56 PAGES OF
STRAIGHT-UP ADVICE ON HOW TO: WEAR A SUIT (OR A TRACKSUIT) THE 2016 WAY ELEVATE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE FIND THE MOST INVENTIVE FOOD IN AMERICA TAKE AN ART-CATION DESIGN YOUR HOME BE HAPPY (YES, HAPPY)
HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR LIFE & YOUR LOOK STA R R I N G
GQOc ob PAGE 1∕3
Letter from the Editor 54
Backstory Kurt Russell’s bitmoji best practices
GQ Intelligence 87
The Punch List Don’t miss robot cowboys in HBO’s Westworld—or Sasha Lane in American Honey 96
Broadway Joe Congressman turned TV pundit Joe Scarborough is dreaming bigger than just his morning show BY JA S O N Z E N G E R L E
The Halloween Rules (First Rule: Don’t Offend Humans)
> Kurt Russell proves cowboys can wear tight pants, too.
Costumes that aren’t racist do exist. Take your cues from Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani B Y C A I T Y W E A V E R
Jacket, $3,095, by Emporio Armani. Shirt, $690, by Saint Laurent at MrPorter.com. Jeans, $199, by 7 For All Mankind. Belt by John Varvatos. Vintage hat by Stetson. Boots by Corral. 34
The Shooter & the Saint Two New Orleans football players—a beloved pro and a striving amateur— bumped into each other one night this spring. S E A N F LY N N investigates why one killed the other OCTOBER
GQOc ob < James Marsden is annoyinglyy good-looking..
P PAGE E 2∕3
Fashion 122 122
Cove Co ver: ve r How to Ne Neve verr G Out of St S yl Go Styl ye Kurt Russell—he of the hall-of-fame ff squint—is q one o of our all-time favorite action stars B Y C H R I S H E A T H 136 36 6
Co ove ver: r: Lin n-S San anit ity it ity Lin-Manuel Miranda, the guy g y b h d that behind h explosively pl ly s successful musical (Hamilton, (H l , y’ y’all), talks about how to p pivot to the h N Next B Big g Thing Th g BY Y M I C H A E L P AT E R N I T I
144 Cove Co ver: r: Worrld d’’ss
Hand Ha ndso dso d so ome mest esst Man Preposterously p y dashing g Westworld d star James Ma Marsden sde sshows o us how to o wear ea a su suit in 2016 0 6 BY A N N A P E E L E
Sui uit, t,, $59 $5 5, by J indebe J.L ind d ebe e berg. rg g g. Co t, Coa t $75 $ 0 by $750, by Grenfe Gre nfell. ll. Shi Sh rt, t $285, $28 5, and ti tie, e, $145, $14 14 45, 5 byy Ele E ven venty. ty. y Tie Te b b bar by The Th h Ti T e B ar. r.
Fetty Is Fearless
Hip i -ho -hop p sava av nt Fetty Fet etty t Wap Wa roc occks ks the e sslleek ee est es ttrrack ac jac jacket etss fres resh re h off offf the h ru runwa nwa wayy wa j cket BY M A R K A N T H O N Y G R E E N
GQOc ob Track jacket, j $ $75, and pants, $65, $ by Adidas i Originals. i i . T-shirt, $40, $ byy Sa Saturdays NYC. C Boots, $190, $ byy Timberland. Backpack by Diesel. Jewelry (his own) from Avianne & Co. Jewelers.
THE COVERS S Sebastian i Kim im
On Kurt Russell Coat, $1,295, by Calvin Klein Collection. Denim shirt, $98, by Levi’s. T-shirt, $88, by Levi’s Vintage Clothing. Jeans, $199, by 7 For All Mankind. Belt by Tom Ford. Hair and grooming by Dennis Liddiard. Produced by Gabriel Hill for GE-Projects.
On Lin-Manuel Miranda Jacket, $2,695, shirt, $345, pants, $400, and belt by Dolce & Gabbana. Necklace and signet rings by David Yurman. Watch by Seiko. Hair by Thom Priano at Garren New York for R+Co. Grooming by Jodie Boland using Dior Homme. Produced by Cynthia Cohen for Right Arm Productions.
Treat Your Home Like a Piece of Art Is your dwelling dreary? Follow GQ’s new rules of interior design 142
The Girl on the Screen Hello, Haley Bennett! Get to know the breakout star of The Girl on the Train 152
My Son, the Prince of Fashion
On James Marsden Suit, $2,895, shirt, $250, and tie, $160, by Canali. Tie bar by The Tie Bar. Pocket square by Peter Millar. Grooming by Johnny Hernandez for Tom Ford. Contributing stylist: Kelly McCabe at Art Department. Produced by Gabriel Hill for GE-Projects. Set design (for all covers) by Juliet Jernigan at CLM.
Acclaimed novelist M I C H A E L C H A B O N accompanied his hypebeast son to Paris Fashion Week 156
The Hunger Games How America’s best restaurants are revolutionizing to stay great B Y B R E T T M A R T I N 168
Happy What does a French monk in Nepal, a.k.a. “the happiest man in the world,” know that we don’t?
Fetty Wap knows how to rock Timberlands: like they’re flip-flops.
BY M I C H A E L PAT E R N I T I
Where to buy it Where are the items from this page to page 167 available? Go to GQ.com /go/fashiondirectories to find out. All prices quoted are approximate and subject to change.
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F A L L I S A N E X C E L L E N T time of year to plan your summer travel. By which I mean climate-wise, even wardrobe-wise, everything’s screwed up these days, and autumn just seems less…autumnal. I used to plan all my summer travel for the sweet spot between June and August, but now, with fall feeling summery and winter sometimes not quite happening, I plan vacations to Montauk in October and pack shorts for Christmas trips to D.C. Here in New York, there are now two seasons: hot and humid, and cold as shit. You just don’t know when they’re coming.
This new twist on seasonal a≠ective disorder is really starting to discombobulate the fashion world, which has always been based on a rigid seasonality. It’s even cropping up in our work at GQ. Lately, when fashion designers have presented their (used to be called) “spring” and “fall” collections to us, more and more of them have expressed growing anxieties over climate change—what it’s doing to their business 50
(coat sales: down!) and to the planet (monsoon travel alerts: up!). “I don’t know what season it is anymore!” one famous designer lamented to us recently, rolling his eyes as if he were tragically disappointed with God. Surely the fashion world (and even GQ) will ﬁnd ways to adjust—you’ll see an increasingly season-less sensibility take hold. (Jorts in January!) And since climate change is accelerating, it’s only going to get more apocalypto out there, so plan and dress accordingly: Global destruction—it’s the ultimate fashion trend. Buuuuut…other parts of the world may have a harder time. Have you heard about the island that’s sinking into the Louisiana bayou, or the melting towns of Alaska where houses are crumbling and residents are already voting to relocate? This shit is real and happening faster than we expected, like now. And yet we still have politicians who deny it like cancer-hacking Marlboro Men. Or they cast “I’m no scientist” pseudodoubts on the whole idea. Let’s be clear: These “doubts” are no longer doubts. Rather, they are not doubts that can be held to be reasonable. They are politicized doubts, which are not too far from lies. It’s time to start shaming public ﬁgures who propagate these shadowy doubt-lies and who live, literally, in the 18th century. Starting with Donald Trump. Trump, who employs the outdated phrase global warming, has called it “a total hoax,” a complex international business ploy “created by and for the Chinese,” and, in a ﬁt of sullen teenspeak, “GLOBAL WARMING bullshit.” He’s threatened to re-negotiate the (insufﬁcient but critically important because it’s the ﬁrst big step) international Paris climate deal, and he told Morning Joe,in a wheeze of indi≠erence, “I consider climate change to be not one of our big problems.” What did Mr. Spock think was happening, then? “I think it’s weather. I think it’s weather changes. It could be some man-made something, but you know, if you look at China, they’re doing nothing about it. Other countries, they’re doing nothing about it. It’s a big planet.” You have to stop and marvel at the strange word-stew/half-cocked admission
of “It could be some man-made something.” Which is weird, because that’s exactly what I told myself the ﬁrst time I set eyes on Donald Trump. The only problem with his position, apart from global annihilation, is that Trump is, in fact, very concerned about climate change—when it comes to his golf courses. The Orange One owns a seaside golf course in County Clare, Ireland. And, in a ﬁt of Neptune-level natural-world karma, the course is threatened by rising ocean waters, erosion, and storms, courtesy of your dear friend climate change. So now he’s trying to build a wall around his course. (What is it with this guy and walls?) Trump bought the course—cheap of course, from a literally distressed buyer—after a ferocious storm had wiped away a large chunk of the beach. According to documents unearthed by Politico, Trump International Golf Links swooped in, petitioning authorities to let the wall be built, warning of an “increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming” and railing against a “do nothing” approach. Only the Irish could come up with irony this deep. It’s almost enough to make a man welcome a no-bullshit dose of globalwarming bullshit. The ironies go on and on, since, if you think more about it, the Trump campaign is a perfect microcosm of climate change—a threat we were shamefully slow to recognize, a destructive force that leveled everything in its way, and a calamity no one in power did enough to stop. But I’m still an optimist! There isn’t enough hatred and negativity and backwardlooking obliviousness in America to elect Donald Trump. Sure, there’s plenty of it, but it’s not a winning coalition. That’s something to celebrate. It’s too late to stop the tiny apocalypse that is Trump’s 2016 run. Like climate change, it’s here to stay, part of our history and our reality. But let’s make sure this is the last presidential campaign with a dinosaur taking up all the oxygen.
JIM NELSON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
E R I C R AY DAV I D S O N
> The Fall of the Last Dinosaurs
> The latest news from the monthly, the daily, and the all-the-time-ly world of GQ.
Your GQ Video To-Do’s
Homepage Sweet Homepage > “The homepage is not dead,” Digiday decreed in July after we launched our newly redesigned homepage. Readers come to GQ.com from all over (Facebook, Twitter, and Google searches for beard oil), but many of you start with our homepage. For you home(page)bodies, we’ve invested in some renovations. We noticed that you guys gravitate toward style, grooming, and long-form stories, and now you won’t have to waste a minute of your lunch break searching for them—the stuff you love is easier than ever to access. And since this is GQ, we made the page look even snappier.
Welcom home! e
> Michael Paterniti, who writes in this issue about both Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda and a mysterious monk dubbed “the happiest man in the world,” is a nine-time National Magazine Award finalist, a National Book Award nominee, and a long, long, longtime GQ correspondent. 1 What is the Hamilton role you were born to play? Hamilton tells Samuel Seabury at one point that his dog “speaks more eloquently than thee.” I was born to play Hamilton’s faithful Lab, just offstage.
Catch ’em all with Desiigner
Mike Hofman Executive digital director
Lose at Taboo to the Olympic men’s basketball team Win a bar fight with Matt Damon
2 What is the best occasion for a powdered wig? I usually wear mine for the party scene in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. Or bowling.
Take dick pics with Eric Andre
place at age 4? Empty library, ocean with waves, first bite of gooey pizza.
Spend 50 sultry seconds with Kim Kardashian West
5 You are the -iest man in the world. Dang-iest? I just like the word “dang”! And “jinky.” And “crunk.” I’m the dang-iest, jinkiest, crunk-iest man in the world!
Become a massive success with DJ Khaled Troll Selena Gomez’s Instagram with Pee-wee Herman
gq prefers that letters to the editor be sent to letters@gq .com. letters may be edited.
The Story That Enraged You > Readers react to Sean Flynn’s telling of the profound injustices that befell Tamir Rice—even after his death. While “The Boy They Buried Twice” is an illuminating and heartwrenching account—and nightmare—which no parent should have to experience in this country, it is also one too well known by many parents whose children just happen to be born with a skin color that all too often defines their plight. But more importantly, they are born into a community, neighborhood, or skin color that has never been acquainted—no, not at all—with the concept of safety. —Dion Emory, letter to the editor
3 Where is your happy place? Empty library, ocean with waves, first bite of gooey pizza. 4 Where was your happy
“What happened to cars in the late 1970s is happening to websites—they’re all starting to feel the same and have exactly the same features. A lot of sites are going to very simple, spare homepages. There’s not a lot of personality to them. We wanted to do something different.”
> That GQ piece on Tamir Rice and his shooting is so tenderly written. The writer took the time to make Tamir an actual boy and his mom an actual person. —@oga_chisanga via Twitter > This GQ story on Tamir Rice is incredible. An
astounding piece of journalism that should outrage all who read it. —@johnthenero via Twitter > During the summer, the neighborhood kids run around my house playing with toy guns (granted, not
realistic ones). We live in a small town. Our kids know our officers by name and would never fear them. This story, and the subsequent reactions to it, broke my heart. —Jessica Honeycutt via Facebook
“ YO U R G Q V I D E O TO - D O ’ S , ” F R O M TO P : P H I L I P L E A M A N ; S P E N C E R WA R D W E L L A N D M AT T M A R T I N ; P H I L I P L E A M A N . I L L U S T R AT I O N S , F R O M L E F T : M I C H A E L H O E W E L E R ; B E N K I R C H N E R .
> The FOMO is strong with this office. Every day interesting people swing by GQ HQ to do interesting things—don’t miss any of our videos on GQ.com.
> Get the GQ Look L I K E W H AT YO U S E E I N T H E PAG E S OF GQ? The Elder Statesman sweater More on page 136
N O W YO U C A N G E T I T— A N D W E A R I T— R I G H T A W AY
the editors of GQ will select a series of items from our pages available through our online retail partner, Mr Porter.com >TO LEARN
more—and see what we have wh chosen en ffor you this hi month— th—go to GQ GQ.com/selects cts
Just a few of our picks from this issue...
Adidas Originals sneakers p. 140
Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci shirt p. 126
Etro shirt p. 147
Coach 1941 sweater and jacket p. 68
P H O T O G R A P H S , C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P : S E B A S T I A N K I M ; J A M E S R YA N G ; S E B A S T I A N K I M ( 3 ) . T O P L E F T, D E N I M J A C K E T : D S Q U A R E D 2 . P A N T S : J E F F R E Y R Ü D E S . R I N G : D AV I D Y U R M A N . C A P : B U R B E R R Y. L O C A T I O N : T U P A I S S U P E R M A R K E T, N .Y. C .
H A I R : B E N J A M I N T H I G P E N U S I N G O R I B E H A I R C A R E . G R O O M I N G : K U M I C R A I G AT T H E WA L L G R O U P. L E F T, S U N G L A S S E S : M O S C O T. WAT C H : L O U I S V U I T T O N . B R A C E L E T : D E G S & S A L . B A G : G A P + G Q S AT U R D AY S N Y C . R I G H T, B E A N I E : D P C O U T D O O R D E S I G N . N E C K L A C E : D E G S & S A L . B R A C E L E T S : M I A N S A I . WAT C H : S O U T H L A N E .
Wh re Whe re to buyy itit?? Go too GQ. GQ com Go GQ om/go m/go /goo /fashi /fa shiond ondire irecto t riess
The C Th Casualer-Than-Ever l Th E Topcoat T • Does the word “topcoat” still make you think of midcentury businessmen trudging to work with the weight of oversize overcoats swallowing their gray ﬂannel suits? It shouldn’t. Because the topper has evolved into a piece of borderline streetwear, a tailored garment that hangs open as casually as a bathrobe. Try it over a striped turtleneck, a graphic tee, or even a buttoned-to-the-top ﬂannel—basically anything but a suit. For once, imagine how Don Draper would dress, and then do the opposite.—J I M M O O R E
Left: Coat $450 Tommy Hilfiger | Turtleneck Nautica | Jeans Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci | Sneakers Golden Goose Deluxe Brand Right: Coat $2,600 Jeffrey Rüdes | T-shirt Kinfolk | Pants Michael Kors | Sneakers Louis Vuitton | Scarf Begg & Co
Since half the bags at the airport are basic black, going tag-less is a great way to spend the ﬁrst hour of your vacation peering down a conveyor-belt chute for signs of your suitcase. And yes, you could use one of those ﬂimsy airline giveaway tags, but like a 747 lavatory, they are for emergency use only. Slip one of these ﬁrst-class designer tags through your handle and you’ll have no trouble spotting your bag—it’ll be the one everyone else is looking at, too.
1. Louis Vuitton
(price upon request) 2. Valextra $220 3. The Cambridge
Satchel $45 Company 4. Smythson $115 5. Flight 001 $7 6. Fendi $650 7. Loewe $450 8. Prada $170 9. Valextra $220 10. Clare V. $55 11. Tumi $55 12. Goyard $175 Where to buy it? Go to GQ.com/go /fashiondirectories
That One’s Mine! Whether you strap on lime green leather or a wild-eyed monster, your luggage tag should have as much personality as anything you’re packing inside 60
P R O P S T Y L I S T : S H A R O N R YA N AT H A L L E Y R E S O U R C E S . S U I T C A S E S , C L O C K W I S E F R O M T O P L E F T : T U M I , R I M O WA , P R A DA ( W I T H P R A DA L U G G A G E TA G ) , R A D E N ( B OT TO M ) , A N D R I M O WA .
Men e who o know o the rules—and exactly ho to how o break e them em
Rebel Style ye
Coats off Armor Clementine often Ce e e of e wears oversize i men’s e ’ coats o onstage, and d even swaddled l in allll that extra fabric, f , he stillll cuts a jarring, singular j l figure. “When I lived f in Paris, I would l shop h at antique shops and buy h b these huge coats h h because I was very b cold. l And then h I started performing f g in them because h b I felt f safe. f I never stopped doing that.” h
The Dark Side S off Black k “I’m quite basic. “ I like l k black bl k a lot, l because I can’t b really ll see colors— l so I wear a lot off dark-colored k l clothes. You’ve got l h to o be e aware e of what you’re ’ wearing, because you might b h become that. that.”
e Curious Case of Benjamin Clementine
Life Repeats Itself “Nothing is harder than singing a song that is true, a sad song that is true. People don’t always realize that as a performer, you’ve got to relive those moments. Memories crash through your brains, and you’ve got to think about your past and the reason why you wrote the song. All that emotion comes back.”
The man with the most bone-chilling voice in all of England seemed to emerge out of nowhere, like a phantom. Who is this guy—and more important, where can we get his coats? 62
G R O O M I N G : B A R R Y W H I T E AT B A R R Y W H I T E M E N S G R O O M I N G . C O M . C O A T A N D T U R T L E N E C K : B U R B E R R Y.
Old Clothes, Old Souls “When I was very young, my brother and d I, we used d to go into charity h shops h to buy b suits,” C Clementine says. “ “The thing about clothes l h is that h people l judge you b what by h you wear, unfortunately. So f when h we wore suits, people l gave us t respect—we were very young, and d it made e them he think h k we were older.” l
Benjamin C Clementine has one of tthose backstories that s sound d too romantic tto be true: The 272 y year-old l musician a and d poet was raised d iin a d depressed d n neighborhood off n north h London and ffound solace in tthe cool stacks off the public th bl llibrary, b rreading William ll Blake l k a and T. S. S Eliot. He lleft f school at 16 and e ended up homeless h l iin Paris, busking b k g ffor change, g until he w d o e ed on o was discovered tthe e street ee and invited e tto record. d Last year h his debut b album, lb A Least for Now,, won At th UK’s prestigious the M h k Mercury Prize, thanks m l to h — mostly his voice— l h a lonesome waill that f floats spectrally over h haunting piano. His l k much h like l k his h look, w k is bohemian b h b work, but s ffiercely elegant.. still
It all starts with love -loncvee on the da floor, too.
Bite This Style > Björn Borg’s Timeless Tennis Swaggerr
The original rock-star tennis player has inspired loads of designers to channel his singular, tennis-god look. Now that we’re in the heart of an activewear era, elevated athleisure (as fun to say as it is to wear) is an easy win
Take That Polo from Prepster to Playboy Fans lost their minds when Borg hijacked the overly formal sportswear of the ’70s. He wore player whites with then legit revolutionary bands of color and it made him a pioneer. The gold chain took it a step further and made him a style hero.— B E N J Y H A N S E N - B U N D Y
$8 (headband) $10 (pair of wristbands)
In his day, tennis shoes were for playing tennis—now they’re a staple of off-the-court street style.
$8 (a pair) Diadora
The Origin of the Tenenbaums Look
When Wess Anderson described d Richie to me, hee said s d thee char c racter was based on Björn j , who stood out for wearingg color and mixed patterns p . Then other p players y changed d their look.” — K A R E N P AT C H , C O S T U M E D E S I G N E R
Go Out in Style Borg retired at 26 with 11 Grand Slam titles and millions in endorsement deals. Can you blame him? No. Can you buy his tracksuit jacket? Yes. — B . H . B . Fila $110 | Where to buy it? Go to GQ.com /go/fashiondirectories
C LO C KW I S E F R O M TO P R I G H T: A RT Z E L I N /G E T T Y I M AG E S ; E A M O N N M CC A B E /C A M E R A P R E SS / R E D UX ( 2 ) ; B U E N A V I S TA P I C T U R E S / E V E R E T T C O L L E C T I O N . S T I L L L I F E S : S T U A R T T Y S O N ( 6 ) . P R O P S T Y L I S T : B I L L L A U G H L I N AT M A R K E D WA R D I N C . ( 6 ) .
More radical than Borg’s luxuriously unkempt hair was the headband that kept it in check.
1. Rocket Man In a nod to our gender-neutral times, Coach’s menswear and womenswear now share design elements—like the space shuttle on this sweater, which was inspired by the one little Danny Torrance wears in The Shining just before he enters haunted room 237. Though we’re gonna assume Danny’s wasn’t highgrade cashmere.
The Big Coach Upgrade In just three seasons, British designer Stuart Vevers has turned the heritage leather-goods brand Coach into a menswear trailblazer 68
2. Baaa to the Bone If the new Coach has a signature, it’s shearling. The supersoft stuff pops off coat collars and sneaker tongues. Even the chairs in Vevers’s office are upholstered in it. Shearling, he says, has “a raw, elemental quality. You see the inside, the outside; every piece of the construction is visible. It has a luxe feeling without being too bourgeois or uptight.”
At Coach these days, there’s a dinosaur in the room. This isn’t an idiom: A literal dinosaur— about eight feet tall, green, and inflated— stands guard in the Manhattan office of Stuart Vevers, Coach’s creative director. “Her name is Rexy,” he says.“She’s become a bit of a mascot for the new Coach.”
At any other time in the 75-year history of America’s most esteemed leather-goods brand, this would have made no sense (and it’s still a little freaky), but it somehow works today—now that graphic sweaters, leather pants, workingman plaids, and Tyrannosaurus key chains have made their way into Coach’s collections.
“People have this image of Coach as clean-cut Waspy, preppy,” Vevers says. “I think Coach needs to represent what New York City is today, which is about diversity. Fashion needs to embrace that. The old rules and the codes of luxury, I don’t think that the next generation cares about those values.”
3. No Sleep Till Brooklyn If the old Coach had a ladies-who-lunch feel, Vevers’s incarnation plugs more into street style. The early Beastie Boys, for example, have been a consistent reference: “Their style and attitude—I connect so much to New York City.” So now he’s making gargantuan parkas, plus beefy sneakers that evoke Air Force 1s but are distinguished by serious quality leathers—because despite all the changes, it just wouldn’t be Coach without fancy-ass cowhide.—J O H N O R T V E D Clothes by Coach 1941, at select Coach Men’s stores and coach.com.
PH PH OO TO TO GG RR AP AH P H BS Y B JYA M NA EM S ER YH AE N RG E
H A I R : B E N J A M I N T H I G P E N U S I N G O R I B E H A I R C A R E . G R O O M I N G : K U M I C R A I G AT T H E WA L L G R O U P. O N M E N , A L L WAT C H E S : C O A C H . L E F T, L I N K B R A C E L E T : G I L E S & B R O T H E R . L E AT H E R B R A C E L E T : M I A N S A I . G L A S S E S : T O M F O R D . C E N T E R , B E A D B R A C E L E T : D E G S & S A L . G O L D B R A C E L E T A N D R I N G : L E G R A M M E . R I G H T, R I N G S : H I S O W N .
Labells We Lo ove e
The Suited Man
Who Needs Color? With tons of texture and heaps of contrast, black-and-white ties deliver more punch than anything Pantone could provide
Burberry | $190
Alexander Olch | $150
• Less color leaves more room for amped-up patterns.
Ralph Lauren | $185
David Hart | $125
• When it’s this striking, houndstooth is anything but geezer-ish.
Ovadia & Sons | $125
• Even the preppy repp tie looks completely new in zebra stripes.
The ZB Savoy Bowtie Co. | $70
Tommy Hilfiger | $70 Where to buy it? Go to GQ .com/go/fashiondirectories
P R O P S T Y L I S T : C H R I S T I N E M O T T A U A T J U D Y C A S E Y, I N C .
PS by Paul Smith | $150
Bartenders have been stealing tricks and tools from chefs for decades. You should be, too. And it’s easier than you think
Drink >The Secret to Better Cocktails Is Your Kitchen You’ve got all the right bottles and maybe even have them set up on some rolling copper-and-wood number next to the couch. Thing is, that rig may be emblematic of cocktail-making, but it’s totally inadequate. To actually make cocktails, you’re going to
A Hand-Press Juicer
use the stove, the fridge, the cutting board, and maybe even the blender. Which is to say: You may keep your bar cart out in the living room, but the work happens in the kitchen. Here’s what you need to get the most out of yours.— M A R K BY R N E
Make space for a heavy, sculptural beast. Compared with a handheld juicer, it’ll save you time (and spare your wrist if you’re squeezing for a party). Frieling Cilio Citrus Press; direct.frieling.com, $178
An Ice-Eating Blender Your blender’s main use: crushing ice. (Secondary: infusions. See recipe.) Look for models with a crush setting, like the Breville Hemisphere Control. brevilleusa
A Serious Saucepan Simple syrup—one part sugar heated in one part water until dissolved—is crucial, so get a small pan with spouts to avoid spills and heavy enough that the sugar won’t scorch. All-Clad ½ Quart Butter Warmer; surlatable.com, $70 A KNIFE W I T H S K I LLS
A Strainer That Actually Strains
• Any paring knife can carve out a wedge of citrus, but only a super-thin blade can shave o≠ just the top layer of peel for twists. Shun Premier Paring Knife; shun.kaiusaltd .com, $150
Every cocktail kit comes with a basic Hawthorn strainer to keep shaken-up ice out of your glass. But to strain out pulp and seeds, you need a much finer mesh. OXO Good Grips 3" Mini Strainer; oxo.com, $9
A Bigger Jigger
All That Gear Makes This Amazing Drink > Basil Gimlet Serves 4
Basic jiggers: perfect for singles. But bigbatch drinks call for big-batch amounts. Bonus points to this thing for cocktailspecific measurement marks. Libbey 16 oz.
Pour 8 oz. gin into blender, add 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, and pulse 2 or 3 times. (Try this infusion technique with other herbs and spirits.) Transfer to shaker. Add 3 oz. lemon juice and 3 oz. simple syrup. Fill with ice. Shake well, strain into cocktail glasses. Garnish with basil and twist of lemon.
Measuring Glass; libbey .com, $4
F O O D S T Y L I S T : J E F F R E Y L A R S E N . P R O P S T Y L I S T : M AT G I B I L I S C O AT A U B R I B A L K I N C . I L L U S T R AT I O N S : B R O W N B I R D D E S I G N ( 5 ) .
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The Great American Art-cation
The art world is exploding, moving into and defining new cities, hoods, and corners of the country. In fact, art is now enough to build a vacation around. So here we’ve compiled seven artful itineraries, sweetening them with platters of barbecue, bottles of wine, and miles of beaches. Everything you need to turn a little high culture into a whole lot of fun
Hours in Downtown L.A.
Supermodel, art collector, and downtown homebody Emily Ratajkowski tells you how to conquer the next great art capital 78
You’re here! First stop, the new Broad museum (1), across the street from the Frank Gehry–designed Disney Concert Hall. Buy tickets in advance; otherwise be prepared to wait in line to see the insane collection of Koons, Ruscha, Warhol, and Lichtenstein. Battle your jet lag by heading over to the Arts District and
stopping at Blacktop (2). While the Arts District boasts nearly a dozen gourmet coffee shops, this one’s my favorite for a quick pastry and a tasty black coffee. If it’s Friday, you’ll also find Guerrilla Tacos parked outside. Art stop No. 2 is the new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel gallery. Converted from an old mill (you
can still find rusted industrial equipment on cement floors), the space dwarfs anything in Chelsea. Go in the next few months for an exhibit of Miró paintings and Dada collages. If you didn’t find the Guerrilla truck earlier, hit up La Reyna on 7th and Mateo while you’re close by. It wouldn’t be a trip to L.A. without a
In just a year, the Broad has joined the Hollywood sign as an L.A. landmark.
cart—and this one offers the mighty mulita: a half quesadilla/half taco made with meat, two tortillas, and melted Oaxaca-style cheese. Wash it down across the street at E.R.B. (3), a bar with a massive outdoor patio.
P H O T O G R A P H : PA U L T U R A N G / I M A G E B R I E F. I L L U S T R AT I O N : A L E X A N D R A C O M PA I N -T I S S I E R .
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And while you’re there, belly up to some BBQ
This is technically cheating ’cause it’s not downtown, but you’ve gotta stay at The Line, a hotel in our sister neighborhood, Koreatown. Get a Hollywood Views suite and wake up to a panoramic L.A. Day two, you’re back to DTLA and hitting the eclectic indoor Grand Central Market, which has been around since 1917. I love grabbing an iced almondmacadamia-milk latte from G&B and heading to Wexler’s Deli, where
you can get the best lox bagel on the West Coast, then topping that bagel with a chèvre omelet from the DTLA Cheese and Kitchen stall. Now that you’re fueled up for some more art, hop over the 4th Street bridge to explore 356 Mission gallery, founded by the artist Laura Owens. The space itself is huge enough to fit dozens of Owens’s largest paintings. Don’t miss 356’s bizarre little shop, Ooga Booga #2.
For dinner, Bestia is one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Los Angeles. The place is always packed, but it’s no big deal waiting at the beautiful bar and nursing a cocktail. Order the casarecce al pomodoro, along with everything else on the menu. For a nightcap, hit Clifton’s and check out the multi-level bars and ridiculous taxidermy. This place is an L.A. landmark— Art Deco meets Indiana Jones.
• To the casual art appreciator, the hit list for American museums tends to start and stop with the bigs in New York, L.A., and Chicago. But some of our greatest collections belong to smaller cities, particularly in the Midwest, worth trips unto themselves. None is more magnetic than the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, stocked to the gills with Monet paintings, Dorothea Lange photography, Claes Oldenburg lawn sculptures, and more than 10,000 works of Asian art. Pair the Nelson-Atkins (or the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, if you dig the new) with a tour of K.C. barbecue’s three gold standards—Arthur Bryant’s, Joe’s Kansas City, and LC’s—and you’re set for a weekend of cultural and culinary gluttony.
