bullett VOLUME 1: THE PREMIERE ISSUE
Cindy Crawford, Mark Ruffalo, Adrian Grenier, Elizabeth Banks, Penn Badgley, Paz de la Huerta, Abigail Breslin, padma lakshmi, Guy Pearce, Steve-O
For your enjoyment, BULLETT VOLUME ONE is presented in book form, advertisement free.
Masthead FOUNDER / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ERIN RALPH
CREATIVE DIRECTOR SAH D’SIMONE
CO-FOUNDER / PUBLISHER NICK RALPH
ART DIRECTOR JAMES ORLANDO
VISUAL DIRECTOR IDIL TABANCA
CHAIRMAN ADAM KLEIN
CREATIVE PRODUCER AIMEE O’NEILL
PRODUCTION MANAGER MOUNTAHA AYOUB
EDITORIAL MANAGER JEN KESSLER
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR ANDREW TEIXEIRA
COPY EDITOR GENNA RIVIECCIO
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE DENNIS LEAVEY
DIGITAL PRODUCER CHUCK HOLLIDAY
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE ASHLEY JACKSON BRAND DEVELOPMENT MATTHEW CAIOLA ELANA KOPSTEIN EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS DOMINIQUE SINGH VISTA LINDSAY
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS KAYT JONES, GAVIN BOND, HILARY WALSH, KURT ISWARIENKO, DAN MARTENSEN, YOSSI MICHAELI, YAGMUR KIZILOK, SAGE GRAZER, JIMMY FONTAINE, NICHOLAS ROUTZEN, OHAD MAIMAN, ALIYA NAUMOFF, SHAMILA, FUTURE CAT, HEIDI CELEGHIN, SARAH COLEMAN, JENNA ELIZABETH, INDIRA CESARINE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AIMEE O’NEILL, IDIL TABANCA, INDIA NICHOLAS, BEC COUCHE NADIA KANAAN, TIGER RYAN, ODEMARIS BYRD, KAT PRICE, STEPHEN LARKIN, JACOB CORBIN, REB CARLSON, VICTORIA SMITH CONTRIBUTING TALENT COORDINATOR SHAY NIELSEN SPECIAL PROJECTS CONTRIBUTOR JOHNNY DUCOIN INTERNS BÜSRA ERKARA, SOPHIE DIMOVSKA, MARC POGGIA, EMILIA WOJDYLAK, KIMI HUYNH, NINZE CHEN, HEATHER SAIDE, JESSICA CUNNINGHAM, CRISTIN PONTILLO SECURITY KOKO PUFF SPECIAL THANKS BULLETT WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO: KATHY O’FLAHERTY, EROL TABANCA, KALEIGH RALPH, ADAM KLEIN, JESSICA BURT, TOM O’FLAHERTY, JR, ELI MIZRAHI, GEORGE MARTIN, AND EDVIN DELAJ BULLETT MAGAZINE IS PRINTED BY BULLETT MEDIA, LLC. THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF BULLETT ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PUBLISHER. BULLETT ASSUMES NO LIABILITY FOR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ADVERTISED HEREIN. BULLETT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT, REUSE OR TURN DOWN ANY MATERIAL CONTAINED HEREIN AND IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ERRORS IN INFORMATION IN BULLETT MAGAZINE OR ON BULLETT MAGAZINE.COM, AS WELL AS OTHER PLATFORMS FOR ANY AND ALL PURPOSES.
THE BULLETT MEDIA PROJECT BULLETT is a revolutionary transmedia platform contracted for innovation and modernity. Excavating through the saturated culture of consumerism to discover the most refined talent, BULLETT illuminates and unearths the core of art and creativity. A kinetic power developed to be the catalyst of future imagination, BULLETT utilizes its platforms in print, Internet TV, interactive events and mobile to deliver its content.
FASHION 10 16 17 22 24 26 28 30 38 42 59 68
I AM A WINTER CASE OF CLASSIC EPICENE MACHISMO VALENTINE FILLOL CORDIER FRANK TELL SIMON SPURR KIMBERLY OVITZ PARTICULARLY AMBIGIOUS I WAS A -------- NOTHING SIN - D FEATURING CINDY CRAWFORD THE MORPHEA AFFAIR SHARP SUITOR: DUNHILL
SPEEDING BULLETTS 70 72 74 76 78 80
ABIGAIL BRESLIN RORY CULKIN ARI GRAYNOR KEIR GILCHRIST JENNIFER DAMIANO RUPERT GRINT
CINEMA 83 84 92 94 104 106 108 112 118
GUY PEARCE MARK RUFFALO PAZ DE LA HUERTA ADRIAN GRENIER JEN GATIEN BRADY CORBET ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY JAMES RASIN / ZAC STUART-PONTIER ELIZABETH BANKS
MUSIC 129 130 132 134 136 138 140
STILL CORNERS UFFIE STAR SLINGER MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS TAYLOR MOMSEN SKY FERREIRA CMJ VS
142 150 160 166 168 170 172 174 186 190 194 198 202 208 216 222
ART & CULTURE
SAGE GRAZER: ARTIST PORTRAITS PENN BADGLEY STEVE-O PADMA LAKSHMI GEORGES ST-PIERRE BELLEON BODY JEAN MICHEL ETÉ NO. 5 PLEASE SOFIA ARJAM ISTANBUL LUCID LULU BARCELONA BJARKE INGELS I AM NOT A ROBOT FROM GLIESE 581G WITH LOVE THE BULLETT PROJECT
The past seven months since BULLETT’s inception have been filled with some of the most exhilarating moments of my life. Perhaps the thrill of it all is destined by name, as a bullet moves incredibly fast with a precise aim and steady direction. Its purpose: to penetrate beyond surface layers and make an impact on its target. Such is the case with the influence of media, where words, images, stories and opinions assault us like stray bullets on a daily basis. Last spring, a small group of creative visionaries came together to develop an idea fifteen years in the making. The concept was a new streamlined “transmedia” company that would act as a refined source of information and inspiration, one that would enlighten, uplift and open minds. It would act as a responsible outlet that celebrates true talent and gives artists the freedom to express who they are as creators.
+ nick circa 1986
fun working with the contributors and talent of the issue. Some of my personal highlights include seeing Elizabeth Banks play a modern Botticelli goddess, sprawled across a 150-year-old French Aubusson rug, draped in cascading layers of vintage Nina Ricci tulle. The multi-talented Penn Badgley got in touch with his musical roots as a young Elvis/Johnny Cash hybrid who, as we discovered on set, actually has the craft to back it up. Sitting down with Entourage’s Adrian Grenier for an enlightening conversation in which he discusses an evolving society.
In a revealing interview, Jackass’ Steve-O takes us on his journey of his life and fame. In what can be described as an inspiration to all of troubled young Hollywood, he discusses the darker side of fame and drug addition, as well as his road to light. Finally, Mark Ruffalo, who, on the eve of a Hollywood takeover, epitomizes the ideal leading man: humble, outspoken, and filled with a deep BULLETT’s presence manifested quickly, armed with a unique editorial mission and artistic character that can only be carved from years of overcoming struggles on content designed to be featured across an interwoven platform of media that includes the path to achieving a dream. print, video, the Internet, mobile and interactive experiences. Fueled by passion and purpose, our team worked tirelessly to produce this issue and lay the groundwork of I would like to take a moment to thank the incredible team that worked together the video and interactive elements that you will see as our digital platform develops. as a family on this issue, as well as the agreeing subjects inside who committed to the project when we were nothing more than an idea with a mission. I would also Inside you will find content presented in a way that does not bombard you like to welcome you, the reader, to experience BULLETT, and I hope that you will with an overkill of information and visuals. Our aesthetic promotes a deeper be here with us as we continue to unravel our print, video, and digital network. simplicity, allowing you to become immersed in the features and stories of each In the meantime, allow BULLETT to stimulate your senses, uplift, and inspire you page while giving enough space to let inspiration kick in and your imagination to always have an open mind. fly. After all, we are all artists with the ability to create the lives we want for ourselves. Our lives are the blank canvases on which anything is possible. xo Erin We’ve had an incredible amount of industry support for our first issue, partly because we encourage our subjects to become collaborators in the creative process. Featuring a diverse mix of talent in fashion, film, music and the arts, BULLETT fuses together the classic and the new. The team had a great deal of 8
ALL THAT ASPIRES TO INSPIRE I AM A WINTER CASE OF CLASSIC EPICENE MACHISMO VALENTINE FILLOL CORDIER FRANK TELL SIMON SPURR KIMBERLY OVITZ PARTICULARLY AMBIGIOUS I WAS A ----- NOTHING SIN-D FEATURING CINDY CRAWFORD THE MORPHEA AFFAIR SHARP SUITOR: DUNHILL
CELEBRATING THE GRANDEUR OF SELF-EXPRESSION Tahti Syrjala Cork, Ireland www.tahtisyrjala.blogspot.com
I am... Tahti. Student, blogger, makeup artist, and lover of the world of aesthetics. When I close my eyes I can travel to… any dream. I have a very vivid imagination, and it can take me to any situation or place—be it in the past, present or future, or not in time at all. If I ruled the world I would… improve all countries’ health systems and abolish fast-food joints. My hidden talent is… poetry. The best thing about my city is… it’s easily navigated—more of a large town than a city. In a past life I was a… sickly Victorian courtier who died from pneumonia at the age of nine. Fashion is my… hobby. I like to dress up for fun. I am inspired by… monochrome, people watching, moving pictures, and everyday life.
CHRISTING London, England www.fashionhedonism.com
I am... a dreamer, writer, procrastinator, world-wander, impulsive decision maker, fashion blogger. When I close my eyes I can travel to... my ideal beach, accompanied by nothing but a enticing novel and the one I love. If I ruled the world I would... help everyone discover true happiness. My hidden talent is... being the clumsiest person in the world. The best thing about my city is... the amazing vintage markets, eclectic gastropubs, and of course, Oxford Circus Topshop. In my past life I... must have been very good to be so lucky in this one. Fashion is my... outlet for creativity, something that inspires me each day, and my true obsession. I am inspired by... my travels, different cultures, poetry, modern art, and impeccably styled fashion editorials.
BOBBY RAFFIN Toronto, Canada www.bobbyraffin.blogspot.com
I am… a postmodern fairytale. A cartoon boy from a book who emerged from the pages and into reality. When I close my eyes I travel to… a place with the greenest grass and the most spontaneous looking clouds. A land with valleys, hills, bridges and mills. If you look up in the sky, you might see a flying castle. If I ruled the world… there would be no roads. We would all live in trees. We would build around them and never cut them down. We would be taught more about art, and focus on the things we truly love. Our world would be less shallow and superficial and more open-minded. My hidden talent is… that I am good at turning ideas in my head into physical reality. The best thing about my city is… that it’s an everchanging and multicultural city where everyone is welcome. It’s also a city that becomes very influential and inspiring to its people. In a past life I was a… red rose. Live fast, die young. I was romantic, beautiful, and caring. I was picked and given to someone who was really special. Fashion is my… food. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to live. In fashion, I’m always inspired to evolve and create new combinations of my style using different spices. I am inspired by… childhood memories, fragmented dreams, fairytales, and the circus. Overall, my biggest inspiration is my mother, for she has taught me so many lessons in life.
JULIETT K Poland madamejulietta.blogspot.com
I am… a 23-year-old student having fun with my blog. When I close my eyes I can travel to... a small island with not many people living on it, where there is a beautiful beach with palm trees and a charming hotel. If I ruled the world I would... make the world a better place with peace and love. My hidden talent is... cooking. The best thing about my city is... my notebook. In a past life I was a... man. Fashion is my... passion and my escape from routine. I am inspired by... streets, photos, architecture, and fashion from the past.
SPENCER EDWARDS Ottawa / Montréal proprpostur.blogspot.com
FILIPPA SMEDS Stockholm loststhlm.se/gillofilippa
I am… a 22-year-old fashion marketing student and blogger who is out to stimulate minds. When I close my eyes I can travel to… the depths of my mind, which can take me anywhere I desire. If I ruled the world I would… go completely insane. My hidden talent is… I try not to keep anything hidden. A talent is to be shared and developed. The best thing about my city is… that it is still growing, and as it grows, it opens up a lot more opportunities. In a past life I was a… sheep who just got tired of following. Fashion is my… study, but style is my element. I am inspired by… those who stimulate the mind and individuality.
I am... a girl who thinks too much. When I close my eyes I can travel to... Hyrule Field. If I ruled the world I would... be totally stressed out! My hidden talent is... that I make a really nice stewed spinach. The best thing about my city is... the architecture and the size. It’s quite big, but small enough to never get lost. In a past life I was a... pirate, definitely. Fashion is my... passion and, luckily, my job. I am inspired by... bricks and stones and things I’ve never seen before.
M’C KENNETH LICON Vancouver, Canada www.littlefashionisto.com
I am… a lover, friend, son, and brother; a 21-year-old full-time Interactive Design student, part-time fashion blogger. I cut, bead, glue, paint and sew things together and march to the beat of my own drum. When I close my eyes... I pull past events in my memory or just travel in the future and think about what I will be in the next ten years or so. I think about my dreams and many things I aspire to be. If I ruled the world I would… feed the hungry, build houses for the homeless, and end poverty (Mr. United Nation right here). It is doable. My hidden talent is… I can juggle three balls at a time, and dance/catwalk while doing it. The best thing about my city is… everything. The people, foods, places, small boutiques. It is where the city meets nature. I also love the diversity. In a past life I was an… artist, living in a small town in Milan. I would say a supermodel, now trapped in [the body of] a five-foot-tall young man, but that might be a little too much. Fashion is my… escape from reality. Fashion is a form of expression louder than words. It usually mirrors what mood I am in and what sort of inspiration I am under at that particular moment. Fashion is my comfort zone. When I’m feeling down and out, I put looks together and it cheers me up. It’s like a medicine for my artistic soul.
MARIANNE THEODORSEN Oslo, Norway styledevil.com
I am… 28, Norwegian. Happy sometimes, not so happy other times. Loving movies, art, fashion, and life in general. Waiting for summer. When I close my eyes I can travel to… the weirdest places. My brain does a good job. If I ruled the world I would… be terribly stressed. But world peace would be on the top of my agenda, of course. I would build a spaceship to transport all the scumbags off the face of the earth. Why hasn’t someone done that already? My hidden talent is… I love drawing, and I like to think that I´m not too bad. Not great, but average plus, maybe? Drawing apples and such is not my thing, though. I love drawing weird little characters. The best thing about my city is… the Oslofjord. Beautiful during the summer. Too bad it’s winter most of the year up here. In a past life I was a… dishwasher. Wait, is that even possible? Fashion is my… biggest inspiration! Fashion and style. Just as simple as that. I am inspired by… living. Living is great!
RAGINI York, UK curiousfancy.com
I am... the exotic. The subaltern. The other. When I close my eyes I can travel to... pre-war Vienna and Impressionist Paris. If I ruled the world I would... make sure no animal or child ever starved or went uncared for. Coming from the Third World, I have seen far too much of this. My hidden talent is... dog whispering. The best thing about my city is... that if you’re lucky, you can still, on a street corner, run into a fiddler with a puppet on the end of his fiddle— it’s from another time altogether. In a past life I was a... Mastiff, with the saddest eyes. Fashion is my... life blood. I am inspired by... Victorian and Edwardian children’s fashion, books I read when I was young and, right now, fall colors.
ALEC HERDZ Chihuahua, Mexico areyouwearingthe.blogspot.com
I am... a visual artist, a student, romantic, creative, a good friend, hard-working, talkative, exotic, and sentimental. I’m a fashion blogger. When I close my eyes I can travel to… anywhere in Europe, but especially Paris. Mexico City. This secret place with the person I love, but haven’t met yet. If I ruled the world I would… try to teach people how to control anger and be more tolerant, to handle situations with responsibility and respect, and, most of all, think positive every single day. My hidden talent is… finding old stuff and renovating it to make it look better or more contemporary and modern. The best thing about my city is… the people. They’re wonderful—very talented, well-dressed, kind and talkative. People here treat you as if you were part of their family. In a past life I was a… a very creative person. I think I was either an artist or a dancer. Perhaps an actor. Quite dramatic and expressive, very serious and shy. Fashion is my… lifestyle, is my way to prove to myself that I can be anything I want whenever I want. It’s my way to show love to other types of expressions and art, which is very inspiring. I am inspired by… other guys like me. People I see on the streets, with their personal style and lifestyles, their concerns and happiness. I am inspired by my friends, by art and fashion, and by music.
LAURA ALLARD-FLEISCHL Auckland, New Zealand lunasupernova.blogspot.com
KARL PHILIP LEUTERIO Manila totallyinkarlcerating.blogspot.com
CAROLINE Paris www.carolinedaily.com/blog
I am... a slightly unkempt character with rather ambiguous dreams and too much of a passion for madness. When I close my eyes I can travel to… the beach. Beaches in New Zealand are craggy and wild-looking and completely amazing on both good days and bad. If I ruled the world I would… ideally, [make it so that] everything would be beautiful and everyone would be perfectly content, but in all honesty, I think I would crumble under the pressure. My hidden talent is… ballet, I suppose, although it has probably left me by now. I won a twelve thousand dollar scholarship to dance full time when I was fifteen, but I chose to study instead. The best thing about my city is… the amazing people I know. They’re all incredibly lovely and a bit strange. They really make every day very interesting for me. In a past life I was a… cat, and in the next, I will be a mermaid. Fashion is my… guilty pleasure. It’s a very superficial, narcissistic indulgence, but, for some reason, I love it. I am inspired by… a plethora of things: Street style blogs, horizons, Jane Birkin, the desert, fresh sheets, my Moroccan mint tea candle, dress up parties, the deli section at the supermarket, Edward Sharpe, sheer fabrics, balmy weather... the list could go forever.
I am... genderless. I work as a nurse. When I close my eyes I can travel to… Sweden. I’ve always dreamed of walking on its empty and foggy streets under the gloomy grey sky. If I ruled the world I would… build a nation where anyone can dress up every day like it’s Halloween and guys can wear heels. There is no religion, gender, or race. My hidden talent is… having a girl’s voice. My Adam’s apple is just for show. I can fool guys over the telephone. I sing, but I think my voice is too pitchy. The best thing about my city is… it’s a mix of urban and rural, summer and rainy. People are resilient. There’s no H&M here (yet), but I’d like to think that we catch up in the fashion scene. In a past life I was a… poison alchemist, according to a random website. Fashion is my… armada. It protects me, and it makes me powerful. I am inspired by… vampires, lunatics, soft fabrics, avant-garde, dark androgyny, asymmetry, drapes, deconstruction, humor, monochrome, nomads, scary films.
I am... a stylist, fashion editor, and blogger. When I close my eyes I travel to... the moon. If I ruled the world I would... easily turn into an horrible fashion dictator, so that would not be a good idea. My hidden talent is... music, but it is very well hidden. Even I cannot find it. The best thing about my city is... that it is beautiful and full of art and history. In a past life I was a... jazz singer. Fashion is my... first, my last, my everything. The answer to all my dreams. My sun, my moon, and my guiding star. I am inspired by... movies, pictures, shows, people walking in the street, magazines—so many things.
DARNELL COLEMAN Philadelphia, PA
CHIARA FERRAGNI Milan theblondesalad.com
I am... an artist with a free spirit. When I close my eyes I can travel to… Europe. If I ruled the world I would… eliminate money and strive for world peace. My hidden talent is… dancing like nobody’s watching. The best thing about my city is… when it’s lit up at night. In a past life I was a… free, flying bird. Fashion is my… way of self expression. I am inspired by… art, music, and 80s and 90s fashions.
I am... an Italian fashion blogger and shoe designer. When I close my eyes I travel to... Australia, the best place I’ve ever been. If I ruled the world... I’m sure I’d make some mess. My hidden talent is... to always convince people that I’m right. The best thing about my city is... the fashion system. In the past life I was a... rockstar. Fashion is my... game. I am inspired by... everything that surrounds me.
GIULIANO JOSHUA Zurich www.pipesandsneakers.com
I am... Europe. When I close my eyes I can travel to… my mind’s made-up shit. Strange enough. If I ruled the world I would… almost leave it the way it is. Almost. My hidden talent is… thinking positive 24/7. The best things about my city are… its small local shops, the lake of Zurich and, obviously, Swiss chocolate. In a past life I was a… movie with no plot, written in the back seat of a piss-powered taxi. Fashion is my… sinful pleasure. I am inspired by… my surroundings, music, and Mr. Bond.
A Winter Case Of Classic THE SYMPTOMS
ROMANCE, FEMININITY, ELEGANCE, SHOWSTOPPING NUMBERS, ATTENTION TO DETAIL, GRACE
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS
CHRISTIAN DIOR, VALENTINO, VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, ROLEX
EPICENE MACHISMO Photography JENNA ELIZABETH Styling SAH D’SIMONE Makeup RACHAEL WOOD Hair JOHNNY DUCOIN Assistant MOUNTAHA AYOUB Model VALERIJA EROKHINA @ NEXT
all jewelry by LAZARO
Hoodie by WOOLRICH
Bag by DIOR HOMME Coat by DIOR HOMME
Shoes by OPENING CEREMONY Pants by CUSTO BARCELONA
Black Velvet Jacket and Shirt by DOLCE & GABBANA Grey Tie by BUCKLER Watch by GUCCI
VALENTINE FILLOL CORDIER BULLETT TALKS FASHION WITH ONE OF OUR FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL STYLE CRUSHES INTERVIEW by AIMEE O’NEILL
While Helen of Troy may have had a face that launched a thousand ships, Valentine Fillol Cordier has the style to launch a multitude of internet shrines constructed in her honor. The London-based stylist and creative consultant is often depicted as a modern day fashion icon for her street style savvy, owed to an inimitable combination of perfectly imperfect rumpled hair and her London quirky, Parisian chic personal aesthetic: a fusion of Granny’s vintage, a child with a penchant for the dress up box, an unpretentious elegance with a cheeky twist of streetwear cool. Simultaneously, she oozes effortless 60s/70s throwback sex appeal. Through her flawless self-expression through fashion, Cordier comes off as the cool girl with a heart of gold.
Born and raised in Paris, Cordier first dived into fashion as a model. Her modeling career lasted over ten years, during which time she worked with some of the best talents in the industry: Juergen Teller, Craig McDean, Terry Richardson, Camille Bidault Waddington, and Christopher Niquet. In 2007 she first began creative consulting for friend and fashion designer Charles Anastase, which later led to her role styling and casting his runway shows. Once her passion for styling was established, she went on to have her work featured in
publications such as Mixte, Lula, Dazed & Confused, Love Contemporary, Self Service, and Dossier, where she is now a contributing editor, and has lent her vision to shoe designer Charlotte Olympia. As a working muse, she has been known to grace music videos and fashion films (such as the much blogged about, hauntingly beautiful fashion film for Vanessa Bruno, co-starring another French muse, Lou Doillon). Most recently, Cordier took on a small acting stint in the Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola commercial for Stella Artois. She’s also the backing vocalist for one of the breakout bands of the year, The Big Pink. What is your first fashion memory? It’s my mother’s shoulder pad things in the 80s [laughs]. Have you ventured into the shoulder pads trend, now that they are back? No, I don’t really get it [laughs]. They’re all right. Who are your personal fashion icons—the people who made you want to be involved in the fashion industry? Definitely Charles Anastase (a London-based fashion designer). It’s been ten years we’ve known each other. So probably him.
Do you think your experience growing up and living in two of the world’s most respected fashion capitals (Paris and London) has influenced your work’s aesthetic and/or personal style? If so, how much? Of course it has. You definitely get confronted with more things—not better things, but different things. Growing up in the countryside or the city, where there are people everywhere, dressing up everywhere, and you have galleries and museums by your door—yes, obviously it has [laughs]! How would you describe your everyday personal style? Mmmm… it’s probably something that is always evolving, but also has always stayed pretty much the same. I don’t like anything to ever look new. I used to always rummage through my grandma’s and my mom’s cupboards. Growing up, I didn’t have that much money to buy myself clothes, so I had to be creative, and I think it kind of comes from that. I just always loved having things that have been worn. It’s very much inspired by my grandma. What would you say your creative signature aesthetic is as a stylist? Editor? Creative consultant? How does it reflect (or not) in your everyday personal style? When I think about the things I have done or I do, I feel there is a conjunction—everything does blend together, but everything isn’t the same either. I do have some sort of signature, but I don’t know what it is! It’s when it goes through you, through your eyes. When you’re creative, it goes through one person and then comes out a certain way. Anyone who does creative things has a signature, I imagine. If you do enough work, you end up having one. I don’t really know if I can say what it is. I think someone else would be better to say these things. There is often a vintage quality to your work. I like things to look natural. I like things that are a bit off. I like wigs. I like things like that, but things to look natural as well. If I were to use a wig, I would like the wig to look like natural hair. I like things that are a bit off, but I don’t think that’s a signature.
important, finally realizing I wasn’t just going to be a model for the rest of my life. Just a loser, basically—I really felt like a loser at the time; I wasn’t modeling anymore. I was kind of fat. A bit [laughs]. Fashion friends who are obsessed with thinness told me I was too fat! So it made me realize I could actually have a real job. It was a nice feeling [laughs]. You have had experience in several parts of the fashion industry: Model, stylist, creative consultant, editor. You also sing in the band The Big Pink. Are there other creative outlets you would like to explore? I do little bits and pieces at home. I do paintings, little drawings. I kind of permanently like doing things. I spend a lot of time cooking. I cook for my boyfriend every day, that’s my other outlet. Are there people that you’d really like to work with? Designers, photographers, et cetera? There are, but I’m not sure I want to talk about it [laughs]. Obviously, there are tons of people I want to work with, but I want to work with people who want to work with me as well. I think it’s just a natural process, and people see your work, and if they recognize something they love in it, then they’re going to want to work with you. It’s just about getting the right marriage between people, you know? I just want to work with people who appreciate my work, and whose work I appreciate. Those things just fall naturally into place. Where do you see the fashion industry going in the next few years? Where would you like it to go? I think more good brands should do cheaper clothes. I think lots of things should become more ethical in the way they are being made, [should] go back to a more natural process—people doing things by hand, teaching people to stop throwing away their clothes, buying things they don’t need. There is no need to buy ten white t-shirts when you have one really good one that you can wear over and over again. I don’t think fashion should be throwaway and trends. We should make clothing that is timeless.
“I don’t think fashion should be throwaway and trends. We should make clothing that is timeless.”
You have worked with talented people. What have you learned from working with these talents? What have you taken from these experiences into your own work? I remember the first time I was modeling. At the time, I worked with Camille Bidault Waddington. I remember being so excited, and I met her, and she completely meets the expectations. You could see her in her styling.
What have I learned? I don’t know, I just became a stylist. I never really assisted anyone. So what I’ve learned is really from modeling. I watched and witnessed other people working. I never assisted any stylists because I modeled for ten years, and I knew what it was like to be on a shoot, and knew what it was to put clothes together from that. From talented people—it’s just a pleasure, you just feel honored most of the time to be working with people whose work you love. I think if I’ve learned anything, it’s feeling grateful that I get to work with them, you know? I just want, someday, for young kids to feel the same way [about me]… I don’t know [laughs], maybe that’s a bit pretentious. I just want to make good things, basically! Is there a special moment from your career that sticks out to you? The first show I styled, because it was not planned. [Charles Anastase and I] were working together already. I was consulting, and he just basically let me do the whole thing. I ended up casting and styling the show without realizing I was doing it. It ended up being something all of our friends and everybody loved, and it was really like, “Oh, god! That’s it! I’ve styled a fashion show [laughs]!” It was really surprising and really cool, realizing I could do it. It really made me realize that is what I wanted to do.
What are the sights, sounds, and smells of Valentine Fillol Cordier’s dream world? [Laughs] What the… that’s a good question! I would say it is navy blue, probably a bit of red and orange in there, and really nice off-white. It would probably smell of Coromandel Chanel, with a tiny bit of fried onion in the back. Very good lighting—no overhead lighting at all—a very nice lamp in the corner. The sounds would be probably some sort of Japanese drum [laughs]. Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? I think the most frightening is the politics going on in Europe. The politics in Europe are quite fucked up at the moment. Everything is turning right wing everywhere, and the intolerance… I just don’t have the words right now to talk about it. What do I find exciting? I’m hardly excitable [laughs]. I don’t know! What projects are you working on currently? What is next for Valentine Fillol Cordier? I’m working with Charles, and then working on fashion stories… I’m probably working on other things, but I can’t think of them right now! I will be DJing next week, because [of] Vanessa Bruno with Lou Doillon, that’s just a really nice video, so I’m kind of promoting that around—it’s a lovely, lovely video. That’s it!
It seems like everything sort of fell into place. Yeah! The collection was all bits and pieces, and to realize that you can put together something like that without realizing it... It [was] really kind of 23
FRANK TELL INTERVIEW by VICTORIA SMITH
With a F/W 2010 collection that boasts impeccable tailoring, a stark, muted color palette, and a timelessness that still manages to feel youthful, 24-year-old designer Frank Tell is steadily cementing his reputation as a prêt-à-porter staple. Here, the young, Barcelona-born designer addresses his inspirations, the true definition of art, and how he continues to adapt to the ever-morphing world of womenswear.
of art. When I am draping a piece, I think about various architectural elements. My placement of seams and folds, pleats and drapes, take an almost mathematical approach. Careful cohesion and conceptual approaches are always considered during my development process. I like to balance structure with artisanal components. What would you say sets you apart from other designIs there a specific woman in your head that you dress? ers in the past or other up and coming designers? A muse? The way women want and need to dress is constantly The Frank Tell woman is strong and creative. She is changing. And, just an aside, it won’t be long ’til thoroughly immersed in culture. She is knowledgeable they officially will be running the world—and I am and smart, and a true individual. She is not afraid to very conscious of this evolution. I feel that there are take risks but still remains refined throughout her day a lot of designers who love to envelop a woman in to day activities. a costume, who still try to peg a woman into a submissive or adornment role. That is why some of the I think that, subconsciously, the women of my life designers I admire the most and believe to be true have acted as muses and affected my aesthetic. The revolutionaries are women: Chanel, Rei Kawakubo, style and presence of the women in my family—my Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo. mother, aunts, and grandmother—all have impacted my thoughts while creating and designing. Do you consider yourself a democratic designer? No, and I don’t think design is democratic. Design Who and/or what have been your inspirations? Are is and should be a meritocracy, only accessible to they celebrities, other designers, the environment, et the ones that have given themselves enough time and cetera? effort to develop taste. On the other hand, the tools Generally, I take bits of the feelings that develop from and opportunities to develop this taste are available to paintings and art I observe, cinema I see, and music anyone that is willing to get them. I hear and incorporate those emotions into my designs. My inspirations often progress from a sensation What is your reason for designing for women? rather than literal interpretation of an object or work Womenswear design allows for a creative expression 24
like no other. When designing for a woman, there are infinite possibilities in creation, because the womenswear market and clients are more prone to take chances in every day dressing. What is the spirit that guides your work? My youth and determination drive my work. I told myself that I was going to show my first collection by the time I was twenty, and I succeeded. I learned that there are no limits, and that I could achieve anything with a clear vision and hard work. Now, at 24, I am growing my collection slowly and creating a lasting business through this vision. What is the inspiration for your color palette for the Fall 2010 collection? Why do you chose solid, neutral colors? Are there any other trends you have noticed in your lines? The fall collection was inspired by a juxtaposition of earth versus space. The black, white, and ash gray were representative of space, and the cool blue and nude camel color of water and earth. I like to work in a monochromatic theme, generally. I also like to incorporate futuristic shapes into most of my collections as well. Where do you show your collection? I have been able to present my collection for the last three years at Milk Studios in New York, under the partnership of the MAC Cosmetics and Milk Team. It is a great environment that they have created, bring-
“My inspirations often progress from a sensation rather than literal interpretation of an object or work of art.”
ing many up and coming and established designers together in one place.
The attitudes of the 1920s and 60s decades are the most intriguing and inspiring to me. I like the idea of liberation in the 1920s, when women stepped Do you classify your line as couture or prêt-à-porter? away from the bulky garments of the past and beMy line is prêt-à-porter [ready-to-wear]. Although I gan a new movement of dressing. I find the morgreatly appreciate couture details infused within my phing of women’s dressing during this time period clothing, I believe true couture is an art that is only so fascinating. Petticoats and corsets were replaced found in those few remaining couturier houses in with short skirts and clothes that were freeing. Paris. The 1960s was another decade of change. Strong and You definitely seem to be cutting the bias, with much extremely feminine silhouettes were social breakof your lines being asymmetrical and textural. Why throughs. New views of the future were shaped durhave you chosen to take this route? ing the time period. Everything created seemed fresh, I enjoy creating simple designs and creating them in and never before seen in fashion history. I try to highly textured fabrics. Playing with texture is an im- incorporate these feelings into my designs. portant part of my design process. The Fall 2010 collection was a great example featuring a strong mixture Do you consider yourself an artist? What kind of of leathers, satins, cashmere, and hand knit elements. artist? Texture is a fascinating element that can make a col- Individuals who create are artists. There are many lection complete and cohesive. different forms of art, and design is one of them. I have recently begun to dabble in sculpture and mixed Is there a specific feature of the woman’s body that media art, though. I am creating a piece for The Muyou tend to highlight in your line? seum of Art and Design’s annual gala, coordinated by I tend to create pieces with shorter hemlines, em- my good friend and stylist Julie Ragolia. The theme phasizing the legs, generally. I like to play with is metal, and the piece I create must be entirely made volume, but usually keep my shapes sleek and of it. It is very exciting to begin projects like these, modern. The woman I dress can wear my pieces and create art through a different medium other than from day to night, and I like to focus on tailoring. fashion design. Has there been a particular era in fashion that has influenced you as a designer?
