Art and Media Worlds Gather For Opening of Reka Nyari’s ‘Ink Stories’ at the BlackBook Presents Gallery

Images by Bill Chin


Notables from the worlds of art, media, fashion, etc. gathered Thursday evening for the opening of Reka Nyari’s Ink Stories at the BlackBook Presents gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The eminent photographer (she’s shot for the likes of Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair) was making her Brooklyn debut, after exhibiting previously from Manhattan to Amsterdam, Toronto to Hong Kong.

Ink Stories is a stunning collection of images of empowered, tattooed women from around the world, each with a riveting back story told in ink, with their bodies as the canvas.

“I like to portray women who are edgy, sexy, and strong,” Nyari says of the exhibition. “I like to be truthful while instigating curiosity for the unknown. I see the world as dark and beautiful and full of interesting stories.”

Tattoo artist Carmen Figueroa was on hand for impromptu inkings, and copies of Nyari’s stunning, 225 page monograph Geisha Ink were on sale at the gallery. Catering for the evening was by Jonathan Weizmann’s Gastronome, while sponsors included T. Edward Wines / Henry Varnay Rosé, SOTO Sake, and Gem & Bolt Mezcal.

Ink Stories will be on show at BlackBook Presents through February 20.




BlackBook Interview + NYC ‘Indie’ Style Guide, w/ Overcoats



When asked why we never actually see them wearing overcoats, Hana Elion of buzzy NYC musical duo Overcoats (which also includes JJ Mitchell) counters, “You’re not looking hard enough!” She may be right, in fact—but it’s probably also because we’re busy listening. Just as we had been when they released their critically acclaimed debut album YOUNG in 2017, via Arts & Crafts. (NPR called it “one of the best albums of the year.”)

But lately we’ve been obsessed with two new singles by them: “Leave if You Wanna,” an ethereal dream pop meditation on romantic confusion (imagine if Le Tigre went indie folk); and especially “The Fool,” which reminds us of so many great ’80s synth pop bands, especially Depeche Mode and OMD. The latter also contains one of our current fave lyrical couplets, “Some days I’m a warrior / Some days I’m out of my mind.” Uh huh.


Image by Shervin Lainez


The tracks are a preview to their upcoming sophomore album, to be released in early 2020 via Loma Vista Recordings.

The pair also sport a singular sense of style, one apparently cultivated in the thrift/vintage/indie/punk shops that have somehow managed to remain open in the face of skyrocketing New York rents. So when we caught up with them for a chat, we asked if they would also be so kind as to enlighten as to their fave five of said shops – a request with which they enthusiastically complied.




How did you come to meet and form Overcoats?

Hana: We met on our first day of college. Our connection was instant, and we sang together for a long time before we formed the band, in the last few months of our senior year. It happened pretty organically. We couldn’t stop writing together, and we didn’t want desk jobs.

Were you surprised by the amazing critical reception for YOUNG in 2017?

JJ: We were humbled by how much people connected with the music on that record. Those songs were born out of our late night college dorm room hangouts and our own personal experiences of the world around us. So it felt special to have anyone at all listen and like it.

That album had something of a sweet, Swedish pop vibe—but the songs from the new album sound a little darker, almost like you were listening to Depeche Mode or Gary Numan. What were some of your influences when recording the new album?

Hana: We listened to much more rock while we were recording this record. From modern bands like Arcade Fire and Kings of Leon, to classic groups like the Stones and Public Enemy. We wanted to bring an angsty, organic vibe to the new material.

What else can you reveal about the upcoming album?

JJ: We expanded the breadth of sonic and lyrical content on this next project, allowing ourselves to comment on what was and is happening culturally and politically. The album touches on the #MeToo movement and its limits within the music industry, [and also] the gun violence epidemic, depression, Generation Z, the climate crisis, as well as our own interpersonal relationships with partners and family over the past three years. It’s personal but it’s also political, an album that is meant to break you apart and then put you back together again.

You each have a unique sense of style, but also are very complementary to one another. Do you shop together, do you plan out your looks?

Hana: We have a hilarious thing that happens to us, which is that we show up to places accidentally matching, all the time. It’s a blessing and a curse. Fashion and style and visual culture are inextricably linked to music for us—so when we’re making an album [like this one] we’re both interested in leather jackets, pointy boots, animal prints.

Do you have musical style icons that you admire?

JJ: For this album we have definitely been inspired both sonically and stylistically by artists like Iggy Pop, The Violent Femmes, and of course Bowie, mainly in his glam rock phase. More contemporary icons include Harry Styles and Billie Eilish—we can’t get enough of their dope androgynous wardrobes.

