken over the space as her own (in addition to working as the director of uptown's Half Gallery) and has given it the makeover it deserves.

DSCF9325.JPGOutside New Release Gallery

Artists, gallerists, and the downtown art scene celebrated the gallery's new uncarpeted, fresh white walls, stripped floors, and extra standing space, while appreciating the charm of the Chinatown venue. "The potential to take something that sat unattended and turn it back into something it once was (based on how many layers of floor there were, I assume it has had many lives) was too necessary to ignore," says Goldberger of the new space, which she spent weeks renovating with friends and other artists. Many of these friends were there for the opening, but it wasn't just support, these art world elite were also there to witness the birth of a space, and a new gallery owner, whose success is just beginning. Peter Sutherland, Jeanette Hayes, Torey Thorton, Andrew Pope, Bill Powers, Aaron Bondaroff, Leo Fitzpatrick, B.Thom Stevenson, Andrea McGinty were all spotted in crowd, a clear expression of the legitimacy and promise of the new gallery.

Despite how easy it would have been to spend the whole night gawking at crowd inside, the work on the walls deserved equal attention. A collection of abstractly figurative paintings by Copenhagen's Franko marks the artist's first solo show in New York, and an almost serendipitous pairing to the renovation, rebirth, and re-release of the space. "For this first show I felt it was imperative to exhibit someone who hasn't yet had a voice in New York," explains Goldberger. "New Release is brand new but the space is old and needed a clean slate. Kamil's work is much the same to me; young and full of life but also has the light sigh of an old man who's seen too much."

IMG_1051-1-2.JPGA painting by Kamil Franko

Franko's paintings are rich in fleshy colors and tangible textures, pulling between romance and lonliness, human and machine. Made during a three month solitary  stay at his family's old house in the outskirts of Budapest, the artist found a process of intimately painting and then sporadically destroying each work. Adding on layers and stripping them off, Franko creates a polarity that mimics the transformation of this VHS video rental store, abandoned for years, into a new staple in the downtown art world. "My work fits perfectly here," says Franko. "The space itself was completely demolished and now recreated. It's coincidental destiny I guess. They simply have the same nature."

Kamil Franko's show Love and Violence will be on display until November 7th at New Release Gallery, 60 Mulberry Street, New York, NY.

Where Art and Commerce Clash: Thinking Through Non-Commercial Design With BCALLA, 69, and threeasFOUR

(BCALLA design on the left, 69 on the right)

When pressed to describe his customers, Brad Callahan, founder and designer of BCALLA says that they're "attention seekers, through and through. That's the reality of it... You're not being a wallflower in BCALLA." This is perhaps the understatement of the year. BCALLA, known for supplying tight-bodied club kids and drag queens with the equally tight vinyl they crave, is all about showmanship. 

BCALLA, which outfits performers like Azealia Banks and Lady Gaga (not in costumes, mind you, but "performance wear" that is "costume-y"), has no ambition to turn out sensible sweaters or office-ready pencil skirts. You cannot pop into Macy's to shop the latest collection. 

Azealia Banks in BCALLA.jpg
(Azealia Banks wearing BCALLA)

Callahan himself makes a point of mentioning that he doesn't "see the brand going into a crazy commercial space." That's a marked difference from the direction of the industry at large -- many designers have come to depend more and more on the highly commercial Resort and Pre-fall collections. Moreover, the fashion industry is in the midst of a contraction, and a famously difficult business has become even tougher. Which begs the question, how do you survive in a consumer industry when you make things that so few people can actually consume?

Put simply, they hustle. When non-demographic clothing line 69 launched their line of drape-y non-gendered overalls and knee length tee-shirts, its focus was mainly on wholesale. But as the line grew more prominent, they began taking commissions for items ranging from stage backdrops for MOMA PS1 to custom muppets for Jim Henson's studio. And now, dissatisfied with the creative limits of what they call "the beast of wholesale," they're pivoting toward a studio model and hoping to do more commissioned works with greater creative freedom. 