What was the first article of clothing you ever designed? What did you start off doing (sewing, design-
ing, et cetera)? I grew up working with my paternal grandmother in her trim and tailor shop in Spain. I learned to design and sew through my work with her. My experiences in the shop sparked my interest in construction and development. If you had to design a line to represent your life (personal background, attitude, or certain important events), describe one piece that would be in it. What colors would you use? Would it be simple or extravagant? I think my line as it exists is a summation of my experiences. I love clear lines and solid colors—and, of course, black and white—because I love definition. I like things to be very clear-cut. Vagueness makes me really uncomfortable. Your style is very deconstructivist. Have designers such as Yohji Yamamoto influenced this? I appreciate the work Yohji Yamamoto has developed, and the beauty in his simplistic, yet modern approach to silhouettes. He has created a sense of design all his own, and never follows current trends, which I respect. Is there anything else you think readers should know about Frank Tell as an artist? I believe that art is emotion. Art, and especially fashion, are not about cold intellect. What you put on will influence how you feel. 25
SIMON SPURR INTERVIEW by NADIA KANAAN
He takes a delicate sip of his scotch, opens his box of perfectly aligned cigars, and takes a quick glance into the mirror. The reflection is that of a criminally handsome fellow, one who embodies the allure of Don Draper, the cunning of James Bond, and a style all his own.
collaborate with an architect somehow on a conceptual building that redefines the boundaries between indoor and outdoor space would be a dream.
The SPURR man is defined as having British swagger, and the SIMON SPURR man as embodying modern elegance. How would you describe each of these men? To me, British swagger is an underlying and often inherent attitude to the man’s walk, gestures, or the way he dresses. It’s a sense of bending traditional rules to make yourself unique. Modern elegance, on the other hand, is simply a return to tradition, but not being traditional. There was an elegance in the way men used to dress that has been lost or diluted over the past few decades. I simply make considered, welltailored menswear that is relevant and hopefully flattering for the modern man.
There is no specific or singular woman that I would define as my muse. She would, however, echo the philosophy of the SIMON SPURR man in that she would understand tailoring, be self confident, and understated.
Do you see yourself designing womenswear? Who would be your muse? Who is the SIMON SPURR woman? The SPURR man is aware of the importance of dressing to kill. Well into the Womenswear is definitely in the cards, but I feel there is still so much to perfect new age of menswear, British designer Simon Spurr has reinvented the classic in the men’s market. Also, if you really look at how many brands solely focus on renaissance man with two successful lines, SPURR and SIMON SPURR, which menswear, there are very few. Right now I want to give menswear the importance inject notions of elegance, class, edge, and cool into men’s fashion. it deserves.
If you could do any collaboration, who (or what) would you choose and why? How would you describe the synergy of the two coming together? I would love to collaborate with a furniture company like Herman Miller, who still produces the works of the great Charles and Ray Eames. Alternatively, to
What was the defining moment(s) that made you feel that you made it in the fashion world? I still don’t feel that I have made it. Of course, it’s nice to have worked for and with some of the most influential menswear designers, such as Hedi Slimane, Calvin [Klein], and Ralph [Lauren], but I’m still learning and perfecting my aesthetic. This life is a journey. But if people enjoy my journey along the way also, then that’s the ultimate goal or satisfaction for me.
“I’m still learning and perfecting my aesthetic. This life is a journey. But if [other] people enjoy my journey along the way, then that’s the ultimate goal or satisfaction for me.”
So now that you’ve manifested your dream of becoming a recognized designer, what other dreams do you want to become a reality? Each season I raise my internal bar on the quality of the collection, so I feel that there is always still so much to achieve each season. I would hope to expand the company, have a more international distribution, and open some stand-alone retail stores. This way I can communicate the entire DNA of the brand in one place and under one roof. Way down the line, I would love to pursue some other personal interests in architecture and/or horizon architecture.
It’s extremely humbling to hear about my wife noticing a dimple at the base of a child’s back that turns out to be a life threatening tumor, and then to talk about silhouette. However, Justine studied art history at Barnard, part of Colombia University, and she therefore has a solid and similar background when it comes to color and proportion. She has often proven to be a strong sounding board as she has a great aesthetic eye.
What is the future of SIMON SPURR? Sometimes I have to remind myself that the company is only four and a half years old, and in fact, the brand was only split into two six months ago. So I truly think that I’ve only just scratched the surface of what the brand can achieve.
As a European designer in America, how do you feel about the men’s fashion landscape here as opposed to there? I think that sometimes the European editors, press, and especially buyers have a tendency to look upon American fashion as being a lot more commercial than what is found in Europe. And in part, that is a fair statement due to the fact that To recreate the success of Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren is almost impossible as Europe has long had established houses like Dior and Hermès. But American the business and economic climates are very different today. However, there is menswear especially has had an extreme makeover. Whilst much of the “look” definitely a new guard of American menswear brands poised to lead the consumer being generated is very American, which doesn’t cater to everyone’s tastes, I into the next 25 years. I will do my very best to make sure SIMON SPURR is think the level of design from some recent new American menswear brands does one of those brands. rival that of our European counterparts. The gap that still divides us though is, unfortunately, the quality of manufacturing. I’m the first one to wish for stronger Being in fashion and married to a woman in the medical field, is there any quality manufacturing in the U.S., but there is just a reality that “Made in Italy” crossover between the two worlds? really does result in a better quality product. On a day to day basis, I’d have to say that our worlds are very different.
KIMBERLY OVITZ by INDIA NICHOLAS
KIMBERLY OVITZ is an inspired young woman. So inspired that she landed her first fashion internship at the ripe age of 14. So inspired that she had made friends with Karl Lagerfeld before she graduated from college. And so inspired that after just three years of working for Imitation of Christ Denim, she left to launch her own collection. At 28, Ovitz is a young designer with a bold, clean collection of women’s clothing. Consistently quoted as “equestrian inspired,” most likely due to Ovitz’s very public love of horses, the collection ranges from sophisticated, boxy dresses in muted colors to draped, flowing shirts and sweaters—all of which are comfortable and sexy. Ovitz’s clothes are just that: Warm and relaxed, but also sensual and, therefore, incredibly easy to wear. So what is it that inspires this kind of quiet talent to bubble up among the rowdiness that we’ve come to expect from young designers? In part, per28
haps, it’s Ovitz’s experience. Studying under J. Crew’s reigning president, Emily Woods, when she was as old as most high school freshman helped Ovitz learn discipline. “She encouraged hard work,” Ovitz says about her mentor, “and she always put things into perspective for me.” When studying art history as an undergraduate at Brown, Ovitz discovered modern architecture, and now uses similar ideas in her own design aesthetic. Currently, she’s fascinated with Sol LeWitt. “I’m inspired by how he uses the geometric form of the square to create order out of chaos.” Of course, there is always some inspiration to be found in one’s family, and Ovitz is the daughter of the famed Hollywood mogul, Michael Ovitz. When asked about the inspiration gathered from her glamorous childhood, though, Ovitz answers modestly that she is more driven “by ideas, concepts, and emotions” than by any celebrity fascinations of her younger years.
I’m inspired by how [Sol LeWitt] uses the geometric form of the square to create order out of chaos.
To keep all of these ideas organized, Ovitz turns to her “mood book,” a scrapbook that she fills with anything that inspires her, which she says can include “photos, words, elements, textures, fabrics.” When she meets with her design team, Ovitz shares her mood book with the group, hoping to prompt the collective end result for the team. The inspiration behind Ovitz’s newly debuted line for Spring/Summer 2011 is slated to be a familiar one. Many of Ovitz’s new garments are reinvented classics: a tuxedo shirt extended into a crisp buttoned dress, a pantsuit cropped to sophisticated shorts, a baggy blazer, and a little black dress layered with textured lace. Each piece stands on its own as a statement. Together, they flow into a seamless collection, a set of quiet colors with loud details and shapes. Ovitz’s kind of inspiration is a rare one. It is a soft-spoken idea with a bold execution. Her clothing is approachable and chic. Elemental and charismatic—a reflection of the designer herself.
IF YOUR SPRING/SUMMER 2011 COLLECTION WAS A ________, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 1. A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT? PIANO. 2. A TOY OR GAME? A RUBIK’S CUBE. 3. A TREE OR A PLANT? A TREE, AFTER IT’S LOST ALL ITS LEAVES AND IT’S IN ITS MOST RAW, BARE FORM. 4. A FILM OR TV SERIES? A SCI-FI SERIES. 5. A LANDMARK OR BUILDING? A SOL LEWITT STRUCTURE. 6. A FOOD OR BEVERAGE? A BLOCK OF TOFU. 7. A SCENT? IT WOULD BE UNSCENTED. 8. A PLAYLIST? “INFRA” BY MAX RICHTER, “SLOW PIGEON” BY LULU ROUGE, “TRUTH” BY BALMOREA, “VAPOROUS” BY ESLIANE, AND “ARMY OF FEAR” BY LORN. 29
PARTICULARLY AMBIGUOUS phototography ALEXANDER NEUMANN styling ALEX VAN DER STEEN hair & make-up MARK VERHAGEN model VALERIA EFANOVA
Full Look by MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA
Full look by MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA
PANTS and Dress by KARL LAGERFELD Hat by PAULE KA
Tights and Corset by AGENT PROVOCATEUR Coat by VALENTINO Hat by PAULE KA
Fur coat by VIKTOR & ROLF Panties by ANDRES SARDA
Dress by KARL LAGERFELD Pants by ABED MAHFOUZ
Dress & Coat by JEAN PAUL GAULTIER Shoes by HERVÉ LÉGER Hat by GIORGIO ARMANI
Dress by LOUIS VUITTON Bra by WOLFORD
Photographer NICHOLAS ROUTZEN represented by Traction Artist Management Model ETHAN JAMES for Ford Models Stylist JULIE BROOKE WILLIAMS Hair STACI CHILD for defacto, using Redken Hair products Makeup LUC BOUCHARD MAC Senior Artist using all MAC product Photo Assistant GREG AUNE
Headpeice MORDEKAI by KEN BOROCHOV Pants by BOUDICCA
Feathered Neck and Chest Pieces by LOST ART Pants by OAK Shoes CONVERSE BY JOHN VARVATOS Watch by VESTAL
Cardigan by INHABIT Hooded Body Suit, Vintage JOHN PAUL GAULTIER via AMARCORD vintage archive Shorts by OAK Boots by FLORSHEIM Headpiece, MORDEKAI by KEN BOROCHOV
Top by LINA OSTERMAN Pants by TIMO WEILAND Shoes by DUCKIE BROWN for FLORSHEIM Cuff by AND_I
All Clothes by RAD HOURANI Bracelet by BEN AMUN
Vintage Top by HELMUT LANG via AMARCORD vintage archive Pants by TIMO WEILAND
Vintage Top via AMARCORD vintage archive Jeans by RAG & BONE
Top by GENERAL IDEA Jeans by SURFACE TO AIR Leggings by OAK Boots by BILLY REID Bracelets by PAMELA LOVE
all clothes by RAD HOURANI shoes by CONVERSE
Photography KAYT JONES Stylist BECKS WELCH Make-up BILLY B Hair ADIR ABERGEL
Rhinestone Embellished Net Shoulder Piece by ALBERTA FERRETTI
Black Leather Jacket by HAKAAN Earrings by BEN AMUN Gold Wrist Cuffs by NEIL LANE Rings by NEIL LANE, LE VIAN, AMRAPALI and MCL by MATHEW CAMPBELL LAURENZA
Goddess Dress by ALEXANDER WANG Bracelets and Ring by BVLGARIÂ Necklace Chain Worn on Dress with Borach both by LANVIN Black Textile Shoulder Piece by ROWAN MERSH
Tassle Dress by DEREK LAM Leather Studded Belt by ETRO
Grey Silk Crepe Dress by ROBERTO CAVALLI Mesh Embellished Blouse by ALBERTA FERRETTI (worn under the dress) Arm Bands by ELAINE KIM Cuff by LANVIN Shoes by CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN
Grey Leather cut out Dress by HAIDER ACKERMANN Black Studded Shoes by CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN Left Arm Bracelets by NEIL LANE Right Arm Bracelets by SAMANTHA WILLS
ON SANJA Face Jewelry by BEVEL JEWELRY Black Corsage Sleeves by RACHEL FREIRE Feathered Necklace by KEKO HAINSWHEELER Black Paneled skirt by LINA OSTERMAN Wrap Bracelet by SAM FRENZEL Lucite Ring by ALEXIS BITTAR Round Toe Heels by LARARE ON ULIANA Studded Bolero by NAOMI NEW Diamond Grid Bra by AMERICAN APPAREL Razor House Bracelet by BEVEL JEWELRY Xibalban Petals Ring by BEVEL JEWELRY Chain Earring by GABRIELLA MARINA GONZALEZ Black Suspender Belt by RACHEL FREIRE Black Underwear by AMERICAN APPAREL Tights Customized by BULLETT for AMERICAN APPAREL Black Tassel Heels by CAMILLA SKOVGAARD ON DAN Harness by CHRIS HABANA x ZANA BAYNE Underwear by AMERICAN APPAREL White creepers by T.U.K.
Photographer OHAD MAIMAN Art Director AIMEE O’NEILL Stylist SAH D’SIMONE
Make-up MOISES RAMIREZ Hair JOHNNY DUCOIN Illustration SARAH COLEMAN
Dan Felton @ RED Sanja Matic @ MC2 Uliana Tikhova @ TRUMP
Metal Earrings by ALEXIS BITTAR Black Coat with Leather Panels by KOMAKINO Finger Gloves by GABRIELLA MARINA GONZALEZ Underwear by AMERICAN APPAREL Heels by CAMILLA SKOVGAARD Hooves Shoe Cover by JAMES HOCK
Leather Top by MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE Harness over Top by ZANA BAYNE Cuff ALEXIS BITTAR White Leather Pants by NAOMI NEW Black Creepers by T.U.K.
ON DAN Jacket by KATIE GALLAGHER Belt from KOMAKINO jacket T-shirt, Underwear and Tights by AMERICAN APPAREL Knee Pads by GABRIELLA MARINA GONZALEZ Black Creepers by T.U.K. ON ULIANA Sweater (worn as ruffled neckpiece) by NUMINA Long Sleeved Bolero by BRYCE AIME Black Suede Corset and Patterned Leggings by KATIE GALLAGHER Earrings and Bangles by ALEXIS BITTAR Open Toe Booties by CAMILLA SKOVGAARD ON SANJA Black Jacket with Leather Panels by JAMES HOCK Black Dress (worn backwards) by KATIE GALLAGHER Silver Chain Necklace by MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE Black Peeptoe Booties by CAMILLA SKOVAGAARD
SHARP SUITOR: ALFRED DUNHILL Over 100 years after the launch of Dunhill Motorities, the Alfred Dunhill menswear line is still thriving by manufacturing an entire lifestyle product range for the discerning modern gentleman. From dressing James Bond to creating live brand retail environments (complete with barber shops, screening rooms, wine cellars, tailoring services and bars), every aspect of the brand is devoted to bringing out the quintessential British gentleman, the staple identity of the Dunhill brand. As Creative Director Kim Jones takes on another season of bow ties, sleek suits and cufflinks, BULLETT brings you our favorite Dunhill looks for Winter.
All Items by ALFRED DUNHILL
SPEEDING BULLETTS QUICKEST MOVING TALENT of
MMXI ABIGAIL BRESLIN RORY CULKIN ARI GRAYNOR KIER GILCHRIST JENNIFER DAMIANO RUPERT GRINT
ABIGAIL BRESLIN FORMER LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE EXPLORES BROADWAY, SONG, AND THE POWER OF THE PEN INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by DAN MARTENSEN
“It’s pretty incredible to find yourself deep underwater riding on the back of a sea lion.”
You just had your Broadway debut. How is the stage different from the screen? You only get one take onstage. The upside of that is that you get to do it again the next day. Also, you tell the story from start to finish—it isn’t broken up like scenes out of order, so you get a different momentum going. Helen Keller is an incredibly challenging character to tackle as your first Broadway role. Was it tough to start your stage career with such a demanding role? What are some of the ways that you prepared for this arduous job? I think working onstage for the first time was overwhelming, and I don’t know if the complex character made it any more terrifying than it already was. Since Helen Keller was a real person, I was able to learn a lot about her through books and articles, and I also had a lot of help from the Helen Keller National Center. I owe a lot to Tracy and Maricar (employees at HKNC)—they were very supportive and encouraging. What are some disciplinary values theater has taught you that you feel you can carry with you to the big screen? You really have to be focused because there are so many things distracting you in a theater. You also have to be exactly on time for every rehearsal and show with very short breaks, so you really learn how to organize your time and concentrate for long periods. 68
Can you tell us about your interest in creative writing? What is it about the medium that makes you want to explore this form of expression? What are you currently working on? I started writing about two years ago for a school assignment. I had to write a short story and wrote about a character in a mental institution. I kept writing because I loved the idea of creating a whole other world through characters. I write now almost every single day. At the moment, I’m writing two scripts and a novel, and I’m collaborating on something for YouTube with a friend of mine. What other creative outlets would you like to experiment with? While filming Janie Jones, I learned to play guitar and sang a bit for the film. I really had fun with that, so I’d love to learn more about singing and guitar. What is your dream role? Are there any films you’ve watched and wished you could have played that part or want to play a role that is similar? I have lots of dream roles, but there’s one role that I’ve been interested in for a really long time, and that’s Lady Jane Grey. I would love to play someone like Emily Blunt’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. That’s one of my favorite movies, and her character was hilarious.
What film, album, or book is speaking most to you at the moment? Well, I have to say my brother Spencer’s album, Labor Day, which is ready to come out. He hasn’t even let me hear all the songs yet, so I’m really excited to hear all of it. What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your career began? Any moments when you thought, “This is completely surreal”? One of my most unusual experiences is also one of my most surreal, which was swimming with a sea lion. It’s pretty incredible to find yourself deep underwater riding on the back of a sea lion. It was awesome. What advice would you give young actors just starting out? I would just say that you have to keep focused on what you want and don’t give in to discouragement. And have fun! Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? The recent discovery of a new planet called Gliese 581g is probably most exciting. The questions about it are endless: What kind of animals? What kind of vegetation? I mean, you could go on and on. The most frightening thing in the world is that nuclear weapons exist.
Coat by FRANK TELL Long Sleeve Shirt by BESS Black Pants by YIGAL AZROUEL Earrings Abigail’s own
RORY CULKIN NOT JUST ANOTHER CULKIN INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by DAN MARTENSEN
“I have always been good at disappearing.”
Assuming 2009’s Lymelife was your segue from youth to young manhood as an actor, describe the experience of filming Twelve. What was it like working with such a young and talented ensemble cast? Thrilling. They were great. It was interesting to see what everyone brought to the table; everyone brought something different.
You seem to choose independent, low budget, yet well-written and promising films to appear in. Is this a conscious decision to build your career in a specific direction? What draws you to these stories? They’re just interesting stories. The budget almost never crosses my mind when reading a script. Whether they have a million dollar budget or if a studio backs them makes no difference to me.
Your performance in Mean Creek is astonishing, and got you excellent reviews. Did you revisit some childhood experiences for the film? Were you a mischievous child like your character? Actually, my character wasn’t too mischievous. He was an observer, a quiet kid. I can relate to that. I have always been good at disappearing.
After Scream 4, you will be part of one of the most recent and successful horror franchises to date. How do you think this will affect your career and/or the roles you are offered? Only time will tell. I just want to be in the running for great roles. I just want a chance.
You grew up with two brothers who have been in the industry. Do you think that their presence is helpful to you, that you learn from their experiences, or is it a constant struggle to be an individual? Do you consider your situation a privilege or disadvantage? A privilege. I am very proud to be a Culkin. Have you always wanted to act? Who are your influences? River Phoenix has always been a big influence for me. I have always been interested in filmmaking— every aspect of it. 70
Having just worked with some epic directors (Joel Schumacher and Wes Craven), who would you like to work with next? Anyone who will make me give a good performance, anyone who is willing to collaborate.
characters and half the time, the film doesn’t even get made. It’s a shame. But John Cazale’s role in Dog Day Afternoon has always stuck out in my mind. What film, album, or book is speaking most to you at the moment? I’ve been watching 2001: A Space Odyssey over and over. It’s pretty mind-blowing. What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your film career began? Any moments when you thought, “This is completely surreal”? A month or two after filming Lymelife, I heard that Martin Scorsese was going to watch a rough cut at his house. That was pretty surreal. What are your interests outside of film? Music, art, sports…? Thievery.
What other creative outlets would you like to experiment with? The African flute and the old-fashioned pogo stick.
What advice would you give young actors starting out? Quoting Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
What is your dream role? Any films you’ve watched and wished you could have played that part or want to play a role that is similar? I’ll be honest. I read so many scripts with brilliant
Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? I think we are about to enter a golden age. That also frightens me.
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RISING STARLET OF NICK AND NORAH FAME EMBRACES BOTH COMEDY AND DRAMA INTERVIEW by AIMEE O’NEILL PHOTOGRAPHY by DAN MARTENSEN
“Knock on wood, I have yet to have a bad experience or work with assholes.” Thus far in your film career, you have been in comedies such as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Whip It, as well as dramas like Holy Rollers and the upcoming Conviction. Are you typically drawn to comedies or to dramas? Or do you simply choose the best material?
play, I thought it was very funny and very true, and was excited to play a woman–I’ve played a lot of girls, which I also love, but I was ready to do something a little more mature. It was an absolutely incredible experience and a total love fest with the cast, director and playwright.
I have a very strong desire to do both. As a person, I am equal parts light and dark, and–without sounding too nauseatingly pretentious–as an artist, I hope to express both those sides. But ultimately, the decision to do anything comes down to good material and people I’m excited to work with.
Having worked with a full roster of talented actors throughout your film career, is there any one person who particularly sticks out that you admire? Anything you learned from working with that person?
Aside from film, you have had recurring roles on television shows (The Sopranos, Fringe), and you participate in theater. Which form of storytelling do you prefer? I’m excited by all forms of storytelling. I grew up doing theater–it’s a huge, huge part of who I am, it’s how I first learned to express myself and find confidence. It was a second home for me. I also think there is something so beautiful about a group of people all experiencing something together that will never again exist; it exists only in that moment, and there’s no record of it but in your memory. Every night performing in a play is different, and I think that’s a thrill as a performer and as audience member. But I also have equal love and respect for television and film. Each medium has different strengths, different ways of engaging the viewer. Recently, you played a jilted housewife to Zach Braff in the off-Broadway play Trust. What made you want to get involved in this dark comedy? What was the experience like? As I said, I certainly have a passion for theater, and I hadn’t done a play in three and a half years–the longest I’d gone without doing a play since I was six. So I was ready, and I had done a few readings of the play in the past year. I had actually first met Paul Weitz (the playwright) during Nick and Norah because he was one of the producers. I loved the 72
I cannot believe how lucky I’ve been to work with the people I’ve worked with. Knock on wood, I have yet to have a bad experience or work with any assholes. I’ve truly loved and learned from anyone I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. Catherine Keener was an incredible highlight. I had been such a huge fan of hers, and not only is she a remarkable actress with a gorgeous, smart career, she was so beautiful as a person. We did a very dark film together along with Ellen Page–another great one–involving a true child abuse story. It’s called An American Crime, [and we were] working with a lot of kids. While [Catherine] had to go to some very, very dark places in the film, she kept her attitude so light and available for those kids–for all of us, really. And she was so incredibly generous in her off camera work, more than any other person I’ve ever worked with. Everyone has a different process, but I don’t believe that in order to do good work, you need to be difficult, selfish, or withholding to any of the people you’re working with. She was just an exemplary example of that. Out of all the characters you have played, which has been the most fun or most satisfying? I’ve really loved them all, but I definitely had an amazing time playing Caroline in Nick and Norah’s. She was sort of an homage to my college life–[both] my friends from college and me, on a few of those nights. A lot of things I said and did in there were directly taken from past experiences. She was just
such a fun mess. I also really loved Aleeza, the character in Trust. She could come off as such a bitch, but she was just so lonely and lost and then really found her power at the end, so it was a crazy, wild ride to take every night. Right now I’m working on The Sitter with Jonah Hill, and while I’ve only shot one day, I think she may be up there in my top three as well. What film, album, or book is speaking most to you at the moment? I’m towards the end of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. It makes me feel nauseous sometimes, it’s so truthful and complicated. His prose is beautiful and he has such a gift for looking at what makes life so hard sometimes, but ultimately worth living. I also can’t stop thinking about Whip Smart by Melissa Febos, a fantastic memoir I read while doing research for Trust. And I have yet to tire of [London-based indie band] The XX. What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your career began? Any moments when you thought, “This is completely surreal”? I just recently sat next to Robert DeNiro on a flight. And the craziest part was that we had met about a month before at the opening night of my play. I have to say, that whole thing was pretty surreal. What advice would you give young actors starting out? Stay positive, know its gonna be an uphill battle, but that’s okay–it’s a part of it. It’s the part of it. The hunger and desire is what makes it the most exciting thing in the world. Just don’t let your mind be your worst enemy. Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? The most exciting things are usually the most frightening.
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KEIR GILCHRIST UNITED STATES OF TARA STAR RAMPS UP FOR HIS AMERICAN FILM DEBUT INTERVIEW by KAT PRICE PHOTOGRAPHY by DAN MARTENSEN
“I got over being amazed by the film industry at a young age. I grew up around it, so not much at this point still surprises me.”
It’s Kind of a Funny Story premiered in your hometown of Toronto and is set for an October release in the U.S. Would you consider this your debut American film? This is my first leading role in an American film to actually come out in theaters, so I would say it’s my debut American film. What was it like working with Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden? Did they each give you very different directions, or was it like two heads on one body? Working with two directors is a big change from working with one. You might think that it would create a lot of confusion, but Ryan and Anna had been working together for years and had a very clear image of what they wanted this film to be. A lot of your scenes with Zach Galifinakis seem very off the cuff and natural. Was there a bit of improvisation going on? There was a fair bit of improvisation. Mainly with Zach, but almost everyone in the cast got the opportunity to do a bit of it.
How much of Marshall Gregson, your character in United States of Tara, comes straight from the script? Do you have input as to where the character goes? At this point, I’m not entirely sure how much of Marshall I created and how much was already written. We formed the character when I was fifteen and I’m still playing him at eighteen, so it’s kind of like second nature. They give me a fair amount of say with Marshall, but I usually don’t step in unless
something written in a script doesn’t feel right based on my view of the character. What, aside from phenomenal writing by Diablo Cody, made you sign on to United States of Tara? The script was the main factor that drew me to the United States of Tara, and I had also heard great things about Showtime. I didn’t really have a grasp on who was working on the show, but my representation, as well as my mum, told me that this was one to really try for. Do you feel any pressure or responsibility playing an openly gay teen on television? I don’t think I feel any more pressure or responsibility to impress fans just because I play a gay character. At one point maybe I did, but not anymore. What other creative outlets would you like to experiment with? For now, acting is something I can put almost all of my creative energy into. I am lucky enough to work a fair bit, so I haven’t had to turn to anything else. What is your dream role? Any films you’ve watched and wished you could have played a particular part? My dream role would be to play Mick Travis in O Lucky Man! What film, album, or book is speaking to you at the moment? The album speaking to me most right now is Curse Of Zounds by Zounds, and the book that’s speaking to me is [Henry David Thoreau’s] Walden.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your career began? Any moments where you thought, “This is completely surreal”? Because I started so young, I got over being amazed by the film industry at a young age. I grew up around it, so not much at this point still surprises me. It’s always strange, though, running into people I haven’t seen in a long time and telling them what I’ve been up to. What or who have been your biggest influences? The main influence on my work is my life and the people that I meet on a day to day basis. What advice would you give to young actors just starting out? If you are a young actor starting out, you should make sure you have a separate life when you aren’t working. It is very important that you develop around other people your age and not just on sets and in audition rooms. I’ve missed out on a good portion of my childhood working on my career, but I’ve always made sure I have time with the people I care about to balance it out. Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? I find the human race exciting because we have so much potential as a species, and the ability to use science to gain an understanding of our world. At the same time, I find it very frightening that we are willing to degrade our environment until we become extinct and murder each other over a bit of dirt. It baffles me.
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JENNIFER DAMIANO TEENAGE AND TONY NOMINATED INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by MICHAEL TAMMARO
“I love to make it hard for them to separate me from my character.” You were working as an understudy for the play Spring Awakening at sixteen, but you were unable to cover one of the characters due to the brief nudity it required. How do you feel about censorship and the way it interferes with taking certain roles at a young age? I was fifteen, and I understand how it would be too much for people, but I wish I didn’t understand that, you know? I mean, it is all for the purpose of telling a story, and when people can’t take themselves outside of themselves long enough to appreciate the intention or message of a work of art, then they should do some soul-searching. Easier to say than do, I guess. Why do you prefer the stage to the screen? Can you discuss some of the advantages and the disadvantages of both? I haven’t really gotten to make a film yet in the way that I might have something to compare stage life to. I feel very lucky to have begun on a stage, though. It’s about the work, there is no hiding, and you have the opportunity to change people’s lives every night and feel more in control about it than you might when making a film. You’re not with everyone who watches it when they watch it. It is such a blessing to be able to perform on a stage— the theater is my place of worship, you know? However, there are some things that you can capture on film that you can’t capture anywhere else! What are some methods you use in your acting that helped you get nominated for a Tony [Next to Normal] at such a young age? I just try to be as honest as possible onstage, to let myself really go in a way that might make the audience slightly uncomfortable, but only because they feel like they are in my heart with me. That is what keeps the life of that character lingering in people’s minds when they leave the theater. I love 76
to make it hard for them to separate me from my character. What are some of your future plans? Do you plan to pursue Broadway or make a transition to the big screen? I want to make friends with the camera at some point. The stage is home to me, but maybe only because it’s all I’ve ever really known. Do you have any role models who encouraged or inspired you to get involved in show business? I can’t say that I really wanted to be anyone else before opportunities presented themselves to me. It became more about me wanting to be the best version of myself. How do you feel about landing the role of Mary Jane in Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark? What has it been like working with director Julie Taymor? I’m so lucky—Mary Jane is so amazing! I’m learning new things about her every day. Julie is so inspiring. She has this unpredictable energy about her that makes work so much more than work—as it should be, in my opinion. She is a genius... I have no idea how all of that can be inside one human being. What other creative outlets would you like to experiment with? It could be cool to produce my own music. I’m just afraid to suck at it [laughs]. What is your dream role? Any films you’ve watched and wished you could have played that part or want to play a role that is similar? Lydia in Beetlejuice! What film, album, or book is speaking most to you at the moment? The album Horn of Plenty by Grizzly Bear is very beautiful to me lately.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your career began? Any moments when you thought, “This is completely surreal”? Probably the other day when I met Stan Lee in rehearsal and he opened his arms to me and said, “She’s perfect!” I was like, “Are you serious?!” What are your interests outside of film? Music, art, sports...? I don’t write music, but I must say I’ve got a pretty impressive library. And I do love to paint and read. I’m still finding alternative creative outlets that work for me and keep me focused when I don’t have a script in my hand. It’s hard! I tend to become completely obsessed with whatever it is I’m working on, but I think there is a healthier way to go about tending to all of that creative energy inside of me. Reading and painting are proving to be the most satisfying. What advice would you give young actors just starting out? To never underestimate what you have inside you. To keep surprising yourself with the most open heart your body can handle. Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? The world is becoming a scarier place to live in, which is inducing the creation of some of the most interesting art anyone could ever imagine, in my opinion. I mean, thoughts of the world ending sort of put everything back into perspective, and everyone in the world is becoming a dreamer, which is both the most exciting and frightening thing to me!
RUPERT GRINT ON WHAT COMES POST-POTTER INTERVIEW by AIMEE O’NEILL PHOTOGRAPY by LORENZO AGIUS
“I’m quite into art. It’s odd to think what I might have been doing now if not for Potter—maybe designing album covers!”
