Exclusive: MisterWives’ Rocker Guide to Eating Vegan in NYC

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Probably no one was as surprised by the success of MisterWives‘ 2014 debut album as they were themselves. The charmingly oddball, genre-hopping New York sextet’s inaugural long-player Our Own House broke the Billboard Top 40 and spawned a pair of hit singles, “Reflections” and the crazy groovy title track.

Their follow-up, Connect the Dots, was released this May – and we’re loving songs like the funkified, over-the-top dramatic “Coloring Outside the Lines” and the Middle-East-meets-ska “Machine” – especially its awesome, Mad Max style video.

The band hit the road for a 23-date tour beginning in Nashville on September 21. Said road tripping actually presents a particular challenge for them, as singer Mandy Lee and drummer Etienne Bowler are dedicated vegans. So when we caught up for a chat with Lee, in true BlackBook style, we also asked her to turn us on to their fave meat-and-dairy-free spots when they’re back home in NYC.

 

 

Did the success of Our Own House catch the band by surprise?

We are forever surprised and thankful for all the support that has come our way. We are living out our wildest dream together, and to have people connect to Our Own House or come out to a show singing all the words gives us chills every time.

How is Connect the Dots a departure from the first album?

Connect The Dots was incredibly liberating to write and record because it was the first time we had the luxury of time to create together. Our Own House was recorded in between several tours with a lot of pressure and deadlines constantly weighing on us. For the second record we went out to Woodstock, far away from the chaotic city, to simply enjoy ourselves and get back to making music the way you did when you were a happy-go-lucky kid. Funny enough, getting to work in that type of environment helped us dig a lot deeper lyrically and sonically to create what we’d hope sounds like a graduation from Our Own House.

You’re launching a full tour in September. What will be new about the live shows?

Besides getting to weave a whole new album into the setlist, the stage design will be more Connect The Dots centric. Beyond all the technical differences, we just hope the infectious energy and sweaty fun that the crowd always brings continues to grow. That’s really where all the magic happens, and reminds us that live music is the most freeing, unifying language us beings have.

The whole band isn’t vegan, right? 

I wish, still workin’ on that! Etienne and I are vegan, Jesse and Will are vegetarians and Murph eats everything and Marc survives off candy. The guys are incredibly open to veganism though, and are always down to eat out veg or eat the meals I cook on the bus – which always makes me a proud mama.

What makes NYC a great city for vegans?

NYC is the mecca for vegans! Any and every type of cuisine exists vegan in New York, and it just keeps expanding. It’s been ten years since I shifted to the lifestyle and it’s so amazing to watch how much it’s grown and evolved. Even spots that aren’t plant based are now adding vegan options to their menus, regular grocery stores are now carrying a vast selection of veg meats, cheeses, ice creams, etc.  Going vegan for the animals, for the planet, and for your health is easier and tastier than ever!

Do you find it tough to keep up the vegan lifestyle when out on the road?

This is a question I get asked quite often and it makes me happy to always answer how it’s been super easy being vegan on the road. I have an app called “Happy Cow” that tells you vegan restaurants closest to you – fast food chains like Chipotle or Noodles & Co have super tasty tofu options, plus I’ve always cooked on tour. It’s really fun and kindaa makes me want to put together a vegan guide for bands on the road…or a cookbook when I’m too old to jump around on stage.

 

MisterWives’ Fave Vegan Haunts in NYC

 

Champs Diner

Champs is my go-to hangover cure, so we frequent this place just about every weekend. It has a fun, old-school-diner feel to it, where a fat stack of pancakes, tatertachos and a milkshake will fix you right up.

Hangawi

Be sure to wear socks to this restaurant because you’re required to take your shoes off at the door! Korean food done vegan has to be one of my favorites, and their homemade kimchi, avocado stone bowl, and spicy baby dumplings always hits the spot.

 

 

Dunwell Doughnuts

“Donut” skip out on this place! World’s Best Donut (vegan or not) goes to Dunwell, hands down. And as if their donuts fluffier than clouds with flavors ranging from classics to PB&J to Almond Joy to French Toast weren’t enough, you can fill that hole with ice cream.

Cienfuegos

This colorful and vibrant oasis transports you to Cuba and makes it hard to believe you’re in the East Village. They serve the most flavorful vegan Latin small plates alongside massive rum punch bowls so delicious you will want to swim in them. Empanadas, fried guac, white bean ceviche paired with any punch bowl on a Monday night when they have live Latin jazz will rid you of those Monday blues.