The industry knows what to make of some designers -- especially those who offer up a readily commercial package, complete with elements of both fantasy and functionality that can be easily translated into dollars and cents. But brands like these, and their well-respected industry forbear, avant garde label threeASFOUR, see fashion as more of an art practice than a purely commercial undertaking. In these cases, the designer dream of an order from Barneys may not be as seductive.

Where success for other brands might be judged purely on sales, both BCALLA and 69 define it more loosely. When asked what success for 69 would be, a member of the design team (who asked to remain anonymous and genderless, in keeping with the brand's creative philosophy) put it most succinctly, saying with a laugh "my first initial reaction is to be happy... just be totally creative, without any restrictions. Do more art projects." 
(threeASFOUR design, photo by Rebecca Smeyne)

Adi Gil, one of the three founders of threeASFOUR -- an avant-garde fashion collective active since 1998 -- makes it clear that success is all about context. Gil, who is Israeli, notes that "In our Western context, especially in America, [people] look at it as a financial thing," but she makes a point of stressing other possibilities. "I feel very successful, because I have beautiful people in my life, and I feel very lucky to have my partners. I think it's a very special thing. And no money in the world can buy that." She is quick to acknowledge the financial realities of the industry, noting that threeASFOUR might not appear successful to an observer concerned with "the capital other companies have."

All three brands want to play a larger role in culture than commercial fashion allows, and they each view fashion as a tool to communicate a larger vision of what the world can be. But a lack of commercial viability can make it more difficult to reach a large audience, and in turn communicate that vision. Fashion is a business: Rent has to be paid, samples have to be made, and seamstresses have to eat -- and when your product isn't super commercial, times can get tight, especially when you're just starting out. Callahan admits that "it was really a struggle until [he] got picked up by Azealia... You kind of take jobs as they come." If New York's restaurants are dotted with the next generation of A-list actors waiting tables, its editorial desks and shop floors are lined with the next generation of design talent, building their collections at night with the money they make folding jeans during the day. 

Even as designers reach prominence, it's far from easy, and each step in the growth process brings new challenges. BCALLA's latest project, creating the costumes for Miley Cyrus's VMA's appearance, brought charges that the designer plagiarized motifs from Australian Brand Di$count Univer$se. (He has denied the allegations.)

But the greatest asset that these designers have when it comes to navigating the commercial world is the same creativity that informs their artistic work -- because, ultimately, there is no formulaic approach to success in fashion, even less so when the clothes are not designed for a broad audience. 69, for example, is working to create accessories at a more affordable price point (well-made denim does not come cheap), hoping to appeal to a broader audience. Meanwhile, BCALLA has found success with more out-there looks. The brand appeals to a very specific niche, so when they do simpler pieces people react with confusion. As Callahan puts it, the response has been "...these are great but where are the crazy things?"

Where 69 is hoping to find success by broadening its reach, BCALLA has found it in specificity, and without a doubt other designers are finding other paths to their own unique goals. The thing that unites them all, however, is a singular passion and intent.The lead designer at 69 said that for it to work, "You just have to want to do it. And be prepared that it's gonna be your life, that it's gonna take over." It's that degree of unflinching commitment that is the key to success for emerging designers and what, for BCALLA and 69, will surely provide for their fortune, financial or otherwise.

There's An Amazing Weed-Centric Parody Of Jack Ü And Justin Bieber's "Where Are Ü Now"

photoshopped photo via Terrific Top 10

New York-based R&B singer Tim Vocals has just blessed us with the ultimate pot-centric parody of Jack Ü and Justin Bieber's already-incredible hit "Where Are Ü Now." Aptly dubbed "Where Is the Loüd," he laments the absence of weed in his life with some super smooth vocals and remarkably clever lyricism, so you better listen and pass it round.