If you were the love child of any two celebrities, who would your parents be? Donald Trump and Lady Gaga. How was the experience filming Wild Target with actors like Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, and Rupert Everett? It was really good fun. It was nice to do something kind of different. I had done it straight after I did Cherrybomb, which was quite a different film. It was nice to be out shooting and to work with different people. There were a lot of guns and car chases [laughs], so it was quite fun. Was that what drew you to the film, or was it the character you were playing? Why did you choose to get involved? It was quite a different character, so that attracted me, and it was quite a crazy story. That was kind of the main attraction. What do you typically look for in a script? How important has it been to choose projects that take you away from “Ron Weasley” and Harry Potter? I don’t consciously look for anything shocking or different. I look for an interesting story and a challenge. I try to imagine myself doing it and it goes from there. How do you feel about the end of filming Harry Potter? Is there some sense of relief to move on to a new part of your career? Is it somewhat bittersweet? 78
Yeah, it’s been quite like that. I’m really going to miss it. It’s been a long time doing Harry Potter. It’s been an amazing experience. I think I’m ready to move on to more, I don’t know... Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life. It is scary, but exciting, as well.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had since your film career began? Any moments where you thought, “this is completely surreal”? I once got dragged across a fake grassland by a man wearing an all-in-one blue lycra jumpsuit.
Where do you want to take your career over the next couple of years? You’ve already done a thriller (Cherrybomb), an action film (Wild Target), and coming of age stories (Driving Lessons and Harry Potter) What other genres would you like to explore? I like big characters. Maybe get into theater. That would be quite cool. I think I’d really get a kick out of that.
What have been your biggest influences? People that I’ve worked with, like Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman. You can’t help but be influenced by them. Although, Alan Rickman can be intimidating at times as he always seems in character, but he’s a lovely guy.
Perhaps other roles in the film industry? Direct, produce, et cetera? I think that’d be quite cool… maybe in the future. I love acting at the moment. What is your dream role? Any films you’ve watched and wished you could have participated in? A Clockwork Orange. To play a character so disturbing, it would be such a challenge. I really love the language in it. What film, album, or book is speaking most to you at the moment? I’m really into Arcade Fire at the moment. I saw them play at a festival, at Reading.
What are your interests outside of film? I’m quite into art. It’s quite odd to think what I might have been doing now if not for Potter – maybe designing album covers! What advice would you give young actors just starting out? [It’s all about] being in the right place at the right time, recognizing the big opportunity when it arrives, and making the most of it. Of all the things going on in the world, what do you find the most exciting? The most frightening? Roswell, Area 51, 1947.
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ART AND CULTURE
MARK RUFFALO ON SUPERHEROS, SEX SCENES, AND WHY HYDRAULIC FRACKING MUST BE STOPPED INTERVIEW by STEVEN LARKIN PHOTOGRAPHY GAVIN BOND
2010 marks the fourteenth year in Mark Ruffalo’s illustrious acting career, and the handsome Hollywood staple is showing no signs of slowing. On the heels of two wildly successful films, Shutter Island and The Kids Are All Right, the 42-year-old star just sold a new series to Showtime and is slated to play Bruce Banner in 2012’s The Avengers— the first huge studio blockbuster of his long and diverse career. Furthermore, he made his directorial debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival with Sympathy for Delicious, a dark and dramatic tale that centers on a paraplegic DJ in Los Angeles. Ruffalo’s cultural presence stretches far beyond the silver screen, though, spilling over into the realm of political activism. He spoke out vehemently against the Iraq War and the Bush administration, and is currently lending his seemingly limitless energies to the battle against hydraulic fracturing, a process that involves blasting the earth’s bedrock with chemical-laced water in order to force oil and gases to the surface. This practice is running rampant in Delaware County, New York, where Ruffalo is currently residing and raising a family. Toss devoted father and husband onto his steadily growing heap of roles, and one may wonder when, if at all, Ruffalo finds time for sleep. In addition to his gleaming personal qualities, Ruffalo is distinguishable from other actors of his caliber in that he has the innate ability to weave in and out of roles as frothy and light-hearted as David in Just Like Heaven and Matt Flamhaff in 13 Going on 30, to contrastingly intense roles like Detective Malloy in In The Cut and Dwight Arno in Reservation Road. The common thread throughout these vastly varying roles is that Ruffalo, who focuses on connecting with the character and finding a challenge when he reads a potential script, chooses each with tremendous care. He won’t settle for a character with whom he can’t connect and thus execute flawlessly, and he refuses to get stuck in a rut. “I like to push myself,” Ruffalo explains. “I don’t like people to think, ‘Mark Ruffalo is always the slacker brother.’ As an actor, especially nowadays, if you do one character really well, people think that is the only character you can do. People actually even think that it is who you are. So I’ve really made it a priority to just keep changing it around. I try to do different genres and work with as many talented people as possible in order to grow.” True to his word, Ruffalo will soon begin a foray into uncharted territory: the superhero genre. The Avengers, which he describes as fantastical, is, in fact, “the least expected movie for [him] to make.” The part came completely unexpectedly when director Joss Whedon called him to personally make an offer since, typical of Ruffalo’s antiHollywood image, he is currently sans agent.
While a string of actors have portrayed the brilliant scientist Bruce Banner in the recent past, including Eric Bana and Edward Norton, Ruffalo will be the first actor to ever play both Banner and the Hulk, thanks to motion capture technology—the same moviemaking technique behind James Cameron’s otherworldly 3D juggernaut, Avatar. Ruffalo has been a fan of The Hulk since childhood, when Bill Bixby starred in the 1970s television series. Ruffalo says he likes the “everyman charm” that Bixby brought to the role, and hopes to bring some of that same relatable charisma to the character. “It’s probably not the first direction I saw myself going,” Ruffalo says of the film, “but I grew up on that, especially the TV Hulk. It was a very cool show and it was way ahead of its time, so I wanted to bring a little bit of that into this character. He was very sweet and charming. He was always on the run. He would fall in love with women, but he could never stay.” His real inspiration in taking the part, though, was his good friend and fellow Avengers cast member, Robert Downey, Jr., with whom he also starred in David Fincher’s acclaimed 2007 film, Zodiac. “I love and respect him and really admire what he’s done with the superhero genre,” Ruffalo says. “He’s revolutionized the genre by bringing charm and spiritedness and moment-to-moment action, as well as a humanity, to Ironman.” Amidst the expansive pool of plot lines and archetypes Ruffalo has dabbled in, he finds himself most at home within character dramas mixed with a pinch of humor. “Dramedies. I don’t know if that’s even a genre,” he laughs. If it wasn’t a genre before, Ruffalo is certainly doing his part to carve out a home for dramedy in theaters across the U.S. His comfort in such human roles is clear, given the Oscar buzz surrounding the star for his work in this year’s The Kids Are All Right. In the dramedy, Ruffalo plays a sperm donor for a successful lesbian couple, played by Julianne Moore (with whom he starred in 2007’s Blindness) and Annette Bening, whose lives are turned upside down when their son and daughter seek out and then cultivate a relationship with their biological father. Directed by indie film director Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right was made for just $4 million and has already grossed well over $20 million, garnering immense critical acclaim along the way. While the movie has been called a smart and warm statement on family values, which it is, a lot of the talk connected to The Kids Are All Right inevitably becomes about the rather graphic sex scenes between Ruffalo and Moore, who, along with her husband, Bart Freundlich, is very good friends with the Ruffalos. Unlike many actors who engage
“I LIVE IN UPSTATE NEW YORK. THAT’S WHERE I’M RAISING MY KIDS. I WENT UP THERE TO GET AWAY FROM EVERYTHING, AND I LANDED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL BATTLE. I MEAN, IT IS A PUBLIC SAFETY BATTLE. I’M TRYING TO TURN ON NEW YORKERS TO THIS. IT IS YOUR DRINKING WATER.”
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in such cinematic exhibitionism, Ruffalo isn’t blasé about the fact that his scenes with Moore are uncomfortable—not only for the actors, but for their spouses, too. “No matter how you cut it, it’s awkward,” he says, but he adds that they are able to do what’s right for the movie and keep the friendships intact because of the enormous amount of respect and sympathy he has for his own wife and for Freundlich. Besides, he says, it was the friendship with Moore that allowed him to be more lax, which, in turn, allowed those scenes to work so effectively. “When you are friends with other actors you are more free, and we got to be good friends,” he explains. “My wife is friends with Julianne and I’m friends with Julianne’s husband, Bart. It’s never easy for a spouse, and I have a lot of sympathy and respect for Bart and my own wife.” With another varied movie role under his belt, Ruffalo’s vast resumé has yet to include any stints on television, except for one episode of a CBS Summer Playhouse back in 1989. However, that will soon change. Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards, a good friend and another fellow Zodiac co-star, just sold a project to Showtime that they will co-executive produce. Tentatively called Crisis Management, the script takes a hard, funny, and critical look at what Ruffalo calls the cottage industry of spin masters and public relations experts who, more and more, are heavily relied on by politicians, professional athletes, and corporations. And while still unclear if his schedule will allow him to act in the show, Ruffalo wants Crisis Management to explore the morality of the people who are paid to represent big business to the media. In delving into Ruffalo’s ideology, it’s easy to understand why he would be interested in developing a Showtime series about such a subject. Politically outspoken, both locally where he lives in the Catskill region of upstate New York, as well as on the national stage, Ruffalo knows firsthand the power of PR and how corporate America uses it, as he notes succinctly, “to spin the hell out of shit” in order to shift public opinion in favor of something that is not necessarily in the best interest of the public. He was one of the few A-list Hollywood actors to speak out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is a major voice in the fight against hydraulic fracturing in Delaware County, New York, where he and his wife, actress Sunrise Coigney, are raising their three young children, Keen, Bella Noche, and Odette. “A lot of people don’t know about [hydraulic fracturing], but it is an extraction method they use for extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale,” Ruffalo explains. “What they do is they take about 7 million gallons of fresh, clean water and they mix it with about 590 chemicals. 150 thousand gallons of these chemicals get injected into the ground with such high pressure that it actually cracks the bedrock and releases the gas.” “That’s all fine and dandy,” he continues, “but they can’t get the water back up. They can get only about 30% of [it]. So this leaves you with 70 to 80% of this poisonous brew left in the earth. It’s been migrating into people’s wells and into their drinking water.”
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Ruffalo is using his celebrity in order to bring about an end to hydraulic fracturing. The destructive practice is manifesting itself quite literally at Ruffalo’s doorstep, and he is hell-bent on cuing the rest of the world in on the resulting horrors, which he has experienced firsthand. With fame comes force and voice, and Ruffalo is determined to lend his to those folks who are most affected and who are rarely heard. “They’ve been doing it mostly in rural areas where people don’t really have a voice,” he says. “I met with these people and their wells are poisoned, they can’t drink their drinking water, their animals are sick, their hair is falling out, they’re dying, and the local government has been paid off. Their lives are pretty much ruined. We take it for granted. We turn on the faucet, it’s clean water. They turn it on, light a match, and it explodes.” “I live in upstate New York,” he adds. “That’s where I’m raising my kids. I went up there to get away from everything, and I landed right in the middle of this huge environmental battle. I mean, it is a public safety battle. I’m trying to turn on New Yorkers to this. It is your drinking water.” While some may scoff when they hear about celebrities like Ruffalo using their fame to advocate for causes, Ruffalo says he feels like it’s not only his responsibility, but also a part of his job. As a student at the prestigious Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles, which is noted for teaching its students to value humanity, Ruffalo says, “If you are an actor, you are an artist, and if you are an artist, it is your job to put yourself on the line and tell the truth, and that’s my job.” As evidenced in his deep respect for Robert Downey Jr. and concern for the spousal emotions wrapped up in Hollywood sex scenes, personal relationships are of paramount importance to Ruffalo. While he’s amassed a fair amount of impressive titles, such as actor, director, and activist, the role he takes most seriously is that of husband and father. The actor wanted his kids to have the same kind of happy childhood he experienced. He also wanted to provide a feeling of normalcy for his brood and he thinks he has found it, far away from Los Angeles, in tranquil and picturesque Callicoon, New York, which sits along the Delaware River in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, several hours north of New York City. Weekends, he says, are spent gardening, playing in the woods, feeding their chickens, and watching his kids play soccer on the local team. But before you start to feel completely inadequate in the face of Ruffalo’s unabashed goodness, just remember he is no longer a vegetarian. Ruffalo says he went back to meat when he moved to the farming community he so fervently defends in upstate New York, where he grows his own food and doesn’t have to worry so much about meat now that he gets it from the farmer next door. This may be the closest to human frailty Ruffalo gets, but at least it’s something. Ruffalo’s exuberance and passion are hardly limited to his acting career or activism. He was recently asked by parents and coaches to stop shouting so much during his kids’ soccer matches. So, while Mark Ruffalo may not be perfect, the kid is definitely all right.
Working very closely with organizations like the Catskill Mountain Keepers, the
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“ IF YOU ARE AN ACTOR, YOU ARE AN ARTIST, AND IF YOU ARE AN ARTIST IT IS YOUR JOB TO PUT YOURSELF ON THE LINE AND TELL THE TRUTH.”
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PAZ DE LA HUERTA GIRL, ERUPTED: BULLETT SITS DOWN WITH RISING BOARDWALK EMPIRE STARLET INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by DAN MARTENSEN
“I like directors who take chances, and I like roles that are going to challenge me.” At the mutinous age of 26, Paz de la Huerta already has a resumé that consists of cinematic masterpieces like Jim Jarmush’s The Limits of Control, Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void and, most recently, Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire. The seductively confident, effortlessly talented, and refreshingly honest actress epitomizes the multi-dimensional nature of artistic expression. She writes, directs, sings, paints and acts, but perhaps is best known and appreciated for “bringing naked back.” Her nonchalant attitude towards the prudish taboos of American society and censorship are both inspiring and captivating. Paz’s Monroe-esque demeanor proves misleading when she begins to articulate herself in such an educated and intelligible manner, which contradicts her god-given seductive voice. What was your first acting experience that did not involve a camera or a stage? My sister and I used to dress up all the time. I was always a princess. I was obsessed with Sleeping Beauty. Also, to get my dad to buy me things, I would be manipulative sometimes and put on a show to do that. So this started early on for me, with my family. Back then, if I wanted that dress, I would do anything to get it. As a child, I definitely made a ruckus, but when I got what I wanted I would think, “Why was I being so crazy? Why did it feel like it was the end of the world?” Do you have any artistic outlets besides acting? Yes, I’m a painter. That was my first passion. I was a painter before I was an actress or a model or anything, and I still paint. I direct, as well. I’ve directed two films and just finished my third. I actually did the first one when I was seventeen, second one when I was 21 and this one when I was 25. They are all spaced four years apart, and it’s a trilogy. It’s called Memento Mori, and I’m editing the last one right now. I’m going to have an exposition where I show the three films and stills. The first one is six minutes long and it is called Salome, because I played Salome on stage. I filmed it on a Super 8 camera. I was aiming to visually show how this whole being became fragmented and insane, really, and then ultimately immortal from the holy blood of John the Baptist. In my imagination...or maybe I’m right. The other one is called Pupa Papa Puta–the one I made at 21. This one I made because I was inspired by seeing Fellini’s Casanova with Donald Sutherland where he makes love to a doll. I was very fascinated by just that concept and a whole new movie came to me. In the film, this doll becomes a real girl and you realize she’s been abused and the maker was not just a toy maker, but also her creator, her mother, father, and everything else. The third film I just shot is called The Hairy Beast, and it’s too complicated to explain but it is by far the longest one of them. There is that, and I used to model before I did any acting and I love to sing. 90
What advice would you give to young actors? Is there anything you wish someone had told you when you first started out? I would say build inner strength as much as possible, and have other outlets because it doesn’t have anything to do sometimes with how talented you are, how beautiful you are, or anything, really. Sometimes the only thing it has to do with is luck. So I would tell them not to take anything personally and to just keep working on their craft and owning their talent as much as possible. If that’s what they truly want and they’re in it for the right reasons—to share something beautiful—it will happen. If they are not in it for the right reasons, then I would tell them to just get out, and run. Be a reality TV star. What are some of the qualities you look for in a script? What genres do you feel comfortable with or drawn to? I like every genre. I like comedy, I like drama, I like everything, and I feel that I am capable of doing everything. It depends. It’s a little bit like fate–at least, what I have experienced. Enter the Void came into my life at a time when I really needed to grow up, and being in Tokyo by myself and working with a director like Gaspar Noé, who doesn’t fuck around, who is an auteur, who is a visionary, who made a three hour movie exactly how he wanted, helped me grow. I really respect Gaspar Noé for doing a powerful film like Irreplaceable with Monica Belluci where there is an in-your-face fifteen-minute rape scene. I like directors who take chances and I like roles that are going to challenge me. When I read that script and I read the role of Linda, I really wanted to take that journey and go through what she went through, and I did come out on the other side alive, and she does, too. It was going through hell. I did suffer a lot in that film, as Linda did, and I came out the other end so much stronger, so much wiser and healed. I went to an ashram after I filmed that movie. And then Boardwalk Empire came into my life when I was really ready to be in a schedule like that–you know, crazy hours, big studio. It makes you realize how important everyone’s job is, from the makeup artist to the gaffer. I direct films too. I know how important the sound guy holding up that pole is. On a big budget project like this, it doesn’t matter if you need fifteen minutes to prepare for a sad scene. You really have to own your talent and your technique because if the makeup artist needs to get in there and touch up a second before they call action, that’s their job. You have to be ready to tap into things. Yoga helped me a lot with this. And I feel like I’m ready for the challenge. And next I just want to be in a beautiful movie with a beautiful story and I want a leading man! Where do you see yourself in ten years? I would like to hopefully be in a place where I can have a family and feel good about my career and the films that I have done. I would like to have directed a feature. Lots of things. I’d like a cat. I would like to settle down and have babies.
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ADRIAN GRENIER FLASHING LIGHTS: ENTOURAGE STAR SPEAKS OUT ON CELEBRITY CULTURE INTERVIEW by AIMEE O’NEILL PHOTOGRAPHY by HILARY WALSH
T-shirt by J BRAND Stylist ANNIE PSALTIRAS To categorize Adrian Grenier as just another pretty face would be a complete misjudgment and, frankly, an inaccurate assessment. Sure, he has the looks and charm of a Hollywood golden boy, but beyond the tempting exterior, he offers something rare in an industry that collects more bobble heads than The Office’s Dwight Shrute: a killer combination of talent, intellect, and passion. Upon first meeting with the 34-year-old actor/director/producer/activist/musician, it’s immediately apparent that he encompasses all of the qualities of a leading man: he’s devilishly handsome, confident, and well-spoken. Despite his composed professionalism, he maintains a casual, boyish charm and an eager enthusiasm about his work and the causes he champions. From his latest documentary film, Teenage Paparazzo, and its exploration of a celebrity-obsessed media, to his role as an environmentalist, to recording and performing with his band, The Honey Brothers, to dissecting the themes and lessons behind HBO’s Entourage— 92
Grenier tackles every facet of his work with the greatest of ease and excitement. Most importantly, though, we learn that Grenier is a performer and a storyteller, one who crosses mediums seamlessly, constantly asking questions and seeking truths in both his personal and professional life. Though he was born in New Mexico, Grenier was raised in New York City by his single mother, Karesse Grenier, where he grew up navigating the streets of Queens (a familiar parallel to his alter ego, Vincent Chase) and eventually rebelling, learning to play the guitar “thinking [he] was in a rock band,” just like most kids inevitably do. He attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, after which he enrolled at Bard College as a drama major. From there, he received his first supporting role in film in 1997, followed by a string of supporting roles, most notably an appearance in Woody Allen’s Celebrity, until his first dive into the mainstream co-starring with Melissa
“IT’S ALL ABOUT SELF-AWARENESS, RESPONSIBILITY, AND EMPOWERMENT THROUGH MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY. NOW THAT WE ALL HAVE ACCESS, IT BECOMES MORE IMPORTANT FOR US TO RECOGNIZE THAT POWER.” Joan Hart in 1999’s teen movie Drive Me Crazy. He continued to consistently work in film, including his directorial debut, 2002’s HBO documentary Shot in the Dark, which follows his journey to find his absentee father. Although the actor was steadily building a reputation in Hollywood, it wasn’t until 2004, when he stepped into the shoes of mega celebrity and hunky heartthrob Vincent Chase on HBO’s Entourage, that he was catapulted into the realm of celebrity. And, with the portrayal of loyal boyfriend to Anne Hathaway in the 2006 chick flick favorite, The Devil Wears Prada, he secured his position in the spotlight. Accordingly, it isn’t unusual for Grenier to be hounded by the flashing lights and prying eyes of the paparazzi in both his personal and fictional life. However, it is unusual when the snap-happy fingers behind the flash belong to a fourteen year-old child, who, upon Grenier’s first encounter with him, appeared to be a fan—that is, until he nearly blinded him with the rapid fire of his flash. This understandably caught the actor off guard, but resulted in the seed of an idea for his recent HBO documentary, Teenage Paparazzo. The film, which he directs, produces, and appears in, is a part of the quest to comprehend this teenager’s choice to participate in a profession of exploitation and, in the larger picture, to examine a society obsessed with celebrity. Grenier describes the documentary as “a coming of age story” about a teenage boy, Austin Visschedyk, whose backyard has been a playground for tabloid media and celebrity adulation, and his ultimate decision about who he wants to be and how he wants to use his camera. “I see Austin as a metaphor for the larger society, our culture. And I guess,” Grenier laughs, “I represent the big media illusion.” In his attempt to find answers, Grenier observes and immerses himself in the life and occupation of Austin Visschedyk, who has joined the ranks of the prowling paparazzi army, a group whose sole purpose is the constant pursuit of capturing celebrities caught with their pants down—figuratively and, with any luck, literally. A weird bubble world exists in which Visschedyk is welcomed by his fellow paparazzi, impressed with his precociousness and ambition, and is warmly received by many a celebrity (mainly because of his teen dream blonde hair and youthful, self-assured swagger). He’s practically a child prodigy of the star-lined streets of Tinseltown—the Doogie Howser of the paparazzi. Visschedyk isn’t the only character in the series who is confronted with a selfdefining crossroad, but also his parents, who must ask themselves what type of parents they want to be. Grenier points to this as an important facet of the story. “In a lot of ways the film is about parenting, as well,” Grenier explains, “Kids
don’t come of age in a vacuum. There are influences that help to bring them up, mature them and raise them into young adulthood.” Grenier prompts the viewer to ask: Is Visschedyk just a product of his environment? Is his craving for fame a consequence of his surroundings, a reflection of societal woes? Is this a result of a lack of parenting? As the Visschedyk family struggles with these questions, Grenier simultaneously explores the complex relationship between paparazzi and celebrity—the desire for publicity juxtaposed with the need for privacy. It’s a love/hate relationship. But hey, that’s Hollywood, babe. To discuss this increasingly relevant topic, Grenier taps academics, psychologists, press members (such as gossip blogger Perez Hilton, an OK! Magazine executive, and a former Star Magazine reporter), and the celebrities themselves, including Eva Longoria Parker, Alec Baldwin, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Whoopi Goldberg, and Matt Damon. While the paparazzi and media defend their ethically questionable tactics and the celebrities share their battle stories, the psychologists and academics express concerns over the hazardous effects of media in a celebrity-crazed society. As the film elucidates, it is a society in which sensationalized stories are devoured with an alarmingly ravenous appetite. Yet, somehow, we are constantly—and gluttonously—awaiting the next juicy morsel to chew. This poses distressing questions to the audience, and to Grenier himself. One such question is, “What is my role of responsibility in this?” and the supplemental query, “How can I change this?” “As much as you want to point fingers or cast stones in a hall of mirrors,” Grenier says, leaning forward with arms folded against his chest, “ultimately, you have to reflect back on yourself and take personal responsibility. There are none of us who are innocent in this world, where we all participate, we all contribute, and we all have the power to contribute. It’s all about self-awareness, responsibility, and empowerment through media and technology. Now that we all have access, it becomes more important for us to recognize that power.” “For so long it was big media giants who held all the cards,” he continues. “They controlled what you saw: the airwaves, image, the talent. Now that’s all been broken apart, partly thanks to tabloid. What is at the base root of it is the desire to break down the façade, the illusion of celebrity, to show something real.” Unfortunately, that desire for “something real” cannot be fulfilled by contrived story lines within the confines of reality TV and tabloids. It can, however, satisfy the need to humanize seemingly larger-than-life personas by bringing them down our level, but in the most malicious of manners. 93
“WELL, IT’S ALL PART OF THE SAME INSTINCT FOR ME, TO TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED AND ASK QUESTIONS AND SEEK GREATER AWARENESS AND FIND BETTER WAYS TO PARTICIPATE.”
Admittedly and unashamedly, “reporters” and contributing paparazzi of the tabloid magazines and gossip sites that wallpaper your checkout aisles and dominate the Internet, cook up faux story lines—often without even the slightest dash of truth—for the sake of a good story and a fistful of Benjamins. As seen in the film, former Star Magazine reporter Suzy McCoppin says, “When I first started I was really ethical and turned in really, really, boring stories, ya know? And then I kind of learned that you can kind of wing it, and you can kind of be, sort of, creative.” Grenier metaphorically likens consuming this blatant spoon-fed sensationalism to the consumption of “junk food,” and, at this point, the collective teeth of America are rotting. He has chosen the documentary format as a means to provide truth, or at least the search for truth, and a deepened, meaningful, and more “nourishing” experience.
with that hooker or snorting coke off her ass.” He laughs at his candid response and then sums it up with, “But if you want to risk it, then it’s something you want to do, as well. It depends.”
As Visschedyk illustrates, the damaging effects of tabloid culture aren’t summed up by a whirlwind of bad press for the targeted celebrity of the week, but also strongly influence the impressionable masses who are consuming it on a daily basis, especially our youth. Cited negative effects explored within Teenage Paparazzo are the formation of “parasocial” relationships, which journalist and Fame Junkies author Jake Halpern describes as “weird one-way relationships” with people on TV whom we’ve never met, yet still feel as if we have. This strange phenomena is showcased by the stunning results of a poll given to middle school and high school But, on the flip side, Grenier suggests calling a spade a spade. “It’s a certain genre kids asking which career they’d most like to have: The President of Harvard or of entertainment, and, dare I say, its own art form,” he smirks, referring to tabloid Yale, a U.S. Senator, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or a celebrity’s assistant? “news.” “We get confused because we’ve been told for so long that it’s newsworthy, While it shouldn’t be shocking, the winning career was a celebrity’s assistant. when, in fact, I don’t see it that way.” The Teenage Paparazzo director believes we, Cue the open mouth, raised eyebrows, and a swivel neck to share this shock with as a society, need to start shifting the way we look at tabloids and say, “‘Okay, it’s the person sitting next to you. It seems a point was proven when Thomas de entertainment’ and there is nothing wrong with [that], balanced with a full hearty Zengotita, NYU Professor and author of Mediated: How the Media Shapes your diet of other important informational media, as well. I don’t find it to be such World and the Way you Live in it, asserted, “In this society, if you are not famous, a harrowing, ominous beast if it’s just what it is—entertainment. And the rules there is a certain very real sense in which you don’t exist.” should be applied as such.” For Grenier, his media education and inspiration began with de Zengotita’s book, But where does the entertainment value stop? After all, tabloid culture is notorious Mediated. “It changed the whole way I way I looked at the world,” he shares with for its detrimental effects—particularly, building public figures up to blasphemous great enthusiasm. He compares the sense of mistrust and uneasiness the public levels of sainthood, essentially fictionalizing them as mystical creatures of legend, feels for the media to “that feeling in The Matrix that something’s not right. You just to knock them down to the lowest base of the food chain—has-beens. This is don’t quite know it, but when you see Austin and you ask, ‘What the fuck is going an industry where a tainted “image” could certainly be the final nail in the coffin on?’... to me, that’s like a glitch in the matrix.” It wasn’t until he delved into the of one’s career or wreak havoc in his/her personal life, and many have suffered this observations and theories of Mediated that an epiphany occurred. The light bulb fate (remember Bennifer?) as a result of relentless media documentation. had lit. “I seeee!” he exclaims, as if experiencing the moment of enlightenment for the first time. “I don’t have to be influenced! I don’t have to be a victim of the Grenier hesitates and then shrugs, “I hate to say it, but that’s the breaks. On some media. I can use it.” level, tabloid [journalism] does keep people in check. It reflects our values, so if you don’t want to be contrary to the general popular value systems and you’re The actor emphasizes the necessity of media literacy as a tool for understanding afraid of alienating your fan base, then maybe you shouldn’t be running around the language to better equip ourselves from being “seduced” by sensational drama, 94
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“THE ULTIMATE LESSON [IN ENTOURAGE] IS ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY. ALL OF THE OTHER STUFF—THE LIFESTYLE, THE GIRLS, THE BOOZE, THE TRAVELING—IS IRRELEVANT WHEN PUT UP NEXT TO THE FRIENDSHIP.”
and to better understand our ability to influence and shape the still burgeoning development of the media within our culture. “I think it’s very important that we can understand how it influences us and how to navigate through it… we might not fall through the pitfalls,” like, “indulging in tabloids or watching FOX News,” he laughs.
their ideas and, in turn, get a response. As a part of the ongoing element to the story of Teenage Paparazzo, there is an accompanying website to be used as a forum to communicate and respond to the journey experienced while watching the film. “I find it more important, the exchange and the reaction after you see something,” he states, which is why the film’s website (teenagepaparazzo. com) is such an important addition to the film itself. Some of the extra footage What is important to remember about media: It doesn’t just influence us, we can that was cut due to time constraints is also available on the site, revealing influence it. Grenier marvels at the tangible nature of the common folks’ ability previously unseen gems like interviews with famed linguist and political activist to influence today (as easily as the click of the “Like” button), intrigued by the Noam Chomsky and NYU Media Studies Professor Mark Crispin Miller. shift of power this new media savvy culture has created. “Celebrities, big TV Taking it a step further, Grenier is looking to create a “sister site” for a more conglomerates and monopolies have had to change their system in order to hold generalized discussion about media, where the public can share, communicate, their own in this new media landscape, so it’s extremely important to embrace and post about the media consumption that we all experience on a daily basis. that, use it, and not let the big companies try to make big monopolies again,” he says. He references the invention of Twitter as equalizing the medium, where In addition to speaking out about our society’s social ailments, Grenier is also a celebrities “have to vie and fight for the attention on the same playing field as vocal environmentalist. He says of his pro-green point of view, “Well, it’s all part everyone else.” He adds, “They’re doing desperately whatever they can, and [using] of the same instinct for me, to take nothing for granted and ask questions and the same tools everyone has.” As he puts it, ever so dramatically, “We’re at the seek greater awareness and find better ways to participate,” because he feels it is dawn of a new era of celebrity…” Not to mention a new age of media. his “civic and human” duty to do so, and to “not just be selfish and indulgent.” He has spent the last several years participating in and communicating solutions. In He points out that many people are interested in their ability to influence and 2008, he hosted a nine-episode television series entitled Alter Eco, a green lifestyle contribute to media culture, as well. Part of the appeal of the Internet age is that and makeover series featuring friends, experts, and eco-activists that aired on people—including Grenier—are easily able to express themselves by putting out Discovery Channel’s Planet Green. The team renovated a house to suit Grenier’s
Black Pocket T-Shirt by LEVIS MADE AND CRAFTED sustainable preferences while doing the same for businesses, schools, homes, and events, in the hopes of inspiring others to partake in the green lifestyle. Grenier also recently teamed up with Oceana, an ocean conservation organization, where he has signed up to help save the bluefin tuna, currently getting dangerously close to extinction. Not only has Grenier participated in a PSA for their “Going Fast” campaign, he has also designed a limited-edition t-shirt, thanks to lifestyle brand Nautica and GQ’s The Gentlemen’s Fund, with 100% of the profits going directly to the organization.
finishing an album and “just rockin’,” after enjoying the success of being featured on the CW’s 90210. Then again, living the life of a rock star is not unfamiliar when you play the role of a sought after celebrity on television.
