The ‘Oh, Hello!’ Boys Took Over For Seth Meyers (Watch)

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, stars of the acclaimed two-man play Oh, Hello on Broadway!, took over the host’s desk on Late Night with Seth Meyers this week at a Washinton D.C. taping of the talk show – in character.

The two play Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two aging Upper West Side roommates who host a public access prank show, Too Much Tuna, in which they trick their guests by giving them sandwiches overstuffed with tuna. Their comedy act evolved from a sketch on Kroll’s Comedy Central series Kroll Show into an Off-Broadway production and national tour, and now into an Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) directed full-scale Broadway play at the Lyceum, and a New York Times Critic’s Pick.

Late Night With Seth Meyers airs on NBC at 12:35 AM EST. It’s currently taping in D.C., where tonight it will host guest Vice President Joe Biden.

‘Taxi Driver’ Returning to Theaters for 40th Anniversary

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One of Robert De Niro’s most notable roles returns to the big screen this month. Marking the 40th anniversary of Taxi Driver, a special screening of the film will take place in select theaters across the country on October 16 and 19.

In the cinema classic, De Niro plays a disturbed Vietnam veteran suffering from insomnia. Taking a job as a taxi driver, he roams the streets of New York City at night. With dreams of cleaning up the city, he plans to rescue a 12-year-old prostitute (Jodie Foster) and assassinate a presidential candidate. Its themes remain just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago.

The screening will also feature a special look at the 40th anniversary Q&A recorded live at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Jodie Foster. For tickets and more info, visit Fathom Events.

Teasing America: Dita Von Teese Hitting the Road with New Burlesque Tour

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Dita Von Teese has made a name for herself as the “Queen of Burlesque.” She’s taking her new revue of glamour and seduction, “The Art of the Teese” on the road next year. Her North American tour kicks off February 1 in Chicago.

The show gives audiences more numbers than ever before, including newly-staged performances of some of her signature acts. She’ll be joined onstage by a diverse group of burlesque performers, each uniquely redefining seduction.

“In this all-new burlesque revue, I’m performing some of my best-loved acts that have never been seen on tour before, including a fresh version of “Lazy” that I originally created for the historic Crazy Horse Paris,” Von Teese says. “I’ve teamed up with Swarovski and some of the world’s most revered fashion designers, including Jenny Packham, for more glitz and glamour than ever before. I’m also proud to present a show-stopping cast of the biggest stars of burlesque, with some of them performing my iconic acts from the past with their own distinctive signature style. This is my biggest US tour yet, and I’m especially thrilled to bring my burlesque show to my home state of Michigan for the first time ever!”

Tickets and tour info are available online.

Drug Arrests Top All Other Violent Crimes Combined, Says ACLU Study

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In a rather shocking revelation, the Washington Post reported today that more Americans are behind bars for simple, personal use drug possession than are doing time for all other violent crimes combined. The story is tied to a just-released ACLU study on the subject.

The Post quotes the report’s lead author, Human Rights Watch‘s Tess Borden: “It’s been 45 years since the war on drugs was declared, and it hasn’t been a success. Rates of drug use are up not down. Drug dependency has not stopped. Every 25 seconds, we’re arresting someone for drug use.”

The study strongly emphasizes decriminalization, which has proven in countries like Portugal to significantly curb the use and abuse of harder drugs. Notably, the subject of marijuana legalization has actually recently lost quite a bit of its public momentum, as the Presidential race has focused the country’s attention squarely on economic matters.

The report is stark in its conclusions: “Rather than promoting health, criminalization drives drug use underground; it discourages access to emergency medicine, overdose prevention services, and risk-reducing practices such as syringe exchanges.”

Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco Cast in Netflix Heroin Drama

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Photo: Wikipedia/ Instagram @davefrancosig

Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco have been cast in an upcoming drama about the heroin epidemic in middle-class America, according to Vulture.

The film comes from Netflix studios and is written and directed by Marja-Lewis Ryan, and is titled 6 BalloonsIt follows a woman (Jacobson) who notices her brother (Franco) has relapsed into heroin on July 4, while taking care of his 2-year-old daughter. Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm in the Middle) and Tim Matheson (Animal House) are also set to star.

Ryan has also made headlines for signing on to write and direct the gender-bent remake of Splash, starring Channing Tatum (as a merman) and Jillian Bell.

A release date has yet to be set.

Samantha Bee Rips Trump Apart in Post-Debate ‘Full Frontal’

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In yesterday’s episode of Samantha Bee, the late night host tore into Trump’s behavior at the second, town hall-style presidential debate.