Watch Salman Rushdie Spit Drake Lyrics

Rushdie spinning those airdecks
photo by David X. Prutting/BFA

For reason that aren't quite clear, in a recent interview with CBC-TV promoting his new (mouthful of a) book, Two Years Eight Months And Twenty Eight Nights, award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie sat down to read selected lyrics from contemporary poet, Drake. Reciting some bars from the likes of "Forever,""6 God,""What's My Name,""6PM in New York" and "Know Yourself," Rushdie also blesses us with some additional opinions after delivering each line with immense gravitas.

Watch below.

[via CBC-TV]

To Be Black, Female & Corporate: Photographer Endia Beal Addresses Race and Gender In Workplaces

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 5.01.41 PM.png
[photo by Endia Beal via NYT Lens]

The internal clash between and individual identity and conformity is a conflict any self-serving young person will have experience fighting, especially during the quest for employment. But what happens when navigating the battlefield has less to do with personal preference and more to do with physical existence? Photographer Endia Beal explores this dilemma with her photo series, "Am I What You're Looking For?", which focuses on young black women transitioning from an academic setting to corporate America. 

Influenced by Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van Der Zee, who used breathtaking backdrops of Parisian villas juxtaposed with the uptown streets of Harlem, Beal decided to place a backdrop of an office hallway from the I.T department at Yale (where she interned as a graduate student) in each of her subjects' homes. The young women, most of them between the ages of 18-22 and students at Winston-Salem State University where Beal is an associate professor of photography, were asked to dress in their ideal business professional ensemble, and act as if they were preparing to have a job interview. 

The series contributes to a larger conversation about black women feeling comfortable within corporate environments unaccustomed to diverse images of minorities. Beal forces subjects to confront "knowing that what you look like may not necessarily fit the ideal choice," addressing race/gender-appearance discrimination within the workplace, a problem especially apparent with many black women today rocking their natural locs and curly fros. Unfortunately, many of these women are being advised to alter their appearance to be less "distracting."

"It's everything [not just your hair]. It's from they way you talk, it's what you have on. You almost have to mute yourself to fit into this space," Beal explains in an interview with The New York Times blog Lens. The variety of feelings, ranging from confidence to uncertainly, captured on camera questions a young black woman's contemplation on how much of herself she is willing to give up in order to be successful in a culture predominately dominated by white men. 

Baby Phart: Anti-Flatulence Jeans Are a Thing

Got a chili cook-off first date? A boy who loves broccoli? A lady who loves legumes? Well worry not, because there are new fart-neutralizing pants on the market so that you don't accidentally rip one when y'all just trying to get down. 

That's right, the geniuses at British clothing company Shreddies (omg) have just released a new line of pajama pants and jeans that, yep, mask the smell of your rank-ass toots. Made from a "special, highly porous carbon cloth back panel" that absorbs and neutralizes any sulfuric stench, it's the same stuff used in chemical warfare suits and so we're pretty confident that they work.

However, this isn't Shreddies' first foray into anti-fart wear, as their flagship item has always been the "flatulence filtering underwear" -- which actually has some merit for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's Disease and food intolerances. IBS aside though, we're sure they're a great substitute for always buying more Bean-o, or you know, living a cruciferous-less existence. 

But best of all, guess what's up next? Yep, apparently work-ready chinos. 🐒💨

Pop Some Seeds: New York Has a Bagel Statue

bagels.jpgArtist Hanna Liden has finally gifted New York with something the city has sorely been missing, like a hole in the center of its doughy heart: a full statue of bagels. The installation, called Everything (appropriately, because bagels) has been placed around Hudson River Park and Ruth Wittenberg Plaza. Produced by Art Production Fund (and sponsored by Kiehl's), it's Liden's first opportunity to display her work outside of a gallery, and almost certainly her most delicious. To bite into the, uh, everything of the story, check out an interview with Liden at ArtNet.

