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Tips for Today: Dum Dum Girls at Glasslands + Totally J/K at UCBeast + It's a Wonderful Life at the IFC Center

tumblr_lubk14C8Wv1qbun4wo1_500.jpgDum Dum Girls  + Crocodiles + Bleeding Rainbow + Cassie Ramone at Glasslands

Dee Dee Penny of Cali-based girl group Dum Dum Girls plays a special solo acoustic set tonight at Glasslands. She's joined by her husband Brandon's band Crocodiles (who also will be going acoustic), Vivian Girls' Cassie Ramone and Bleeding Rainbow (formerly Reading Rainbow).

Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 8:30 p.m. $10.

Totally J/K at UCBeast

Super-hilarious comedian Joe Mande, fresh off last night's stint on Conan, hosts his weekly Thursday night variety show at UCBeast alongside fellow funnyman Noah Garfinkel.

UCBeast, 153 E. 3rd St. 9 p.m. $5. Make a reservation here.

It's a Wonderful Life at the IFC Center

We've been hearing a lot of folks say that this holiday season feels sort of "un-Christmas-y." We're not quite sure about that, but if you are feeling the need to , head to the IFC Center, where they're screening a new 35mm print of the classic Christmas film through Dec. 27th.

IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. Showtimes here.

Dum Dum Girls photo from pierre-lapin.tumblr.com

Name Kim's New Friend

kimmonkey-1.jpgThis little lady in the photo above is the insane and amazing Christmas gift Drew Elliott gave Kim Hastreiter for the holidays -- a shockingly lifelike orangutan doll from Ashton Drake. At lunch yesterday, Kim was super-excited, because she had just found the perfect place to display her new friend:


But now she needs your help. What should Kim name her???? Give your suggestions in the comment box below, and we'll pass them along to Kim.

Happy nightmare-filled holidays!!

LCD Soundsystem Covering "Live Alone" Is Our Music Video of the Day


LCD Soundsystem covered Franz Ferdinand's "Live Alone" for a limited-edition release from Domino records on Record Store Day 2011 earlier this year.The five-track EP of all FF songs from their Tonight album also included others by Debbie Harry, ESG, Peaches and Stephen Merritt. Here the track gets a cool, psychedelic video interpretation by Lustix (ne' Gabriel Pulecio) that cuts between NYC street shots and a mad scientist building a flaming-heart light machine. Factoid: Franz Ferdinand covered LCD's "All My Friends" in 2007.

Foodie Call


Mustache cookie. $1.95 at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, 513 Henry St., Brooklyn

Chocolate gift box by Fine & Raw. $49 at fineandraw.com

Ecuadorian chocolate with popcorn and chile by Sahagùn. $3.95 at sahagunchocolates.com

Salt and pepper white chocolate by Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. $5.99 at oliveandsinclair.com

Coffee bar by Sahagùn. $5 at sahagunchocolates.com

Smoked cola BBQ sauce by Mission Chinese Food. $10-$15 at Mission Chinese Food, 2234 Mission St., San Francisco.

Preserved limes by June Taylor. $20 at Boulettes Larder, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco.

Bolivian dark chocolate made with Ecuadorian Palo Santo wood by Cocanú. $5 at coca.nu

Tangerine-flavored hard candy by Brooklyn Hard Candy. $9 at stevenalan.com

Cabernet Sauvignon by Scribe Winery. $60 at scribewinery.com

Smoked Maldon salt by Lior Lev Sercarz. $19 at theingredientfinder.com

Ginger syrup by Morris Kitchen. $13 at stevenalan.com

Bloody Mary Mix by McClure's. $12 at murrayscheese.com

Seasonal cookie box by Lior Lev Sercarz. $65 at theingredientfinder.com

Pickled carrots with ginger. $8.95 at Formaggio Essex, 120 Essex St. New York.

Japanese mints by Kaol. $12 at cooperhewittshop.org

Pickled beets and strawberries by Blackberry Farm. $12.95 at williams-sonoma.com

Assorted Swedish candy from Sockerbit. $3.25 per 1/4 lb. at Sockerbit, 89 Christopher St., New York

Hot pepper jelly by Jamie Oliver's Jme Pantry Collection. $14.95 at williams-sonoma.com

Balsamic vinegar by Francesco Giusti. $66 at theingredientfinder.com

Bacon peanut brittles by The Redhead. $6 at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, 513 Henry St., Brooklyn.

Holiday Steals! 10 Last-Minute Sales

Turns out, you don't have to wait till after Christmas for the serious sales. Whether you're in the market for a last minute gift or you just wanna "treat yo' self," here are 10 online shops having some seriously serious sales, and 10 corresponding goodies we found. Enjoy, you Spendthrift Susans! 

1. 50% off sale items at Anthropologie. This Steven Alan Shawl Collar Coat was $498, on sale for $299, now $149.

