Paul Sevigny Paintings to be on Show at NYC’s Café Henrie

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As part of a somewhat ideological new art series, downtown’s most inimitable nightlife impresario and Renaissance man Paul Sevigny (brother of Chloe) will show 15 of his paintings for the first time ever.

Taking place October 19 at NYC’s Café Henrie, and in conjunction with Bill Powers’ Half Gallery, the concept is actually fairly simple: one artist, a limited number of works, and displayed for just four hours. (The inaugural show on 9/28 featured Austin Eddy.) Probably little known to those who have long followed Sevigny as a DJ and promoter – and have shaken their groove things to his sets at fashion parties, at Sway and most recently at Paul’s Cocktail Lounge at the Roxy Hotel – he has actually been painting for the better part of two decades. So this is a long awaited…coming out, of sorts.

Yet Sevigny had only this to say: “I’m not an artist, I’m a painter.” (Despite the brevity of the show, he was thoughtful enough to give it a title: Sunday Painter.)

Café Henrie is located on the LES (Powers’ Half Gallery was originally located next door, Sevigny was its first customer) and is lorded over by Paris nightlife galvanizer André Saraiva – so expect a bit of a who’s who crowd. Nevertheless, the event is open to the public.

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Spooky Cool ExSage Video for ‘Come Alive’

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Image by Kristin Cofer

 

Rock & roll loves a good rebirth story. To wit, Cobalt Cranes, who had built a significant West Coast following with their sensual “desert punk” between 2012 and 2016. But when core members Tim Foley and Kate Clover suffered a personal split up, they musically reformed as ExSage – with Foley eventually moving on.

Now ExSage is Clover’s creative alter ego, with a new EP, Total Devotion, just released September 22. And never one for middling gestures, her inspirations for the new songs included everyone from PJ Harvey to Nick Cave to French Surrealists/Symbolistes Baudelaire and Rimbaud.

A standout is the fiery new single “Come Alive” – the Jason Lester directed video for which BlackBook premieres here. The song is all echo-drenched, gothic psych rock fury, and the noir-thriller imagery – complete with vintage Barracuda – suits it perfectly. It ends with something of a witches’ coven wine (or blood?) tasting – which just might have feminist overtones.

“’Come Alive’ is about-facing your demons in order to survive,” Clover explains. “It’s about finding your true self no matter what, even if that means letting part of you die. With that comes fear and anger but also a small glimmer of hope. Anger can be a gift or a weapon that can turn on you; it’s how you channel it. I feel as if we all have a desire to worship what we don’t possess and sometimes that is the hope that fuels the fire. It’s what drives us forward.”

Words to live (and die) by.

 

ExSage Live

October 24th – Moroccan Lounge, Los Angeles
October 27th – Starline, Oakland
October 29th – Blonde Bar, San Diego

Wylie Dufresne’s Du’s Donuts Will Have a Limited-Run Home in Soho This Fall

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There’s a great scene in the Simpsons episode The Day the Earth Stood Cool, where Homer’s new hipster friend Terrance explains to him that when his painfully hip, sold-from-a-truck Devil Donuts are sold out, they’re sold out – utterly baffling the more-is-more Homer.

Wylie Dufrense’s Du’s Donuts & Coffee, now a fixture of the Brooklyn indie culinary scene, will be bringing the same philosophy to Soho as of Friday, October 6. Indeed, a pop-up outpost will be the new feature of Chefs Club Counter at 62 Spring Street, seven days a week this autumn. And in true hipster fashion, each day, when they’re gone, they’re gone. (Take that, mass-marketed pastry industry.)

Expect all those mind-altering, taste-bud-bending flavors like Peanut Butter & Yuzu, Brown Butter Key Lime and Honey Fennel Pollen…along with a few surprises, surely.

Dufresne, of course, won post-Millennial plaudits with his avant-garde cooking at WD-50 on the LES – which closed ceremoniously in 2015. Like so many of his contemporaries, he has gone and ditched the high-concepting for something decidedly more fun and comforting. And surely, we need Banana Melt donuts more than ever.

 

NJOY’s Doug Teitelbaum is Leading a Crusade Against Cigarette Smoking – Don’t Bet Against Him

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There are endless tales of personal redemption, to be sure. But how many of those might actually lead to saving millions of other lives, as well?

That’s the story of Douglas Teitelbaum, a successful serial entrepreneur, known for buying up companies and turning them around. His most notable achievement was NextWave Telecom, when, before even his 40th birthday in 2004, his investing acumen netted billions – and got him featured in the New York Times.

But life wasn’t all good. He had worked, smoked and stressed himself into an admittedly dangerous health situation at a relatively early age – and was suffering from what he unhesitatingly calls “morbid obesity.” Realizing that all efforts at dieting would ultimately fail, he went for bariatric surgery, which changed his life.

