5 Things You Have To Do For NYC Pride 2015

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Break open the (party) poppers, New York’s proudest weekend is almost here! We’ve culled the most bizarre, trendy, and queer concerts, screenings and parties to enjoy this weekend for NYC Pride 2015.

***FRIDAY, JUNE 26***

Mykki Blanco

Mykki Blanco Presents Dogfood MG

Our favorite punk-cum-performance artist is in Brooklyn this weekend promoting his latest album “Gay Dog Food” with a late night concert featuring Psycho Egyptian, Violence, Amnesia Scanner, and Chino Amobi.

 

Paris is Burning

Paris is Burning

Butch Queen First Time in Drags at a Ball? If you’ve never seen the seminal documentary about Harlem’s ball scene back in the ‘80s, going to BRIC’s screening to pop your cherry is a must. Though initially controversial for not including any of the subjects (or people of color, for that matter) in the lineup, the screening will be introduced by director Jennie Livingston and subjects Junior LaBeija and Dr. Sol Williams Pendavis. Plus drag performances will feature members of the Houses of LaBeija, Ninja, Mizrahi, Khan, Infinity, Milan, Princess and Xtravaganza.

 

***SATURDAY, JUNE 27***

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Horse Meat Disco New York Residency

UK DJ collective Horse Meat Disco is dominating Brooklyn this weekend. Taking up residency at Output (74 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11201) with House of Stank, DJ Spun and Mystic Bill, bask in their campy disco beats and experimental tracks.

 

Gayletter

Gayletter Pride Ball 2015

LaBeija! Mugler! This year’s Gayletter and Wythe Hotel’s Pride Ball features performances by some legendary names. Open bar from 7pm-8pm, so grab your booze and enjoy the music.

***SUNDAY, JUNE 28*** 

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Dance on the Pier

It’s cliche, crowded, and you can’t bring bags of any kind, but there’s still something about the Dance on the Pier that caps off a pride-filled weekend. Plus, Ariana Grande is performing.

The Top 5 Corsican Wines For Spring

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You could do worse than to be a vintner in Corsica. (Like being one in Uzbekistan.) The French collectivité territoriale – meaning they don’t take all their orders from the Élysée Palace – is a resplendent island in the Mediterranean, vaguely equidistant from Provence and Tuscany.

Yet its wines have lurked in the shadows if its famously epicurean neighbors, especially in the US market. But this week, from April 8 – 10, “Being” By Wines Of Corsica, will showcase the island’s best oenophilic offerings in a most artful setting.

Taking place at the Openhouse Mulberry Gallery in New York’s Soho, the event will feature representatives from top Corsican producers, along with wine tastings and daily seminars. The space was specially designed by Mexican painter Gabriela Bravo Clavello and Beatrice Inn Wine Director Aaron Zeebrook – both of whom spent ten days on the island during harvest season.

For those unable to attend, we asked La Nuit En Rosé founder Pierrick Bouquet to offer his top Corsican wine picks for spring tippling.

Clos Venturi Rosé 2014

A fruity and crisp Rosé made with 100% Sciaccarellu grapes and has a smooth body and is pale red in color.

Clos Culombu Rosé 2014

An elegant dry pink wine with fruity notes made with 50% Niellucciu, 30% Sciacarellu and 20% Grenache and pairs perfectly with fish.

Domaine Vico White 2014

A rich and refreshing full-bodied Mediterranean white wine with strong floral aromas and made with 100% Vermentinu grapes.

Domaine Maestracci E Prove Red 2012

A full-bodied French red wine with a deep black cherry color and has hints of spices, liquorice and red fruits. It pairs well with meat and is made from Nielluccio, Sciaccarello, Grencache and Syrah Grapes.

Domaine de Torraccia Reserve Oriu Rouge 2011

A dense, fruity and elegant red wine with an opaque red color, made from 80% Niellucciu grapes and 20% Sciaccarellu grapes.

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Photos by Aaron Zeebrook

Giveaway! Win a SXSW Wristband From BlackBook and IFC

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Above image: Jukebox The Ghost by Eric Ryan Anderson

What was once a mellow little 3-day gathering of regional bands that came together each March to play the many honky tonks and bars along 6th St in downtown Austin, South By Southwest (this year March 13-22) has exploded into a mega entertainment juggernaut. It now spans a week plus and includes film, interactive, and music conferences. Just keeping the 30,000+ attendees in beer and BBQ for that long is in itself a staggering achievement.