Maybe Jon Stewart Leaving The Daily Show Isn't Such a Bad Thing After All

wyatt-cenac-16x9.jpgAs Jon Stewart's departure from the chair of The Daily Show -- a position he has held for almost four full presidential terms -- draws nearer, it's natural for nostalgia to kick in. "What will we do without Jon Stewart telling us what to think about stuff?" liberals will cry while running around like chickens with their political heads cut off, nervous that controversial replacement Trevor Noah won't prove as effective a moral compass. This is a good thing.

Somehow, by a trick of the culture and the particular political climate during the Bush administration, Jon Stewart -- a comedian and the host of a fake news show -- became one of the major consensus moral centers of America. That's kind of insane. It's also unsustainable. Staying in that position for so long without moving leads, by necessity, to a kind of stasis. And holding the moral high ground for over a decade can make you an asshole.

Nowhere is that more evidenced than in a story former Daily Show writer and correspondent Wyatt Cenac told Marc Maron on a recent episode of the WTF podcast. If you don't have time to listen to the podcast, read Vulture's summary, and if you don't have time to read that, here are the bare-bone details:

  • During the 2012 election, Stewart was using a voice to make fun of Herman Cain that Cenac considered insensitive, coming from a place of racial ignorance.
  • After trying to broach the subject as the only black writer in the room, Cenac found himself the subject of a massive outburst from Stewart, who was enraged at the suggestion that he was maybe being racist or racially insensitive and allegedly kept screaming "fuck off, I'm done with you."
  • The ensuing fight, which Cenac describes as an "explosion" went on until it was literally stopped by some worked-up office dogs, leaving Cenac to go to a nearby baseball diamond and break down.

"Yikes" doesn't even begin to cover it.

It's not surprising that to hear that Jon Stewart might be kind of a dick -- you have to be in his line of work, and it obviously helps to be overly sure of yourself if your job is to go on television every day and spew opinions and judgments about people (this likely applies to many writers, too). What's not acceptable is the refusal to listen to literally the only black employee in the writers' room about a matter that explicitly and exclusively pertained to the show's representation of black Americans. That's just being an awful, no-good, rotten ally.

On the most charitable reading of the story, it sounds like Stewart can barely even consider entertaining the possibility that he and the show could be offending the groups he purports to care about -- he refuses to admit he might be fallible, even though his job is to wade into uncertain waters night after night. For even the most sensitive people, a run at his job would entail at least one flub, because that's just how people are -- ignorant and frequently insensitive and oblivious, even when they mean well.

What matters is how you respond when you get called out for those flaws, and the suggestion that Stewart was so trapped in his role that he couldn't escape his own head -- like the mummy presiding over a beautiful pyramid that's also a tomb -- is a more than sufficient argument that, yes, it was time for him to go. All indications are that Stewart is going to spend at least part of his retirement chilling on a farm. Let's hope that the time is well spent, and that he has some space to consider the limits of his own perspective -- and that we all have the strength to do the same.

Chloe Sevigny Is Crowdfunding Her New Movie

Want to contribute to the next Chloë Sevigny film? Easy, just go to this Kickstarter page and you can help finance the production of her new upcoming work Slow Machine. Shot on 16 mm film, this lo-fi "screwball thriller about performance and surveillance" will be directed by Paul Felten  and Joe DeNardo (photographer/cinematographer and member of the art-punk group GROWING), but the film needs $30,000 of crowd funded money to be completed. In it, Chloë will play a character named Chloë, a struggling actress who becomes romantically involved with an "slighty manic" NYPD counter-terrorism specialist. After their relationship goes sour, she runs away with Eleanor Friedberger's band. Sounds great. If you donate your money will go towards basically everything from food to equipment rental or the occasional broom.

Watch Nicki Minaj Perform on GMA, Discuss Taylor Swift


In a bit of fortuitous scheduling that likely brought glistening, Nielsen-shaped tears of gratitude to the eyes of Good Morning America's producers, Nicki Minaj performed on the show this morning -- an appearance that's been on the books for weeks and just so happened to coincide with her involvement in one of the most fascinating, and necessary, celebrity "feuds" in recent memory.

