Check Out Rami Malek Performing Onstage As Freddie Mercury for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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Photo: @Bryanjaysinger on Instagram


By now we’re all well aware that Rami Malek is playing Freddie Mercury in the upcoming Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. And last month, we got our first glimpse of Malek as the musical legend via a professional shot by Entertainment WeeklyToday, we get our next peek at the heartthrob, via an Instagram post director Bryan Singer explained he “couldn’t help” but sharing.


Couldn’t help myself and had to post this iPhone pic

A post shared by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on


Suffice it to say, Malek really has the look for the part. “When you’re able to open your eyes and see a different person staring back at you in the mirror,” Malek said to EW about his first time in costume, “it’s a very affirming moment.”

Bohemian Rhapsody will focus on Queen from 1970, when Mercury joined forces with Brian May and Roger Taylor, up until 1985, when he performed at Live Aid. It’s set for release on Christmas 2018.

According to EW, the film will combine use of Mercury’s actual singing voice and Malek’s.


13 Celebs We Almost Forgot Were in Our Favorite Horror Movies

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Nothing says Halloween like a marathon of some of our favorite horror movies, from slasher flicks to ghost stories. But unless you’re Jamie Lee Curtis, starring in a horror flick doesn’t often lead to a full-on career.

A select few have broken out of that bad luck. Although we know them for their blockbuster movies and hit TV shows, let’s not forget some of their earlier credits (even if they’d prefer we did). Although their characters often met a quick and brutal end, their careers have flourished.

Keep an eye out for these familiar faces during your Halloween horror movie binge.


John Travolta in Carrie

Our first memory of John Travolta may be as the singing, dancing grease monkey from Rydell High School,; but before that, he played a less gleeful high schooler. In Carrie, he’s one of the bullies who dumps pig’s blood on the unfortunate prom queen.



Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th

Another dancing fool, we all remember Kevin Bacon bringing his moves to a town that dare not dance. But before that, he was one of Mrs. Voorhees’ first victims at Camp Crystal Lake.



Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street

Before his days on Jump Street, Johnny Depp was a resident of Elm Street. In that period-perfect crop top, he met his maker in Freddy Krueger.



Seth Green in Stephen King’s It

While millennials go crazy over the latest interpretation of one of Stephen King’s most terrifying stories, we must not forget the original kids to vanquish Pennywise. One such heroic preteen was none other than Seth Green.



Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun

Before she befriended Monica and Rachel in that ridiculously oversized Manhattan apartment, Jennifer Aniston was one of the most underrated final girls of the ’90s. In this classic, she had to outrun a murderous leprechaun.



Paul Rudd in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

One of today’s funniest and most gorgeous leading men was once in one of the worst films of the Halloween franchise. Rudd played the grownup version of one of the kids Laurie Strode babysat in the original movie.



Jada Pinkett Smith in Scream 2

These days, Jada Pinkett Smith is the matriarch of one of the most famous families in Hollywood, while popping up in some of our favorite comedies. In 1997, she was the first to bite the dust in the second installment of the Scream franchise.



Katherine Heigl in Bride of Chucky

From Grey’s Anatomy to a slew of romantic comedies, Katherine Heigl is one of the most recognizable leading ladies of the past decade. But one of her first roles was in a very ridiculous self-aware sequel to the Child’s Play franchise.



Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

This leading man has stolen our heart for decades, since before he was in 3rd Rock from the Sun. But one of his overlooked roles was that of a teen who took an ice skate to the face at the hands of Michael Myers.




Tyra Banks in Halloween: Resurrection

Another one of Myers’ victims was one of the hottest supermodels of the ’90s. Before she went on to produce and host America’s Next Top Model, Banks took a role in this Halloween sequel.



Amber Tamblyn in The Ring

From Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to her feminist poetry, Amber Tamblyn has managed to stay on our mind in one way or another. But let’s not forget when she watched a cursed VHS that gave her a week to live.



Matt Bomer in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Matt Bomer has found success as of late, serving as a leading man in some of our favorite TV shows. But few remember his role in a very forgettable Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel.



Rooney Mara in Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Rooney Mara is one of today’s most coveted indie leading ladies. But before she was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, she had to defeat one of the horror genre’s most popular killers in this unfortunate remake.


Playboy Is Featuring Its First Ever Trans Playmate

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Photo: @Super_ines on Instagram


French model Ines Rau is making history as Playboy‘s first ever transgender Playmate. Rau, 26, appeared in the magazine already in 2014, but is now getting a centerfold and full pictorial.