Every band desperately wants to play SX, even with the understanding that their midnight showcase and 11am party the next day will most likely not be witnessed by anyone who can help their career. That dude from Tucson will really dig it, though.

IFC, they who have brought us Portlandia (which, in a sense, brilliantly parodies the indie culture that spawned SXSW), will be rocking Austin with their all day Fairgrounds, intent on entertaining music lovers who are spending a year’s rent to drag their guitars into the Texas sun.

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To help you defray some of the cost, IFC Fairgrounds is giving away four SXSW wristbands to BlackBook readers who tweet that they’re heading to Austin, and include the #IFCFairgrounds and #BlackBook.

Said wristband will get the wearer into any and all shows at the conference, subject to capacity of course. So get those tweets rolling; and while youre waiting to see if you won, check out the Spotify playlist featuring all the bands who are playing this year’s IFC Fairgrounds, including Jukebox The Ghost, Priory, Colony House (pictured above) and Rubblebucket. Good luck!

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Preview: The Björk Exhibition at MoMA

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Björk remarked to your author in a 2012 interview, “It is funny, I get these offers from museums, they want to collaborate with me and promote me. I’m flattered. But at the end of the day, I’m fine with just being a pop musician.”

But here we are in 2015, and we’re five days away from the anxiously anticipated opening of Björk, her eponymous retrospective at that exalted temple of modernism, New York’s MoMA. We still sit on the fence about such matters; after all, the last thing such a soaring spirit as she would seem to need is to be restrained within museum walls.

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Yet this exhibit succeeds because it doesn’t attempt to “art” the Icelandic wonder. Rather, rooms are set up so that one can genuinely commune with various sequences of Björk videos—a medium which, surely, no one has so magically embraced as she. In fact, as the kookily endearing clip for “Triumph of a Heart” (it ends as she’s dancing with her, um, cat/boyfriend) flows into the rather primal and terrifying “Where is the Line”, you begin to genuinely understand the astonishing depths of her heart and range of her intellect.

Another section of the show titled Songlines, exhibits her scribbled notes (interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing) alongside the mind-bending results of some of her most extraordinary collaborations: Alexander McQueen’s eerily enchanting “Pagan Poetry” dress; the infamous Marjan Pejoski swan dress; a stramgely animated version of her Nick Knight Homogenic cover design; the wholly unsettling Bernhard Willhelm body sculpture; the futuristic “All is Full of Love” robot. Here, you realize what an unparalleled cultural galvanizer she has been. She has excitedly gravitated to these fellow creatures of ineffable genius, and they have responded by reflecting her back in their fantastical creations. It’s breathtaking just to consider the places Björk has taken us by way of her seemingly infinite imagination.

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Best of all, the audio accompaniment isn’t the usual post-structuralist-meets-advertising-copywriting blahbiddy-blah. Rather, it’s some sort of mystical stream of consciousness narration, set to the music; which, of course, seems utterly appropriate.

Yes, it’s a big commercial museum spectacle. And yes, it will be very crowded when you go. But at a time when so much art and music seems as if it’s merely popping out of a zeitgeist vending machine, this reminder of all that Björk has given us, is not only welcome, but nothing less than exigent. Go.

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Ten Questions With Cosplay Superstar Ivy Doomkitty

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It’s hardly a secret that comic book films are now stacked with Hollywood’s hottest hunks and babes (Chris Hemsworth, Zoe Saldana, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson). But in the last couple of years, geekdomania has veritably become a celebrity badge of honor, with a-listers of every stripe seemingly quite eager to flaunt their inner nerd.

This has played out most evidently in the mainstreaming of cosplay culture, with Lena Dunham, Neil Patrick Harris, Jaden Smith, Daniel Radcliffe, Shannon Woodward, Bryan Cranston, and most enthusiastically Katy Perry (we loved her as Freddie Mercury) all joining in the kooky fun. Even the New York Times has been all over it.

So, as this year’s Long Beach Comic Con (sort of a hipper, more indie counterpart to the big San Diego show) kicks off today, we caught up with one of the stars of the genre, the lovely and talented (and body confidence crusader) Ivy Doomkitty, to attempt to explicate this curious trend.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Doomkitty is not her real name.

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How did you become such a superstar of the genre?

I wouldn’t say that I am a superstar. I began cosplaying as a fan of my favorite characters and things just kind of snowballed out of control. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities doing something that I absolutely love.

What do your fans love most about you?

Hmmm, I’d have to go with being real. I’m a very “what you see is what you get” person. I have panels at conventions discussing body confidence and being positive with one’s self. It’s my way of sharing my experience and also giving back to the community and fans that have given me so much.

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What have been some of your best costumes?

I’d have to go with Altair from Assassins Creed, Dr. Doom, Power Girl, Ms. Marvel and Emperor Kuzco. I try to use a new technique with each new costume that I make and via trial and error, I learn and gain experience in that medium. I have several that I am currently working on for this year that will definitely push me above my limitations.

Who are some of the other most fabulous cosplay babes that you admire? 

At the top of my list, I’d have to go with Vampy Bit Me. She is the sweetest girl you will ever meet, is incredibly talented, and all around a fun loving person.

Have you noticed a lot of celebrities getting into cosplay? Any you can name?

There is definitely [America’s Next Top Model] Adrianne Curry. Also, various celebrities cosplay as their own characters from films at conventions just to be able to walk the floor undetected.

Why do you think it’s such a hot thing right now, and do you think it will outlive its trendiness? 

I think the success of comic book movies, along with shows like the Big Bang Theory and Heroes of Cosplay all helped introduce many people to “geekdom” and cosplay. The things that we were once shunned for liking as kids and teens have now become mainstream with the help of the media; and I honestly feel that is a beautiful thing. Cosplay was here before it became trendy and it will always be here.

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What are you planning for the Long Beach Comic Con? 

I’m excited to have several panels, and will also be judging the costume contest. All of my panels are in room S6: Men of Cosplay (Sat, 12pm), Body Confidence and Positivity in Cosplay (Sat, 1pm), Cosplay Q and A (Sun 11am). I’ll be at my booth (CC2) taking photos with fans and signing autographs both days.

Do you find the LA fans particularly enthusiastic?

Absolutely! LA is my home and the fans here are particularly awesome.

What are you like in real life?

I love playing video games and watching movies with my cats on my down time. I also frequent teahouses and tend to get lost in whatever book that I’m reading at the time.

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Paramore Show Kicks Off Hilton@Play Music Series

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The recently announced partnership between Hilton Worldwide and Live Nation kicked off last night, with frenetic groovers Paramore taking the makeshift inaugural stage at the ever so architecturally dazzling Conrad Hotel New York.

Hilton@PLAY Paramore Concert

Despite the pitiless Arctic chill and not-usually-rocker-friendly Battery Park location, the culture cognoscenti actually turned out in formidable numbers. And apparently at least half of them knew the words to every Paramore song, making flame-haired singer Hayley Williams’ job seem really rather easy. Still, the hyper-animated waif (who is an action figure just waiting to happen) bounced across the stage like a Pomeranian on 14 cans of Red Bull, as her band tore through a decade’s worth of exuberant alterna-pop crowd pleasers…sort of a next gen version of No Doubt, if you will.

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Particularly impressive was the exceedingly artful flipping and flopping of drummer Aaron Gillespie’s hair, as he bashed away at the skins with unflagging brio.

Bookended by buzzy before and after parties, the only thing that seemed to be missing was a good gate crashing episode. But, hey, there’s always next time…

Hilton@PLAY Paramore Concert

 

A Fabulous Chat With Superstar Performer Amanda Lepore

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Amanda Lepore images by Marco Ovando

Amanda Lepore is beyond words. You can call her a model, a performance artist, a style paradigm, a transgender icon…and none of it would really suffice. Perhaps one only need to know that her obsessive admirers include the likes of David LaChapelle and Terry Richardson.

One other such Amanda obsessive is high-profile LA nightlife impresario Jeremy Fall, who has based much of his aesthetic ideology on the New York scene that made her possible. “My biggest inspiration was the club kids in NYC circa The Limelight,” he says, “along with Area and Studio 54. I wanted to recreate the lawless emotion found in that era of nightlife. My favorites were Michael Alig, James St. James and Amanda Lepore.”

It was perhaps inevitable, then, that Lepore would be taking to the stage this Saturday night at Golden Box, Fall’s exceedingly buzzed about new Hollywood hotspot. The club manages to tap into the sort of anything-is-possible energy and philosophy of pre-regulation NYC nightlife, while at the same time drawing a cool, young crowd who just want to dance and feel fabulous for night. “LA nightlife currently consists of promoters and mixology bars,” Fall observes. “But dance clubs should be places where you can dance, get drunk and have fun, and not have to balance a glass full of egg whites and vermouth while listening to top 40.”

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We caught up for a chat with the busy Lepore just before her highly anticipated Golden Box debut, about which Fall enthuses, “All I want is for people to either absolutely hate it or completely fall in love with it. I don’t actually care which one it is, I just want them to leave actually feeling something.”

 

What do you find has changed most about New York nightlife?

Amanda Lepore: I think people don’t go out as much anymore just to meet someone. Now they come out more for specific entertainment, for a special performance, rather than just going out. I also think nightlife is more segregated, things are more specific.

In a good way or a bad way?

Good and bad. It’s good to be able to go someplace where you know exactly what it’s going to be. But it’s also fun to be spontaneous, and be somewhere with all different kinds of people mixed together—and I miss that, club kids mixing with people in suits. You just don’t find that as much.

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Do you find that you’re more accepted as a transgender performer now?

Um…I do think it’s more open now. In some ways it was an advantage that people didn’t know—because that meant they just got to know me for me, not for my transexualism. It used to be something you didn’t talk about. I was a lap dancer and a dominatrix—and I had to keep my identity hidden. Hopefully it will get to the point where it’s just not even an issue anymore.

Do you feel that LA now cultivates individuality, whereas New York encourages conformity?

Every time I come to LA, it seems like it’s more and more exciting. I really look forward to it. New York has gotten a lot more conservative, but there does seem to be an excitement in LA.

How do you feel about the future of NYC nightlife?

I do think I see the younger kids getting more crazy again lately. There’s been a lot more dressing up in the last few years.

What are your current projects that we should know about?

I’m coming out with a book in the spring, all about my life. Also I’m working on new music; there will be a new EP in the spring, followed by a full album. I took singing lessons, so it will be much more about singing than rapping.

Brit Buzz Boy Kindness Rocks Fashion Week Show

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Images by Zac Sebastian

The bowels of the Tribeca Grand Hotel were where the Presidents Day nighttime action was, as UK sensation Kindness brought his funky white boy act to NYC. Dev Hynes guested, the crowd went mad.

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Cruising a wave of hipster cred, the long limbed neo-disco singer had a packed crowd of early morning revelers at the Studio at Tribeca Grand Hotel raving to his every move Monday night. Dragging himself through the almost impenetrable throng, Kindness (Adam Bainbridge to his mum) leaped on to the small stage and with a full live band in tow – no track date here – tore through an eight-song set.

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As has been typical for his UK shows, where Bainbridge has brought out pals like Robyn, Tawiah and others, Hynes soon joined the proceedings, lending vocals and attitude to signature tunes “Swinging Coast” and “Uncle Ace.” Dev rocked his own set following Kindness, and it was past 3am before closers Nianga and Jaziah wrapped things up.

Amidst widespread acclaim for his new album, OthernessKindness, backed by a full band, has embarked on an extensive world tour, beginning with a sold out show at the Electric Brixton in London. His Stateside tour launches in LA next week. Catch him now before he blows up.

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Premiere: Hear Sarah Jaffe’s Sexy New Track ‘Vision’

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Image by Melanie Little Gomez

Since the release of her debut album in 2010, Denton, Texas native Sarah Jaffe has carved out a formidable niche in the indie singer-songwriter firmament, including tours with Lou Barlow and Norah Jones. She’s also flirted with the mainstream, with performances on Jimmy Kimmel and a guest vocal spot on Eminem’s Marshall Mathers re-boot in 2013.

As a follow up to her 2014 album Don’t Disconnect, SJ is bringing out an EP of new songs–one of which we’re thrilled to be debuting here–as well as fascinating remixes by some of her most creative pals, including Mystery Skulls (whose recent collaborations include Nile Rodgers and Brandy), S1 (producer for Kanye West, Beyonce, Jay Z), and Blue, The Misfit (whose production credits include Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q).

The new tracks, sexy and stylish “Vision” and “Crossed My Mind,” both see her delving into more electronic and cinematic territory.

In anticipation of the EPs spring release, we premier the song “Vision (feat. Sam Lao & Zhora)”. She will also be playing live dates this week in Louisville and Dallas, before a full tour later this year.