The experience would arguably set him up for another radical life change almost a decade later.

Still nursing a two-packs-a-day habit, he lit a cigarette over drinks in a hotel room in late 2012 with his friend – Napster founder and first Facebook President – Sean Parker, who had already been interested in investing in the e-cigarette business.

“In the fall of 2012,” says Teitelbaum, “Sean had heroically devoted himself to eradicating cancer. He felt this was an obvious move, but felt strongly that no one was attacking the product development side of the e-cigarette industry intelligently and aggressively. He wanted us to create vapor products with appropriate nicotine delivery efficacy, with the speed that you get from a cigarette, and that also paid attention to the form factor – the look and feel of the product. And he felt if one did that, you could virtually erase the disease of smoking. “

So Teitelbaum did what he calls a “deep dive” into the industry, attempting to understand all the pitfalls and controversies swirling around it while also studying the science. During that time, a company called NJOY was garnering a good deal of attention; their NJOY King was released into the market with the genuinely catchy slogan Real Look, Real Feel, Real Taste. Teitelbaum tried it, and was able to make the switch away from regular cigarettes remarkably quickly.

“So I made a minority, non-control investment in the company,” he explains. “But some mistakes were made that it was unable to overcome, and it eventually went into bankruptcy.”

Still determined to stand by the obvious potential to get smokers off regular cigarettes, he bought the company out of bankruptcy. Only to then find a regulatory nightmare staring them in the face – fueled by agendas that were decidedly at cross-purposes.

 

 

He recalls, “Sometime after I switched from smoking to e-cigarettes, I realized that there were people who were not being honest about the science; and I came to realize that it’s in the best interest of the health care industry to continue to treat the illnesses associated with smoking. It’s the only reason I can think of why they wouldn’t get behind products, like NJOY’s, with such clear harm reduction potential.”

Seeing far beyond any commonplace profit motives, Teitelbaum understood that millions of Americans’ health – and even their lives – were at stake in the bureaucratic standoff between the e-cigarette movement and the big health/pharma money machine. Especially as NJOY Daily had seemingly solved the matter of creating products sufficiently replicating the experience of actually smoking – forcing opponents to dig in with even greater intensity.

Teitelbaum recalls, “It took me a period of time to fully appreciate the propaganda engine that was misinforming the public. Because of my unwillingness to allow the ill-intended, manipulated or uninformed to prevent me from switching smokers to vapor, I’ve found myself on a crusade.”

It hasn’t been an easy one, despite the remarkable amount evidence on his side. Indeed, in 2015 Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued an unambiguous statement:

“There has been an effort to say that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful, and that they should be strongly regulated in the same way. This view is incorrect…the harm of the combustible cigarette is dramatically greater.”

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (an emphatic voice on the dangers of second hand smoke) had even joined the NJOY board in 2013 – recognizing that while anti-smoking efforts had significantly reduced user numbers, there was a point where the numbers just wouldn’t budge any further. There were those who simply could not quit – but Teitelbaum was sure that he and NJOY could get them to switch…to a product that was ultimately remarkably safe.

And to be sure, Public Health England’s 2016 study concluded that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than the real thing; and the science behind vaping is hard to refute. Teitelbaum is convinced, however, that this is a much different, and far more serious matter than simply selling a better product.

“NJOY’s core mission under my leadership,” he insists, “is our ability to help people switch to vapor. I understand the smoker really well, and I love helping people make the switch. But we have to put them on a path to success – they have to go through what I call the switching process.”

 

 

 

There have been no shortage of success stories – and they are enthusiastically willing to talk about it.

Former cigarette smoker Jim Levin enthuses, “Had Doug not been as persistent as he was in switching me, I certainly would still be smoking my American Spirits today. But that was over four months ago, and I have not had a single drag of a cigarette since.”

Another, David Grzelak, is even more personal about it: “Doug has such great empathy for what’s it like to be a smoker and what’s it like to try to quit and fail. He encouraged me to go at my own pace, and made it clear the satisfaction of NJOY and vaping products slowly builds over time, and at a different pace for everyone. He made me feel like there wasn’t a succeed-or-fail dichotomy with switching”.

It’s stories like these that lead one to believe that this fight will eventually be decisively won – even if it ultimately comes down to making it about the issue of the staggering health care costs associated with cigarette smoking. Something that, of course, significantly affects every American taxpayer.

“It’s so clear to me where we’re going,” Teitelbaum says thoughtfully. “And every day more research comes out that shows how right we are.”

He’s even creating an NJOY “Switch Kit,” which he will enthusiastically offer to every smoker that he meets – convinced that they will become another one of the likely millions of lives that will be redeemed by his cause.