 

Double Zero Pizza

Growing up in Queens, pizza is just as vital to your body as water. That being said, I couldn’t be more elated that the golden era of vegan pizza has finally arrived in New York – proving the “vegan cheese taste like plastic” stereotype so very wrong. Double Zero takes the cake – or should I say “pie” – for unmatched vegan pizza. Their wood-fired dough is topped off with the works such as farro-fennel sausage, spicy marinara arrabiata sauce, homemade mozzarella, smoked almond ricotta, the list goes on and on. Have a tiramisu to finish.

By CHLOE.

Created by the vegan mastermind Chloe Coscarelli, whose cookbooks are the bible in our household, it brings vegan fast food to those on the go who want to keep it plant based. Her mac and cheese is the most heavenly creation and you’d never guess that the main ingredient in the sauce is sweet potato; she’s a mad scientist! Do try the kale avocado caesar topped with almond parm and shitake bacon, paired with coconut water straight from the coconut itself, to help keep you feeling refreshed and energized.

 

 

PVRIS Debut Haunting, Victorian-Inspired Video for ‘Anyone Else’

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PVRIS is simmering. Led by activist and singer Lyndsey Gunn, the three-piece rock band are days away from the release of their second album, but today, they’ve gone back in time for a major Victorian moment in their new video for “Anyone Else.” Set in a moody house that would fit perfectly into any American Horror Story episode, the band’s muse Courtney Scarr (from their previous video for “What’s Wrong”) moves around the dilapidated rooms as she entangles herself with another, mysterious figure.

The taut, conflicting dancers are reflective of the two verses, which Gunn revealed were written a year about. “The first verse was written at the beginning of heartbreak—that feeling when you first leave someone yet you feel like a part of you will always belong to them,” she explained. “The second verse was written a year later. [It’s] a different mindset, mostly reflecting on the toxicity and possessiveness of that same love. It is ambiguous as to what the ending perspective is… who do I belong to in the end? Myself or my past lover?”

It’s a tumultuous, lyrical struggle that’s central to what Gunn is creating with the new album. The singer, whose gone viral this year for an open letter for Billboard about coming out to her mom and for a Nylon interview with Tegan Quin from Tegan & Sara, has built up the band’s queer street cred in a big way. PVRIS is set to debut their most personal album yet when All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell drops on August 25, which you can preorder here. Then, on their fall tour, they’ll donate a portion of every ticket sold for their upcoming fall tour will be donated to The Ally Coalition in support of LGBTQ equality.

Hercules and Love Affair’s Andy Butler and Rouge Mary ‘Rejoice’ on New Single

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At such a stressful, scary time in our lives, it’s important to remember to take time to breathe, sit back, and rejoice. That’s the stance that Andy Butler’s supergroup Hercules and Love Affair have taken with their dancefloor-ready single, “Rejoice.”

The latest track from their upcoming album Omnion is an ode to the joy Butler has found four years after going sober after years of serious drug addiction—and he’s brought the Algerian, gender-nonconforming wunderkind Rouge Mary along for the party. It’s a fitting addition to the track, given that Rouge played an integral role in helping Butler get back on his feet and rebuild his life.

As Rouge explains, the track’s poignant lyrics came together in a single day and reflect on the “importance of gratitude and the power of positive thoughts.” It was in this collaboration, and the positivity that he felt from Rouge, that Butler found the inspiration for the exuberant new track.

“As with this entire record, ‘Rejoice’ was born out of taking detours from a traditional ‘vocal house’ record,” he said over email. “The exuberance just pointed me to the word ‘Rejoice,’ so I asked her to bring that message to the song. It’s a message she brings every day to her life, so it was exciting to watch her once again share ‘the keys to the kingdom!’”

You can buy Hercules and Love Affair’s new record Omnion before it arrives on Sept 1st via Big Beat Records by clicking here.

Lane Moore is Performing a Musical Tribute to ‘Empire Records’

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The ’90s may be responsible for some of the best movies of our time. And for many adolescents of the decade, Empire Records is one of those beloved films. Liv Tyler’s early performance was a career benchmark, and the soundtrack serves a nostalgic reminder of that sweet generation.

No one grasps that nostalgia quite like Lane Moore. The writer, comedian and musician is known for channeling Fiona Apple in her “Hooking Up with Girls” music video and channeling her generation’s awkward mating rituals in her Tinder Live comedy show. Her newest show is a musical tribute to Empire Records.