165120_mrp_in_xl.jpg2. Up to 70% off at Mr. Porter. This A.P.C. Slim Leather Belt was $195, and is now $97.50.

167582_in_dl.jpg3. Up to 70% off at Net-A-Porter. These Marc by Marc Jacobs earrings were $45, and now $18.

44346870pa_12_f.jpg4. Up to 60% off sale items at Yoox.com. These Missoni flip-flops were $215, and are now $75.


5. Up to 50% off at Brooks Brothers. This Madras Robe was $148, and is now $74.


6. "Holiday Clearance Sale" at Drugstore.com. This Conair Fuse hair dryer was $28.89, and is now $17.

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7. Lots of F/W items on sale Barneys. This Alexander Olch Polka Dot Tie was $140, and is now $69.


8. Up to 40% off at Williams and Sonoma. This All-Clad Classic Tri-Ply Stainless-Steel Fry Pan Set was $225, and is now $109.99.

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9. Up to 60% off women's and kids clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue. This Surface to Air Heathered Mohair Cardigan was $283, and is now $101.39.


10. 30% off sale items at Banana Republic. This Leather Tote was $130, on sale for $89.99 and is now $63.02.

The 10 Funniest Online Comedy Videos of 2011

Tired of trolling the Internet looking for laughs? Well, give your mouse-clicking finger some rest and enjoy PAPERMAG's top 10 funniest online comedy videos of 2011! 

1. "Shit Girls Say"
A PAPERMAG favorite, "Shit Girls Say" is the creation of Graydon Sheppard (who stars in the videos) and Kyle Humphrey. The web series is a spin-off of the popular Twitter feed of the same name, and went Contagion-level viral this week. Juliette Lewis (What's Eating Gilbert Grape) co-stars in the first installment of the series. 

2. "Nascar Preacher" - Gregory Brothers


The Gregory Brothers, responsible for the 2009-10 viral craze "Auto-Tune the News," co-created an app in 2011 called "Songify," and encouraged fans to create their own Auto-Tuned songs. As an example, the Gregory Brothers used their own app to Auto-Tune a pre-race prayer delivered by Pastor Joe Nelms at a Nashville NASCAR event earlier this year. The Gregory Brothers are currently at work on a pilot for Comedy Central. 

3. "Woman Afraid of Owls" - CollegeHumor

From the warped minds of CollegeHumor's Mitch Magee and Josh Ruben comes this eerily accurate send-up of a 1980s VHS instructional. There's nothing funnier than subjecting someone to something that terrifies them, especially if it's owls. 

4.  "Herman Cain" - Bad Lip Reading

Newt Gingrich may be the front-runner in the 2012 GOP presidential race, but Bad Lip Reading jumped ahead to the front of the pack in the political comedy race.

5. "King Philip IV" - Improv Everywhere

In 2009, Improv Everywhere head honcho Charlie Todd sent out an e-mail to his mailing list and asked if anyone had an unusual skill or talent that could be utilized for one of the group's pranks. One of the oddest responses he received was from a man named Chadwick Elliot, who said he looked identical to King Philip IV of Spain, who portrait hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Watch and see how Improv Everywhere put Chadwick's uncanny resemblance to to long-dead king to use.

6. "Mob Wives" - Funny or Die

SNL scribe Chris Kelly wrote and directed this spot-on parody of VH1's reality show Mob Wives for Funny or Die. What begins as a pitch-perfect parody hilariously devolves into absurdity -- the profane silliness will make you want to throw your own "tiny wine-y dinner party."

7. Tiny Fuppets

Definitely the most surreal web series of 2011, "Tiny Fuppets" is a Portuguese-language knockoff of Muppet Babies. Or is it? This hilariously bizarre and offbeat masterpiece is actually the creation of Funny or Die's Scott Gairdner

8. "Very Mary-Kate" - CollegeHumor

"Very Mary-Kate," a CollegeHumor web series starring Elaine Carroll, is the "unofficial biography of everyone's favorite Olsen twin." Sorry Ashley. This installment of the series co-stars Will Hines of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

9.  "Baby Big Body" - UCB Comedy

Baby Big BodyUCBcomedy.com
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at UCBcomedy.com

Written and directed by the UCB Theatre's Kelly Hudson, "Baby Big Body" is weirdest video of the year. It's pure nonsense, but in absolutely the best way. 

10. "7 Minutes in Heaven" - Mike O'Brien

Mike O'Brien, a writer on SNL, stepped out of the writers' room and in front of the camera for his hilarious talk show/web series in 2011. The episode above features current PAPER cover girl, Kristen Wiig.

Retro Christmas Jams to Cleanse Your Holiday Music Palate

By this time in the month, even big holiday music fans can feel pretty kaput on classics and carols. Below, 10 awesome doo-wop, R&B and girl group yuletide tracks from the '50s and '60s to cleanse your palate. Jam on them while chain-smoking in the backyard of your childhood home or driving around in your mom's car, praying you don't run into anyone from high school at your hometown mall. Happy holidays!