Get Art-Schooled Head back to college for a weekend and hit these university museums
Catch the Rays of the Miami Art Scene Because great art and sexy beaches are worth risking a little Zika
• Rubell Family Collection: Donald and Mera Rubell are insatiable collectors known for their excellent eye. See the next hot artist here ﬁrst—then check out the murals of Wynwood. • Pérez Art Museum Miami: The crown jewel in Miami’s art scene is designed by Herzog & de Meuron and perched on the edge of Biscayne Bay. Bonus: You can wander the Instagrammable gardens and grounds. • ICA Miami: Miami’s edgier contemporary-art museum presents conversation-starting, sometimes “challenging” talents in its historic 1920s building in the Design District. 80
The Yale University Art Gallery is a distilled survey course, like a 3-D Intro to Art History semester you can cover in a couple hours. After you’re through, scarf a pie from New Haven’s best pizzeria—not Pepe’s, but BAR.
The Williamstown corner of the Berkshires is New England’s art hub, with MASS MoCA, the Williams College WCMA, and the Clark Art Institute (expanded by Tadao Ando). At sunset, hike Stone Hill for a picnic with cows.
On a chilly fall day, check out the massive rainbowhued Ellsworth Kelly sculpture outside the Hood Museum of Art, visit the downtown Hanover satellite collection, then warm up with a drink at the Canoe Club.
P H OTO G R A P H S , C L O C K W I S E F R O M TO P L E F T : L A U R A A U S T I N ; DY L A N + J E N I ; C O U R T E S Y O F B O N J W I N G L E E A N D J O E ’ S K A N S A S C I T Y B B Q ; C H R I S T I A N H E E B . I L L U S T R AT I O N : B I L L R E B H O L Z .
Visit the Met of the Midwest
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Hang in the Hamptons with Jackson Pollock and Dan Flavin
It’s a 2.5-hour drive from Judd’s house to Pollock’s. If you need a snack, Judd lived near the Cronut place.
Worship the Land Art Wonders of the Southwest (and some of the natural wonders, too)
Donald Judd’s Home Studio
Dan Flavin Institute
On your way out of N.Y.C. to the Hamptons, swing by Donald Judd’s crib, a stunning cast-iron building in SoHo that’s been restored exactly the way he had it upon his death in ’94.
Pollock lived in an 1879 East Hampton homestead and pioneered Abstract Expressionism in the barn out back. On your tour, you’ll see the floor still splattered with paint.
Once a firehouse, this Bridgehampton building is now billed as “a permanent installation of nine works in fluorescent light created by the artist between 1963 and 1981.”
If you’re into orange wines, herbaceous vermouths, or pétnat champagne alternatives, pull over for a tasting at this innovative winery. You’ll drive home with a case in the trunk.
• In the ’70s, land artists ﬂocked to the Southwest to move heaven and earth. Often literally. Robert Smithson, for example, built Spiral Jetty (below) into the Great Salt Lake, and Walter De Maria erected a “lightning ﬁeld” of steel poles in remote New Mexico to lure the weather. Drive out to the great monuments of the movement—and then hit some epic non-man-made monuments (Saguaro, Arches, Zion) while you’re at it.
Spend a Weekend with Wright and Warhol America’s most famous artist and architect await you in Pittsburgh Hurry and you can catch My Perfect Body, an exhibit on view through January exploring Warhol’s fixation on the human form and its flaws. S U N D AY
1 F R I D AY
Check into the Ace Hotel, which opened last year in an old YMCA building, and proceed directly to dinner at Cure—where the charcuterie platter includes a salami riff on a Negroni cocktail. S AT U R D AY
Hit the eponymous seven-story museum devoted to native son Andy Warhol. It boasts more than a thousand of his artworks, including Mao (1), and 350 preserved films. 82
With fortification from Commonplace Coffee on your way out of town, drive 2
90 minutes south into the woods until you reach Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater (2), which has been blowing minds since appearing on the cover of Time in 1938. It’s a house in the same way that “Stairway to Heaven” is a song about some steps.
P H OTO G R A P H S , F R O M L E F T : F R E D H O L L E Y ; C O U R T E S Y O F A B B Y WA R H O L A A N D T H E A N DY WA R H O L M U S E U M ; C O U R T E S Y O F C H R I S T O P H E R L I T T L E A N D T H E W E S T E R N P E N N S Y LVA N I A C O N S E R VA N C Y. I L L U S T R A T I O N S : B I L L R E B H O L Z ( 2 ) .
Invite yourself over to all these artists’ spaces, then toast them with some of New York State’s best wine
A Modest Proposal from… SARAH PAULSON
Do Not Be Quick to Succeed Don’t Keep Calm, But Carry On I muscled a lot of what I’ve achieved by sheer force of will and relentless determination. And I wasn’t hearing a lot of “Everything’s going to be fine. You’re going to have everything you want.” I would get one job, and then I wouldn’t work again for two years. Or I would get one great job, and it would very quickly become a nothing thing, or I would lose it last minute to someone who then went on to win the Oscar. To me, I “made” it when I got the part in 12 Years a Slave and played a really hideous woman in an unapologetic way. I know some friends of mine who said they refused to play that part because she was so despicable. That was totally perplexing to me in a way that is sort of unforgivable.
Maybe you know Sarah Paulson as that actress who played Marcia Clark (FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson) or as one of the mainstays of the spooky American Horror Story ensemble (she’s back on the show this month), but the 41-year-old’s career hasn’t progressed as quickly as she’d hoped. Which is why it’s all working out exactly as she wants it to Start Out Disappointed If at All Possible If my career had turned out like the fantasy I had of what it was going to be, it would never have made me happy. But I couldn’t have known that until it didn’t happen. I found a success that is so much bigger and deeper and better, and it’s because it happened later. If any of what I’m having happen now—the 84
successes—would have happened to me when I was younger, I would have been ruined. Because when you’re young, and things come super easily to you, and you have success right out of the gate, you’re liable to think that’s how it actually works. You start to think you don’t need to be fully prepared or committed to have these things meet you.
True Success Is: Naps There was a time in my career when I never, ever would have said no to something— whether it was a role or whether it was doing whatever it took to get into the Limelight on a Saturday night. (I’m so dating myself, but that is true: I tried to get into the Limelight in New York City—or Nell’s or Don Hill’s or whatever the hell was the thing to do at the time.) I was just so desperate to have a job, to be anointed as a cool person, so scared of being forgotten. And so, at this moment, my idea of success is being able to say, “I’m not going to play that part because it doesn’t speak to me” or “It’s my day off, and I’m not going to go do that thing. I’m going to take a nap and read a book.” For more unexpected stories in gq, go to gq.com/unexpected. Brought to you by the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.
J . R . M A N K O F F /A U G U S T
Take the Road That Doesn’t Lead to Julia Roberts There was a time when I believed if I was going to be successful, it was going to look like a particular thing. And that particular thing was Julia Roberts. I was young and wanted to be an actress, and success meant being an enormous mega–movie star. It had to look like the trajectory of the actors around me. I thought, “Oh, I want to do what they do,” and that blinded me to the things I could do. I was so busy wanting to be Julia Roberts that it never occurred to me that my career could be something else. And that it could be equally rich, and—the most important thing—it would be mine, whatever it was.
It’s Not TV. It’s Robot Cowboys. HBO HAS
KILLED ‘VINYL’ AND PUT AN END DATE ON ‘GAME OF THRONES’—WHICH MEANS THE NETWORK IS BETTING ITS FUTURE ON A SERIES ABOUT AN OLD WEST THEME PARK. ‘WESTWORLD’ HO! —BY ZACH BARON
MAYBE HBO’S ‘WESTWORLD’ WILL EVENTUALLY BECOME ‘LOST,’
show, and partially because it’s thematically relevant. Everyone in Westworld is lost in a story, from the guests, exorcising their darkest, weirdest demons at the expense of their hosts, to the hosts themselves, who are gradually discovering that they might be living a version of The Truman Show, to the scientists and suits who created and sta≠ the park itself, dreaming up sadistic narratives for others to inhabit. Unlike in the original, Westworld isn’t just a theme park, it’s a mystery, an endless set of possibilities for all involved: As one character says, “There’s a deeper level to this game.” Not a bad slogan for good serial television. Westworld startles the eye, its grand Old West landscape contrasting harshly with the sterile corridors in which the hosts are made, rebuilt, and F RO M LEFT: Westworld’s Harris, Wood, Marsden, Hopkins, and Newton
HOW WOULD YO U L I K E T H E S#!T SCARED O U T O F YO U THIS MONTH? Choose the fall arrival that preys upon your deepest fear
re-programmed—a rare opportunity for actors like Wood, James Marsden, and Thandie Newton, who get to play dozens of variations on the same characters (often, it should be said, while naked and/ or bloody as they are put back together), living days that are the same until they’re di≠erent. Westworld features a true ensemble. Anthony Hopkins, in his usual contractually mandated vest and pocket watch, lords over all as the park’s maybe not so benevolent creator. Je≠rey Wright, in perfect form here, plays Hopkins’s protégé, another creator gone slightly insane with the power of creation. The show’s wry pessimism feels modern, sly: We know we’re scum, but maybe the things we make have a chance to be better? In this, Westworld is at once a continuation of something HBO’s been doing with anti-heroes for a long time and something thrillingly novel. Di∞cult men? Nah—di∞cult species.
1. What sound sends a chill down your spine? A. Bare feet crunching Cheerios on linoleum B. A child whispering declarative sentences C. The voice of your ex-wife’s fiancé, Craig 2. What’s the worst type of stress? A. Long-term dread B. Pulse-quickening panic C. Heart-bursting fury, caused by smug Craig 3. What question keeps you up at night? A. “Am I meant to be a parent?” B. “Where does one watch a VHS tape in 2016?” C. “Am I actually a cartoon man living among ?” humans? And is Craig a better lover than me?” ANSWERS Mostly A’s: Baby-delivery kids’ comedy Storks Mostly B’s: The Ring threequel Ring…s Mostly C’s: Hybrid animated/live-action Jason Sudeikis sitcom Son of Zorn
F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F J O H N P. J O H N S O N / H B O ( 5 ) ; C O U R T E S Y O F WA R N E R B R O S . P I C T U R E S ; CO U R T E SY O F PA R A M O U N T P I C T U R E S ; CO U R T E SY O F F OX
a crumbling statue of innuendo and meaningless clues. Maybe it will become a nerd sensation like Battlestar Galactica, much scrutinized and underwatched. Or maybe it’s HBO’s next Game of Thrones—a detailed, immersive world that millions of us will be spending way too much time in this fall. I’m betting Thrones. (So, for that matter, is this magazine! See page 144.) It’s just really fun, for one thing—a ravishingly shot sci-ﬁ multiverse populated by human-seeming robots and robotseeming humans, with increasingly complex rules that you learn as you go. Like Thrones, Westworld—based on the kitschy, unintentionally comic but occasionally lucid 1973 ﬁlm of the same name, written and directed by Michael Crichton—arrives blighted by years of rumors about the astronomical cost of the show and its stop-and-go production process. For a while, the show served as a symbol of HBO’s alleged decline. Now the network is ostensibly so conﬁdent about it that it let Vinyl overdose on its own cocaine-fueled excess, set an end date for Game of Thrones, and generally cleared out the dead wood and bad vibes so that Westworld can thrive. In the original Westworld, James Brolin and Richard Benjamin play two visitors to an Old West–themed, robot-driven amusement park, where guests are free to fornicate and murder and generally indulge their worst impulses at the expense of humanoid robots that are painstakingly rebuilt every night, so as to endure it all again the next day. That ﬁlm was very much a product of early-’70s nuclear paranoia: a parable about what happens when the dark possibilities of technology meet the dark possibilities of man. (Namely: sexbots who nevertheless refuse to have sex, followed by Yul Brynner, playing a vengeful robot, killing everything still living in the park.) Cracking Westworld for 2016—a task ably handled by married creators Jonathan (brother of Christopher) Nolan and Lisa Joy, with J. J. Abrams as an executive producer—turns on a clever inversion: Rather than focusing on the humans who visit Westworld, the series is primarily about the robots, called hosts, gradually waking up to the fact that the anonymous sun-dappled utopia they live in is actually a hellscape populated mostly by visiting monsters. “These violent delights have violent ends,” mutters Evan Rachel Wood’s southern-belle host, quoting Shakespeare. Enter visiting sadist Ed Harris, somewhat fast, to peel the scalp o≠ of a robot card dealer. The show also has characters run back bits of Dante, Gertrude Stein, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—partially because it ﬁts the high Pop Art vibe of the
H I G H SAT U R AT I O N
The Cultural Saturation Chart
Start at the top to learn about the stuff you won’t be able to escape this October. Read lower to discover the weird stuff you can’t afford to miss
r O u o ri t e v a F Haley
Which will A-Rod be watching from his couch: the real-life World Series or the fake-life Pitch, a Fox drama about the ﬁrst woman in the majors?
HALEY / HALEY / HAILEE / HAYLEY / HALEY
This season unleashes a meteor shower of Haleys (Bennett, Lu Richardson, Steinfeld, Atwell, Jackie Earle) across TV and ﬁlm screens. Learn more about our favorite Haley—Bennett (sorry, Jackie Earle)—on page 142.
Chris Christie’s autumn is a hellish nightmare of his own making, but he can seek refuge in the Boss’s autobiography, Born to Run.
II’m also a ” y bologist.” “sym
WISE GUYS Is This Guy a Believable Genius? It doesn’t take a genius to be an actor, but it does take an actor to play a genius. We’ve ranked fall’s faux eggheads from most to least plausibly brilliant.
HUGH GGHH LAURIE LAUR L AUR AU
Chance Attended Cambridge University; always knew it wasn’t lupus Member of Mr. Bean’s inner circle
JOSEPH JOSEP JJOSE OSE GORDON-LEVITT
Snowden Studied French poetry at Columbia Studied French poetry at Columbia
REVENGE OF THE REBOOTS
• William Peter Blatty’s horror story The Exorcist gets a serialized update on Fox.
T HE UNL IKELYY RECOMMENDATION A TION ATION TION
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS MOVIES THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO COME OUT FOREVER AGO
Whether you’re in the mood for oily destruction (Deepwater Horizon) or mustachioed heroes (Sully), there’s I an inspired-by-a-true-story captaam the aquatic catastrophe for everyone. in
A g a i n n o w. .
Long-delayed comedies Masterminds and Keeping Up with the Joneses ﬁnally make their entrances (and exits).
Rather than spending 12 years trying to convince us he’s not Joey (we get it, Schwimmer, you’re a serious thespian), professional charming doofus LeBlanc is back playing charming doofuses on Showtime’s Episodes, the BBC series Top Gear, and the new CBS sitcom Man with a Plan. Here, Matt bares his soul (and penmanship) in the GQ Survey.
What was the last thing you bought on Amazon? Still or sparkling? What is the ocean’s noblest creature? What color do you look best in?
[The answer is LATTE, Matt. Look in the mirror!—eds.]
SEE ADDITIONAL CREDITS.
LOW SAT U R AT I O N
On paper, How It’s Made is peak mundane TV: a 14-year-running Canadian-produced step-by-step look at how random items (police badges, olive oil) are fabricated. But as anyone who’s been sucked into a twopart feature about buttons at 2 p.m. on a weekday can attest, it is mesmerizing— the Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting of industrial manufacturing. In fact, in an age when the news is an excruciating fever dream, the opportunity to see gum blended in vats, extruded, cut, and rotated in other vats to form jawbreakers might be the only reason I still own a TV.—FR E DDIE CA M P ION GQ.COM
Inferno Closely related to an entomology professor (his brother) Did crash-land that plane into the Hudson
POST-‘FRIENDS’ MATT L E B L A N C
‘HOW IT’S MADE’
DISASTERS AT SEA
Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist, MacGyver…if you watched it with a babysitter between 1973 and 1992, you’ll see it on TV this fall.
to Timetart S isin g c Exor
BEN AFFLECK A FFFLECK L ECK EC
The Accountant Banned from the Hard Rock blackjack tables for counting cards Earned zero credits for college Spanish
Star of Texas • How American Honey lead Sasha Lane was discovered sounds like the first half of a Dateline crime special: A Texas State freshman travels to Florida for spring break. A stranger eyes her on the beach, and begins watching her in secret.… Fortunately for Lane, that creeper was Oscar winner Andrea Arnold, who’d written a script for a dreamy road movie and was looking for her star (literally: a character named Star). After a few days of observation, Arnold introduced herself and proposed an on-the-spot audition at Lane’s hotel. The next morning, recalls Lane, “we hopped in a car and just went from there.” American Honey follows a roving band of scuzzy runaways, thriving like weeds on the edge of the law. (Their racket: door-to-door magazine sales.) As Star, Lane is magnetic, sparking a vivid connection with every actor, especially the troupe’s rat-tailed leader, played by Shia LaBeouf. Lane and LaBeouf’s red-blooded chemistry is so potent that you’re often envious of their energy. Their sex scenes, one in quasi public, are unsettling, flustering, and hot. The key to getting them right, says Lane, is “breathing” and “eye contact.” (The pair were later photographed holding hands offscreen.) Throwing herself into things headlong is typical of Lane. “I’m big on signs,” she says, making you wonder how your own life might be improved by lying on the beach and paying closer attention to Mercury’s retrograde. Until Arnold arrived, did Lane even want to be an actress? “I always said if someone were to find me, then I’d do it.” Turns out go with the flow is a solid career plan. —MARIAH SMITH
S T Y L I S T : J A M I E M I Z R A H I A T T H E W A L L G R O U P. H A I R : E R I C G A B R I E L U S I N G O R I B E . M A K E U P : J O S T R E T T E L L A T T H E M A G N E T A G E N C Y. M A N I C U R E : C H E L S E A K I N G F O R R E V L O N . J A C K E T : R E / D O N E . N E C K L A C E S : V I N TA G E . B OX E R B R I E F S : H A N E S .
Eighteen months ago, Sasha Lane went to the beach for spring break. Now she’s in a movie
> Broadway Joe “ P L A Y I T F O R H I M , J O E , ” Mika Brzezinski said. She lowered her voice to a husky whisper. “Just give him a little taste.” It was a recent morning in New York City, a couple of hours after Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough had signed o≠ on yet another episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and now she was trying to get her co-host to let me in on a secret. It was a secret about Donald Trump. You wouldn’t know it now—after all, since late spring, Scarborough has been one of Trump’s biggest critics—but in the ﬁrst eight months of the Trump candidacy, Scarborough often seemed to be an adjunct of the Donald’s campaign, lobbing softball questions at Trump when he’d phone in to the show, and giving him tongue baths in absentia when he wasn’t on the program. Trump, Scarborough told his viewers, was “a masterful politician,” the veritable second coming of Ronald Reagan. 96
At the center of America’s schizoid political-fame complex, there sits J O E S C A R B O R O U G H , a congressman turned TV star who somehow built the most influential show in Washington despite never wanting to be a mere morning-show host. Now, as he quests for something grander—he’s turned his fraught relationship with Donald Trump into grist for a nutty new project, a Trump musical—the ample-egoed Scarborough is trying to prove there’s no business like political show business ✒ J A S O N Z E N G E R L E
• Erstwhile congressman and current TV host Joe Scarborough in the studio, at work on his new musical. For real. GILLIAN LAUB
That sort of sycophancy didn’t sit well with some of Scarborough’s colleagues (various NBC employees I spoke with characterized it as “unseemly,” “inappropriate,” and “a disgrace”), but the ﬂattery certainly tickled Trump. “You have me almost as a legendary ﬁgure,” he complimented Scarborough in February; on another occasion, he referred to Scarborough and Brzezinski as “supporters.” Of course, the a≠ection was ﬂeeting. As Trump failed to moderate his message, Scarborough grew skeptical—and by the summer, when he talked on-air about a Trump presidency, he conjured visions of race riots and nuclear holocaust. Privately, he was musing on the meaning of Trump’s political foray in stranger ways. And now, as we sat in his o∞ce at 30 Rock, I wondered what he had to reveal: A damning voice mail from the Donald? A clandestine recording about the nation’s 47 percent? Scarborough had me on tenterhooks. Finally, he gave me his scoop. “I’m working on a musical,” he said. “It’s Trump: The Musical.” I laughed, but then my amusement gave way to admiration for what Scarborough had glimpsed for himself: opportunity. A character he once imagined in the White House he now envisioned on Broadway. “It’s actually Hamilton meets The Book of Mormon,” Scarborough gushed, pitching his conceit for the comic romp. With Brzezinski egging him on, Scarborough, whose ego is as healthy as his head of hair, reached into his briefcase and pulled out his iPhone. He wanted me to have a listen. “I hope you have no problem putting in my earbuds,” he said, giving them a perfunctory wipe on the hem of his shirt. He pressed “play,” the music swelled, and soon a male voice, the titular character, was belting in my ears:
I’m just a simple man Blessed with this orange tan I’m simply titanic Beloved by Hispanics and Jews I’m huge Losers don’t understand The genius of my border plan They call me a fool Then they dare ridicule my huge hands
He hit “pause,” and I took out the earbuds. The snippet I’d heard was rough—just a demo, Scarborough reminded me, sung by a friend of his—but in a month, he’d visit a New York City studio to produce a more polished version. There, David Cook, Taylor Swift’s band director, would man the soundboard, and Rory O’Malley, who currently brings down the house as King George III in Hamilton, would handle the vocal work. After that, Scarborough and his agent, Ari Emanuel, would have what they needed to start lining up ﬁnancial backers to stage a production. Scarborough’s wide, expectant smile belied any insecurity, any sense that this might be a daunting ﬁeld to jump into. I asked him if he was sure that people— not to mention Broadway audiences—would still be interested in Trump after November. “Oh yeah,” Scarborough replied. “There’s enough general-interest knowledge about this guy that I can write basically whatever I want to write.” He got even more excited as images of ovations and Tony Awards seemed to ﬂicker in his eyes. “People are like, ‘Well, what if he wins?’ ” Scarborough said. “I go, ‘That’s even better!’ ” F O R A L L T H E D A M A G E Trump’s presi-
dential run has inﬂicted on the body politic, it’s done something remarkable for Joe Scarborough. It’s boosted his proﬁle on the
• Scarborough’s fickle feelings for Donald Trump have added more than a little intrigue to his show.
political-media landscape, sure, but it has also enlarged some already gargantuan ambitions. If the insanity of our political age has induced anxiety in the vast majority of us, in Scarborough something else has been stirred: a renewed conviction that he’s capable of feats far beyond a morning TV show. And at a moment when politics is hot and bizarre and very much alive in our culture, who can blame a guy for thinking big? Scarborough, a former Florida congressman who spent the ’90s putting a friendly face on some of Newt Gingrich’s harsher Republican policies, birthed Morning Joe nine years ago. And with a rotating assortment of political hands and journalists, he’s used the show, ever since, to stoke the curiosities of a tribe of inﬂuencers scattered up and down the Acela Corridor. When Trump jumped into the presidential race last year, Scarborough began talking him up as a contender when most pundits were dismissing him as a sideshow. Scarborough says he was simply predicting the political future—correctly, as it turns out. But people close to Scarborough say that his early enthusiasm for Trump was about something more. “He was ﬂattered that Trump watched his show and would call him,” says one person inside MSNBC. “I think he was seduced by that. This was becoming the biggest story in the world, and he was in contact with him every day.” Only Trump and Scarborough know for certain what the two men discussed in those frequent conversations. Trump maintains that Scarborough was even more complimentary in private than he was being in public at the time. “Joe called my cell phone at eleven o’clock after one of the debates,” Trump recalled for me, “and he said, ‘Congratulations, you have just become president! You killed everybody.’ And then I watched the show the next morning, and he didn’t say that. I called him and asked him why. He said, ‘I don’t want people to know how good friends we are.’ ” Scarborough told me he mostly tried to persuade Trump to apologize to the various aggrieved targets of his ridicule or outrage— Mexican immigrants, John McCain, Roger Ailes, or whomever else Trump was o≠ending. Finally, Scarborough says, Trump told him: “Joe, I’m just not that kind of person. I just don’t apologize. I’m sorry. You apologize. I don’t apologize.” People who talked with Scarborough about his conversations with Trump say they concerned more than mere etiquette. Scarborough told others that he was providing Trump with everything from policy advice to debate pointers. More important, Scarborough left others with the impression that he believed Trump was seriously entertaining the idea of tapping him as his running mate. “When he was in
• For all his personal aspirations, Scarborough has been fiercely devoted to his co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
his ‘Love Trump’ phase,” says one person familiar with Scarborough’s thinking during this period, “he thought he could or should be Trump’s veep.” It became clear to Scarborough that what worked in a Republican primary wouldn’t work in a general-election campaign—and when Trump failed to pivot, Scarborough says, he had no choice but to begin criticizing him. Their phone calls, Scarborough told me, became less frequent and more hostile. Perhaps the ﬁnal straw came when Scarborough casually mentioned on-air that Chris Christie and Bernie Sanders drew better ratings than Trump when they were guests on Morning Joe. Loose talk about something as important to Trump as television ratings was a knife to the back that prompted an angry e-mail to Scarborough. “He basically said we weren’t his friends anymore,” Scarborough recalled. “He said that he’d hired somebody to put together a spreadsheet that showed that he got consistently higher ratings than both Sanders and Christie.” Intrigued, I asked Scarborough if he would share the spreadsheet with me. “He said he had a spreadsheet,” Scarborough replied. “Do you think he had a spreadsheet? Do you think he had investigators looking for Obama’s birth certiﬁcate in Hawaii? He didn’t have a spreadsheet! That’s Donald Trump.” As for whether he hoped to join a Trump ticket, Scarborough was ﬁrm.“There was absolutely no time that I ever considered even being considered for any position in Donald Trump’s administration,” he told me. “Not only did I never think about it, but I’m sure he never thought about it, either.” In a rare instance of agreement between the two these days, Trump concurs. “I never
even thought of it,” he told me. “Why would I pick a low-rated TV host?” By late summer, any vestige of a warm relationship was gone. In August, Trump issued a volley of tweets in which he declared Morning Joe “unwatchable” and proclaimed the show’s hosts to be “Two clowns!” For all the newfound acrimony, Trump’s success has prompted Scarborough to re-assess his own political prospects. Although he’s often toyed with the idea of making another run for o∞ce—ﬂoating his name for a Florida Senate seat or eyeing the race for Connecticut governor— Scarborough’s ambitions have ratcheted up. Increasingly, he’s grown convinced that if Trump can make a serious run for the presidency, so, potentially, could he. According to Scarborough’s thinking, Trump demonstrates just how formidable a candidate with excellent media skills can be; imagine if such a candidate also possessed a proven understanding of politics. “I’ll just be really blunt. He actually does present an opening,” Scarborough told me in one of our several conversations. “When I ran [for Congress] in ’94, I ran as a conservative-slash-populist, and Republicans have been getting drubbed on the national level because they all talk like American Enterprise Institute policy wonks,” getting in a subtle dig at, presumably, House Speaker Paul Ryan. Scarborough went on, “Conservative-populists like myself have never been accepted in polite political society, but Donald Trump makes me look absolutely mainstream.” Or maybe Trump will end up making Scarborough look like a Broadway producer. Whatever the case, Trump has played a major role in improving
the already-pretty-excellent life that Scarborough—who, little more than a decade ago, appeared to be a washed-up politician and third-tier TV personality— has built for himself. F R O M A S T U D I O on the third ﬂoor of the
NBC News headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center, Morning Joe is broadcast every weekday morning starting at 6 a.m. But that’s no guarantee that Scarborough himself will be there. Some mornings he connects from New Canaan, Connecticut— from a studio the network set up for him in his home; occasionally, he beams in from a public-access station on Nantucket, where he likes to vacation. And on mornings when he’s at 30 Rock, he’s that rare host of an eponymous television show who sometimes arrives when that show is already on television. That the show’s creator plays by a di≠erent set of rules is proof of the enormous power he wields within the network. As one television insider put it to me, “There’s no other show on broadcast or on cable right now where the host has more control or is more dominant than Scarborough.” Although the number of viewers who tune in to Morning Joe averages only about 500,000—Fox News’s morning program Fox & Friends, by contrast, routinely pulls in more than 1 million—those viewers are su∞ciently desirable to advertisers that the show fetches premium rates. “The show is a revenue driver and a big part of our success,” says MSNBC president Phil Gri∞n. And Scarborough is paid handsomely: According to a cable-news executive who spoke to me about the ﬁnancials of the show, he currently makes $8 million a year. OCTOBER
Despite the show’s success, Scarborough’s own perception of its inﬂuence is notably outsize. Serving daily as grand marshal to a parade of self-styled thought-leaders and power brokers, all of them desperate for airtime, can make a guy think pretty highly of himself. As when Scarborough recalled for me his encounters with Barack Obama: “The ﬁrst ﬁve times I saw him, he said, ‘Well, you know, I don’t watch your show because it’s on too early.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, you know, if you hadn’t told me ﬁve times you didn’t watch my show, I actually would have believed that you were the one inﬂuencer in Washington that doesn’t watch my show.’ ” That one man’s president is another man’s “inﬂuencer” says a lot about how far the show has come from its humble beginnings. In 2007, after MSNBC abruptly dropped Don Imus, Scarborough was given the morning slot to serve as a mere placeholder after his own prime-time program, Scarborough Country, had ﬁzzled. But Scarborough resolved to build something that could last. He recruited Brzezinski, a newsreader who’d recently been let go by CBS, and Willie Geist, primarily a behind-the-camera producer, to sit alongside him. Mike Barnicle, a longtime Boston Globe columnist who’d been forced out amid allegations of plagiarism and fabrication, frequently accompanied them. “A lot of us had been ﬁred, had been washed-up, had been thrown o≠ to the side,” Brzezinski says now. “We were the Island of Misﬁt Toys.” And early on, the show was treated accordingly. When Scarborough asked if he could join the network’s other anchors in Iowa for the 2008 presidential caucuses, Gri∞n, MSNBC’s top executive, told him no. “Finally, I called him, like, two days before,” Scarborough recalls. “I said, ‘Phil, Mika and I are going to be in Iowa, in Des Moines. If you want a show, you might want to send some cameras out there.’ ” Gri∞n did, although he didn’t allow Morning Joe to broadcast from the elaborate set MSNBC had rigged up for its other programs. “A lot of people who revel in the success of Morning Joe had to be brought there by Joe,” says Chris Licht, who was the show’s executive producer for its ﬁrst four years and is now in charge of Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. Licht says Scarborough earned the latitude he now enjoys at MSNBC: “It’s a very unique thing in television where you can say, ‘No one believed me, now look where we are. I got us here, so I’ll continue to call the shots, if you don’t mind.’ ” And Scarborough deﬁnitely continues to call the shots. “We have complete, extraordinary autonomy,” he boasts. Visitors to the show’s headquarters are immediately greeted by a giant wall mural of a Peter Max painting of Scarborough and Brzezinski strolling along a beach dune on Nantucket. “It’s like Saddam’s Iraq, with all the Joe and 104
Mika iconography,” one show guest has quipped of the Morning Joe o∞ces. Scarborough marks his territory in less literal ways as well. For a guy who’s frequently accused by colleagues of laziness, he exercises a near fanatical control over his program. The show’s air of nonchalance belies a remarkable amount of e≠ort on Scarborough’s part. Licht recounts an incident from 2010, when Morning Joe was being broadcast from NBC’s studios in Washington, D.C., and Scarborough left the set mid-broadcast to visit the control room to reprimand Licht over the placement of the Steadicam operator. Their argument carried on after the show in the NBC parking lot. A short time later, Licht su≠ered a near fatal brain hemorrhage. “We joke that he almost killed me,” Licht says. For years, Scarborough complained— bitterly in private and not even all that cryptically in public—about the network’s lefty slant. But since Andy Lack retook the reins of NBC News last year, he’s demoted or jettisoned many of the more ideologically driven MSNBC hosts—from Al Sharpton to Ed Schultz to Melissa Harris-Perry. At the same time, Lack has elevated hosts like Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, and Mark Halperin and John Heilemann—or, as Brzezinski described them to me, “our people.” Scarborough appreciates the changes: “I couldn’t have said this for a very long time, but I like the people who are on MSNBC. I like the shows that are on MSNBC.” He’s fond of plenty of other shows, too—so much so that he often seems to be angling for them. “He’s tried to take every single job at this network,” gripes one NBC veteran. For a time, Scarborough and Brzezinski vigorously lobbied to take over the Sunday Today show. Scarborough is also said to have eyed Meet the Press when the ratings plunged after David Gregory took over following Tim Russert’s death. (Scarborough maintains
that Meet the Press had been pitched to him by NBC News president Deborah Turness.) Last year, Scarborough even appeared to set his sights on NBC Nightly News. At the height of the scandal involving Brian Williams, it didn’t go unnoticed that Scarborough began guest-hosting Way Too Early, the 5:30 a.m. lead-in to Morning Joe. Wearing a coat and tie, instead of his usual ﬂeece or sweater, Scarborough read from a teleprompter and delivered the news straight. “He was role-playing as if he were a nightly-news anchor,” recalls one NBC insider. (Scarborough denies he was ever interested in Nightly News.) And yet, just as it’s unlikely that Scarborough will ever be president or ever truly supplant Lin-Manuel Miranda on Broadway, there are many who think it’s unlikely he’ll ever escape the grind of morning cable news, of waking up before dawn to o≠er political analysis as viewers scarf down breakfast in their underwear. “He has all these delusions of grandeur, but he belongs at 6 a.m. on MSNBC with ﬁve viewers,” says one former NBC executive. “There’s an economic model that works for that. He gets very signiﬁcant compensation for reaching a tiny number of viewers.” M I G H T Y A S H I S personal ambition may
be, Scarborough makes a point to always include Brzezinski. “Mika really has been my manager and sort of been my agent, internally, whenever people are attacking me,” Scarborough says. “And I have been the same for her, too.” Brzezinski is even more e≠usive about Scarborough. One morning, as we chatted in the o∞ce she shares with him— adorned with photos of the pair, as well as of Scarborough’s four children and Brzezinski’s two—she recalled for me the origins of their partnership nine years ago. “I could tell right at the beginning,” she said, “that we both were at a place in our lives where we’d been
• Scarborough is that unique TV host who occasionally arrives for his show while it’s already on the air.