Will you be touring for the new album in 2020?

JJ: Definitely. We will be headlining in North America from April onward. (For early 2020 dates w/ Cold War Kids click here.)


Overcoats’ Favorite NYC Shops

Search and Destroy

We’ve been really inspired by punk fashion and culture recently. Search and Destroy is a wild place – kind of overwhelming, but a staple for DIY pieces. Expect Vivienne Westwood, as well as Vivienne Westwood dupes.



Trash & Vaudeville

A classic NYC punk store. Leather, chains, mesh, all the best band t-shirts. We’ve sourced a lot of clothes from here for music videos and such.



Urban Jungle

Bushwick’s best thrift store. It’s big, it’s fabulous. Levi’s, vintage band t-shirts, and bomber jackets galore. Also lots of funky tie-dye…which luckily for everyone, is back in style – did it ever go out of style though?



Bird Brooklyn

Slightly higher price range than our go-to vintage spots, but this trendy boutique chain always has amazing designer items for that album-release-celebration purchase. Love their No. 6 clogs, Leigh Miller jewelry, and Ganni clothing.




For another slightly more upmarket boutique, we love Oroboro. They have beautiful clothes from emerging designers like Black Crane and Jesse Kamm…as well as weird and wonderful pottery objects. The store in Soho is a really cozy and relaxing place, and if everything is out of your price range you can always just buy a soap for your mom.


Sustainable Skating? The William Vale Hotel Opens an Ice Rink…in Brooklyn



If you went back in time to just a decade ago, most of what is happening in Williamsburg—good and bad—would have been virtually unimaginable. To wit? It’s now home to a cluster of luxury boutique hotels.

One of those hotels, the William Vale, has been bringing a bit of unexpected glam to a previously low-key corner of the hood since opening in the autumn of 2016. So its latest masterstroke may not seem so much of a surprise—though certainly the very idea of a dazzle-a-minute skating rink in this part of Brooklyn will surely be inspiring not just a few looks of disbelief.



But open through the winter season is the hotel’s succinctly named Vale Rink, high up on the 23rd floor rooftop. And playing perfectly to the current eco zeitgeist, it actually uses fully sustainable technology. Indeed, a company called Glice (get it?) produces synthetic ice, which mimics the qualities of the real thing, minus all that coldness and wetness. It also makes for a better skating experience, especially important if you’re not exactly Kristi Yamaguchi. And the fact that it doesn’t require any power or maintenance, means that it is most definitely kinder to the environment.

Best of all, from a social point of view, well…everyone is invited, not just hotel guests.



“We’re dedicated to staying well connected to the community and finding experiences that can tailor to visitors and locals alike,” says Nick Angel, General Manager of Vale Rink. “As part of this, we always wanted to introduce a skating rink to the property, and thought the rooftop would make the perfect destination. It allows us to take advantage of our unique location and views of the Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan skylines during the winter months.”

The spectacular views, of course, are including in the $20 price ($12 for kids); and there’s a on-site tent for kicking back with a hot chocolate between double axels. The hotel has also created a special Winter Retreat package, including a 15% discount on your room rate, admission for two to the rink, and a goody bag with products from Kari Gran, Popbar and Happy Socks.

We repeat…you can actually go ice skating in Williamsburg.


The Beginner’s Guide To Adding Art To Your Home


Deciding the theme of the decor of your house is an uphill task in itself. Many people get intimidated by the thought of choosing the decoration for their home primarily because they think it is an expensive scheme of affairs and also because they believe that their choice might not fit well with the surroundings of their home. Having said that, many people are always in search of decor items that can enhance the overall look and vibe of their home.

When talking about decor items, the most important and the most popular choice among the homemakers is of selecting suitable art pieces so that they can go well with the spaces in the house and enhance their beauty.

For those who are not inclined towards art, this whole process of choosing a suitable painting or art piece and then accommodating it in the house so that it makes it look better by complementing it also a difficult task.

Therefore, in this article, let us take a look at the steps that you need to follow so that you can choose the best art forms, so that goes very well with the theme of your house.

Color coordination

The colors that you choose for the walls of your house are an essential aspect of the planning of the decor of the house. It would be best if you did not go in with the boring idea of having the same color in the entire house. You should be aware that colors speak about the mood of the place and will add more to the vibe of the house. Therefore, you should select colors intelligently so that they can complement the atmosphere of the house.

For implementing this, you can go in for ideas such as choosing more vibrant colors for the walls of the living room where you are willing to welcome the guests with warmth into your house. You can choose yellow as a safe and trusted choice for the color of the walls of the living room. As far as other rooms such as the bedroom are concerned, you should go in for decent and less radiant colors like white or grey to have a peaceful vibe.