1. "Boogie Woogie Santa Clause," by Mabel Scott. (Also, shout out to whoever made this video and slyly worked a photo of Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top in amid various Santa images.)

2. "Monster's Holiday," by Bobby Boris Pickett

3. "I Want a Beatle For Christmas" by Becky Lee Beck

4. "Let's Rock & Roll (To Auld Lang Syne)" by Chuck Edwards 

5. "I Wanna Spend Christmas with Elvis" by Marlene Paul

6. "I'll Spend Christmas Night With You," by Nathan Russell

7. "Mr. Santa's Boogie" by the Marshalls

8. "Santa Clause is Coming" by Hank Ballard

9. "Santa Teach Me to Dance" by Debbie & the Darnels

10. "Cool Cool Christmas" by Bobbie and Boobie

Lady Gaga's Forthcoming Christmas Song + A Bronze Statue of Steve Jobs in Budapest = Today's Eight Items or Less

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1. Lady Gaga is releasing a new song recorded "live, in one take, on the tour bus" on Christmas Day.

2. Toronto's The Weeknd (ne' Abel Tesfaye) released another mixtape -- his third in 2011 -- and you can download it here.  It includes a track called "The Fall" produced by Clams Casino.

3. A bronze commemorative statue of Steve Jobs was unveiled in Budapest yesterday. (L.A. Times)

4. The Art Newspaper reports that the European Union is about to launch the world's largest cultural funding program valued at $2.34 billion.

5. When contestants on NBC's new game show Who's Still Standing? lose and fall through the floor, where do they go?  Just asking.

6. Check out the fantastic photo of NYC's September 11 Memorial taken on Tuesday by Mark Lennihan. (via Art Daily)

UPDATED: Matisyahu Snaps, Attacks Photographer! Rebecca Smeyne Tells Her Story

UPDATE: Matisyahu's PR team just sent over the rapper's official statement about what happened at the show:
"I regret what transpired when I tried to remove the camera from the photographer's hands last night. As an artist on stage, it is very distracting and disorienting to have a camera flashing in your face for an extended period of time. I reacted impulsively out of frustration and for that I apologize."

UPDATE: Matisyahu has tweeted the following in response: " Sorry about last night. I totally snapped. I wouldn't call it a kick, more like stepping into the crowd. and being that you've shot so many shows you should know how distracting a huge flash in your face is. Seemed like you were there everywhere I turned with that flash. Next time be more sensitive to the performer."

Papermag assigned photographer Rebecca Smeyne to shoot Matisyahu's "Festival of Light" Hanukkah show last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Fun, festive times, right? Apparently not. We were dismayed to see a tweet from Rebecca around 10 p.m. saying the laid-back Hasidic rap star had kicked her in the face and broken her camera's expensive flash during the show. What?! Chilled-out nice-guy dub-reggae star Matisyahu did what? We've seen Rebecca shoot concerts and parties and she isn't aggressive or obnoxious in her pursuits to get her great shots, nor were we told flash wouldn't be allowed at this show. So what happened? Rebecca breaks down her side of the story for us below.

The night was strange from the start. It was December 21st, yet it was so unseasonably warm outside, I left my coat at home. I was on my way to cover Hasidic dub reggae star Matisyahu's 6th annual Festival of Light Hanukkah Tour -- one of his three nights at Music Hall of Williamsburg (where he happens to hold the record for the most sold-out shows). When I arrived at the venue, there was a crowd of Hasidic men standing near the entrance. They weren't patrons of the show, but on mitzvah missions, looking in a likely place for people who would answer affirmatively to the question "Are you Jewish?" My editor and I had pre-arranged a photo pass for the show through Matisyahu's publicists, and there was no mention of restrictions in terms of photography or flash. For the first half of the show, I shot from the floor, behind someone, near the side of the stage. I didn't use flash most of the time because there was bright enough lighting. About halfway through the set, Matisyahu went to the opposite end of the stage to light a huge menorah. I moved closer to get a shot of this key moment, and ended up toward the center, still behind a few people. After he was done with the Menorah, Matisyahu resumed performing in center stage. I took the opportunity of my proximity to take some flash photos, to get some detail shots. And this is when things got weird.