Rau will appear in the November / December 2017 issue, which will also feature a special memoriam dedication to the late Hugh Hefner.

“I lived a long time without saying I was transgender,” she says to Playboy. “I dated a lot and almost forgot. I was scared of never finding a boyfriend and being seen as weird. Then I was like, You know, you should just be who you are. It’s a salvation to speak the truth about yourself, whether it’s your gender, sexuality, whatever. The people who reject you aren’t worth it. It’s not about being loved by others; it’s about loving yourself.”

Take a look at one of Rau’s photos, shot by Ryan McGinley.



Playboy has featured other trans models before, but not as Playmates. In 1981, actress Caroline “Tula” Cossey, who later appeared in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, graced the mag’s glossy pages. She appeared again ten years later, this time after having been outed publicly.

New Book ‘Voices’ Depicts the Outré Glamour of East London

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Karen Binns, What Magazine


Like New York’s LES and Paris’ Pigalle, East London has long passed its status as a down-at-heel, insalubrious corner of the capital – indeed, a Nobu Hotel recently opened in Shoreditch. But far from the trad/luxe goings on in Mayfair, St. James and South Ken, the neighborhoods that make up the “East” have become keen cultural incubators, and sanctuaries for the city’s more…iconoclastic sorts.

Iranian-born photographer Maryam Eisler undertook to capture that iconoclasm; and the result is the resplendently colorful new book Voices East London (published by Thames and Hudson).

It opens with her recalling her wide-eyed fascination, arriving in the still uncultivated area in the early 2000s. There were dinners amidst the kooky taxidermy at Les Trois Garçons, encounters with irreverential artists Gilbert & George. Drag-comedian Jonny Woo’s East End Diaries essay then sets the book in motion.

From there, her vivid, realist-but-idiosyncratic photos are interspersed with interviews of local impresarios/creatives like Auro Foxcroft, founder of culture space Village Underground; artist Sue Webster and street artists Stik and Christiaan Nagel; star chef Mark Hix; Tatty Devine founders Harriet Vine & Rosie Wolfenden; as well as flamboyant interior designer and proprietor of the equally flamboyant 40 Winks hotel, David Carter…amongst many others.

Profiles of places like queer/alternative performance spot The Glory and the eccentric Stoke Newington Markets take the reader on an exhilarating journey – evoking that feeling one gets when you can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner (but in this case, on the next page).

An image of perpetually cool Shoreditch pub Electricity Showrooms, one of the area’s pioneers, nostalgically reminds of a time when it still was a bit of a cultural hinterland.

What is most striking is the sheer Britishness of it all. If you wander NYC’s trendiest neighborhoods now, there’s a sense of stifling, dull sameness – “hipster” hoods from Brooklyn to Chicago to Montreal look remarkably, depressingly standardized, to be sure. But Brits will be Brits, and London will always be London; and the inimitable eccentricities shine gloriously through on page after page, reminding us of why we still love Blighty’s capital just the way we always have.

Paris has the architecture, Rome has the history – but London will always be more about Londoners…something Eisler corroborates in the most marvelous of ways.


  • Artist Philip Colbert
  • Princess Julia
  • Ye Olde Axe
  • Gilbert & George
  • Iwona Blazwick, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Pearly Kings & Queens


26 Essential Bops From Brooklyn Musician Warren Wolfe

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“I love that track 2 death,” Warren Wolfe says over text as he frantically sends through a last-minute addition to his playlist. The track, “LGBT” by Cupcakke, is an all-out banger that reflects the artist’s incredible taste and properly closes a roundup of Wolfe’s go-to songs. Across genres that span everything from ambient and grime to electronic and pop, Wolfe curated a collection of music to celebrate the release of his latest single, “Stranger,” a dance track about hook-up culture.

For his playlist, the Brooklyn-based singer gravitated towards female vocalists but, overall, selected songs that mix “sensitivity and chaos.” That means appearances from one of his biggest inspirations, Arca, as well as newer discoveries like Rina Sawayama, Lovozero, and serpentwithfeet. Keep your ear out for “Perfect Blue” by Orrin – a track that Wolfe helped produce this year – and certified ragers from Sugar Shane and K Rizz that he classifies as songs that would be on rotation if he hijacked the aux cord at a house party.

Photography by Kat Kuo.


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Stunning New Folding Legs Single ‘Slaughterhouse’

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A genuinely international affair – with members hailing from Vienna, Stockholm and NYC – the now Brooklyn based Folding Legs have made some of the most striking sounds of these last few years. To wit, 2013’s mysterious “Double Time,” which sounded a lot like some brilliant, lost 4AD band.