Flyer by Jeremy Balon

In ’90s Albums Live: Empire Records Soundtrack, Moore’s band, It Was Romance performs their favorite songs from the movie’s soundtrack, including hits by The Cranberries and Gin Blossoms. The evening also includes dramatic reenactments and a few surprises for die hard fans of the film.

“For super fans, I’ve made sure the song lineup reflects what I think are the most beloved songs from the soundtrack because the soundtrack itself actually was missing most of the songs I loved from the film,” Moore says of the event. “Oh, and trust, I am planning a huge finale with ‘Sugar High’ that you do not want to miss.”

If you remember the movie, “Sugar High” was the defining musical moment, featuring a young Renée Zellweger leading a ’90s punk band on the rooftop of Empire Records. Her solo was one of the most understated moments of her career.

“I loved everything about it so deeply and so immediately,” Moore recalls of the movie. “The clothes and the music and the characters were so richly drawn and so perfectly acted. I remember wanting to be Liv Tyler’s character so badly when I grew up, but in truth, I was definitely more of a Deb (Robin Tunney), with the exception of still to this day being in love with AJ (Johnny Whitworth).”

Moore encourages other fans of the movie to show up in costume. A button maker will also be on hand for anyone “Miss Teen America” and “the man with the band.” Moore’s personal goal for the evening is to end up with Johnny Whitworth or someone with equally boyish good looks.

Follow Lane Moore on Twitter and Instagram, and check out ’90s Albums Live: Empire Records Soundtrack on September 15 at Arlene’s Grocery. Tickets are available online.

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Gracie and Rachel’s Stunning Cover of Sia’s ‘Elastic Heart’

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Photo by Nicole Bergman & Dominic White

The name sounds more like a hip sitcom. But Gracie and Rachel are actually a self-described “orchestral pop” duo from BKNY (by way of California) – and lord knows we can’t resist cool chicks with classical inclinations.

You’ll fall hard for them, too – especially upon first listen to their powerful cover of Sia’s “Elastic Heart,” which BlackBook premieres here. Where the original was big, anthemic (and was accompanied by that really weird Shia Labeouf video), Gracie and Rachel instead give it an expressionistic gentleness, with a pensive rhythm and lush dramatic strings, yet every bit as much defiant self-possession.

“We first approached this song,” Rachel explains, “with the idea of stripping down its parts and honoring its message in a ballad-style composition; this led to a sparse yet hopefully bold production where the music and lyrics can breathe synonymously together. ”

Reminding of such monumental balladeers as Kate Bush and Antony, you’ll be hard pressed to not feel a visceral chill at the affective mantra of “I won’t give up, I won’t.”

“It’s a song that moves us in its fierce empowerment to bounce back from what brings you down,” says Gracie. “To underscore that drive, we wanted to deliver this music with intimately powerful moments, in an effort to remind ourselves that each of us has the strength within to own the heart we want to own.”

Ne’er truer words.

(N.B.  Gracie and Rachel play Montreal and Toronto this Thursday and Friday evening, before embarking on a US tour that takes them from Chicago on Saturday to Sellersville, PA on October 28. Their debut album is out now.)

 

‘AHS: Cult’ Trailer Depicts the Horrors of Trump’s America

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With just two weeks until the new season of American Horror Story premieres, we finally have a terrifying first look at the plot of Cult. The past few weeks, FX and Ryan Murphy have released haunting sneak peeks at season seven via AHSCult.com, from character photos to pages of scripts. This week, they’ve finally revealed the first trailer.

If you go to the site, you’re immediately directed to a video of Billie Lourd as Winter, who appears to be a member of a cult, eerily addressing potential followers. “Are you scared? Frightened of the world outside? Don’t be,” she instructs. When the video ends, you’re directed to the official trailer of the new season.

As promised, it takes place in Michigan, starting with the night of the 2016 presidential election. Ally (Sarah Paulson) watches the results with her partner, Ivy (Alison Pill) and has a reaction that may seem all too familiar to many Americans. Simultaneously, Kai (Evan Peters) rejoices in a terrifying display. In the following days, Ally sees her therapist, Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) for treatment of her coulrophobia (fear of clowns), which has intensified since November 8. It doesn’t help that her child’s new nanny is Lourd’s Winter, a member of Kai’s cult who appears to be giving Ally and Ivy’s son toys and comic books of Twisty, the homicidal clown from season four’s Freak Show.

If this trailer is any indication, we’re in for a terrifying season that hits a bit too close to home. If you’re afraid of clowns, cults or Trump supporters, you’re definitely in for a scare.