through enough to know what rough waters feel like, and lost a lot and gained a lot and seen enough to be able to give really good analysis from the gut, from the heart, with no fear.” The setting and the sentiment made it seem as if she were talking less about an on-air partner than a midlife one. For years, Scarborough and Brzezinski’s closeness has led to romantic speculation. When Morning Joe began, Scarborough, who has two adult sons from his ﬁrst marriage, was married to Susan Scarborough, a former aide to Jeb Bush, with whom he has a son and a daughter; Brzezinski was married to the investigative reporter Jim Ho≠er, with whom she has two daughters. In 2011, Scarborough, ﬂush from his show’s success, bought a $4.6 million, 7,550-square-foot home in New Canaan and moved Susan and their two children there from Manhattan. Though Joe would ﬁle for divorce in September 2012, he and Susan agreed to continue living in separate parts of the home in order to be near their children. Then, this past year, Brzezinski divorced Ho≠er. For the record, Scarborough and Brzezinski will neither conﬁrm nor deny that they are romantically involved. When I recently put the question to the pair, Brzezinski replied, “I really don’t want to talk about my personal life. I mean, I think you can understand that.” Scarborough added, “And, as always, I defer to Mika.” But inside MSNBC, and even on the set of their own show, it’s widely assumed that they are a couple. They are frequently spotted outside 30 Rock, traveling together on Nantucket and in Charleston, or sitting at tables for two over cozy dinners in Manhattan. Last December, when Scarborough hosted a Christmas party for friends and colleagues at his home in New Canaan, it was Brzezinski who welcomed guests at the door. Visitors also couldn’t help but notice that the giant Peter Max painting of the pair—the one that greets visitors at the Morning Joe o∞ces—also hangs in Scarborough’s home. Even Trump has tried to capitalize on the rumors. In August, responding to on-air criticism from the two, he threatened on Twitter to “tell the real story of @JoeNBC and his very insecure, long-time girlfriend, @morningmika.” When I asked Trump to tell me that story, he demurred. “I don’t want to get into that,” Trump said, before adding, “I know that whole thing better than they do, and they know it.” But if indeed they are romantically involved, it’s unclear why Brzezinski and Scarborough don’t publicly own up to their relationship. One potential stumbling block, television insiders speculate, is concern over how the show might be impacted. “If you know they’re a couple, does it change their ratings?” asks one cable executive. “Does it 108
change the way viewers take in their banter, if they know they’re sleeping together?” In June, the New York Post’s Page Six broke the news of Brzezinski’s divorce and reported that she and Scarborough “could soon go public as a couple.” It was widely assumed by friends and colleagues of the pair’s that the leak had been authorized. “It had all the hallmarks of a planted story,” says one news executive. “It had to be either NBC PR ﬂoating a trial balloon or they themselves ﬂoating a trial balloon.” Either way, people close to Brzezinski and Scarborough noticed that neither seemed particularly perturbed by the item. “Let’s just say they weren’t upset about it,” one told me. “They weren’t displeased that they’d been elevated to the front page of the New York Post.” T H I S S U M M E R , on the ﬁnal night of the
in the audience of about 100, were many of Scarborough’s employees: producers and factotums from the show. I was squeezed with Brzezinski, Barnicle, and Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, into a small booth. Scarborough, who plays the guitar, has been in garage bands since he was a teenager. But his ﬁnancial success has now allowed him to take his music to another level. He pays the eight other members of Morning Joe Music—all of them full-time professional musicians, many of them two decades his junior—“enough to make this our priority,” one of them told me. At times, it feels like Scarborough’s, too. The band played Des Moines on the night of the Iowa caucuses, performing adjacent to the MSNBC set, where Scarborough angered some colleagues with his cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”—an extended tribute jam he didn’t wrap up until 30 seconds before the network needed to begin its election-night coverage. Scarborough himself harbors desires to turn his hobby into a full-ﬂedged career. In an e-mail inviting me to attend the studio session for Trump: The Musical, he
Republican National Convention, I followed Scarborough down a Cleveland street with his unwieldy entourage in tow. Out to do a little reporting-cum-glad-handing, Scarborough had with him three security guards, an MSNBC publicist, a Morning Joe producer who doubles as his boy Friday, a “chief of sta≠,” and a personal photographer. Scarborough’s gaggle of attendants is the source of much amusement inside and When it was reported that outside NBC. “Matt Lauer is a Brzezinski and Scarborough $25 million-a-year broadcaster and he doesn’t have any of the “could soon go public as a couple,” accoutrements Joe has,” notes it was widely assumed that one news executive. “It’s like the leak had been authorized. he’s the King of Liechtenstein.” Inside the arena in Cleveland, Scarborough was mobbed. He’d seemed unusually subdued that week. wrote, “If I have my way, in the future, I will be doing much more of what you “Joe doesn’t understand why he wasn’t will see me do on Tuesday than what you giving the acceptance speech in Cleveland,” one person who knows him well told covered in Cleveland.” me. But now, as Scarborough worked the For now, in the cramped Manhattan bar, ﬂoor—pontiﬁcating and posing for selﬁes— Scarborough played rock star. He had his he was met with rea∞rmation. He bumped own backup singers, his own horn section, into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McCohis own catalog of tunes with titles like “L.A. nnell, and they quickly disappeared for Song” (Well, the freak show hit the road / a private confab while their entourages With a pound of hash and a stash of blow) (McConnell’s was one person smaller!) and “Downtown” (Everybody loves my body waited outside a closed door. As Scarbor/ Loves to drive it like a Maserati). ough exited, the Nation writer John Nichols Nearby, Brzezinski sipped a couple of cocktails and danced on the banquette. stopped him on the sidewalk to say hello. The crowd screamed for more. After an “I’m sorry you’re not the vice presidential nominee,” Nichols told Scarborough, “but hour-long set, Scarborough hopped o≠ the maybe next time.” As he bounded o≠ for his stage. He gave a few high-ﬁves and, with a security guard at his side, exited through hotel, I watched Scarborough’s imagination the kitchen like James Brown might have. paint a contented grin upon his face. How Outside, in the drizzle of a summer night, bright the future can seem. I saw it again, that smile, this time the real world—or at least some simulacrum only bigger, on a stormy summer night in of it—beckoned. He had a cable-news show New York, as Scarborough stood on a tiny at six the next morning. And he’d need to be stage in an Upper West Side bar. Crammed there by 6:05…6:10 at the latest. behind him were the various members of a jason zengerle is gq’s political nine-piece rock band, uncreatively named correspondent. Morning Joe Music. Assembled before him,
Every Halloween, scores of Americans prowl the streets in costumes that, while extremely sexy, are also racist, buffoonish, offensive, and/or just plain dumb. So this year, GQ enlisted Silicon Valley star K U M A I L N A N J I A N I to illustrate how to dress up as another person the right way—in this case, J.Lo at the VMAs circa 2000—and help us all do our part to bring America’s blackface count to zero ✒ CAITY WEAVER
AS HALLOWEEN APPROACHES,
(First Rule: Don’t Offend Humans)
America’s most valuable natural resources—celebrities—are in trouble. Each year, more and more fall prey to poor costume judgment, blackening their reputations as thoroughly as their skin. In 2013, a blonde actress named Julianne Hough darkened her face to portray a black character from Orange Is the New Black. In 2014, Scott Disick’s costume was simply “a sheik.” In 2015, Nicky Hilton attended a tequila party dressed as a Native American woman who owned gladiator sandals. This year is sure to bring fresh horrors. But unlike celebrities, whose lustrous beauty and hypnotic charisma shield them from the consequences of their worst ideas, we (as in: regular people) are each just one misbegotten costume away from unemployment. It doesn’t have to be this way. With these rules as a guide, anyone can avoid o≠ending the world on Halloween. CHRIS BUCK
Don’t Change Your Skin Color to Any Shade Found in Humans
There are plenty of reasons not to attempt a costume that employs blackface (its insulting history) or yellowface (its insulting history) or brownface (its insulting history) or whiteface (it inspires white people to argue they should be allowed to do the other three). But here’s the reason that’s most relevant to you personally: It will make you look unhinged. This is just not something we do anymore in America. Forget about the moral rationale—you shouldn’t do it because doing it signals to everyone that you are socialnorm illiterate. You probably know this. You probably even “get it,” which is perhaps why you
have chosen this route—to turn racism on its head. No! Do not attempt to turn racism on its head on Halloween. If you think this is a good idea, you have already demonstrated you lack the ﬁnesse to accomplish it. And besides, it’s just not necessary. The object of dressing up for Halloween is not to do everything in your power to perfectly mirror your subject. It is to demonstrate a brief, humorous ﬂash of your own pop-culture awareness. You are not a CIA ﬁeld agent, trained to protect your identity with deceptive makeup. You are just a regular person, probably not cut out for the CIA, no o≠ense. You
are not going to fool anyone into mistaking you for Kanye West, or Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, so there’s no need to darken your face with 50 Shades of Tan. So, what if you’re, say, a Pakistani-born American citizen who wants to go as Skrillex for Halloween? How do you look like Skrillex without changing the color of your skin? Simple: Dress up as Skrillex. HOW TO BE YOU, BUT S K RILLEX
>Select a bald cap in the color of your choosing; glue half a black wig to it. >Cloak yourself in layers of black menswear. >Use magnetic studs to represent ear gauges. (Or, if you have months of foresight, get ear gauges.) >Borrow a skateboard from a child.
You Can Change Your Skin Color to a Shade Found in Gumballs*
HOW TO BE YOU, BU T MYSTI QU E
Some people look forward all year to covering their bodies in a thin layer of paint, many of whom are not racist. For such people, there is a loophole: Dress up as a brightly colored character that is human-adjacent. This can be a Smurf or the Jolly Green Giant or even Mystique, if you’ve got the time and conﬁdence. But be careful; just because someone is a cartoon does not mean that someone is not also a proud Latino-American. If you would like to dress up as, for instance, Dora the Explorer’s sidekick, Diego, please refer to Commandment I.
>Get as close to nude as pride and law will allow; paint everything visible blue. >Flatiron a red Ronald McDonald wig; slick it back with pomade. >Don’t worry about accessories. If people can’t tell you’re Mystique from the above, no amount of handholding will help.
*Note: We did not say Gumbels. Painting your skin in an attempt to resemble Bryant or, even more ludicrously, Greg Gumbel would violate Commandment I.
S T Y L I S T : A N N A S U F O R A R T D E P A R T M E N T. G R O O M I N G : A N N A B E R N A B E F O R E X C L U S I V E A R T I S T S M A N A G E M E N T. P R O P S T Y L I S T : M A R K H E L F A T T H E R E X A G E N C Y. C L O T H E S : S E E A D D I T I O N A L C R E D I T S .
COMMANDMENT III Stick with the Butt Bestowed Upon You by the Universe
Yes, it’s hilarious to pause in the produce aisle, hold two cantaloupes up to your chest, and yell to your partner, “Hey! Whaddya think of these?” When it comes to Halloween costumes, though, proceed with caution around dangerous curves. Err on the side of the physical features you were born with, lest you look as if you were inspired by a diagram in an early-20thcentury eugenics pamphlet. If you try to mimic a celebrity’s exact body characteristics, odds are high that you’ll veer quickly into demeaning objectiﬁcation. (It’s hard to maintain a light touch when stu∞ng wads of padding into your boxer briefs.) The purpose of celebrity-inspired Halloween costumes is to make fun of people—literally to create fun from their existence. But in order to not be an asshole, make sure the thing you’re mocking is something mutable, like fashion, and not a physical trait. It’s not funny that Jennifer Lopez has boobs and a large butt any more than it’s funny that you have no boobs or butt. That’s just how you and J.Lo happen to look.
H OW TO BE YO U, BUT J. LO AT TH E 2 0 0 0 V M AS , W H EN S H E WAS DATIN G PUF F Y
>Pair a white rhinestone belly shirt with white rhinestone heels, a white rhinestone headband, and white flared jeans that don’t need rhinestones but they certainly couldn’t hurt. >Sling a silver metal belt around your waist—not through belt loops. >On each wrist: a diamond bracelet. On your neck: a nameplate necklace. On your face: a confident smile. >Carry the Moonman you just won for Best Dance Video (“Waiting for Tonight”). >Ask people, increasingly frantically: “Have you seen Puff?”
COMMANDMENT IV Apply Accessories Liberally
Imagine waking up to ﬁnd a mannequin wearing your Halloween costume in your bed. Terrifying—but would you know immediately who that mannequin
was purporting to be? If the answer is no, then you need more accessories. Logic dictates that there are a lot of white people in the known universe (Steve Jobs, Ryan Gosling, and
>Pair a body-hugging turtleneck with a solid blazer. >Buy a variety of white and silver wigs; change them out over the course of the night. >Carry around a Brillo box, for sitting on and for supplemental wig storage. (Warhol owned over 50, so you’ll need at least 3.) >Take Polaroids of people without asking.
Choose a Subject Identifiable by Name
>Pair a baggy short-sleeve buttondown shirt with baggy, pleated Dockers (belted above the navel). >Top with a saltand-pepper wig, extra salt. >Wear a thick gold band on your ring finger. >Eat tons of ice cream cones, you ice cream monster.
Scarlett Johansson, to name some), but relatively few white people who dress like Andy Warhol (of that list: only Steve Jobs, kind of ). An even smaller percentage of white people carry the things Andy Warhol might have carried with him on a given day: a Polaroid camera, a Brillo-pad box, a birth certiﬁcate for “Andrew Warhola.” If you lug around those items, plus dress like Warhol, plus it’s Halloween—a night when brains are actively engaged in puzzle-solving— most folks will be able to guess that you are dressed as Pittsburgh’s most famous son after Joe Manganiello: Look—it’s Andy Warhol!
HOW TO BE YOU, BU T A NDY WA RHOL
COMMANDMENT V H OW TO BE YOU, BUT CAS UAL, RETIRED O BAMA
When it comes to costumes, the more speciﬁc your outﬁt is, the funnier it will be. Dressing up as “a black man” is a bad idea. Dressing up as “Barack Obama” is a mediocre idea. Dressing up as “Casual, Retired Obama” is a funny idea—and a great opportunity to eat frozen treats while wearing comfy clothes. To go as a fellow human for Halloween, rather than an inanimate object or an animal, is to court danger. The safe thing about dressing up as, say, a bunny is that you will probably never interview for a
job with a bunny. They simply don’t have the technology yet. The risky thing about dressing up as “an Arab” is that an Arab person (non-costumed) could one day hold your employment in his or her hands. If so, you’d better pray they never see the photos of your stupid costume that deﬁnitely exist online because you are not as slick as you think. Some life advice: Don’t dress up as anyone you’d be embarrassed to bump into while in costume. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Live as if Frederick Douglass is always watching. caity weaver is a gq writer and editor.
> The Shooter & the Saint
T H E R E ’ S A D E A D M A N spilling out of a Mercedes on Sophie Wright Place, his feet limp on the pavement, the rest of him slumped over the seat. His name is Will Smith and he is a Saint, or used to be a Saint, which is as much an appellation as a job description
P R O P S T Y L I S T : A R I A N A S A LVAT O AT A P O S T R O P H E
This spring, a former Saint and Super Bowl champion, W I L L S M I T H , was shot and killed by another player, named C A R D E L L H A Y E S . Their fatal collision highlights the fine line between triumph and tragedy in football and life in the Crescent City ✒ S E A N F L Y N N
in New Orleans. Smith played nine seasons in the NFL, had a Super Bowl ring, retired to the city where he was rich and famous because he was a big man with an extraordinary gift. He was an adopted son and a favorite son, out on a springtime Saturday night with his wife and a few friends. Then he got shot to death in the street. There’s another football player on the street, a native son, New Orleans born and raised. Bigger than Smith and nearly as gifted, but he never got famous and he never got rich. Almost 30 years old and he’s humping it in a development league even the local press doesn’t bother covering. He’s a workingman, drives a tow truck and breeds puppies and pours concrete to pay the bills and raise his boy. His name is Cardell Hayes, but his friends call him Bear because that is his approximate size, six six, 305. He shot Smith, shot him eight times, one in the side and seven in the back. He might’ve shot Smith’s wife, too, once in each leg. Didn’t mean to, though, if that matters at all. Cardell is scared. He’s not running away. He’s waiting for the police to come. His gun, a .45 semi-automatic pistol, is on the hood of his Hummer, which is pushed up against the back of Smith’s Mercedes SUV. Cardell’s already taken out the magazine, set it next to the gun. He’s on his phone, calling his ex-girlfriend, an English teacher he’d been with from the eighth grade until a few months ago. They’re still close, raise their son together. His voice is panicky, cracking, like he’s gulping for air. He’s talking in fragments, not making sense, not to Ti≠any, anyway. I shot someone, he tells her. I don’t know what happened, he says. And both of those things, right then in the echoing wail of the approaching sirens, are absolutely true. A L O T O F P E O P L E get shot in New
Orleans. The city consistently has one of the ten highest murder rates in the country, and most victims die as anonymous statistics, signiﬁcant only in the aggregate. 118
Those are not recreational drugs, but they do require a prescription, which Cardell did not have because they were prescribed to his aunt. Thus, he was carrying a weapon while in possession of illegal narcotics. He eventually pleaded to misdemeanors. Cardell’s athletic history was also a matter of relevant curiosity. In 2004, a scouting outﬁt ranked him as one of the top 50 high school prospects in Louisiana, which sends more men per capita to the NFL than any state except Alabama. But Cardell never even played college ball. Furthest he got was being an extra on a fake team in 22 Jump Street and a defensive lineman for the Crescent City Kings in the Gridiron Developmental Football League. There was one more thing, about Cardell’s father. The day after Christmas 2005, Anthony Hayes had a card declined at Walgreens. He argued, punched a clerk, and left. The police found Anthony walking down St. Charles Avenue, holding a fourinch knife. He did not want to stop, and he did not want to be arrested. Anthony also had a history of mental illness. More police came. They pepper-sprayed him. Anthony lunged—it’s always a lunge—at Lieutenant William Ceravolo. Three other o∞cers ﬁred. Anthony was hit nine times, crumpled awkwardly to the pavement, and died. As of April, Ceravolo was retired from regular duty, a captain in the New Orleans Police reserve. He also happened to be a friend of Will Smith’s. Had, in fact, been out with Smith at a place called Sake Cafe not 20 minutes earlier and ten blocks west. Stray details about Cardell were feathered into the coverage, almost as if to make him bigger and thuggier: how he sometimes did security for the Saints—which isn’t true—or how he bred expensive and funny little dogs called bullies, a cross between French bulldogs and pit bulls. (Those dogs, USA Today ominously added, “are considered loyal, protective and potentially dangerous—characteristics that apparently Hayes shares.”)
• Smith left the New Orleans Saints after nine seasons—and a Super Bowl ring.
F R O M T O P : A P ; D AV I D G O L D M A N /A P
• Cardell Hayes was arrested in April after shooting Will Smith during a traffic altercation.
Except when they are famous. Unlike Will Smith, none of the 30 people murdered in New Orleans before April 9 this year were retired NFL defensive ends with Super Bowl rings. Famous people die famous deaths, and those need to be publicly explained. If Cardell Hayes didn’t know what happened, it was appallingly obvious to everyone else. Shortly before 11:30 that night, Cardell’s Hummer ran into the back of Smith’s Mercedes. There was an argument, loud and incoherent, and then pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop. Road rage, apparently. Someone had to be the bad guy, and common sense suggested it was more likely to be the guy with the gun who wasn’t dead than the football star with the charitable foundation whose name was going into the Saints Hall of Fame. Cardell certainly looked like he could shoot a man over a dented fender: In his mug shot, which went up on the news sites and sports sites and gossip sites within hours, dreadlocks tumble o≠ his head and his neck beard is like a sling holding up his head, hard and round as a cannonball. There was another photo, too: Cardell strobed in police light and standing next to a normal-size o∞cer, his arms safely cu≠ed behind his back, like a giant subdued. By sunrise, the basic narrative had already been written, perhaps indelibly, and spread globally. “Cardell Hayes,” his attorney groused to reporters a few days later, “was tried and convicted before I got out of church Sunday morning.” It only got worse as the day wore on. Reporters—and there were many, because a dead Super Bowl winner, especially one who can be called a Saint without irony, draws a lot of press—quickly pulled up Cardell’s criminal record. It was not extensive, but it could be shorthanded, unfairly though not inaccurately, to a drug-and-gun conviction. In 2010 he was pulled over for not signaling a turn. He told the o∞cers about the legal handgun in the car. The police also found six Tylenol 3 caplets, the kind with codeine.
But those were just texture. What were the odds that an aspiring professional football player with a criminal record would run into a superstar who just happened to have had dinner with one of the cops who’d been involved in the killing of his father? In New Orleans, actually, those odds aren’t too bad. A N H O U R B E F O R E it happened, at about
10:30, Cardell was in Treme, in a storefront barbershop called Lance’s. There are bars on the door and a mirror along the back wall, in front of the barber chairs, two worn couches, and a rack of snacks. The only real decorations are Saints posters and Saints pennants and a list of rules—“Number One: No Disrespecting the New Orleans Saints”— taped and tacked to the walls. Cardell was a regular at Lance’s, had been ever since Anthony Williams started cutting his lines, keeping his hair knife-sharp at the edges. He would come just to hang out, too, and usually call ahead to have someone order him a large pizza, make sure he had a snack waiting. Late on a Saturday night, people are still working at Lance’s, and a few guys are hanging out, looking for something to do. A little past 10:30, Cardell’s phone pinged. He smiled. “House party Uptown,” he said. Everyone wanted Cardell to check it out ﬁrst, see if it was worth dragging across town. The only one who’d go was Kevin O’Neal. He’d ride shotgun in the Hummer. Kevin was one of Cardell’s best friends, played football with him at Warren Easton High School. “The nerd school,” Kevin calls 120
it, because you had to test in. But it had a good football team, and Kevin and Cardell were two of its best players. In 2004, a scouting website called Tiger Blitz ranked Cardell, a six-foot-three, 260-pound defensive tackle who could run the 40 in 4.8 seconds, number 48 on its list of Louisiana high school prospects. Kevin, six four and 200 pounds, was an outside linebacker who benched 250 and squatted 450. “Very rarely,” a site called Rivals wrote about him, “does it happen that a player plays one year of football and is instantly on the minds of over a dozen college programs.” They graduated in May 2005. “But man, you gotta keep in account everything that happened in 2005,” Kevin told me. “We had some real serious talent coming out—and then Katrina hit. Football and trying to pursue the NFL? It’s like, My home is gone. College? My fucking home is gone. A lot of people never rebounded from that.” Football would wait. Cardell looked after his mother and his sister and enrolled in Southeastern Louisiana University, an hour’s drive north, on the far side of Lake Pontchartrain. Kevin was at Southern University and A&M College, then went to play ball at Compton Community College. Cardell’s girlfriend, Ti≠any, was at Southeastern, too. When she got pregnant in her last year, Cardell left school to pour cement, earn a living. He never did get his degree, but Ti≠any graduated and got a job teaching high school English, and between them, they made a good middle-class life. They bought a house in the city, and Cardell
worked for himself so he could take their son to preschool in the mornings and pick him up in the afternoons and be at all the teacher conferences and assemblies. He bought and sold cars and he ran a couple of tow trucks, and, as much for passion as proﬁt, he bred dogs. Cardell was diligent and deliberate with the bullies: mothers artiﬁcially inseminated, litters delivered by C-section, a misting system to keep the kennels cool in the summer. They drove uptown, Cardell and Kevin, both in a good mood. They were playing ball again, defense for the Crescent City Kings, thinking maybe they could get sharp enough for the paying leagues. They’d had practice that afternoon, which always put Kevin in a good mood. Got the blood going, washed out the stress. Kevin was a welder and a boilermaker, had a union card and a college education, but even at 30 years old it felt good to get out on the ﬁeld. April 9 had been a near perfect day, glorious in the Louisiana spring, before the humidity settles in like a compress. After practice, Kevin had gone down to the French Quarter Festival, then watched the sun set over the Mississippi. The house party was a bust, though. Cardell and Kevin left after a half hour or so, didn’t even have a drink, and started driving downtown. They were going to Tipitina’s, the famous music club in an old warehouse on the river. Cardell drove east on Magazine Street. He braked for a red light at St. Andrew. He felt a vibration shudder through the Hummer. He looked in the mirror at a Mercedes SUV on his bumper, then at Kevin.
M I C H A E L D E M O C K E R / N O L A . C O M /A D VA N C E M E D I A ( 4 )
• Hayes and his friend Kevin O’Neal, bottom right, traded fender benders with a reportedly intoxicated Smith before things quickly escalated and a gun was drawn.
“We get hit, big brother?” “Yeah, soul,” Kevin said, low and slow, the way he always talks. “We got bumped.”
F R O M L E F T : M I C H A E L D E M O C K E R / N O L A . C O M /A D VA N C E M E D I A ; G E R A L D H E R B E R T/A P
A T T H E E N D of every day at Warren Easton
High, the principal, Philmon Edwards, would get on the PA and read whatever news or events had to be announced to the student body. Then he ﬁnished with the same simple directive: “Govern yourselves accordingly.” Kevin hadn’t been sure exactly what that meant back then, before he and Cardell graduated in 2005. But it stuck with him, as any phrase repeated so many times will, and eventually he ﬁgured out it was a reasonable guide worth following at any given time. Cardell remembered it, too. So when his Hummer got tapped on Magazine Street, he did the proper thing, which was to pull to the curb. It was probably nothing—“Bear’s so big,” Kevin told me, “and the car’s so big, he wasn’t even sure we got hit”—but a person governing himself accordingly will stop when he’s been involved in a minor tra∞c mishap. “I thought we’d get out and look at it and there wouldn’t be any damage, and we’d just say, ‘All right, forget it, go have a good night,’ ” Kevin told me a few weeks after the fact. There was no need to get the authorities involved. “Black people,” he said, “don’t want any encounters with the police.” But the Mercedes didn’t stop. It maneuvered around the Hummer, then accelerated across St. Andrew and onto a short street called Sophie Wright Place. Cardell had been dinged once already in a hit-and-run. His Hummer had been broken into, too, and his insurance kept ticking up. He wheeled away from the curb and followed the Mercedes. He ﬁgured he’d at least get the plate number. Kevin pulled out his phone to call 911. T H E R E A R E A F E W reasons Will Smith
might not have wanted to pull in behind Cardell’s Hummer, the main one being he didn’t think he’d hit him, thought he’d braked soon enough and hard enough to stop short. Another was that he was driving a $140,000 vehicle and if some asshole wanted to carjack him, coaxing him to the curb would be a fairly common way to start. A third might be that he’d drunk himself three times over the limit and didn’t need to make any unnecessary stops. Or, ﬁnally, it may just have been that he was Will Smith: Queens born, Utica raised, ﬁrst-round pick out of Ohio State in 2004, at one point among the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL, a reported $70 million with all the options. He’d spent the day at the French Quarter Festival with his wife, Racquel, and a couple they knew from Kenner, where they lived. Pierre Thomas, another former Saint, and Billy Ceravolo, the retired
cop, joined them later at Sake Cafe. At some point, their friend from Kenner called her brother, and he drove over in his Chevy Impala. Thomas and Ceravolo left ﬁrst, for the bar at the Windsor Court Hotel, a boutique place downtown. The other ﬁve left together at about 11:20: Smith, Racquel, and the couple from Kenner in the Mercedes, the brother alone in his Chevy, a car or two ahead. After Smith got around the Hummer, he caught up to the Chevy at the corner of Sophie Wright and Felicity Street. Cardell was right behind him. Taillights ﬂashed, Cardell stomped heavy on the brakes. The Hummer’s front end dipped, slid into the back of Smith’s SUV, not hard enough to pop the air bags but with enough force to shatter the Mercedes’s rear window, spiderwebbed glass held together by the tinting ﬁlm. The Mercedes, in turn, bumped into the rear of the Impala. Kevin caught his balance. Already, two white guys were charging toward the Hummer. Govern yourself accordingly. Kevin left his revolver when he got out. Cardell opened the driver’s door, stepped onto the pavement. He had his .45 in his right hand, held at his side, pointed at the ground. In New Orleans, that is a perfectly legal thing to do. “ W H A T K I N D O F P E R S O N , ” Kevin asks
one day, “sees a guy like Bear, someone that big, standing there with a gun, and keeps coming at him?” He was at a sidewalk co≠ee shop in Treme, Kevin and three of Cardell’s other friends, about a month after the shooting. The question was rhetorical. It is agreed by acclamation that the proper response in such a situation is to abruptly stop, back up, and speak as calmly as possible. The other question, though, is why Cardell was standing in the street with a .45 in the ﬁrst place. The reﬂexive answer to that, too, is agreed by acclamation: Would you ask a white man that question? “He was
a legal gun owner in an open-carry state,” Kevin says. He lets that hang there for a moment. “Where the fuck is the NRA?” An armed society, it has been said, is a polite society. In any case, it also is agreed that Cardell did not intend to threaten anyone—only to indicate he was capable of protecting himself. He was not a violent man but rather, at that moment, the proverbial good guy with a gun. If anything, Cardell was aware of how much damage a man his size could inﬂict, how much conﬂict he could attract from any meathead with something to prove. He was gentle by nature, but even gentler to compensate for his size. “He was the only person I knew who was logical about everything,” Ti≠any told me. “He always thought everything through.” Dwight Harris knew Bear wasn’t a tough guy. He was at Lance’s before it all happened, and he had his Can-Am, one of those three-wheeled motorcycles, parked behind the chain link around the lot next door. Cardell always wanted to ride it, but he never would. He’d climb on and Harris would start it and Cardell would sit there, pondering. Then he’d shake his head, switch it o≠. “I ain’t about to kill myself today,” he’d always say. “I’m gonna run into something.” Harris is at the co≠ee shop, listening to the gun debate, which keeps coming back to the same question because everything that happened after seems to depend on the answer: Why did Cardell have a gun, and why was he holding it? Harris ﬁnally lets out a heavy, deﬁnitive sigh. “Man, the same reason nuns walk around with guns,” he says. “It’s New Orleans.” F O U R D A Y S after it happened, at the hos-
pital where Racquel Smith was still being treated, a lawyer for her and the rest of the Smith family, Peter Thomson, explained their version of how it came to be that Racquel’s femur was fractured and her husband was dead. Will Smith did not believe he’d bumped Cardell’s Hummer, (continued on page 180)
• Retired NOPD captain William Ceravolo, left, was a friend of Smith’s and also involved in the killing of Hayes’s father. John Fuller is representing Hayes in his upcoming trial.