Currently, Grenier is still working on Entourage, the HBO TV series that follows celebrity Vincent Chase and friends through the highs and lows and the ins and outs of Hollywood life. With only one season left to wrap up their stories, he is hoping for an Entourage film to be a possible future project. The actor says he loves working on the show—despite it frequently focusing on the indulgences of Using the wider audience of the Internet to share and communicate on an ongoing the characters, there are serious lessons that can be learned. “The ultimate lesson basis, Grenier and his friend, film producer Peter Glatzer, created SHFT.com, a is about friendship and loyalty […] All of the other stuff—the lifestyle, the girls, site to share ideas about sustainable living. “We want to bring light to new ways the booze, the traveling—is irrelevant when put up next to the friendship.” While of thinking, of participating, and connecting, with not only each other, but our this is certainly a major theme within the show, many viewers strive to live the lifestyles: the way we eat, the way we spend a whole day, the way we take time extravagant life of Vincent Chase, perhaps missing the lessons and perpetuating for each other, and to take notice of what we do, how we consume, and what we the youth’s cravings for fame. waste.” Earlier this year, the site launched a pop-up shop in downtown L.A., acting as both a shop and gallery showcasing sustainably designed products and artwork. In a scene in Teenage Paparazzo, an Entourage fan says to Grenier something along the lines of aspiring to live his life the way Grenier does on TV. So where On top of a busy schedule as a filmmaker and activist, the actor is also a does the actor find the link between Entourage’s promotion of celebrity and musician—he is the drummer and sometimes vocalist in the band The Honey Teenage Paparazzo’s breakdown of the illusion of celebrity? Brothers, described by some as “new wave folk” or “glam folk,” though they originally began as a traditional folk group. He says they are currently
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“I guess my film is sort of an extension [of] the show, from my point of view,” Grenier explains. “I think that’s why it’s important for me to express those parallels from my life to the show, and I have been influenced by the show. I know many people have. I guess I’m just trying to show another perspective to the celebrity experience. I think you could find a box set of Entourage with Teenage Paparazzo, as an added bonus.” As the actor stated previously, “We’re at the dawn of a new era of celebrity,” with so many celebrities, and “celebrities” who can’t actually do anything of merit, popping up and haunting the streets of our showbiz cities. This begs the question: “Is everybody a celebrity or is nobody a celebrity?” Grenier seems to lean towards the latter, predicting an unknown dramatic change. He believes that “people will be less enamored. I think tabloid is on the way out. You can’t keep track of all the people who crop up every day. There was a time when there were a select few and they were easily managed, and now they are everywhere, and coming and going, being famous and dying off…” With this thought of useless celebrity and idolization, someone else comes to mind. In 1980, John Lydon (frontman of both The Sex Pistols and Public Image 100
Ltd.) once commented on his disgust with rock ‘n roll by descrying, “A concert these days is a bunch of gits on a stage with all these idiots standing in the pits worshipping them, thinking they’re heroes. There should be no difference between who’s onstage and who’s in the audience, and we’ve tried very hard to break down those barriers, but it’s not working…so we have to think again.” Thirty years later, we’re still thinking. This quote can directly be applied to not only the current state of rock n’ roll, but also to the relationship between the public and public-created pedestals on which celebrities rest. But how the story evolves is all in our hands. Grenier, also a proponent of knocking down the walls between people and the illusion of celebrity and media, reminds us that we all have the power to shape and influence the outcome of our world using the media it has provided us—fighting fire with fire. Sharing a dialogue, whether it’s about celebrity idolization, the environment, or the politics of our nation—it’s our greatest hope to guide a lost society. “I’m just an optimist,” he smiles, “a woeful little optimist, and I tend to see this [media, and our influence on media] as just a stepping stone towards something better, perhaps, if we all choose to utilize it that way.”
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JEN GATIEN A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THE CONTROVERSIAL FILM HOUNDDOG DEFINES THE ROLE OF A PRODUCER INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by JENNIFER ROBBINS
“Each film is completely different, which is what makes my job interesting. Every day is different. Every stage of the film is different, and as the marketplace for film changes, you’d better adapt to it.” There is one position within the entertainment industry that exists for every single branch of the field, from music to cinema, but remains somewhat undefinable–the job of a producer. Whether it’s providing a financial lift or being credited as the brains behind all the glitz, the producer remains in the shadows while holding the strings to the puppet show. Indie film producer Jen Gatien, who is considered a driving force behind numerous acclaimed, controversial films such as Hounddog, seems to have it figured out. How did you get involved in the entertainment business? I grew up in the atmosphere, so it was natural progression as I got older to find my niche. Having grown up with a father who owned nightclubs, I was very familiar with the art scene in New York, so I just kind of found my calling. I never wanted to leave New York, so I went to Columbia University. I studied anthropology and film. Initially I wanted to do documentary films only, and then eventually I started to focus more on features. Can you describe your job and what it entails? I’m a producer, mostly on features, and it’s funny, because there is never a formula for what I do–which is what makes it so interesting each time. There is no single project that requires you to do A to get to B and to do B to get to C. Each film I’ve ever done has been at various stages. In some cases, I have conceived the actual film; in other cases, I get involved in a later stage, when there is a cast attached. There is no one way a film gets together. Each film is completely different, which is what makes my job interesting. Every day is different. Every stage of the film is different, and as the marketplace for film changes, you better adapt to it. That’s the challenging part. You have all these amazing projects, but how are they going to get out into the world? What was the biggest challenge you had to face on a project so far? Any interesting stories? The most challenging part of my job is being able to predict what the reception of a film is going to be. There have been times that [I’ve collaborated on] incredibly brilliant projects with an astounding director and a cast that is mindblowingly talented, and yet it somehow doesn’t hit in the way that you expected it to, and sometimes that’s disappointing. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever done a film I’m not proud of, so they’ve all been meaningful in their own way. Even if they’re not the biggest commercial successes in the world, they are successful in their own way. 102
What are some of the factors that go into predicting whether or not a film is going to “make it”? It sounds corny, but a lot of it is intuition. When I read something, I think, “Okay, this resonates with me, but is it going to resonate with more than just me?” When an actor who is well-known responds to the material enough that he wants to come on to the project and waive his fees, his typical salary, then that’s a confirmation. It makes you realize that you’re not alone in this, that this project is something special. Can you tell us a bit about Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Friends of Film program? How did you decide to get involved? It is an interesting group. Film Society is considered more of a stuffy, uptown film world, and I was really honored that they wanted me to participate in bringing new life, new blood into it. They geared a program of films that appeal to younger audiences–we did something recently that was about The Breakfast Club, had the entire cast there and everything. It’s nice to be a part of something that appeals more to the downtown scene. So you are based in New York? You know, my whole life is shaped in New York and I never see myself moving outside of this city. For me, the cross section of people, the diversity of voices, is crucial. Not just with the film world, either. Everybody in their “A game” is in New York, and that keeps you at your best. Film Society, too, is strictly New York-based. Even having grown up here, there are constant new discoveries. That’s my favorite thing about the city. It’s never still. You’ve been quite busy this year. Could you tell us a bit about your ongoing projects? I have different projects in different stages. Right now I’m editing a film called The Girl is in Trouble by a first time feature director who is amazingly talented, who also wrote the script and attracted an amazing cast. It’s a project I’m really proud of. I’m also doing a documentary called Limelight. It’s by the team that did Cocaine Cowboys. I always admired them and wanted to work with them, so I brought them the subject matter and kind of allowed them to find their own voice. I consider it my world too, because it’s about the nightlife scene of 1990s New York. I also have a film called Jack and Diane, which is a love story between two girls,
and it’s a script I read over a year ago. The second I read the script, I knew I wanted to make this film, no matter what. There is also For Ellen, which is another film that was shot this year with Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, and Dakota Johnson. We shot it in a small town in upstate New York. I’m intensely proud of that film, also. I feel like 2011 will be a very pivotal year for me. You were considered the driving force behind certain films that weren’t the easiest to bring to market, such as the controversial film Hounddog. What are some of the challenges you deal with in terms of censorship and marketability? I see myself as a person to build a platform for directors’ voices. Editing is something I’m happy to contribute to. For example, I’ll give notes and feedback, but ultimately, it’s all about empowering the director. I feel like I’ve worked with people that I really believe in, who have something to say. It’s nice to shed light onto people who have a message to give. That was the most important thing about Hounddog. That film gave a voice to children who have suffered through sexual assault and had to find their way afterwards. I thought it was a story of hope. That movie to me was incredibly meaningful. With every film I do, I feel like there is a story that needs to be told, but I leave that to the director’s hands. I realize my limitations as a producer. I help put all the elements together, but ultimately it’s about empowering the director.
What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in ten years? I am exactly where I want to be! I have no figure goals. I spearhead projects in a way that my voice is heard and I live in New York, which is where I always want to be. I work with budgets that I feel are manageable. Maybe one day I’ll make a fifty million dollar film, but right now I’m comfortable right where I am. The more I produce, the better I get at it, so for right now, I am making all these decisions–like a 35mm versus the Red. I am still finding my way within producing. Right now, I don’t see myself in other roles, but that’s not to say that there won’t be something else on the horizon. Any advice for struggling filmmakers out there that you wish someone had given you when you first started out? Persistence does pay off. If you have a committed vision and if you are hungry enough, you can attract some sort of cast that means something to a financier and kind of put elements together and put value onto a project. I do think that it is a rewarding career choice because you get to take things that start out as an idea and ultimately end up with something tangible that you can see and feel and taste. I always get butterflies in my stomach watching a film for the first time with the audience. It’s an adrenaline high. For first time filmmakers, I would definitely advise staying devoted to your vision and persistence. That’s how movies get made. 103
BRADY CORBET FUNNY GAMES STAR DISCUSSES METHOD ACTING AND LIQUOR-FILLED HOT TUBS INTERVIEW by ALISTAIR BANKS GRIFFIN PHOTOGRAPHY by JENNA ELIZABETH
“Peter Jensen’s vodka sauna at Zentropa is maybe the least odd bit of the studio outside Copenhagen.”
Given the remarkable intensity that young actor Brady Corbet exudes, it is easy to assume that he is a decade or so older than his birth certificate reads. At the tender age of 22, Corbet has already worked with acclaimed filmmakers Michael Haneke (Funny Games), Greg Araki (Mysterious Skin), and Lars von Trier (Melancholia), and has demonstrated a genuine passion for cinema. His last theatrical premiere, Two Gates of Sleep, debuted at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Here, Alistair Banks Griffin, director of Two Gates of Sleep, interviews his star protagonist. ABG: So, Brady, I hear you narrowly escaped Lars von Trier’s flaming vodka hot tub. Has he tried to kill you in any other ways yet? BC: Peter Jensen [Danish film producer]’s vodka sauna at Zentropa [von Trier and Jensen’s film company] is maybe the least odd bit of the studio outside Copenhagen. It’s a really strange and fantastic place. A kind of film commune. I suppose if one is creating the kind of films Lars is by employing such liberating techniques, it helps to be in such a liberating environment. But no, he has not yet tried to kill me or anyone else so far. Quite the opposite, he’s been very gentle with us all.
ABG: You and I have talked in the past about the rejection of “method style” in acting. What is your process for reaching emotional states without having that crutch? What is the ideal perception of an actor in your mind? BC: The ideal perception of an actor is hard for me to pin down. I can only say that for me, it is simply a necessary function of narrative movie making. It is no more or less important than most of the jobs on a film set. I personally do reject “method” processes as I generally think it’s just an excuse for poor behavior. I’ve never seen a mean actor taking a method approach to a nice character, if you know what I mean. ABG: Absolutely. BC: I just try stay in tune with the story and its themes. That generally informs your decisions, if you’re a sensitive enough person.
ABG: In Fabrice du Welz’s upcoming film, you are going to play a young artist whose work involves consensual designer kidnappings that go wrong. This, paired with your role in Funny Games, and to some degree Mysterious Skin – there ABG: I’m glad to hear it. We are all a bit worried for you. You have done an seems to be a developing trend of abductor and abductee in your choices. Is there immaculate job of keeping your resume (myself notwithstanding) tied to some of anything to that? the best art cinema directors of our time – Araki, Haneke, von Trier. It makes for a smaller list of films, but there seems to be serious restraint to do only projects BC: Not really. It’s a coincidence, I think. Fabrice’s film seems quite entertaining that are essentially a perfect storm for you. As an actor, are you more interested in on the page and I like him a lot and thought it was a good balance of stylishness these types of collaborations as opposed to them being of interest as “acting roles”? and thoughtfulness. We’ll see what happens. BC: Yes. I am still very young, and for me it has been the best form of education ABG: Now that you are directing as well, how do you shift between those mindsets? in this medium I love so much. We’re only about a week into the shoot of BC: I don’t really make the shift. That’s a blessing and a curse, I think. I am Melancholia and I am already learning so much. always thinking about the big picture. 104
STYLING MARK HOLMES T-shirt by WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND Trousers by SHIPLEY & HALMOS Bracelets and Necklace by SCOSHA
ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY LEGENDARY FILMMAKER/POET/HEALER DISCUSSES HIS PHILOSOPHIES ON ART AND THE APOCALYPSE INTERVIEW by TIGER RYAN ILLUSTRATIONS by FUTURE CAT
In the early 1970s, Alejandro Jodorowsky rode a horse out of a sea of violent surrealism and into the American counterculture’s consciousness with his film El Topo, selling out midnight screenings to New York City’s artistic cognoscenti. The spiritual Western was all John Lennon needed to convince Allen Klein, head of The Beatles’ production company, to give Jodorowsky a million dollars to create Holy Mountain, the Christ-and-cripple riddled cult classic that made him a godfather of avant-garde cinema in the United States. Of course, Jodorowsky’s story neither begins nor ends in America. Less than a decade earlier in Mexico, another one of his features, Fando y Lis, set off 106
bloodthirsty rioting. In 1973 he was submerged as a research subject in John Lily’s sensory deprivation tank experiments and, in 2005, he was the officiator of friend and fan Marilyn Manson’s wedding to Dita von Teese in Ireland. Jodorowsky also studied under a Zen Buddhist monk at one time, and worked as an assistant to a Mexican street healer at another. In the sixties, he was a world traveling mime. Later, he spent fifteen years as restorer to the Tarot de Marseilles (a standard pattern for the design of tarot cards), and many more as the inventor of psichomagia (psychomagic), a spiritual practice that combines psychotherapy, art, and Eastern philosophies to treat psychological trauma through symbolic acts. In Parisian cafes and universities, he is often host to free divination and
healing sessions, but he is best known in Spain as a novelist, in South Korea as a comic artist, and elsewhere as a poet. He is also an internationally acclaimed screenwriter, director, actor, film scorer, costumer, set designer, playwright, stage director, philosopher, poet, healer, and enlightener. Throughout his 83 years, Jodorowsky’s unfathomable creativity and energy have given birth to a body of work exceeded in its breadth only by its controversial nature. In every endeavor, he has used his great mind as a kaleidoscope of truth, indiscriminately swirling the gross with the beautiful to dare us all to dive deeper into the proverbial shitstorm of our own existence. And, although he is a man of innumerable identities, Jodorowsky requires only a word of introduction: creator. It is curiously both the root and highest calling of all men, and the undeniable essence of Alejandro. As a man of many talents and an artist of many mediums, which work is most important to you? My poetry. It is the spine of all my deeds. You have said that your inspiration comes from your unconscious, and that the unconscious is a “very, very enormous universe” that can be opened and released. How do you open your mind? I stop doing things without any fear of seeing myself, and I offer my mind as a sacrifice to my unconscious mind. The hunt is forbidden, fishing is permitted. You are unwaveringly true to your art. Notably, George Harrison agreed to play the thief in Holy Mountain with only one condition: that you omit a shot that showed his naked bottom. You denied him the role, left the film intact, and cast an unknown Mexican instead, theoretically sacrificing millions in both audience and profit. When such compromises are presented to you, how tempted are you by them? How do you cope with creating in a culture of consumerism? If you want to be rich, lower your ambitions. Patience and perseverance. Think about the piece and not about the prize. Between quantity and quality, I chose quality.
Do you think there is a place for your work in Hollywood today? When I hear the word Hollywood, I run to clean my ears. There’s no place for Hollywood in my soul. The biggest punishment for me as a movie director would be to be obliged to work in Hollywood. Your pictures are full of imagery and symbolism, but also ambiguity. While your themes are often obvious, your messages are less so. Do you intentionally leave your work open to interpretation, or do you create with an ultimate goal? The art has no goal. You receive art in a state of mediumnity. The Hebrew word “kabbala” means “what is received.” The sacred art without goal penetrates your unconscious mind and changes your inner self. “Goal” is an intellectual illusion. What is your ultimate goal as an artist? As a human being? Create myself a soul. What, if any, do you feel is an individual’s responsibility to society? I don’t want nothing for me which is not for the others. What I give, I give to myself, what I don’t give, I lose. The rights to three of your films, El Topo, Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre, were long held hostage in a dispute over ownership rights with Allen Klein, and remained unreleased for decades. What was it like for you not being able to show your films during that period? I made a guerilla war: I had all my movies in bad quality videos, but I gave them to the pirates of a lot of countries for free. Like that, for years, despite the bad copies, many people were able to see them. For me, the movies aren’t an industry: in the guerilla war, I sacrificed the desire of earning money. What is it like for you to view those films now? How has your relationship with them changed over the years? If today you show to me my old liver, I will respect it as a part of my being. When I see that a great load of young people come to see my films, I tell myself that it was worth doing it. 107
“When I hear the word Hollywood, I run to clean my ears. There’s no place for Hollywood in my soul.”
illustrations of EL TOPO (1970) & THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973)
You have disowned two of your other films, The Tusk and The Rainbow Thief. Why? Because until now, they were badly edited. When Fando y Lis was released in Mexico, crowds rioted and the country’s Minister of Defense sent you a death threat. Why do you think the film incited such violent reactions in people? How did you respond to their aggression? This was a normal reaction, because this movie was presenting a universe breaking all that was considered Mexican cinema. The stone falls on the egg, bad for the egg. The egg falls on the stone, bad for the egg. The aggression was too big to answer. I fled to New York. One of your most famous quotes is: “I ask of film what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs.” What exactly do you ask? What, if anything, do you think drugs can offer a person? The drugs have nothing to offer to the person. They open momentary doors to the treasure or the garbage you have inside. You have spoken out against organized religion, and the many ways that it can imprison a mind. Do you think there is a way for a large collective of people to work together towards enlightenment? Yes. Do you think art can be a religion? No. 108
Do you pray? To who or to what? I pray each night to be able to stop praying. Do you believe that the human mind has the power to alter concrete reality? The concrete reality has the power to alter the human mind. Inch by inch, it is happening. You have spoken very beautifully about the end of the world: “The apocalypse is now! Americans know this, that the only hope is the flying saucers. Do you know how I see the world? Like a person who is dying. It’s a worm who is dying to make a butterfly. We must not stop the worm from dying, we must help the worm to die to help the butterfly to be born. We need to dance with death. This world is dying, but very well. We will make a big, big enormous butterfly. You and I will be the first movements in the wings of the butterfly because we are speaking like this.” How close do you think the end is? Do you think there is any truth to the 2012 predictions? Once we become old, because our life is ending, we speak about the end of the world. The individual is mortal. The human race can be immortal. The countries are individuals condemned to lose their frontiers. One day, we will be only one planet. The destiny of all the planets is to be devoured by the sun. The destiny of humanity is to travel from planet to planet. Don’t take a change of civilization for the end of the planet. The illumination isn’t a personal thing; it is a day. The day that all the conscious beings will be enlightened.
â€œIf today you show to me my old liver, I will respect it as a part of my being. When I see that a great load of young people come to see my films, I tell myself that it was worth doing it.â€?
MY LITTLE DARLING BULLETT DELVES INTO THE WORLD OF WARHOL SUPERSTAR CANDY DARLING AS PRESENTED BY JAMES RASIN’S LATEST DOCUMENTARY FILM, BEAUTIFUL DARLING: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CANDY DARLING, ANDY WARHOL SUPERSTAR by AIMEE O’NEILL The glittering world of Andy Warhol’s New York is one of the most examined and romanticized periods of the 20th century. Not many can resist the heartbreaking yet alluring tale of outcasts turned public figures that changed the face of a decade. The Warhol Superstars were an eccentric cast of characters who embodied tragedy within beauty, which led them to burn out too quickly, forever leaving an imprint that has influenced following generations and will, without a doubt, continue to do so. Superstar actress and transgender icon Candy Darling was no exception, as she arguably became one of the most influential and relevant of Warhol’s creations. In filmmaker and writer James Rasin’s latest documentary film, Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar, she is examined as both a person and a persona. The film exposes her life from childhood to her gender transformation and ultimately, her untimely death. Through the perspective of those who knew Candy—Holly Woodlawn, Fran Lebowitz, Paul Morrissey, etc—with the aid of fantastic archival footage, the film covers a full spectrum of her influences as a public figure. One of the film’s primary sources and a loyal friend to Miss Darling, Jeremiah Newton stands out with his perspective of Candy and embodies her impact on the world that remains after her death.
we could find something we could sink our teeth into.
A portion of the film follows Newton as he buries Candy’s ashes and shares his personal documentations of Candy’s life, gathered after her death in the hopes of immortalizing his dear friend. Between Newton’s sense of loss, still palpable thirty years after Candy’s death, and the readings of her personal diaries voiced by Chloë Sevigny, the film is one of the most emotionally insightful of any Warhol Superstar documentary to date. After making the rounds on the 2010 film festival circuit, Beautiful Darling has garnered much critical acclaim. Most recently, the film earned the highly prestigious Gold Hugo award for the Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival.
JR: No, no. His thing was great and we got along right away. We realized, especially with a film like this, working closely together—longer than we probably had thought—that it’s important to get along personally and creatively.
BULLETT sits down with director James Rasin (The Burning Ghat) and coproducer/editor Zac Stuart-Pontier (Catfish) to discuss the experience of creating a documentary about a beloved downtown icon, Candy Darling. How did you get involved in this project? James Rasin: I’ve known Jeremiah for about twenty years now. He’s one of the first guys I met when coming to New York. I ran across him at a publishing party at The Chelsea Hotel. He was involved in film and worked at Columbia and then went on to NYU. Over the years, he’s always been a friend and supported my writing and film career. We knew each other, and I knew about Candy and that whole scene from before. I had written a screenplay about that time period about Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith for Abel Ferrara. So Jeremiah decided he really wanted to do this film, and we had been talking about various Candy things for a while. He asked me if I’d be willing to take on this Herculean task, which didn’t seem so Herculean at the time. And then we needed an editor at a certain point… Zac Stuart-Pontier: Yeah, and I needed a job [laughs]. But I was really happy
JR: Well, Zac had gone to NYU and graduated recently, so Jeremiah was aware of him. ZSP: Yeah, he just decided, I guess, that I was going to do it. I was hired as the assistant editor first and then I was like, “No, let me do it! I really want to cut this movie!” And they were like, “Okay, well you have to prove yourself and cut this ten or twelve minute trailer, sort of, short piece. Then I did… JR: It was great. ZSP: …and it brought down the house. It brought tears to the eyes of our producer, which he never ever let us forget [laughs]. JR: We realized we had a young, hungry sap we could exploit [laughs]. ZSP: [Laughs] Right. They were like, “Oh yeah, okay!”
So we know why the film was important to be made for Jeremiah, but why was it important for you? JR: Well, on several different levels. I realized this was a very interesting story about a very interesting person, and it would make a very good film. The sense of the journey is kind of a classic American tale—someone who comes out of the suburbs and decides to pursue a dream and go to the big city and reinvent or transform herself. Of course, her dream happened to be becoming Kim Novak, so to speak. Pursuing celebrity and fame, and on the other hand, her own personal drive to become a woman, a beautiful woman. In that, there are so many inherent dramatic points in that story. And, playing out against the background of New York City and the 60s and 70s, Max’s Kansas City, and Warhol, these are all probably interesting things. So that was my first…and then I heard Jeremiah had all of this material. Of course, making the film we got a lot more material so it would be a real challenge from a filmmaker’s perspective as to how to use all of this material and weave it together. Also, I knew that it would also be a movie that, if done well, would have some appeal, so you would work and hopefully, with the subject matter and Warhol, you could get it out there somehow, and get your foot in the door. Jeremiah originally wasn’t going to be in the film. What made you decide to pull him onto the screen? ZSP: I think we had multiple versions without Jeremiah in it. I think it became pretty clear that Candy was after this fame and she had these dreams and all of these things she wanted to do, and she made an impact on a lot of people 110
“For someone who was a complete artificial construct, made up from old movie star bits and pieces, like a postmodern collage, she could be the most genuine person. It’s almost like arriving at some kind of truth through complete artifice, which I guess is what art is.”
throughout her life—a lot of famous people who went on to do really great things. But the person she had the most impact on was Jeremiah. It became clear from the way that Jeremiah talks about Candy. The way that he really cared about her wasn’t going to be in the film if he wasn’t going to be in the film. It wasn’t going to happen if we treated him the same way as all the other people that Jamie interviewed. It became clear that there was going to be something different about his aspect of the story so that we could get to the story about friendship and it brought it into the present and it made it all of these things. JR: We were thinking, “Okay, it’s an archival footage, talking head documentary,” which could be perfectly fine, but just from our own ambitions or creative desires, it was, “What can we do to make this a little more interesting or a little different, take it to another level, open up some new layers?” Not just Candy’s stories and the themes that she brings up, but bringing Jeremiah into it, and her shadow on his whole life, and him clinging onto the ashes for so long and finally coming to terms with it to a certain degree. It’s kind of a love story in a way, a story about friendship, time, and memory—what’s real, what’s not real—not only with Candy’s persona, but Jeremiah going back and forth from the past and present. We would interview people and call them up and they would say, “Oh Candy! l really loved Candy. I hadn’t thought about her in thirty years,” and, after I did the interview, they probably won’t think about her until they see the movie. But Jeremiah, for him, Candy was there in his mind and his heart every day. So we’re kind of telling this large, epic tale, and maybe we can help to humanize her by showing her impact on one person. It’s hard to take archival footage and make this person more than just stock footage. We thought that Jeremiah would help do that.
ZSP: We also had a lot of old interviews. After Candy died in 1974, Jeremiah was going to write a book about her, so he went around interviewing people, keeping an audio diary, and recounting stories of his time. We had all of these tapes, and it also gave us an opportunity to use these tapes in an interesting way. JR: Put it more into context. ZSP: It meant something to us that Jeremiah did these recordings. The fact that he went out and did this, and if we had used them like we had just found them or they just had come from some archival research, we’d be losing an aspect of the story that is really important. JR: So we said to the producers, we’ve got to get a camera crew out again and start over. They were like, “Ay yi yi.” But we really pushed for it. I think it was really important, and it does change the film a lot. Hopefully, it makes it better. It took a long time to shoot that stuff. We could have easily done the standard documentary, but not only shooting Jeremiah and incorporating his parallel story into the bigger film involved very tricky editing and structuring, timing, and balancing. It added a lot of time and finesse to the whole process. ZSP: Suddenly, you have two stories running together and two balls in the air, which is helpful because you can cut away and create some kind of mystery or drama, raise questions and then answer them. It freed us up a lot but it amped up the volume and, in a way, made it more complicated.
You truly succeeded in humanizing Candy. Throughout your research did you find yourself personally affected by her life? JR: It was a road of discovery for us. When we started, it was kind of, “Who is this person? What is this story about her that we find interesting and the audience is going to find interesting?” We weren’t there just to put her on a pedestal. That was one of the challenges of bringing Jeremiah into it—he’s a producer, and we’re friends. He didn’t ever really look at any cuts or have any real say or creative input, but he was always around. He really kind of idolizes Candy in a lot of ways—in his memories of her from points of his life, so we didn’t want the movie to just be his version of that. We wanted that part of his take on her to be out of the movie. Our duty as the filmmakers is to find our truth, something that is a little more objective. I think we were both like, “I don’t know. This superficial, one-dimensional blonde glamour queen... how are you going to make a whole movie about that?” But I think by reading the diaries and bringing in the Jeremiah story, you realize all the layers to her and how difficult it was for her, all of the challenges, and how courageous she was and how much she suffered. When we would find those little nuggets, like the friends saying people felt that someone like this should be removed from the area, it really drives home to those of us who maybe don’t have much experience with that world how difficult it is, what Candy was up against. There was a real learning curve as well for us, an appreciation. ZSP: Yeah, definitely. Anything that made it into the movie is stuff that really struck us, I think. When you’re dealing with that much stuff… I think almost everything in the movie is there, obviously, for a reason. It touches me. I would think a lot about her being so young. JR: She made Flesh in 1968 and she died in 1974, so her moment from her first Warhol film to Tennessee Williams and dying soon after that—it’s not that long, really.
There are so many great people, fascinating and accomplished individuals in their own right, who knew Candy and contributed their memories and varying perspectives. How did you choose who was the most important to feature within the film? JR: Being alive was a big…[laughs]. A lot of them are still people Jeremiah had known. Some of them we got because we tracked them down ourselves, but Jeremiah kept in touch with a lot of those people. There were some people we didn’t interview whom I would have loved to interview, like Lou Reed. I thought we had a really good spectrum of people, and they are, in their own right, incredibly interesting and strong personalities, which I felt was really important because it’s not just Candy and a bunch of boring talking heads—each one of these people are very strong personalities, very New York, very unique and interesting, smart, and insightful. That’s how they all got chosen. In the editing room, how you choose how much of which people, that really has to do with decisions that are more about story. ZSP: It’s obvious that some people are going to talk about certain things. Holly (Woodlawn) and Jayne (County) are going to talk about being transgender. You’re not going to have John Waters talk about that. A lot of it is certain people to fill out certain aspects of the story and aspects of her life. How was Chloë Sevigny chosen to contribute as the voice of Candy’s diaries? JR: I had read the diaries at first. It was me on the scratch track. We had shown it at a test screening and of course, people would flip out when they heard my voice. ZSP: [Laughs] You did a great job. What was the one line though that you said…“I am the center of my universe.” You said it like, “I AM THE CENTER OF MY UNIVERSE,” and I just looped it and kept cutting it over and over again [laughs].
ZSP: She was young, and Jeremiah was young. That’s striking, to see those old pictures of him. It’s amazing. To think about what that would have been like… I was about the same age, when we were working on the movie, that Jeremiah was when Candy died. So it was like, “What would that be like if my best friend right now, who is super awesome and famous, dies, and her mom gives me all of her stuff [cringes]?”
JR: Yeah, that’s the editor sticking it to the director [laughs]. [Anyway], we were always thinking, “Who would be good at this? Who would be appropriate?” We had talked about Chloë before.
Another reason the film works so well is because it is a reminder that Candy is a person who went through issues many of us can relate to, such as searching for an identity or feeling alone or abandoned. JR: Maybe that’s one of the reasons Jeremiah approached me to do it. We’re not there to lionize her, make her a gay icon or ghettoize her, whether it’s about being gay or transgendered. Whatever her sexuality is or was, I saw elements in her story and personality that I could relate to, that I felt anybody could relate to. Obviously her identity, her sexuality, and her transgenderism were very crucial to herself, her story, and personality. I thought that there are so many elements in her life we could all relate to. It all boils down to the human being of whatever ilk trying to figure out who they are, how they are going to manage in this world, achieve what they want to achieve, and overcome all the hurdles and problems. I think, given her situation, all her hurdles and problems were larger than most people’s. I think a lot of the audiences are surprised when they see the film because it’s not just about someone who is a Warhol person or someone who became this beautiful woman. It’s about a very universal character and theme, which is, “Who am I? How do I achieve what I want?” So I’m glad it works. The audience response is often, “I didn’t think I would relate to it so much…that I’d find it so moving,” and I think maybe that’s some of the problem with getting a wider audience into the theater. It’s kind of like a bait and switch: Come see this movie about Warhol, but it’s about all the other things as well.
JR: Chloë really came through. A lot of people really don’t come through, whether they’re well known or famous, they just don’t do what they say they are going to do. I had shown the film to a friend of mine, Ryan McGinley [photographer], whom I’d known for a long time, who really liked the film, and he said, “What can I do?” I said, “I know you’re good friends with Chloë. If you could tell her about it and see if she’d be interested in doing the voiceover, because she’d be perfect.” She’s a great actress, she’s New York, she’s at the nexus of art, fashion, film—kind of like Candy was in her day. So Ryan got in touch with Chloë and she emailed me and sent along a photograph of herself from, I think, eight years ago, just leaning up against the wall in a great big pink bubble reading The Pink Diaries (Candy’s dairies), which I think was published about ten years ago. She said, “Ryan told me about this. I love Candy Darling. I cherish my copy of her diaries. Send me a cut of the film.” I did and she loved it.
ZSP: Chloë came up pretty quickly. It was in discussion when we were trying to finish the film. Who can we get?