Hang paintings as low as possible

The choice of artwork that you are willing to put up on the walls of your house can vary according to your choice and personality, but the principle of putting up these paintings on the walls remains the same, and the most effective one is that you hang these paintings as low as possible on the walls.

This is because when the artwork is hanging more closer to the people and lower on the walls, then it is more visible, and people are more attracted to see it than in any other case. Many people say that having the artwork hung up on the wall closer to yourself creates intimacy for the whole decor of the room, which serves the purpose of creating a lively vibe in the room.

Go for contrasts

While choosing the artwork that you want to portray in the rooms of your house, you should go in for the principle of having contrasts. By contrast, we mean that the color of the wall that you have chosen and the colors that are used in the painting should be such that contrast or a striking difference is present between them. When you do so, then both the wall and painting become more attractive and draw the attention of the people in an instant.

Photo collages

Choosing themes for the decors in the modern era is more about making them personalized and catering to the individual in particular. Therefore, personalizing the selection of art for the walls of the house means that you can go in for photo collages that are ensembles and montages of the moments that you have shared with your family in pictures.


You can either take a photo collage by yourself or can choose the pictures that you want to be a part of the college and make use of online platforms that can combine them to make a photo collage. A popular website offering the service is CanvasPop, where you can assemble all the desirable photos into a single photo collage easily. The CanvasPop photo collage will be a great addition to your house.


In cases where budget is a constraint, but you are willing to put up artwork on the walls of your house, then you must make a conscious decision where you should decide the places where you should hang these paintings. The decision must be based on the fact that the painting should be hung up on the wall, which is the most visible to the people who are visiting your house.

For example, there is no point in hanging more paintings inside your bedroom because fewer people will be visiting that room. Instead, you should go in for more paintings in your living room.

All in all

There is no need to get intimidated by the desire of having artwork become a part of the decor of your house. When you choose the right form of artwork for your house, it will serve as a great representation of your emotions and memories. It is just that smart decisions have to be taken so that you can inculcate the best art forms that go well with the interiors of your house.

Posted in Art

Iceland to Versailles to Jamaica: These Were BlackBook’s Best Travel Stories of 2019 – Part II, July – December

Reykjavik, Iceland 



BlackBook loves to travel…mostly because sitting still makes us terribly nervous. 2019, naturally, was no different.

After our adventures in the likes of Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam in the first half of the year, during the summer we met some fierce female entrepreneurs in Iceland, discovered a new favorite hotel (the Sagamore Pendry) in Baltimore, and glammed up for the official opening party for the sexy new Andaz am Belvedere hotel in Vienna.

Autumn took us to Versailles to awe at the newly opened Queen’s Apartments, before following Carly Rae Jepsen to Finnish Lapland for an exclusive performance. We hung with rockers in Jamaica, and rock stars in West Hollywood, before taking a fascinating architectural tour of Manchester, and hitting the Rioja wine trail in Northern Spain.

Here we’ve gathered some of our fave travel stories from the latter half of 2019, figuring we would close out a rather contentious year with some fond memories of the places we’ve been. (Part I covered the months of January to June.)

If it even need be said, we’ve been thrilled to have you along for the ride.



Ideological Iceland: A Weekend of Forward-Thinking Food, Politics and Empowered Women in the Scandinavian Mini-Utopia


Stopover in Copenhagen: Where to Shop, Stay, Eat + Play


BlackBook Rooms w/ A View: The Sagamore Pendry Hotel Baltimore


Opening Visit: The Andaz Vienna am Belvedere Hotel is the Austrian Capital’s New Style Paradigm


Weekend in The Berkshires: The Elegant New Williams Inn Brings the Farmhouse Chic


Beyond Château Versailles: Overnighting in the City of the Sun King


Beauty at the End of the Earth: Three Days in Finnish Lapland


The New Order: 48 Hours in the Revitalized Manchester City Centre


In the Shadow of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Very Well-Designed Weekend in Scottsdale


Epicurean Northern Spain: Rioja Wines, Starchitects and an Enlightening Lesson in Evolución


Kingston to Montego Bay: Vegan Eats, Soundsystem Parties & Coconut Oil Massages in the New Jamaica


Gelato, Rock Stars and Eco-Hotels: Three Days in the Heart of West Hollywood


Savannah Epicurean: Five Hotspots in the South’s Sultriest City



Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam to Belfast: These Were BlackBook’s Best Travel Stories of 2019 – Part I, January – June

The Louvre, Abu Dhabi



BlackBook loves to travel…mostly because sitting still makes us terribly nervous. 2019, naturally, was no different.