Their new EP, which is sadly also their last (thus the title, The End), is out this Friday – and BlackBook has the privilege of premiering “Slaughterhouse,” its most affective track.

There’s really no attempt to cover up its chronological and ideological influences. The lush synths and somber atmospherics are pure Pet Shop Boys; while the Mitteleuropa tension and Katharina Stenbeck’s anxious vocals remind of Claudia Brücken/Propaganda. Throw in a classic NYC club groove, and you’ve got a song that should surely be soundtracking the most nerve-racking moments of an episode of The Americans.

“It’s a departure from the more art-school/indie-rock sound of our first two EPs,” explains the band’s bassist/keyboardist/writer Greg Hentis. “The EP is more heavily rooted in influences from the post-disco, new wave and underground dance scenes in New York and London during the late 70s and early 80s – more textural, rhythmic and groove-based. ‘Slaughterhouse’ is easily one of our funkiest tracks, with its rich melody and warm synths. It tips its hat to bands like Talking Heads, Tears for Fears and Spandau Ballet.”

As they say, choose your influences wisely.






Lana Del Rey’s ‘Cola’ Is Reportedly About Her Rejecting Harvey Weinstein

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Harvey Weinstein appears to be embroiled in every corner of the entertainment industry: Page Six now reports that Lana Del Rey’s “Cola” is about the disgraced film executive.

Indeed, when Del Rey wrote the song in 2012, she was reportedly responding to Weinstein’s advances upon her. The lyrics: “I’ve got a taste for men who’re olde r/ It’s always been so it’s no surprise / Harvey’s in the sky with diamonds and he’s making me crazy / All he wants to do is party with his pretty baby.”

The song was written ironically, however. Page Six reports Del Rey was not at all interested in Weinstein: “She rebuffed him, she had a boyfriend,” an unnamed source explains.

After learning of the song’s lyrics, however, Weinstein apparently “went bananas and insisted Del Rey change the them, which she did, removing Harvey’s name, so the line now goes, ‘Ah he’s in the sky with diamonds and he’s making me crazy.’”

Del Rey’s camp has yet to comment on the reports.


BlackBook Interview: Clayton Patterson on the Exhibition of His 80s-era Drag Photos at GROUPE

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For anyone who lived through the exhilarating, anything-is-possible Downtown NYC of the 1980s, surely it remains a burning question: is it better that those ideas have gained wider acceptance? Or has that taken the thrill and danger out of it all?

The East Village’s Pyramid Club was one of those places (it remarkably remains open to this day) where society’s sacred cows were regularly sacrificed on the altar of radical progress – falling victim to a burning desire by some to challenge the stifling forces of regressiveness. To be sure, it was something of a sanctuary for those that may have found it difficult to fit in anywhere else – cultivating ideas that would have a sweeping effect on the way we perceive culture, gender…even humanity itself. 

Honoring that, this Wednesday, October 18, the GROUPE boutique’s in-house gallery A Number of Names at 198 Bowery will open an exhibition of Clayton Patterson’s striking portraits of the Pyramid’s most memorable and glamorous drag characters.

Patterson was (and still is) one of the keenest documentarians of the East Village / Lower East Side neighborhood and its scene, camera always at the ready as its so many courageous and fabulous personalities carried on doing what they do, looking how they looked, and caring not a whit for those who didn’t approve. He’s had several books published, including Captured: A Film/Video History of the Lower East Side and Resistance: A Radical Political and Social History of the Lower East Side. A documentary about him, Captured, came out in 2008.

“We were introduced to Clayton almost 20 years ago,” recalls GROUPE’s James Jurney. “We offered our first store on Elizabeth Street to Tod Lippy, as the set of his short film Cookies – and Clayton was one of the actors. Naturally, he played a kind of Hell’s Angels biker. We’ve followed his incredible career and we’re honored to be able to exhibit these important portraits. These drag queens of the 80s were certainly brave pioneers in the long-fought battle for freedoms of gender and sexual identity.”

GROUPE, which was opened in NoLIta in November 2016 by Seize sur Vingt founders James and Gwendolyn Jurney, has become one one of downtown’s most exciting incubators of young fashion talent. In keeping with their creative/aesthetic ideology, they have also featured regular exhibitions of visual arts talents that have inspired them.