After 12 flash shots over a few minute period (the camera gives me this data), Matisyahu stepped toward me, off the stage. The person in front of me moved and the next thing I knew Matisyahu's foot was on my face and I fell to the ground. At first I assumed he was trying to crowdsurf, that he wasn't deliberately trying to step on me. But when I got up, he was in the middle of the audience. When I turned to look at him, he charged at me and attempted to forcefully wrestle the camera away from me. I had the camera strap wrapped around my wrist several times, and I held the body tightly with both hands. Finally, he ripped the external flash off the top of the camera, leaving wires exposed. Suffice to say, this is not an inexpensive piece of equipment, and he had clearly damaged it deliberately. I went to find security, and requested to talk to the manager. They told me to go outside, so I did, and then I called the police. I wasn't hurt, but I wanted to be reimbursed for the equipment damage and felt I needed to file an official report. The cops showed up while Matisyahu was still on stage. Eventually, after the officers made it clear they weren't leaving, Matisyahu's manager sheepishly came out, said he saw the whole thing, apologized for Matisyahu's behavior, and said it was "out of character." He said they'd pay for the damage, and I accepted, but still wanted to file the report, to have some documentation. Then he offered to settle in cash, on the spot. He gave me a fat stack of bills, and I thanked the police for coming out and called it a night.

So why did he freak out? This is a performer who's been in the spotlight for ten years; he has nearly 1.5 million followers on twitter. He should be very used to photographers. And I shoot performances often enough (over 600 different bands in the past 5 years, professionally) to know I wasn't doing anything, shall we say, un-Kosher. As it turns out, Matisyahu had been in the news a lot this week, after he unexpectedly shed all of his facial hair and curls and announced via twitter that he is "reclaiming" himself from religious rules." This week at Music Hall was, in fact, the first time he'd been seen in public with his new look, which the press has described as "confusing to fans." And no, he's not giving interviews about it. Whether these recent changes caused him to snap, is unclear. I will say, though, that the show itself was pretty underwhelming, save for the talents of his backing band (holla Dub Trio), and a supremely awesome huge disco dreidel hanging from the ceiling. But I guess at this point, you could say I'm biased.

Tips for Today: James Brown Tribute at Drom, A Christmas Story at Nitehawk & No Bra at Santos Party House

The Fifth Annual James Brown Tribute at Drom 

Shake out some pre-holiday jitters by dancing the night away to the tunes of the Godfather of Soul, aka the one and only James Brown. Nickodemus, Nappy G, $mall ¢hange and special guests will be manning the decks, playing funky jams by (and inspired by) Soul Brother Number One all night long.

Drom, 85 Ave. A. 10 p.m.-4 a.m. $5 before midnight, $10 after.

A Christmas Story at Nitehawk Cinemas

To be honest, we were never really obsessed with this ostensibly iconic Christmas movie -- we were more of a It's a Wonderful Life/Garfield's Christmas Special kinda gal. But we know that the kids love this one, and as a fun treat, the folks at Williamsburg movie theater/restaurant/bar are screening it tonight at midnight.

Nitehawk Cinemas, 136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 12 a.m. $11.

No Bra at Santos Party House

Tonight's edition of artist/DJ/Santos co-owner Spencer Sweeney's Friday night party, Spencer's GIFs, features a special performance by 2010 PAPER Beautiful Person, No Bra, aka Susanne Oberbeck. The no-wave techno singer, who usually performs not only without a bra, but also without a shirt, got her start in Berlin's underground electro scene, and graces SPH with her presence this evening.

Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St. 11 p.m. $10.

Judy Garland's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Is Our Music Video of the Day


Today's oldie-but-goodie video comes courtesy of the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis (newly out on Blu-ray). It's the very moving and sad scene wherein Esther (Judy Garland) sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to her little sister Tootie (Margaret O'Brien) on Christmas Eve, as the family gets ready to move to New York from St. Louis. Don't cry -- and have a great holiday!

Matisyahu-Gate: Some Comments on the Comments

matisyahu-gate.pngWhen we heard the news that the improbable Matisyahu -- a reggae singer/Hasidic Jew who had recently announced that he was cutting his beard and side curls! -- had attacked PAPERMAG photographer Rebecca Smeyne, our first reaction was disbelief. First, that a man of avowed principles would behave in such an unacceptable fashion, and second, that he should vent his misplaced rage on Smeyne, someone we know as a hard-working photographer with deep connections to New York's music scene. Modest and soft-spoken, it was hard to imagine her provoking a performer to single her out for attack in the middle of a performance!

Now that the dust has settled and Matisyahu and his management have more or less apologized and paid Smeyne for the damage to her camera, another issue has emerged that is perhaps even more upsetting than the initial incident.

Yes, Smeyne used a flash which apparently enraged Matisyahu to the point of assault. But there are many ways for a performer to address this, none of which were even attempted. He could have asked her to stop or asked security or even had her removed from the premises by the club management. Instead he chose to walk into the audience, stomp on her and try to destroy her camera. Fortunately for all no one was seriously injured.

OK. So we ran the story here on PAPERMAG, expecting it to create a stir, but not in the way I imagined. Sure, the story was picked up and linked to by many sites, but what surprised me was the tone of the comments here. I'm not a newbie to the Internet and I know that there are shrill and combative voices out there. But what surprised me is how many people chose to blame the victim for using a flash.