I didn’t want her to impersonate Candy’s voice. She’s the voice of Candy Darling, but really the inner voice of Candy Darling. It’s not really an attempt to recreate her voice, which is inimitable and would be cheesy [to try]. We were really on the same page…she was just great. She came though and did an incredible job. I don’t think we could have asked for anything more. She brings so much to the diaries. She keeps it very close and spare and doesn’t
overdramatize it or delve into sentimentality, which I can’t stand. ZSP: Once you heard Chloë reading it, the whole fucking movie could’ve…we should have put tons more in [laughs]! That was a really nice surprise. How was the first screening? What did you want people to walk away with as their last thought? ZSP: We learned a lot of things, like that Candy totally carried the audience. They just loved her. It was a good thing for us to see, I think. They laughed at all her jokes. Whatever Warhol, or whoever, saw in her, it was instantly clear. Not to say we didn’t feel that way, but we had been watching and watching and watching. It was a breath of fresh air for us. We were like, “No, you just want to look at her, this is all going by too fast, we have to hold this and slow this all down.” We had to really get a sense of her more. I think that was a big thing. Then we had this last piece we had decided to move to the end, because there was one diary entry, we had kind of lost it. It was in the middle of the film getting swallowed by everything else, so we moved it to the end. We had always talked about what you’re asking—“What’s the lesson?” JR: I think I was like, “That life is meaningless, worthless, and depressing” [laughs]. Seeing it up there and being able to talk, [Zac] had been off doing other stuff for a while—he was bringing fresh eyes back to that struggle. It all kind of snapped in. I think people who saw earlier bits of the film thought it was good, but that there were a couple little things you change around, and all of a sudden…I think it’s not so much what we want or what we were trying to have people come away with. It’s kind of what inevitably, after lots of work, comes to the surface, and we decided to do it the best we could. To give service to this feeling or thing that was trying to burst out of what we were doing. It comes alive. I guess what people walk away with—hopefully a lot of things, but being moved, inspired, and empathetic to other people. Other people, maybe they don’t think that much about transgender people or just other people in general, and say, “Wow, that person really had an incredible life, and suffered and achieved a lot.” [Candy] should be remembered and respected. ZSP: Also, that there is courage in being yourself. You’re respecting her sort of lesson to the world—“I did this because I had to, because I wanted to, and you should too.” JR: I think her story on the train—the interesting thing about that is that Jimmy [Candy’s birth name] has already become Candy, and she’s on the train from her hometown into the city. Someone from her childhood sees her and doesn’t know who it is, and, instead of hiding away, she goes up to them and says, “Hey! It’s me! It’s Jimmy.” There was no shame in it. She was a very strong person, very brave and courageous: “I am who I am and I’m not going to let the world impose upon me its own prejudices and limitations. I’m going to grab it by the horns and do what I want to do. If you don’t like it, screw you!” Kind of a punk rock thing. I think that’s a lesson or approach to life, and hopefully people can walk away and say, “That kind of applied to me, too.” ZSP: We struggled for a while [with the questions of] “Was she an artist? What did she create? What did she do?” You see, a lot of these documentaries that are about an artist, they have the artwork to show and when we didn’t have that, it became harder. It became, “How did she live her life?” As noted by writer Glenn O’Brien in the film, for some, the greatest work of art is oneself… JR: I think that’s sort of true. We did come to totally appreciate and try to put into the film that she was kind of an early performance artist. She was an act of ongoing creation—maybe unintentionally. She was just trying to be who she
was. She became this ongoing art piece, which adds to her body of work in a way. It was hard when people would just say, “She was so great to be around. She was so funny and spontaneous. That was her art, was being around her.” You can’t just make a film of a bunch of people saying that she was great to be around and that she was funny. It gets very boring and you get skeptical. ZSP: She’s performing a lot of the time. In the clips we have of her, she’s very clearly acting, so someone talking about how great she is to be around—you don’t get that sense. The best thing we found was that Jeremiah had a reelto-reel video that he had never even seen. This was around the time we had decided to put him in the film. It’s literally just them hanging out, and Jeremiah comes in the room and her face just lights up. She’s smiling and she’s laughing. You do start to feel like she was this positive force. JR: They were just young kids having fun, which really comes through. As you had said, the message you were hoping people would walk away with is encouraging people to have more power to be themselves, or whatever they feel that is. While watching the film, I related it to the recent press surrounding teen gay suicides, and I found this film to be quite relevant. A question that crops up often is, “Was she really herself?” The whole debate on whether she was authentic or self-created. There is something authentic in being that brave, especially in that time period. JR: A lot of what I heard while making the film was different versions of the same sentence: “She was one of the most genuine people I had ever known.” For someone who was a complete artificial construct, made up from old movie star bits and pieces, like a postmodern collage, she could be the most genuine person. It’s almost like arriving at some kind of truth through complete artifice, which I guess is what art is. That was a really interesting insight for me, which put us on a certain track. So what did you conclude? Authentic or not? JR: It’s kind of irrelevant what I think [laughs]! You can be both. Times are still tough for gay or transgender people, or anyone who is prejudiced against, which is why we have these horrible incidents still happening. Gay people still can’t get married, which is really the one thing Candy wanted. Even though certain things have changed, she still wouldn’t be able to get married—it’s still illegal. That’s why the ending of the film, even though it’s kind of sad she died young, and Jeremiah is left thirty-five years later burying her ashes, smiling, we try to introduce that duality into the film: yes, she died young and Jeremiah was left behind, but, with that final diary entry that Chloë reads, and the cover version of “Candy Says” by Blind Melon, a really upbeat version of [the song]—while it’s sad, it’s also really uplifting that she achieved this and did what she did. ZSP: The photo strip at the end visually says it all. It’s this photo strip and she’s drawn hair on the top. It’s this boy, but it’s not. JR: She drew it all the way back in her childhood. It’s what she dreamed and aspired to, and she accomplished it.
ELIZABETH BANKS FUNNY GIRL STARLET MAKES HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by YOSSI MICHAELI
“Everyone knows how to cry, but not everyone has a sense of humor.”
When it comes to Elizabeth Banks’ rank in Hollywood, a place where politically constructed award ceremonies can be an unfair means of measuring talent, the term “underrated” would be an understatement. She does not have an army of adopted children or a SCRAM bracelet. She doesn’t appear in one tearjerker after another in hopes of garnering recognition. Elizabeth Banks is not a trophy actress; rather, she is a true entertainer. In her words, “Everyone knows how to cry, but not everyone has a sense of humor.”
that whatever he does, she won’t mind, and goes back to her story.
Banks arrives at the BULLETT shoot wearing her West Coast looks and her East Coast attitude, and she instantly charms the crew. Excited about the ensembles picked out for her transformation into a romantic neo-goth, she sits on the makeup chair and starts to chat. The conversation quickly turns into an exposé on the truth about trash. Her friend had conducted a social experiment—she toted the trash she made around in her car for weeks. ”You realize how much crap you consume when you have to carry it around with you,” Banks says.
Banks’ breakthrough film, 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer, became an instant cult classic due to its ingenious script and over the top, slapstick humor. The film captured the infancy of the careers of some of the most successful and talented actors working in Hollywood today. It proved to be a breakthrough for the likes of Paul Rudd—with whom Banks has worked several times since—Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, and Janeane Garofalo. It had the opposite of the Poltergeist effect: instead of dying, everyone who acted in the film became famous. Since WHAS, Banks has appeared in numerous acclaimed comedies and dramas, as well as the occasional thriller and the Spiderman-type blockbuster.
A brainy class clown stuck in the body of a ribald cheerleader, Banks belongs to one of the hottest cliques in Hollywood, led by Mr. Judd Apatow. She’s among the arguably coolest crowd, one that every writer, comedian, actor, and probably even gaffer wants to run with, yet she insists humbly that it was probably luck that got her there. Being on set with so many great comedians around, what she enjoys the most is how much improvisation they all get to do. “It’s a totally new Elizabeth Banks is the girl whose face is so familiar because she has been in every way of making films. We love scripts. They’re great. Without the script we have single movie you love, but you still have to think hard to remember her name no direction as to where we’re going, but it’s really fun to work without the net. because it never morphed into an unpronounceable noun for the paparazzi blogs That’s how we refer to it, meaning that you have more freedom. You feel free to to slap alongside the name of a hot new co-star. However, with five new features fail. If a joke bombs, it’s fine. You can take the time to perfect it, to make people in production and five in development, including her directorial debut, Banks is laugh, which is so addicting and what I love about making these films. And they speedily becoming a household name in American comedy. are very hard to do. Much harder than dramas.”
It is unusual for a film star to spark a conversation about consumption when the cameras are off. When the hairstylist interrupts to ask a question, she assures him 116
Jumpsuit by ABED MAHFOUZ Belt by JUDITH LEIBER Heels by DOLCE & GABBANA Gloves by LA CRASIA Belt as Necklace by JUDITH LEIBER Tights by WOLFORD
“There is so much going on right now, and it’s scary. There is so much instability, both political and environmental. The balance of the world is off, and that’s incredibly frightening to me!”
In The 40 Year Old Virgin, Banks portrays a sex-crazed bookstore employee who further traumatizes a loveable and neurotic Steve Carell, the aforementioned forty-year-old virgin. Her American Pie moment comes as a brilliant bathtub masturbation scene with Carell, earning her more fame than all of the Spiderman films combined. A year later, Banks accepted a role in James Gunn’s masterfully written Slither, adding a love scene with a slimy husband-turned-alien to her resumé. Zac and Miri Make a Porno showcases the tender side of the actress as she awkwardly tries to make a porno with her best friend to pay rent. Adding to her fastidiously selected projects, Banks has been appearing in Tina Fey’s satirical situation comedy, 30 Rock, in which she portrays Avery Jessup, a cable news anchor and the love interest of Alec Baldwin’s character, Jack Donaghy. She is the ambitious, intrepid news host who gets to deliver lines like, “Flats are for quitters.” Banks’ directorial debut, Movie 43, will be released this year. She directs one of the ten short comedy segments that make up the film. She explains that she was offered to play one of the leads, but then realized that all of the stories were written and directed by men. After speaking to the producers about the diversity the film lacks, she pitched them her own story called Middle School Date. “I love directing!” says Banks. “I am constantly surprised and impressed by the courage of actors. I use the word courage in a silly context, because obviously it’s not as courageous as the guys fighting in Iraq or miners in Virginia, but it still takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there.” While discussing her future aspirations and upcoming projects, I ask Banks whom she would like to see sitting at the round table for her dream project. She 118
pauses, contemplating the long list of talented filmmakers and friends she might accidentally offend by leaving out. “Dead or alive?” I add. She relaxes. “Oscar Wilde,” she responds. “He would have to write it, of course. And Hitchcock would direct it. Wouldn’t it be fun if Hitchcock directed Oscar Wilde? And Johnny Depp has to be in it—with Meryl Streep, because she’s always having so much fun. And little Chloë Moretz, of course.” For the past few years, Banks has been involved with LA’s Best, a program that offers after school education, enrichment, and recreation programs to children with the greatest needs and fewest resources in the area. When asked about—of all the things going on in the world—which issues remain the most frightening and what developments have been exciting, she responds without hesitation, “…oil spills, the flood in India…there is so much going on right now, and it’s scary. There is so much instability, both political and environmental. The balance of the world is off, and that’s incredibly frightening to me! The most exciting part about all of this is the people who put aside their lives to tackle these issues.” At the end of the shoot, Banks grabs a miniature Charlie Chaplin prop hat and puts it on. It instantly transforms her goth garb into a theatrical ensemble, making her more comfortable. “Can we do the interview in this?” she asks. Could I refuse her? I ask her how the shoot went. “Well, I got to wear this jaunty hat!” she says. “Which is awesome. I ate a falafel and I got to embrace and nearly fuck a chandelier, so that was way good!” Everyone laughs.
Dress by GIVENCHY Tights by WOLFORD Pearl Necklace by J. MENDEL Necklace by IRADJ MOINI Earrings by BVLGARI Fur by J. MENDEL
Hat by VICTOR OSBORNE Dress by ELIE SAAB All Jewelry by BVLGARI
Fur by J. MENDEL Necklace by BVLGARI Gloves by LA CRASIA Clutch by JUDITH LEIBER
Bodysuit by DOLCE & GABBANA Tights and Boots by GIVENCHY Gloves by LA CRASIA Bracelet by IRADJ MOINI Clutch by SWAROVSKI Earrings by ALEXIS BITTAR
Vintage Dress by NINA RICCI Heels by ETRO Headpieces by COLETTE MALOUF
Styling SAH D’SIMONE Hair COLIN YEO Makeup FUMI NAKAGAWA Manicurist FUKU DAAYA Location CASA MIZRAHI Rings Elizabeth’s Own
MUSIC CONTRIBUTORS TO THE SOUND OF EVOLUTION
STILL CORNERS UFFIE STAR SLINGER MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS TAYLOR MOMSEN SKY FERREIRA CMJ VS BRONZE, MILLIONYOUNG, TEEN DAZE, BEACH FOSSILS
STILL CORNERS MYSTERIOUS DREAM POP BAND THAT HAILS FROM THE U.K. WITHHOLDS THE IDENTITY OF ITS MEMBERS. INTERVIEW by REB CARLSON
Photo: Luke Tessa Leon
When you walk through a ghost, it is said that a chill runs down your spine. Something similar happens when listening to the ethereal track “Endless Summer” by Still Corners, a mysterious band that hails from the U.K. and withholds the identity of its members. The haunting effect that their music has on listeners is undeniable and is reminiscent of a serene, delicious dream. The band’s debut release, Remember Pepper?, has generated substantial buzz, along with a double A-side 7-inch summer release, Don’t Fall in Love/Wish. Though live appearances do confirm that the band consists of three male musicians and a female lead singer, during correspondence with BULLETT, a single voice speaks for the band that describes itself as “looking for a sunset bird in winter.” You’ve been described as many things: “Dream-gaze,” “dream-pop shimmer,” “ghostly,” and “British-etherealists,” to name a few. How do you see yourselves as a band? As a band we’re all into sounds and collages and moods, and would like to think we are indeed a “sound band” of sorts. I like the idea of it being considered “dreamy.” What is the ideal time/mood/environment to create your music? I have a little studio I’ve been building up for a number of years; it’s very quiet. I like to work in the mornings, six or seven hours, and then leave it for a few days and return. It can be a strange experience hearing it all over again after some time away, almost like hearing it for the first time. What made you want to create a song like “Endless Summer”? The English summer is so fleeting, I’m always trying get as much of it as I can. I tried to bottle it up in a song so I could evoke the summer of 2010 at will. If you could go back in time and see any musician, dead or alive, who would it be? Miles Davis in the late 50s.
Many things come to mind when I listen to Still Corners—Bat for Lashes, Beach House, the film The Virgin Suicides. What do you find inspiring, not limited to music? The countryside, gardens, long train rides, old films, Robert Frost, vague melodies, Twin Peaks, photographs, Don’t Look Now, anything Morricone (the famed Italian film composer, noted for writing the score to the Sergio Leone classic The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). You are touring throughout the U.K. this fall. Where else in the world would you love to perform? What has been your favorite city along the way? We’d love to do more of Europe, like Germany, France, and Sweden. The U.S. is high on the list, too. Besides London, we all loved Berlin. You’re set to perform with other bands this fall. Are there any you are looking forward to seeing or meeting? We’re very much looking forward to playing with Twin Sister and Echo Lake. Why have you not released your names? Why did you choose to present your band to the world this way? It’s not terribly important who we are. The music is all that matters. Have you ever had a supernatural experience? As a child, I was convinced a ghost came and visited me, but it may have a dream. What is your favorite holiday and why? Halloween, because it’s a great time of year. The leaves are changing, and it’s the perfect time to watch all of our favorite horror movies again.
UFFIE Diamond in the R(UFF) Styling by SAH D’SIMONE / Makeup MICHAEL ANTHONY / Hair SCOTT W
INTERVIEW by AIMEE O’NEILL PHOTOGRAPHY by INDIRA CESARINE
ANNA-CATHERINE HARTLEY, a.k.a. Paris-based electro rapper Uffie, sits in the bar of Le Parker Meridian, nursing a hangover with a glass of white wine as she casually discusses the previous day: a photo shoot with twin male models, followed by a night out in Atlantic City. “Did you have fun?” I inquire about her night. “Well, I brought the twins with me…” she smiles as a single misplaced speck of glitter sparkles on her cheek, almost winking suggestively under the dim, peachy lighting.
cords—is a dark blonde, pixie-sized artist who recaps tales of drunken debauchery with uninhibited enthusiasm. One could only hope that said enthusiasm would spill over into the discussion of her first major label release, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans (Elektra Records), a full-length album that has been highly anticipated for three years. It doesn’t—not quite.
Since 2006, the Miami-born MC has been adored and hated (and not much in between) for her feisty attitude and signature “anti-flow” delivery. Due to the Uffie, the tough-talking sex kitten—the unrivaled success of club crowd pleaser and blogosphere hit “first lady” of French electro label Ed Banger Re- “Pop the Glock,” Uffie has managed to gain notori-
All Clothes by JEREMY SCOTT
ety on both sides of the Atlantic, with the addictive track eventually going so far as to crop up on Gossip Girl. Wielding a style that blends bits of electro, hip hop, pop, and dance, the artist offers a melting pot of genres that has commanded substantial attention. Uffie buzz was at its loudest in 2007, due in part to collaborations with underground electro favorites Crystal Castles, Justice, and SebastiAn, as well as the release of a few EPs, but suffered an abrupt decline when the artist decided to take a three-year hiatus from the music scene. This period for Uffie was filled with life-changing events, including a breakup with
DJ Feadz (longtime boyfriend/producer), a marriage and subsequent divorce from Parisian graffiti artist André Saraiva, and the birth of their first child, Henrietta.
pigeonhole artists, but I think every genre is kind of mixed in. Hip hop is now poppy. I think the cool thing about being an artist is that you get to do what you feel in the moment, and you’re not going to feel like making the same sound all the time.” And so In discussing Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, a culmi- she tested the waters. For some, this willingness to nation of a recent history of personal and professional experiment by putting her own spin on sacred classics milestones, she is straightforward; however, an over- and displaying a sometimes tongue-in-cheek, often all sense of passion is absent—she never offers more dismissive attitude towards her own image may come than a few sentences articulating her latest work. This off as arrogant, but, as it’s been well documented detachment is puzzling given that the album expresses throughout her career, she just doesn’t give an UFF. more vulnerability and introspection than is expected Her purposely direct approach, which tends to ruffle a for the trash-talking party girl. “It kind of became a few feathers, is actually a quality that is rather refreshbit of a diary over the past three years,” she says of ing about her. SD&DJ, “So I figured, even if there is bad stuff happening, it’s important to record that.” The result is an album of the usual club tracks mingled with moments of genuine emotion. She credits this confessional tone to record producer and songwriter Mirwais, who is known for his collaborations with Madonna and was fresh blood to her usual team of producers, Ed Banger label-mates DJ Feadz and Mr. Oizo. She points to their partnership as “a big turning point” in terms of personal growth and musical experimentation. Uffie pinpoints one Mirwais track in particular, which she also coproduced, titled “Illusions of Love,” as one of the more special songs on the album. It is one of the only tracks on which she sings. “It’s the first one where I was really vulnerable,” she shares, suggesting that its songwriting origins spring from a more personal, poetic place. The track also features former bassist/ vocalist of The Rapture, Mattie Safer—yet another unexpected collaboration on an album full of unexpected decisions. All Clothes and Jewlery by DIESEL One could call Uffie many things, but blunt is probIntent on maintaining a sense of multi-dimension- ably the most accurate description, and whether it is ality—or perhaps just intent on doing whatever she to her own detriment or benefit depends on the audipleases—Uffie branched out to include some surpris- ence. Classic Uffie jabs are showcased in the lyrics ing references on Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, pull- to “MCs Can Kiss,” where she cheekily spits, “I got ing from various genres to showcase her eclectic tastes. something MCs can kiss/It’s a nice bum cheek and Much to some people’s delight (and others’ chagrin), it goes like this…” But then, this is just her way of she peppered the album with unpredicted twists, like letting the world know that she is aware she lacks a sampling The Velvet Underground’s “Rock n’ Roll” certain...traditional skill on the mic, admitting on the on the title track, covering Siouxsie and the Banshees’ aforementioned single, “I’m an entertainer, not a lyri“Hong Kong Garden,” and collaborating with super- cist.” With a gutsy confidence, she holds true to her star artist/producer Pharrell Williams on the summer personality, and not many sugar-coated pop starlets single “ADD SUV.” Bold moves for an official debut. could say the same. She’s never had any qualms about her objective as an artist: good beats and good times. She expresses in a tone comparable to a verbal shrug the inaccuracy of being categorized into a specific Uffie is aware of the increasing popularity of electrogenre. “I think it’s really hard now. People try to pop, including acts like La Roux and Ke$ha, the song-
stress Uffie is most often compared to, and both of whom she outdates. But what Uffie thinks makes Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans stand out from other current albums is that “it’s not an album that is supposed to have three hit singles and the rest of the songs are there to take up space. Each song kind of brings different vibes.” She assures listeners that she tried to make an album that can be listened to in its entirety. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t play favorites, though. Uffie is partial to the dark and gangsta “Art of Uff,” which she describes as the musical equivalent of The Shining. “There’s something so creepy about it,” she states. “I wrote [it] with Feadz a few years ago, and when I got the beat from Oizo I was like, ‘Shit! Remember the rap we wrote?’ and we did it in one take.” As an added selection, she chooses “Hong Kong Garden” because of her love for Siouxsie Sioux, which prompts the question of what her next ideal song to cover would be. “I think it’d be really funny to do Eartha Kitt’s ‘Champagne Tastes,’” she decides. So what’s next for Uffie? Perhaps New York. “I want to move here. I feel like New York has so much productive energy. There are so many young people doing so much.” And Paris? “I’m so over it,” she deadpans. “Nothing’s happening. It’s such a small, close circle. It’s people who have known me since I was a crazy, fifteen-year-old raver. I want to move on.” Onward and upward seems to be Uffie’s general direction, as she has recently ventured into fashion. She collaborated with Diesel for a twelve-piece, limited edition Diesel Capsule Collection, due out this month. Expect the signature sexy, rock ‘n roll pieces that Uffie favors herself. She is also looking to work on a new album for a 2011 release and, if time ever allows, “Me and Nathan from The Gossip have been talking about starting a punk band. We’re old friends and we both have issues with our generation, so we thought it could be quite cool.” But for now, Uffie is off to get a tattoo repaired from a drunken night out, which we later discover has been turned into a rose with thorns. Beauty with a bite. An appropriate reflection of the girl it adorns. Regardless of whether new insights were gained into the inner workings of Uffie (they weren’t), her music could easily be the soundtrack to your drunken buffoonery or cruisin’ with your friends, which, according to the lady herself, is exactly what she intended. Good beats. Good times. Plain and simple. 129
STAR SLINGER EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP / GLO-FI ARTIST. THINK J DILLA WITH A LITTLE CHILLWAVE OR TORO Y MOI WITH A LITTLE MORE SOUL. INTERVIEW by JACOB CORBIN
“A lot of people say I rip off of other people’s music [...] it’s more like an homage to me than stealing parts of songs. I like to make the most of what I’m hearing on other people’s records.”
Star Slinger, a.k.a. Darren Williams, from Manchester, England, is an experimental hip hop/glo-fi artist. Think J Dilla with a little chillwave. Or Toro y Moi, but with more soul. He’s produced some wonderful singles, as well as great remixes for bands as diverse as Deerhunter, Small Black, and Teams, and was just signed to Chicago-based booking agency Flowerbooking. On a Saturday afternoon—in the haze of his music and my warm beer—I sat down to have a little chat with him. BULLETT: How’s Manchester? And I’m curious, have you been to America? WILLIAMS: I haven’t yet. I have a tour coming up in February with Baths. It’s not set in stone yet. That will be amazing. Yeah, I’ve been listening to his album for three months. How did you get into working with music? There’s a definite hip hop influence and there are hints of chillwave/glo-fi. Is that a conscious choice? I’m curious as to how you got to where you are. I suppose I just listen to a lot of those, you could say “glo-fi” bands, and I guess I’m not saying it’s a direct influence, but Gold Panda sort of had that similar vibe, with big effects and really lo-fi. Even though a lot of it can be digital, he would sort of record vinyl crackle samples and things like that. If you have soul influences, and hip hop, as well, where does it come from for you? What’s the difference between U.K. soul and hip hop and the American side of it, where you have Marvin Gaye and others, and then the 90s explosion of hip hop and rap? There’s not really a soul following here, but back in the 70s in the U.K., we had a thing called Northern Soul. Basically, all the rare soul tracks would get sent over to the U.K. record shops and they’d be really rare, so they’d sell really well and there’d be Northern Soul nights in these rundown venues, but everyone would go so they’d be packed, and a lot of money would come into the Northern Soul movement. So now, I suppose we’ve got a few record shops around here, especially in the North—that’s where I am, in Manchester—we 130
have a lot of Northern Soul record shops. It’s pretty amazing. I can just go into town and listen to a bunch of soul I’ve never heard before. You’ve got touring coming up. What’s the live setting for you? Do you strictly run off of a laptop? How do you do it? At the moment, it’s kind of minimal. A lot goes on in the machine, my laptop. But I’m planning on implementing more controllers, and right now I use a Novation launchpad and the keyboards. And that’s literally it. The launchpad is nice, because you can assign samples to the different pads, and the software I use is really versatile. It’s not mainstream software. It’s not Ableton though. Everyone uses Ableton. When you make a song, how long does it really take you to be satisfied enough to release it? Is it weeks or months, or is it a moment where you’ve spent one late night on it and you’re done? It usually is late night. That’s kind of weird, but most of my inspiration and a lot of others’ inspiration comes at night, because it’s more isolated and you can get into the zone easier. So I do work at night, and it usually lasts about four hours, and I’ve got the finished product. But, at the moment, I’m working on so much that I’ll do a bit here and there and then I’ll come back to it. It’s just so much stuff at the minute that I’ve got to do that. You have to break it up. Yeah. I wanna get back into my comfort zone eventually, but it’s good to be challenged. You’ve done a lot of music: the remix album, Star Slinger Volume 1, and some singles. What’s coming up for you in the future? Obviously I have a lot of different little projects. I’ve got the EP on Mexican Summer coming out, but that’s likely to be another month or two. And I have a 7-inch coming out. So one single, one EP, those will both be on vinyl. And I’m planning on finishing Volume 2. I’ve had some label interest, but I’m not sure yet who I’m going to choose.
Photo: Tonje Thilesen
HeRobust - Grief Case (Star Slinger’s WWHRD Remix)
Elizabeth Fraser [Cocteau Twins Rework]
Nicki Minaj - Moment 4 Life (Star Slinger Remix)
What are your thoughts on Bandcamp? There’s a big difference between five or so years ago when any new musician would go on MySpace to showcase their unsigned music, whereas now, so many people are going over to Bandcamp. How has that helped?
[Laughs] With Star Slinger, I don’t think I will. Not unless it’s hidden under tons and tons of reverb.
It has definitely helped a ton. There’s actually a restriction at Bandcamp. At the moment, you can only give away two hundred free downloads, meaning an album or even a song counts. After that, people have to start paying for it to get more free downloads, which I think is a bit sly. I mean, I guess that does encourage putting up your music for sale. Which is always good, because, if that becomes the norm, musicians will be better off. And, of course, iTunes is doing better and better each year, so it’s good. I’m astounded how iTunes can be so big and yet people are giving away albums for free on Mediafire.
Yeah, no. And really, I think it’s trial and error. I thought I was a good singer, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I noticed that your main website, starslinger.net, does that. If people want to get your music for free they can download it from Mediafire, and if they want to pay, they can buy it from your Bandcamp. It’s nice that you cater to both crowds in that respect. Absolutely. If there was one thing you could tell anybody that they wouldn’t be able to guess about you, what would it be? Damn. Um...I’m trying to think...[laughs]. Oh, god. Well, I would say I used to sing. Really? Well, attempt to sing. So yeah, I guess this instrumental thing I do is a big revelation for me. How did the singing come about? Well, I used to be in, like, punk and emo bands. Not like the typical emo crap that you hear on the radio. Just stuff like Cap’n Jazz, that old 90s stuff. I was going to ask if you were ever planning on using your voice in your music.
Now, if you were ever going to consider stepping aside from the Star Slinger project and working on something else, what would the departure be for you musically? What other sounds would you be interested in creating? I suppose right now there’s not really any other idea, I’m just really focused on this. But I still play guitar. Just leisurely, around the house. I’m still learning bits on guitar just for fun. And it’s always good to be musical, as well. A lot of people say I rip off other people’s music. I know myself, that I’m a musical person. So it’s more like an homage, to me, than stealing parts of songs. I like to make the most of what I’m hearing on other people’s records. You can learn from it, and it’s not necessarily stealing or taking—it’s more a way of enjoying what you’re hearing. Definitely. I wish that’s the way the industry thought. But unfortunately, there are going to be a lot of people, especially record labels, that will say it’s plagiarism. You get the accusation. But I guess with hip hop, it’s always been the case of, “This is code, we do sample records.” The same with house music as well. Those two genres I’ve always gelled really well with. In the U.S., there are staple music cities, like Brooklyn or San Francisco and other West Coast areas. Have any of those sounds ever really translated over to England? What’s popular right now in England? With England, it’s really crazy. I think our scene is so behind your scene, or scenes. Ours is very, very restricted. Bands like The Wombats and Bloc Party, it all sounds to be like Gang of Four with the drumbeats. With the same sort of energy, but it’s kind of boring. I think the bands in the U.S. are just amazing. The level of quality is just unmatchable. I think it has to do with [the fact that] we are a small country with a small number of minds. 131
MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS WELSH POP STAR ON THE RISE by ODEMARIS BYRD PHOTOGRAPHY by ALIYA NAUMOFF
“Whether she likes it or not, Diamandis, who is currently on her world tour and often tweets about having to drive the bus herself, is rising quickly to the top of pop.”
Combine the quirkiness of Joanna Newsom, the soulful swagger of Regina Spektor, and a healthy dose of youthful cynicism, and one might have an idea of the enigma that is Welsh pop princess Marina Diamandis. Better known as Marina and the Diamonds, the 24-year-old’s debut album, entitled The Family Jewels, is a perfectly crafted pop package, laced with strong melodies and chipper synth riffs. Substantial confusion may accompany Diamandis’ throaty vocals, though, as her lyrics harbor overwhelming disdain for, well, pop music, and everything the starlet herself seems to embody.
where she sings, “I’m obsessed with the mess that’s America.” Something about this contrasting combination has caught on, as Diamandis’ lyrical cynicism and addictive hooks have garnered her a sizable amount of critical acclaim, including spots on the top U.K albums and singles charts, and a nomination for the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2010 Brit Awards.