American Horror Story: Cult premieres September 5 on FX. Watch the trailer below:

Sotheby’s London to Auction Photographs From the Mario Testino Collection

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Inez Van Lamsweerde, The Widow (White) 1997

 

We’re not sure if you actually are what you eat; but an artist may indeed be examined by what art they surrounded themselves with.

This seems particularly evident when scanning the collection of exalted Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino – whose legendary work, of course, has graced campaigns for the likes of Gucci, Chanel, Burberry and Versace . He’s been accumulating images of some of his more talented contemporaries (Sam Taylor-Wood, Vanessa Beecroft, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nan Goldin, amongst others) since the 80s, apparently – and is curating an exhibition, Shake it Up, of more than 300 of those for Sotheby’s London. A corresponding auction of 88 of the photographs will take place online September 1 – 15.

And though he insists that the work of the photographers in his collection is distinctly unlike his own, one can surely discern the influence they have had on him.

“I always wanted to collect things that weren’t like me,” he explains. “I’ve always been excited by everything that makes me look at something differently.”

Proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the Museo Mate in Lima, Peru – which showcases Testino’s work, alongside temporary shows by Peruvian and international contemporary artists.

 

  • Vanessa Beecroft, VB43, 2000
  • Andtres Serrano, The Church (Soeur Bozema II, Paris) 1991
  • Anna Gaskell "Untitled #27" 1997
  • Elspeth Dierderix, Jeroen, 2002
  • Sam Taylor-Wood, Cry Laughing
  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Outside Meeting House, 1996
  • Nan Goldin, French Chris at the Drive-In, New Jersey, 1979
  • Vibeke Tandberg, 'Beautiful #15', 1999

 

BlackBook Interview: Pop Songstress VÉRITÉ on Her Debut Album, Upcoming Tour and ‘F***ing Amazing’ Fans

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Certainly no easy feat, but 27-year-old New York pop singer VÉRITÉ (née Kelsey Byrne), has built a worshipful following without very much outside help at all. Indeed, between 2014 and 2016, three self-released EPs and eleven singles had made her something of a phenomenon (with more than 100 million Spotify plays), surely poised for – if you’ll pardon the hyperbole – some manner of future stardom.

But for now, the alluring, enigmatic songstress’ debut album Somewhere in Between, released in June on Kobalt, is another totally independent labor of love. Musically, she has progressed, evolved, grown up a little even: tracks like “Phase Me Out” and “When You’re Gone’ exhibit a remarkable songwriting maturity, with lush, visceral soundscapes, and exhilarating emotional dynamics. She gets profoundly philosophical: “Eventually you’ll crack / And remember there’s no need for / Siphoning some reason / From a dissipating line we drew” she viscerally intones on the former track. In the latter she laments, “Sitting in depression / Always calling me irreverent / If I prayed the weight would lessen.”

We caught up with her for a few questions just as she’s about to launch an extensive tour in Philadelphia this Wednesday, one that will take her to 23 cities between now and October 6. Her live shows are definitely a thing – don’t miss her.

 

 

Over the past three years, you’ve built up a significant following pretty much all on your own. Is there a particular satisfaction in that?

There is definitely satisfaction in knowing that I’ve built this community of people around the project without compromising. I’m ridiculously grateful for my people.

The songs on Somewhere in Between seem stark and confessional. Is writing a cathartic act for you?

Writing doesn’t tend to be cathartic for me. I get really down on myself and over analyze the process. Playing the music live is the cathartic part of the process. I get to reinterpret and actually feel the music while sharing those experiences.

What were some of the highlights of recording the album for you?

Finishing the album was a moment. I feel like there was this shift in me where I looked back on this intense, sometimes frustrating process and realized I had made something I’m proud to live with.

You’re launching an extensive tour on the 23rd. Do you like being on the road, performing live?

Being on tour is where I am most happy. I am honestly my best, most efficient self. I’m in love with performing and meeting people. All I want to do is tour.

What can fans expect from the shows?

Fans can expect a really driving live show. We all play instruments, so the arrangements are a slightly heavier interpretation of the recordings. There will be lights. We will be very hot together.

What are your fans like? Do you find you’ve made a genuine emotional connection with them through your songs?

My fans are fucking amazing. Their demographic and characteristics are really all over the place. They’re really chill, genuine people. The emotional connections vary.

