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CR Men Fall/Winter 2020 President/Chief Executive Officer: VLADIMIR RESTOIN ROITFELD Founder/Co-Creative Director: CARINE ROITFELD Co-Creative Director and Editorial Director-at-Large: LYNETTE NYLANDER Art Director: MATTHEW TSANG Co-Executive Producer/Managing Editor: ARIELLA STARKMAN Co-Executive Producer: SHAY JOHNSON Creative, Editorial, and Digital Consultant: ÉDOUARD RISSELET Fashion and Market Editor: OLUWABUKOLA BECKY AKINYODE Fashion and Market Assistant: TYLER OKUNS Contributing Fashion Editor: MARIE CHEIAKH Assistant Editor: JOCELYN SILVER Copy Editor: JASMINE VOJDANI Design Assistant: JENA MYUNG Digital Director: SOPHIE SHAW Executive Assistant to the President/Chief Executive Officer: ANNA WELLS CROWLEY Production Coordinator: JOSHE ORDONEZ Executive Assistant and Paris Office Manager: ELISA THERRIAUD Publisher: JORGE GARCIA Advertising Manager: MANDI GARCIA International Editions Publisher: JEANNETTE CHANG Advertising Manager Italy/Switzerland HAW: MILO ANTIMI Managing Partner: ODIS MANAGEMENT Press & Communications: NIKE COMMUNICATIONS Pre-Press: PH MEDIA, part of The Logical Choice Group. email@example.com Print Production: LOGICAL CONNECTIONS, part of The Logical Choice Group. firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution: LOGICAL CONNECTIONS, part of The Logical Choice Group. email@example.com Controlled Circulation: LOGICAL CONNECTIONS, part of The Logical Choice Group. firstname.lastname@example.org
“CR Fashion Book” is used by CR Fashion Book LTD. under license from its owner. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.K. CR Fashion Book (BIPAD 29799) is published biannually by CR Fashion Book LTD. Principal Office: 405 Greenwich Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10013. Postmaster: Send address changes to ICN, CR Fashion Book, 2900 Veterans Highway, Bristol PA, 19007. For subscriptions, address changes, and adjustments, please contact ICN, CR Fashion Book, 2900 Veterans Highway, Bristol PA, 19007. Tel: 215-788-7112. Email: email@example.com. For press inquiries, please contact Full Picture. Tel: 212-627-0001
Contributors: ADRIAN APPIOLAZA, IAN BRADLEY, ELLIOTT JEROME BROWN JR., RORY COLE, ROE ETHRIDGE, ALEX FRANK, BRANDON VELORIA GIORDANO, MICHAEL KARDAMAKIS, HUGH MO, COLLIN JAMES WEBER
Innovators Idols Entrepreneurs Risk-takers Cult Figures and Community at its core
This issue celebratesâ€Ś
25 31 42 46
MANIFESTO LIL NAS X No Limits FOUND OBJECTS BLUE IN GREEN PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE Alex Frank SEEING, MAKING, DOING Jacolby Satterwhite
Lil Nas X wears pants by GUCCI. Watch, necklace, and rings by CARTIER
In 2019, Lil Nas X became a household name off of the back of a Nine Inch Nails sample, an omnipresent cowboy hat and the endorsements of everyone from Billy Ray Cyrus to Cardi B. A year after, the world is waiting to see whatâ€™s next for the pop supernova, now 21 and a lot wiser. Photography by ROE ETHRIDGE. Styling by IAN BRADLEY. Words by OWEN MYERS.
Lil Nas X wears jacket and pants by BALENCIAGA, Jewelry and watch worn throughout by CARTIER, Shoes worn throughout MODEL’S OWN. Previous Page: Jacket and pants by LOUIS VUITTON MEN’S
speed and the temporal warp of COVID. After a run of bad shows, including a New York performance where he fell on stage, Nas hit a mental low. He pulled out of all other shows for two or three months, an unthinkable move for a new artist in the first flush of fame. “I came back home and found myself feeling sorry for myself all the time,” Nas says. When asked to perform at the Grammy Awards, he declined twice before agreeing. “I was proud of myself for pushing myself to get up on the stage and to do what I feel like was the best performance of that song,” he says. When Lil Nas X held two Grammys aloft that night, he stood triumphantly in a hot pink Versace cowboy suit with a mesh shirt and harness to match. The gold Medusa logos shone as bright as his smile. Today, Nas wears a black durag and a baggy T-shirt, explaining that he needs a shape up. I teasingly call it his “trade”—gay slang for macho—look, and he laughs. As he speaks, he absent-mindedly flips the durag’s neck flap upwards and the fabric frills like an old-timey bonnet. The gesture is endearing, and a little childlike. (Prior to our call, Nas’s publicist joked about an aborted plan to hold his 21st birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.) In conversation, he is quiet and a little dreamy, with a gaze that never settles on one spot for too long. But he has an eye for detail, too. Noticing I’m British, he tries out some slang he picked up in London, taking tips on pronunciation. “Catch you later, mate!” he finally exclaims with pride. Playful instincts are just as vivid in Nas’s music. You can imagine a hoard of preschoolers fingerwagging to the “can’t tell me nothin’” hook of “Old Town Road,” and “Panini” was named after the sassy Cartoon Network character. His own childhood was peripatetic. Born Montero Lamar Hill in 1999, he moved around the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, between the homes of his parents, who divorced when Nas was 6. As a teenager, he was watchful and introverted, and, while he prayed that his attraction to boys was just a phase, he had a second life online as a meme stunt queen. How did he dress in high school? “The very opposite, pretty much,” he says.
His was an underdog story that mirrored the come-from-nothing journeys of pop’s most beloved stars, from Dolly Parton to Cardi B. Less than a year prior to the song’s explosion, Lil Nas X was a college dropout, battling anxiety and crashing on his sister’s couch in Atlanta. He achieved some kind of Gen-Z American Dream and was so lovable with it all that when “Old Town Road” broke Mariah Carey’s long-held record for longest-running U.S. number one, she posted a photoshopped image of her passing the torch to the much younger performer. So has his life-changing 2019 sunk in yet? “To a degree,” Nas says over Zoom, his skin radiant in Los Angeles’ midday sun. “Sometimes I’m laughing about it, sometimes I’m crying about it. I’m still discovering the magnitude of it all.” To well-intentioned observers, Lil Nas X represents a music industry trying to adapt to a new normal, where internet savvy can create hit records as much as the radio airplay or megabucks marketing campaigns of the past. He is a flash point for conversations about mainstream country music’s embedded racism, and its erasure of the Black musicians who shaped the genre. (“Old Town Road” was dropped from the country charts for not including “enough elements of today’s country music,” per a Billboard statement.) And after he came out last June, with “Old Town Road” still at number one, he came to stand for proud queerness in mainstream hip-hop, a space that has traditionally hushed LGBTQ voices. It seemed like Lil Nas X had an answer for everything. “Just got news that i’m gay and i will no longer be streaming my music,” he wrote last year in a not-so-veiled subtweet at homophobic Neanderthals. But there was a psychic toll to being a symbol. After his second single “Panini” didn’t smash like its predecessor and his 7 EP was released to lukewarm reviews, Nas says “there was a three month-ish period where I completely lost faith in myself.” “My first show was last year,” he says, a fact that’s easy to forget given the internet’s whiplash
LIL NAS X
To all appearances, no one had a better 2019 than Lil Nas X, who became an overnight star with his carefree, chart-annihilating debut single “Old Town Road.” It was a witty, succinct anthem that accelerated from a TikTok meme to permeate every corner of life, feeling as welcome as a sun-shower on an August day. Cutting across demographics gave the song an edge — it was country but also rap, as hooky as Brill Building pop with a lo-fi scrappiness. But most dazzling was the wit and hunger Lil Nas X brought to his music as a genre-blind teenager with everything to prove.
“Sometimes I’m laughing about [my life], sometimes I’m crying about it. I’m still discovering the magnitude of it all.”
LIL NAS X
Today’s most compelling stars—Billie Eilish, Lizzo—draw you into their orbit with vivid renderings of uncomfortable desires, dark fears, and deeply held hopes. If his new music turns out as good as it should, Nas has the potential to make history, and not just for his chart metrics. His story as a young Black gay musican has rarely, if ever, been heard in the mainstream. “I am at a point where I have to be my biggest rooter,” he says, with the air of a coach giving his star player a pep talk. “Go Nas.” His blooming self-confidence is on full display in Rihanna’s Fenty Skin campaign, which came out a few weeks before we spoke. In one shot, he snarls bare-chested into the camera, grills gleaming. He is, in the words of Ri, unapologetic. “Growing up, I used to feel bad about my skin or my lips or any of my facial features. This is up until two, three years ago. There was a lot of self-hate within me.” But in the Calvin Klein FW20 campaign, there is a photo by Ryan McGinley of Lil Nas X’s pursed wet lips, open slightly. “What a change for you to feel such pride,” I say. “Yeah,” he replies, with a smile that could power all the lights in Southern California. “In the last two years, that’s probably one of the most unexpected changes.” World fame is one thing. Loving every part of himself? Lil Nas X is getting there, too.
“I didn’t want to draw any attention.” “Because you didn’t want to be called gay?” “Yeah,” he says. “I didn’t want any red flags.” He came out to his family just a few weeks before he told the world. “My dad said some very Christian things,” Nas says. “Like it could be the devil tempting me. It sucks, but I guess I saw it coming.” I ask about boys. “I feel like if I put any guy solo in a picture with me, we’re automatically dating,” he says with an eye roll. “One time, I was sitting in Subway with my brother, and then a few hours later there was [a headline], ‘Lil Nas X and his boyfriend eating Subway to celebrate 17 weeks at number one.’” He shakes his head. “But I’m dating someone right now. We’re not in a relationship yet, but it’s been on and off for the past few months. I’m maybe going to try to go steady this time.” “Is it hard to tell whether a guy’s into you or just a starfucker?” “Kind of. It’s like, Do you really fuck with me? Or just how everybody else sees me? You can never really tell, so you just have to hope for the best.” Lil Nas X’s openness extends to a broadminded taste in fashion. He joyfully embraces color and silhouette, from lime-green Western wear with zebra-print gloves, to cyberpunk PVC, to a glittery suit by British maximalist Christian Cowan, with whom Nas is launching a collaborative collection this fall. “I really want dolls,” he says, suddenly animated, as he reels off the outfits that Lil Lil Nas X could have. “I have to do it.” In the mix of depressingly tasteful male celebrity dressers, Lil Nas X is a flamingo among barn hens. His style is unambiguously queer, too—sans cowboy hat, his Grammy outfit would be a showstopper at San Francisco’s legendary fetish-fest, Folsom Street Fair. “I’ve been trying to deviate from the norm that most guys wear—suit, tie,” he says. “So when I saw the [Grammys] look, even as a sketch, I was like, That’s crazy. That’s a talking point. I want to get more in tune with that flamboyant side as well. It’s an ongoing journey.” For the last “five-ish” months, Nas has been working on his album in Airbnbs across L.A. “It’s nice to be around new spaces while thinking of new ideas,” he says. This July, he put out a clip of an unreleased song, “Call Me By Your Name,” its title a clear reference to the horned-up Luca Guadagnino romance. Over a beat that sticks like spaghetti on a wall, Nas raps about a guy on the DL who’s “cute enough to fuck with me tonight.” If the lyrics of his 7 EP felt superficial, Nas promises that he’s approaching songwriting “100 percent” differently now that he’s out. “A lot of the new stuff would be a conversation piece, especially with me being in the mainstream,” he says. “I definitely touch on [sexuality] a lot. This album is much more personal, and much more Lil Nas X plus Montero, which is my real name. It’s less of a character being portrayed.”
Jacket, gloves, and pants by BURBERRY, Durag by TELFAR
Coat by MAISON MARGIELA, Pants by GIVENCHY. Opposite: Coat by BERLUTI, Pants by TELFAR
Pants by GUCCI.
Jackets, pants and sunglasses by PRADA. Opposite: Coat and pants by DIOR MEN.
Coat and pants by DIOR MEN Hair: Brittney Thomas. Make-up: Christina Guerra. Production: Alex Sanchez. Photographerâ€™s Assistant: Matty Wong. Fashion Assistant: Chapman Newnum. Production Assistant: Julia Brauner
For industry lovers, thereâ€™s nothing better than stumbling upon an archive of rarities or the rush that comes with discovering a particularly exceptional and hard-to-come-by piece. Casual shoppers may hunt for the thrill of it, but a secret society of global collectors of some of the worldâ€™s most covetable labels offers a look into loving fashion with longevity. Words by JOCELYN SILVER.
COLLIN JAMES WEBER AND BRANDON GIORDANO, MARGIELA RORY COLE,VELORIA JUNYA WATANABE
If you’re looking for rare, special-occasion vintage in New York City, there’s really only one place you need to go: James Veloria, a joyful, confetti-strewn boutique tucked away on the second floor of a Chinatown mall. Founders Collin James Weber and Brandon Veloria Giordano (the store is christened after a combination of their middle names) sell styles from everyone from Vivienne Westwood to Jean Paul Gaultier. Here, they were photographed with their stock of Maison Margiela. “Margiela hits all the points,” says Giordano. “It’s well made and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s clever.” “Every piece feels so special,” says Weber. “It makes it feel like a piece of art. And not everyone gets it, so when you find something you get the thrill of, I know what this is and I know why it’s special.” When Weber and Giordano first expanded James Veloria into a larger space, they used the new room to showcase a Margiela collection. Most of it came from a collector they met at a vintage show, who casually invited them over after mentioning that she had some pieces she might like to sell. “We went to her apartment and she just had a goldmine of Margiela,” says Weber. “Her whole living room was just filled with it. We couldn’t believe it.” Weber and Giordano like the personal element of collecting. “Sometimes you go to someone’s place and you sit there and look at their Beanie Baby collection and chat about their grandkids and have some wine, and you’re just thinking, I want the Margiela, honey,” laughs Giordano. “But with COVID, we can’t source that way anymore, and I really miss going to those ladies’ apartments.”
ADRIAN APPIOLAZA, MARGIELA
Argentina-born, Paris-based fashion designer Adrian Appiolaza started collecting archival clothing in 2006, slowly accumulating a large collection of vintage Çommes Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto. In 2011, he began dedicating himself to creating a Maison Margiela archive. “By 2014, I was really obsessed,” he says. “I just couldn’t stop searching for it.” When Appiolaza started studying fashion at Central Saint Martins in 1999, Margiela was, as he puts it, “really hot.” Even though he was a broke college student, the designer felt the urge to obtain at least a piece of Martin Margiela’s avant-garde creations. “I was obsessed with it while I was a student,” he says. “I was poor and there wasn’t much I could buy, but the first thing I bought was a sweater from men’s 1998. It was very expensive, but I loved it.” Appiolaza spends a great deal of time hunting for treasures online, though he says that the greatest effort is “economic.” He loves Margiela from any era, saying, “my obsession goes beyond any one piece or any one season,” but he has a particular hankering for the collections from 1989 to 1996; some of his favorite items are the 1989 jackets with “little shoulders and cigarette sleeves.” Although he preserves his archive, he likes to enjoy the clothes, too. “I love fashion, I love clothing, so anything that fits me, I wear,” he says with a laugh. “I know it’s a rare piece, but why not enjoy it?”
HUGH MO, PRADA
Hugh Mo has always been something of a magpie. “I’ve always been a collector of things,” says Mo. “Whether it was Yu-Gi-Oh cards when I was a kid, or sneakers.” Mo got his start as a teenager in New York City’s competitive sneakerhead culture, hunting on forums and making trades. “I was like 12 years old, meeting up with 35-year-olds for sneakers,” he says with a laugh. And so it felt like something seismic when, in the fall of 2017, Mo paired up with friends Dominik Halas and Max Tsiring to launch Artifact New York, a business that rents out rare archival garments from brands like Raf Simons and Helmut Lang (Tsiring launched an initial version of the service in 2014). Artifact’s pieces are so rare that even their website is password-protected, which adds to shoppers’ feelings that they have found something secret and special. Mo collects a number of menswear brands, but he’s featured here with his archive of women’s Prada (some of which he had just loaned out to Kali Uchis for a music video). “I think [Miuccia Prada] just has such good taste,” he says. “The very subversive feminine pieces strike out to me. I gravitate the most towards early 2000s Prada. It makes me feel the most inspired.” While Artifact is well-known and respected among collectors, Mo still likes to search for “a grail” anywhere he can — namely Ebay. “I really don’t discriminate,” he says. “You can find great gems in any place.”