“The reason I’m going to win is simple,” he asserts. “There is this group of people called smokers who deserve empathy and whose lives will change dramatically through switching. They have to believe it’s worth doing, and then they have to be shown that right path. And I am focused on both of those.”

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Stunning New Simonne Jones Single ‘Runaways’

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Image by Antje Jandrig

 

Simonne Jones is from California – but everything about her suggests a keenly cultivated internationalism. Indeed, she’s appeared at Austria’s exalted Salzburg Festival, done time on the runways of Berlin Fashion Week, and alternately called Toronto and London her home. Not enough? She boasts a degree in biomedical research from the University of Maryland.

She’s also something of a protege of the magnificent Peaches – even going as far as to say that seeing a concert of hers at 15 years old completely transformed her life. And like her mentor, she has the unique ability to draw on wildly disparate influences and transmute them into something strikingly unique and thought-provoking.

And so it is with new single “Runaways,” which BlackBook premieres here. With its thumping Teutonic synths, lush atmospherics and Jones’ ethereal, impassioned vocals, you may detect references to the likes of The Knife and Kate Bush – though there’s clearly a fierce individualism at work.

And as she dramatically intones, “Tonight we live / Tonight we dance / We move to our music / And this is our last chance,” one gets a sense of both desperation and fiery determination.

“It was once a poem that I wrote a long time ago,” she explains, “that I modified once I had the chords with David Kosten in London. I wanted to write something that would pay tribute to my Native American background, and would explore being in love when you are not valued as worthy by society. On the surface it seems like a love song, but if you look deeper it explores the philosophy of acceptance, ownership, freedom, immigration and borders. Many of my songs have multiple layers for the advanced listener.”

Such layering extends to the production of the music, as well – which feels at once stark, uncluttered and alluringly sumptuous.

“I wanted to create a beat with a lot of movement and dance almost in a tribal sense,” she says. “I used the Fm8 synthesizer by Native Instruments to get that really deep arpeggiated bass synth line and a few of my favorite plug ins to add some dirt. I think this element really sets the tone and atmosphere of the track. If you can nail a single sound so well that it doesn’t bore you over time, that it changes and swells and has movement, you have won half the battle of the production.”

Expect to hear more from her much sooner than later.

 

 

 

 

Old Rose is Bringing the (More Neighborly) Buzz Back to the Jane Hotel

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In what was probably the last great flameout of outré New York City nightlife, the Jane Hotel – specifically its opulently histrionic Lobby Bar – arrived on the scene in 2009 and sent the West Village neighbors into an amusing tizzy over all the all-hours fashionista partying. A good deal of it was by those left stranded by the looming demise of The Misshapes – that other last-great-NYC-flameout.

These days, despite the opening of a groovy rooftop bar in 2014, The Jane isn’t causing all that much trouble. And so into the void left by the dissolution of its Cafe Gitane eatery, comes the chic-but-charming, comfy-but-cultivated Old Rose restaurant.

From those purveyors of culinary-cool over at The Smile, it taps the trend of “light Italian” – though we’d specifically recommend the fried egg sandwich with mortadella for breakfast, burrata with house made sourdough for lunch, and clam pizzas for dinner. And like all the best Italian joints, it’s all kept super simple and very tasty.

But seriously, don’t come looking to tear it up – about as wild as it gets is negronis on tap. Which, to be honest, is totally fine with us.

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Warbly Jets’ Wicked Hot New Single ‘RIDE’

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Rock & roll is pretty much on life-support these days, with guitar bands from Greenpoint to Silver Lake turning out some of the twee-est shite this side of a Hallmark Holiday Special. But like our faves The Kills and Raveonettes, LA’s magnificently bed-headed Warbly Jets know how to crank up a ripper and do it with style and panache.

To wit, the deliciously wicked new single “RIDE,” which BlackBook premieres here. It could easily give The Dead Weather a run for their money in terms of Led Zep monster riffage and swagger – but with a celestial psychedelic vibe that reminds of Black Angels. And their Lennon-esque way with an infectious melody makes it all eminently hummable.

“The bridge section portrays the experience of diving underwater,” explains the band’s Julien O’Neill, “holding your breath for as long as possible, before shooting back up to the surface when the last chorus hits.”

Like all the best rockers, they’ve also never met an effects pedal they couldn’t bend to their will.

O’Neill recalls, “We ran a number of synths through a wide array of guitar pedals, and each individual sound and part has its own different keyboard and own pedal chain to its name…so everything feels very unique.”

Just back from tearing it up on their pre-debut world tour and at a few Milan Fashion Week parties, Warbly Jets will play the Moroccan Lounge in LA on the 19th, before a three-date stand at Vegas’ EMERGE Music + Impact Conference in November. Their self-titled debut album is out October 20th.