So let's get it straight once and for all. There is never an excuse to use violence against a woman. Period. Given Matisyahu's extreme behavior, for first embracing and then just as abruptly abandoning his Hasidic vows, one might suppose that he is in need of some psychological counseling. Given his attack on Smeyne, the case seems to be even more compelling.

And to all you photographers - and haters -- out there who are fixated on the flash and can't see the harsh reality of what happened, I urge you to take a minute to reflect and to make your resolution a promise to be kinder and gentler in the new year.

Photo by Rebecca Smeyne

Flashback Friday: Mark Ronson and Sean Lennon's High School Band, Whole Earth Mamas

wholeearthmamas.jpgSo while procrastinating on the Internet last night, we fell into a deep, dark Internet K-hole, which involved Google-Image-searching "Whole Earth Mamas," Mark Ronson's high school band (which he talked to us about in our 2008 cover story on him). The search led us to the amazing photo above, which features Sean Lennon in the background on the guitar, Mark in the front wearing a hoodie, and someone named Sean Zanni next to him (who we discovered once dated Liv Tyler -- we told you, we were in an Internet K-hole!!). We love everything about this photo, especially Mark's side-part/bowl cut and his necklace/hooded long-sleeved T-shirt combo! Fun fact: Mr. Mickey was at the Whole Earth Mamas' second gig ever, which took place at a backyard Earth Day BBQ.

We leave you with a great story that Mark told us about the band, from the aforementioned cover story:

"We were into, like, Living Colour and the Black Crowes, shit like that," he says. "We were really bad." The pinnacle of the band's career was playing an anti-fur rally in Columbus Circle. "It was an all-female lineup and they assumed because we were called the Whole Earth Mamas, we were an all-girl band. And then my dad shows up. He's visiting from London and wearing a ski parka with a fur collar and people sort of start hissing and he's like, 'What, what, you want some?'"

Buy This: Leaf Cable Organizers From Jet Pens

Screen shot 2011-12-23 at 2.26.24 PM.png
Our life sometimes feels like one big overwhelming rubber-band ball of cables, cords and iPhone chargers. Which is why these lovely leafy cable ties, from Jet Pens (which we first spied on one of our favorite inspiration blogs Oh Joy!) are so appealing and delightful. We especially like that the stems are green on top and yellow at the bottom.

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Ben Pundole Rumored to be L.A.-Bound + Headphones Are the New Earbuds = Today's Eight Items or Less

Screen shot 2011-12-23 at 3.12.00 PM.pngScreen shot 2011-12-23 at 3.12.29 PM.png

1. Volkswagen's SuperBowl ad featuring a boy dressed like Darth Vader topped the Nielsen Media Research list of the year's "most-liked" ads. One of our faves was the Hyundai Elantra ad with a white dude rapping: "What you know about dual-heated, power outside mirrors?"

2. A British man was charged with stealing a Banksy artwork called "Sperm Alarm" and offering it for sale on eBay for $26,000. Maybe he got confused and thought he was at one of the Art Series Group Hotels in Melbourne, Australia. (The Sun)

3. L.A.'s "Midtown Lunch" blogger Zach Brooks posted a photo of every lunch he ate in 2011.

4. Ben Pundole's King & Grove Hotels group is expanding like mad.  Besides the rumored takeover of a Brooklyn hotel and the acquisition of Miami's Tides, L.A. blog Brigham Yen reports  that K&G are now after downtown L.A.'s Hotel Clark and Trinity Auditorium.

5. In case you hadn't noticed, USA Today observes that ear buds are out and headphones are in.

6.  Watch this mega-edit of the year's best skateboarding videos.

PAPERMAG Holiday Programming Note

santawithcryingkids.jpgPAPERMAG is taking this week off to travel, return various unflattering sweaters and urge uncle Jim to really get serious about going to rehab. We'll still be posting here and there through out the week, including more best-of and year-end roundups from the staff. In the meantime, check out  Zac Sebastian and Rebecca Smeyne's craziest nightlife moments from 2011, AndrewAndrew's best and worst of 2011's Broadway productions, Tom Murrin's best of 2011's Off-Off-Broadway Productions, Dennis Dermody's best and worst of 2011 at the movies (as well as his list of movies to avoid at the theaters this holiday season) and Alex Scordelis' roundup of 2011's funniest comedy videos. We're pumped for a great 2012 here at Papermag HQ and hope you're having/will have/had a nice, relaxing holiday break. See you next Monday!


Director Dee Rees On Her First Feature Film, Pariah

Filmmaker Dee Rees' first feature, Pariah, follows Alike, a lesbian African-American high-school student as she moves through her different worlds (gay clubs to English class to dinner with her disapproving parents) while searching for a way to feel at home. With encouragement from mentor Spike Lee and a stint at the Sundance Instiute under her belt, Rees expanded what was originally a short into her current feature-length film, which saw a solid premiere last year at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released in select cities this Wednesday, December 28th. 

Did you really sell your house to fund  this project?
I  owned an apartment  in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and I ended up selling it to be able to invest in the film myself. At the time, I thought, "If I can't invest in it, how can I ask other people to?" But looking back, it's like, "Wow. I can't believe I did that."

To help your actors develop their characters, you had them do a family therapy session. How did that work?
It was really important to capture the family dynamic, specifically for one dinner-table scene which I was worried about nailing. So I found a friend who was a psychotherapist-in-training, gave each actor talking points and put them on a couch, together.

Did the therapist have any interesting observations?
She was like, "Oh my God, this family is so dysfunctional! I really want to see what happens in the film because I don't have more time with them myself.

Is Tropical In Moscow

Is tropical is a British three-piece band made up of Gary Barber, Dominic Apa and Simon Milner, whose debut album, Native To, came out this past June. In 2010, they booked a one-way flight to Moscow to play the Avant Fest. Here, Simon Milner explains what happened.

We landed in the Moscow airport without a visa or a return ticket. The promoter of the festival we were playing, the Avant Fest, said he'd pay for our return trip after he got the money from the show. We were a little worried about this setup, but we're used to winging it. Our taxi driver took us straight from the airport to the festival grounds, an abandoned space station, which was not too far from the center of the city. The festival was sponsored by a cigarette company, and they had hired girls to walk around handing out free smokes -- in packs, or just a single if you didn't fancy carrying a whole pack.

These were the days, back in 2010, before we had a soundman, so we had to use the festival's crew. Everything was fine until the third song when all the monitor speakers blew and we discovered that the sound guy didn't speak a word of English. So we stood on the stage shouting down the mic, "Can someone tell the soundman the monitors have blown?" All we heard back was the reply: "Welcome to Russia."

After our horrible show we watched The Horrors play in an adjacent warehouse. There were a few Horrorettes in the crowd, one of which I ended up taking a bubble bath with a few hours later.

At the end of the night, we went around and scooped all the dropped cigarettes off the floor (about two carrier bags full) and invited everyone to our apartment, not far from Red Square. After running out of really cheap -- but good -- vodka, we went down to the booze shop at about six in the morning. There were about ten of us in a four-person lift and we ended up getting stuck. Gary passed out and though we tried laughing it off, panic began to creep in. After a few hours, Russian paramilitary cops shanked the door open with a crowbar and a Kalashnikov, and made us lie on the ground. Luckily, we didn't get kicked out.  

A couple of peeps went off for a "wander," but were too stupid to do the usual Is Tropical trick of writing the hotel information on their bodies with Sharpies. So Dom and Gary got lost and ended up wandering around for 36 hours trying in vain to find the apartment. It was a good way for them to explore the metro system, drowning their sorrows with trampy, low quality booze and trying to decipher the Cyrillic hieroglyphics that taunted them with their unfamiliarity. At one point, Dom accidentally switched off the light of some government agency board meeting on his way out of the toilet he had found by creeping past the guards. They had to leave sharply, a haggard police dog snapping at their heels. Gary was drunk and tried to explain to a questioning police officer that he was English by handing over his bank card, which they thought was a bribe. Then by sheer chance, a kid who had seen us play at the festival ran into them, and managed to talk the officer out of detaining Gary. He explained that they shouldn't be drinking with tramps in the park and returned them to the apartment.

In Moscow, anyone with a car is a taxi driver. No joke. On the way home from work if someone flags you down, you pull over and give them a ride for a few bucks. It's a good way to get about and some cars are really funny fucked-up bangers. One time we forgot to shut the passenger door when leaving so the driver just drove it into a lamppost to close it.

For the next three nights we invited everyone who we'd met at the festival to our place because we had zero money to drink out at a bar, and Moscow is expensive. So each night we would have a different group of Russians over and of course the promoter of the festival, Igor, became a good friend of ours. Igor brought us a five-liter bottle of tequila that had a swinging mechanism for easy pour and others would bring their favorite Russian liquors to prove that their sauce was the best in the world.

One night, after drinking heavily at the apartment and high on Russian life, Gary and I went for a swim in the Moskva River, something that we were told not to do because of the dirtiness. I was smart and tried to keep my head above water. Gary just ran and back-flipped in, which ended in runny shits for a while and suspected hepatitis. Afterwards, I fell into a post and ripped my hand open, cleaned the wound with vodka and a few hours later went to a kids' hospital with Nat, our unofficial tour guide and "trip wife," who cleaned and cooked for us our whole stay. She blagged it and a Russian doctor sewed me up while talking on the phone with her husband.

Luckily the promoter managed to get us a cheap return ticket (do not fly Aeroflot, they have rubber chicken tikka feta cabbage salads that taste like dog food) back to London. Our flight was super early so when we packed we had to ask all the drunks in our apartment to leave. One guy that looked super cool, but was hanging around after just having finishing the bottle of tequila, shouted something then fell straight on his face. Everyone went quiet and a pool of blood gathered around his head. His friend said in a monotone voice, "Now you've killed a Russian man," and proceeded to grab him by his feet and drag him out of the room, leaving a trail of blood from his head. Nat quickly followed them with a mop. That was our cue to leave.

We'll be posting more pieces from our Winter Issue travel feature through out the week. You can read about Sasha Grey's trip to Thailand and Germany hereTwilight star Jackson Rathbone's account of being robbed in San Francisco here, Momofuku Milk pastry chef Christina Tosi's 10 traveling rules here and designer Nicola Formichetti's love letter to Ibiza here.

Inside Chrissie Miller and Lindsey Thornburg's L.E.S. Shop 143

Sophomore designer Chrissie Miller had such a great time helming a pop-up store in L.A. ("I loved watching people try on my clothes!"), that she joined forces with designer Lindsey Thornburg, and set up shop at 143 Ludlow St. (hence the store's name, 143) on the L.E.S. In
addition to their own wares, they sell lines like Filth Mart and House of Lavande, and the store's artwork is curated by Miller's boyfriend, Leo Fitzpatrick. Since Miller's apartment is known by her friends as Club Chrissie for its open-door policy, will 143 be the new Club Chrissie? "I like to call it, 'daytime Club Chrissie, '" Miller says. "There are so few places for people to hang other then bars and restaurants. I wanted a club house." 

From Adele to Swizz Beatz to Ryan Trecartin, the Best of What Was Said In PAPER + PAPERMAG This Year

Tons of fun stories and interviews popped up in Paper magazine and on Papermag.com in 2011. Here's part one of our favorite quips and quotes from some of the fabulous artists, musicians, fashion designers, actors and general weirdos we featured this year. Stay tuned for part two on Friday!

2Spring11-thumb-601x793-39119.jpg"I'm expecting someone to come up to me and say, "Party's over, kid. Pack it up. It was fun while it lasted."
Greta Gerwig, on still not quite believing she's a movie star. From "Greta the Great," February/March 2011.

"Our only plan was that we were going to move home. Kate and I mostly just watched horror films. I think after you graduate college, you need some time to figure out what you want to do."
Rodarte's Laura Mulreavy on life after graduating from Berkeley with her co-designer sister, Kate. From "Guru: Rodarte," February/March 2011.

"Not to brag, but this was the second movie featuring a transsexual I did last year."
Actress Lizzy Caplan on starring in both Frankie Goes Boom, featuring Ron Perlaman as a transsexual, and Queens of Country, with Joe Lo Truglio playing Caplan's best girlfriend. From "The Group," February/March 2011.

"Walter Matthau used to share his Lakers tickets with me because he had courtside seats right in the corner. But when it came to the playoffs, he'd offer me other seats. I said, "What are you talking about? No, I want those courtside seats! Otherwise stick those other seats up your ass!"
Elliot Gould, interviewed by filmmakers Benny and Josh Safdie, February/March 2011.

"There's also this idea that Los Angeles is all sun and fun. But in many ways L.A. is
a giant slum that goes on forever and ever. Now, from the beach all the way to West
Hollywood, there are enormous pockets of wealth. But it's balanced off of abject poverty in the rest of the city."
L.A.-based artist Mike Kelley on economic disparity in Los Angeles. February/March 2011.

"You two look like the heirs to the Willy Wonka fortune."
Donald Glover to Fashion Week correspondents AndrewAndrew, who were interviewing him backstage at Band Of Outsiders' FW/12 show.

"I'm OK."
Jessica Alba's response when a Paper reporter asked if she would do an interview for Papermag.com at a FW/12 fashion week party.

"If you want to star in a movie, you shouldn't play a guy with a thick accent working at a deli. They're not making movies about that guy
Aziz Ansari on rejecting stereotypical roles. From "Stand-Up Guy," April 2011.

"I was overwhelmed. I felt embarrassed singing about how upset I was over this guy to four million people. I also envisioned him sitting at home and watching, feeling smug and amused about the fact that I'm talking about him."
Adele on why she started to cry as she sang her smash hit "Someone Like You" live during the 2011 Brit Awards. From "Beautiful People: Adele," April 2011.

"I enjoyed the ridiculousness of being able to talk about how much I love guns and cars. Usually, women like that are written to be either sexy and insensitive or sensitive and weak -- I love that I was able to make a strong character real."
Amber Heard on her Drive Crazy character. From "Beautiful People: Amber Heard," April 2011. 

"My mom's pretty wild. I have stories for days ... I don't want to talk about it, but I will say that there is one involving a dildo."
Rob Kardashian on mother Kris Jenner. From "Beautiful People: Rob Kardashian," April 2011. 

"Buy a mink made out of an ostrich's ass."
Tyler, the Creator on what to do after making it big. From "Tyler, the Creator's 10 Steps to Selling Out." April 2011.
"I don't want to imply in any way that I'd be ashamed to be a drag queen. So for the longest time I let people use that word to describe me. But I also think at a certain point I have to correct the misperception."
Singer Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, on rejecting the gender binary and asking journalists to use the pronoun "V" when writing about V. From "Justin Bond: Genre Bender." April 2011.