Not unusual for us, we spent the early part of the year traversing the Northeast Corridor, where we sipped rooftop cocktails in Philadelphia, ditched the skis for more epicurean adventures in Burlington, Vermont, attended the extraordinarily extravagant opening bash for the plush new Conrad Washington DC Hotel, and followed contemplative songstress and one time Prince collaborator Ingrid Chavez to some of her most inspirational spots around New England.

But springtime also found us dune bashing – and checking out the “other” Louvre – in Abu Dhabi, exploring the Champagne caves and conceptual art of Reims (France), and bearing witness to the cultural and architectural rebirth of a post-“Troubles” and post-Game of Thrones Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Here we’ve gathered some of our fave travel stories from the first half of 2019, figuring we would close out a rather contentious year with some fond memories of the places we’ve been. (Part II is on the way, which will cover the months of July to December.)

If it even need be said, we’ve been thrilled to have you along for the ride.


BlackBook Exclusive: Winter Cocktail Recipes from the Stratus Rooftop Lounge at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia


From Haunted Hotel Bars to Peruvian Conceptual Art: A Genuinely Illuminating Weekend in Santa Fe


Plush Palaces, Maseratis & Women’s Handicrafts: A Weekend in Abu Dhabi, Part I


Dune Bashing, Persian Carpets and a Spectacular Outpost of The Louvre: A Weekend in Abu Dhabi, Part II


Scents & Sensuality: A Fragrant Immersion at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Hotel


Capital C: The New Conrad Washington DC Hotel Wows Beyond Expectations


Après-Ski Season: A Rather Sophisticated Springtime in Vermont – Part 2, Burlington


Catskills Cool: The Eastwind Hotel & Bar is NY State’s Hippest Hideaway


Bohemia, New England – Where Ethereal Songstress Ingrid Chavez Goes to Find Inspiration


Weekend in Reims: The Biggest Notre Dame Cathedral in France + Champagne for Breakfast


Belfast Rising: Has Good Design – and ‘Game of Thrones’ – Ushered in a New Era For Northern Ireland’s Capital?


American Horror: ‘The Lodge’ & ‘The Turning’ Will be Terrifying Us in the New Year

The Turning



It’s hard to imagine anything more terrifying than the thought of how weak the field of Democratic candidates are, one of whom we have to count on to beat Trump in next November’s presidential election. But 2020 has a few serious scares to throw our way well before then – with the January and February movie release slates notably featuring The Turning and The Lodge, respectively.

The Turning is from Canadian-Italian director Floria Sigismondi, always well-regarded for her fearless plunges into the more caliginous depths of existence (as well as her astonishing music videos for Bowie, Björk, Marilyn Manson). Here, she updates the 1898 Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw to terrifying effect.



In it Mackenzie Davis (from AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire) plays a nanny named Kate, arriving at a creepy old Maine estate to look after a pair of orphaned young children – played by Brooklynn Prince and Stranger Things‘ Finn Wohlfard.

Sigismondi cleverly sets it in the 1990s, to strip away the distraction of technology – and possibly to also make it seem like it’s older than it really is. Kate, of course, begins to realize there is something peculiar about the children, and even more so about the gruesome old mansion – and considerable terror slowly unfolds.

The Turning will be released into theaters January 24.



Following shortly after, The Lodge is a bit more of a psychological horror; but once again it is one woman, two children thrown together in a really creepy situation. Riley Keough plays Grace, the new girlfriend of father-of-two Richard (Richard Armitage of Berlin Station) – and she also just happens to have once been a member of some bizarre Evangelical death cult. The three are left snowbound in a remote winter cabin when Richard needs to leave suddenly for business.



What ensues is a tumult of mindfucks and suspicions, with little clarity as to whom amongst them is the genuine threat. The kids discover that Grace, at just 12-years-old, was the only survivor of the cult’s media-documented mass suicide (hmm…). And of course, with the weather trapping the three in the cold, menacing house, things begin to quickly unravel.

The Lodge will be released into theaters February 7.



BlackBook’s Best Song + Video Premieres of 2019

Above image: Fever High



BlackBook never stops getting excited about new music, especially if there’s a bit of style to go along with the necessary substance. And we always consider it an honor to be asked to debut new songs and videos by the artists we love, new and old.

2019 was another good one, from January’s premiere of NYC duo Fever High’s sexy new track “Avec You,” to our December premiere of Everything But The Girl legend Ben Watt’s single/video “Balanced on a Wire.” In between we had an enigmatic new song from Sarah Jaffe, a killer remix from trip-hip icons Morcheeba, and Greg Laswell’s utterly haunting cover of Placebo’s “Without You I’m Nothing.”