James explains, “As the mission of GROUPE is to support and incubate local NYC designers, it is very exciting that we’re able to likewise support and showcase the incredible talent of a legendary NYC artist; particularly at a time when the concept of ‘local’ is coming under fire from so many angles.”

BlackBook chatted with Patterson about the show, and the neighborhood he loves.



Everyone talks about the old East Village / LES versus the current – but how would you describe the difference in a couple of sentences?

A magical crucible that opened up so much opportunity for whoever wanted to work for their dream. The LES was like a free and open university with limitless options – and I learned so much. The community was dense with different kinds of cultural activities, for example: a wide variety of forms of filmmaking, narrative, non-narrative, abstract, avant-garde, documentary, New Wave, transgression, punk, and so on. It seemed like you had an endless choice of fashion, poetry, music, art, venues to play or be an audience member in. And then the cross-section of religions, the different ethnic groups…then throw in the politics, drag, and so on.

Was there an exciting sense of possibility then in breaking down sacred gender barriers?

I was not focused on gender issues, and I do not remember gender as the hot topic it is today. It was a different era. I had friends involved getting a sex change, but it was more a private personal issue, not a public campaign.

There’s so much of an effort to categorize every little gender difference now. Did you feel that your subjects were more concerned with personal expression than with gaining social acceptance?

I have shown the artwork of [Warhol superstar] Candy Darling, and will be having a Candy Darling wig and art show coming up; but the surface subject is not gender specific. Rather, it’s the creative importance of an individual that was one of the leading forces of illustrating that ‘to do’ is a powerful way to make change. Candy Darling was a game changer by example, not by a political platform.



What was the Pyramid’s role in all of it? Was it more of a sanctuary for “outsiders,” or a place to just let go and ignore all the prejudices and stereotypes for a few hours?

Calling it a sanctuary for “outsiders” is a good description.

Who were some of your favorite subjects?

The Pyramid was instrumental to my growth as an artist. Because of this, part of my ambition is to bring attention to the people who helped me and I saw as geniuses and critical to the scene…but who are so much overlooked. For example, Peter Kwaloff / Sun PK, he was an explosion of creativity and needs to be discovered in a much larger way; Nelson Sullivan introduced me to the video camera which changed my life – he was instrumental helping a number of well-known creative people’s careers. Ray Beez from the hardcore band War Zone introduced me to that scene – which was, for me, a very exciting time, and also another American cultural game changer. I held Tattoo Society of NY meetings at the Pyramid, and the TSNY was responsible for legalizing tattooing in NYC.

Any specific great stories you remember?

The creation of Wigstock.

Do these images still have the ability to provoke?

No idea how others respond to these images…no question they are important to me.

What makes GROUPE the right place to exhibit them?

In 1999, Tod Lippy, now publisher of the extraordinary Esopus magazine – which included a selection of these portraits in their current issue – had written and produced a short independent movie called Cookies. I was an actor in his movie, and a portion of it was shot in James Jurney’s Elizabeth Street [Seize sur Vingt] store. And now years later he has survived as an independent downtown business. I admire and support James and his team for their ability and skill at hanging in there, as I have now witnessed masses of small independent businesses start and fail, and watched as businesses that had been on the LES for decades be priced out. My new campaign is MAKE DOWNTOWN OURS AGAIN – look up Clayton Patterson NO!art.



Rare First Images: New Bowie Book ‘When Ziggy Played the Marquee’

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When David Bowie was lost to us on January 10, 2016, he entered a cultural pantheon, also counting the likes of Michelangelo, Shakespeare and Picasso as members, regarding whom there will never be enough ways we can look back and consider how they reshaped the way we see, well…everything.

Ziggy Stardust was a watershed, of course. Earth and space, male and female, God and god, as well as the very idea of the human spectacle were all turned inside out and sideways back again, by this magnificent character through which Bowie channeled his voracious appetites for art, science, fashion, drugs and, most importantly, rock & roll. And this landmark new book, When Ziggy Played the Marquee (out October 16 through ACC Publishing), brilliantly, thrillingly captures the entire bizarre extravaganza (from stage to backstage and back again) during one night in London, autumn 1973 – via striking images by photographer Terry O’Neill.

Interspersed is fascinating commentary from French model-singer – and Bowie collaborator – Amanda Lear; Suzi Ronson, wife of guitarist Mick and creator of the iconic Ziggy hairstyle; kindred spirit drag-punk Jayne County; and, of course, O’Neill himself. But it is the photos themselves which tell the story of a moment of cultural revolution that will surely never, ever be equalled.

“He took it all too far…”