Diamandis got into music because she has things to say and observations to make. Many of her themes include the struggle to avoid constant compromising and the notion of self-acceptance, coupled with steady bongo beats and club ready At first glance, her quasi-edgy style and flawless grooming would seem melodies. Her musical influences range from Daniel Johnston to Britney Spears, to place her in the mix with other young pop idols like Taylor Swift, Lady and she says music led her to her own strongly felt feminism. Not the Top 40 Gaga, and Katy Perry. In reality, she’s in a league all her own—one wherein radio she heard growing up in Wales, but the tunes that eventually inspired her to she feels free to fashion contradictory rules for herself and use pop music become an artist, such as PJ Harvey and Brody Dalle of The Distillers. as a vehicle to dismantle itself. Diamandis writes in her blog, “Pop is an illusion, it’s a big lie. But I totally realize that.” She has admitted to being Although she is a solo artist, Diamandis refers to herself as Marina and the allured and seduced by the celebrity culture of Hollywood since a young age, Diamonds. Her original concept was not to become a solo artist or superstar, but but she insists that she’s not a direct part of it—just a peripheral participant. to create a community of like-minded individuals who could share in a collective experience. She explains on her MySpace page, addressing her fans, “I’m Marina. Two million plays on her MySpace may challenge the validity of that assertion, You are the diamonds.” though. Diamandis is keen to maintain a separation between herself and the rest of pop culture, and often does so aggressively. (“Pop culture is better to watch Another bold, buzzed-about facet of Diamandis is her personal style, which than to be. Feel like recording a whole fucking album of banjo hits,” she states mirrors her paradoxical pop personality. She has been spotted wearing everything bluntly on her fan site.) However, that separation she insists exists seems fairly from Mickey Mouse garb to Wonder Woman inspired performance outfits. During ambiguous—for example, Diamandis’ video for the single “I Am Not a Robot” the last Fashion Week, she attended shows that included designs from Mark Fast has the young songstress done up in a bright Gaga-esque paint job and swathed and Hannah Marshall. She’s trendy, yet she uses select pieces—like her flask that in glitter as she maintains she is, in fact, “not a robot.” As the video progresses, reads, “I’m a fucking lady”—to make a point. the paint drips and runs—perhaps a commentary on stripping away a fake facade from within the polluted entertainment industry. However, there is simply no While Diamandis’ flair for the contradictory is certainly curious, the bawdy denying that the track’s lilting piano licks and Feist-y vocal delivery make for an manner in which she asserts herself commands attention. Whether she likes it or expertly constructed pop ballad. not, Diamandis, who is currently on her world tour and often tweets about having to drive the bus herself, is rising quickly to the top of pop. Hopefully, reigning As both a pop star and pop critic, Diamandis flirts with the line between admiration over a world which she regards with disdain won’t prove too big a burden. and distaste for her world. This attitude is evident in her hit single “Hollywood,” 132
Styled by SAH D’SIMONE Leather Vest by BESS Bracelet by SILVIA TCHERASSI Dress by OSCAR DE LA RENTATA
TAYLOR MOMSEN YOUNG AND (PRETTY) RECKLESS SHE DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK UNLESS IT’S THAT YOU LOVE HER RECORD. INTERVIEW by INDIA NICHOLAS PHOTOGRAPHY by ALIYA NAUMOFF Taylor Momsen is seventeen years old. She is angst-ridden and impulsive. She is erratic, eccentric, and she’s pissed off. She is, in a word, normal. She speaks and behaves like the majority of girls her age. Luckily for most girls, these harsh years are outgrown. They are then stored away in memory, sometimes so deep that they can be forgotten, or at least glossed over. Unfortunately for Momsen, she is living this unpredictable age in the spotlight. From cracking jokes about having sex with a Catholic priest on an Aussie radio show to forcing her tween fans’ heads to spin with a comment about Rihanna’s poser clothing choices, Momsen has been criticized for her flippant and disrespectful attitude. Because of this, the public at large has begun to watch her under a microscope. Yet somehow, despite her critics keeping such a close eye on her, Momsen continues to remain at an arm’s length. The actress-turnedsinger, best known for her portrayal of Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl, likes to remain as ambiguous and mysterious as possible, while still making sure that the world knows what she’s all about. “I see myself as totally insane. I’m totally moody. Of course. And I’m totally out of my mind. And I’m always myself.” Momsen, along with musicians Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins, formed The Pretty Reckless, a self-described “rock-and-roll-heroine-in-themaking” band that has just released their debut album, Light Me Up. Though reviewed by Rolling Stone as “generic,” the album debuted at #6 on the UK rock charts, almost certainly because of Momsen’s strong, throaty vocals. Though the lyrics are lackluster and the lengthy guitar riffs overused, the album survives because Momsen forces it to fight. Her husky alto packs the punches throughout the ten-track disc, asserting her often-raised opinion that she would sound utterly out of place in a comparison contest with Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. I was scheduled to talk to Momsen for BULLETT on an afternoon that she and The Pretty Reckless would be driving from New York to Baltimore for the first of three live performances in October. Two hours later than planned, my phone rings and I pick it up to hear screaming. “I hate you guys! Fuck you! Fuck you!” When the squealing and giggling subside, Momsen turns her attention to me. “We just drove right past a rest stop and I have to pee so bad,” she explains. I ask if her band mates being older men often warrants such teasing. “Sure. We’re together all the time and we’re really good friends. It’s not just a business relationship. We all like to be together.” I ask her what co-writing each of the songs was like. “It was a collaborative process,” she responds. I ask her about the provocative lyrics in the first single, “Make Me Wanna Die.” “It’s a tragic love song,” she says. I ask about her own experience with tragic love. “I don’t talk about my personal life,” she retorts. I ask her what makes her album different than any other teenage girl’s. “I have no fucking idea. I don’t analyze myself and I don’t compare myself to other people.” Momsen’s short and snappish responses are usually followed by giggles and sighs, sweet moments shared with her bandmates that I, miles away, am 134
excluded from. In an attempt to break her out of the one sentence answers, I ask her to speak on some of the more scandalous rumors surrounding her name. Had she, in fact, brought her newly neutered dog’s testicles into the studio to burn in a bonfire for inspiration? At this, Momsen laughs deeply. “I do love to burn things,” she says. “But my dog is a girl.” A Maltese named Petal. When I ask about what making the record meant to her personally, Momsen stumbles over sentences and takes long pauses between thoughts. “The whole CD is me… but I don’t want you to relate the lyrics to me. Then you aren’t getting the whole picture. You should really listen to it… like, what does this song mean to you? It’s torturous… it’s not a happy record… there are a lot of conflicting ideas [...] It shows the way that I view the world.” It’s clear that Momsen, despite her tough girl attitude, cares deeply about the music she makes. It’s hard to tell whether Momsen’s fame has gone to her head in an extreme way or if it keeps her as downright teenage as a girl could possibly get. She swears profusely, laughs wholeheartedly, and assures me that she is being exactly who she is in the most honest way possible. “Writing music and singing is nothing new for me. I’ve been doing it since I was five. It’s just new for my public and how they see me. It’s a transition for them. I haven’t changed at all.” So, I prompt, the most honest Taylor Momsen we will see is the one performing her songs on stage? “Well, on stage, I’m performing. It’s another extension of myself. I mean, I don’t walk out of my bedroom in the morning with stripper heels on.” Momsen’s attitude jumps back and forth between that of a tortured, could-careless nymph and a constrained, self-aware neurotic. She acts too cool for school and then quickly shifts into a whisper thin voice, one that sounds pensive and worried. Even in those brief moments of vulnerability, though, Momsen keeps her guard up. She is fully aware of what she says and how others may twist it. It seems that she is somewhat nonplussed as to what other people, especially the press, think of her – at least, so she’d like us to think. Perhaps, in part, this is Momsen’s defense mechanism. Her heartfelt way of speaking about her record proves a sort of protective nature about her music. And of course she would be, considering it’s the first time she is sharing her own words with her fans. Without the façade of Jenny Humphrey, Momsen is purely herself, sharing her thoughts with her own voice. One is always most careful with her own art, but allowing that sort of softness to shine through too often could ruin the rock star image that Momsen has worked so hard to promote, and it seems that she is equally as protective of that. With a new campaign for Madonna’s clothing line, Material Girl, another season’s worth of shooting for Gossip Girl, and The Pretty Reckless remaining in the Top 10 on the UK Rock Charts, it seems that Momsen really does have little to care about other than promoting herself. If her raunchy outfits and bawdy vocabulary continue to get people talking, then why should she stop?
Makeup KRISTIN HILTON Hair DAVID VON CANNON Stylist PAVON with LUZ & VICTORIA Plaid Shirt from OAK Jewelry by TRASH AND VAUDEVILLE
SKY FERREIRA EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD SONGSTRESS ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LEGAL PERKS AND PITFALLS OF BECOMING AN ADULT INTERVIEW by INDIA NICHOLAS PHOTOGRAPHY by NIKKO LA MERE
Young L.A songstress Sky Ferreira is a seamless blend of glam rock and clean pop. Like a true love child of her own two obsessions, Iggy Pop and Kylie Minogue, Ferreira’s bouncy, Europop sound is hard to categorize—and hard to dislike. Ferreira, who has been writing and recording to prepare for her moment in the spotlight for over four years now, is releasing her yet to be titled debut album this January. Her songs, almost all of which were co-written by Ferreira and mixed by the famed Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant, are personal and relatable, about young lust and teenage partying. When it comes to her accelerating fame, Ferreira jokingly worries that her “novelty” has worn off since her landmark birthday last July. Turning eighteen, she says sarcastically, will take away a lot of her appeal. Despite her wild childhood spent sneaking into L.A music clubs and recording songs with celebrity producers, Ferreira’s monumental birthday will surely only further her burgeoning career. Here, the singer answers our questions about the legal perks and pitfalls of becoming an adult. Eighteen means an ink-lovers heyday. Did you run out and get any tattoos? I have five or six of them, depending on how you look at one of them. I cheated. I got most of them when I was between fourteen and sixteen. They’re all small, except for the one of my forearm, which is actually the only one I got when I was eighteen! It’s a dagger that looks sort of like a cross, actually. I got it in New York and was scared to show my mom when I went back to L.A. But she was cool. She was just sort of like, “I have to accept it, you’re an adult.” 136
Have you ever gambled? Gone to a casino or bought some scratch-offs? I thought you had to be 21 to do that! I’ve never bought one! What about a pack of cigarettes? Or, even better, some Black and Milds? Well, for someone else, yeah. It’s weird to do that in general though, because I don’t smoke. I’m a singer, I can’t! Have you ever gone to a strip club? Or bought a porno magazine? I went to a party in a strip club once. It was a fashion party, so it was really bizarre, paying attention to what people were wearing when some of them weren’t really wearing anything at all. It was a bit gross, honestly. And no, I haven’t bought any Playboys. Not yet. Since you’re from California: If you were to vote on Prop 19 [the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010], what would you vote? I’m not sure what I would vote on that. It totally depends on the circumstances. I really don’t want to judge anyone for smoking, so in that sense, I like it. I smoked weed in high school, but since I sing now, I can’t do that. You know, it doesn’t make a difference to me. But, like, for example, the gay marriage thing, it doesn’t affect me, but I can still support it because it affects people I hang out with, people I care about. But marijuana? I don’t know, I’m on the fence.
Brianne McCabe and James Orlando ventured throughout CMJ Music Festival, choosing bands on the rise to answer breif, fun, surveys.
ARTS & CULTURE THE HEART OF THE WORLD
BY SAGE GRAZER ARTIST PORTRAITS ON FILM, MUSIC & TRAVEL PENN BADGLEY ON SKATEBOARDS & SOBRIETY STEVE-O CREATOR OF SPECIAL THINGS PADMA LAKSHMI WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION GEORGES ST-PIERRE JEFF BELL & CARLOS LEON TALK FITNESS BELLEON BODY HOLISTIC HEALER JEAN MICHEL ETÉ FOOD & FASHION NO. 5 PLEASE A COLLECTION OF CELESTIAL DREAMSCAPES SOFIA ARJAM DISCOVERING THE MYSTICAL CITY ISTANBUL A TRIP THROUGH ANTIQUITY LUCID LULU ITS RISE AND FALL OF STREET ART BARCELONA ARCHITECT ON THE RISE BJARKE INGELS 0100010100010 I AM NOT A ROBOT A VISITOR ARRIVES FROM GLIESE 581g WITH LOVE INTERACTIVE CAR DESIGN THE BULLETT PROJECT
ART AND CULTURE
Artist Portraits PHOTOGRAPHY by SAGE GRAZER
Age: 25 Hometown: Tehrangeles, Los Angeles Medium(s) of choice: potatoes and ink Website: arienvalizadeh.com Favorite place to make work: Brendan Lynchâ€™s studio Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: Sol LeWitt
Age: 25 Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Medium(s) of choice: Whatever makes itself relevant Website: www.thebrendanlynch.com, www.groodstuff. blogspot.com Favorite place to make work: The Still House studio Biggest or most interesting creative inspiration: William Anastasi, authorless images, Mitch Hedberg, Piero Manzoni, and walking
ART AND CULTURE
Scarlett Stephenson-Connolly Age: 22 Hometown: born in London, grew up in LA Medium(s) of choice: photography and video Favorite place to make work: traveling long distances to my personal meccas (e.g. Niagara Falls) or sitting alone at home Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: pathos and bathos
Tracy Antonopoulos Age: 24
Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Medium(s) of choice: 16mm video Website: vimeo.com/tboner, noretrospective.com Favorite place to make work: anywhere where I can blast music and dance around on breaks Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: music and Disney World
ART AND CULTURE
Dylan Kawahara Age: 23 Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Medium(s) of choice: machine and hand sewing, drawing Website: www.openingceremony.us Favorite place to make work: at home in bed Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: looking inside Michael Hiezerâ€™s hollow shapes at Dia, Beacon
Jane Mosley Age: 23 Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Medium(s) of choice: wax, plastic, and hair Website: for a good time, www.choptopsbbq.com Favorite place to make work: in a nicely lit room Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: humanoid
ART AND CULTURE
Louis M. Eisner
Age: 22 Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Medium(s) of choice: painting and sculpture Favorite place to make work: studio Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: mistakes
Age: 24 Hometown: Santa Monica, CA Medium(s) of choice: pen Website: quartersnacks.com Favorite place to make work: the studio Biggest or interesting creative inspiration: USA
ART AND CULTURE
Penn Badgley arrives unnoticed at Café Mogador in NYC’s East Village. Deftly avoiding the eye-line of a group of young girls brunching, he assumes an aloofness reminiscent of his role as levelheaded Brooklynite Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl. That, however, is where the similarities end. With plans to forge a successful music and film career, nurture soccer and traveling hobbies, and bring up his trivial pursuit skills to a competitive standard, Badgley reveals that there is a lot more on his agenda than negotiating his way amongst a televised, elite Upper East Side crowd. His most recent film projects include roles in Easy A and the upcoming Margin Call, a thriller based on the recent financial crisis, where the young actor appears alongside the likes of Kevin Spacey and Simon Baker. Okay, let’s get the awkward topics out of the way. Talk to me about your starring role in a Pokémon training video. Let me get this straight – I never, ever played that game. I was of that age, and it was such a craze, but no way. But I was in a training video for kids who want to learn how to play the game. It came free with a pack of trading cards. I was the comedic vignette. Now that I think about it, it was actually one of the better experiences I had acting as a kid, weirdly. The director loved my comedic timing, it was an encouraging experience, and I came off feeling like I was doing the right thing, which was positive – and unexpected. Having starred in The Mountain, Do Over, The Bedford Diaries, and now Gossip Girl, you’ve been quite the WB/CW network cast-turnover bandit. Were you always the youngest on set? Yeah, I’ve been pretty much doing them since I was fifteen. I was always about ten years younger than everyone else, and I formed some great friendships with these guys, but there were times when the age difference was a problem – for example when we would try and go drink. But trying to get in to bars and clubs is probably the most fun anyone ever has. When I was eighteen, my roommate was Milo Ventimiglia, who was 28 at the time. I used to borrow his ID to get into bars. I’ve still got it somewhere. Have the tables turned now on Gossip Girl? Are you the one playing older brother? [Laughs] No, the only one young enough is Taylor [Momsen]. Every now and then I will give her a piece of advice, but she’s doing her own thing. In the beginning of Gossip Girl I remember talking to Chace and Ed – we were probably all underage in a bar – and they were asking me for a lot of advice on how “it” all works. I mostly told them to roll with it – not to get too caught up in the swirl of the first season, it might be the next big thing, and it was, but I gave them very “take it easy” advice. How does your memory of school compare with your Gossip Girl alter ego Dan Humphrey’s experience? I went to a private school, on a scholarship, and it was fine, but I didn’t connect with anyone. It was a small school in the Northwest, and it just wasn’t what I wanted to be – 148
GOSSIP GIRL STAR DISCUSSES SONGWRITING, SOCCER, AND WHAT COMES NEXT INTERVIEW by BEC COUCHE PHOTOGRAPHY by KURT ISWARIENKO
Tank Top by ROBERT GELLER Slim Fit Classic Shirt by MARC JACOBS Tapered Leg Utility Trousers by BURBERRY Laceless Wingtip by FLORSHEIM by DUCKIE BROWN Vintage Watch by TISSOT
ART AND CULTURE
“When I was 18, my roommate was Milo Ventimiglia, who was 28 at the time. I used to borrow his ID to get into bars. I’ve still got it somewhere.”
I met everything with resistance. I moved to L.A when I was thirteen or fourteen, because I wanted to act. There were about 1500 kids in just the four grades at my school, and on the first day, for no reason, a senior punched my good friend in the eye. This senior just wailed on him, and I was just like, “h-oo-oly shit.” High school was a huge cultural shock for me.
Does it get to you? Let’s be clear – the paparazzi are unavoidable. It’s not like I am Daniel Day Lewis, cobbling shoes, saying “Please, don’t bother me” – the whole fucking point of everything I’ve done is to thrust me into the spotlight, so I can’t very well say no to the paparazzi. But that’s what I want to say.
Gossip Girl is famous for risqué plot lines on screen. What goes on between takes? Not much. That’s the thing about sets – they get stagnant. Shows become “a job.” It’s still greater than anything else I could be doing now, and that’s not bad, it’s just ordinary. But, on set, the big thing is to play iPhone games. I am really into reading non-fiction; I feel that it’s filling in gaps in my historical education. I am reading about the Belgian Colonialism in the Congo. Holy shit, it’s really dark and depressing. This sounds cheesy, but reading about vast human experiences, even on a spiritual level – it’s nice.
Are there any instances where you’ve been particularly annoyed? Yeah. It sounds like an old man thing to say, but the Internet’s changed everything. For example, I grabbed my girlfriend’s ass when I hadn’t seen her in four months and, thanks to the Internet, I had to have a phone conversation with her father about it. He was a very good sport, and all in jest, but that’s crazy! And awkward. How did you handle that conversation? Well, very well.
What’s going to happen when the show finishes? If I am not doing a movie, I want to take some sort of sabbatical. In 2009, Blake and I went to Thailand. It ended up evolving into this epic trip neither of us had packed for. On our third day, we were like, ‘It’s taken a seventeen hour flight, why don’t we stay a while and explore.’ We went to India and then Do you think that taking part in fashion shoots has changed the way you look at the Maldives. It was great. Next, I want to go to Morocco – so bad. For some style and fashion? reason it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go to. Definitely, and Blake’s [Lively] helped, too. I used to think it was absurd to So, if it’s not trekking the globe, it’s more of the big screen? spend money on clothes. I wore the same outfit for a good two years. Not Any TV actor wants to be in film. When I was just getting started, I’d be asked kidding. It was a grey v-neck, with brown corduroys and white slip-on shoes. It was the blandest outfit, which is what made it so perfect. I was like, “Why not?’” by someone like US weekly, “Do you see yourself doing film?” and I’d think, “What the fuck do you think I am doing this for? Yeah!” Don’t get me wrong, Well, I’ll tell you why not, because there [are] paparazzi camped outside our it’s a wonderful ride along the way, and I really do love being on the show right apartment and Perez Hilton will blog about me and give me a hard time. now, but [film is] where I want to be. And it’s good knowledge to have if you’re playing Trivial Pursuit. I actually just played Trivial Pursuit – it was so difficult. I was with a group of studied 45-year-old academic types, and none of us could answer shit. It was humiliating.
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Tell me about your role in the film Easy A. It was definitely a surprisingly fun, higher-minded teen comedy, a fun cameo to pop in for. Originally it was set to be rated R – the script was filled with swear words. That’s why I wanted to do it, but they cut them out. Emma Stone is great, as is the whole cast. It was a really great experience, and hopefully my last high school foray, my swan song. You get to play a 23-year-old in Margin Call, right? Yes, and it was awesome. It’s a fictional account of the first sixteen hours following the 2008 stock market collapse. I wear a suit the whole time and was in scenes with guys like Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker – the whole thing was an amazing experience. Every day was new, and it’s been a long time since I could say that about my experience of acting.
There’s a pretty intense crying scene in that movie – how did you get the tears rolling? I had no idea how to prepare. I just kept thinking about it. You can think about the most tragic stuff, but that doesn’t really work for me. I listen to music that’s ambiguously beautiful, like Phosphorescent or The Middle East. It puts me in a state of mind where I am able to tap into the feeling of human experience – how tragic the world can be – and it got me there. Movies have never done for me what music can.
Music is a strong influence for you. What are some of your most prominent experiences? I’m an only child, and I spent a lot of my childhood alone. I do remember important parts of my life by the types of music I was listening to. I loved the cheesy R&B from the ‘90s that a young white kid would, like Dru Hill and Teddy Riley. My first concert was a Puff Daddy No Way Out show with my parents. I was probably ten years old. My friends dropped out. Usher and Busta Rhymes opened, and at one point, Usher took the mic stand and stretched it out so it was really tall, and then got on his knees and put it in front of his crotch like he was humping the air with this eleven foot metal dick. It was pretty embarrassing. I remember I was wearing a big puffy Helly Hansen vest – it was huge. All my friends at school wanted to wear it. Perhaps a welcome break from the brown cords. Are you considering a career shift into music? If I was able to do it professionally, and people would be able to like it -absolutely. But, you know, being an artist in any form is almost really arrogant. You have to have this strange confidence, which almost none do, that your shit is better than anyone else. But, Blake and my parents have always been at me, “Why aren’t you doing anything with this?” And I’m like, “Yeah… just gimme a minute.” The [BULLETT] shoot was actually a really special day. There were ten
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people around me, and it was the most I had ever played for. I realized I could do this – it was a real affirmation. Since that day playing around I’ve made a lot of progress. I made a resolution this fall – that I am very actively pursuing this music thing. Other than a burgeoning career in film and music fighting for your attention, you are also rumored to be passionate about soccer. You got skills? [Laughs] I’ve just started playing again after a three-year break. I went to Chinatown when I first moved to NYC to try and play a few games, but it was aggressive and not that fun. I was like, “If you’re going to fucking yell at me, at least be talented.” I played once in December 2007 with a bunch of Moroccan guys, all speaking French, and they looked at me like I was this this white guy out of place. And, for the record, I scored a goal with my left foot. Would it be fair to say you are more passionate about things that are going to happen in your career than what’s going on right now? Actors are like that, they get really excited about something, get it – and then they are like, “What’s next?” Gossip Girl is an amazing opportunity, but it’s done what it’s going to do. Now we need to hurdle the end, whenever or whatever that’s going to be. And yes, it is really exciting. 153
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STEVE - O FROM CLOWN COLLEGE AND COCAINE TO SOBRIETY, THIS LOVABLE JACKASS SHARES HIS HISTORY OF ADDICTION AND RECOVERY AS TOLD TO ERIN RALPH PHOTOGRAPHY by JIMMY FONTAINE
“For me, sobriety is like the mafia. If I leave, I don’t have long to live.” Childhood I was born in Wimbledon, which is a suburb of London, England. When I was six months old, my family moved to Brazil, where I spoke my first words—in Portuguese. From the start I was a rich kid. My family had maids. I was raised by servants, but my dad would say they were maids. I would tell him, “Okay, Dad. I obviously spent more time with them, since my first words were in Portuguese.” When I was two years old, we moved to Venezuela, and I spoke fluent Spanish in nursery school. When I was four years old, we moved to Connecticut. When I was six, we moved to Miami, Florida. My dad was a corporate executive. When we moved to Brazil, my father was the president of Pepsi in Brazil. He worked for Pepsi, then he worked for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. As a child, I never felt comfortable. I was never enough. When I was two years old, I went around with my bib on backwards as a cape, because that would make me feel like a superhero. I would go around in my Big Wheel tricycle. Developing an Identity I loved wearing my baseball uniform, even when I wasn’t playing. It gave me a boost. I loved uniforms. There is a Canadian certificate of citizenship that has a photo on it [that was] taken when I was nine. It is sort of like a passport. In the photo, I felt the need to be wearing my full-on football uniform, with the shoulders and everything. It is crazy. The significance of that is, at that age, I felt it wasn’t enough to sit there and just be me. Everything, growing up, I took to the extreme. I got into heavy metal when I was ten and pushed that overboard. My friends at school would call me “devil worshipper,” and I would get all hurt. My feelings would get hurt and I would come home and listen to music. Heavy metal was my identity. It was the uniform that I wore.
Up Close and Personal The other amazing thing about skateboarding is that it brings kids to the video camera. These are two things that are completely new and born in my lifetime: street skateboarding and the video camera becoming a household item. When I was a kid there was not enough video footage being created, other than for America’s Funniest Home Videos. I was in my early twenties when real TV even started. There is not an activity besides skateboarding where people make themselves sponsor videos. If you want to get sponsored as a tennis player, you just need to win games. Skateboarders go around making videos of tricks they can do and get sponsorships. I almost feel like everything I learned that is important, I learned from skateboarding. Even as a skateboarder, it is hard to watch an hour of just skateboarding. It just gets boring and monotonous. I took it upon myself as a duty to use my video camera to generate footage that could provide the comic relief, break the monotony of a skateboard video. To be honest, I did that because I wasn’t that great at skateboarding. I was okay, but not great, so I put down the skateboard and kept going at it with the video camera. I was looking to film funny, crazy, ridiculous, dangerous stuff that would break the monotony.
Finding a Niche I contributed video footage to a magazine that also made videos called Big Brother. Johnny Knoxville also contributed footage to them. Wee-Man and Chris Pontius also submitted footage. The guy in charge of Big Brother knew Spike Jonze, so he went to Spike Jonze and said, “Everybody loves our Big Brother videos, but they’re not into the skateboarding. I think if we just take out the skateboarding, then what is left over could be a great TV show,” and that is how it really started. Bam [Margera] was making similar videos called CKY, Camp Kill Yourself. What they did was join Big Brother and CKY and take out all the skateboarding. This Blood, Sweat & Tears left you with Jackass. The whole shopping cart thing, for example, comes from After that came the skateboarding. My whole approach was the same. It was my skateboarding, because in every skateboard video you have a section that just life, it was my identity. It was something to make me feel comfortable, because just shows everyone falling off the skateboard and slamming. That is everybody’s being me wasn’t enough. The skateboarding, to be honest, is still big to me. Still favorite part. People love the slam section. Bam recognized that pretty early. He haven’t gotten over it. It is such a fantastic thing. Street skateboarding as we know was like, “Man, everyone loves the slam section. If we just get into a shopping it today, like ollies [a trick where the skater jumps without losing contact with his cart and just run and push the cart into the curb, it’s guaranteed to be a slam. We board], this whole activity was born in my lifetime. When I was learning how to don’t even need the skateboard. We just need the slam.” That’s how the shopping ollie, it was new. Street skating is so difficult; there is no way to learn it without cart became a big deal. All of the reverence and danger and the craziness of falling down and hurting yourself. The commitment that is required is really skateboarding applied to other areas, so that’s what Jackass is about. We took the intense. You take risks, you get hurt. It is blood, sweat, and tears. It requires so mentality of skateboarding and celebrated it in other ways. much work, effort, concentration, and dedication. It weeds out the individuals that have a half-assed approach to life. When you have a bunch of good skateboarders, Clown College it means you eliminated all the half-asses. You have kids that are driven, dedicated, I wanted to be a professional stuntman. I dropped out of University of Miami, [and] willing to suffer injuries. There is no coach, no schedule to conform to, no proclaiming that I was going to be this professional stuntman, do all of this crazy one to report to. You are your own boss. It encourages individuality. You call your stuff. I wasn’t making any progress towards getting an actual career going, and own shots, push yourself, push each other, with your friends. Also, everywhere then I found out about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, and you go, you vandalize with your skateboard. It pits you against authority. Even the that it was actually free to get in. It is very exclusive, but free, because they want good kids are criminals. To be a skateboarder means you are rebellious. everyone to have an equal chance of running with the circus, so they waive tuition. 158
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I thought, “Oh man, if I could get into Clown College, if I could have their name associated with me, then all of this lunacy that I’ve been documenting with my video camera will be legitimized.” Going to Clown College would bring legitimacy. It was ridiculous. I went to Clown College seeking legitimacy for the idiotic stuff I do. It is like boot camp for the circus. We were there for, like, two and a half months. It was eight weeks of training, and we went on the road for two weeks. It would have been a great reality TV show. We had to be in the training facility at 8 a.m. We had morning workouts. The day was divided into hour long classes. We would have acrobatics, dance, improvisational comedy, circus history, and makeup. One thing we received absolutely no instruction on was the makeup. They just gave us the kit and said, “You don’t get thought on how to put on makeup. Here is your makeup kit. Just figure it out.” A few of us, if any, respected the grease paint. Just a little bit goes a long way. I, for one, had no idea. They just gave it to us and said, “Give it your best shot!” We put it on and they took pictures, laughing the whole time. We kept doing this, every day. Finally, we learned on our own. It was important to have your makeup [and] your style be your own. I would put on makeup every day and wouldn’t take it off. We would put on shows all the time. It was a lot of work, though—we would train fourteen hours a day. After fourteen hours, you get tired. You are done. You want to sleep, but I would just start drinking. I don’t know how I did it. At the end of the day everyone graduated, but only ten people were offered a contract with the circus. I don’t think I was even ever a real contender for the contract because I had made it so clear that I was there to further pursue stunts. I didn’t get offered a contract, so I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I sold marijuana to pay rent. I had my two
thousand dollar clown costume—which was also a uniform—sitting in my closet. I would wear it when I went out drinking. I did nothing productive in the costume. After so long, I got a job performing on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. It was a variety performer gig, but I got fired after six months. I never put down the video camera, and I never stopped doing the stunts. I had a career as a clown, and that was my livelihood while I waited for my ship. It is funny how I was on a ship, waiting for my ship to come. Thankfully I got fired, because I was in this group of clowns, and the other three were not into me. They gathered behind my back and told my boss, “If Steve comes back, we’re not coming!” Making Clownemies I was disrespectful. I just didn’t respect their talent. The stuff they wanted to perform, I didn’t think was funny. Over the years, I developed my own little tricks to get free drinks at bars. I had my own little repertoire. I would go around the ship and do my stuff I had confidence in. I was just not feeling what these clowns were into. They would write all day and rehearse their stuff, which wasn’t funny at all. I would be wearing my headphones in the corner, practicing my juggling clubs. I was disrespectful and I earned it. They went behind my back and made sure I didn’t get another contract. Thank god for that, because had I gone back to the ship for another contract, I would be floating in the middle of the ocean right now and I would have missed the boat on Jackass. Following the Dream I walked out of that cruise ship in November of 1999. I had nine thousand 159
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dollars saved. I bought a used car for four thousand dollars and, with the rest, I flew myself back and forth to California, trying to get my shit going. I called up Jeff Tremaine and said, “Dude, I’m coming out for New Year’s Eve. It’s fucking Y2K. I’m going to be on stilts ten feet high, I’m going have my costume on fire, I’m going to have a unicyclist unicycling through my stilts, I’m going to have a pro skateboarder skateboarding off the roof of a house, over my head, through a fireball that I’m blowing out of my mouth,” and I meant every fucking word of it. “After all that shit is done, I’m going to tip myself over and come crashing on the ground.” Jeff Tremaine was like, “Alright, I’m into that!” On December 30, 1999, I got Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, [and] Danny out [to California]. All these people from Jackass came out. Jeff waited for me to get there to say, “Okay, dude, this is not for Big Brother anymore. I’ve waited till you got out here, but now you’ve proven that you’re dedicated.” This event I put together was so ridiculous and outlandish. I found a unicyclist who was willing to come out to California. I put it all together and it actually happened. I proved myself. Jeff was like, “We’re doing a show for MTV now.” Had I not gotten fired from the cruise ship I wouldn’t have put all of that together and [gotten] this opportunity. It was a blessing in disguise.
survive. Fight or flight at all costs. Do not die. Wait a second! The only other thing that is guaranteed to happen is that we are all going to die. Hold on! Our one instinct is to avoid what is guaranteed to happen. How is that not a catch-22? This fucking pisses me off to no end. We don’t want to die but we are going to die. So the video camera, for me, represented immortality. I thought if I document my life, doing all of this stuff, if I can capture what makes people happy, then I can make them happy forever. After I die, I’ll still exist. I’ll still be spreading joy. I will still be distracting people from their problems. When I was in Clown College, they had all the clowns at this apartment complex. It was the clown apartments, but there were eight marine biology students living there. One night, I was drinking, hanging out with a marine biology student and I told this girl, “We are all going to die but I’m going to live forever. I’ll be spreading joy after I die. Death isn’t an issue for me.” This girl looks at me, shaking her head in disgust, and she said, “You are such a self-centered asshole. It is all about you, isn’t it? What I’m doing with marine biology is I am devoting my life to helping people. If I do my job right, any time any organism feeds on a coral reef, then I live forever. It is not about you. Life is what it is about.” In my perspective, I was excluding everybody else. She made me realize this because she was like, “That is how you choose to help and all power to you, but don’t discount Finding Purpose everyone else’s way. I have my way that I get to live forever after I die.” I really I read this book. A lot of people know this book, it’s called The Alchemist (by hang on to that, because she really put me in my place. Paulo Coelho). I get goosebumps. I can relate on so many levels. So much of my experience has proven that I needed to get my ass kicked to find my treasure. Fear Specifically, this pursuit of fame has been crazy. I’ve had a dark obsession with Back then it also didn’t occur to me that videotapes had an expiration date. this riddle of life. We are born with one instinct that overtakes all instincts—to Now, it’s totally different. Take Jackass 3D, for example. For two weeks [after the 160
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opening] it’s great, but after that, it’s old fucking news. What are you going to do? It doesn’t last forever. It expires. What’s next? When I showed up at the premiere for Jackass 2, everything in my career was building and growing. Then I showed up at the premiere and I was like, “Shit, there are not going to be any more movies. Everything I do after this will be smaller. I’m not going to be climbing anymore.” This is just how I felt. I didn’t have any sort of identity aside from this persona of Steve-O from Jackass. I had never factored into my life the idea of sliding down to mediocrity. I always pictured myself climbing up, dying as an important person. After that second premiere, the wheels fucking fell off.