 "These people came in [to a pitch meeting at the Bravo offices] and said, "We're bringing this huge star with us and the star is so big we can't tell you who it is." And they brought Madame, the puppet from Hollywood Squares ... It was so hilarious. Another time when I was in a pitch meeting with Cybill Shepherd she was like, "It's really hot in here." We were in her agent's office, and she took her shirt off. She was just wearing a bra ... It was crazy."
Andy Cohen on the craziest show pitches he's gotten as a programming executive at Bravo. From "Guru: Andy Cohen," May 2011.
"It's a fictional character that I inject into myself, with which I douse my soul and set my heart ablaze on stage."
Alex Zhang Hungtai, aka pop artist Dirty Beaches, on performing his cinematic, noise-meets '50s-croon-pop live.  From "Down and Dirty," May 2011.

"You've got to prove yourself over and over again. We've been proving since 1985 that we're relevant and have something to say."
Duran Duran's John Taylor on the band's longevity. From "Pin-Up Boys," May 2011.

"I think not to be asking why this happened is as close to an abdication of responsibility as you can get."
Harry Shearer on making documentary the Big Uneasy, which blames the Army Corps of Engineers' incompetence for Hurricane Katrina's destruction of New Orleans. From "Unnatural Disaster," May 2011. 

"Now that [Will] Arnett is involved, I think there's gonna be a lot of full frontal nudity. When people think of me and [Christina Applegate] and Arnett, they're gonna think of full frontal nudity.
Maya Rudolph on her new NBC series Up All Night, co-starring Will Arnett and Christina Applegate. From "Here Comes the Bride," May 2011.

"Who knows? In a year, we might be in PAPER magazine's Where Are They Now? issue. Headline: 'What Happened to These Dumb Dumbs?' With a big picture of me and a really small picture of Jason [Bateman]. Contractually, he has to be one third the size of me."
Will Arnett on his marketing venture with Jason Bateman, DumbDumb. From "Bluth in Advertising,' May 2011.


"When I'm really stressed out, I like to watch really bad romantic comedies I will watch anything, like Life As We Know It, which I enjoyed."
Santigold on how she dealt with the stress of recording her upcoming album. From "Gold Sounds," Summer 2011.

"Man, I crossed bridges in the industry that should stop water."
Swizz Beatz on ascending from an up-and-coming producer to making his own albums, doing creative consulting for Reebok and Christian Louboutin and becoming a Producer-in-Residence at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. From "Gimme the Beatz," Summer 2011.

"I don't mean to name-drop, but about a year-and-a-half ago I met Bono, and he told me to write music that was really honest, to not be afraid to go there."
Joe Jonas on branching out from the Jonas Brothers to record a debut solo album. From "Solo Star," Summer 2011.

"I think there were moments where they were like, "Who the fuck is this guy? He is so retarded."
Artist Ryan Trecartin on working with child actors in his recent video/sound installation Any Ever. From "Controlling the Chaos," Summer 2011.

"Girls make everything better. I just love women."
Theophilus London on the inspiration behind his debut album, Timez Are Weird These Days . From "Theophilus London: Talking Girls, Skype and Soup with the Globe-Trotting Ladies Man," Summer 2011.

"I can't write about it unless I've lived it first."
Marianne Faithfull on writing lyrics. From "Marianne Faithfull Returns With a Collection of Happy Songs," Summer 2011.

"I think it's the confidence of knowing where I want to be. I'm just celebrating being a woman and my sexuality has come out... just a little bit."
Kelly Rowland on feeling more confident when she turned 30. From "Kelly Rowland Sexes Things Up On Her New Album," Summer 2011.

"I took a break from my brother, I wasn't in a relationship for the first time in like ten years and I was really on my own for the first time in a long time. It was inspiring."
Fiery Furnaces Eleanor Friedberger on her debut solo album. From "Eleanor Friedberger Goes It Alone," Summer 2011.

"I never thought it would go beyond bar talk ... Not as in Bartok the composer, but the kind of talking that takes place in a bar."
Mister Heavenly's Nick Thornburn (also of Islands), on starting a band with Man Man's Ryan Kattner and the Shins/Modest Mouse's Joe Plummer. From "Mister Heavenly Introduces Us to 'Doom Wop'," Summer 2011.

"I can pick two songs off of this record and put them next to each other, and people are going to be tripped out, like it's not from the same artist."
Foster the People's Mark Foster on the band's breakout debut, Torches. From "Foster the People: Try Not Getting the L.A. Trio's Songs Not Stuck In Your Head," Summer 2011.

"I have now become the drama. I am the art."
Classical violinst Hahn Bin on his avant performance style. From "New Classic," Summer 2011.