 

 

 

Paris’ Prince de Galles Hotel Opens Exhibit of Ali Mahdavi Celeb Photographs

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In a city of fabulous photographers, Ali Mahdavi stands apart for his ability to capture something just a bit more exquisite, even supernatural in his famous subjects. The outré Iranian shutterbug has shot everyone from Tilda Swinton to Marilyn Manson to Charlotte Gainsbourg; actress and burlesque star Dita Von Teese is his most favored muse.

And Mlle Von Teese is one of those featured featured in his new exhibition “Glamorama: Celebrities by Ali Mahdavi,” at the equally glamorous Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Paris. Other famous faces among the 40+ images include those of Monica Bellucci, Arielle Dombasle, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Donatella Versace and Karl Lagerfeld. It will be on display through October 23.

“Glamour is all the strategies that are used to achieve an ideal of beauty,” he explains, “that is not necessarily, and far from it, an ideal of conventional beauty – but an idea of personal beauty that corresponds to our own vision of this. Which is the beautiful.”

We asked him to give his most ethereal explication of three of his most exalted subjects.

 

 

 

Dita von Teese

“Dita is my ultimate muse, but she is also a close and very loyal friend. Fifteen years ago, Mr. Pearl and Suzanne von Aichinger introduced us to each other, and I immediately fell in love with her. She embodies the ideal woman that I drew since I was five years old. What I love about her is that she is the embodiment of glamour. At the beginning, she was the beautiful American blond next door, but she decided to become a brunette goddess of glamour! She transformed herself into the most glamorous woman on the planet by using all the tools of glamour inspired by the golden age of Hollywood. She always quotes a fabulous sentence from Helena Rubinstein: “There is no ugly woman, but there are lazy women!” She deserves her beauty that she creates, she is a magical bird of paradise. We did more than 20 sets of shooting, five film, film hologram for Louboutin, a video mapping, some numbers at Crazy Horse. She inspires me because she always drives me to somewhere unexpected! We evolved together and I hope we will continue until we are 80 years old. At this age, she will still be a beautiful woman with long white hair.”

Monica Bellucci

“Monica is my ultimate friend and fantasy. People all around the world ask me questions about her, because she is a fantasy, an ideal woman for any person, an all man’s desire. She is all women, but in an ultimate vision: the Virgin Mary, Maria Magdalena…and also she reminds me of the goddess Hera / Junon. Monica has the same attitude for a big luxury campaign as she does for a more small personal shooting: always chic and elegant with everybody. That is what makes her a big star. After being a supermodel with many campaigns with great photographers [D&G by Helmut Newton, Steven Meisel…] she also became a great actress. There is always a change with her, she is hypnotized by the lens and drives you into new adventures.”

Arielle Dombasle

“While Dita is my brunette muse, Arielle is my blond muse – they are my favorites! She is the most delightful woman on the planet, not only because of her beauty, but all about what she is. Arielle is divine, she is a goddess, she is also someone that you fall in love with immediately, because she is super clever, spiritual and so surrealistic with a huge sense of humor. And more than all, she is a loyal person with whom I have a long relationship with for more than ten years. We had more than ten shootings, four music videos. It is impossible to separate our friendship and our artistic relation. She inspires me because of her surrealism and her strong character.”

 

 

 

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Striking New Empathy Test Single ‘Everything Will Work Out’

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Following four hurricanes, an earthquake and the worst mass murder in American history, there are probably few words everyone would rather hear than “Everything Will Work Out.”

That just happens to be the name of the new Empathy Test single, which BlackBook premieres here. The UK electronic duo of Adam Relf and Isaac Howlett even have the right name – which refers to a psychological test designed to measure a person’s level of compassion for others. The song itself is alluring synth-pop at its most striking – lush, visceral and with deeply reflective lyrics (“All that you leave behind / Lies heavy on my mind”). It recalls the likes of Depeche Mode and Yaz, while also seeming distinctly timeless.

“We’re extremely proud of this one,” says Relf. “It’s possibly our favorite track we’ve made together, so far. The lyrics, the composition – everything about it just works perfectly together. It’s definitely one of our most uplifting tracks; the first time we played it in rehearsal we got a real rush.”

“Lyrically, it’s about hooking up with your ex,” singer Howlett explains, “and then waking up in the morning and realizing you’re not going to get back together, but it’s okay; it’s for the best. So, ironically, everything’s not going to work out, at least not the way you’d planned. But then again, does it ever?”

Empathy Test will appear at London’s Zigfrid Von Underbelly on November 25, before heading to Germany (where they do love their synth-pop) for a seven-date run in December. Their new EP, also titled Everything Will Work Out, is released November 3.