Bridget Everett Talks Music, Motherhood & Chasing Dreams in ‘Patti Cake$’

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A fixture of the downtown Manhattan, Bridget Everett has steadily made a name for herself with some hilarious performances you wouldn’t want your mother to see. A frequent performer at Joe’s Pub, she’s made memorable appearances in Lady Dynamite, Inside Amy Schumer and Trainwreck. A bold lyricist, her songs are known for their outrageous nature.

Her latest film takes the actress and singer out of her element for a slightly more dramatic role with depth. Stripping away the crude humor of her previous roles, she embodies the pain and passion of an artist and a mother. It’s a raw performance that puts Everett on a whole new playing field.

In Patti Cake$, she plays Barb, the mother of a young woman who rises above her Jersey roots to chase her dreams of being a rapper. Having left behind a music career herself, Barb takes to the drinks and the karaoke at the local dive bar. As her daughter fights for her shot, a spark begins to reignite in Barb.

We recently spoke with Everett about the New York arts scene, Sister Act and her maternal instincts.

Danielle Macdonald and Bridget Everett star in Patti Cake$

You’re a Kansas girl but you’ve lived in New York for a while. Did the Jersey accent come easily?

Not at all. They gave us a dialect coach, and he was very patient and sweet. So, I just listened to those tapes on repeat.

Did you hang out with the locals to get to know what the town was like?

I would say that while the accent and geography were similar to New York, it was really more like being from a small town in Kansas. You know, a small city bar is a small city bar. In a small town, people are trying to get ahead. And the pain you see of the people in those bars is universal I think.

You’re known for your very outrageous comedy. What was it like doing such a serious and dramatic role?

It was really cool. It’s nice to shake things up but it’s also very challenging. I’m not a trained actor by any stretch. Geremy (Jasper) saw me singing on Inside Amy Schumer, and I’m running around the room, motorboating people. And he’s like, “Hey, I think you should play the mom in my movie.” (LAUGHS) If that’s what you think, who am I to tell you no? So, I did it. She’s definitely a hard-drinking, given up on life, had some real hard knocks, and doesn’t always know how to communicate love, and that’s something I can relate to.

As a singer, did the struggle hit a nerve on a personal level?

Yea, a hundred percent. The feeling of not believing enough in yourself to go for it all the way, as far as she’s gotten is being a good singer at a karaoke bar. I can relate to that. I didn’t really start having real success until about two years ago. So, I have been in her shoes, and I know how it feels. Sometimes singing is the only thing that can lift you up.

Danielle Macdonald stars in Patti Cake$

You had such an amazing chemistry with Danielle Macdonald. What was it like working with her?

She is so warm and open, and I instantly felt maternal with her, which is so crazy because I’m not a mother. I’ve been pregnant many times but I am not a mother. (LAUGHS) She just put me at ease, and it was hard being mean to her because she’s so lovely. It’s easy to disappear in her and with her.

Have you had any mentors or maternal figures that have helped you in your career?

Yea, I had a college voice teacher who meant the world to me. I felt like I was trying to figure out what kind of singer I want to be, and she had a great deal of faith in me. There has been a great deal of gay men along the way. Michael Patrick King, I consider him my mentor. It’s just really nice when somebody believes in you when you can’t find it in yourself.

Having come up in the New York creative scene, have you learned something that you feel you can’t really learn in LA or Hollywood?

One hundred percent, if there was no New York, there would be no Bridget Everett. And I mean that as Bridget Everett, the performer. There’s just a sort of lawlessness that exists in the downtown performance scene that is just inspiring you and pushing you to really go to the extremes to find yourself as a performer. When I first came to New York, I would see Kiki & Herb and Murray Hill and Sweetie, my favorite drag queen who recently passed. Everybody was sort of wild but completely themselves in this large, sort of off-the-rails, kinda of dangerous way, and I knew that was where I wanted to be and how I was gonna find myself as a performer.

Patti Cake$ is a very inspirational, follow-your-dreams kind of movie. What’s something you’d tell young actors or singers who might need that inspiration?

I would say trust your instincts and trim the fat. If you have anybody out there that doesn’t support you 100%, move on. Find a great support system, and keep giving yourself shots. Fuck up, fail and get better.

Is there a follow-your-dreams movie you love to watch every now and then?

Well if you’re asking if my favorite movie is Rudy, then yes. (LAUGHS) I think people love that movie and they hate it. He’s a dreamer. And it’s the same thing with like Sister Act. In that movie, she just goes against her wishes because she’s got to sing. These are my favorite kind of movies about dreamers and people going against the odds. I could watch those movies on a loop, and I do.

Patti Cake$ premieres Friday, August 18. Watch the trailer below: