Poignant New MILCK Track ‘A Little Peace’ Was Inspired by the Las Vegas Shooting

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It’s hard to believe, but a year after the horrifying mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert in October of 2017, we’re still turning on the TV to regular reports of more of the same. For all the talk, virtually nothing has been done, legislatively, to address the issue.

LA singer-songwriter MILCK remembers the despondency she experienced upon hearing the news. But she also took the opportunity to create something positive out of all the horror, a new single titled “A Little Peace,” which was released today – just five days after another gunman murdered 12 innocent people in Thousand Oaks, California.

She recalls of last October, “I was home alone the night I heard about the Vegas shootings. The only things that kept me from spiraling into fear and despair were my fans, and my music. I remember turning on my Instagram Livestream to play a spontaneous concert to find a way of not being alone. As I was playing the concert I came up with the chorus of ‘A Little Peace.'”

 

 

The song, with its gospel vibes and hopeful refrain of “All I need is a little peace,” is also part of the YouTube #creatorsforchange series, which brings together “positive voices who are tackling social issues and promoting awareness, tolerance and empathy.”

“When YouTube told me about the #creatorsforchange program,” she explains, “I knew my song would have the right home. They understood my vision of bringing strangers together to create literal and figurative harmony. My director and I assisted through hundreds of testimonials of singers from all over the world, and we found seven voices to join me in the studio. Each person brought such uniqueness and beauty to the project – we are all forever connected thru this song, and I am so grateful.”

MILCK, who has also been an activist for LGBTQ and women’s rights, released her debut EP This is Not the End earlier this year. She will be performing at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles tomorrow evening, November 13, and at the Google HQ in D.C. this Thursday.

 

 

Gorillaz and G-Shock Team Up for Limited-Edition Watch Collection

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We never really gave it much thought, to be honest – but despite living in a sort of parallel universe, cartoon characters still do seem to be subject to the rigors of scheduling. Though the fact that they never age does make one wonder as to the actual effects of time on their seemingly ambiguous reality.

Still, such existential concerns need not necessarily interfere with the desire to simply be in possession of this season’s surely most talked about timepiece. And one of the new GORILLAZ x G-SHOCK collection should absolutely be on the wrist of everyone who counts themselves amongst the disciples of the most enduring animated band in (sort of) existence.

 

 

The watches are styled in tribute to each of the four members: 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs – so you may finally have to decide which of them is your actual favorite…despite egalitarian impulses to love them all equally. Best of all, only 1000 of each are being produced – so bragging rights are included in the price. They’ll be available as of November 15…but insider tip: go to the Gorillaz web shop today, October 25, for a chance at early pre-order.

Don’t even consider buying one, though, until you’re in possession of a copy of their excellent new album The Now Now, which was released earlier this year to nearly universal acclaim.

 

 

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Jess Coppens’ Visceral New Single ‘Rain’

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She was the fiery little frontperson for Nashville’s Mirror Eyes, who honed a unique sound that was somewhere between 4AD ethereal and Jane’s Addiction fury.

Now Jess Coppens has struck out on her own; and BlackBook premieres here her stunning new single “Rain,” which wondrously exhibits the visceral richness of her songwriting talents. The singer has also recently come out, and the journey towards the discovery of her sexual identity has surely been a poignant one – as evidenced by the song’s gutsy lyrical confessionals.

“I’ve got issues that the doctors can’t explain,” she admits, before asking “Why don’t we let it all go / Right out the window?”

Musically, it’s a bit of a departure for her: an elegant, soulful ballad, with haunting atmospherics and a gentle but affecting dynamic arc.

“This song is about being ‘at ease’ with an internal struggle,” she explains. “I was in a very unsure state of mind during the writing process, and it refers to that feeling of not knowing which voice in your head to listen to. It’s almost like being right on the edge of giving up, but finding healthy a way out.”

We’ve all, certainly, been there.

 

And Here’s Yet Another Teaser for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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Queen fans are surely amongst the most fanatical on the planet. So looping them into the overall Bohemian Rhapsody experience seemed a fairly obvious decision – after all, who wouldn’t want an army of fanatics stumping for their film for five months before its release?

So Fox cleverly launched the Put Me in Bohemian campaign back in May, promising hopefuls a chance to at least sonically be included in the final cut. Everyone was asked to sing the actual song “Bohemian Rhapsody” into their mobile, and the results were mixed by sound/music editor John Warhurst into a simulated version of actual Live Aid crowd – who famously sang every word while Freddie and the boys performed the baroquely eccentric classic onstage.

The film itself is due November 2 – and one can literally feel the anticipation swirling in the air. Should you be suffering from anticipatory anxiety attacks, this, at least, should help hold you over for another week.

 

First Images: The Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown Opens

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It’s only the fifth hotel under the new brand (others are in DC, Bethesda, Portland and Reykjavik) – but the Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown seems to ideally represent the ethos the group is building its fortune on. Indeed, just opened this past week along a stretch of Cityplace W. Boulevard, it boasts 150 rooms, yet manages to cultivate a distinctly trend-aware residential vibe.

To be sure, as one is entering the lobby, there’s an immediate sense of it feeling very much like the stylish living room of your very cosmopolitan best friend. A series of variegated sitting areas are assembled around a central bar, with rich, inviting furnishings, exposed brick (even on the ceiling), and thoughtfully chosen art pieces.

Upstairs, sleeping chambers eschew over-concepted design pretenses for a more cosseting feel – even though the smallest of them come in at an extremely generous 360 square feet – with floor-to-ceiling windows, area rugs and warm woods. Splash out on the speciality Travis or Cole suites, and you’ll be gliding around in 830 sq. ft. of space.

 

 

But the Canopy is definitely a social animal – as that aforementioned lobby is home to the Central Cafe, which keeps things buzzing from 6:30am until 11pm. The crowning touch, though? In a city that eventually embraced rooftop bar mania quite enthusiastically, this hotel easily has one of the best – in the fittingly named Upside.

If you can tear yourself away from the views that seem to stretch across the entire city (and maybe all the way to Houston?), you’ll join sybarites indulging in cleverly titled cocktails like the De Pêche Mode, Best in Show and Ticket to Ryde, with sides of Guajillo BBQ gulf shrimp and (would we kid you?) “Bacon Crack” flatbread. And with temps still hovering around the 80’s, expect it to be a scene all the way through autumn.

Though still Hilton’s newest brand, Canopy does seem to be hitting its mark – with Atlanta and Zagreb opening later this year. As well, an additional 14 are scheduled to debut by 2021, from Toronto to London to Hangzhou. We’re excited.

 

Sin City Hip: Chef Roy Choi to Open ‘Best Friend’ in Vegas

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It was just this past June when LA godhead chef Roy Choi announced his departure from the Sydell Group – which meant no more Commissary at THE LINE LA. Now we know that Choi, the mastermind behind six other hipster-magnet Los Angeles establishments, had his sights sets on an even bigger hospitality fish. His latest venture, the engagingly named Best Friend, will open on December 28 at the newish Park MGM in…da da da…Las Vegas!

An amalgamation of styles and flavors drawn from “Kogi to Commissary”, BF (sorry, he can’t promise “forever”) further encapsulates Choi’s ever-experimental style, while adding that touch of Vegas bigness and bling. “Hip-hop-to-bibimbop. Kimchi-to-spaghetti. BBQ and late-night food. My neighborhood mixed with the Vegas good-good,” he promises of his first foray into the city of sin. 

 

Roy Choi on Parts Unknown, courtesy of CNN

 

Most of the menu focuses on braising and barbecuing, featuring such temptations as tamarind cod with noodles, and a braised spicy chicken from Korea, according to Eater LAA storefront uncomplicatedly titled Liquor Store (it’s a literal title – they will be selling spirits) serves as an entrance/portal to the restaurant in the back, a multiculti world of flavor and fun.

“I hope all guests are licking their fingers with their mouths full saying ‘holy sh!t’ as they reach across the table for another bite,” Choi enthuses. (We can’t imagine he’ll be wrong.)

And as if that wasn’t alone enough to get you to book a post-Xmas escape to Vegas…Best Friend will open its doors – surely uncoincidentally – on the first day of the feverishly awaited Lady Gaga residence at Park MGM.

“Rah rah ah-ah-ah!…”

 

 

 

BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Provocative New Trishes Single ‘Hydra’

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The Lernaean Hydra was an aquatic serpentine creature of Greek mythology, who dwelled in the Lerna in the Argolid – which was said to be the entrance to the Underworld.

“Hydra” also happens to be the name of the provocative new single by exotic LA songstress Trishes. And should you consider not quite taking her seriously enough, in the song she lyrically warns, “I’ve got a head like a Hydra / Baby don’t make me remind you / Sparks in the dark, welcome to the resistance.”

Uh huh.

“Hydra explores the role that creativity plays in human existence,” she explains. “In the macro sense, humanity developed creativity out of necessity. Without sharp teeth or fast legs or fur coats, our minds grew and adapted.”

Indeed, one is instantly reminded of English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s immortal 1839 quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

 

 

Trishes continues, “In the micro sense, humanity even still finds creativity in necessity. The most brilliant art and music and literature is born out of oppression or in the face of necessary change. This is why I liken creativity to the Hydra, the Greek mythological creature whose head, if cut off, would grow two in its place.”

BlackBook enthusiastically premieres here the decidedly sensual new video for “Hydra,” which features some steamy, ritualistic dancing and classically inspired fashions – by Alex Benaim’s More Rockin label.

“It’s one of my favorite lines,” the singer enthuses, “and a beautiful mix of her Moroccan heritage and American style – which I thought was really fitting given the genesis of the song. Since a Hydra is one body with several heads, I wanted the looks to be unified but each have a distinct personality. I also needed the clothing to move really effortlessly to enhance the serpentine feel of Kalbe Isaacson’s choreography.”

“Hydra” will be available this Friday across all digital platforms. And to fete its release, Trishes will play LA’s Peppermint Club on Saturday the 22rd.

Hydra Collaboration Credits
Clothing: More Rockin (Alex Benaim)
Jewelry: Hot Rocks
Director: Tamara Arroba 

 

Exalting an NYC Nightlife Legend: ‘Susanne Bartsch: On Top’ Premieres in LA

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Just outside a movie theater on Sunset, there’s a spectacle brewing. The makeshift red carpet is rolled out, and around it grows a crowd of elaborate, jaw-dropping looks. One jeweled prosthetic leg here, a sky-high headpiece there, a man in a butt-baring purple leotard – down in front.

Everyone’s here for one reason, and one woman. Tonight is the debut of Susanne Bartsch: On Top, a documentary written and directed by filmmakers Anthony&Alex, about the namesake nightlife queen and fashion icon.

 

 

On Top spans the entirety of Bartsch’s storied life and career: her childhood in Switzerland, younger years in London, the New York City of the ‘80s, and today. In 1981, she opened a boutique in SoHo, stocked mostly with her favorite British designers. That led her to nightlife, parties, David Barton (the gym entrepreneur whom she married in 1995), more parties, and ultimately, her legacy in NYC and beyond.

“She was creating a safe space for us, where we could be ourselves,” party-goers echoed again and again. Everything outside was a construct – gender, sexual orientation – inside the club was where you could be whomever you wanted to be. You could just have fun, as long as you dressed up. Those were the rules of entry.

The film strings the decades together seamlessly thanks to a fortress of archival footage. We get to see Bartsch in her many public and private forms over the years: doting mother, loving wife, scenestress, visionary, and of course, hardwired perfectionist.

 

 

In one scene a hair stylist chases Bartsch around her apartment (she lives in the Chelsea Hotel) while trying to trim her wig. She’s visibly irked about the look, which she says isn’t working, but waves the stylist off saying “I don’t care anymore.” She may be picky, but her looks are a testament to her obsessive attention to detail.

As are her parties. Like The Love Ball in 1989, which took its cues from vogue balls happening in Harlem at the time (long before Pose did). Held during the height of the AIDS epidemic, the fundraising event took a year to produce, and brought together a veritable who’s who of New York nightlife/celebrity. Cindy Crawford, Madonna, Keith Haring, Kenny Kenny, Amanda Lepore, and thousands of others gathered to drink, dance, vogue, and bring awareness and money to those affected by AIDS. David Byrne even judged one of the voguing contests. He told the New York Times: “It was kind of confusing. I saw things I never saw before.”

 

 

Finally, when we think we’ve seen all that one woman could possibly do, the film brings us back into the future (or, 2015) where the Museum at FIT is holding Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch, a retrospective of her ever-growing couture collection. We watch as she runs around pulling designs from racks (Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen), sizing up the space (she appears nonplussed at first), and running a team of various artists and assistants, including makeup artist Deney Adam, who we see applying countless breathtaking looks throughout the film. As one can imagine, Bartsch spends a lot of time getting her makeup done, even in the movie.

And while yes, Bartsch may be outgrowing nightlife a tad (she’s 50 this year) the film reveals there’s always another project around the corner. And a party. Tonight it’s at The Standard in downtown Los Angeles, where revelers and filmgoers carry on late into the night. Bartsch is there, at the helm, kissing cheeks and saying her hellos in a gold jeweled unitard sprinkled with pieces of metallic armor. A gold horn wraps around her right eye. A bionic pop star? Goddess of the underworld? Whatever she identifies as, she’s always always the life of the party.

 

 

Pagan Ceremonies and Vintage Vacation Photos Converge at LA’s Kopeikin Gallery

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Kirsten Tradowsky, Woman in Gold Car, 2018, Oil on Canvas 28″ x 32″

 

Photography has long served as a glimpse into our everyday realities: vacations, family portraits, a celebration, or a simple moment in time. With its ever-growing presence in our lives (Thank you, Instagram?), the idea of gazing at another photo shoot or old snapshot of someone we’ve never met can feel almost numbing, another image in the never-ending scroll.

So it was particularly refreshing to find three artists’ work on display in LA’s Kopeikin Gallery that is collectively reinterpreting the medium with new vigor.

Painter Kirsten Tradowsky gives vintage, found photographs an entirely new storyline as oil paintings in her new series, fittingly titled Time Echo. The subjects of the once grainy, muted prints – women in front of old cars, children on tricycles, a pool party on a hot day – take on a deeper sense of anonymity with each stroke. Races, faces, and other elements are blurred into a new reality.

 

Kirsten Tradowsky, Afternoon, 2018, Oil on Canvs 30″ x 40″

 

The 47 on display are the result of a year-long collaboration between gallery owner Paul Kopeikin and Tradowsky. Upon seeing her work, he asked her to paint some photographs from his own collection.

“Paul would send her photos or she had her own, and then she would paint from those vernacular photographs,” says Nicole Kutz, Kopeikin’s gallery manager, who says there are more of her paintings from the series in storage.

Also on display is Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick’s Madame Lulu’s Book of Fate. Conversely, this exhibit draws us immediately into an alternative universe through real photographs – whimsical depictions of characters caught mid-act.

“The whole idea was to collaborate and create and have different performances and ideas of fun and mysticism,” Kutz explains. “Even though they’re constructed or staged, it still feels like a genuine moment.”

 

Kahn & Selesnick, The Proposal, 2018

 

Witches, jesters, and dandies participate in pagan ceremonies. In one photo, we see two young men pushing a boat against rough waters; in another, a man stands quietly in front of the camera, a mask of flowers covering his face. The circular centerpiece and stark white borders make us feel almost as if we’re peering through the viewfinder. (Remember those?)

We may have easy access to myriad imagery these days with our always-on social feeds. However, seeing it on walls, undistracted from the counting of likes or digital buzz, reminds us that it’s still possible for photography to engage us in a much deeper way. 

Both exhibits will be up until July 7.

 

Kahn & Selesnick, R&D, 2018