Sobriety My friends stepped in and they did an intervention on me. I went to a psych ward, and then I went to rehab. Between psych wards and rehab, I was in treatment for six months. When I was done with treatment, I went to live in a halfway house, a sober living environment, where I stayed sober for two years. Taking that time helped me divorce the celebrity. Over the course of those two years, I got the sense that being motivated by fear is not necessary. It is either love or fear. There are two choices. Faith is synonymous with love. People talk about God when they are in recovery from alcoholism and addiction. God, faith, [and] love are all the same thing. It became important for me to replace fear with love as much as possible. I The Dark Side had this lifestyle change where I altered my perspective. If I change my perspective It didn’t take long for the drugs and alcohol to destroy me. It was the importance from the position of fear to that of love, I still arrive at the same conclusion. I put on this celebrity persona that kicked my ass. The spotlight is great, but you People ask me if my life got any better after I got sober. To be honest with you, aren’t always going to be in it. I melted down, and the drugs and alcohol took me I was at a point that my life couldn’t have gotten any worse. At some point, you to a place where there was nothing left for me to do except die. I wanted to die. either get better, or you die. To get sober, I had to divorce this persona of Steve-O. Before I was sober, I crossed this line where I would hear these noises. To me, I had to take time for myself and learn to create an existence that is separate these voices were totally audible, as if I had an earphone in my ear. They were from all that. I needed to find some kind of a separation between who I am and always in one ear or the other, never both. There were all kinds of voices, some what I do. I’m not always going to be a big shot, you know. I had to be okay were male, some were female, some were with that. Most people who have a drug and nice, some were mean. To this day, there is “THE DRUGS AND ALCOHOL MADE THE alcohol problem, when they hit rock bottom, by no convincing me that the drugs created this. BARRIERS COME DOWN AND I WAS THIS the time they decide to get sober, they’ve done Absolutely not. I believe, fully, with my whole UP FOR GRABS ENTITY THAT THE ANGELS some pretty fucked up shit to feel bad about. heart, that drugs and alcohol did not cause AND DEMONS WERE FIGHTING OVER. THE Absolutely, that was the case for me. I had done these voices. Rather, what drugs and alcohol DEMONS WERE WINNING, HANDS DOWN.” stuff that was pretty much unforgivable. I had a did was tear down these barriers between me lot of guilt and shame. It really affects your selfand angels and demons. The barriers came down and I became aware of other esteem. Recovery is starting to feel good about yourself by doing stuff to feel good realms, other beings, trying to connect with me. Some of these voices, they like to about. It is the best way. However, there is nothing more annoying that sitting do tricks, like visual hallucinations. You come to realize that nothing exists besides here and telling people what to do. This has just been my experience. I’m not perception. It is all about perception. I became preoccupied with the idea of other telling people what to do—this is just what makes me happy. The extent to which dimensions. I wanted to learn more about what was happening to me. Somebody my life is different is amazing. No one can say they’re going to be sober forever. had to know. I couldn’t possibly be the only person this was happening to. So I That’s why taking it one day at a time helps. For me, sobriety is like the mafia: If was on the Internet constantly, trying to learn about spirituality. Meanwhile, on I leave, I don’t have long to live. You pick up where you left off, and where I left my lap, I had a platter of cocaine and ketamine, a whole bunch of weed, a fridge off, I didn’t have long to live. full of booze and beer, and I was just going for it. I was on the Internet and I came across this video on YouTube of this Indian shaman talking about how it Conscious Eating is more difficult for Westerners to be saved because, in the Western world, the I don’t want to eat meat, not because I don’t want to be punished, but because it standard of respect for life and for the planet is so much lower. Very bluntly, he makes me happier. If I’m more compassionate, I’m happier. Sure it’s great to be said, “How could you expect to be saved if you still eat meat?” I was sitting there compassionate to animals, but it’s also important to consider the world and to care going, “Shit, I have to stop eating meat!” I instantly stopped right then and there. about yourself. This is the healthiest way. I did this pescetarian diet for a year and It was a sudden decision, and the reason behind it was 100% fear. Here is this a half and, after a while, I did not want to eat eggs anymore. Later, I bought a guy telling me that if I eat meat, I can’t be saved! To me that meant I was going carton of soy milk. One day I was like, “I can do this.” I cut out fish and became to be punished. I thought in my next life, or somewhere between my two lives, I 100% vegan. I had been sober for a year and a half at that point, [but it was] only was going to be punished. I didn’t want to get any more punishment than I was when I became vegan that people started telling me that my skin looks better and already going to get. Because it is so widely known that Jesus fed people with I look younger. I stopped smoking cigarettes. Being vegan just made such a huge fish, I decided that eating fish was okay. It had to be okay… Jesus ate it. So I difference. It is really one-stop shopping for me. became pescetarian [the practice of following a vegetarian diet with the exception of seafood]. I was at such a dark place. The drugs and alcohol made the barriers Steve come down, and I was this up for grabs entity that the angels and demons were This time around, I’m going to show up to the movie theater and it doesn’t have fighting over. The demons were winning, hands down. When I look at some of to be a traumatic event. It is something to be grateful for. The only thing that the footage we shot a while ago, you can tell it is not me at the wheel. I’m fucking scares me more than the scary, idiotic things we do for Jackass is being done with straight up possessed. it. I want to separate my identity from this character so that I can have a life after this career. 162
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PADMA LAKSHMI FROM BREAKFAST TO BRACELETS, THIS TOP CHEF HOST IS A TIRELESS CREATOR by VICTORIA SMITH
“I THINK IT’S REALLY SEXY WHEN A WOMAN LOVES TO EAT. I THINK THERE’S A GREAT SENSUALITY IN THE PLEASURE AND JOY OF FOOD, AND I WANTED TO BE A REVEREND AND SHOW THAT.”
Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi is an accomplished artist on many levels: model, author, actress, culinary specialist, designer. These titles, not often seen bundled together, all serve as facets of the multitalented woman, one who combines all of them in one exquisite appellation: “I am the creator of special things.” Born in India and now fluent in five languages, Lakshmi is very much au courant with her own cultural origins as well as her surroundings. In a 2008 interview with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate, she explained her appreciation for food and culture through the brilliant concept of tracing the history of a people through their fork. To introduce her on a new level, BULLETT asked Lakshmi how her “fork” reveals her own history. She elaborates gracefully, explaining that her birth and upbringing in India are the reason for her initial broad exposure to different tastes. “My palate was introduced to a lot of spices and flavor profiles,” she says, “and from there I really learned how to eat a variety of tastes from, you know, salty to sweet, bitter to sour, and certainly hot.” As Lakshmi recalls the flavors of her “fork,” she explains that during her time spent in India, the only dairy products used were milk and yogurt. Still young and developing, her palate expanded when she and her mother moved to America, where she began to accommodate other dairy products into her diet and was introduced to many Western foods. She began to explore the derivations of European foods available to her during the 1970s while living in New York. 164
As Lakshmi’s story continues to unfold, the explanations as to her culinary omniscience become clearer. “Because we really were looking for the flavors and ingredients from home, my mother would take me to Spanish Harlem and to Chinatown to get those kinds of vegetables—the sugarcane and tamarind— and we learned about other Asian vegetables and other [South American] flavors, so then we were branching out. Despite being on a hunt for our own familiar flavors,” she laughs, “we found non-familiar flavors that we incorporated into our own kitchen culture.”
Bravo’s popular cooking competition show, Top Chef. Her most memorable dish on Top Chef was Ilan Hall’s fideos, a Spanish baked noodle dish with chorizo and clams, from season two. “It was delicious,” she recalls.
After filming a steamy commercial in which Lakshmi acquaints herself on new levels with a Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger, it is clear that she possesses a rare confidence. “I think...[munch]...as I crunch on a carrot [laughs]…I think it’s really sexy when a woman loves to eat, you know? I think there’s a great sensuality in the pleasure and joy of food, and I kind of wanted The next chapter in Lakshmi’s young adulthood to be a reverend and show that, which wasn’t a hard matured her palate even further. After graduating thing to do because I actually love those burgers and I from Clark University in Massachusetts, she began wrote about them in my second cookbook. They were her extremely successful modeling career. “I lived in just a little icon of my own adolescence.” Italy for many years, and so there I kind of went to find the roots of European cooking techniques,” What is an essential component of the Lakshmi she says. As her career expanded, so did her field kitchen? Really good olive oil, preferably from Spain. of focus. Traveling the world, having tasted cultures Of her versatile palate, Lakshmi’s absolute favorite from all spectrums, such as India, America, Spain, recipe is perhaps one of the most simple. The recipe, France, and Italy, “you can see how my personal called “Chili Honey Butter,” is featured as the final history really is mirrored or reflected in the foods that recipe in her last cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & I’m discovering and incorporating in my own diet.” Sweet. It consists of three obvious ingredients: A stick of butter, two tablespoons of honey, and a teaspoon Lakshmi’s public image of a stunning model who of Kashmiri chili powder. “You whisk it all together enjoys all varieties of food—and lots of it—makes and you keep it in the fridge and you can use it her a breath of fresh air in American media. She on everything; from buttering your toast, to frying stays true to her hearty appetite; in fact, she often your eggs, to sautéing your hash browns, to making says she eats enough for two. In 2006, after becoming your zucchini, to basting a whole roast chicken the first Indian woman to hold a modeling career in for lunch, to everything, everything, everything.” Milan, Paris, and New York, Lakshmi embraced her love of all things edible by coming aboard to host Along with her distinct passion for the art of cuisine,
Lakshmi has a parallel talent: jewelry design. Thus, The Padma Collection, a jewelry line designed by Lakshmi, was born. “I’m equally passionate about creating recipes and food for people to enjoy as I am about creating jewelry for women to wear. While they’re different products and they rest in different parts of our lives, or at least our homes, they’re both, to me, similar in that they’re things that give people pleasure. Whether it’s a beautiful tea or a great piece of writing or a necklace, or a lovely pair of earrings, I think it’s all the same— it’s about using your creativity to make something that gives another human being pleasure or joy.” The Padma Collection for the Fall/Winter 2010 season is entitled “Bactria.” In the Padma design statement, Lakshmi reveals her inspiration: An exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Hidden Treasures from the National Museum of Kabul,” which featured a “gorgeous crown and striking ceremonial silver and gilded gold leaf plate which depicted the Greek goddess of nature, Cybele.” The muse who inspired Lakshmi’s “Bactria” collection was a fabricated, mortal Afghani princess based on the Greek goddess of that crown. “This collection is hers… these are her treasures.” Does Lakshmi feel as though she relates to this princess? “[The Afghani princess] is just kind of the reigning figure in my imagination,” she laughs. “But you know, I certainly do see myself as a gypsy. I certainly do see myself as hunting and gathering from different parts of the world to create something that I think is special.”
start to see these patterns,” she says. “You can start to see how the tribal necklaces of Native American ceremonial dress look very much like the beadwork of those African breastplates. You can also see geometric patterns in American-Indian sand paintings and then you can see those same geometric patterns in Afghani carpets.”
I would find beautiful. And so I took the concept and I reworked it to it to make something that I would like to wear in a more modern way.” The nine stones incorporated into one of Lakshmi’s favorite pieces of the collection, the Nav rings, are ruby, pearl, red coral, emerald, yellow sapphire, rough diamond, blue sapphire, hessonite, and tiger’s eye. “They’re really pretty and they’re easy to wear, and they’re really In The Padma Collection, every piece is designed delicate and elegant.” to “dance on the skin” and naturally embellish the femininity of a woman’s contour. When asked about As the first Indian woman in many categories, her favorite feminine feature to enhance through Lakshmi is, of course, proud of her accomplishments. jewelry, Lakshmi responds with certainty: “The neck, “I still have a lot of dreams,” she laughs. “We at whether it’s through a necklace, or a pair of earrings, the studio just want to do beautiful work. We want I think the neck is the pedestal—it’s the pedestal to do work that enriches the lives of whoever buys. of the mind, it’s the pedestal of the brain, it’s the Whether it’s a five dollar box of tea or a five thousand pedestal of the eyes which are, not to be cliché, where dollar necklace, or a thirty dollar cookbook, I want to the expression of one’s soul is displayed. So the neck continue to produce things that I think are of value is very kind of linear, and can be very regal, and I and contribute to the culture in which I live.” think to adorn it is a pleasure and is very important.” And she does just that. Many companies and brands The Padma micro-modern collection, “The Nav,” are passionless, with only revenue in mind. Lakshmi is inspired by the Hindu principle Navaratna. The creates an entire feel of exotic coziness, from her philosophy of Navaratna rests in the combination of smooth voice, to her delicate jewels, to her most nine stones that harness the planets’ energies. When favorite recipes. “It’s really funny when this word worn, balance is instilled upon the life of the wearer. “branding” and all this stuff gets bandied about, and “I just always liked the idea of wearing talismans that it just becomes very consumerist,” she says. “While can bring you a little bit of powerful energy, that you obviously have to buy the jewelry, and you could balance you or, even if it didn’t, as a placebo have to buy the spices, or whatever, it’s more of a effect, it would be something that you could hold on philosophical starting point for me. It’s really about to,” Lakshmi says. “A lot of times our mind plays contributing to someone else’s life in an enriching tricks with us, and we just get nervous for no reason, and positive way. So I would be interested in doing and we just need something to hang on to. I think it’s that in any medium that made sense to do that in.”
“IT’S REALLY ABOUT CONTRIBUTING TO SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE IN AN ENRICHING AND POSITIVE WAY. I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN DOING THAT IN ANY MEDIUM.” Lakshmi, preeminently acquainted with many cultures of the world, connects and finds patterns of certain elements within different cultures, and works those patterns into her fine jewelry collection. She intellectually affixes elements of the Kenyan African Maasai necklace with Native American breastplates made from bone, shell, and beads. Lakshmi says that the breastplates of the Native Americans are always three-tiered, very similar to the African tribal necklaces. These concepts inspired the necklace Lakshmi wore at the 2010 Emmy Awards, the Maasai necklace from the micro-collection, “The Nav.” “That’s one thing that happens when you start looking from a vantage point that’s a little larger—you do
why the four tribal leaders held on to a staff [laughs], When asked if she had any hidden talents, Lakshmi or magicians have a wand—it’s not that the wand has replied, “Mmm…no! [laughs]…I can rollerskate!” so much power, but it’s the power we give it.” Her many functions are interrelated, and that is the exoticism of Lakshmi—she spans all the disparate Of all the different cultural symbols and customs cultures and creative worlds, and it is her crossLakshmi has been acquainted with, this particular cultural history that makes her so approachable. No Hindu tradition stands out to her. “It’s something matter the channel through which she is expressing that already existed within our culture, within the her talent, Lakshmi continues to positively contribute jewelry-making culture—it’s thousands of years old,” to our society and its people. she says. “If you go to any jewelry store in India you will see, usually rings, that are square or oval “I really see myself as a purveyor of things that make with these nine stones. While I liked the concept, people’s lives better,” she says. “Sweeter, tastier, and I didn’t like the execution of it. I still wanted to more beautiful.” make sure that whatever I put my name on would be something that I would love and I would cherish and 165
ART AND CULTURE
Georges St-Pierre MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FIGHTER AND UFC CHAMPION by ODEMARIS BYRD PHOTOGRAPHY by ERIC WILLIAMS
“St-Pierre’s mixed martial arts training makes him a joy to watch, whether you are a boxing fan, martial arts admirer, or an overall bloodshed enthusiast.”
Currently ranked by multiple mixed martial arts (MMA) publications as the number one welterweight in the world, Georges St-Pierre, also known as GSP or Rush, is an example of why you should think twice before stealing your schoolmate’s snack money. Once bullied, St-Pierre is now a world class mixed martial arts fighter and current coach on this season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV. St-Pierre’s humility and patience really shine through on The Ultimate Fighter, which is relatively unexpected from someone who holds black belts in both Kyokushin Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, with his French accent and playboy physique, he can make any trash talk charming. At age 29, 5’10,” and 169 pounds, GSP has a 20-2 career record, is a seventime UFC champion, and is rumored to have a shot at being a 2012 Olympic contender for wrestling. His mixed martial arts training is displayed in full during his UFC fights, making him a joy to watch—whether you are a boxing fan, martial arts admirer, or an overall bloodshed enthusiast. His jabs are quick and his backspin kicks spark flashbacks of Jean-Claude Van Damme fight scenes. These days, St-Pierre is focused on his rival coach on The Ultimate Fighter, Josh Koscheck, who is no lightweight himself. Koscheck appeared on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter as a middleweight fighter, and has fought for the company a record seventeen times since 2005. Koscheck is often ranked among the top ten welterweights in the world by leading MMA publications. He and St-Pierre are scheduled to duel once again in the Octagon this December. When watching the show, one can see Koscheck constantly trying to get under St-Pierre’s skin with such sidesplitting pranks as parking two cars directly next to either side of GSP’s car. Seeing the fighter trying to squeeze into his little car was priceless. St-Pierre, however, takes it well and admits to being used to bullying. “It’s not my first rodeo,” he says. Any anger he feels is seemingly 166
harnessed and stored for when it could be used more advantageously—St-Pierre notes in a confessional tone that he “bottles it all in and will let it out at the right time,” and then flashes his toothy grin. As for St-Pierre’s coaching style, he is full of enthusiasm and confidence. He has a methodical strategy for getting his pick of fighters on this season of The Ultimate Fighter, yet still offers the viewers laughs with his impressions of other fighters and scenes from Full Metal Jacket—one of his favorite movies. It is evident that St-Pierre views his team as fighters and hopes to train them to be martial artists, practicing patience, discipline, and focus. Though UFC has yet to become as mainstream a franchise as WWF or NASCAR, Georges hopes to change that. He recently asserted to the New York Times, “I’m trying to be that guy who brings the sport to the mainstream. I want to be the guy who made the difference.” Despite his apparent desire to boost viewership for his sport, his oft-offered oneword responses to a bombardment of questions about his future plans indicate that he may not be ready for the whirlwind of press that is sure to come with his climb to the top of the A-list. It will be very interesting to see the path this fighter will choose and where it can potentially take the world of MMA. The audience for UFC has already grown, and GSP is a factor in that. He already has endorsement deals with Gatorade and Under Armour, and with talks of participating in the Olympics, who knows what this star fighter has in store? One thing is for sure: This season of The Ultimate Fighter is filled with vibrant characters and a whole lot of tension, so December’s fight between St-Pierre and Koscheck is sure to be explosive.
ART AND CULTURE
Carlos Leon & Jeff Bell FITNESS GURUS CARLOS LEON AND JEFF BELL INTRODUCE BELLEON BODY, A MACHINE-FREE WORKOUT REGIMEN DESIGNED TO MAKE FITNESS AS ENJOYABLE AS HOPSCOTCH INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA PHOTOGRAPHY by ALIYA NAUMOFF
“I personally believe in integrating body, soul, mind with not only myself, but also with the environment and the universe. I believe that exercise incorporates the same kind of component.” – JB
Bell and Leon look to move away from the monotonous, intimidating, and often competitive gym environment and create an intimate, safe, and enjoyable atmosphere for fitness. The duo’s new Fitness Center in the East Village of New York City offers a six-week training program in which arcane gym equipment is replaced with professionally constructed, simply choreographed exercises designed to improve coordination, balance and movement. The regimen, which aspires to rebalance mind, body and soul, might just be the solution for New Yorkers looking to shake up their banal gym routine. How did you guys come together to create Belleon Body? Carlos Leon: I found him on the street…he was crying…[laughs]. Jeff Bell: I used to see him around gyms and stuff like that. I’ve always been training. He recognized me and I approached him. What was amazing about working with Carlos was that he was able to do everything I gave him to do. I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is a challenge!’ I began to realize we had this symbiotic kind of working relationship. We were thinking the same way about putting some kind of a workout together so we started thinking about how we would structure it. What we ended up doing is this classroom situation where we display the workouts we do ourselves. Obviously, as we got more proficient at teaching the classes, we found more technique and developed it further. It has helped us polish our skills in terms of teaching, instructing, and putting our message out there.
shortest amount of time. We are maximizing efficiency, which is what the Belleon Program is all about. Carlos, you took a ten year break from fitness. How did you come to realize you wanted to get back to doing it? CL: I was always into fitness–I never stopped working out. I figured it was time to get back into it professionally. That was the great thing about meeting Jeff. He introduced me to a great, different way of working out. Again, I was out of the loop for ten years, doing my work out that I had. It was old school. When I met Jeff, he introduced me to this new world. Here I am! Back again. When did you guys realize fitness was your passion? JB: When I was eight years old. I’m serious! I have actually been officially working out since eight years old. CL: I mean, look at him!
CL: In a nutshell.
JB: By the time I was in high school, I could do two hundred push-ups and forty pull-ups. There was always something in me that needed to get expressed. It’s a part of me. You know how some people say, “Oh man, I got to work out more, stay in shape”? For me, and I believe for Carlos too, it’s really a part of who we are. We express ourselves through our fitness and health. We live this lifestyle. It’s not just for show. It’s really who we are.
So you already had Bell Fitness Company?
Did you realize this when you were young?
JB: Yes. Bell Fitness Company is something I established five years ago. This place in the East Village is actually the fourth location that I’ve had. I’m always looking for the right location to fit my style of training. Even though this is one of the smallest, it is actually one of the best. You go to a big gym, [and] the worst thing is when it’s busy, and you have to wait in line for a piece of equipment. That is something that I believe destroys the momentum of getting results from a workout. Carlos and I, our workouts are about getting maximum results in the
CL: Very young. I knew there was something special when I won the Mr. Peanut contest at ten years old. I knew I was into fitness. Also, my family members were dying at early ages. My grandfather died at 38 from a heart attack, and my aunt had emphysema, and cancer runs in the family. I wanted to change that. I wanted to also be a role model for my family. I’m 44. Jeff is 54. I don’t feel 44. I ride my bicycle, I’m active all the time. I just don’t feel that age. It’s just a number. That’s why I really started working out. I wanted to prove to myself and to the world, to
ART AND CULTURE
“Your mind, you work on it with meditation, focusing on good things instead of the negative things in life. You open up your soul with love and sharing. Your body, you must train to be strong. It works out together. If you have all that, you have a ray of light.” – CL
my family, that staying fit is important. It’s like brushing your teeth. It’s like taking a shower and eating right. You are what you eat. That kind of mindset is crucial. JB: It’s a part of taking care of yourself. For us, it runs even deeper. It’s a part of who we are, and a part of the message we want to give out to people. Staying fit on a daily basis creates a momentum, making staying fit that much easier. Literally, our workouts sometimes last twenty minutes. They’re hard workouts and you can’t introduce a beginner to that kind of training. But we work our clients up to that training so in a certain period of time, we can get people to maintain and improve their fitness. Do you guys have any athletic role models?
JB: Part of what we really emphasize is teaching people how to use their own body so when they decide to go to a gym or they’re traveling and they want to exercise, they know how to do it and they do it properly, without hurting themselves. We give them lots of tools so when they walk out of here, they can work out for days and not run out of fresh material. You are your own weight. Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy?
Can you tell us a little bit about your six week program?
JB: I personally believe in integrating body, soul, mind with not only myself, but also with the environment and the universe. I believe that exercise incorporates the same kind of component. That’s why I don’t give people harsh methods of training. I believe in helping people channel their inner skills, to breathe properly, control their movement, and pace themselves so they’re moving towards escalating their intensity on a very controlled level. So, by the time they are doing really intense exercises, they are actually still very much in control. They are exploring what their bodies are feeling, they are listening to themselves and they are talking to themselves.
JB: Painfully effective! Basically, it’s a six-week program because we decided we wanted to give people a way to measure their actual results. This way, we can weigh you and show you where you’re at. This way, at the end, we can give you exact facts of how much weight you lost, how many inches you lost and how much strength you gained. The program itself is built on the concept of a circuit format. In other words, we warm you up and we take you through rounds of exercises.
CL: Mind, body and soul. Your mind, you work on it with meditation, focusing on good things instead of the negative things in life. You open up your soul with love and sharing. Your body, you must train to be strong. It works out together. If you have all that, you have a ray of light. You can be bad, indulge, and not work out, always focus on the negative or you can be this ray of light. This is what we want. This is what we preach. This is what we live by.
CL: Bruce Lee for me. I mean, I’ve always wanted to be Bruce Lee. Enter the Dragon and all those kind of movies from the seventies, I love to watch. He was training stars out in Los Angeles and became this major movie star. His story itself and his way of thinking, his lifestyle, ‘move like water’–the concept of using your whole body as a temple and how important that is. He was definitely a role model for me.
CL: Working out is a lifelong commitment. Again, it’s not just something you can do for twelve weeks. Like with everything else in life, you have to grow. That’s why we always preach. We worship what we talk about because it is that important to live healthy.
JEAN MICHEL ETÉ THE HEALER BEHIND MADONNA, GIORGIO STREHLER, AND THE RENOWNED ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT CENTER ELYSEE63, DISCUSSES HIS APPROACH TO HOLISTIC MEDICINE INTERVIEW by IDIL TABANCA
How would you define your occupation? Can you explain the services you provide? I would define my concept as a healer and a coach of life. My vocation is to offer patients a new solution to healthcare called the preventative holistic care. That means I want to encourage longevity and optimal health with an emphasis on prevention. As I am graduated in medical physiotherapy, in osteopathy, and in Chinese medicine (acupuncture and Chi Nei Tsang, a branch of holistic medicine that focuses on five portions of the body through varying massage techniques), I can apply more tools provided by different techniques. What is your philosophy? My philosophy is based on the principles and practices of Eastern medicine and traditional medicine. My goal is to provide my patients with the tools to achieve optimal health, both physically and emotionally, and inner balance. I aim to minimize stress and illness in one’s life by respecting the important relationship between mind and body. Can you define “alternative medicine,” and why it can be as beneficial as conventional medicine? Conventional medicine is targeted on a certain part of the body and tries to cure [that], whereas alternative medicine considers the human being as a whole and his place in his life. How did Elysee63 come to life? The idea to create the Elysee63 was born after I met Sting. We have shared the same philosophy. What are some of the treatments you offer at Elysee63? At Elysee63, our treatments operate in three departments. The first one is the
therapeutic treatments, such as the physical and energetic evaluation, acupuncture and digitopuncture, Chi Nei Tsang Chinese massage, craniofacial osteopathy and craniosacral therapy, and micro physiotherapy. The second is the massage department, which includes things like the Ayurvedic treatment program, Shiatsu traditional Japanese massage, and traditional Wat Po Thai massage. Finally, the yoga, tai chi, and qi gong classes. How does one know if he or she is spiritually off balance and needs to seek treatment? Answering this question is easy. Any physical illness is the expression of the lack of balance between mind, body, and emotions. Your treatments are designed specifically for individuals. How do you know which treatment to give each patient? The personalized healing process starts with the understanding of the philosophy of a human being as a whole. Then, healing of the patient, and finally, the integration of the understanding into his own life. What is cell memory, and why is it so crucial to your treatments? Each human being is emotionally loaded through the DNA function with the family memory. When facing a conflict, we react according to the information learned by and acquired through parental memory, which takes place between birth and the age of four, and project our cognitive fearing. What are some of your methods dealing with stress, the leading cause of illness? Stress is the very middle of all emotional conflict. It’s the first reason for which patients come to alternative medicine. It’s the major sign of danger or weakness in your body. Meditation is important. To be in love is fundamental.
Photography SHAMILA at Eric Elenbaas Agency Styling AMBER MYHRE BOSCH at Angelique Hoorn Agency Make-up ANITA JOLLES for Sisley cosmetics at View Agency Hair BIANCA VAN ZWIETEN at Angelique Hoorn Agency Assistant Photography JASPER ABELS Model JOKE JIERS at Van De Mast Model Management
Blouse by BALMAIN Pants by GUCCI
Dress by MIU MIU
Blouse Stylists Own Pants by PRADA
Blouse VINTAGE Dress by GUCCI
Blouse by COS Bodysuit by BURBERRY PRORSUM
Dress by CELINE Gloves by COS
THE CELESTIAL IMAGERY THAT SATURATES MUCH OF SOFIA AJRAM’S PHOTOGRAPHY INTERMIXES THE ART OF FASHION AND GLAMOUR WITH THE ART OF MISE-ENSCÈNE TECHNIQUES, COALESCING TO GIVE AJRAM’S IMAGES A FRESH AND ORIGINAL AIR. WITH ROOTS IN GRAPHIC DESIGN AND AS A PHOTOGRAPHER FOR CONCERTS, AJRAM’S BACKGROUND HAS FURNISHED HER WITH THE ABILITY TO CAPTURE THE SUBJECTS OF HER PHOTOS IN A WAY THAT SUGGESTS A METHODICAL CONTROL TINGED WITH A PUNK ROCK FLAIR. INTERVIEW by JAMES ORLANDO
There are many parallels within new movements in music (such as witch house/ chill wave) and work of young contemporary photographers. The distant sounds and visual motifs hold a dreamy airiness, yet include undertones of a mystical, dark ambiance. What music are you most influenced by in your work/daily life? I find my interest in music can vary greatly, as can anyone’s. I used to listen to a lot of pop music when I was younger, and that tends to hold a nostalgic feel. Most recently, I’ve been consistently listening to Tool and Of Montreal, two opposing forces in music. I don’t find that listening to one voice of music in particular can shape your photos, because each and every musician has his own way of storytelling. I’ve been digging Kevin Barnes [singer/songwriter for Of Montreal] though these past few months. I’d love to take a photo for each of the 184
songs on of one of his albums. Otherwise, I don’t really know. I listen to game soundtracks a lot. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask has some fantastic songs. As a representative of Generation Y, do you find yourself with a strong curiosity for analog film? Are you more comfortable working digitally? I feel your strongest works have many digital overlays. How do you know/feel when a digitally altered work is complete? I find myself constantly amazed at what people can do with analog film. My first time ever in a darkroom was only last month, and as much as I envy the one of a kind effects that analog photography can give, I find myself with so much more freedom with digital photography. I’ve slowly been moving more towards analog,
though. I really love my SX-70, but, at that point, the line between how much you contribute as a “photographer” becomes very thin, in a way. Like, with any other camera, I can control almost every aspect of how the photo will come out, but with an SX-70, which pumps out Polaroids, I can only choose the focus and the framing of the subject matter. Still, the colors are to die for. I can never tell when a work is complete. Work never feels complete, which is why a lot of photographers, including myself, always go back and re-edit old work. There is always new potential to old endeavors as you learn new techniques or as your style changes.
The celestial motifs in your work are quite fascinating. What are you most attracted to in/about our universe/galaxy? I suppose the unknown. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve discovered my absolute obsession with the universe. I think that mankind has already explored so much that the only things we have left to look for are the supernatural and the worlds within and without. Also, the aesthetic of the universe is quite fantastic. My bed sheets are of old constellations, they’re absolutely the best!
ART AND CULTURE
There is an out-of-body experience that seems to be prevalent in your work. What experiences have led you to create such a fantastical mise-en-scène? This is due to the effect of my dreaming. I can recall my dreams almost every morning, and I experimented with lucid dreaming so much as a teen. I find artists’ best work comes from a world unseen in the waking life. There seem to be many hidden references and symbolism in your work. What are your favorite topics in history and/or ancient civilizations? Witchcraft and ancient mythology are amongst my favorites to cover because they’re so inspiring. The supernatural just has so many wild stories to tell. Also, I found myself in love with H.P. Lovecraft’s work over the past few years, and that’s had a strong influence in my narrative. What are your favorite period(s)/movement(s) in art history? Rococo, because of the beautiful women and surrealism. It’s like an acid trip. What are some blogs that you normally check? Mostly design blogs: mozart.livejournal.com, underconsideration.com, requiemforjeanrollin. blogspot.com, friendsoftype.com, hellomrfox.blogspot.com, satanicdrugthing.blogspot.com, thedyingswans.blogspot.com, amongst others. What is the first photograph you remember taking? Worth mentioning? Quite late in my life, actually. My interaction with cameras was limited to an i-Zone Polaroid camera until I hit thirteen. But most notably, when I was fourteen, I took the only camera that I had (digital, automatic) and set it on a stool and took selfportraits of myself as a ghost child. Who are some of your favorite photographers? Alison Scarpulla, who is an amazing woman and a good friend. Ellen Rogers, Lina Scheynius, Marie Zucker, Sara Sig, Fenkee Zhang, to name a few. All Flickr artists, mind you. I just have such an infatuation with people who live in this day and age, creating new work now, as I am alive, and as they are too. Who are some of your favorite visual artists? Fuco Ueda, Gavin Potenza, Stefan Sagmeister, Salvador Dalí, John William Waterhouse, Makiko Sugawa, Caitlin Shearer, Sarah McNeil, Ginette Lapalme, Aubrey Beardsley. What are your favorite films? Jan Svankmajer’s Alice, Up In Arms, District 9, The Pillow Book, and anything by Stanley Kubrick. If you had a choice to shoot anyone alive today, who would you choose? Lady Gaga, for so many reasons.
STALKING ANTIQUITY TRADE IN YOUR RELAXING HOLIDAY FOR AN ENLIGHTENING QUEST DISCOVERING THE PRIMORDIAL CULTURE OF ISTANBUL by IDIL TABANCA
The Turk asked the tourist, “So, what did you think of Istanbul?” The tourist responded, “It will be beautiful once it’s finished.” This iterated Turkish anecdote epitomizes the ever-evolving metropolis that continuously borrows its style from the many cultures contained within its city limits.
As the well-known They Might Be Giants song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” references, Istanbul used to be called Constantinople before the Ottoman Turks gained control of the city in 1453, renaming it Istanbul and asserting it as the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. Being one of the oldest cities in the world, it has housed numerous cultures, from Byzantine to Ottoman, throughout history. Due to their unchanged nature and refusal to comply with the modern Istanbul, Modern Istanbul is considered a unique establishment because, even though it has the slums, the true voice of the city, hold a mirror to the ancient beauty, the a vast Muslim population, it is secular. The city is also considered distinct given history, and the self-representation that decorates the streets. The projects, which its geopolitical location; separated by the Bosporus Bridge, Istanbul is the only city on no level deserve such a name, have a major role in defining the aesthetics of in the world that is situated on two continents—Europe and Asia. Residents of the city. The projects in Istanbul are not government funded housing projects Istanbul travel between the two areas numerous times throughout the day, as most for the underprivileged. Rather, they are unfinished structures clumsily built by live in Asia and work in Europe. individuals for shelter with material stolen from construction sites. This is why they are called “gece kondu,” a phrase that translates to “built overnight,” not Similar to Venice, Istanbul is a city built on and around water. The best restaurants “projects.” Resembling a Dr. Seuss drawing, these housing areas often appear and nightclubs are on simple platforms assembled on the edge of the water, beautifully diverse and surprisingly inventive in many ways. Without a standard preceding each other. The residents of Istanbul use the sea for most of their formula or consistency, houses of all shapes and colors represent the personality of transportation, as water taxis and ferries are available for daily needs, in addition each family that inhabits them. to serving the colorful nightlife of the city. It provides an alternative to the
“Like the food, the residents of this ancient city are variant, overly accommodating, endlessly fascinating, and full of surprises.”