Here we look back at twelve of our favorites, one from each month of the year – so your 2020 can begin on just the right…note.


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: New Fever High Video for ‘Avec You’ is a Study in Euro-tastic Cool


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Stunning New Sarah Jaffe Track ‘Dark Energy’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Cleverly Conceptual Fabriq Video For Their Groovy New Single ‘Outside In’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Sultry Yimino Remix of Morcheeba’s Visceral Single ‘Never Undo’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Marieme’s Poignant Video for Soulful New Single ‘Ask For Help’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: French Duo Sacre’s Sexy New Single ’01:00AM PINK MAMBA’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Emmaline’s Sultry, Exuberant New Single ‘All My Sweetest Dreams’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Greg Laswell’s Visceral Cover of Placebo’s ‘Without You I’m Nothing


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Bizarrely Provocative Video for the New Princess Single ‘Party Party Party’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: French 79’s Cool, Neon New Wave Video for ‘By Your Side’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Visceral New Video for the ROZES + Mat Kearney Collab ‘Walls’


BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Visceral New Ben Watt Video for ‘Balanced on a Wire’




Paris, London, Stockholm Win, Iceland Loses in 2019 Holiday Season Travel




Perhaps it’s owing to the endless political divisiveness at home. Or possibly, after several years of racing to the trendiest or most exotic new destinations, Americans are coming back to the cosseting comforts of being in Europe at holiday time. London’s incomparable shopping, Germany’s magical Christmas markets, the twinkling lights reflecting against Prague’s majestic architecture…need we go on?

Travel experts Allianz Global Assistance have just released their report on the top 2019 European holiday destinations for American travelers, and while some of the numbers were perfectly expected, there were quite a few genuine surprises. Hardly shocking, Paris and London remain exceedingly popular in December. But Stockholm‘s Arlanda airport (the figures are based on airport traffic) is up 71% this year – meaning quite a lot more people are willing to brave the bitter Scandinavian cold to take in the ethereal beauty of Sweden’s capital at this time of year. Conversely, Iceland’s Keflavik International is down 84% (we’d rather go for the Airwaves festival in October, anyway).




Other curiosities: The airports of Florence and Nice, not traditionally holiday destinations, saw increases of 46% and 43%, respectively. And Amsterdam-Schiphol jumped 35%. Yet Edinburgh, an annual Christmas fave, actually dropped 9%.

For our part, we can never get enough of Europa at this most wonderful time of the year. And should you find yourself with the opportunity to sneak in one last quick weekend excursion before the 25th of December, we would enthusiastically recommend the full festive immersion in an unexpected city like Munich, Strasbourg, or the impossibly beautiful Bruges, Belgium. Do raise of cup of Glühwein or two for us.


2019 Holiday Travel to Europe: The Top 35

2019 Rank

Destination + 2018 Ranking

Destination Airport



London, UK (1)

London Heathrow



Paris, France (2)

Charles De Gaulle



Rome, Italy (3)

Leonardo da Vinci International



Amsterdam, Netherland (4)




Madrid, Spain (5)




Barcelona, Spain (6)

El Prat De Llobregat



Frankfurt, Germany (7)

Frankfurt International Airport



Munich, Germany (8)

Franz Josef Strauss



Dublin, Ireland (9)




Zurich, Switzerland (10)

Zurich Airport



Milan, Italy (13)




Lisbon, Portugal (12)




Prague, Czech Republic (19)

Prague – Ruzyne International



Belgium, Brussels (14)

Brussels Airport



Manchester, UK (17)




Athens, Greece (20)

Eleftherios Venizelos



Vienna, Austria (16)

Schwechat International



London, UK (15)

London Gatwick



Berlin, Germany (21)

Berlin Tegel Airport



Florence, Italy (25)




Venice, Italy (18)

Marco Polo



Edinburgh, United Kingdom (23)




Dusseldorf, Germany (24)

Dusseldorf International Airport



Stuttgart, Germany (26)

Stuttgart Echterdingen



Copenhagen, Denmark (22)




Budapest, Hungary (27)




Stockholm, Sweden (29)




Paris, France (30)




Geneva, Switzerland (28)




Nice, France (31)

Nice Cote d’Azur International Airport



Keflavik, Iceland (11)

Keflavik International Airport



Vantaa, Finland (32)




Oslo, Norway (33)

Oslo Airport



Glasgow, United Kingdom (TBD)

Glasgow International



Nuremberg, Germany (TBD)

Nuremberg Airport