He’s been a killer actor for half a century—but never a noted thespian. He’s starred in a dozen blockbusters, but no Batmans, no Supermans, no Spider-Mans. His family is peak Hollywood—comedylegend partner, gorgeous actor kids—but there’s nothing showbiz-y or gossip-y about him. He’s always just been K U R T R U S S E L L — decent, unfussy, great hair, hallof-fame squint—and he’s always been just right CHRIS HEATH sebastian kim
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FOR MANY YEARS, Kurt Russell refused to put
the word “actor” on his passport. “I used to write ‘writer,’ ‘ballplayer’—anything but ‘actor.’ I couldn’t do it until I was about 40 years old. I just couldn’t. I was, ‘That’s not what I am.’ It was stupid, because I’d been starring in television shows and movies since I was 11. It was just me.”
Russell’s contrary streak has led him down a fascinating path over his 54-year career. He has zigged and zagged in ways that often seemed to defy logic. “Someone said,” he notes, “ ‘Your career looks like it’s been handled by a drunken driver.’ And I laughed and said, ‘That’s true!’ Because that’s the way it looks.” And yet it’s a path that has made him, at 65, wealthy and successful—and as in demand now as he’s ever been. Quietly, but also in plain sight, he’s become one of his era’s most beloved and respected actors. And it had to unfold like this, he says: “If I’d had a di≠erent career, I don’t think I’d have been very interested.” Are there any lessons to be drawn from such a unique life? Perhaps a few. Not rules, so much. Just signposts and stories that might help us understand how one very singular man found his way.
Be likable (but don’t let anyone else tell you how). In 1980, when he was 29, Kurt Russell’s adult career was beginning to gather momentum. But as he and director John Carpenter were preparing for his role as Snake Plissken in the dystopian Escape from New York, Russell remembers, they faced a dilemma. “Snake Plissken,” says Russell, with perhaps a little pride, “was the ﬁrst character that I can think of where he had no social redeeming value. A lot of the male stars of that time, if they were going to play a role where they seek revenge, that was their social redeemability—they showed the wife and kids getting burned in the house by the Maﬁa, or whatever. Or, if it was a Western, some terrible thing being done, and now it’s time for payback. We didn’t do that.” Plissken, a cynical self-serving criminal, was just going to do what he did, and if you needed him to have a good reason, you’d have to imagine it for yourself. So the studio was already nervous, Russell says, when it learned of his decision to have Plissken wear an eye patch. 1 2 4
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“I remember being in the room and talking about this stu≠,” says Russell, “and they said, ‘There’s nothing likable about him—why are we going to pull for him?’ ” Russell realized that he needed to say something to bring them around. “I tried to ﬁgure it out while I was talking, and I wasn’t coming up with an answer that was very satisfactory to me or anybody else. And ﬁnally I just kind of blurted out: ‘You’re going to like him because I’m playing him!’ ” It seems Russell was correct. The movie was a success, extending and deepening people’s perception of what Russell could do, and Plissken is now an iconic ﬁgure. A few years later, Russell even discovered some objective validation for his faith in his own likability. The producers of the science-ﬁction movie Stargate chased him to anchor the ﬁlm, overcoming his reluctance by doubling his biggest payday to date, and when he asked why they’d been so set on hiring him, they told him about their research: “They said, ‘Oh, well, we ran a questionnaire around the world.’ They wanted to ﬁnd someone who was likable because the part, as written, was not. And they said, ‘You know the only star out there who has zero unlikability? Kurt Russell. Zero unlikability!’ ” He laughs. “Now, this was a long time ago. That number may have changed signiﬁcantly.”
Find reasons to leave home (but make sure they’re good ones). Kurt Russell spends much of his time at a vineyard north of Santa Barbara, creating his own Pinot Noir, and he concedes there have been times that he’s been reluctant to leave. “I was just loving life,” he says. “Sometimes I think I just want to do that.” One such moment: when he was ﬁrst approached in 2013 to appear in the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise. He didn’t jump at the chance. He didn’t think the character they’d originally proposed for him (“a lieutenant arriving with his
Special Ops team”) was interesting enough. But a trusted friend pressed him to reconsider, and after the ﬁlmmakers proved open to his ideas about who this character could be—someone mysterious and anonymous— he found himself in one of the world’s most successful movie series. He has just reprised the part in the forthcoming Fast 8. Right now, his career seems to be on a roll, one that started with his performance as a brash and stubborn bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. This month he appears as the gru≠ moral center of Deepwater Horizon, the gripping true story of the BP oil-rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. “I always appreciate those guys whose job is really, honestly dangerous,” he says. “And they know it, but they really don’t show it.” At the moment, though, the role he seems most excited about is as Chris Pratt’s longlost father in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—a father who is actually a planet (Ego, the Living Planet, to be precise) but at times takes human form. “I’ve never played anything like that,” he says. “I mean, that’s a great thing to be able to say at my age.” Recently, at Comic-Con, a clip from the ﬁlm was shown in which Ego attempts to clarify how a planet could have fathered a child. “Yes, Drax,” he was widely reported as saying, “I made a penis.” But Russell is keen to correct the record. “That’s an incorrect quote,” he says. “I go, ‘Yes, Drax, I’ve got a penis.’ ” He can recall that day at work well. “We did eight versions of it. The line was, ‘I’ve got a dick.’ And then somebody from Marvel world or whatever said, ‘You should cover yourself and say “penis,” too.’ So the director said, ‘Let’s do one with “penis.” ’ So, I did one with ‘penis’ and that’s the one they used.” In fact, this dilemma remains unresolved. “I can’t decide which is funnier,” says the ﬁlm’s director, James Gunn. For the moment, it’s “dick.”
Listen to your elders (but also tell them the truth). Kurt Russell’s big successes as a teenage actor came in a series of forgettable, modestly charming live-action movies for Disney, like The Strongest Man in the World and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. It wasn’t the most fashionable place to be making a name—“I remember one time being told that I had been referred to as ‘Disney’s little Nazi’ ”—but in that world it made him a star. One Disney press release at the time noted that after Russell’s previous ﬁlm, he received 40,000 pieces of fan mail. As such, Russell got to know the company’s boss and founder, Walt Disney, surprisingly well. “He was a cool guy, great guy,” Russell remembers. “He reminded me a lot
jacket $3,995 Valentino + shirt $98 Leviâ€™s jeans throughout $195 Rag & Bone Standard Issue boots throughout Corral
jacket $5,890 Tom Ford + shirt $430 and belt Tom Ford
Tango & Cash, Executive Decision, and Breakdown might not echo through the ages—their titles alone sound as if they’ve been rescued from a dusty time capsule—but they were all sizable hits, and they showcased Russell’s easy ability to play men who, whether rugged or sardonic or feckless or heroic, had something you couldn’t help but warm to. It wasn’t ﬂashy or obvious, but somehow he made these movies better. And so, after Stargate in 1994, Russell began to be paid like the big star he’d quietly become. Or as he puts it: “I joined the big parade there by pulling the lottery chain.” That period ended with a movie you probably don’t remember, called Soldier. Russell would earn his top salary ever: “15 million bucks,” he conﬁrms. He played a near-emotionless robot warrior. A fairly taciturn one, too. “I think I have the record,” he says. “Divide 69 words by $15 million. I don’t think anyone will ever top that—$278,000 per word, or something.” (Just over $217,000, in fact, by his word count, but still pretty good by the sentence.) Afterward, he pulled back—not, he insists, because the o≠ers dried up: “There were a couple I turned down that were really, really big—$20 million.” But money wasn’t a su∞cient lure. “I had enough,” he says. “I just said, ‘I’ve got the things I want—I don’t need this.’ My wife and I, my family, can live our lives pretty much the way we want to. From time to time I’ll do something, but it’ll only be because I want to buy something, I wanna do something, or I wanna work with somebody.”
of my grandfather.” Disney taught Russell about ﬁlmmaking, taking him round all the departments in the studio. They would also play Ping-Pong together, and Disney would show Russell forthcoming movies and ask his advice. Russell thinks he knows why: “I had no problem giving him my honest answer.” He really valued your opinion? “He did. I could promise you that’s true.” One of the unﬁnished movies Russell was shown was Mary Poppins. Disney asked Russell what he thought. “I thought it was okay,” he told Disney. “You wouldn’t tell your friends to see it?” “Nah.” And Russell remembers Disney, there and then, getting a pen and paper, declaring, “We need some penguins!” and summoning the animators. You think your opinion really changed ‘Mary Poppins’? “I have no doubt. I have no doubt about that. There were other movies, too. I was a perfect audience for him in that regard. Now, is there any credit to be taken there? None, 1 2 6
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absolutely none. What I got to witness was a genius at work, okay? What I knew, in those instances…I knew my opinion mattered.” There is a strange coda to Russell’s Walt Disney experience. After Disney’s death, Russell was invited into his personal o∞ce and was shown what he was told was the very last thing Walt Disney had written before his ﬁnal illness. Just two words: Russell’s name. “I have no idea what he was thinking,” he says. “I always joke, ‘It took Kurt Russell to kill Walt Disney.’ ”
Get paid (but know when you’ve got enough). The movies that Russell mentions most often, and with the most pride, come from the early part of his adult career—particularly his trilogy of ﬁlms with director John Carpenter, Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China. But it was a few years later that he found his commercial magic touch. Movies like Tequila Sunrise,
Have fun (but know the difference between “fun” and “important”). In the mid-1980s, Goldie Hawn, his partner of 33 years, got Warner Bros. to buy Russell a Harley-Davidson for the extra work he did on Swing Shift, the misﬁring movie that had brought them together. “Used to love to take Katie [Hudson, Hawn’s daughter] for rides, take Goldie for rides—we just loved it. I knew there were dangers so I was extremely, extremely careful about how I rode it. But I didn’t ride defensive. I didn’t ride scared. I rode aggressively defensively, to make myself aware.” Russell, who self-identiﬁes as a libertarian, gave up bikes when helmet laws came in: “As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one reason to ride a motorcycle and that’s to feel the wind in your hair. The American that I am in my mind says I’m not hurting anyone by not wearing a helmet. And taking that away from me is like saying, ‘Okay, there’s no point in me riding anymore because it’s not the experience I’m looking for.’ I can’t ride a motorcycle and have the feeling that I’ve been told what to wear—it really, really ruined it for me.” (continued on page 181)
COUNTRY STRONG If you want to borrow Kurt’s timeless cowboy style, start with one big, rugged piece that you can comfortably, convincingly wear for the rest of your life— like a heavy plaid rancher’s shirt, or a coat with a shearling collar, or even a suede M65 jacket that matches your horse. Any one of them will make you look at home on the range. OPPOSITE PAGE
shirt $690 Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci at MrPorter.com + t-shirt $88 Levi’s Vintage Clothing vintage hat Stetson
jacket $2,995 Polo Ralph Lauren + denim shirt $198 t-shirt $45 Polo Ralph Lauren where to buy it? go to gq.com/go /fashiondirectories
Treat Your Home Like a Piece of Art
The New Rules of Interior Design
Enough with squeaky-clean lines and sterile surfaces. It’s time to turn those blank canvases into SOMETHING WAY MORE INTERESTING,
something that makes your house look like a human being actually lives there (and one with an A M A Z I N G D E S I G N S E N S E ). The best part: It’s easy. (Really!) It’s quick. (Really!) And affordable. (Relatively!)
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Blow Up Your Kitchen Destroy, De-Think & Deconstruct
Old shelves + glassware + succulents = superior wall decor.
No hanging cabinetry—it makes the room heavy, hides your pretty things, and costs lots of money.
Jersey did concrete counters minus the concrete, thanks to Ardex Feather Finish. Jersey Ice Cream Co. found old shelving at a flea market and substituted it for cabinets.
A DCS DishDrawer was built into the cabinets.
Y WIFE AND I recently bought
a farmhouse from 1800 that had not been updated since, maybe, 1803. Like: There was no heat in the house. Like: The bathroom was located in the backyard. The idea was to reclaim it for the 21st century a little bit at a time, over the course of years. But the one thing you need in a house right away is a kitchen. (That’s mine in the photo.) And I learned a nifty fact: Kitchens are expensive. Budget-crushingly expensive. You can’t ask a professional how much it’ll cost to re-do your kitchen without them saying, “As much as you can possibly imagine.” A kitchen faucet alone can cost up to $3,000, but the thing that really drives a nail into the heart of your budget is cabinets.
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People will tell you $20,000 is cheap. People will tell you $60,000 is normal. But what if you didn’t need cabinets? We asked Bobby Houston, a friend who re-does houses at Hauswork Design, to do a (free) drawing of what our house might look like, and he suggested something called a deconstructed kitchen. That basically means it’s made in part from existing pieces of furniture, antique or new. Big tables instead of counters and permanent islands, vintage shelving instead of hanging cabinets. Then we asked our friends at Jersey Ice Cream Co.—a husband-and-wife design team and stars of Pinterest who re-do houses and make them extremely cool—for advice. (They built the kitchen you see here.) They said the ﬁrst thing to do is turn
off the Internet: “Stop comparing perfect cabinets, and sit in your kitchen and think about what you want. Also consider open shelves—they look beautiful, and it’ll save a ton of money.” The deconstructed kitchen (it’s probably best not to go about bandying that term in mixed company; people will ﬁnd you annoying) has lots of advantages. It looks human. It has texture. It’s creative and bric-a-brac in that way people are into now—the same people who put all their photos and paintings in clusters of vintage picture frames. And it’s way, way cheaper. You can blow $10,000 on a bunch of cool tables, shelves, and freestanding sinks and still save 10,000 to 20,000 bucks. And the best part is: When you move, you can take it all with you.— D E V I N F R I E D M AN
O P E N I N G PA G E S , L E F T P H O T O G R A P H : T E S S A N E U S TA D T. I N T E R I O R D E S I G N E R : A M B E R I N T E R I O R S . R I G H T P H O T O G R A P H : B E N A N D E R S . P R E V I O U S PA G E , I N T E R I O R D E S I G N E R : J E R S E Y I C E C R E A M C O . T H I S PA G E , TO P P H OTO G R A P H : N AT H A L I E K R A G . P R O P S T Y L I S T : TA M I C H R I S T I A N S E N . TO P - R I G H T I L L U S T R AT I O N : A L E X A N D R A C O M PA I N -T I S S I E R . “ L I G H T B U L B ” S Y M B O L B Y T I L L T E E N C K , F R O M T H E N O U N P R O J E C T C O L L E C T I O N . “ PA I N T R O L L E R ” S Y M B O L B Y O L I V I U S TO I A N , F R O M T H E N O U N P R O J E C T C O L L E C T I O N . “ B A R ” S Y M B O L B Y C R E AT I V E S TA L L , F R O M T H E N O U N P R O J E C T C O L L E C T I O N .
Retrofit your Rental A COUNTERARGUMENT ON COUNTERS Sure, you could upgrade to Italian marble, but (1) it's not cheap, and (2) you’re going to live in mortal fear of raspberries and other stain bombs. Here are three better (and cheaper) moves.— S A R A H B A L L
KINDA CHEAP Concrete You’ve seen morgue-like slabs of it in industrial restaurants, but there’s a refined, homier way to do it—sanded, polished, sealed, and even painted. ($75–$135 per square foot)
Switch Your Focus from Lights to Dimmers Designers hate overhead lighting, but if you're stuck with it, installing dimmers can make a huge difference. Same goes for floor lamps. “If there’s no dimmer on the switch, you can just add one to the cord," Sawyer says.
B R I A N S A W Y E R of New York design firm Sawyer Berson helps you upgrade without losing your lease
Get Plastered, But Use Paint The paint job your place got the week before you moved in shouldn't be permanent. To add some texture, Sawyer recommends using pricier Portola-brand paint, which offers a lime wash that can imitate a real plaster wall.
The Key to Shelves Is to Disappear Them Shelves—and the stuff you put on them—are an underrated design element. “The simpler the better,” says Sawyer. You want to place the focus on the objects the shelves are supporting: art… in the form of a print, books, or your Jordans collection.
ADD COLOR TO UNLIKELY PLACES, PART 1 Enough with cold stainless-steel appliances. Your kitchen will (almost) seem exciting if you throw one of these things in it
EVEN CHEAPER Stainless steel Indestructible and chef-approved. It might look chilly under a halogen, so make sure you bathe it in warm interior light. ($75–$115 per square foot)
BIG CHILL PRO DISHWASHER $1,895 Simply designed and not too pricey.
SMEG REFRIGERATOR $1,999 They've always come in colors— now they've got functional freezers.
FREAKIN’ DIRT CHEAP Butcher block A rag and some mineral oil every couple of months keep it from cracking—but frankly it looks more badass with every score and ding. And you can sand off any stain in seconds. ($10–$90 per square foot)
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Don't be afraid of glossy paint. On ceilings, it brings in more natural light and serves as a cheat to give the appearance of a higher ceiling. And on any surface, the reflections—of sunlight, city lights, water, your neighbor’s dog—create a kind of art.
BLUESTAR 48'' PLATINUM SERIES RANGE $10,089 Professionalgrade without looking like it comes from a restaurantsupply store.
LA MARZOCCO LINEA MINI $4,495 Espresso porn from the Italians who produce those coffee-shop showpieces.
10 Ways to Master the Art of Lighting B R I A N F A H E R T Y , founder of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
in Portland, Oregon, schools us in how to use light as a design tool
not reading in your hallway—it’s about mood.”
LIVING ROOM Enable lightlayering. “The living room should only be lighted with lamps. When you're sitting down, you want that light to be centered lower, around people’s faces. I have a floor lamp in a corner next to a chair that’s a nice place to read, a pair flanking a 1970s credenza, and one of our Ion Lamps next to my turntable, so I can get that needle on track three, you know?” There’s never too much dimmer. “The more dimmable, the better.”
Ignore “rules” about matching metals. “Your kitchen should harmonize, but when it comes to finishes and materials, it can be more interesting to have, say, brass hardware and black light fixtures, plus a colored pendant.”
Embrace recessed lights. “Max four inches [in diameter]. When you have them as directional lighting in work areas, you can add a pendant without cluttering your ceiling too much.”
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Just don’t go too bright. “Yes, you want to be able to see what you’re chopping—but this is also a room where you’re having people in for a glass of wine or hors d'oeuvres. You want it to be welcoming.”
HALLWAY Transitional space is underrated. This is the place to create ambience: “I think the spaces between spaces are really important. In hallways, I’m really into antiquestyle bulbs. You’re
Sconce plus lamp is the onetwo punch. “On either side of your bed, have both a wallmounted sconce and a bedside lamp: When you look at the bed and have sconces on both sides, it gives the room balance and symmetry. The swingarm sconces in our
room aren’t always on, but when you need that extra reading light, they’re great.” Bedroom lamps should go both ways. “As opposed to a desk lamp, where you just get that down light, a lamp next to a bed should shine light up and down—it makes the room restful and more soothing.”
BATHROOM Don’t get too far from the mirror. “Either over the mirror or on each side—you need a really good light. But it doesn’t have to be the brightest (and harshest) light. There’s nothing worse than when you don’t like how you look in your own bathroom.” Make a guest bath or half bath sexy. “A powder bath in general can be a lot moodier.” — A S TO L D TO S A R A H B A L L
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Pull your furniture away from the wall. Just a few inches. The room will feel larger. Trust us.
AIRBNB AN INTERIOR DESIGNER
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Ignore the dimensions of your windows. Window size doesn't need to determine how big the window appears. So never put a window treatment inside the window. If there’s space above the window, hang a curtain rod or Roman shades as close to the ceiling as possible (and allow the sides to go beyond the width of the window) to create the illusion of a larger window and higher ceiling.
On the one hand: Who spends $1,000 so they can pretend to have taste they don’t have? On the other hand: There are way too many types of cabinet pulls. Enter Homepolish, a web-based full-service interior-design firm that allows you to take baby steps. Instead of paying a retainer for a wholehouse overhaul (that's like inviting your first date to Thanksgiving at your parents’), you can pay the company $130 an hour (ten hours minimum) to help you select furniture for your living room or re-do a bathroom. Other companies are getting in on the game, too: Tappan curates art, while Framebridge offers framing plus placement tips. It's a stress-free way to make your home—or just your gallery wall—Instagram-ready.— G A R R E T T M U N C E
The Design-iest Speakers Ever Turn Out to Be the Best Speakers EVER, Too 01 A SPEAKER AS BOLD AS YOUR MUSIC COLLECTION The Phantom is as subtle as an elephant, making this wireless orb, with its pulsating side domes and expansive (and explosive) sound, a conversation piece even when it's not pumping music. Devialet Gold Phantom; $2,990, devialet.com
There used to be two options: p sleek speakers p that sounded like an iPhone dropped pp in a g garbage g can, , or high-end g masterpieces p with enough g diodes (and wires) to p pass muster at NASA. Now the highest-end g audio g gear sacrifices zero visual aesthetic for q quality y of sound. Here are five speakers p that’ll impress p both art directors and audiophiles. p —ANDREW GOBLE
O P P O S I T E PA G E , TO P - R I G H T I L L U S T R AT I O N : A L E X A N D R A C O M PA I N -T I S S I E R . T H I S PA G E , P H OTO G R A P H : S T U A R T T Y S O N . I L L U S T R AT I O N : A L E X A N D R A C O M PA I N -T I S S I E R .
02 THE COMPONENT AS SCULPTURE A wireless lanternspeaker combo that reads as “art” before it announces itself as “audio gear.” Sony Glass Sound Speaker; $799, store.moma.org
03 THE SURPRISINGLY MOBILE UNIT The Core brings a big punch for a six-inch black box, but its real magic is in the 12-hour battery that mobilizes your music to any room, beach, or road trip.
Mass Fidelity Core Wireless Speaker System; $599, massfidelity.com 04 GREAT DESIGN. GREAT SOUND. GREAT PRICE. It’s easy to find speakers that are loud—but not ones that are also clear, compact, and so attractive you almost wish they didn’t blend so seamlessly into your bookcase. Audioengine B2 Bluetooth Speaker (walnut); $299, audioengineusa.com 05 ONE OF THE BEST SPEAKERS YOU CAN BUY— NOW MINIMALIZED Dynaudio took the speaker towers, amps, and wires necessary for its divine signature sound and compressed them into two bookshelf speakers. Precision comes at a price—but you’ll be reimbursed with compliments. Dynaudio Focus 200XD (rosewood); $7,000 per pair, dynaudio.com
Add Color to Unlikely Places, Part 2
Another thing g Scandinavians, , they y of p perfect bicycles y and knits and towheaded Bond g girls, , do exactly y right: g the surgical g and thoughtful g use of paint p —on floors, , furniture, , trim, , and ceilings, g , and as a sparing p g accent against g walls of cloud white. Besides saving gy you six Benjamin j Moore runs for more roller covers, , it’s a look that couldn’t be sleeker. Here's the case for our favorite Nordic hack.— S. B.
03. WOOD TRIM
More subtle and less committed than the accent wall: color in the back of a bookcase (or cabinet) designed to make all your cool stuff look cooler.
Sallow white rental-grade ceilings make a room feel squat, but a ceiling with a tint—a deep blue, a warm peach, or even a dark green—makes it soar.
There’s something stuffy and Oval Office about bright white trim. Especially if the woodwork is ornate. Gray that stuff out—and set it to a "satin-finish max."
P R E V I O U S P A G E , T O P - L E F T P H O T O G R A P H : M I K I K O K I K U YA M A . I N T E R I O R D E S I G N E R : A N D R E A M A S O N A R C H I T E C T. R I G H T P H O T O G R A P H : C O U R T E S Y O F F R E I S T I L R O L F B E N Z . B O T T O M - L E F T P H O T O G R A P H : A LY S S A K I R S T E N P H O T O G R A P H Y F O R L A U R E N R U B I N A R C H I T E C T U R E . T H I S PA G E , R A L P H L A U R E N B E D D I N G : S T U A R T T Y S O N . OT H E R P H OTO G R A P H S : J O S E P H I N E S C H I E L E ( 7 ) . P R O P S T Y L I S T : B I L L L A U G H L I N . I L L U S T R AT I O N : A L E X A N D R A C O M PA I N -T I S S I E R .
GET BET TER (AND PRICIER— SORRY) PAINT Paint is the fastest and easiest way to update a room, but if you’ve ever visited your local paint store, you probably felt like 7,438 were a few too many greens. Rather than offering tons of choices, Farrow & Ball’s strict palette of 132 paint colors is part of the brand’s appeal—more fancy-restaurant tasting menu than discount buffet. But—and there’s always a “but”—you’ll balk at the price. Three times more than what you find in the paint section at Home Depot? Yes, you’re now veering into wallpaper-pricing territory (and in case you’re interested, Farrow & Ball also makes fine wallpapers). But you’ve gotta pay for higher quality. The buckets contain an unusually high level of pigment. What does that mean to you? More vibrant colors, higher density, and more depth. Everything else in the room (from your sofa to your artwork) will pop.— LO U I S E H A R T
Your bed ed Should Be as Well Dressed as You Are It’s the last stop—and your last chance—for taste Some of the most stylish guys we know have a bad habit of ignoring their bedrooms: humdrum sheets, suspiciously off-white pillowcases, and comforters so threadbare they look like the same ones their moms bought them before they went to college. But overhauling your bedroom is easy: When you’re shopping for bedding, look for the designers you’re already wearing. Whether they're vibey geometric shapes, classic chalk stripes, or enough palm fronds to shade all of Bermuda, you’ll give your favorite patterns more real estate than your tie rack ever could. — A . G .
Southwest-inspired comforter Thread Experiment x David Hart; $178, threadexperiment.com
Hoxton Collection bedding Ralph Lauren; $405, ralphlauren.com
01. 02. 03. 04.
Tropical leaves sheets CB2 x The Hill-Side; $119, cb2.com /the-hill-side
Farrow Farrow Farrow Farrow
& & & &
Ball Ball Ball Ball
Drop Cloth Inchyra Blue Salon Drab Worsted
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Fewer things on the wall. Way fewer. One thing. Maybe two. (See opposite.) Think of your house as a museum. If you’re going to the trouble of hanging something up, it should be showcased. The spot on your wall is almost more important than what you place on it. Feel free to swap things in and out as an easy way to reboot your interior.
Cashmere stripe sham James Perse; $395, jamesperse.com
ONE LAST THING: A LIT TLE LOVE FOR THE BATHROOM, PLEASE Portland designer J E S S I C A H E L G E R S O N knows her way around a reno. Here, her tips on how to elevate your lavatory Replace Your Hardware Swap out plastic towel bars, rusty shower fixtures, and banged-up faucets for natural, unlacquered brass—the right kind of patina.
Throw in a Few Plants They provide visual texture, bringing softness and giving the eye a refreshing pause from the hard surfaces throughout most bathrooms. 2 0 1 6
Make Your Towel a Design Piece It’s a way to add color and pattern without committing to a more long-term finish, such as paint or tile. Try the organic Mediterranean towels from Coyuchi. O C T
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How to Take Your style to the heights
L I N - M A N U E L M I R A N D A made Hamilton
the most influential Broadway musical in ages and became a hero for his optimistic notion of a rich, diverse America. And he did it by following his gut, his dreams, and his visionâ€”and never forgetting where he came from
MICHAEL PATERNITI G Q . C O M O Ckim T 2 0 1 6 sebastian
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ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST days ays of summ summer, this guy
you may have heard of, Lin-Manuel Miranda M (no?)—who wrote and starred in this litt little Broadway trriﬂe you may have also heard of, Hamilton ami (anyone?)—is standing on a street corne corner near the house he grew up in. It’s a modest redbrick two-story his parents bought for $75,000 during th the 1980s in Inwood, at the northernmost tip of Ma Manhattan, home to a mostly working-class Hispanic diaspora, which was, before that, home to the Irish Irish. Such is the story of New York—and America—t America—the ﬂashing tides of history reshaping our collective h history, and this is the place, for Miranda, where the past and present are most porous, his m memories most resonant, the energy most protean protean. The ﬁre hydrant near the house is the same one that years-ago Miranda and friends used to wrench open in order to baptize themselves with icy water on scorchers like this; the front stoop—the same one where he now sits, at 36, with his father, Luis, a political consultant who is 62—is where, as a kid always ﬁlming himself, he delivered some of his best, if most embarrassing, material. Around the corner is Academy Street, what used to be gang territory in his youth, where at the ﬁrst hint of trouble he’d hightail it, painfully aware of his own mortality. “I knew when to run the fuck home,” Miranda says, dunking a raisin bagel in his co≠ee. “I was Peter on The Cosby Show, you know? Like, they would get into some shit, and Peter would run out the door. That was me. I was like, ‘I am out!’ ” The block, the hood, the city—it makes him jittery, thinking about how he’s going to miss it, even if temporarily, when he leaves. In ﬁve days, after a year of doing eight shows a week of Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, he departs for London to make a movie, Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt. “My wife and I left town for a week and a half on vacation,” he says, “and I was tearfully glad to see the George Washington Bridge again. I relax more in my neighborhood because I know where all the stu≠ is. I feel comfortable with the noise and seeing other Latinos around me, and there’s an ease I feel from 168th Street to the end of the island that I don’t feel anywhere else on earth.” And what about those of us who have gotten very used to having him around just as he’s up and leaving? You’d be hardpressed to name an actor, musician, or 1 3 8
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author—anyone—who has owned the past year quite like Lin-Manuel Miranda, or transcended his station, to speak to our national moment. He’s become national treasure, and National Reassurance O∞cer, both at once. He’s that guy with the ponytail freestyling at the White House and delivering the “Love is love is love…” sonnet to the Orlando mass-shooting victims (and his wife) in that Tony-acceptance speech. Meanwhile, his Hamilton—about the improbable, Dickensian life of the “$10 Founding Father without a father,” starring actors of all color and ethnicity as the architects of young America—has convinced even the grumblers that a Broadway play, and a musical at that, might call attention to the enduring power of our national DNA. The thematic Venn diagram of the play overlaps with so many of the biggest themes of our own lives—death, loss, parenthood, love, lust, betrayal, displacement, the American Dream, the immigrant experience, etc.—that Common went so far as to call it one of “the greatest pieces of art ever made,” while Michelle Obama did him one better, calling it “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.” After stepping away from the lead role this past July, he spent three days with us in August discussing the singularity of the Hamilton experience and what could ever come next in the wake of such success. Has it felt weird leaving Hamilton behind? I was ready. My kid was born two weeks before rehearsals started. So we went from a newborn child at the beginning of this to complete sentences by the time I was
leaving the show. That’s a hell of a thing, and that’s a marker of how fast it goes. I had so much stu≠ I had to do that was not getting full expression, because my life was built around 8 p.m. Performing Hamilton through two hours and 45 minutes, when you’re in it, was the most relaxing part of the day. Because I didn’t have unanswered e-mails, or family stu≠ I wasn’t doing. I was just supposed to be Hamilton, and I know the script on that one. Playing Hamilton is like taking the nozzle o≠ your id and letting it ﬂy. It’s walking into the room and going, “I’m the smartest person in this room—and you need to listen to me!” It’s getting to go out with your friends. It’s getting to ﬂirt with everybody, male and female, as Hamilton did. It’s getting to experience joy and grief. It’s a 14-course meal of a role. So I leave very tired, but very fulﬁlled, every night. So I miss that. I miss the cast and crew. But I also had enough stu≠ going on in real life that I didn’t need this to be the rest of my life. What’s been the high point? Obviously, going to the White House was a very big deal. But often, it’s the little things. I’m such a pop-cultural junkie. Alex Trebek came backstage, and the ﬁrst thing he said in that voice was, “Answer: This is America’s favorite play.” “What is Hamilton?” And I was like, “Did that really just happen? Is that how he starts every conversation?” Did you have containment issues playing the lead role every night? I didn’t. I genuinely didn’t. Like, I lose a son every fucking night. I get to cry over that. I get the catharsis of forgiveness. I get the catharsis of dying, and then at the end of the day I just wanna chiiiiill. Sometimes I have trouble coming down. My go-to calm-down music during the craziness of Hamilton was The Crane Wife by the Decemberists. I’d just listen to that suite of songs and lie down. And that’s about 15 minutes, and it was the perfect comeback to yourself, comeback to the world. I ﬁnd that, for me, the work is a safe place to put all the stu≠ you don’t want to put in your real life. I don’t want to be a crazy, manic asshole. I don’t want to have an a≠air. I don’t want to have a fucking gunﬁght. But! There’s a part of your brain that wants to experience everything, and so work’s a safe place to explore it all. Both in the writing and in the performing. I get to write about an a≠air. I get to have the guilt and the feeling of that without having to fuck my life up. [laughs] Art is the place to safely explore all those other sides of you, because the side you want to bring home is the side that wants to be a good father and be a good husband and be a good son. In art we can be fucking nuts.
ONE-MAN SHOW For this shoot, we took Miranda back to his old neighborhood and dressed him in clothes inspired by New York back in the day. When you saw him on the previous page dressed in a Welcome Back, Kotterâ€“style ringer tee, he was out front of the house he grew up in (with his dad on the steps). And this theater here, the United Palace, was where he wrote part of his breakout musical, In the Heights, set in a place where guys wore striped shirts and spectator shoes just like these. OPENING PAGES, FROM LEFT
sweater $980 Gucci + coat $3,280 pants $690 sneakers $695 Gucci signet ring David Yurman watch (all pages) Seiko location La Casa Del Mofongo â€“ sports jacket $5,170 pants $1,400 Prada + t-shirt $75 Icons sneakers $460 Golden Goose Deluxe Brand belt Dolce & Gabbana chain and rings David Yurman
suit $4,085 Louis Vuitton + vintage polo shirt Gap coat (on chair) $1,590 Marc Jacobs loafers $95 Stacy Adams bracelet Renvi location United Palace
There are people who have a hit and chase that success the rest of their lives, and that’s their doom.
So I didn’t have any depression left to play outside of the theater. I was like a dry sponge at the end. The role was something you had to shed, too, right? What was it like to cut off your ponytail? It was like returning to myself, to me, who I’ve always been, after two years of wearing it. I couldn’t take the train for a while. I’d see people recognizing—and you know what it’s like? It’s like in
HE RUNS THESE STREETS Not much has changed on Miranda’s old Payson Avenue block. Kids still play in hydrants, and threestripe Adidas are still the coolest sneakers. What we love is that this whole retro look still feels modern— or maybe feels modern all over again— right down to the medallion necklace. cardigan $1,250 Lanvin + vintage t-shirt $98 What Goes Around Comes Around pants $495 Joseph Abboud sneakers $80 Adidas Originals socks Paul Stuart cap Stetson Cloth Hats & Caps chain and signet ring David Yurman pendant (on chain) Miansai watch Seiko motorcycle 1965 Honda 50 where to buy it? go to gq.com/go /fashiondirectories
Inception, the moment when you’re aware in a dream and everyone walking down the street goes [looks slowly around, wide-eyed]. Now that my hair is o≠, and I look less like The Guy in the Thing, my life’s been a little easier. Yesterday I took the train uptown, and I’m in this crowded 1 train, and this teenage girl next to me goes, “You look exactly like Lin-Manuel Miranda,” and I go, “I know. I get that a lot.” And she goes, “You even sound like him.” And I go, “I’ve been getting that all year.”
This kind of huge, sudden celebrity is something apart from the people who have to carry it. It kind of visits you. You are who you are. So there’s always this interesting— And it’s gonna go! You know what I mean? I had this conversation with another songwriter. There are people who have a hit that connects with great success, and then they chase that success for the rest of their lives, and that’s their doom. You think of
artists who had that big thing, and then they go back to that well again and again with diminishing returns, but the world has moved on. And then there are the artists who really stay true to themselves. Doing what inspires them. The world really ﬁxates on them for a moment, goes away, goes to other places, and then remembers them. I think about Johnny Cash all the time. Johnny Cash ran earth back in the day, like, live At Folsom Prison, and then life went on. Johnny Cash was doing the same thing—Johnny Cash never stopped doing his thing, and then everyone remembers Johnny Cash, like, “Oh, Johnny Cash is still here! Johnny Cash is the fucking best!” But he never stopped being himself. Bowie didn’t release, like, Ziggy Stardust 2. [laughs] He was on to the next incarnation of himself. And that’s being yourself, too. Chasing wherever inspiration goes, even if it’s radically di≠erent from the thing that people know you as. There’s a thread in your work, this idea of time being short, life being ephemeral, the imperative to create while you can. Where does that come from? Well, I think every New Yorker has it on some level in their molecules. I think there’s a low blood-alcohol level of dread. I saw a bicycle-delivery guy get fucking pounded by a car two days ago. He was ﬁne. The car was not ﬁne. The bike was really not ﬁne, but that’s just part of the bustle of New York, you know? I remember seeing two dudes—I don’t think I’ve told this story before; it was a really seminal day for me—I remember I was coming home from seeing Braveheart. I was 15, I was taking the train home. Thirty-fourth Street, some very skeezy dude is hitting on this lady, she’s not having it, she tells him so. She gets o≠ at 42nd Street. Everyone’s just judging this asshole. And this one big guy’s really looking at him. And the skeezy guy catches him and is like, “What?” And the big guy says, “We can go if you want!” And I had the presence to yell, “Don’t ﬁght on the train!” as these guys start circling each other. These dudes get o≠ at the next stop, literally separate doors and just go at each other on the platform, start ﬁghting, people start yelling, “Someone’s got a knife!” I’m still on the train because I live all the way on fucking Dyckman Street! I do not get to see how this story ends. By the time I’m at 168th Street, it’s all di≠erent people. The woman who got o≠ on 42nd Street doesn’t know this guy had a fucking ﬁght on her behalf. I don’t know who pulled out a knife. Three incomplete stories. And I remember being shaken and crying. So I think part of it’s being a New Yorker. The chaos (continued on page 181) 2 0 1 6
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Star of three fall films (including, yes, The Girl on the Train) and Jennifer Lawrence doppelgänger (which, yes, she is aware of) HALEY BENNETT is about to be huge (and, yes, you heard that here first) PHOTOGRAPH BY
he ﬁrst time Haley Bennett ﬂipped an ATV, she says she almost killed herself. (She has “ﬂipped a couple.”) This was in sixth or seventh grade, mid–Ohio childhood and at her “tomboy-est.” “I wasn’t getting any boyfriends,” says the still alive 28-year-old. “I had very crooked teeth and a really bad haircut.” So she spent her time secretly riding— and sometimes crashing—fourwheelers while her dad was at work. And persuading her cousin to steal jewelry from her grandma when they were kids. And chasing that same cousin around the house with knives. “I would’ve been a pretty good Harley Quinn,” reﬂects Bennett. Since Quinn and the batshitsexy pigtails of Suicide Squad are Margot Robbie’s thing already, Bennett is settling for a spot in every movie this fall. The Magniﬁcent Seven (basically The Fast and the Furious on horses, with better
acting), The Girl on the Train (as in the perpetually bestselling book), and Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply, three movies that boast a roster of co-stars—Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Chris Pratt—who could headline a “Hi, I’m Hot and Famous” party. With her puckish charisma, Bennett is becoming a similarly bold face and name, even if people don’t actually know what that name is or mistake that face for someone else’s. “Everyone thinks I’m Jennifer Lawrence! What if I just created a huge scandal— like, did something crazy in public? Jennifer Lawrence takes a pie and smashes it in someone’s face!” says the soon-to-be-Jennifer-Lawrencefamous Bennett, before realizing that kind of mischief may be as deadly as ﬂipping motorized vehicles. “This interview is going so well. My publicist is going to kill me.” — CLAY S KIP P E R
SEE ADDITIONAL CREDITS.
Despite the Great Casualization of menswear these past few years, the suit remains the bedrock of any man’s wardrobe. It’s what we all wear when we want to look our best. Not necessarily our fanciest or most formal—just our level best. In that spirit, we hereby offer this totally foolproof, indubitably stylish, up-to-the-minute guide to looking very GQ in a suit. And here to show you the ropes is none other than the preposterously dashing J A M E S M A R S D E N, star of HBO’s epic new series Westworld ANNA PEELE sebastian kim
how to wear a suit in 2016 1 4 4
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BE A HEAVYWEIGHT Fall weather calls for nubby fabrics. So if you’re buying a suit right now, the first decision you’re making is: tweed or corduroy? Replace your tie with a sweater and you’re set for the season. OPPOSITE PAGE
suit $1,695 Joseph Abboud + sweater $98 J.Crew shirt $325 Hamilton Shirts sneakers Tom Ford socks Pantherella
suit $650 J.Crew Ludlow + turtleneck $395 Michael Kors boots To Boot New York pocket square The Tie Bar watch Rolex
THERE'S A PLAID FOR EVERYONE We like to say plaid is the new pinstripe: a businesssuit pattern that radiates confidence. If youâ€™re not quite ready for this daring glen plaid, try a quieter shadow plaid like the one at far right. suit $2,190 Salvatore Ferragamo + shirt $268 John Varvatos tie $145 Eleventy loafers and portfolio Todâ€™s socks Paul Stuart pocket square Brunello Cucinelli tie bar throughout The Tie Bar watch (both pages) Rolex
James Marsden? He’s a movie star, sure, at least in the literal sense that he is a person who regularly stars in movies. He has all the required movie-star components: charm, talent, a face so obviously beautiful that he played a mutant who wears goggles to avoid blinding other X-Men with his piercing blue eyes. At this very moment, he looks like a movie star against the red interior of the Porsche he’s driving on the 101 Freeway. So far, though, Marsden’s gifts have not brought him OW FAMOUS IS
full-blown movie stardom, but rather a long and lucrative career playing characters who look like movie stars but lose the girl or their lives to the movie’s actual star. Over his 22-year run—a surprisingly broad résumé of franchises (X-Men, Superman Returns), family blockbusters (Hop, Enchanted), love stories (27 Dresses, The Notebook), ﬁlms about cooperative loft spaces used for murdering mistresses (The Loft), and genial self-mockery (30 Rock, Anchorman 2)— he has experienced this fate so often that he o≠ers the insight that “if I’m in the movie and there’s another dude, we know how the movie ends.” James Marsden describes the act of Marsdening thus: “losing the girl to some other guy who’s got a little more charisma than him.” Does this bum Marsden out? Shit no! “I should be working at the Dairy Queen,” he says, then mocks his Okie guilelessness with an “aw shucks” ﬁst swing and a “Golly gee, I’m milquetoast!” But he’s right: How many people who grew up thrashing old cars in Oklahoma City are now behind the wheel of a Boxster 718 S, driving to the super-nice San Ysidro Ranch hotel in Santa Barbara? Being James Marsden means being famous enough that people come up to you and say, “You’re famous, aren’t you?” It means being famous enough that my Uber driver said he should “be in every romantic movie because of his face.” Famous enough to be one of three GQ covers this month. Famous enough to have worked with not only Paul Rudd and Ryan Gosling but also Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and Tina Fey and John Travolta and Jennifer Lawrence suit $1,898 and Denzel Washington. John Varvatos And now Ed Harris and + Anthony Hopkins—his shirt $342 co-stars on Westworld, Etro the new HBO series tie $150 that gives him the best Alexander Olch role of his life: a kindpocket square hearted, swooningly Thomas Mason 2 0 1 6
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FRESH AND BLOOD No oxen were harmed in the making of this suit (or these shoes), but the color is called oxblood, and it’s the most exciting suiting shade out there right now. suit $1,777 Etro + shirt $245 L.B.M. 1911 tie $190 Burberry trench coat $575 The Kooples shoes Salvatore Ferragamo Tramezza socks Uniqlo pocket square Eleventy
handsome cowboy who just happens to be a robot in an Old West theme park. A good-guy humanoid who every single week gets shoved aside—or shot to tatters—by more complicated men, trying to take what’s his. In other words, he’s playing James Marsden.
HE PORSCHE IS not his Porsche.
It’s a loaner. He’s always wanted one, he says, but he worried people would see him in it and think he was “that guy.” He already looks like that guy. The Porsche would be too much. “Women pay attention to how men drive because it’s a good indicator of what kind of character you have,” he tells me at one point, as we turn o≠ the freeway. “They want someone who’s going to be intelligent and cautious and assertive and conﬁdent when you need 1 4 8
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to be, but not overly aggressive and reckless, and also not timid and overly paranoid.” It will come as no surprise, then, that Marsden is a great driver. Considerate, too. He’s concerned that I’m carsick as he coils up the road. He slows to point out a buzzard lazily stalking airspace between the cli≠ and the mansions of the hillside Riviera neighborhood. He compliments me on stalling (only!) twice as he teaches me how to drive a stick. He says, “I was worried that I was gonna be late for you. I can’t stand being late.” He’s not a bad boy. He’s not troubled at all. For our road trip, Marsden had a very speciﬁc car request: “Porsche 550 Spyder— the one James Dean died in.” This proved logistically complicated, so he agreed to drive the 718 Boxster, a descendant of the Dean deathmobile. As we drive, I wonder if this was a ploy to borrow some edge—a danger loaner from someone who’s got plenty to someone who could maybe use more.
Nope! “James Dean has never been one of my guys,” Marsden insists. “I don’t want to be him. I will take boring anytime. I love boring! Are you kidding me? Matt Damon has been one of my favorites forever. He always elevates every bit of material, and then you don’t hear a thing about him. It’s like, ‘No, I pretty much wear a T-shirt every day of my life, and I don’t really have any dirt.’ I love that. If you were to ask me what career I would choose, I’d be like, ‘That. One hundred percent.’ ” One of Marsden’s ﬁrst roles was on Party of Five, playing a knocko≠ of Jared Leto’s illiterate My So-Called Life character, Jordan Catalano: “They were trying to do the same thing—like, brooding long-haired dude. He was introduced at a funeral…drinking out of a water fountain in slow motion.” Marsden knows how silly it looks when you put on a James Dean costume. So, no, he is not trying to send a message. He just thought it’d be fun to drive a Porsche.
PULL A TAB When you’re shopping for a suit, look for the little extras. Sometimes that means functional sleeve buttons or a small ticket pocket on your jacket, and other times it means side tabs and extended waist tabs like these. They’re functional, sure— you’ll never wear a belt again—but mostly they’re debonair details that set you and your new suit apart. FROM TOP
pants $425 Hickey Freeman + shirt Banana Republic watch IWC
↓ suit $995 H American Tailor + shirt and bag Boss tie Pocket Square Clothing
ARSDEN HAS BEEN in 43 mov-
ies—and a handful of highend TV shows. He’s remarkably objective and candid about his output. “If I wasn’t me,” he says, “I’d look at my stu≠ and go, ‘He’s been in everything. Turn on the cable, and he’s on there. Good movie, bad movie, good movie, bad movie.’ We all want to be great. Of course. Everybody wants that. I’d be lying out of my ass if I told you that I didn’t want to be. When I was younger, I used to feel like, ‘Yeah, there are certain roles out there that may go to other actors who are bigger than me and have more pull.’ And that can be frustrating.” Sure, his career is rooted more in ubiquity than in prestige. But Marsden doesn’t curse divinity or the cruelty of Hollywood or the high-class limitations of his gorgeous face (just try to imagine James Marsden playing, like, a plumber)—sometimes he just made the wrong decision. Most notably: Magic Mike.
Thandie Newton, Je≠rey Wright, and Evan Rachel Wood. Like with Magic Mike, the part is somewhat a meta-comment about his looks—a leading man playing a droid playing a leading man discovering the limits of being a leading man. This time, he said yes.
For extra style points, match your bag to your suit.
Ste ven Soderbergh o≠ered him a part, and when Marsden hesi+ tated, Channing Tatum shirt $425 sent him an e-mail that Burberry said, “I love what you did tie $235 in Enchanted,” which Dolce & Gabbana must be the ﬁrst time a pocket square cartoon prince has been Peter Millar invoked while imploring watch someone to play a stripRolex per. But Marsden passed. briefcase Louis Vuitton “Soderbergh is one of my favorites,” he says now, “but I didn’t know if I trusted myself to be good enough in this to not have my two dozen lines end up on the editing-room ﬂoor. I’d look like a naked extra in this movie.” He didn’t trust his talent, and he wasn’t ready for his beauty to be a punch line. He regrets that. “It’s perfect the way it worked out, but that’s one of the only ones I’m like, Hmm. I didn’t know it was gonna be the massive success that it was.” Then there are ﬁlms that sounded good on paper. The Box, a thriller from Richard Kelly, the cultish director of Donnie Darko, in which he and Cameron Diaz mysteriously receive a box containing a button that, if pressed, will kill a random stranger in exchange for a million dollars. (The deﬁning
suit $2,895 Canali
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trait of Diaz’s character is that she has only one toe on her right foot; the movie did not do well.) Straw Dogs, a rapey, misguided remake of Sam Peckinpah’s classic home-invasion thriller. Accidental Love, which has what he describes as “the dubious distinction of being David O. Russell’s only straight-to-video movie.” Even as he acknowledges the results, he defends the choices: “I’ve done some ﬁlms that, on paper, were really interesting and special. And for some reason, when they got on-screen, it just didn’t work. Well, I didn’t get to watch the ﬁlm before I decided to do it.” But Marsden says that careerism is the wrong metric: “If I’m picking the movies that people really like my performance in, what’s the through line? Oh, I was fucking having a blast. You forget how nice it is to watch people just have a good time doing what they’re doing.” Like his hilarious part on 30 Rock, or in the acid indie comedy Bachelorette, in which he has bathroom sex with Kirsten Dunst while shouting “Shut the fuck up!” in syncopation with his thrusts. Those were fun. And— go ﬁgure!—they worked. Now comes Westworld, where he gets to shoot guns and ride horses and have a meaty role opposite a bananas cast that, in addition to Hopkins and Harris, includes
E S I T D OW N at the San Ysidro Ranch for lunch. Marsden’s got a hunger headache and needs some ﬁsh tacos and rosé. He inspects a radish for dirt and makes a comedy reference that (sorry) I don’t get: “It’s called recycling!” Apparently this is a line from a Richard Pryor bit—he was a childhood idol of Marsden’s. On the vast Oklahoma plains of teenage boredom, armed with a VCR and (so he claims) little sexual appeal, Marsden says, he memorized entire comedy shows by Pryor and Eddie Murphy. Oh yeah? Oh yeah. “I want to go out like my father died. My father died fucking.” Marsden is delivering this profane monologue, in public, on a hotel patio, in what can only be described as “dialect.” I become brieﬂy and deeply terriﬁed that he is going to use the N-word. “He was having sex with this woman he was with and had a heart attack and died. I saw the woman the other day. She was like, ‘I’m sorry I killed your father.’ ‘You didn’t kill my father! Bitch, he died in your pussy.’ That’s called recycling. ’Cause men, if you had a chance to die getting hit by a bus or die in some pussy, which line you gon’ be in? I know which line I’m gon’ be in. I’m gon’ be in that long motherfucker.” Marsden stands as he ﬁnishes this ri≠, queuing up in the metaphorical pussy line, checking his watch and craning his neck to see how many people are ahead of him, waiting their turn to die inside of what must be an extremely resilient oriﬁce. His Pryor, it must be said, is impeccable. But it’s also ba±ing. How did this performance clear James Marsden’s vetting process for appropriate public behavior? Why in the world would he do this during a magazine interview, with the recorder running, the reporter covering her open mouth with both hands? Because James Marsden isn’t worried about what James Marsden should be doing. (Deﬁnitely not this.) Or how he looks doing it. (Insane.) Or how I’m reacting to it. (I love it so, so much.) Because once you start, you’ve gotta do the whole routine, especially if you’re surprisingly incredible at it. Because James Marsden is fucking having a blast.
anna peele is gq’s culture editor.
1 First, speak the five magic words of jacket tailoring: “Please nip in the waist.”
2 Don’t just shorten your sleeves to show some cuff. Slim them to show some actual human arm shape.
While we’d all love our brand-new suits to fit perfectly straight off the rack, we are men and not mannequins—which means we’ll probably need to see a tailor before the jacket and pants are ready for action. To illustrate how important this is, we’ve tailored exactly half of this handsome charcoal suit. Which half would you rather wear? Follow these steps to wind up on the right side.
3 Baggy, illfitting pants say, “This suit is my dad’s.” Have your tailor taper them from the knee down.
suit $995 Boss + shirt $395 Ermenegildo Zegna tie $56 Pocket Square Clothing pocket square Brunello Cucinelli shoes Tom Ford where to buy it? go to gq.com/go /fashiondirectories
4 Always buy pants with a longer inseam than you need. That way there’s room to add a cuff.
I TO OK MY SON TO PARIS FASHION WEEK ,
and all I got was a profound understanding of who he is, what he wants to do with his life, and how it feels to watch a grown man stride down a runway wearing shaggy yellow Muppet pants by Michael Chabon Half an hour late, and just ahead of his who had emerged in the early 2000s from the ﬁzzy intellectual nimbus—one-third minder—he was always a step ahead of his ponderous old minder—Abraham hip-hop, one-third hustle, one-third Chabon sauntered into the room where McLaren esque inside joke—surrounding fellow Chicagoan Kanye West. Abloh the designer Virgil Abloh was giving a had made a name for himself in fashion private preview of Off-White’s collection for spring-summer 2017 to a small along the avant-garde perimeter of streetwear, screen-printing diagonal crosswalk group of reporters, editorial directors, stripes and cryptic mottoes onto blank and fashion buyers. Abe’s manner was Champion tees and dead-stock Rugby self-conscious, his cheeks ﬂushed, but if his movements were a bit constrained Ralph Lauren flannel shirts that he re-sold they had an undeniable grace. Saunter was for dizzying multiples of their original retail price. Abe thought Virgil Abloh was really the only word for it. “Now, this dude here, that’s what I’m “lit,” the highest accolade he could award talking about,” Abloh said, smiling at Abe to anyone or anything. “Come right on over from the center of the room, the attic of here. Hey, look at you!” an old photo studio in the Latin Quarter: Abe went on over, sleeves rolled, hands crisscrossing steel beams, wide pine ﬂoorthrust into his pockets, tails of his pale grayboards, every surface radiant with whitegreen shirt freshly tucked into the waist of wash except for the gridded slant of windows his gray twill trousers. In front the shirt lay in the steep-pitched roof. From their foldﬂat and trim, but it was a little too big, and ing chairs opposite the atelier windows, at the back it bellied out over the top of his the buyers and editors turned to see what skinny black belt. It was Maison Margiela, Abloh was talking about. So did the four cleanly tailored, with a narrow collar and male models lined up and slouching artfully covered buttons that gave it a minimalist in front of the people in the foldsleekness. Abe had bought it the ing chairs. By the time his minder day before, on sale, at a shop in Le Abe Chabon, age 13, caught up with him, everyone in Marais called Tom Greyhound. He combines a Maison Margiela the room seemed to have their eyes wore a pair of $400 silver Adidas women’s shirt, on Abe. Prompt people never get by Raf Simons purchased for $250 a pair of Adidas to make grand entrances. on adidasx.com and a pair of Offby Raf Simons, and his bar “Come over here,” Abloh said. White athletic socks. He had pulled mitzvah pants, Abloh was a big man, solidly the socks up to his knees, where and somehow makes it work. built, an architect by training they met the rolled-up cuffs of GENTLEMEN’S
O P E N I N G PA G E : M O N D A D O R I / R U N WAY M A N H AT TA N . T H I S PA G E : C O U R T E S Y O F M I C H A E L C H A B O N . O P P O S I T E PA G E : S WA N G A L L E T/ W W D / R E X B Y S H U T T E R S TO C K .
his trouser legs, vintage-newsboy-style. Money to pay make sketches, mostly streetwear, I like to use fabrics At the O≠-White for the “Rafs” had been earned by Abe’s raking leaves for and patterns you kind of wouldn’t expect, like, I don’t preview, creative neighbors, organizing drawers and closets around the know, a Japanese textile pattern for a bomber jacket, or director Virgil house, running errands, and other odd jobs. His parents glen plaid overalls. My older brother got me interested Abloh—he’s the one had given him the cash he used to buy the Margiela in clothes, it started with sneakers and then it kind of talking—told Abe, shirt, on the occasion of his bar mitzvah, and the trougrew, and now I know more about men’s fashion than “You need to go sers had actually been repurposed from his Appaman he does. I thought the collection was interesting or I stand over there” bar mitzvah suit. Abe was 13 years and 3 months old, thought it was awesome or I thought it was a little borwith the models. and he did not need to be told, by Virgil Abloh or anyone ing, you know, it didn’t really stand out, we’ve seen a (Abe’s socks are O≠lot of trench coats already this week or The quality of else, to look at himself. He knew exactly how he looked. White, which didn’t “Hi,” Abe said to Abloh, in his husky voice—lowthe tailoring didn’t seem very good or I thought it was hurt.) opposite: pitched and raspy all his life, heading even lower insane or It was fire or It was totally lit. Chabon père et now and given, at the moment, to random breaking, Abe’s minder noticed that when talking to reportﬁls at the Haider ers, Abe almost always found a way to mention the “I’m Abe.” Ackermann show. leaf-raking and drawer-organizing, conscious of Some of the people in the room already knew Abe— which tended to get pronounced Ah-bay, like the surthe atmosphere of privilege and extravagance that pername of the Japanese prime minister, by the French sta≠ers who meated the world of fashion. He knew that for a lot of kids his age— put his name on the guest lists for the 14 shows he attended over the good friends of his among them—the price of a pair of “ﬁre” sneakers course of Paris Men’s Fashion Week. They had met him or seen him represented a greater and more important sacriﬁce than it would around. He was almost always, and by far, the youngest person in the for him and his family. But he never directly addressed the ethics of audience, and would likely have stood out for that reason alone, even his wearing a shirt that had cost him $225, on sale. He did not o≠er if he had not dressed himself with such evident consideration and profound insights into the economics or meaning of style like some casual art. But it was his clothes and the way he wore them that elicpocket-size Roland Barthes bursting with critique and paradox. ited reporters’ attention, and a few had taken enough of an interest to Abe was just a kid who loved clothes. He loved talking about them, ask him some questions, on the record. The questions tended to run looking at them, and wearing them, and when it came to men’s clothalong the same lines: What had he thought of this or that particular ing, in particular the hipper precincts of streetwear, he knew his shit. He could trace the career path of Raf Simons, from Raf to Jil collection? What got him interested in clothes? Did he hope to be a fashion designer one day? Why had he come to Fashion Week? Sander to Dior and now to Calvin Klein. He could identify on sight I’m here with my dad, it’s my bar mitzvah present, he’s a writer the designers of countless individual articles of men’s clothing— and he’s writing about our trip to Fashion Week for GQ. I know I want sneakers, shirts, jackets, pants—and when he didn’t know for sure, to do something in fashion but I don’t know what, maybe design; I do the guesses he made were informed, reasoned, and often correct.
I T WA S A L WA Y S A B E ’ S R A R E G I F T N O T J U S T T O
stand out, and bear up, but to do those things with panache. And the way in which he expressed his difference most reliably, and with the greatest panache, was through dressing up.
He seemed to have memorized a dense tidal chart of recent fashion trends as they ebbed and ﬂooded, witheringly dismissing a runway o≠ering as “ﬁne, for 2014” or “already kind of played out last year.” His taste as reﬂected in the clothes he wore was impeccable, interesting, and, in its way, fearless. It takes a profound love of clothes, and some fairly decent luck, to stumble on somebody who wants to converse about cutting-edge men’s fashion at a Rush concert, and yet a year before his trip to Paris, in the aftermath of the Canadian band’s last show at Madison Square Garden, Abe had managed to stumble on John Varvatos. Abe had spent that day leading his bemused minder on a pilgrimage through SoHo, from Supreme to Bape to Saint Laurent to Y-3, and now, ears still ringing from the ﬁnal encore (“Working Man”), Abe reported in detail to Varvatos, with annotations and commentary, on all the looks he had seen downtown. When he was through, Varvatos had turned to Abe’s minder—a major Rush fan who was, of course, also Abe’s father—and said, “Where’d you get this kid?” “I really have no idea,” I said.
Abe had shown up late to his family, too, the fourth of four, graced with a sister on either side of the elder brother. By the time a fourth child comes along, the siblings have usually managed among them to stake out a wide swath of traits, talents, crotchets, ﬂaws, phobias, and strengths. Finding one’s di≠erence can often be a fourth child’s particular burden and challenge. For Abe it never seemed to be a challenge at all, and if it was a burden, it was also a gift: From the moment he became himself, what made Abe di≠erent—from his siblings, from classmates, from most of the children who have ever lived—was the degree of comfort he felt with being di≠erent. Everybody wants to stand out from the crowd, but so few of us have the knack, and fewer still the stomach for bearing up under the crush of conformity. It was always Abe’s rare gift not just to stand out, and bear up, but to do those things with panache. And the way in which he expressed his di≠erence most reliably, and with the greatest panache, was through dressing up. When he was very little—like so many little boys—“dressing up” meant “superhero.” At 3 he had been ﬁrmly of the opinion that a bright-yellow-and-sky-blue Wolverine costume, or a lop-eared bat cowl, was appropriate attire for any occasion. Later there had been an intense dalliance with a splendid, old-school, singing-cowboy-type western getup—black hat, red shirt embroidered in white, black vest and chaps with chrome conchos, black boots. When he started kindergarten, however, he found that the
wearing of costumes to school was not merely discouraged, or permitted only on special days, as in preschool: It was forbidden. It would also, undoubtedly, have incurred an intolerable amount of mockery. Abe’s response was to devise, instinctively and privately, what amounted to a kind of secret costume that would fall just within the bounds of “ordinary attire” and school policy. Over the next few years, with increasing frequency, he went to school dressed up as a man—a stylish man. He had only vague, somewhat cartoonish notions about what constituted adult-male style, centered around certain key articles of clothing, chief among them fedoras, cardigans, button-front shirts, suspenders, and bow ties. He had a little tweed blazer that was a source of deep power for him, as deep as the power of the armor to Marvel’s Iron Man. It had a crest embroidered on a patch over the breast pocket and it made him very happy. By the third grade he was wearing his man costume to school almost every day. There had been teasing; one of his two little snap-brims would get snatched o≠ his head now and then, and tossed around the playground. But the teasing had never exceeded Abe’s ability or willingness to withstand it, or the joy that he derived from losing himself in clothes. And his stubborn persistence had established a pattern that was thereafter repeated as his taste grew more reﬁned and sophisticated: Little by little, one by one among the other boys in his class, fedoras would crop up, a porkpie here, a trilby there. It was not unusual to spot one of Abe’s former tormentors sporting a cardigan or a clip-on tie. Some nights I used to stand in the doorway of his bedroom, watching him thoughtfully edit the outﬁt he planned to wear to school the next day. He would lay out its components, making a kind of ﬂat self-portrait on the bedroom ﬂoor—oxford shirt tucked inside of cotton sport coat, extra-slim pants (with the adjustable elastic straps inside the waistband stretched to button at the very last hole), argyle socks, the whole thing topped by the ubiquitous hat—and I would try to understand what the kid got out of dressing up every day like a pint-size Ronald Colman out for a tramp across the countryside of Ruritania. Did he like the attention—even if it was negative? Was he trying, by means of the clothes, to di≠erentiate himself from the other boys, or were the clothes merely the readiest expression, to him, of his having been born di≠erent? Was he trying to set himself apart, or could he simply not help it? Around the time that Abe was making the transition to middle school, my elder son began to take a strong interest in clothes, particularly streetwear, fed by a burgeoning interest (shared by Abe) in hip-hop. A kind of golden age of streetwear was under way, exempliﬁed by brands such as Supreme, Palace, and A Bathing Ape, manifested through “collabs” (continued on page 178)
GENTLEMEN ’S · 155 · QUARTERLY
the hunger games
How Americaâ€™s Best Restaurants Are Revolutionizing to Stay Great ELEVEN MADISON PARK
ALI N E A in Chicago and E LE V E N M A D I S O N PA R K in New
York are America’s two finest food temples—our entries into the heated competition for world’s best restaurant. So why do they—and so many other firstrate establishments—keep tearing up their menus? GQ’s Brett Martin eats at the summit of U.S. dining and figures out what it takes to stay on top grant cornett
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ACK IN THE DAY, which is to say about 14 months
ago, you entered Alinea by walking down a long, dark, narrowing hallway, at the end of which was a glass door that mysteriously sighed and slid open at your approach—not like a supermarket, but more like a spaceship. It was a clever and titillating introduction to the strange, carnivalesque food waiting within, and also a bit disconcerting— though not a fraction as disconcerting as entering the Chicago restaurant is now, after it underwent a ﬁve-month multimillion-dollar transformation. From the outside, the new Alinea presents the same gray, funereal anonymity; it looks like a design ﬁrm that wanted a storefront but no actual walk-in customers. Instead of heading straight upon entering, though, you turn left, check in at a conventionalseeming podium, and proceed into your worst nightmare. In the dining room is a long communal table, draped in gray tablecloths. Candelabras burn in the center of the table and ominous piano music plays from hidden speakers. Through an archway, you can see Grant Achatz, the chef, in the kitchen, his head, with its mane of hair and Dungeon Master goatee, bent in an attitude of stern, scholarly concentration. A hostess shows you to your place among the strangers already seated, and you glance apprehensively at your companion: Is this what we signed up for? Did we make a horrible mistake? Neither of you remembers mention of an Eyes Wide Shut theme when you made your reservation, but this is ﬁne dining in 2016, so who really knows? So, you sit, and you wait, and you ﬁdget. A course is placed before you: small glasses, set in ice, containing white lumps of king crab, tiny pickled onions with herbs, osetra caviar, butter ﬂecked with egg, mushroomand-tru±e pâté. You pick at it while all around you the tension rises. The guy planning to propose to his girlfriend despairs. The young couple you saw snapping selﬁes and literally jumping for joy outside on the sidewalk now look crestfallen. Husbands seethe,
Alinea’s chicken thigh, dressed in the colors of the Mexican flag.
OPENING PAGES, FROM LEFT:
Black-and-white cookies, made of Cheddar and apple, at Eleven Madison Park in New York; the communal table at Alinea in Chicago.
The morels at Alinea evoke a universe all their own.
glaring at their wives. You wait and you wait, and just when it becomes too excruciating to go on, you wait one more beat until, at last, a server informs you that the setup is just temporary: This table breaks down into individual tables where you’ll enjoy the rest of your meal. Whereupon the weather in the room shifts completely. People make eye contact, smiles break out, appetites return. You smear pâté and butter on toast points, heap caviar on top, and wolf them down. The ﬂavor is of tru±e, but it tastes like sweet relief. It’s a crazy, cruel, hilarious, sociopathic way to welcome guests—no less so for being entirely intentional. “We want people to go, ‘Holy shit! I spent $350 to eat with people I don’t know!?’ ” says co-owner Nick Kokonas, with all but a villainous cackle. “I love watching people arrive in that room. You get the whole range of human emotion.” “It’s all about tension and release,” agrees Achatz. “A kind of social experiment.” None of which are among the nouns traditionally associated with hospitality or dinner. “Well,” says Achatz, “that’s Alinea.”
IGH-END restaurants have always
freshened up from time to time, or moved due to economic or real estate exigencies. There have been three Le Cirques, two Restaurant Daniels and Momofuku Kos. It’s rare, though, for a restaurant at the very top of its heap to stop on a dime and re-invent itself, but that is what’s happened, not once but twice in the past year, at the two restaurants considered by many measures to be the best in America: Alinea and New York’s Eleven Madison Park, which, after nearly two decades of shifting personalities, debuted yet another new face in January. Neither, to put it mildly, was su≠ering. Both restaurants held three Michelin stars and would score lofty perches on the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list: Alinea at No. 15, EMP all the way at No. 3. “We had our most successful year ever,” says Kokonas of the time leading up to Alinea’s renovation. “We were busier than ever. We made more money than ever. Customers were enjoying it. Everything was running smoothly.” So why spend millions of dollars to tear it all down and start again? “One of the best restaurant experiences I ever had was in a high-end restaurant I went to in 1998,” Kokonas says. “It was a place that felt very modern and cutting-edge and all that. And then I went back two or three years later and it felt like your grandparents’ living room. Nothing had physically changed. The food was more or less the
same. But it felt like it belonged in 1974. So I began to get paranoid about that.” With good reason: Staleness and familiarity are especially fatal in the extra-territorial international free zone of super-restaurants to which Alinea and Eleven Madison Park belong—the realm of such destinations as Noma, in Copenhagen; Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy; and D.O.M., in São Paulo. Generally speaking, these places are geared toward More: more courses, more glassware, more ostentatious technique, more theatrics (not to say gimmicks), more hours at the table. There is a thrilling, artistic exuberance at these restaurants, but also a whi≠ of dancingas-fast-as-they-can anxiety, as if to justify their existence at a time when the drift of dining at every other level has been toward the casual and the democratic. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as more people gained access to great food—as ingredients and techniques once reserved for Michelin
three-star restaurants began showing up in trucks and malls, in grab-and-go, fastfood, casual, and every other type of venue across the dining ecosystem—the food at the highest-end restaurants grew ever more abstract. This is true on the plate, where to see a piece of largish, recognizable protein has become about as likely as ﬁnding chow mein at a Polish restaurant, and in the role that the food itself has often come to play as merely one part of the overall “experience.” Following the process to its natural conclusion, Ferran Adrià, chef at the legendary Spanish restaurant El Bulli, abstracted himself right out of the production of edible nutrition altogether, eventually closing his restaurant and opening a foundation devoted to “creative inquiry.” At the very least, change—annually, seasonally, from night to night—has become a cardinal virtue for the restaurants at this echelon. For one thing, they forsake the reliable patronage of wealthy regulars in favor 2 0 1 6
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EMP’s hors d’oeuvres arrive in a tower of interlocking wooden platters.
Alinea’s appletaffy balloon— a dessert (and helium hit) that elicits squeals.
of visiting “gastronauts,” as the World’s 50 Best list describes them, who need a good reason to come back. How many times are you going to get someone to see Cats, no matter how enthralling? And how are you going to stay in the conversation that fuels lists like the World’s 50 Best? “Some people go to art museums. Some people go to concerts. And some people go eat a meal like ours,” says Kokonas. “We’re not a Chicago neighborhood restaurant. We’re playing on a world stage.” Meanwhile, images and descriptions of new dishes now ﬂy around the world so quickly that the cycle of new to overly familiar is shorter than ever. A restaurant does well to regularly give its rareﬁed clientele new reasons to book that airline ﬂight, and something new to photograph when they get there. It’s no accident that restaurants tend to crest and fall on the World’s 50 Best list, which requires that its voters visit the restaurants they select within the previous 18 months. Even mighty Noma, the most inﬂuential restaurant of the past ten years, fell to No. 5 this year. It will close this winter and re-open, re-invented, in an expansive new urban farm setting. The French Laundry dropped from No. 1 in 2003 and 2004 all the way to No. 85 in 2016. It, too, closed for several months last year to remodel its kitchen. “I have to do it to give this restaurant what it needs for the next 20 years,” French Laundry chef Thomas Keller told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Otherwise it’s going to be stagnant.” To say that these re-inventions are driven in part by a constant need for global buzz isn’t a criticism: Butts in seats are important. It’s what allows chefs to be artists. And change is what artists do. It should be no surprise, says EMP co-owner Will Guidara, that the restaurant he and chef Daniel Humm took over in their late 20s should be di≠erent from the one they want to run ten years later. “I don’t think it’s possible to be a great restaurant unless it’s a genuine and authentic expression of the people running it,” he says.
N THE SIMPLEST level, one of the
main reasons chefs have had for climbing out of the blue-collar trenches and into the spotlight has been to avoid a lifetime of cooking the same sole meunière year after year. And that ambition has led to questions with which restaurants, from the highest-end
to the lowest, must grapple: Who is their audience? What is the power of the chef versus the power of the diner? And to what traditions, if any, are they beholden? Over the past decade, Alinea and Eleven Madison Park have often seemed to be in an implicit, long-distance dialogue about these very issues. The two are, in many ways, dark twins. One is a windowless sanctum in Lincoln Park, invested with the same blend of chip-on-the-shoulder pugnaciousness and giddy freedom that has always made the Second City’s architecture bolder and more inventive than New York’s; the other is blessed and burdened with one of Manhattan’s grandest spaces, the soaring Art Deco lobby of the Metropolitan Life building, facing Madison Square. One is proudly tied to no aesthetic beyond the avant-garde
showmanship of its Michigan-born chef; the other navigates a tightrope between the new world of ﬁne dining and the traditions of its principals’ European and New York roots. Each is run by an intense male partnership: in Chicago, Achatz and his partner and patron, Kokonas; in New York, Humm, the chef, and Guidara, a front-of-house savant in an era when the kitchen rules all and the dining room is often an afterthought. The four men are friends, and so the dialogue is also literal. They share a regular ﬂow of tips and ideas, along with intelligence about and reservation requests for their shared clientele. In 2012, they even swapped restaurants for a week, an event they dubbed the “21st Century Ltd.” in honor of the 20th Century Limited train that once ran between New York and Chicago. (continued on page 176)
track jacket $1,650 Gucci + pants $690 Gucci briefs $40 (four pack) Polo Ralph Lauren jewelry throughout (his own) Avianne & Co. Jewelers
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Track jackets are the new blazers (especially for people who’d never say “blazer”). You can wear them over suit pants while still feeling sporty as hell, and you can even wear them under a... blazer! And while you don’t have to be the dirt-bikeriding Jersey rapper behind hits like “Trap Queen” to wear one, being F E T T Y W A P doesn’t hurt steven pan
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track jacket $248 and pants $198 Todd Snyder + Champion + sweater $575 Paul Smith field jacket $1,765 Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh
track jacket $540 Moncler + scarf $145 Begg & Co pants $3,895 Balmain sneakers $750 Giuseppe Zanotti Design
Fetty for anything F I F T E E N M I N U T E S. That’s how long they put
Fetty Wap onstage for. “They,” in this case, being a janky St. Louis radio station hosting one of the endless series of “Summer Jam” concerts that form a kind of uno∞cial American hip-hop package show each year. Fifteen minutes is also what a lot of barbershop debaters and haters ﬁgured the length of Fetty’s career would be. Sure, he’s got a few catchy songs. But isn’t he a little bubblegum? Isn’t his sound—which openly deﬁes hiphop and R&B standards—too unorthodox? But the debaters were wrong. Just like that radio station was wrong: The crowd of 4,000 St. Louisans knew that Fetty Wap has more than 15 minutes of No. 1, chart-breaking, stuck-in-your-head hits. To ﬁt them all into his allotted time, he had to distill those hits to basically just their hooks. Hook after hook after hook—“Trap Queen,” and “679,” and “Again,” and “My Way,” and “RGF Island.” He’s not afraid of just being a “hook artist.” “A good hook means good music,” he later told me. “If I’m the boy who makes good hooks, I guess I’m the boy everybody has to go to.” There doesn’t seem to be much that Fetty is afraid of. He’s not afraid of being typecast. He’s not afraid of being a rapper who makes hip-hop that skews pop. He’s not ashamed of showing where his left eye was claimed by glaucoma when he was a child: He ﬂaunts it; it’s become his signature. He’s not afraid to have multiple girlfriends, at the same time. (“I know it ain’t right in y’all’s eyes,” he said to his 4 million followers on Instagram. “But I love two di≠erent personalities & I’m living my life and getting this money so fuck how ya feel. #Zoovie #RichAnHappy.”) He’s not even scared of the thing that’s probably the biggest danger to him: his dirt-bike obsession. Even though he’s blind-ish. (“I’m pretty blind, you know?”) Even though, he says, he can’t wear helmets. “One bad thing is that with my left eye, helmets block my vision completely.” Last September, he broke his leg in three places and fractured bones in his face during a crash in New Jersey. But is he afraid to ride his bike again? When we spoke, he told me he was gearing up to go riding. “Just because you fall doesn’t mean you stop. You just learn from your mistakes. Now I’m nice.” #Nice #Zoovie #RichAnHappy.— M AR K AN T H O N Y GREEN
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A PPY H A
P Y H A P PY
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What if we told you there was a man who had unlocked the secret to human joy? That despite all the pain and suffering and bad news out there, a monk on a mountaintop in Nepal has discovered a kind of template for
How to Be Happy. In fact, so wise and ebullient is MATTHIEU RICARD that he’s been celebrated as “The Happiest Man in the World.” (Please don’t call him that.) We needed to meet this guy! So we sent MICHAEL PATERNITI to the hinterlands to learn how we all might make our lives a bit happier I L L U S T R A T I O N B Y T I M O’BRI EN
In my haze, I tried to formulate any good reason why not to destroy all of our mothballed phones. (I couldn’t even remember if they worked, or why we still had them in the ﬁrst place.) I could hear myself, trying to parent. But he was so wide awake, and I was so dopey with fatigue. “I don’t think it’s a great idea,” I said. “Thanks, Dad!” he blurted. “Okay… What?” “Thanks, we’ll be careful.” I didn’t have any ﬁght in me, fell back on my pillow, drooling. I could picture iPhones tumbling ass-over-teakettle from great heights, screens smashing, innards of chip and power board scattering. I daresay my annoyance faded, imagining my son doing violence to technology, freeing himself of all of that digital anxiety, the FOMO-spasms of unhappiness. I hoped that one day he might look back and think that this was the moment the revolution began. After all, if
the studies are to be believed, the more digitally connected we are, the more isolation and doom we seem to feel. What I admired most in my son was his unconscious desire to smash one of the gods of our addiction. If anything, I’d come over 7,000 miles in part to kill my phone, too. And to defrag my mind. Not just from the neon bombardment of our consumerism but in full awareness that we’ve entered a new era of seeming no return: of random shootings, nasty politics, and daily tragedy. Was it even possible to ﬁnd the gate back to some simpler Garden? So my pilgrimage possessed its own slightly cockamamy aspiration: I was wondering if, in this modern world of ours, one might have the audacity to start a contagion by pursuing a FOMO-less state of retro bliss, to cure our ills by visiting a monk on his mountaintop in Nepal, in search of the keys to ultimate happiness.
N N EPA L , T HE N , H A PPI N E S S F IR ST M A N IF E ST E D I TSE L F A S A K AT H M A N DU TA X I DRI V ER .
Bumping over the dirt-packed byways of Boudha to the monastery, he kept yelling his hellos out the open window of his tiny Maruti Suzuki. Traveling at the speed of turtle, we passed a makeshift tent village—made of material left behind by the U.N.—people still homeless from the 2015 earthquake, and he kept jabbering, bursting out in laughter at friends on the streets. We hit a pothole, and my head smacked the ceiling. He was smiling in the rearview, not at my injury. Just because he couldn’t stop smiling. The whole thing seemed like a ﬁlm in which the protagonist emerges from a land of slate and snow, after a long hibernal slumber, to a world of bright colors and ﬂuttering prayer ﬂags. But it wasn’t all wonder: Through the window, too, appeared piles of rubble and sca≠olded buildings, other structures cracked and abandoned. A haze of air pollution—mostly dust—settled thickly in the valley, bad enough that people wore surgical masks or bandannas over their mouths. Some of the buildings looked newly built, in a ramshackle way. As it turned out, the monk I was searching for wasn’t just any monk. His name was Matthieu Ricard. A few weeks earlier, I’d been half-listening to NPR in my kitchen, letting the news of the day wash over me—all bullets and belittlements—and perked up at the words happiest man in the world. I didn’t catch his name that ﬁrst time. But how could you not Google that? How could you not wonder what he’d found in our modern onslaught to be so damn happy about? The Happy One—this Matthieu—had written a bushel of books, including one called, um, Happiness. I ordered it. Read it. There was nothing softheaded or self-helpy about it. Read it again. His picture appeared on the back ﬂap, a bald man, trying despite himself to look a little serious. But the ﬂicker in his eyes and curve of his mouth were saying, Nope, can’t do it. He couldn’t control his own bemusement. “Happiness is a skill,” he wrote. “Skills must be learned.” Born to a famous French intellectual father—in a home where the likes of Igor Stravinsky and Luis Buñuel came and went—Matthieu had turned his back on both the life of a bon vivant Parisian and a career as a cellular geneticist at the Pasteur Institute, and disappeared into the monasteries and mountains of northern India in 1972, at the age of 26, to study at the feet of the great Buddhist masters who’d ﬂed Tibet. (His last great teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, had lived 30 years in a cave and stood seven feet tall.) Now, at 70, Matthieu was an international star, asked to do 350 events a year and countless interviews (way more than he had the hours for). He crisscrossed the globe, hobnobbed
C O U R T E S Y O F M AT T H I E U R I C A R D
MY FIRST NIGHT IN KATHMANDU I was startled from a dead man’s sleep by the ringing of my phone. I fumbled for it, girding myself for the worst. It was my youngest son, back home in the States. “Hi, Dad,” he said cheerily. He’d found a pile of antique smartphones (circa the late aughts) in a closet, and he wanted to know if he and a friend could drop them from his bedroom window, in order to “explode them” on our driveway. It was important, he said. He also admitted sheepishly to having already taken a hammer to at least one. He’d forgotten that I was ten time zones away. I could hear more hammering in the background.
with the Dalai Lama. The demands on his time were ridiculous, and increasingly kept him from important monk-y things: like meditating and kindnessing and combating all bad global karma with good karma, superhero-monk-style. He said he’d written Happiness as a response to the question of a man who’d risen from the crowd at an event in Hong Kong and asked: “Can you give me one reason why I should go on living?” Stark as that question was, these past months had raised a bevy of stark questions about our own humanity. In Paris and Orlando, Nice and Istanbul, the center could not hold. We’d been tossed headlong into a new maelstrom of violence, both physical and verbal. I wanted to know: How could happiness ﬂourish in a sucky world? And how could we ﬁnd it again? On a whim, I’d sent Matthieu an e-mail, and to my surprise I heard right back. He, too, felt we’d reached a critical moment, and that it was important to revisit another question he’d posed in his book: “Are we supposed to come to terms with unhappiness rather than make a genuine and intelligent attempt to untangle happiness from su≠ering?” Happiness was “a ﬂourishing,” he said, a luminous sort of well-being known in Sanskrit as sukha. It resided, right there, within us. But we had to ﬁnd a way to free and
nurture it. To quit our grasping. This sukha, if metabolized, was all-powerful. With it, the Buddhists believed, walls could fall, life itself might be re-sanctiﬁed. Perhaps it sounded silly and impossible— perhaps not—but when he answered my e-mail, yes, come, I was on a plane before he could take the invitation back.
HEN WE ARRIVED AT THE SHECHEN MONA STERY,
I looked for a man named Sanjeev, for he was the one who was going to give me a lift, to reach the Happy One on his mountain. Sanjeev, who wasn’t a monk, was in charge of what Matthieu had partially helped to build, a vast operation at the monastery that included a health clinic and school, a center for the sacred arts, and 500 resident monks who needed to be fed and orchestrated. The monastery had programs in place to combat human tra∞cking and to aid with ongoing earthquake relief, well over a year past the calamity. When I found him in his o∞ce, Sanjeev o≠ered me a seat on the couch, as well as masala tea and cookies before our departure. “In all of us is the design of the world,” he said. It felt like the beginning of a primer, or the part of a visit to the doctor where they
take your blood pressure before you meet the physician. “We have the ability to access and understand the universe. To become other forms.” Then he pointed to my cup. “It’s tea you drink now,” he said. “In six hours it becomes you.” He acknowledged that, for some, it sounded crazy. “You may have Genghis Khan’s molecules in you,” he said. Between sips and nibbles, Sanjeev kept on talking. Everything from his mouth felt like a bumper sticker on an old Volvo in Taos, pat and profound at once. And I kept nodding my head yes, leaving me to wonder if the weight of the spoken word is based on the weight of what you most need to hear. “We think we can control the world, but it’s 99 percent chaos,” he said. “We can only change our minds about it.” “We’re trying to get from point A to point B,” he said. “We bought a car to get there, but we’re so focused on the car, we forgot where point B is.” “One must understand ‘the think’ behind ‘the thought,’ ” he said. Yes, the chaos, the car, the think behind the thought. That last one seemed most pertinent. In this mean political season, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of think behind any thought. Which is weird for a country founded on documents that, at least in their conception, tried to allow for nuance, and
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“Comparison is the killer of happiness,” Ricard said.
“We don’t compare ourselves with Bill Gates but with our neighbors. Good for them. But why do you need it?”
Ricard, participating in a study that tested monks’ brain activity while they meditated on compassion.
seemed unconcerned by the wet chill, his next meal, the squat toilets…unconcerned with Armageddon and all the rest of it. He greeted everyone, in roundnesses. His eyes were round, his shaved head was round, his body was round. I’d soon ﬁnd there was a roundness to his idea as well, a fertility, a watermelon-ness: juices and pit, ﬂesh and skin. He assiduously eschewed the New Age– isms of Buddhism. No bumper stickers here.
“Ah, you’ve made it,” he said to me. “I’m so embarrassed.” He was embarrassed? Embarrassed that I’d come 7,000 miles, to see him. Shouldn’t I have been embarrassed? Wasn’t my desperation palpable? I’d left kith and kin behind to be here. But here we were, and ﬁrst, he wanted to warn me that there were tigers and leopards with us on the mountain, too. The leopards in particular made a scary, abrasive sound, which was nerve-racking. “I have to be very careful,” he said, winking with both eyes. “Maybe they like goats, and French monks smell a little like goats. So what to do?” Matthieu spoke with an accent that took a moment to get used to. He said this area was also a hot spot for mouses, “big mouses.” Tigers, leopards, and…Big Mouses. That seemed particularly terrifying. One of the Big Mouses, “the Commander,” Matthieu called him, lived nearby, and could be seen huddled on the mountaintop from time to time. There’d been a secret meeting with the Chinese, at that monastery on the hill over there. I was trying to imagine that Big Mouse, so twitchy and whiskered they called him the Commander, “meeting with the Chinese,” when it occurred to me: Maoist. Not mouse. A decade earlier, this region had been ﬁlled with uprising and machine-gun ﬁre, Matthieu told me. “It was quite scary,” he said. “But not as scary as the tigers and leopards. I must tell you, when you hear the animals out walking at night, you go, like, Eeeeeeeeee.” Matthieu seemed to see it on my face: a ﬂicker of worry. He had written a book called A Plea for the Animals, about vegetarianism, about “the 50 billion land animals and 2 trillion sea animals” killed each year, that’s being published in the U.S. this month. “It’s not the right time to be eaten by a tiger,” he said, scrunching his face, to laughter from the rest of us. “Bad publicity for the book. This is a place of compassion, and everyone’s going to say that tigers don’t reciprocate.” This monk guy was funny, too. The mancrush was instant. I kept hearing the words he’d written: “The search for happiness is not about looking at life through rose-colored glasses or blinding oneself to the pain and imperfections of the world…. It is the purging of mental toxins, such as hatred and obsession, that literally poison the mind.” So began the novitiate’s lesson.
T H I S P A G E : C O U R T E S Y O F M A D I S O N M AY. O P P O S I T E P A G E , F R O M T O P : C O U R T E S Y O F K A R U N A - S H E C H E N ; C O U R T E S Y O F T E N Z I N C H O E J O R .
gave ultimate priority to freedom and happiness. In fact, when the U.N. released its World Happiness Report 2016 earlier this year, the United States had slipped; we were now in 13th place among happiest countries, as measured when citizens were asked to consider the relative importance of six inﬂuencers of their happiness—GDP, life expectancy, social support, freedom, generosity, and trust in institutions. (Uzbekistan, ladies and gentlemen, ranked ﬁrst in valuing freedom; Rwanda, trust; and Myanmar, generosity.) “We have two ears and one mouth,” said Sanjeev, as if reading my mind about the shouting place I called home, “which means ideally we should hear more than we talk.” And then we were on the road, mashed together in an old Land Rover, switchbacking along potholed roads. Everything smelled of altitude and things burning, a slight thickness to the air. Meanwhile, my monkey mind was in full tantrum. The sky had turned ominous, thunder sounding, a dark muddle of clouds now encroaching. I’d forgotten a rain jacket. And what were we going to eat, anyway? What if there were squat toilets? Within ﬁve minutes, I’d revolved into such a state that I ﬁgured I would starve or freeze, and shit myself on top of it. These were the ridiculous gyrations of my mind. It was wet and chilly by the time we ﬁnally made it to the mountain. The grounds were lush and wooded, divvied into steppes and habitations. From here, on a clear day, you could see the Himalayas (Annapurna, Everest, the Ganesh Himal), but now a gray-purple murk clung to everything. We were greeted by a monk in a red pu≠er jacket, who led us up the slope to what would be my temporary lodging, a little rustic hut, as well stocked as a hotel suite ( juices and fruit in the fridge, endless tea and cookies, my own bathroom and bedroom). We drank tea—Sanjeev, another practitioner, myself—waiting for Matthieu. My ﬁrst glimpse of him was more of a shape moving along the portico, on the other side of the vines. Or I heard him ﬁrst, talking in a friendly hush. I realized he was chatting with a stray dog who was circling him, and they were playing. Or Matthieu wanted to play; the dog, who otherwise appeared to have been kicked around by life, wasn’t as willing. When Matthieu appeared in full view at last, he was smiling broadly, bare-shouldered in his sa≠ron robes. He
Ricard divides his time between his monastery in Nepal and appearances around the world.
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MOU N TA I N T OP, it’s like taking a drug called Tonsured Tangerine Euphoria or Rainbow Sa≠ron Dreams. When you see the world through his eyes, everything turns lovely colors, and you suddenly ﬁnd yourself un-encrusted— free of your baggage—suddenly loving everyone and everything. It’s a self-manufactured rave in your head. Talking to Matthieu, who spoke in fast-forward and was always on the verge of laughter, was like plugging into a di≠erent hard drive, one packed with eons of Tibetan wisdom mixed with ions of scientiﬁc inquiry. He spoke repeatedly about the keys to happiness: compassion and altruism and…brain plasticity. This is where Matthieu, the scientist, sought to tie down the abstractions of Buddhism for a modern world steeped in big data. In this, he had become a kind of bridge between the East and the West, religion and science, optimism and secular cynicism. What made Matthieu’s message more palatable was that he hadn’t emerged from a Tibetan cave at all. He wasn’t disconnected from our modern world. Yes, he was a monk, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love to ski, or that he wasn’t a great photographer, or that, back in his early years, he hadn’t threatened to build a harpsichord, then penned a book entitled The Mystery of Animal Migration. It didn’t mean he wouldn’t occasionally drop the F-bomb. In conversation, he referred to Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, quoted the latest study from the London School of Economics, fretted over guns in America and global warming while citing the work of Gus Speth, dissed Ayn Rand and Freud, and referenced Kafka (“War is a monstrous failure of imagination”), Kant, and the psychologist Paul Ekman while sprinkling in some of the Tibetan masters as well. He told me, “If Donald Trump were more of a rainbow, we’d all be in less trouble.” And then said he disapproved of “self-help.” “It’s a narcissistic game,” he said. For him, it all boiled down to one question: How am I supposed to live my life? We took carved steps, rising higher above my hut, passing several habitations, modest abodes like mine, following a line of prayer ﬂags until we came over the lip of the mountain where a breeze was moving the needles of the larches. Matthieu said that sometimes he could hear the monks laughing down below at dinnertime, when they joined one another to eat. There were about a dozen of them, in a cordoned-o≠ area, observing retreats that could last up to seven years. Now we came upon the hermitage of Dagpo, a chunky monk with a Yoda-like voice, whose laugh was deep and raucous. (It should be noted, lest the descriptor begin to feel like a cliché, that laughter was an art form among the monks. It came often, as a report
of happiness, as a willingness to be happy, a manifestation of joy. But it was more. Though I didn’t understand their native Nepali, I did understand their laughter. For them, it possessed a hundred varieties and articulations, and they had an expression of laughter for each situation.) Dagpo had been at this retreat for seven years. He hadn’t left this place in seven years, each day charged with the same task: editing and collating a collection of ancient Tibetan texts. In his workspace were the pillows on which he sat and a low table with a canted book holder upon it. Scattered nearby were various pens and highlighters in di≠erent ﬂuorescent colors, an extra pair of glasses, a smartphone, and a big plastic bottle of Coke. The Tibetan book consisted of yellowed pages the size of giant bookmarks, with six long lines of writing per page. Dagpo was then perfecting the book—70 volumes in all— writing out his changes in Tibetan on new
bookmark-pages, after which they would be taken down to the Shechen monastery and printed. He felt he had about three months to go, but it was painstaking work. Often he found himself hunting for days in search of meanings for antiquated words. He read other texts to inform his reading of this one. Did he ever get frustrated and think the whole thing was bullshit? Not at all, he said. He’d learned so much from the book. When I asked him what he’d do to celebrate when ﬁnished, he laughed with an uncomfortable shyness and said he had no idea. When asked what came next, he said the same. A new path would eventually make itself known—who was he to force it? For me, his life’s work only pointed up the fact that in the West we were obsessed with utilitarian knowledge. Often stupid stu≠. Sometimes, in airports, I’d overhear someone speaking Tech or Sales, loudly throwing around words like (continued on next page)
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“units” and “P2P packets,” bullying an assistant, cajoling a client. Matthieu called this “instrumentalizing,” or using people and knowledge to serve one’s own end rather than ﬁguring out how we might serve one another, communally, which was another means to happiness. Was the relentless need to produce, scale, and monetize, to be evaluated and rewarded, a trap after all? The brands, the schools, the kind of car, what did it add up to? The World Health Organization claimed that people in wealthy countries were more depressed, at eight times the rate, than counterparts in poorer ones. Living in a±uence seemed to mean you never had enough. Professional status was one more ego-feed, and as useless as the number of likes garnered for posting a picture of your kid playing a piece of celery in the school play. This was something Matthieu was very clear about: Once we deconstructed our egos, we could truly begin to see the world as a place inhabited by other people, some who might need our help. This dissolving, then, became all-powerful. “Our attachment to the ego is fundamentally linked to the su≠ering we feel and the su≠ering we inﬂict on others,” he said. “Freedom is the opposite.” From Dagpo’s hermitage, we walked to Matthieu’s. The mountain was a swirl of suncloud-wind, hot-cold, gray-green, smelling of loam, with birdsong and village voices below. We scrambled down a steep knoll to what seemed like a shed, perched right at a cli≠ ’s edge, with its panoramic view of valley and forest. The place was tiny, one room, really, and cramped. Inside, he had a bedroll and a small chest of drawers with all his possessions in the world: two robes, two sweaters, some books, a warm jacket or two for Tibet, where he returned from time to time, in part to build schools. He had a small kitchen, a postage-stamp lawn, and if he was lucky, for maybe—maybe—a total of two months a year, this was the place he called home, the one place he didn’t want photographed or usurped in any way, the one place that remains sacred to him as a refuge and source of energy. He only left here begrudgingly, when the long arm of need took hold, when he was called back to the monastery in Kathmandu, or to France/India/Bhutan/Tibet, when he was asked to explain to this gathering or that, in faraway Chile or Japan, one more time, how all of us might choose happiness in our lives. But then, he was okay with that, too. The only thing that seemed to make Matthieu Ricard unhappy was the moniker he hadn’t been able to escape, nor ever courted: the happiest man in the world. It really rankled him, though the rankling came with a smile, that constant bemusement again. It began with a magazine article after Happiness had been 174
published, and the media just ran with it. “I know happier monks,” he said emphatically. “I really do. It’s absurd.” It posed a mild personal a≠ront, too, because the suggestion was that he was more evolved somehow, and he knew monks in caves, literal caves, who’d been sitting there for a decade and counting, hunkered for the long haul, trying to ﬁnd blissed enlightenment. At one point, torn between living a life of seclusion or as Buddhism’s second-biggest media star, he’d asked the Dalai Lama if he could go on an extended retreat, a disappearance he dreamed of and yearned for, but the Dalai Lama said, Not yet. The world is in spasm, and what you can do, what’s most necessary to do right now, is to try to communicate a cure. Matthieu knew that among the major inﬂuences of one’s happiness was a kind of wistful “if only.” Or: “I wish it was di≠erent.” And that was another game, of course. The Dalai Lama had said, “If they want you to be the happiest man, be the happiest man.” Matthieu accepted his lot, and opened the doors wide to people like me, but still he wanted it known. “I’m happy,” he said, “but I know happier.” • • • M A T T H I E U D R E W S O M E of his advice
on the matter of happiness from standard Buddhist doctrine: Attachment, grasping, and instrumentalizing, all driven by ego, needed to be acknowledged and smashed by something called “open presence” and altruistic loving-kindness. He said this as we were eating lunch on Dagpo’s porch the next day—dal, soy chunks, broccoli, and yogurt with pomegranate seeds. He’d been up since 4:30 a.m., the hour at which he’d begun his ﬁrst meditation of the day. When he sneezed, it was as if a loud horn went o≠. He produced a tissue from his sleeve and wiped his nose, then rubbed his bald head, as if it was all part of an automatic reﬂex. (Like a Vegas magician, he made pens, scraps of paper, his smartphone, a sucker, appear from his sleeve. I kept waiting for the rabbit.) This was precious time for him, a rare respite for meditating and reading, and yet he was giving it to me. Sharing it with unbothered willingness. Being in his presence was to be infected by a ﬂoating kind of joy, an unthreatened eagerness to see the world, in its dark time, as capable of change, as a place containing infectious joy and happiness as well. Sex—or the urge to have it—was, according to Matthieu, like a buzzing mosquito: easily ignored. (Monks are celibate. And sex falls into that category of a “mechanical quest for sensual pleasures” that ends in crippling “obsession and, ultimately, disenchantment.” In fact, there is a Buddhist saying: “For the lover, a beautiful woman/man is an object of desire; for the hermit, a distraction; for the wolf, a good meal.”) Flat-screen TVs were superﬂuous, though we thought they were central. “I don’t understand people with so much stu≠ it ﬁlls their garage,” said Matthieu, “so they have to park outside.” So much stu≠ hindered “genuine ﬂourishing.” I nodded knowingly—what was with those unﬂourishing people? Because, damn, if he wasn’t describing our junky garage! “Comparison is the killer of happiness,” said Matthieu. “We don’t compare ourselves with Bill Gates but with our neighbors.” True,
subtly—or not-so-subtly—we were always tallying the cars in the neighbor’s driveway, the latest renovation, this neighbor’s trip to Yellowstone or that friend’s Mediterranean jaunt. And that exercise was one of futility, lifting us from the moment in which we were living, and forcing us to covet a moment in which we weren’t. Which raised another digital dilemma: the constant intrusion/onslaught of delectable images of consumption and their celebration by friends and neighbors. “Good for them,” he said. “But why do you need it?” But didn’t we all crave comfort in the end? Didn’t he himself ﬂy business class to his various conferences? His eyes grew wide. “Well, of course,” he said. “If they o≠er it, I take it! Sometimes I’m traveling out and back to a place like Chile, in two or three days. I remember that once I was asked to move to ﬁrst class, and I said, ‘Oh no, I don’t think it’s good for a monk to be in ﬁrst class.’ For me, that’s a waste of money.” It was important to note, he said, that the quest for comfort—what he called “pleasant sensations”—wasn’t the same as happiness. “The idea of not confusing pleasant sensations with happiness doesn’t mean that we should at all shun pleasant sensations, or not take them when they come,” he said. “This is absolute nonsense. It would be absurd to give up something that could actually contribute to happiness! But pleasant sensations are highly impermanent and don’t guarantee happiness by nature.” Sitting on that mountaintop, looking down on the world, the Himalayas hidden behind gray robes, Matthieu was clear about how we “blunted” pleasant sensations with excess. The same piece of music over hours was di≠erent from the ﬁrst ﬁve minutes of listening to a beautiful song. Wonderful food, over-ingested, made one sick. Craving and grasping spoiled pleasant sensations. “If it doesn’t carry you away, it’s all ﬁne. You take what comes,” he said. But once you ﬂew business class, you didn’t forget the pleasure, right? So the next time you got on a plane, you were only reminded of the pleasure denied. It seemed like a metaphor for our Western culture. “Yes!
Of course, we were changeable! We contained molecules of greatness, the possibility of enlightenment! But some of us had lost our way. Of course!” exclaimed Matthieu. “That’s what we call multiplying your su≠ering. It’s always comparison, not being satisﬁed. “We have a Tibetan saying: To be content is like a treasure in your hand. Appreciate it when it comes and absolutely not miss it when it doesn’t.” He evoked his own Super Monk, his master, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: “These trains of thought and states of mind are constantly changing, like shapes of cloud in the sky, but we attach great importance to them.” Matthieu’s gift, in part, was that he’d made himself the great translator of Buddhism for the masses (in Davos, in his TED talks, in his dozens upon dozens of appearances on
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YouTube), but one could still get lost in the swirling abstractions. And yet here was where Matthieu’s scientiﬁc brain kept working to pin the airiness of his own practice to living, quantiﬁable evidence. Not only was Buddhism a religion and a way of thought: Matthieu saw it as a science, too. So he was steeped in studies, and curried relationships with various social scientists and neuroscientists. Along with the Dalai Lama, he saw a burning need for global “secular ethics,” shed of religious and political doctrine, that might better guide the world and perhaps save it from violence. And since Matthieu knew we couldn’t all sit in a cave for seven years, staring at snowy Annapurna, he’d brought the world Happiness, and his other writings, in which the best Buddhist ideas were concentrated and translated into an applicable guide for our lives. But, I wanted to know, were we changeable, or doomed, in the end? Matthieu ﬂashed a smiling impatience. Of course, we were changeable! We contained molecules of greatness, the possibility of enlightenment! But some of us had lost our way. He told the story of a monk friend, standing in Times Square, looking up at the ﬁve-story advertisements and ﬂashing gewgaws of capitalism, who said, “They’re trying to steal our minds.” Meditation was one way to steal your mind back. And this was where the genetic scientist in Matthieu truly met the monk. He described a fascinating study, one in which he had participated, that arose from a collaboration between the Dalai Lama and a group of eminent scientists, to explore the intersection of Buddhism and science. The idea was to measure the brain waves of people in a meditative state of “open presence,” allowing all thoughts to come and go equally, ﬂoating in an equilibrium of acceptance. Eight monks, some of whom had been meditating in shaggy isolation for 30 years, were brought to Madison, Wisconsin, and along with ten American non-practitioners, were hooked up with 128 sensors to an EEG, which measured brainwave activity. When asked to meditate on compassion, the monks generated the highest level of gamma waves, all ﬁring in a rhythmic, harmonic manner; meanwhile, the novices registered very little activity. According to one of the study’s originators, the measured intensity of the gamma waves in the monks was “of a sort that has never been reported in the neuroscience literature.” So could our gamma waves save the world? When I asked Matthieu how his own stacked up, he laughed. “I was okay,” he said. The ﬁrst session was supposed to have been a 20-minute meditation, and he’d gone two and a half hours. “But we pulled one monk out of a cave in Nepal,” he said. “He was the one with the strongest wave measurements. He was o≠ the charts.” Another experiment had to do with the “startle response,” in which the monks and non-practitioners put on headphones and were told that they’d hear a loud explosion, and that they were to attempt to neutralize their reaction. The startle response, when exaggerated, is connected to negative emotion, but again, by comparison, the monks were able to take in the sound, react minimally, and let it go. The non-practitioners, not at all. It was an issue of un-grasping, said Matthieu, and because the monks had spent years practicing compassion and loving
kindness, negativity was more likely to pass through. It wasn’t that Matthieu and his monks didn’t register anger or frustration from time to time; it’s that they tried to set it free as quickly as it came, osmotically. This brought Matthieu back to our polarized world. “If I cling to an ideology, then, of course, anything that goes against it becomes a provocation,” he said. “With altruism, you don’t care about ideology, you care about the fate of people. And then it solves the issue: If you care about the fate of children, why would you want guns in the school? The most legitimate aspiration of any human beings is the basic wish not to su≠er, the basic wish for well-being. Based on that, everything becomes so simple: You are ready, ﬂexible, open, pragmatic…utilitarian in the good sense of the word, not instrumentalizing others.” This was the beginning of happiness. And maybe, if we were lucky, a revolution, too, grounded in a new secular ethics sparked by a kid hucking cell phones from his bedroom window. If so, one of its leaders would look a lot like this Matthieu Ricard, the French Buddhist monk, the O.G. of happiness from the Himalayas. • • • A N D T H E N , L I K E T H A T , the spell was bro-
ken, and we spun back down through that same gray-purple murk, along the bumpy road to the Shechen monastery in Kathmandu. Among myriad demands on his time, Matthieu had to leave for France, to see his dear mother, 93 years old and a Buddhist herself. He had one day before his departure, and with all the things on his to-do list, he took time to show me around. But you could already feel it beginning to happen, his loss of privacy. He said, if lucky, he wouldn’t make it back to the mountain for three months. Here, it seemed everyone—everyone—wanted a word, or a meeting, not to mention the starstruck gagglers coming through, sunburnt trekkers, hard-core Western Buddhists, hoping for an autograph or audience. Matthieu’s demeanor never wavered, though. Even the absolute pests were greeted with smiles and big hellos. In his o∞ce, I watched as Matthieu got interrupted ﬁve times while trying to write an important e-mail. And just as he started for the sixth time, two travelers from Colombia showed up, wanting him to sign some of his books for them. When Matthieu assented, a whole stack appeared from one of their backpacks, and Matthieu’s eyebrows shot up, and he looked at me and grinned. It seemed so familiar: The collision of new resolutions and old, demanding reality. The ideal of the mountaintop and the impingements of responsibility that eroded the ideal. And yet, Matthieu maintained his equilibrium by allowing the intrusions, not as a hindrance but as another slalom turn in this landscape of happiness. Now we climbed the stairs in the central temple that had been damaged in the earthquake. He wanted to show me the master Khyentse’s prayer room, and then his chambers in back. On the third ﬂoor, we entered. O≠ to the side, in shadows—holy shit!—a huge, lifesize wax ﬁgure of Khyentse sat there looking down at us, all seven feet of him. Matthieu was proud of that, the replica. The master— who’d lived in caves until he was 55, when
he emerged and began teaching—was indeed a giant. At his cremation in Bhutan, 70,000 people attended, even the king, who got caught in a tra∞c jam. Matthieu pointed to a spot on the ﬂoor, just outside the master’s bedroom. He said that for 11 years after Khyentse died, he had slept on that spot, no bed, no place to call his own. In the years
Matthieu quoted something from the Buddha that seemed most germane now: “When the crow ﬂies around the gold mountain, it can’t help but catch some ﬂecks on its wings.” before, if the master wanted a book from the library, Matthieu was the one to run and get it. If he needed a cup of tea, it was Matthieu again. All those demands and intrusions. But it was no problem, he said. And what devotion looked like, I supposed. We had one last stop to make before Matthieu’s departure, to visit Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, or the reincarnated Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, now a 23-year-old. The story of how Yangsi had been found was astonishing in itself, of the kind that skeptics often disparage. After Khyentse had passed away, a monk in the west of the country sent word that he’d had a dream, that the reincarnated Khyentse could be found in a neighborhood near the Shechen monastery. The dream provided just enough distinguishing traits that the monks, scouring the area, were able to ﬁnd the boy. Matthieu reserved judgment, until taking a trip with the boy in Bhutan. It had been a habit of the original master, Khyentse, when relating something important to Matthieu, to grasp his ear gently, with a≠ection, as if to say, Listen. The moment when Matthieu realized that the boy was his reincarnated master came while they were bouncing along bad roads in Bhutan. In the front seat, the boy turned to Matthieu in the backseat, smiled, and tenderly grabbed hold of his ear. Yangsi now possessed his own suite inside the monastery walls, where he was in residence with his mother and family, receiving visitors all day. The constant inﬂow of masala tea and cookies had left him a little doughy and soporiﬁc. His wide face was topped with a brush cut of thick, dark hair, and his head seemed oversize compared with the rest of his body, as if he were still growing into being the full Khyentse. Approaching the chair in which Yangsi sat, Matthieu bowed and kissed his hand. They spoke for a while in Tibetan, and it seemed strange to watch Matthieu, so proliﬁc and intellectually powerful, bow before anyone. Except, in this cosmology, he was bowing again before Khyentse, his master, too. After a while, Matthieu invited me to ask a question, any question, please. I understood that Matthieu himself would translate. So I asked a pretty blunt question: It must feel impossible to live up to being this guy—no, this legend—you didn’t know but supposedly are? Yangsi sparked to life. “Tell me about it, man!” he rejoined in perfect English, and I OCTOBER
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nearly choked on my cookie. “I look at him, and he’s my idol,” said Yangsi. “But I’m supposed to be him. I hear all these stories. Like, 30 years in a cave. I’m still getting ready for my ﬁrst retreat.” It was meant to be three years, three months, and three days, but he was worried he wouldn’t make it. He was already fairly content. He talked about having these handwritten letters from his previous life, from Khyentse, artifacts of insight and greatness. It was like an episode of The Twilight Zone. He spoke about generosity, dharma, happiness, but it was an apprentice’s rehearsal. “We young lamas,” he said, “we get lost in our screens.” That, he said, was the greatest danger: his smartphone and every distraction in it. All the while, Matthieu sat smiling, with admiration and forbearance. Yangsi would grow into it, this master business, if he did at all. He was free to determine his own fate. Like all of us, he held his future enlightenment in his own hands. There would be more time for conversation, for sitting in each other’s presences. Right now, Matthieu had a plane to catch. I was thinking about the mountain again, about our last lunch with Dagpo, when a tiny mouse (not Maoist!) came around. This got everyone’s full attention. They all seemed to know this mouse—his sibling had been munched by a cat—and ﬁve monks were soon gathered. They used a plastic bowl to scoop up the tiny thing. Then they loaded the bowl with bananas and grapes to feed him, and stood back to observe. There was jollity, intense interest, real pleasure. In some new world, could we begin to treat one another as they treated this mouse? For his part, the mouse kept jumping to escape, sliding back down the sides of the bowl, regathering, trying again. Eventually, he began to nibble at the food. But not before all the monks had their smartphones out, ﬁlming, narrating. If this was a reincarnated being, they didn’t want the same cat-kebab end for this guy. But for now, before he transformed again, here he was, his heart beating between his ribs, brimming with optimistic industry, trying to get free. Mr. Little Mouse. The Buddha himself. We parted on the threshold of Matthieu’s o∞ce, he in his roundnesses, me a half-ﬁlled swimming pool. At least there was promise. Matthieu quoted something from the Buddha that seemed most germane now: “When the crow ﬂies around the gold mountain, it can’t help but catch some ﬂecks on its wings.” Could I even call myself a crow? And what of the golden mountain? All I’d seen was that scrim of gray-green mist hiding the Himalayas. But how I’d wanted to bring a picture of those peaks home for my son! I kept wishing it. What a pity not to! And yet it made perfect sense. The mountains were there, and not there, in their tonnage of golden rock, in the gossamer of their disguise. They’d show themselves eventually. To someone standing on this porch, above the grumpiness and malevolence of our world. So which one of us would it be? Who would have the courage to lift the fog before our eyes and be the one? michael paterniti is a gq correspondent. 176
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And, following their latest overhauls, it’s clear that they have reached very di≠erent conclusions about the future of high-end dining— one doubling down on the conviction that dinner is a top-down theatrical experience, the other turning toward a more traditional world of service and choice. “These are the kinds of discussions we have all the time,” says Achatz, of his conversations with Humm and Guidara. “At the end we always say, ‘This is good. It’s good for dining that we have di≠erent answers.’ ” • • • I F A L I N E A I S a black-box theater, able to
be transformed into anything its owners desire, Eleven Madison Park dwells in an old-fashioned Broadway proscenium. At its best, high ceilings glowing at night, conversation swirling around the ﬂoor like smoke at the bottom of a jar, it can be a magical space. EMP has long been the David Bowie of restaurants, re-inventing itself at least four times since it ﬁrst opened, in 1998. Each new version of the restaurant can be seen as a negotiation with its room: that is, between the kind of grand New York dining experience the space seems to demand and the modern, progressive style its owners have embraced. There was, way back in 1998, Danny Meyer’s à la carte brasserie menu, serving steak frites and seafood towers; then the three- and four-course tasting menus that marked the beginning of the Guidara-Humm era; then the minimalist 16-word grid, introduced in 2010, from which diners blindly chose four courses like “Rabbit,” “Pork,” “Cauliﬂower,” “Milk”; and ﬁnally the maximalist New York–themed tasting menu that debuted in 2012, complete with games of three-card monte, egg creams, and long lectures about Gotham history. “By the end of the four hours,” New York Times critic Pete Wells wrote at the time, “I felt as if I’d gone to a Seder hosted by Presbyterians.” It was a long swing of the pendulum away from the traditional relationship between customer and chef and toward the modern, top-down approach, in which all is dictated by the kitchen. And it was the progression of two excited young men, intent on building a worldclass restaurant and very publicly working out what that meant. “I remember eating at Michel Bras’s restaurant, and they had two di≠erent cheese carts, absurd amounts of cheese. So we thought, ‘Oh, if we want to get to the top, maybe we need 50 di≠erent cheeses,’ ” says Humm. “Or another restaurant would serve an amuse-bouche on six di≠erent plates, stacked like a pyramid: ‘Wow, if we want to get to the top, we need that as well.’ And it worked! But the longer we’ve gone on, the more we’ve been conﬁdent enough to just do us.”
I ate once at EMP during the grid era, and then returned, a year or so ago, to a pareddown version of the elaborate New York menu. For my taste, it had not been pared down nearly enough. Whatever fond memories I have of the food on that visit are all but obscured by the shtick that seemed to accompany every other course: There was the server strolling about with a basket of sunﬂowers; the wine-opening ceremony using a Bunsen burner, a shaving brush, and metal tongs, among other implements; the game of matching four bars of Mast Brothers chocolate to the milk from which they had been made (goat, sheep, cow, or bu≠alo). It seemed that every time my table began to enjoy an adult conversation, we were interrupted in order to be forcibly enchanted. This culminated in an intensely awkward walk through the kitchen for a course under a portrait of Miles Davis, followed by a photo, as though we were descending the log ﬂume. It all reminded me of when baseball parks began installing swimming pools, playgrounds, nightclubs, and other diversions: an implicit admission that they had lost faith in their central product. And it made me wonder whether the trick EMP was trying to pull o≠—marrying the new style of theatrical dining with Guidara’s commitment to old-fashioned front-of-house hospitality— was simply a paradox too far. All of this is why I was excited by the news that EMP’s revamped service represented at least a small swing of the pendulum in the other direction. Guidara and Humm were, reportedly, taking the radical step of moving forward by doing less: fewer interruptions, fewer courses, shorter meal times, a new minimalist approach on the plate, and, even more radical, more choices along the way. (The price, rising to a base of $295 per person, with service included, would remain on the “more” trajectory.) “We used to be so excited by these long meals,” says Guidara. “But slowly we realized it’s not how we wanted to eat anymore ourselves.” To cut to the chase: It works. With the sunﬂowers safely contained in vases, rather than afoot in the dining room, I could concentrate on the sunﬂower dish, how the earthy bite of the ﬂower’s artichoke-like heart is softened by lovage butter and tomato gel. That bottle trick, removed from a frantic magic show, is actually quite amazing. There’s still plenty of pomp and whimsy: A series of hors d’oeuvres arrives in an ingenious inlaid-wood tower of interlocking platters. They include a bite of cantaloupe that is ﬁlled with a dollop of smoked mayonnaise and topped by a ribbon of dehydrated watermelon, the e≠ect being a mind-swerving imitation of prosciutto and melon. Another course arrives in a picnic basket; yet another is prepared on a miniature tabletop kettle grill (fueled, our server conﬁded, by Everclear). Such touches drive home the strain of Peter Pan–ism that persists at EMP. “We take what we do super seriously, but we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously,” says Humm. “We want to make sure a meal is also really fun.” Maybe the most generous way to think about it is that Humm and Guidara’s deﬁnition of that word is sort of dorky. I still hate the trip to the kitchen, which Humm says about 80 percent of diners experience as part of their meals. “I have to tell you: People freak out,” he says. “They really, really like seeing the kitchen. So, I think we’re right
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about that.” Fair enough. I think the “lobster boil,” spooned out in the center of the table, falls fatally into the valley between technical mastery, with its tiny potatoes perfectly turned, and the lustful abandon it’s meant to invoke, while denying us both. I would much rather eat the more grown-up smoked trout— bronzed and silky, steamed tableside on a gueridon—that was o≠ered as an alternative, but my table unanimously voted me down. Sometimes, as we’ve had plenty of reason to learn, democracy can be a bad thing. And, yes, as promised, there are choices: foie gras, heirloom tomatoes, or crab carpeted with thin slices of zucchini for one early course; deeply aged rib eye, a wreath of summer beans, or Humm’s signature duck breast, glazed with honey and dusted with lavender, cumin, coriander, and Sichuan peppercorn, for another. Some of the “choices” feel false—why choose between a small disc of apricot and a single strawberry on a dessert when they would be very nice together?—but even the theater of choice feels fresh and welcome in these dictatorial times. And none of these quibbles change the fact that EMP seems to have hit on something close to the ideal calibration between the demands of the gastronauts and the sophistication, gravitas, and humor of not only a great international restaurant but the great New York restaurant it feels like it’s always wanted to be—which may be the harder task. • • • F R O M T H E P R E - R E N O V A T E D Alinea, I
remember two dishes above all. One, a piece of hamachi atop a white pine skewer, arrived on a bed of coals that then sat, smoldering, while we ate. Sometime later, our server came back and began digging around in the ash, emerging with a kombu-wrapped package. As he unwrapped the square of pork belly within, I experienced something close to real fear—a childlike dread of something lurking that you didn’t know was there. It was as though the pork had been secretly eavesdropping on our table’s conversation. Later came one of Achatz’s signature desserts, an edible balloon made of apple ta≠y. You broke it by sucking in, inhaled a blast of helium, and then spoke like a Chipmunk for the next few seconds. My companion and I giggled like fourth graders. Neither reaction was one I could remember having had at a restaurant before. But then none I’d ever eaten at had been as committed to the idea of dinner as a kind of cognitive haunted house where all emotions are up for grabs. As the communal-table stunt suggests, Achatz and Kokonas have only intensiﬁed that mission at the new Alinea. The space has been reconﬁgured to allow for three di≠erent “experiences”: In the downstairs “Gallery” space, there are two 16-to-18-course seatings per night. Then there is a single group table enclosed in a sleek glass box in the kitchen, while, upstairs, the “Salon” o≠ers a relatively short, relatively cheap version of the tasting menu, which Alinea’s website, sounding spalike, describes as “innovative and satiating for mind and body.” “Relatively” is the operative word here, since 10 to 14 courses in the Salon costs between $175 and $225 per person before drinks, depending on the time and day. (The Gallery starts at $285, the Kitchen at $385.)