MICHAEL KARDAMAKIS, HELMUT LANG
Athens-based collector Michael Kardamakis began collecting Helmut Lang while studying art history at university in London in 2011. He was drawn to what he describes as Lang’s conservatism, restraint, and perfectionism in making “timeless designs.” “Helmut’s aesthetic really resonated with me at the time,” he says. “The trends were different then, so it was really easy to find, and cheap, and that really helped because I never had any capital doing this thing.” Kardamakis started a reselling business, and then four years ago he shifted to more of an archive model. His business, Endyma, primarily serves as a garment rental service for design research— and it’s also the largest Helmut Lang collection in the world, with an archive of 2,000 pieces. “I’m becoming more sentimental about it,” he says. “I want to keep these garments, as opposed to making one-off sales.” As his collection grew in renown, resellers and collectors reached out to Kardamakis directly; he doesn’t have to hunt as much for rare pieces anymore. But he still has a number of “pen pals,” all dedicated to finding the rarest Helmut Lang. And when it comes to his own wardrobe, Kardamakis tends to shy away from his collection—he loves the clothing too much to actually wear it, thinking of it as art instead. “I actually have a very, very complicated relationship with these objects,” he says. “In fact, I don’t wear almost any of them. It’s very tempting—this stuff is sporty, it’s smart, it’s fun to wear casually, it looks nice on a body. But I have difficulty processing it. It’s too much for me.”
RORY COLE, JUNYA WATANABE
Notoriously opaque, Junya Watanabe is a designer who rarely explains himself or the inspiration behind his collections—so fans are really, really dedicated, Rory Cole among them. Cole, a photographer based in Lincolnshire in the UK, adores Watanabe’s work so much that he wanted to bring together a true community of the designer’s avid collectors. And thus in July 2017, he founded the Facebook group Junya Watanabe World, the first real community in the Western world for Junya fans to come together, make trades, and connect. Cole had already been a member of a number of fashion-based Facebook groups, and gained some notoriety for his huge Junya collection. People started asking him how to find pieces or what to look for, and so he decided to start a group. There are now thousands of members. “I’ve made quite a number of friends through it,” says Cole. “When you create a niche community, you’ll attract similar people. And I like to engage, and communicate, and share a wealth of information.” Cole separates his personal wardrobe from his private archive. He’ll wear Junya Watanabe when the mood strikes, but he carries a consistent love for the designer. “What sparked my interest in [Watanabe] was the fundamental difference in how he designs menswear,” says Cole. “He’ll take a staple design and reinvent it, not just visually, but functionally. He really makes you appreciate construction.”
We honor the past and look to the future with 70s-inspired styling set in a decidedly downtown New York setting. Photography by ELLIOTT JEROME BROWN JR. Styling by OLUWABUKOLA BECKY AKINYODE.
Ola wears Jacket by DSQAURED2, Sweater by BERLUTI, Pants and shoes by LOUIS VUITTON MEN’S, Necklace and rings by CHROME HEARTS, Socks STYLIST’S OWN Anarcius wears Top by LINDER, Pants by BODE, Shoes by GUCCI, Ring and Necklace CARTIER Previous: Anarcius wears Jacket and turtleneck (worn underneath) by BERLUTI, Shirt (worn underneath) by GUCCI, Pants by BOTTEGA VENETA, Necklace by CARTIER
OLA wears Jacket by BERLUTI, Shirt by HOMME PLISSE ISSEY MIYAKE, Pants by ACNE STUDIOS, Boots by DSQUARED2 Opposite (Clockwise): Anarcius wears Sweater by LANVIN, Jeans and boots TELFAR, Ring by CHROME HEARTS. Ola wears Jacket by SALVATORE FERRAGAMO, Shirt by DIOR MEN Necklace by CHROME HEARTS. Tenzin wears Jacket and pants by Ã‡OMMES DES GARCONS SHIRT, Hoodie by R13
Anarcius wears Sweater LANVIN, Top (worn underneath), jeans and boots by TELFAR Opposite: Tenzin wear Jacket, shorts and shoes by SALVATORE FERRAGAMO, Top by COMMES DES GARÃ‡ONS SHIRT, Sweater (worn underneath) by GUCCI, Bracelets (worn as necklace) and rings CARTIER
Anarcius wears Top by LINDER, Pants by BODE, Shoes by GUCCI, Ring and Necklace by CARTIER Opposite: Tenzin wears Jacket and pants by COMMES DES GARÃ‡ONS SHIRT, Hoodie by R13, Necklace and Ring by CHROME HEARTS, Belt by GIORGIO ARMANI
Grooming: Latisha Chong, Makeup: Mical Klip, Models: Anarcius Jean at IMG, Ola at ETHOS, Tenzin at DNA, Production: Ariella Starkman and Shay Johnson for CR Studio, Fashion Assistant: Tyler Okuns , Joshua Willams
Personal Recommendations We’re constantly seeking out cultural methods of self-improvement — works of art that change the way we see the world, and ourselves. And so CR asked six men of distinction to share their top picks in music, film, and more. From romantically shot movies to American icons who inspire, here’s a guide on what to watch, read, and listen to. Take note. the same peak of innovation of this one, in its capacity to create a synthesis between opposites — in the way in which portrays, let’s say, the unavoidability of law. 3
Five Most Visually Compelling Films Of All Time Oscar-winning Italian director Luca Guadagnino makes trembling, delicate, deeply affecting films. They are also very sexy (see: The Peach). And he is known for work that’s just as visually gorgeous as it is emotionally impactful, with innovative camerawork and stunning set and costume design—consider Tilda Swinton’s elegant clothing in I Am Love, the crumbling Italian countryside of Call Me by Your Name, and the muted colors followed by flashing red in his remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Guadagnino is perhaps the most in-demand director of the moment. But for his next project, he’s taking a break from cinema and moving into the most beloved of quarantine media: television. His new HBO show, We Are Who We Are, tells the story of “third culture kids”— expatriate children raised in different countries (Guadagnino, who was born in Italy but spent his early childhood in Ethiopia, identifies as one himself)—growing up on a US military base in Italy and exploring their cultural, sexual, and gender identities. He called up CR from a literal boat in “Venezia” and told us about the visuals from his favorite films to the sound of wind whipping over the water. 1 THE RULES OF THE GAME (Renoir, 1939) There’s a sort of flawless lighting that encompasses all of the mindlessness and suavity of the ruling class, but also their cruelty. And in portraying that, it does it with an incredibly wonderful sense of their aesthetic. 2 SUNRISE (Murnau, 1927) It’s a movie in which I find the power of cinema as a visual medium. [Cinema] almost never reached
LAST TANGO IN PARIS (Bertolucci, 1972)
From the beginning, it has a sense of fury — the fury of something that makes you drunk, the fury of something that reveals the innermost, less exposed, visceral aspects of our being. JEANNE DIELMAN, 23 QUAI 4 DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES (Akerman, 1976) We are put in front of the minutiae of the life of a woman, and we grow into her in a way that completely commands our gaze. 5 À MA SŒUR (Breillat, 1976) The great filmmaker Catherine Breillat allows us to have the sweet and sour experience of adolescence through an incredibly poignant perspective, and she shows a culture of patriarchy that erupts in a way that is really shocking.` LARRY JACKSON Image by David Lachapelle
Five Albums That Changed My Life If you’ve ever wondered who’s behind the curation of music’s top stars at Apple Music, look no further than Larry Jackson, the streaming giant’s Global Creative Director. Jackson has produced records for everyone
1 PURPLE RAIN, Prince Prince called the album his “albatross” in an interview with author Alan Light. While the film has a few misogynistic and narrative moments that don’t age well, Prince effortlessly exudes a cool, calm confidence throughout the iconic movie. What’s even more amazing is that many of the final recordings for the album were recorded on August 3 of 1983 as he played to an unsuspecting crowd at First Avenue Club in Minneapolis—he arranged to have a sound truck on sight with a 48-channel mixing console, where he captured the audio and used many of the performances that night on the final album. Everything about this piece of art and moment in time is so inspired and next-level creative genius, as if it were done by an alien from another dimension. 2 FINALLY RICH, Chief Keef Chief Keef could not be more underrated and misunderstood. He paved [the way] for the latest generation of rap with his defining major label debut album, which, in my opinion, was one of the most important albums of the 2010s. It single-handedly changed rap when it dropped. Songs such as “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa” are just as important and genre-altering in hip-hop as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was in rock. And I’m not just saying this because I executive-produced this album! 3 THRILLER, Michael Jackson Black pop crossover magic at its finest. Quincy’s approach so cleverly encapsulates elements of jazz, swing, disco, rock, R&B, and Afro-rhythms. It’s beyond brilliant, and thoughtfully succinct at a total of nine standout songs. It’s impact since its release in 1982 is so deep that we are still inarguably living in a post-Thriller pop-culture world. 4
ALL EYEZ ON ME, 2Pac
It still blows my mind that at the age of 25, this musical prophet created such a masterpiece. To me, this is rap’s Thriller. 5
SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE, Stevie Wonder
This album is as important as any scripture, artifact or Biblical passage. Yes, I know that’s a blasphemous statement to many, but I wholeheartedly stand by it. It holds the meaning to so much. Fun fact: One day in the summer of 2017, I flew across the world—LA to London—on a day’s notice to see him perform the album from start to finish in London’s Hyde Park. MICHAEL IMPERIOLI
Five Artists Who Got Me Through 2020 As far as TV royalty goes, there are The Sopranos, and then there’s everyone else. As Christopher Moltisanti in TV’s First Family, Michael Imperioli’s quick wit gained him a legion of devoted fans. He still discusses the comings and goings of the Soprano clan on his podcast Talking Sopranos with ex co-star Steve Schirripa. But Imperioli has very little in common with his on-screen persona. He’s even a vegetarian, a lifestyle antithetical to chopping up bodies. Imperioli’s widely beloved Instagram gives you a look into what makes him tick, like New York punk bands and Buddhism. In quarantine, the actor, writer, director, and producer has kept his spirits up by teaching meditation classes over Zoom from his Santa Barbara home. He’s also found serenity in art — he tells CR that he was drawn to fine art at 19, when his acting teacher Elaine Aiken took students to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “That was the first time I realized that the artist really makes a choice, choices that are very specific to them,” he says. Here, he shares five artists who have made an impression on him. 1 BHARTI KHER I first saw her work in the Vancouver Art Gallery, and she had this sculpture, “Six Women” — these live plaster casts of sex workers, all different physiques. It was incredible, the way she was bringing dignity and humanity to these women while calling attention to their situation. It really took the air out of the room. 2 MARK TURGEON He’s been around in New York, in Soho, for the past 30 years now, and I’ve known him for almost as long. I see him as an heir to the Abstract Expressionists. He’s done thousands of portraits of friends and acquaintances and neighbors, and he’s also famously known in Manhattan as a go-to signage-maker for restaurants and cafes and bars. 3
LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE She’s a painter and a writer, and she says that she
from Aretha Franklin to Chief Keef, served as the head of A&R at RCA Records, and has worked alongside industry legends Clive Davis and Jimmy Iovine (he also somehow found the time to manage Kanye West). Jackson moved to Apple in 2014, and signed the likes of Frank Ocean and previous CR Men’s coverstar The Weeknd to its content platform. He was also instrumental in bringing Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Instagram music battle Verzuz to Apple Music, bolstering their already soaring viewership. As a music connoisseur (and Billboard-certified power player), we asked Jackson to name five albums that shaped his formative years.
paints things she doesn’t write, and writes things she doesn’t paint. So her portraits are of fictional people, like short stories on a canvas that she brings to life.
fragmented novel, truly representative of France’s Nouveau Roman movement. I read The Lover once a year to ground myself. The voice and syntax of the sentences possess a quiet, potent defiance that makes me want to write.
4 CAKER FOLLEY I found her work on Instagram and it really moved me. She started painting recently, in her 30s, and I find her very original and extremely expressive. She had a little COVID showing in her backyard of both her figurative and abstract work, and actually seeing them in person really blew me away — a lot of her work is really large scale, which you can’t always tell online.
4 ENIGMA OF ARRIVAL, V.S Naipul Perhaps the finest example of autofiction I’ve encountered, full of essayistic curiosity, historical reflections, and the fictive ordering of a life as rich and varied as the imagination itself. Both a Bildungsroman and Künstlerroman at once.
5 TODD DICIURCIO He’s the court painter to the royal order of rock ’n’ roll. He paints live onstage with bands — he’s painted with the Rolling Stones, Blondie, and even my band, Zopa — and it’s a really unique and special style of action painting. The energy really flows from the music onto the canvas.
5 CLOSE TO THE KNIVES, David Wojnarowicz This is the bible, to me, of radical queer writing: embodied, angry, sad, but not without the courage to act and the strength to dream. Written over 30 years ago and filled with wonder and rage, these essays could be written almost at any time in America, including right now.
Image by Tom Hines
Saigon-born, Hartford-bred Ocean Vuong is one of the most important writers of 2020. He’s the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, a sweeping, lyrical bildungsroman framed as a letter to the protagonist’s mother. He won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2019. Students clamor to take his classes at UMass Amherst’s MFA for Poets and Writers. He’s the stylish, bespectacled image of millennial success — success made all the sweeter by the fact of that, until a couple years ago, Vuong paid the bills by working at Panera Bread. Vuong primarily writes poetry; his first collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, was a widely praised, prize-winning work. Considering his novel’s rapturous reception, we asked him to tell CR readers what spines they should be cracking open. COOLING TIME, C.D Wright 1 A fierce and, at times, witty rallying cry for poetry’s seat in the culture of disaster and its pessimisms. A true antidote of a book. 2 PICASSO’S TEARS, Wong May A master of the elliptical lyric and truly a peerless mind. Her poems feel like punk-rock anthems sung in a rocking chair. I read her every autumn. 3
THE LOVER, Marguerite Duras One of the early pioneers of the hybrid,
Five Movies That Made Me Want To Become An Actor After smaller roles on shows like High Maintenance, Alexander Hodge became a breakout star on Issa Rae’s Insecure. Fans developed an obsession with Hodge as Andrew, lead character Molly’s calm, cool, collected, and very well-dressed boyfriend. Born in Sydney, Australia, Hodge now resides in Los Angeles, California. He has always wanted to act.“It allows me to emotionally empathize with a person, to truly understand to my best capacity why they do what they do and what makes them who they are,” he tells CR. Read on for the five movies that made him want to go into show business. THE GREAT ESCAPE (Sturges, 1963) 1 It’s my favorite Steve McQueen performance. He’s a leading man with equal parts courage and mischief. When I was a teenager, I just wanted that life. I wanted to race motorbikes, I wanted to star in amazing movies full of hope and gumption. Movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood inspired me to be a part of it. 2 OCEAN’S ELEVEN (Soderbergh, 2001) It’s purely because of the watchability of it. I think it’s one of the best ensemble pieces that I’ve ever seen. The chemistry between everybody, the playfulness between all the actors—you watch that movie and you want to rob a bank.
Five Books Everyone Should Read
3 THE DEPARTED (Scorsese, 2006) The third act never ceases to amaze me. I’ll never, ever get tired of watching everything come together, and watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s desperation. It’s just riveting for me every time I watch it. It’s funny, I must’ve seen it 12 or 13 times by now, but I still get shocked every single time. It’s just always going to be fresh for me. And I have family in Boston; I can do a Boston accent. 4
THE DARK KNIGHT (Nolan, 2008)
More than anything, Heath Ledger is a huge inspiration for me. Obviously, his penultimate performance in The Dark Knight was a revelation for comic-book movies at the time. The joker was so incredibly whole. He wasn’t just evil, he was also maniacal, and he was equal parts charming in his own kind of twisted way. His whole performance was like a car crash that you couldn’t look away from. Every single time I watch it, the brilliance of the man really comes through. 5 MOONLIGHT (Jenkins, 2016) Moonlight for me was a revelation in storytelling. The three acts are so distinctly separate, but they also unite so easily. To have six actors play the two main characters, and for us to believe it — I never for a moment questioned that these were different people. I loved the story, I loved the way that they chose to tell the story—the lighting, the cinematography, the performances. I was in acting school at the time, and I remember sitting in the Angelika theater watching Moonlight, thinking, “This is what it’s about.”
Selman has fantastic taste in everything, with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything from camp films to vintage denim. His work is inspired by numerous iconic American figures–particularly women. “I wanted to pick women who have influenced me on my journey,” he says from his studio in New York. Read on for a dash of the divine feminine. 1 DOLLY PARTON Dolly Parton had to overcome a lot. She’s been surrounded by controversy, but done things her own way. She’s a brilliant songwriter, and she’s really captured the essence of America through her music. 2
Not a lot of people know this about me, but in college I was very active in activism, protesting the Iraq War and the Bush administration. I was very inspired by Jane. And at that time I was also getting into movies–I love that she was the one to recommend Dolly for 9 to 5. And her workout videos sort of spawned the next generation of my career. I just think the world of her. I can’t get enough! She’s someone I always reference. I think she’s transcended [her career in movies] and broken a lot of boundaries. 3 NINA SIMONE Obviously the face and the beat of a generation. She really was a huge style icon for me for years. It was hard for me to get away from her. For years, her music provided the start to my mornings. She’s peak for me. 4
Five Female American Heroes Adam Selman can make anything. The designer, currently focused on his athleticwear brand Adam Selman Sport (aka A.S.S.–cheeky), has created sold-out sunglasses collaborations with Le Specs, lingerie collections for famous pal Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line, John Waters-esque ready-to-wear under his own label, and contributed props and pieces of set design for longtime friend Amy Sedaris’s gloriously demented TruTv series At Home With Amy Sedaris.
I’m so cliché. And it’s also not just about Diana Ross. It’s all about The Supremes and what they built. Diana is an icon, but it’s about the surrounding icons, like Darlene Love and Jean Terrell–don’t even get me started! Before I was into fashion, I was questioning what I wanted to do, and I was making props and costumes and dabbling into quilt art and folk art, and I did a whole Supremes series. I just really respect that era of music–that girl group, call and response kind of thing. They did Motown in a garage! I really respond to that energy. 5 BILLIE JEAN KING She has her set of controversies. But she’s an LGBT icon, and the fact that she lost endorsements because she was a lesbian–we don’t see that anymore. She’s sort of proof of how far we’ve come in such a short span of time. And she really just didn’t give a fuck. She was a style icon without knowing it. She really pushed it!
PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE
When our very human instinct for togetherness becomes well, extinct, we long for the days when life was a little simpler, or at the very least when we could see friends without the need for a Zoom meeting ID. Here, writer Alex Frank writes about a transformative summer, a looming winter, and the feeling of being alone together.
People Who Need People
When fall arrived this September, with earlier sunsets signaling the start of colder nights and dinners in the dark, I was reminded most of all of just how little summer we had this year. Normally, by the end of August, I’m a bit exhausted after spending three months outdoors hiking and traveling, ready to enjoy the cool air and settle in New York to see everyone I love, many of whom had their own seasons of escape. On any given summer Saturday, it’s easy to fall through a kind of freewheeling looking glass, to a fantasia filled only with barbecues and parties and swimming and too many drinks. You move from moment to moment with ease, beginning in one part of the city and ending up in another, hitting the streets with one set of friends but finishing the day with others, some of whom may have been strangers to you just hours before. You cram into cars, shuttles, buses, trains, ferries, subways to get to beaches, parades, festivals, pools. You never once put on pants. You never once look at the clock. I recall one year in particular: I was caught up in a sublime but ultimately painful summer love with a boy who lived upstate. Before things went sour, we’d drive down rural highways in his convertible with the top down. But even though the fling ended in shambles, I am now nostalgic even for that very human heartbreak, a feeling which only occurs when two people collide out there in the real world. Thanks to a confluence of writing assignments around the world, that summer was a time of great movement all around: I hopped from Los Angeles, where I took long walks for ice coffee with my friend Beth and her dog Josie, to Vienna, where I swam in the Danube with my friend Spencer; from Nashville, where I drank beer at old country bars up and down the legendary and crowded Broadway, to Jamaica, where I stayed up all night with my friends Deidre and Chioma to watch Beenie Man hit the stage around 7 AM, the hot sun rising and beating on our tired drunk faces. I was tanner than I’d ever been. Weeks later, I ended up in Accra, Ghana, sitting in the back of a pick-up truck owned by a new friend Kofi I had just met at a bar, looking up at the West African stars. But, of course, the summer of COVID was not the same. Perspective on travel comes clearest when its no longer an option, and this year, I stayed put—the furthest I ventured from Brooklyn was the occasional risky trip to Manhattan by subway, or, if I had enough energy, by walking over the Williamsburg Bridge to avoid having to be trapped in a small train car with other people. It was a summer not only drained of activity, but one in which isolation was a virtue. I am the luckiest person in the world if the only costs of COVID for me (thus far) have been either financial (as a freelance writer, my workload plummeted and I signed up for unemployment) or social. As I write this, we are about to cross the 200,000 mark in deaths, and I see photos of Americans in bread lines nearly a mile long. We’re not out of the woods either—the second wave has yet to hit, but we all sense it coming, and, as winter approaches and social distance hangs in the park become colder, it’s hard not to be terrified of the desolate, dead months ahead. And yet, when I think of this summer,
PEOPLE WHO NEED PEOPLE
the little worlds of our apartments. At marches, regular people organized to hand out sandwiches, granola bars, water, hand sanitizer and masks to their fellow protesters, a gift at a time of staggering jobless and hunger. This year’s Pride celebration, which I’ve gone to for the past 13 years, felt less like a corporate branding exercise than it did an actually radical convergence. I saw altercations between rebellious revelers and police on 6th Avenue, but I also saw—in the dance parties that erupted and then continued through the rain along Washington Square Park and Christopher Street— spontaneity, a state of being I had forgotten about during a time when you can’t even leave the house without remembering to bring masks and Purell. Finally, at the end of August, a pair of friends, Matthew and Allegra, took pity on me and invited me to stay with them in Cape Cod for the month of September. I quarantined and took a COVID test, then rented a car and drove up from the city. They have a newborn, Renzo, who was just beginning to crawl. I snuck in some beach days when it was still warm enough to do so. But what I was not expecting was how invigorating time with the baby turned out to be–better, at least in the era of social distancing, than sunshine or any late night. I got to watch him develop some basic skills, like pulling himself up onto his feet for the first time. I loved blowing on his face so his hair would fly up and he’d stick out his tongue to laugh. I just felt peaceful with him around. Holding the baby in my lap one morning, it occurred to me that what I really missed about this summer was not just the far-flung places or tall rum punches or even swims in the Danube. It’s more that all those activities involve being close, skin-to-skin, to others—the beach isn’t the beach without someone laying on a towel next to you. It would be too simple, and frankly dishonest, to wrap this up with a happy ending. No life lessons are worth the horror of what the world is enduring. I am skeptical that we will pull out of this as quickly as many of us need. I am worried about what things will look like if we ever get to the other side. I am not convinced that, on the whole, tragedies like this will help us grow, change, vote for better government, treat each other more kindly, find solutions to the institutional failures that exacerbated this misery, build a more equitable society in which it’s not the poorest amongst us who are forced to suffer the brunt of the worst catastrophes. But I suppose that’s the point–that no matter what is awaiting us on the other side of pain, there will be people, and some of those people are good. The “who” can matter more than the “where” or “when.” It’s maybe a little too sentimental to say that one can endure more than one thinks if surrounded by love and affection, but I cannot help but now think that there’s some truth in the idea. Which is to say, it no longer feels too wide-eyed for me to believe that no matter how bad things get, someone will be there to help you get through. I guess these days, I really have no other choice. — ALEX FRANK
while I do mourn the exciting things that weren’t, my mind more often turns to gratitude and the little things that were. Mostly, those little things involve loved ones—without beaches and airplanes and up-all-night parties, all we had left was ourselves and the people we care about. That was often enough. I am aware that this makes me one of the fortunate ones, sufficiently wealthy and entrenched in a privileged urban bubble that friendship could be enough, and that I have been cocooned from the worst material costs of the pandemic. Still, it is not always easy for men who live in such a callous and frenzied era to ever really pause and appreciate the deep intimacy and love they share with their friends, to tell those closest to them how much they mean. And yet in 2020, it felt so much more obvious to notice who made you feel good when there was nothing else around to do so, to know the people you’d want to share an underground bunker with if everything else came crashing down. My birthday falls in the beginning of June, and while I’ve never been a fan of huge celebrations, I do like to commemorate turning a year older in some way. Of course, that wasn’t really possible this year. But a day before I hit 34, my friend Michael sent me a text: “What are we doing for your birthday bb?” That “we” was so generous in such a lonely time. The next day, he showed up to my house with a bottle of Moët and a tin of smoked meat; I made margaritas in a blender and we ate tacos and listened to a long playlist called “Sweet Birthday Pop” filled with my favorite Mariah Carey, George Michael, and Janet Jackson songs. After the meal, dusk still hanging in the sky, Michael, my friend Jonathan and I sat on my fire escape with our drinks, looking out over Brooklyn. All the New York noises—sirens, competing car radios, chatter—floated up to us, and at one point, we accidentally saw a young couple hooking up in a window across the way before laughing and turning away to give them privacy. The city was then under curfew after the George Floyd protests, so we talked until around 10 and then they left. A smile lingered on my face as I shut the door behind them and got ready for an early night in bed. I woke up the next day, miraculously, with no hangover, and realized that it was the best birthday I’d had in years. I didn’t have to go anywhere but right outside my window. I sent Michael a text to tell him so. Around the same time, the Black Lives Matter protests, though born from extreme pain, were another chance to see humans together and at their best, this time urgent and passionate and angry. Which is, I hope, not to be naive about the stakes: When the issue is essentially statesanctioned homicide, a vague sense of “togetherness” is not enough. Still, while there’s not much to be hopeful for in 2020, there is something relentlessly human and optimistic about political action of this sort; you wouldn’t fight for change if you didn’t think change was at least possible. I wonder if the focus of the movement was intensified by what we were missing, then three or so months into lockdown, desperate to be close to others and build something constructive and creative. To care only about what happens outside
Seeing, Making, Doing Celebrated artist Jacolby Satterwhite blurs realities and merges the ethos of survival games with otherworldly compositions in his immersive new show.
Satterwhite–whose practice incorporates VR, performance, sculpture, and digital animation– defies easy categorization. But he is primarily a worldbuilder, someone who uses the language and visual codes of gaming to create immersive mixedmedium works. He plans to produce his own game within the next two years. “I feel like conceptually, the overarching ideas in gaming reflect our current times more than ever,” he says. “All of the tropes, variables, and ideas that overwhelm our society right now–the pandemic, ‘Fake News’–sound like a survival game. I feel like I’m playing Mario Bros. all the time, jumping across barriers and dipping and looking for these secret codes. So to be irreverent and funny with my aesthetic, I felt like leaning into this idea to intersect with my other interests, which are painting and composition and light and space.” Satterwhite has a crystal clear understanding of society now, but he doesn’t intend to predict the future. “No one knows what’s next,” he says. “The bittersweet thing about this year is that it really destabilized certainty. So I’m not trying to resolve anything–I’m just making the art objects that I’m obligated to make.”
“The most difficult thing to do is to make art during civil unrest and the collapse of capitalism in the world,” says artist Jacolby Satterwhite. And yet he has still managed to make art—a lot of it. In 2019 alone, Satterwhite, who specializes in the creation of futuristic, Hieronymous Bosch-like dreamscapes, held two solo exhibitions: one as the artist-in-residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (a title previously held by the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Carrie Mae Weems, and Chris Burden), and another at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, a showstopper that featured expansive works reworking recordings and drawings from his late mother, who suffered from schizophrenia. And now, at the tail end of 2020, Satterwhite is gearing up for yet another solo show at New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash, a multimedia experience called We Are In Hell When We Hurt Each Other. A central piece of the show features a video and virtual reality installation that serves as a tribute to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Louisville EMT who was murdered in her home by the police. “It feels kind of gratuitous to make things right now,” says Satterwhite. “For the first time in my life, I was in reactionary mode in the studio, and so the work may feel that way.”
SEEING, MAKING, DOING
Stills from Jacolby’s show We Are In Hell When We Hurt Each Other
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