In an interview before her performance, Minaj said she had spoken on the phone Thursday to Taylor Swift, who also Tweeted an apology to her yesterday: "She was super, super sweet. She apologized and said, 'Look, I didn't understand the big picture of what you were saying, but now I get it.' So we're all good."

Minaj went on to say this about her initial tweets, which Swift misinterpreted to be a direct attack on herself and a not a bigger comment on the way black female pop stars are rarely celebrated or rewarded by the entertainment industry like their white counterparts are:

"Anaconda" had such a huge cultural impact, and on top of that, we broke the Vevo record. So this is actually my third time breaking the Vevo record, and "Anaconda" therefore should have been nominated. I do think that if it was one of the pop girls, they would have had many nominations for it. I think I got two nominations for "Anaconda" -- for female and for hip-hop, but it should've been for the year. [...] I think that we have to have both images for girls. We can't just have one type of body being glorified in the media because it just makes girls even more insecure than we already are."

Watch Minaj perform "Feeling Myself" and "The Night Is Still Young" below. Interview above.

Feeling Myself

The Night Is Still Young

Donald Trump and Iggy Azalea Are Ruining Everything For Geminis on Tumblr

So last night I was scrolling through my Tumblr timeline (cultivating my "aesthetic," of course) and stumbled across this timely "Gemini Hate Meme."

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Exactly what it sounds like, the Gemini Hate Meme is the bizarre new trend brought to you by the nether-sphere of deep Tumblr, in which those born between May 21st and June 21st are derided in those insanely re-blogged "your sign as a" posts.                                                                                 

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But, uh, why? The site Meme Documentation, says it's actually a phenomenon that's been going on since last year, a meme descended from a post on the popular astrology Tumblr gothstrology that has since been deleted.

So far, the only explanations for "OK, but, still, why Geminis doe?" seems to boil down to two things, that a) multi-faceted Gemini, which comes from the latin word for "twins," are "two-faced" and b) current Tumblr persona non grata Iggy Azalea and Donald Trump. And a shit ton of those memes revolve around the fact that both Donald and I-G-G-Y are Gemini. 

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It's not surprising that two ugh-inducing people who have kind of become the standard-bearers of racism as of late will cause might cause a few Tumblr tweens to leap to conclusions -- especially in the name of social justice, which has become a (wonderful) trend among young Internet users. Put through the Tumblr prism, however, that's manifested itself in some very strange ways, including astrological hate. 

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So just because your parents did the nasty between late August and September, you must suffer the wrath of the Interwebs, forever bobbing in the putrid Trump-tainted waters of Tumblr? Fear not, Gemini, because guess who else is a Gem? Johnny Depp! Angelina Jolie! Marilyn Monroe! Prince! Mr. T! Jussie SmolletLaverne CoxKanye!!

And meme-teens, just a word of advice. I love Bernie too, but every time you validate a xenophobe as a legitimate competitor, Berns cries a little.

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Congrats Kylie Jenner, You're a High School Graduate!


Last night, Kylie Jenner, the world's oldest 17-year-old, finally hit the final (legal) milestone before becoming a sort-of adult: Having a big Kardashian party to celebrate graduating from high school, a party that also included Kendall (who had already graduated) for no apparent reason.

So, congrats Kylie (mostly)!

We know a lot about the party itself (Tyga was there, it was hosted at Kris Jenner's house, Ryan Seacrest hosted which okay), but, of course, we know very little about the circumstances under which Kylie graduated, or how she was doing in school. We also don't know how Kylie was actually in school at all, considering that she's one of the most famous people on the planet, owns her own home, and spends a lot of time thinking about chemtrails. She's basically the youngest 35-year-old, ever. 

Which means that it's possible to dream of a situation where, in the interest of someday taking over the Kardashian empire, Kylie had to undergo a Billy Madison-type situation in which she had to complete all 12 grades in two weeks, while looking fabulous and taking fire selfies during the academic decathlon. Just imagine -- did Kylie have to go... back to school? [via Complex]