Much like the ﬁrst time I dined there, the meal was an ebb and ﬂow of elaborate set pieces. Achatz still tra∞cs in extreme manipulation; in 18 courses, you might recognize one or two ingredients in their natural form, not counting a bowl of fruit on a pedestal, over which a fog of dry ice is poured in order to scent the air with wisps of citrus. Still, the chef wears his trickery more lightly. “When we opened, it was very much about making the technique very obvious to diners,” he says. “Now we’re not putting it right in front of your face. We’re still using geliﬁcations and rotary evaporators and that sort of thing in the kitchen, but we’re pulling the veil over them a bit more.” My favorite dish of the night demonstrated this principle. Called, in the preferred single-word style of the menu, “Paper,” it was almost as simple in its presentation: a sheet of dehydrated sea scallop in a bowl, over which a hot, dashi-like corn-and-butter broth is poured, softening the scallop to the texture of a Japanese yuba noodle. “We thought, ‘What goes with scallops?’ Butter. ‘And what goes with butter?’ Corn,” says Achatz. The result is briny, unctuous, and yet somehow clean and restorative, consisting as it does of only three ingredients. That is somewhat revolutionary for a chef who, spurred by the “What Goes With…?” game, once created a lamb dish accompanied by 86 di≠erent garnishes. “There’s no chance I would have let that go out into the dining room a few years ago without, like, microherbs, or little cubes of agar gelatin, or purple shiso turned into a pudding,” Achatz says. “But we took a step back and said, ‘You know what? Let’s appreciate it for its simplicity. It’s beige.’ ” I’m pretty sure I mean it as a compliment when I say that Achatz specializes in ﬂavors that tiptoe right up to the line between intense and nauseating. I’m thinking of a dab of inﬁnitely reduced onions that came sandwiched between two panes of dehydrated onion, as delicate and translucent as insect wings. It was as if a bowl of French onion soup had been compressed into a diamond. Or of the main dish alongside which that bite had arrived, like a remora latched on to a shark: meaty morels bathed in an emulsion of foie gras and Lapsang souchong tea. Or of a tiny dot of Italian black licorice on the plate of a rhubarb dessert, so dense it seemed to have its own gravitational pull. These are atomic levels of ﬂavor—acid, salinity, umami—rare in high-end dining, and I had to wonder whether they were the result of Achatz’s well-publicized bout with tongue cancer and what he has described as the necessity to relearn how to taste. “I don’t think so,” he says. “I think I’ve always created a tasting-menu progression like that: with peaks and valleys. I don’t like plateaus. I like the up and down.” Di≠erences in palates being what they are, several of these peaks inevitably go beyond any given diner’s personal taste, though I can’t imagine anybody thinking that the one truly disappointing dish I had—tiny slivers of badly oversalted fried iceﬁsh ﬂoating in a bright yellow punch-in-the-face-acidic sauce made with fermented kumquat—was anything but a failure. There were other dishes that felt like they had been invented for senses other than taste: “Yellow,” for instance, a visually striking bowl of brilliant yellow ingredients that
tasted mostly of curry. Conversely, I loved a baby ﬁst of chicken thigh, dressed with three sauces in the colors of the Mexican ﬂag, served on a Mayan-looking slab and accompanied by
“What I know for certain,” Achatz says, “is that when we change the menu frequently, the staff is way more engaged, less robotic.” a stone bowl of burning wood chips that are used to scent mezcal—but couldn’t understand how it was meant to relate to the rest of the meal. It felt like it had been ﬂown in from another restaurant. But how you respond to these kinds of meals depends on your tolerance for using batting average as an acceptable yardstick. Mine is relatively high, provided the misses are sins of idiosyncrasy and ambition, rather than cynicism or laziness. At the same time, I can’t argue with anybody who believes that a $285 meal should have nothing but assured home runs. Alinea is probably not that person’s restaurant, nor does it want to be. The article of faith here is that you have come to receive the work of the artist, to submit to the experience. The artist would like to satisfy and stimulate you, but not necessarily please you. Moreover, goes the conviction, the quality of your experience will ultimately be determined by how stimulated and satisﬁed the artist himself is. That conviction came to the fore most clearly when Alinea’s team was deciding which of its greatest hits would make the transition to the new restaurant. Achatz was intent that the answer be zero. Sure, he acknowledged, there would be diners disappointed in missing dishes they had read about or seen prepared on YouTube for years, but, “What I know for certain is that when we change the menu frequently, the sta≠ is way more engaged, less robotic, more passionate about what they do. And that energy comes through to the diner— which is probably more important than taking that one bite of a famous dish. They might not know it, and they might even argue, ‘Man, I really want that bite…,’ but I think the energy exuded from the team is more important.” For all that, at the 11th hour, after all the trial runs and friends-and-family dinners had been completed, Achatz relented on one item: The apple-ta≠y balloon was restored to the end of the meal. “We decided it was better for the overall experience,” he says, sounding a little defeated. He shouldn’t be so glum. Listening as giggles and squeaks broke out across the dining room, I was convinced that the balloon is the most joyful, openhearted dish in all of gastronomy—all the more so because the artist broke his own rule to bring it to you. Are Alinea and Eleven Madison Park the two “best restaurants” in America? Aw, hell: Better to consult a philosopher or metaphysician on that—such is the happy, diverse bounty of eating experiences available to us these days. Are they cleaner, bolder, more fully realized versions of themselves after their changes? Absolutely. But will I be back? Yes. The moment they change it all up again. brett martin is a gq correspondent. OCTOBER
TH E PRINCE OF FASHI O N
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between major sneaker manufacturers and the edgier, top-tier designers like Rick Owens and Raf Simons, and represented by hip-hop tastemakers like A$AP Rocky and Ian Connor. Abe’s elder brother opened the door to this world—Virgil Abloh’s world—and Abe had sauntered right in. Even as he followed his brother into this trend-driven, icon-imitating world, Abe worked to maintain his standard of idiosyncrasy, of standing out, freely incorporating ﬂoral patterns, vintage scarves, and the color pink into the outﬁts he wore into the heteronormative jaws of seventh grade. Small for his age—barely a men’s size XS—Abe often had trouble ﬁnding anything “ﬁre,” in the way of menswear, that would ﬁt him. So he would shop the women’s racks, with a sharply editorial eye; a women’s XS, he could make work. The Maison Margiela shirt he wore at the O≠-White preview was womenswear, and he had chanced upon another favorite shirt, a Tigran Avetisyan, while browsing one of the women’s-clothing rooms at Opening Ceremony in L.A. The sight of him, hanging around the neighborhood with a friend, looking so at ease in the ﬂowing cream-black-and-gray Avetisyan shirt with its bold bands of red at the collar and cu≠s and wild graphic pattern, made me realize that I almost literally never saw boys his age wearing anything remotely like it, wearing anything but a T-shirt or an athletic jersey, a hoodie or a ﬂannel. The mantle of uniformity lay vast and heavy across the shoulders of adolescent boys (how vast, how heavy, I remembered well). As before—even worse than before—Abe su≠ered taunts and teasing for his style of dress and his love of style. But he did not back down; he doubled down. He ﬂew the freak ﬂag of his Tigran Avetisyan shirt high. And though I couldn’t fathom the impulse driving my kid to expose himself, every day, to mockery and verbal abuse at school, I admired him for not surrendering, and in time I came to understand the nature of my job as the father of this sartorial wild child: I didn’t need to fathom Abe or his stylistic impulses; I needed only to let him go where they took him and, for as long as he needed me, to follow along behind. • • • T H E R E W A S O N L Y O N E ﬂaw, as far as Abe
was concerned, in the week he spent going to fashion shows: His poky old minder, making him late. His minder was not having anywhere near as great a time. His minder was hot, and bored. Most of all, his minder did not, fundamentally, really give all that much of a fuck about fashion. Clothes, sure. His minder found pleasure in thrift-shopping for vintage 178
western shirts or Hermès neckties, in wearing his favorite Shipley & Halmos suits (gray cashmere, tan corduroy), his Paul Smith shirts and shoulder bag. Less pleasure, perhaps, than he found in books, or records, or cooking, or watching old movies with his wife, but pleasure nonetheless. Clothes were all right with Abe’s minder. But they were nothing to build a religion, a hobby, or even a decent obsession around. Then, one warm June week in Paris, Abe’s minder attended his ﬁrst Men’s Fashion Week and discovered that he understood even less. Fashion shows had an unexpected sideshowfreaks-on-parade quality, and when they were not pompous or eccentric, they were just plain goofy. You drove all the way across Paris to get to the venue—a special mapping algorithm seemed to have been employed to ensure that every show was held as far as possible from its predecessor and its successor on the schedule—through the heat of a Paris summer, arrived late yet still waited around outside until your feet hurt, guaranteeing you would be late for the next show, too. Then you sat in a dark, loud, hot, crowded room for another 20 minutes. The lights came on and the music pounded. There would be a wall made out of old car headlights and a sonic wall of EDM, and a bunch of tall, bony, pouting young men with a studied air of opiate addiction would come striding past you, swinging their arms, like little boys pretending to walk like their dads in a game of playing house. This gait was meant to read as “ﬁerce,” someone explained to Abe’s minder, as was the expression on the models’ faces, a universal stony blank, tinged with rouge, onto which it was forbidden to a∞x a smile. The looks they modeled ranged in e≠ect from preposterous to functional to arresting, often in the same show. Sometimes the music would not be EDM but Neil Young or Leonard Cohen or the amazing Japanese neo-psychedelic band Kikagaku Moyo. At the Paul Smith show the models just walked— sauntered, really—like the good-looking young dudes they were, and when they saw somebody they knew in the audience, or when they just felt good in the beautiful suits and shirts Paul Smith had dressed them in, they would— heretically—smile. Issey Miyake gave you a ﬁrst-aid chemical cold pack to break and lay against the sweaty nape of your neck. Once—at the Y-3 show—the pants were inﬂatable. The whole show would be over in ten minutes yet it would still run overtime, and then you got back into a taxi and rushed algorithmically across town. It was kind of like Disneyland, but instead of a three-minute log ﬂume or roller coaster you got inﬂatable pants. Toward the end of one long and particularly trying four-show day for Abe’s minder, Abe began to hear about yet another show he was keen to attend. It started at 8 p.m. and it would be the last of the day. But Abe’s minder felt strongly that he had already experienced his last show of the day. “It’s Stéphane Ashpool—he’s a really interesting new designer,” Abe said. “Everyone says his show last year was amazing. Please, Dad?” But Abe’s minder had hardened his heart against Stéphane Ashpool. Fortunately for Abe, certain members of the editorial sta≠ of this publication, who had been telling Abe about last year’s Pigalle show and generally
testing, to their apparent satisfaction, the breadth and depth of his knowledge of men’s clothing, o≠ered to let him come along with them to this year’s. There was room in the car. They would see to it that he would be returned to his minder at the rendezvous point, a party at the Musée Picasso. It turned out that Abe’s minder had, possibly, made the wrong decision in choosing not to go to the Pigalle show. A few hours later, Abe showed up at the Picasso vibrating with excitement about the clothes he had seen and, even more, about the remarkable way they had been presented. Instead of the usual solemn palace or dark box pounding with electronica, instead of the usual runway, the Pigalle show had been presented outdoors, at the back of a museum, in a garden. It had taken the form of a faux wedding party, with musicians and a wedding canopy and little round café tables for all the “guests.” Food was served. The evening felt cool. Abe had sat with the people from GQ and been caught up in the night and the company and the beautiful clothes. “It was like being at a play,” he said. “But also being in it.” • • • “ Y O U N E E D T O G O stand over there,” Virgil
Abloh told Abe. He pointed at the line of male models, who looked a little taken aback at the turn things had taken but made room for Abe in their ranks. Abe laughed, and the ﬂush in his cheeks deepened, but he did as he was told, without apparent hesitation or awkwardness. The laughter and the hectic color were not due to embarrassment; Abe was excited and pleased. The presence on his feet of O≠-White socks was hardly an accident. Abe was not the kind of boy who would go to a baseball game with his mitt, hoping that a foul ball might come
His clothes were not on the outside of his body; they were—for now— the outside of his body. They were the visible form taken by the way he chose to deﬁne himself. his way and fantasizing that if one did, he might snatch it from the air with such evident skill that he would be o≠ered, on the spot, a contract to play for the home team, but there was deﬁnitely an aspect in this moment of the dream come true. And really, he had nothing to be embarrassed about. Sure, these models were nearly twice his height, and very good-looking, but with all due respect to Virgil Abloh and his stylists, none of the models were dressed any better—or looked more comfortable in what they were wearing—than Abe. Over the past two days of attending shows with his minder, Abe had paid close attention to everything that came down the runways, but he had if anything made an even more careful study of clothes worn by certain young men one saw waiting around outside the venues, standing in line with their elaborate tickets until the
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people with the clipboards said it was time to go inside. The models on the runways had without question been fashionably dressed— from the shaggy yellow Muppet pants and clown-emblazoned transparent breastplates at the Walter Van Beirendonck show to the hyper-ﬂared trousers and fringed jackets chez Dries Van Noten to the Mœbius–meets– Logan’s Run, 1970s post-apocalypse gear on view at the Rick Owens show, his models swaggering gloomily through the subterranean venue like young volunteers to be fed to the robot god, wearing sneakers so enormous that a couple of them tripped over their own toes—but these guys that caught Abe’s eye, always two or three or four of them scattered among the waiting crowds, had style. The clothes they wore were their own, chosen and tweaked and assembled by them from their own drawers and closets. Often these looks were built around a single, stunning, no doubt exorbitant garment, a dazzling scarlet silk tracksuit, say, paisleyed with light blue and peach paramecia and paired with a yellow bandanna worn as a neckerchief. The looks Abe made the closest study of, however, were the eclectic ones, the ones that had been assembled out of disparate, perhaps more a≠ordable elements into a surprising whole. One of Abe’s favorites had belonged to a handsome black dude he saw outside the Van Beirendonck show. He had a bushy beard and wore an odd felt hat with a broad brim and broad diagonal pleats around its crown, a cross between an Amish number and a Jell-O mold. Over a black mesh undershirt he had on a gold-and-green plaid blazer down the front of which he had stitched groups of black thread in parallel lines like guitar strings. He had stacked tribal bracelets on his wrists and silver tribal earrings curled in his earlobes, and he wore round gold granny glasses. His moon-boot-style sneakers had been precisely distressed, and his black pinstriped trousers, belted with a length of red-and-white jump rope, he wore rolled to the knee. It was a mad jumble of pieces of this and that from here and there, but somehow it all went together. It expressed an idea, and the idea it expressed was not Rick Owens’s idea or Juun.J’s idea but all the bits and pieces from here and there that made up the mind and history of the guy who had put them on. Abe had learned a lot from studying this guy’s look and the looks of the other dandies—for that was what they were, unpaid, unsponsored, there only to see and be seen and hoist their colors on the humid afternoon air—who showed up for the shows. Every night he had come home and gone through his suitcase, reviewing the elements of the wardrobe he’d brought with him (with a few fresh additions; it was the week of the soldes), combining and re-combining them, laying out his little self-portrait on the ﬂoor. When he woke up in the morning he would have changed his mind about something, or a sudden inspiration would strike. The look he had chosen for the O≠-White preview had been tested and revised, in his mind and on his body, and it said whatever it was about himself that he had managed, at this early and still inarticulate moment in the history of his soul, to say. It would bear up to scrutiny. It had been designed to bear up to scrutiny. Indeed it had been designed to invite scrutiny, not of
the look itself but of the person inside it. His clothes were not on the outside of his body; they were—for now—the outside of his body. They were the visible form taken by the way he chose to deﬁne himself. None of the gawky young models, standing around ﬂat-footed and hunch-shouldered with their assigned coats and jackets and baggy shorts hanging o≠ them like drop cloths thrown over a dining room set, could say that. Even Virgil Abloh, in his black sweats and black T-shirt, seemed to be wearing O≠-White. Virgil Abloh asked Abe where he was from. Abe said that he was from Oakland. That was not quite true; Abe lived in Berkeley, one block from the Oakland-Berkeley line. Undoubtedly he thought, not without reason, that Oakland sounded, and was, cooler than Berkeley as a place for one to be from. Oakland was the Black Panthers, the impassive cartoon masks thrown up on freeway embankments by gra∞ti artist GATS, and heroes of hip-hop like Too Short, Mac Dre, Richie Rich, and the Hieroglyphics collective. Berkeley was bearded dudes wearing drug rugs and drawstring pants in the drum circle at the Ashby BART on Saturday mornings. “This young man understands the idea, here,” Virgil Abloh told the reporters, pens poised over their notepads. “This is what I’m trying to do.” Abloh invited his assembled guests to consider Abe’s look from the ground up. The models were trying to suppress smiles now and not in all cases succeeding. “First of all,” Abloh said, “you got the Adidas—hold on!” He went in for a closer look at Abe’s shoes. “You wearing Rafs?” He o≠ered Abe a congratulatory ﬁst bump. Abe graciously accepted it. “You got the sneakers, and the athletic socks—the right athletic socks.” He grinned; Abe beamed. The people in the folding chairs laughed. “So far, everything is coming out of the streetwear context. But then up at the top, the look is something much more tailored. For the young dudes, they’re coming out of streetwear labels. Supreme, Bape… That’s where it starts, right?” He checked with Abe, who duly, and truthfully, nodded. “But now they’re thinking, maybe without getting too expensive, maybe they could take it to a higher level. Good,” he said to Abe. “Thank you. Go on, now, go have a seat.” • • • T W O D A Y S A N D ﬁve shows later Abe arrived,
late, for the O≠-White show. He had been melancholy all day, and now, as we arrived to ﬁnd the show halfway over, he sank even further. I felt badly; I had kept us too long at the previous show, Paul Smith. After the show ended, Abe caught sight of Virgil Abloh backstage, but the designer was surrounded by press and fans. He nodded and smiled at Abe, but they didn’t get the chance to speak again. Fashion Week was over. It was time to go home. “I don’t want to go home,” Abe said. “I know,” I said. “Paris is fun.” “It’s not that.” “It’s been so exciting for you,” I suggested. “You don’t want it to end.” “Yeah. No, it’s not that.” “What’s wrong?” I said. “Tell me, buddy.” But he didn’t want to talk about it. We rode in a taxi back to our rented apartment in the
12th Arrondissement. Abe slowly packed up his clothes and laid out the jeans and T-shirt that he planned to wear on the ﬂight home. He grew more silent and sank even deeper into whatever was eating him. He grew tearful. We had an argument. I was tired of fash-
You are born into a family and those are your people, and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. ion and fashion shows. I could only feel that I had had enough and that I wanted to leave and be done. It was hard for me to imagine feeling any other way. “We had a good time,” I said. “You got to do a lot of fun things and meet cool people. You got some nice things to wear. You were in Paris. Now it’s time to go home. Come on.” “I don’t want to go back,” he said. “We’ll come back to Paris. When you grow up, you can live here.” “It’s not Paris. It’s not the clothes.” “What is it?” “The Pigalle show,” he said. “That was your favorite. I wish I’d gone.” He looked at me, a funny expression on his face. I realized that the reason he’d had such a great time that night was because I had not been present. I had not been his father, or his friend, this past week. I had only been his minder. I was a drag to have around a fashion show, and because I could not enter fully into the spirit of the occasion, neither could Abe. He was worrying about me, watching me, wondering if I was having a good time or not, if I thought the shaggy Muppet pants, for example, were as stupid as the look on my face seemed to suggest. “It wasn’t the show, really,” I suggested as his eyes ﬁlled with tears. “Was it? It was the people you were with, the GQ guys, the buyers, that dude who owns Wild Style.” “They get it,” he said. “They know everything about all the designers, and the house, and that’s what they care about. They love to talk about clothes. They love clothes.” You are born into a family and those are your people, and they know you and they love you and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. Abe had not been dressing up, styling himself, for all these years because he was trying to prove how di≠erent he was from everyone else. He did it in the hope of attracting the attention of somebody else—somewhere, someday—who was the same. He was not ﬂying his freak ﬂag; he was sending up a ﬂare, hoping for rescue, for company in the solitude of his passion. “You were with your people. You found them,” I said. He nodded. “That’s good,” I said. “You’re early.” michael chabon’s ninth novel, ‘Moonglow,’ will be published in November. OCTOBER
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Thomson said, and therefore didn’t see any reason to stop. Everything after, in Thomson’s accounting, happened because Cardell is a rageful lunatic. He chased Smith, rammed his Mercedes, leapt out “enraged, yelling and cursing,” he said. Racquel, who’d been in the backseat, got out and pleaded with him. “Leave us alone,” she said, according to Thomson. “Go back to your car. We have children. This is not worth this.” Right about then, in this version, Cardell kneecapped her, put one round in each thigh. “We have evidence,” Thomson continued, “that the killer showed no remorse whatsoever, that he actually stood over Will Smith’s dead body, as his wife had crawled away because she couldn’t walk and is cowering.” And then some especially gangsta shit: “The killer is yelling over the body of Will Smith after he killed him.” (A few hours later, Cardell’s attorney held a press conference in front of his o∞ce. “The rules of professional conduct prohibit lawyers from speaking ill about other lawyers,” John Fuller said, with an edge that made it clear he was, in fact, speaking ill of another lawyer. “But I’ll say this: There are some things that I heard that I question.” He did not go into great detail, though broadly speaking, it could fairly be summarized as: all of it, except the fact that Will Smith got shot.) Cardell was in jail, charged with seconddegree murder and attempted murder—he’s pleaded not guilty—and would remain there for the foreseeable future, a $1.75 million bond being priced beyond his means. As he should be, Thomson seemed to suggest. The attack was completely unprovoked, a man is dead, a woman is maimed, and three children lost their father. “I’m aware of nothing,” Thomson said, “that Will Smith did that would cause this killer to be afraid for his life.” That is very carefully worded. He wasn’t there. And, in any case, fear is almost wholly a matter of perspective. • • • K E V I N D I D N ’ T H A V E the door open yet, and
already two white men were stomping toward the Hummer. They were not big men, but they were in a fury. One was stripping o≠ his shirt. I feel played, Kevin heard one of them say. I want to ﬁght. Kevin found that mildly amusing. Who says that? He saw the gun in Cardell’s hand. So, apparently, did the white guys, because they converged on Kevin. They were throwing punches but not connecting because Kevin is tall and rangy and has a brown belt in Kenpo and squats 350 just to warm up. Mostly, he was worried about avoiding an assault charge. He had his eye on Cardell, though. 180
Racquel was between Smith and Cardell, keeping distance between two big men. Cardell, Kevin swears, was being careful to keep his right hand at his side. Smith swung once, twice, a third time, three sloppy rights that made glancing contact. Please don’t do that, Cardell said. He was scared. Racquel appeared to persuade Smith to let it go, to get back in the car and sort it out later. Smith turned, took a step away. Then, Kevin says, Smith pushed his wife aside. That would not be the ﬁrst time, allegedly. Smith was known to have a temper and had a history of allegedly striking his wife, having been charged with domestic-abuse battery in Lafayette in 2010 after reportedly dragging her down a sidewalk by the hair. (Racquel later tweeted that the episode was “all bs,” adding, “I feel bad for my husband who is innocent in all of this.” The charge was ultimately dismissed.) Smith came back toward Cardell: You got a gun, motherfucker? I got a gun, too. Kevin, still holding o≠ the two white guys, reached for Smith’s left arm. Homie, chill the fuck out, he said. You’re trippin’. Smith spun away, then leaned in through the open door of the Mercedes. He kept a licensed 9-mm handgun in the center console. The white guys were still messing with Kevin. Kevin slipped. He heard pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop. • • • W H E N C H A S E D I X O N heard that Will Smith
had been killed, he shook his head in disgust and thought the obvious thought: more New Orleans bullshit. Why wouldn’t he? There were 164 murders in New Orleans in 2015, an average of more than three every week; 2016 wasn’t quite as bad, but Will Smith was the 31st person murdered in 100 days. Old shell casings can at times be a nuisance at fresh crime scenes, and it’s not always simple to sort out whether a bullet hole in a clapboard is from a recent stray or has weathered for a while. Eventually, a celebrity was going to be among the statistics. But then he found out who pulled the trigger. Dixon knows Cardell and Kevin. They work out at his gym a couple of times a week. Kevin started going there with his martialarts coach, Steven “Spyder” Hemphill, and Cardell started going with Kevin. Spyder lost his elder brother and his eldest son to the streets, and he’s got one boy now, Sean, a light-heavyweight amateur boxer and a damn good one, nationally ranked. “It was always Kevin, Cardell, and Sean, and Sean doesn’t surround himself with bad people,” Dixon said one afternoon. “I don’t allow ri≠ra≠ around my son I have left,” Spyder said. “These dudes,” Dixon said, “they’re not monsters. They’re young black kids growing up in a tough-ass city to grow up in.” • • • T H E R E W A S A P R E L I M I N A R Y hearing
for Cardell scheduled for April 28, not quite three weeks after he shot Will Smith to death. Generally speaking, a preliminary hearing would be good for Cardell: The prosecution would be required to convince a judge they had enough evidence to continue holding him, which meant they would have to present
witnesses, whom Cardell’s attorney, John Fuller, could cross-examine. Fuller, in turn, would get to present his own witnesses. As a practical matter, Cardell would have remained in jail—probable cause is not a stringent standard to meet, especially when the evidence includes a celebrity shot eight times—but it would have been a narrative coup, a chance for Fuller to get on the public record a more sympathetic accounting of April 9. He has argued that Cardell “was not the aggressor” and that he “is legally not guilty,” which seems to depend on a debatable reading of Louisiana’s stand-your-ground law. He has also hinted, unsubtly, at a cover-up, suggesting there was “possible untoward activity by a former NOPD o∞cer.” The implication, for which there is no evidence, is that Ceravolo ditched a gun that Smith might have grabbed and replaced it with a clean one. Ceravolo, through his attorney, denies doing anything improper. The other way for the prosecution to keep Cardell in jail before trial was to have a grand jury indict him. A secret proceeding, no cross-examining witnesses, no public record of the proceedings except for the end result. The Orleans Parish grand jury, as it happened, met on Thursday, April 28. Fuller managed to get one witness on the stand before a clerk rushed in with the indictment and canceled the preliminary hearing. • • • C A R D E L L H A Y E S may not have reached
the level some expected he might, but he still believed he had a chance. Which is why he worked his ass o≠ playing starting noseguard for the Crescent City Kings. A huge man, but fast. “He could run like a deer,” head coach Frederick Washington told me one sweltering evening on the sideline. Probably not quick enough to play defense in the money leagues, but o≠ensive guard in the NFL? “For sure,” Washington said. He considered that for a moment. “No less than the CFL.” The Kings are a good team, too, went 9-2 last season, hosted the championship at Joe W. Brown Memorial Park. You know what the di≠erence is, though? More than 153 million people watched Will Smith win a Super Bowl. How many saw the Kings lose the title game to the Nashville Storm? Anyone? But Cardell went to practice and he worked out and he paid his bills and he raised his boy. He governed himself accordingly. That night, when he shot that man, he did not run away. He asked other people, witnesses, not to leave. He removed the magazine from his gun and put them both on the hood of his Hummer. He waited for the police, and he called Ti≠any. “These white guys kept coming at us,” he told her in a raspy panic. “He was going to get a gun…. I don’t know what happened.” And he didn’t, not all of it, not the most important part, which would make him famous for all the wrong reasons. Cardell did not know whom he had shot. No one told him until he was taken to jail. He already was crying, just for having killed another human being. But Will Smith? Cardell heard that and sobbed, his big body heaving, tears dripping into his lap because his wrists were still cu≠ed and he couldn’t wipe them away. Will Smith was the kind of player Cardell always wanted to be. sean flynn is a gq correspondent.
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But he was also becoming aware that he’d accrued a number of dangerous hobbies. At the time, he was also on a speedboat-racing team with Don Johnson, and he knew the fatality rate for participants was not insubstantial. And he had also begun to ﬂy airplanes. There was, he realized, a lot of voluntary risk in his life. “Goldie said to me, ‘Honey, I’m going to ask you something: Flying an airplane, is that fun for you, or important?’ ” Russell recognized that this was an interesting question. “And the boat,” she asked, “is that fun?” He told her that, yes, the boat was fun. He loved doing it. “Is it important for you?” she asked. And he really thought about what she was asking him. And he realized something. “Important is worth dying for,” he says. “Fun is not. That’s me, that’s Kurt to Kurt—just because it’s fun, it’s not worth dying for.” So he gave up the boats. And carried on ﬂying. “Airplanes,” he says, “I knew that was important to me.”
of that story is actually life in a nutshell. I just wanna make the best of the time I have now. It’s very wired into my bloodstream.
• • •
Don’t go chasing the awards (but do play the long game). I N 1 9 7 9 , 37 years ago, Kurt Russell was nominated for an Emmy for the TV movie Elvis. (He lost.) In 1984, 32 years ago, he was nominated for a Golden Globe award as Best Supporting Actor in Silkwood. (He also lost.) And that, pretty much, has been it. He knows that it has become a kind of cliché to say that he is under-appreciated. “There are some speciﬁc reasons for that under-appreciation thing,” he reﬂects, “and I’m responsible for them. Did I play the game correctly? You bet I didn’t! I did not. I didn’t go to the events. I didn’t say the right things to the right people.” He laughs. “I said the wrong things to the right people.” Does it sting that you’ve never had any Oscar recognition? “No,” he replies, pointing out that he’s not even a member of the Academy. For Russell, there are more valuable kinds of recognition. “Most of the movies I’ve done, people have had a good time with,” he says. “Some of them I’ve done they’ve had a great time with. And then some of those movies that I’ve done are not just going to stand up, they fall into the category of: Yeah, a hundred years from now, there will be some moviegoers that will look back and say, ‘Well, look at that guy…. I mean, that was a hundred years ago, but he knew what fucking time it was. He knew what he was doing.’ ” chris heath is a gq correspondent.
Do you feel like being in England is going to hinder your ability to comment on things in America, to be as socially relevant? I never meant to be socially relevant. [laughs] What about your Tony-acceptance speech? I don’t see myself as chasing these moments. The Tonys were scheduled on Sunday, and that shit [the killing of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub] happened in the morning. I would have liked nothing better than to thank all my peers and the hundreds of people who went into making Hamilton possible, but this thing happened that morning, and you have to meet that moment. I think a lot about trying to meet the moment as honestly as possible, because I don’t pretend to have any answers. In fact, I have inﬁnitely more questions than answers. You know, the opening line to Hamilton is one long run-on fucking question,* which we puzzle out but never really answer. That’s all I control: I can control how I meet the world. What about when people put you on a pedestal? You’re this award-winning icon, and then you go and do Drunk History? I have to live with me at the end of the day, so I can only be honest to who I am. Whether that is having a silly time with Derek Waters and getting drunk and recounting the stories I couldn’t ﬁt into Hamilton, which is what I ended up doing that night. I drank three-quarters of a bottle of honey whiskey and butt-dialed a lot of friends. Why Mary Poppins? Mary Poppins is to be directed by Rob Marshall, the guy who knows how to direct modern musicals. This was a formula that was put in a bottle and thrown in the sea. Hollywood forgot how to do it for a really long time. What I’m excited about in London is surrendering to a di≠erent artistic world and seeing what that brings out when I’m singing, dancing, and being an actor for hire. What will that free up in the rest of my brain? I have ideas for what I think I can write next, but that may totally change once I’m out there. I never really lived in another country for this long. I didn’t do it in school. I was too busy making shit. So I’m, you know, it’s my year abroad, and I’m really excited about it. michael paterniti is a gq correspondent.
*How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a /
Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a / Forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence / Impoverished, in squalor / Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?
A D D IT IO N A L C R E D IT S Page 90. “Flying Balls”: courtesy of Warwick Saint/Fox. “Bruuuuce”: courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Haleys, from left: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic; Jim Spellman/ WireImage; John Lamparski/Getty Images; Mike Windle/Getty Images; Mike Marsland/WireImage. “Wise Guys,” from left: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Daniel Knighton/FilmMagic; Karwai Tang/WireImage; courtesy of Jonathan Prime/Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Revenge of the Reboots,” from left: Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy of Everett Collection; courtesy of Jean Whiteside/Fox. Galifianakis: Vera Anderson/WireImage. “Disasters at Sea,” from left: courtesy of Enrique Chediak; courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. Jawbreakers: Felix Choo/Alamy Stock Photo. LeBlanc: Elisabeth Caren/CBS/Getty Images. Page 110. Bandanna: stylist’s own. Tank top: Gap. Jeans: Guess. Sandals: Steve Madden. Earrings: Claire’s. Bracelets: DSW. Page 112. Shirt: Ashton Michael. Jeans: Levi’s. Sneakers: Zara. Gold chain: Claire’s. Page 114. Left, shirt: Van Heusen. Pants: Dockers. Belt: H&M. Right, blazer and turtleneck: vintage. Pants: Levi’s. Shoes: Cole Haan. Pages 142–143. Producer: Atlas Productions. Set designer: Kate Stein at the Magnet Agency. Hair: David von Cannon. Makeup: Justine Purdue using Diorskin. Manicure: Elisa Ferri using Dior Vernis. Bodysuit: Eres. Necklace: Dior Fine Jewelry. Bracelet: Eva Fehren.
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Bitmo is on the range
jacket $15,600 Hermès + sweatshirt $990 Tom Ford scarf $290 Standen jeans $195 Rag & Bone Standard Issue vintage hat Stetson boots Corral
KURT RUSSELL IS particularly keen on emojis and bitmojis. “I just ﬁnd them funny,” he says. “I use them all the time to…to send a vibe, you know what I mean? But I only do that with people I really know, because I’ll send completely inappropriate shit.” Furthermore, with the help of his sons Wyatt and Oliver, he has created his own series of bitmojis. They’re based on a graphic depiction of himself as gray-haired Snake Plissken, the iconic eye-patched renegade he played in Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. “Old Snake,” he says. He explains that his partner, Goldie Hawn, has her own bitmoji, too. With her away ﬁlming, they shoot messages back and forth. “See, I’ll send that: ‘Good morning’ with a cup of coffee.” He likes all this a lot. “I like when they’re inappropriate— when they’re just the wrong thing to do.”