“Club hopping with a water taxi may seem like a jet-set lifestyle; however, to Istanbul natives, it is the commonplace equivalent of a New Yorker taking the subway.”
overwhelming traffic. Club hopping with a water taxi may seem like a jet-set The common goal of bearing the sultan’s children, which came with gifts and lifestyle; however, to Istanbul natives, it is the commonplace equivalent of a New luxurious promotions, often caused the concubines to go to extremes, like Yorker taking the subway. poisoning each other. In the case of the infamous Roxelana, the wife of Suleyman the Magnificent, it was rumored she went as far as burning down a part of the Istanbul is often praised for the eccentric and ostentatious architecture of its harem out of jealousy. The lavish Topkapi Palace now serves as a museum, with palaces and mosques, some of which were built over two thousand years ago. its treasury and the harem open to public view. The breathtaking view of the city Topkapi Palace, home to numerous sultans and members of the royal family for from the preserved rooms of fifteenth century concubines leaves one trying to generations, is one of these distinct structures. This palace was widely known for imagine the place at the peak of its existence: tourist-free and filled with hundreds its lavish harem, which served to house young girls captured from conquered of concubines, some of them smoking hookahs and some taking a dip in the pool, lands so they could be brought to the sultan as gifts. Ironically enough, the best others singing and gossiping amongst each other, while the one in the corner education offered to girls at the time was in the harem. The concubines living makes a skeptical cocktail for her friend. Based on this depiction, real life fairytales there would be trained to speak multiple languages, develop their skills in arts, were much more tragic than how Disney portrays them. and enjoy smoking through a hookah pipe in the vast Turkish baths and spas built in the palace. In exchange, they were forced to abandon their homes and Built over two millenniums ago, the Maiden Tower is another historical landmark had to sexually serve the sultan while competing with each other in all aspects of that is shrouded in mystery and speculation. Ottoman legends aim to explain the life—from singing, dancing, and reading to making love—in order to be elected appearance of the ancient, isolated tower built in the middle of the sea between as a “favorite” or a “wife” for the sultan—the highest statuses a concubine could Asia and Europe. Of all the captivating myths, that of Hero and Leandros stands hope to reach. out as the story that makes Shakespeare appear to be a plagiarist.
“Turkish people tend to be generous, warm-blooded, and hospitable, and food is the principal way of showing that.”
Hero was a nun from the temple of Aphrodite, and therefore prohibited to love. She was placed in the tower in the middle of the sea to be protected from men. One day, she left for a ritual at the temple and, on her way, saw Leandros. The appearance of the melancholy Leandros affected Hero so deeply that she was instantly in love. The tower was the witness of these young lovers as their romance flourished. Leandros would swim to the tower from the shore each night, its lighthouse guiding his heart. On one stormy evening, when Leandros was swimming again, the winking light of the tower went out. He got lost and eventually drowned. Seeing the dead body of her lover in the morning, Hero jumped off the tower.
of selections, from tapas to kebabs, Turkish cuisine is incredibly intricate. It has evolved through a long period of clashing cultures due to Ottoman Imperialism. The dishes are so profuse and delicious that one can’t help but wonder why this type of cuisine remained quite untapped by the Western world for so long. Moreover, Turkish cuisine proves that a direct correlation exists between the food and the people of the same culture. After all, you are what you eat.
Like the food, the residents of this ancient city are variant, overly accommodating, endlessly fascinating, and full of surprises. Taxi drivers get offended if asked where the seatbelt has gone. They consider it an insult to their driving. Instead of mugging tourists, homeless kids chase them down the street screaming, “I love Another story claims that the sultan was visited by a fortuneteller who revealed you,” the only English phrase they supposedly picked up back when they were that his daughter would die from a snakebite on her eighteenth birthday. In selling Burberry knock-offs at the Grand Bazaar. Self-contradicting in all aspects of order to avoid this prediction, he built a tower in the middle of the sea, where culture, Istanbul exceeds touristic expectations, as it offers settings guaranteed to a snake couldn’t possibly get to. The princess lived there her whole life. When transform your journey from an affordable vacation into a memorable adventure her eighteenth birthday came, she was delivered a huge bowl of grapes. As exploring a city that somehow still manages to preserve its mystique. she attempted to eat one, a snake hiding in the bowl bit her hand, killing her instantly. Today, the Tower serves as a landmark where newly married couples go for their wedding photos. The bigger mystery remains why anyone would want their marriage to initiate at a place famous for its dark myths of separated lovers and dying children. Besides its fascinating history and the enchanting architecture, the city is conspicuous for its notable cuisine. Food is the one aspect of Turkish culture in which people take the most pride. Due to their Mediterranean roots, like Greeks and Italians, Turkish people tend to be generous, warm-blooded, and hospitable, and food is the principal way of showing that. With the vast amount 191
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ART AND CULTURE
BANNED IN BARCELONA THE RISE AND FALL OF STREET ART IN SPAIN’S CENTER OF SPLENDOR by TIGER RYAN
Every city worth a damn has an icon, a structure that rises above the rest in either height or prominence, gaining its status from neither. New York has the Empire State Building, a hulking mass of steel that refused to settle for anything less than the top of the world. Los Angeles has the Hollywood sign, a hovering promise of dreams to come true. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, a magician’s proud prop, erected to enamor all, yet hold a separate meaning for each. And then there’s Barcelona. The city that has La Sagrada Familia: A dizzying articulation of the yearning to express the unspeakable, limitless beauty of creation. Construction of the holy temple began in 1882 and has surpassed the death of its designer, Antoni Gaudi, and the overthrowing of the powers that commissioned it. It may be finished by 2026, but is unaffected by the pressures of time, money, or politics. It wishes to be, and so it will someday be, complete with seating for 15,000 people, eighteen towering spires, three grand façades, and not a single apology or straight line. No city but Barcelona has near enough creative energy to give birth to such a staggering work of art, because no other city on earth is home to denizens who so seamlessly intertwine life and art. There is not one promenade or alleyway in the city that has not been touched by a street performer, musician, or modernist, Miro, Picasso, or Dali.
Barcelona is a canvas and, in the 1990s, a generation of artists collectively took to its streets with paintbrushes and invited the world to join them in filling it. By 2000, Barcelona was the world capitol of street art. Lax laws and public approval gave artists time to produce high quality work. Collaborators could spend four hours painting a piece in broad daylight, in the middle of the city, drinking beer, with no fear of, well, anything. A tidal wave of murals washed over the city from all corners of the world as airfares dropped and the Internet rose in popularity, making international communication easier than ever before. Dozens of foreigners arrived daily to make a painting pilgrimage in their newly discovered Mecca. The city entered a constant state of evolution as new works were continuously produced, and the barrier between creator and viewer evaporated with the paint fumes. Local street artists now refer to this time in Barcelona as The Golden Era, because expression was free but highly valued. At the same time, an older, more traditional icon was bringing a different Golden Era to Barcelona. The Olympic Games came to the city in an economic explosion, the boom of which is still being heard around the world today. But as the city’s stock rose, the government’s tolerance for street art plummeted.
As current Mayor Jordi Hereu i Boher said, the Olympics were the catalyst to transform the city from a stagnant industrial wasteland into a global “city of knowledge.” In the six years between winning the bid for the games in 1986 and hosting them in 1992, the city was rocked by rapid-fire growth. Unemployment dropped, the housing market improved, and, most notably, the construction industry went wild. Of course, the same things happen in every city chosen to host the Olympics, but what sets Barcelona apart and makes it a model for every globalizing, post-industrial city in the world is that, remarkably, its upward trend continued after the games finished. Every year since 1992, the city has shown growth in employment, foreign investment, income, and international prestige on an unprecedented scale. This growth, however, was no modern miracle, but the result of highly intelligent planning. Only nine percent of Olympic funding was used to build sporting complexes. Barcelona put over sixty percent of its investment capitol into transportation, housing, offices, telecommunications, hotels, and environmental projects to ensure positive longterm returns. The changes to the city’s landscape were widespread and severe. Citizens eagerly consented to rearranging neighborhoods and property lines to allow for more parks, increasing the amount of public space in the city by an astounding seventyeight percent. In Port Olympia, named in honor of the event, miles of smooth sand
and boardwalk replaced a decrepit railroad, giving the seaside metropolis its now world famous beach. In El Poblenou, abandoned factories were exchanged for glittering glass business compounds serviced by pneumatic recycling tubes and powered by solar panels, creating a vision of the future with the Mediterranean in its periphery. The transformation was, in short, beautiful, but that, too, was deliberate. Barcelona’s leaders recognized that talent is the most lucrative commodity in our now information based economy and is critical to creating a flourishing economic hub. To secure talent and guarantee continued growth, they knew they had to attract cutting-edge companies and creative professionals, and the 1992 Olympics gave the city the financial resources and international limelight to do so. As the games began, the world’s attention turned to Barcelona and found a modern paradise—an environmentally conscious, seaside cultural center full of white-gold sunlight and drunk on possibility. Just a few weeks later, the Olympics were over, but Barcelona had succeeded in making an overwhelmingly alluring impression around the globe that would have otherwise taken decades. Barcelona has since rapidly grown into an internationally recognizable brand representing rich artistic history and the Catalonian good life. It has established itself as a global leader in publishing and industrial design, as well as a center for high-tech and
“It is imperative that the public—specifically the international artistic community—come together to form new, truly civil ideas about the placement and value of street art in our ever-expanding consumerist culture.” biomedical businesses, and is a burgeoning fashion hothouse. With nearly five million visitors a year, it is one of the top twenty most popular cities in the world and has a tourism industry that draws billions in yearly revenue. Barcelona is now the sixth most populous city in the European Union, and its international population has more than tripled since 2001 alone. For over a decade, Barcelona’s diversity has been presented to the world as a pool of opportunity as shimmering as the ones the city built for the Olympics, and as evidence of its great success. Everyone, from African immigrants to European youths taking a gap year between high school and college, was invited to dive in and take advantage. In 2006, however, this was proclaimed to its citizens to be a grave threat. Led by then mayor Joan Clos, the city’s leaders introduced “civismo,” a series of civic laws intended to regulate public space to make it “safe” for all to use. They endeavored to produce “good citizens” through “good governance.” In theory, these laws were supposed to give a newly close quartered, multicultural population a common ground upon which to interact. Civismo was designed to be a relaxed code of conduct, a gentle reminder of the golden rule, and a maternal encouragement for everyone to just get along. Break it, and you’d get a small, monetary slap on the wrist. Don’t play your music so loud that it bothers your neighbors. Don’t act aggressively. No soliciting, begging, sleeping, drinking, peeing, spitting, or defecating in the streets. No big deal. In practice, the laws have become a confusing cloud of citizen control that promotes peace through police force and motivates adherence through fear of fine, in large part because of their relaxed nature. Out of all the acts civismo deemed “uncivil,” not one was clearly defined or officially made illegal. Suddenly, “the general improper use of public space in a way that disrupts the tranquility of others” became as vaguely taboo as vandalizing a government building or playing a guitar on the beach, and made “graffiti” as criminal as prostituting an underage girl or double parking a car. The fines were set at 750 euros for a small infraction and up to 3,000 euros for a large infraction, but what was small and what was large wasn’t concretely established. To this day, the only thing definite about the nature of the infractions is that one considered small for a local is considered large for a foreigner. The city council wrote the law, passed it in the name of progress, and then left it at the discretion of the police to interpret and enforce. They did an excellent job of catering to the tastes of the foreign investors, tourists, and developers that made Barcelona’s success possible through commercialization and privatization. What they did not do is give citizens a chance to deal with or even define issues of diversity as a community. They failed to provide their public with a forum for inquisition and debate. Before anyone could ask a question, the government named itself the answer and did us all a disservice. Barcelona’s speedy development and subsequent diversification isn’t remotely unique throughout history, but it is in the modern age of global economics, which its leaders are quick to brag about. Had the city’s people been given a chance to come together in democratic discourse, to leverage their diversity and broad collection of knowledge, experience, and perspectives, who knows what insight they could have given the world into peaceful coexistence? Instead, they were given two options: comply or be coerced into complying.
At first, no one knew what would be considered “graffiti,” or if the police would even enforce the anti-graffiti provision of civismo. The artists were optimistic that they would be allowed to continue working peacefully without interference, but a stifling shadow quickly obscured their hopes as the streets literally turned grey. La Guardia Urbana set about systematically buffing all painted walls to an appropriately “civil” level of uniformity and foreign painters fled as local artists angrily asked, “Why? What now?” It is still possible to paint in Barcelona. In the city center, work can semi-safely be done after dark, but walls are often buffed within hours, making painting them practically pointless. Pieces done on storefront shutters often last longer and are easily viewed during afternoon siesta when shops close. Track sides and highway spots have the longest longevity. Some artists now create in the privacy of studios, and discreetly paste their works on the protective labyrinth of the Gothic Quarter. However, fear of undercover police has pushed other artists to outlying neighborhoods, especially Drassanes and the area surrounding the Subte metro stop. Still others have left the streets altogether, and now show their art exclusively in galleries, which have become safe havens and meeting grounds. Anyone visiting Barcelona and wishing to paint can still find advice and collaborators if they know where to look. Montana Colors and Miscelanea are good places to start. Street art is not dead in Barcelona, but its Golden Era has unfairly been destroyed. The quality of work being produced and the artists who create it have suffered, while the streets are as covered as ever. Graffiti and bombing, the acts that civismo presumably most wanted to discourage, can be done much more quickly than murals and have risen drastically in popularity in their place. Ultimately, every citizen of Barcelona has lost a part of his or her right to express ideas in the public space. As Rio de Janeiro, a currently thriving epicenter of street art, prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games, an inquiry into the civismo laws is needed now more than ever. Last fall, Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, visited Barcelona to announce that his city intends to follow Barcelona’s model of urban development in its own Olympic preparations. It is imperative that the public—specifically the international artistic community—come together to form new, truly civil ideas about the placement and value of street art in our ever-expanding consumerist culture. We must question who has the right to define urban development and why billboards make better decorations for our cities than the art of the people who inhabit them. It is the responsibility of citizens, not governments, to discuss and resolve these issues. Surely, the street art community, whose entire culture revolves around creating ephemeral, ever-changing objects, is open to evolution. If not, street art as a whole may reach the final stage of life that each of its creations eventually experiences: death. Special thanks to ARYZ, BTOY, GOHO, GÖLA, H101, IBIE, KENOR, LIMOW, MURO, PEZ, RALLITO X, TOM14, VILLAS, and ZOSEN of Animal Bandito for aiding in research, and to JUSTIN CASE, for documenting and fighting for street art through barcelonastreetart.net, and for giving an introduction to the city’s street art community.
ART AND CULTURE
BJARKE INGELS ARCHITECTURAL ALCHEMIST INTERVIEW by SARA MALIK
“The initial research is all about trying to find an innovation—how we can do things differently architecturally. Then, once the big idea has been formulated, the entire design process becomes the exploration for the potential of that idea.”
An architectural genius exists in Bjarke Ingels, founder of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), who deems the dominant themes of architecture today as “naively utopian” and “petrifyingly practical.” Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, the land of aesthetic splendor, Ingels has established himself as a whimsical gem in the realm of today’s commercial architecture. The 36-year-old’s innovative creations spring from the deepest recesses of his imagination, and they often resemble the surroundings of the most beautiful dream you have ever had. In Ingels’ world, prevailing architectural paradigms have no traction. For him, a design is not just a means of efficiently housing people or machinery. It is much, much more. The first step in a design is knowing the right question to ask—not just any question, but the “BIG” question. In our structured world, such a nebulous statement seems somewhat anachronistic, but, to Ingels, the big question is of paramount importance. It embodies the critical issues about the structure, the design, the constraints, the culture, and everything else in between. The difficulty comes in defining the question. Ingels’ core philosophy is based on the idea that a building is not just bricks and mortar and glass in an efficient configuration; rather, it is what he has defined as “architectural alchemy.” In this concept, these basic attributes are combined with the needs of the community and environment to create striking structures that are both functional and visually appealing, while still being both cost effective and environmentally effective. This young architect has a “can do” attitude that is quintessentially American, and will be embraced in the United States. He comes with a vision of architecture that is, at its root, the essence of creativity, the essence of finding the truth, and the belief that BIG can make a difference. For Ingels, these are not just words. He has proven that he can deliver inspirational and innovative works in cost effective designs. The architectural elite should note that BIG is about to arrive, and will cause an unequivocal whirlwind of innovation in New York City.
Where do you find your key inspirations? People, places, the past, or elsewhere? Pretty much anything. Since I travel quite a bit, in all the waiting that is involved with that, you have time to sort of crunch through things. I have a little Moleskine classic architect’s notebook, and I use my phone and take pictures I find inspiring and send it to the team. The major part is when you go to a new city, or even a major city but new areas; each culture or country does things differently, even the simple, ordinary things, and I think quite often something completely stands out. I think we have been trying to make a project just about what the project is about. In a laboratory, in order to observe the outcome of something, you make sure the laboratory is clean so that when you mix two fluids you don’t observe how dirty the glass you mixed it in was, you observe what happens when you combine the two things so the experiment is the pure result of that specific experiment, and not all kinds of other factors. I never saw myself as a Danish minimalist. Actually, I really like complexity. There is a very important distinction between complication and complexity— they are almost opposites. The best definition of complexity is computer coding. They say that the definition of complexity is a string of code that conveys the maximum amount of information, with the minimum amount of data. If you can write really short code that makes the computer do a lot, it is more complex than a super long and complicated code that makes the computer do the same. So essentially, complexity is a higher form of simplicity, and I think that’s what we strive for, to achieve the maximum amount of effect through the minimum amount of means. What do you feel is the common thread in today’s architecture? What is your design intent for today’s buildings? Right now, everybody needs to have an attitude towards sustainability, and it doesn’t always result in something interesting. I think the approach we have attempted to take towards sustainability is based on the idea of ecolomy (a philosophy that mixes principles of economy with ecology). Three years ago, I taught at a studio at Harvard where we were trying to introduce the notion of economy
ART AND CULTURE
“I think this idea of defying the traditional categories and pursuing these mixtures where you combine opposites is a very fertile approach to innovation, and I think the United States is all about that.” and ecology into a single concept. Both words actually come from the Greek word for house, which is “oikos,” so economy means the management of a household, and ecology means the study of the house or living. Essentially, sustainable models are environmentally friendly ideas that are way too expensive and they will never have them in real life. Business models that are based on depleting our natural resources are not going to create long-term growth. If you want sustainable growth, both economically and ecologically, you have to think ecolomically. The second thing we try to find is this idea of hedonistic sustainability. The reason the COP15 conference in Copenhagen was such a failure was because the whole debate was drowning in the question: How much of our quality of life are we prepared to sacrifice in order to be sustainable and successful? Basically, the idea that they have to hurt in order to do well. What we try to do in our work is invent examples of how sustainable thinking, sustainable design, [and] sustainable cities can actually increase the quality of life, so that sustainable life becomes more fun than normal life. Something you have held true to in all your projects? I think it is something we have grown into and something that has been evolving. Take a project like the mountain dwellings, which is essentially combining a big parking building and a traditional apartment. Suddenly, all the apartments can occupy the south facing side, so they can have positive energy calculation because, in Denmark, they spend energy on heating, not cooling. You have no shitty apartments that are facing north, you only have the best apartments. They have nice views, they have sunshine whenever possible in Denmark and, as a result, they also have a really good energy consumption because they are insulated to the north and exposed to the south. In reverse, the parking is not located in a basement, it is located in naturally ventilated outdoor parking where the perforated façade creates this giant, life-sized image of a mountain. The mountain dwellings are our most recently completed work, but it’s been well received because, not only do they increase the environmental performance of the building, but they also make a nice building to live in, [one] that has extra qualities you would not otherwise have. As a result, it’s this idea of hedonistic sustainability, that you can have really awesome flats with huge terraces, but it’s done in a way that it actually improves the performance of the building. 202
You have talked in the past about developing the big question. How do you develop your critical question, and how do you find the problem when you are initially starting a project? It is sort of like this bulimic process of eating through as much information as we can, and processing as much information as possible. It’s a bit like sitting at a giant switchboard and trying to turn all the buttons to find the right volume by testing all these variables. Suddenly you try to turn the different parameters upside down, and quite often nothing really happens, but when you find the key issue, it really creates a tremendous effect. It is looking for the key issue, looking for the big question, and you can only define the big question by asking lots of them and trying to answer differently. After having spent some time, maybe a few weeks of turning all the buttons, we find the volume, and we know where to get the maximum effect for the least effort. Do you spend time there yourself or do you base it mostly on research? There is always a site. Sometimes there is an existing institution or a similar institution, [and] a lot of [it] is looking at precedence. If you want to do something differently and better, the first thing you have to understand is how things are done. What are you working on right now? Right now, we are doing a project for a museum in New York, so we have been visiting the existing museum a lot. We have been trying to look at different museums that deal with similar situations. We are also working on a project for the National Gallery of Greenland. I knew this was coming up, so I spent my summer holidays in Greenland. I had never been there and had always wanted to go. Greenland just gained independence, so it’s a major move in establishing their new independent cultural identity. Apart from understanding the site and the geography and the climate, you also need to understand the culture. We are in the process of building the National Library of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is pretty interesting because it is almost like a pure mix of Turkish, Russian, and Chinese culture, so if you take a third of each, you get the Kazakhs, which is a pretty rare mix.
“I really like complexity. There is a very important distinction between complication and complexity—they are almost opposites.” Do you think that breaking into the North American market will help you break into the South American market? Well, at least it is the Americas, so in that sense, maybe New York is a little bit closer to Rio than Copenhagen. Although, when you look at the map, it’s not much, actually! Next week, I’m going to North Africa for the first time for a job we just got, which will be quite exciting. We recently did a project together with ReD Associates in Copenhagen, where we ended up expanding to look at this notion of a city, which combines Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden into one metropolitan region with the Øresundsbron Bridge in the middle. It’s roughly the same size as the San Francisco Bay area. It would be very easy to consider it as a single region, a single financial metropolitan area, instead of having the split brain planning, which is happening right now, where the Swedes are dealing with their half and the Danes are dealing with their half. So we need to look at it as a single region. On a bigger scale, a really interesting region to look would be the Mediterranean. It was the Ottomans, who at some point had all of the Mediterranean Sea as
an in-lake in the empire that circled the entire area. Now, with Fortress Europe, Northern Africa, and the Christian and Islamic worlds there is a certain divide, where Turkey holds a key position in creating the bridge. I think, in future plans, we will really look at the Mediterranean as a new bi-continental region. I think it’s quite exciting. What progress has been made on the mosque project in Copenhagen? It’s actually moving ahead. Politically, it was voted through. There was a public hearing, and we only got four objections, which is basically nothing, and we should have a local plan on Feb. 1. It should be completed within four years. My experience in Copenhagen has always been that Danes are very open to different cultures and religions. Yes, it is the nationalist Peoples’ Party that we have been up against a few times. I actually managed to get something close to a death threat from a young politician in the nationalist party, but he was kicked out. It was on his Facebook page, where he was encouraging people to harass me. 203
He got kicked out and was reported to the police by some politicians. I think the Danes in general are very tolerant and very open, but you have 14% for the nationalist party. However, they are not located massively in Copenhagen. What was the response from the Muslim community? The design has been quite well-received. At some point in the game, we developed a project for the private developer. Then, the Danish Muslims’ Common Council became the client for the mosque, and they wanted a Muslim to design it, so they brought in an Egyptian architect, who came to our office essentially to take over our commission. It was kind of an uncool meeting, but we explained what we had already conceived, and his response was that he thought it was the most beautiful mosque he had ever seen, and that he would go back to his potential clients and advise that they keep us as the architects, and that he would help us. We will involve him in some form as a consultant, but he was very collegial in saying, “I am going to go back and persuade them to use you, as this is the mosque they should have.”
Sci-fi addresses the future, and so do you. Is your interest in sci-fi part of how you draw inspiration, or is it just for fun? Both. A sci-fi author I find interesting is Phillip K. Dick, who has written many novels that have been converted into movies, most recently, Minority Report, Paycheck, Total Recall, Blade Runner, Owl, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, to name a few. He has a very interesting definition of science fiction; he said that science fiction is not a space opera, science fiction is not a story from the future. Science fiction is a story where the plot is triggered by an innovative idea that makes the world of the story different from our world, and the entire plot is driven by the unfolding of the potential end problems of that innovation. It appears almost as a philosophical explanation of the potential of that idea in a way that not only the author, but also the reader, can play with, and then imagining the possibilities that arise with this new idea.
We tried very hard to use Islamic architecture, but Islamic architecture is very much conceived in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, so it is made for a completely different climate than the Danish climate.
That is what we try to do in architecture. The initial research is all about trying to find an innovation—how we can do things differently architecturally. Then, once the big idea has been formulated, the entire design process becomes the exploration for the potential of that idea. That is how I see them as two very related disciplines.
The enclosed mosques go quite out of their way to protect from the sun, and because the sun never goes higher than the summer solstice in Denmark, the sun is at 57 degrees, whereas in the Middle East, it is vertical in the sky. We visually open vertically, and the design is actually a wall with the 99 names of Allah in a pentagon that keeps making itself smaller and smaller, and is completely enclosed in elevation, but also entirely open towards the heavens.
Do you feel that the architectural industry of the U.S. has been welcoming BIG? I do, and I think America invented modernism in a very practical and pragmatic way, but they didn’t really intellectualize it because the Europeans were busy doing that. They were very successful in this role, [the] creation of completely new architecture, and New York is evidence of that in that it was a whole creation of a completely new architecture before it earned a name and turned into a style.
What are your hobbies other than architecture? What do you do when you are not working? Not that I don’t have hobbies, but I think hobbies are something you do if your work feels like work. I mean, it is like they are very connected. For example: Film, literature, and architecture all sort of blend together. I do love stories.
as soon as things get identified into typologies or categories, they get stigmatized and, often, this has happened to innovation. Just like in old school Darwinian creation, where you have two opposites that you mate, a father and mother, and combine attributes of both to create a third entity. Sometimes you get ugly children or mutations, but sometimes you get a wonderful creation out of it.
I don’t know about the day off thing. Recently, more and more—also because I have been traveling so much—a day where you get up go to the office and leave to hang out with some friends at a decent hour seems like a holiday! I’m dodging the question, but I actually have a grant right now for the next three years to write a fiction book. I have started doing some of the legwork, and I will actually be hiring a researcher to dig out some of the main ingredients for the story.
I think this idea of defying the traditional categories and pursuing these mixtures where you combine opposites is a very fertile approach to innovation, and I think the United States is all about that. I like the example that the country that made Surf ‘n’ Turf is the ultimate playground for creating new hybrids. Like, the first project we are doing here in Manhattan is essentially a merger between an American skyscraper and a European courtyard, merged into an unpredictable hybrid.
Any idea what you are planning to write about? It’s going to be a conspiracy theory, and there will be a lot of architecture in it. That’s a whole other article! I am truly an addict for stories, so I tend to go to the cinema as much as I can, and I tend to read fiction because, during my studies, I only read nonfiction, but I’m happy to have returned to be able to invent some stories. Is there a message you want to convey to our readers? We recently published a comic book called YES IS MORE, which shows a very inclusive approach to architecture, rather than less-is-more, which is the minimalistic aesthetic. The inclusive approach is the idea that you reject local influence to incorporate influence from the rest of the world into the design. Working on it, we were considering another title: Bigamy. You can have both, as essentially bigamy means you have two wives or two husbands. Quite often,
PHOTOGRAPHY Nicholas Routzen STYLING RenĂŠ Garza MODEL Michelle Buswell at Marilyn
COMPUTER GENERATED PARAGRAPH [HUMAN + TECHNOLOGY] The sold helmet gloves human. With human sings technology. The rising engineer intimates every violin below the starting monkey. After the origin bows technology. Human struggles against the floor. How can technology implement the careful array? Human feels a nightmare. The oriental codes technology underneath a widespread axis. Why does human starve? Technology extends human against the widest terrorist. Human rules. The ego ends technology after the usual solicitor.
I A M N O T A R O B O T 206
Leather Hoodie by Y-3 for ADIDAS
Coat by PORTS 1961 Necklaces by DANIKA
A fair nuisance comprises the mania throughout the outlined stunt.
Top by VERLAINE Pants by HERNAN LANDER Shoes by PORTS 1961 Earring and Necklace worn around arm DANIKA
How can the microwave prevail outside an advancing doubt?
Dress by A LA DISPOSITION Skirt worn over Dress ERIK BERGRIN
Cape by Y-3 by ADIDAS Necklace by MARIE SAINT PIERRE Bottom by CALVIN KLEIN Shoes by LUXURY REBEL
Bodysuit by HALEH NEMATZADEH Coat by MARIE SAINT PIERRE Shoes by HERNAN LANDER
Before the destined misprint skips the composite copper.
Coat by CYNTHIA ROWLEY Collar by ERIK BERGRIN
from gliese581g, with love Photography JORDAN DONER Fashion Director SAH D’SIMONE Fashion Editor AIMEE O’NEILL Contributing Fashion Editor EVREN CATLIN Hair DAMIAN MONZILLO Make-up AGATHA HELENA
Latex Top and Bottoms by JAC LANGHEIM Black Outline Dress by CHROMAT GARMENTS Arm and Shoulder Piece by MICHAEL CALLOWAY Feather Necklace as Shoulder/Chest Piece & Circle and Tassel Beaded Necklace by ROSE ANNE DE PAMPELONNE Black Leather Belt by MANDY COON Chain Bracelet & Cross Necklace in hand by CHRIS HABANA Ring by LARUICCI Gold and Black Flower Platforms by SALLY LAPOINTE
Latex Top by JAC LANGHEIM Golden Necklace on Head by SWAROVSKI FOR CHRISTOPHER KANE Net Hairpiece Worn as Choker by SWAROVSKI FOR KIRT HOLMES Golden Necklace by LARUICCI Plastic Necklace by RISTO Plastic Shoe Covers Worns as Shoulder Pieces by RISTO Clear Plastic Rings by MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA Gold Claw Rings by LARUICCI
Latex Top and Bottoms by JAC LANGHEIM Multi-Element Necklaces by TRACEY HOWARTH Feather Headpiece Worn as Shoulder Piece by MICHAEL CALLOWAY Shimmering Stone Cuff by GARA DANIELLE Gold and Pearl Cuff & Ring by CHRIS HABANA Bells Bracelet as Shoulder Piece by SABRINA DEHOFF White Flower Platforms by SALLY LAPOINTE
ART AND CULTURE
THE BULLETT INTERACTIVE PROJECT PHASE ONE BULLETT teams up with designer Scott Melanson to construct a car based on feedback from you. As our readers, you are the most integral part of the BULLETT experience, and weâ€™re looking to design a vehicle suited to your tastes. Here, you can check out some of the initial concept images for the car: a five-seater luxury vehicle with an $88,000 price point. Over the coming months, we will be releasing previews of the evolving design and asking for your help in developing the look, feel and function of the official BULLETT Magazine vehicle. Lend your voice to BULLETTâ€™s first interactive venture by visiting bullettmagazine.com/auto and filling out a brief survey, and by commenting on our design posts.
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S Sabrina Dehoff sabrinadehoff.com Sally LaPointe sallylapointe.com Sam Frenzel samfrenzel.com Samantha Wills samanthawills.com.au Scosha scoshanyc.com Shipley & Halmos shipley-halmos.com Silvia Tscherassi silviatcherassi.com Simon Spurr spur.tv Sky Jewelry skyjewelry.com Sophomore sophomorenyc.com Surface to Air surfacetoair.com Swarovski swarovski.com T T.U.K tukshoes.com Timo Weiland timoweiland.com Tissot tissot.ch Tracey Howarth etsy.com/shop/athd Trash and Vaudeville 212.982.3590 U Uterqüe uterique.es V Valentino valentino.com Van Cleef & Arpels vancleef-arpels.com Vera Wang verawang.com Verlaine verlaine.us Vestal vestal.com Victor Osborne victorosborne.com Viktor & Rolf viktor-rolf.com W What Comes Around Goes Around whatgoesaroundnyc.com Wolford wolford.com Woolrich woolrich.com Y Y-3 by Adidas y-3store.adidas.com Yazbukey yazbukey.com Yigal Azrouel yigal-azrouel.com YMC youmustcreate.com Z Z Zegna zzegna.com Zeynep Tosun zeyneptosun.com
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BULLETT VOLUME 1: THE PREMIERE ISSUE
Cindy Crawford, Mark Ruffalo, Adrian Grenier, Elizabeth Banks, Penn Badgley, Paz de la Huerta, Abigail Breslin, padma lakshmi, Guy Pearce, Steve-O