Responding to Trump’s accusations as to why Hillary Clinton didn’t pass tax reform 30 years ago, Bee said, “Why didn’t she do something about taxes 30 years ago? Everyone knows that the federal tax rates are set by the First Lady of Arkansas!”

During the debate, Trump threw some tantrums at Clinton, the moderators, and CNN at large.

“She went over a minute over, and you don’t stop her. I go a second over—” he moaned.

In a spot-on impersonation of Trump’s behavior, Bee whined, “And how come Amber gets to go to the mall with her friends and I don’t! I hate you so much, Mom!”

The fact of the matter is that Trump spoke for 40 minutes 10 seconds, while Hillary got to speak for 39 minutes and 5 seconds, making any claim Trump was victim to moderator bias ridiculous.

“The debate was a grotesque travesty of democracy. Trump did to Hillary, the moderators, and the viewers what he did to that chair [photo insert of Trump standing weirdly behind chair] and insulted us all the while.”

Check out the full clip below.

Full Frontal airs Mondays at 10:30 PM EST on TBS.

Cleveland’s New Cool – 10 Reasons We Love ‘The 216’

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Culture watchers have loved to say of late that “food is the new rock & roll.” They’re wrong, of course. Chefs are certainly at an artistic apogee right now; but they do not create art. And none will ever inspire the levels of both adoration and hatred as do a Bono or a Morrissey.

Music, in fact, has gotten the city of Cleveland through some difficult decades. Its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has long been a great point of pride – bringing visitors from all over the world, even when times were tough. But on a recent trip, we found the city singing a few new tunes, as revitalization programs and a much buzzed about restaurant scene have reinvigorated and reenergized its downtown.

 

  • Hilton Cleveland Downtown
  • Hilton Cleveland Downtown
  • Burnham Restaurant

 

Hotels always help. And the splashy new Hilton Cleveland Downtown now sits resplendently just above the magnificent waterfront. The striking glass Cooper Carry Architects designed tower notably flaunts the work of local artists displayed in museum quality fashion. And with its Lake Erie view rooms, dazzling seventh floor pool, a pair of excellent bars on the 2nd and 32nd floors, and the stylish New American restaurant Burnham (from hotshot chef Zack Bruell), you’d barely need to leave the premises.

But you’d only have to exit the hotel to be surrounded by the awesome architectural character of downtown. Once one of America’s wealthiest cities, it still shows in notable historical icons like the Terminal Tower, the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and the West Side Food Market.

Indeed, Cleveland is back. Here are some of the highlights.

 

Kara Walker, Frank Gehry, Rock & Roll Politics

The Cleveland Museum of Art holds one of America’s most important collections, from Egyptian, Greek, African and Japanese art, to modern and contemporary masters. Currently showing is The Ecstasy of St Kara, featuring Kara Walker’s latest large-scale works on paper.
Nearby to the museum is the fantastical Frank Gehry designed Peter B. Lewis Building at Case Western University. The late namesake mogul was one of the controversial architect’s most vigorous supporters and patrons – and this is a fitting tribute.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is currently featuring Louder Than Words, an exhibit on the relationship between music and politics – from Nina Simone to Marvin Gaye to The Clash to Lady Gaga. Heady stuff.
The Cleveland Arcade is a Victorian era architectural work of art, with fittingly classic independent shops and boutiques.

 

  • Kara Walker
  • Peter B. Lewis Building
  • Louder Than Words
  • Cleveland Arcade

 

Cocktails With a View, Sustainable Brews, Local BBQ

Bar 32, up on the 32nd floor of the Hilton, might have one of the most jaw-dropping views of any cocktail establishment in America. Enjoy a sophisticated tipple at what are easily the most sought after terrace tables in the city – though with its floor-to-ceiling windows and endless Lake Erie / downtown views, every seat in the place is utterly ethereal.
The vaulted-ceilinged West Side Food Market has been operating since 1840, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. You could spend a whole day there. Newer but no less spectacular is Heinen’s Downtown, an upmarket grocery fitted into the 1908 Cleveland Trust Rotunda Building, with its Art Deco dome and opulent baroque detailing. It also hosts tastings with a view at its mod little wine bar.
Great Lakes Brewing Company has been doing the “hipster” craft brewery thing since 1988. Its Dortmunder Gold Lager is a classic; but try the new Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale, preferably at their excellent on-site brewpub. They’re also big on sustainability and social responsibility.
Zagat in 2015 called Cleveland’s food scene one of the six hottest in the country. Don’t miss the buzzy new Mabel’s BBQ, local food god and Iron Chef Michael Symon’s sublime take on real Cleveland style barbecue. Or hang with the hip kids at The Plum Cafe & Kitchen. With its white-and-brick interior, groovy cocktails and vegan banh mi and pulled pork cheek sandwiches (NB: try the fried chicken feet), it seems airlifted straight from NoLIta. Eater recently did a good roundup of 16 of the most happening places to eat and drink in the city.

 

  • Bar 32
  • West Side Market
  • Heinen's Downtown
  • Plum Cafe + Kitchen

 

From Audrey Hepburn to Lady Gaga – Stunning New Book Depicts The Timeless Style of Mikimoto Pearls

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There’s a reason they’re called “pearls” of wisdom. Indeed, just as we would treasure a piece of advice that forever transformed our life, women have worn real pearls as a way of conveying something that is eternally sublime, uniquely timeless and also a challenge to the accepted norms of style.

Or as Vivienne Becker, who penned the forward to the stunning new book The Pearl Necklace, puts it, “Perhaps part of our fascination [with pearls] lies in the contrast between the pristine and the provocative.” The book traces the history of the pearls and, of course, the pearl necklace through the story of Mikimoto.

Certainly, pearls were worn by aristocrats and princesses – Marie Antoinette adored them, no surprise. But, as the book – a collaboration with Assouline – reveals, Kokichi Mikimoto brought them dazzlingly into the modern world, into a post WWI society that was at last beginning to reject the rigidity of the old order. And for a new generation of women who were out there working and changing society, who sought to define their own identity, wearing a pearl necklace meant conveying a confident glamour and a social status that wasn’t merely handed down to her.

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Mikimoto won the loyalty, even adoration, of those same women, because they demanded the best. To repay that affinity, Kocichi himself famously and publicly set fire to literally tons of inferior pearls in 1932. No simple publicity stunt, it was meant to definitively define the company’s fierce commitment to the greatest quality.

Pearls, consequently, transcended fashion trends – they elevated every look that one might choose to wear them with. That Mikimito attracted such strong, incomparable – and internationally respected – women as Audrey Hepburn and Diana Vreeland seemed completely natural (“Nothing gives the luxury of pearls,” the latter was quoted as saying.) No two Mikimoto cultured pearls are alike – and the same could be said for the women who have made them a signature part of their aesthetic presentation. It exhibited that one was no longer concerned so much with “class” as they were with exhibiting a sense of class…and impeccable taste.

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After the Second World War, Mikimoto pearls became virtually ambassadorial. It was the first Japanese company to attain such rapturous adulation and success in Europe and America – and so perhaps even represented a new hope, the mending of wounds by the sharing of something so ethereally beautiful.

Then as the optimism of the 1950s gave rise to a new era of white-gloved sophistication, the pearl necklace became so perfectly de rigeur. And when the 60s brought on so many youthful style rebellions, Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor embodied an utterly of-the moment, pearl-bedecked elegance and glamour that seemed just as much with the times.

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Perhaps most definingly, in the burgeoning age of advertising, Mikimito eclipsed mere consumerism. Diamonds were popular because they were marketed; pearls were special because they didn’t need to be sold – they just “were.” And “are.”

Now, in a world given over to ephemeral culture and throwaway fashion, Mikimoto pearls have again found a way to represent a most enduring sense of style, the anti-bling, if you will. It’s epitomized by Ginza Special Edition necklace. With its striking 18 karat white gold clasp, 9 carat diamond and matching studs, it is a paradigm of understated glamour and modern elegance – and will correspond with the 2017 opening of a spectacular new flagship store, in the fashionable Ginza district of Tokyo – where the company was founded. (For now, it is available in the New York, Beverly Hills and South Coast Plaza, Las Vegas boutiques.)

So perhaps the timing of The Pearl Necklace could not be more sublime. And to celebrate the collaboration with Assouline, Mikimoto will be putting on glamorous, star-adorned events around the world, including New York and London, the latter of which will feature the book’s author Becker.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 26: Sarah Jessica Parker attends the opening of the SJP Collection Pop Up Shop on February 26, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)

Most tellingly, such matchless luminaries of 21st Century culture as Sarah Jessica Parker, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez have all dazzled pages and stages adorned in Mikimoto pearls – resolute evidence of an eternal and irreplaceable beauty that knows no generational bias…but just as ever represents the soul of a woman of elegant and absolute self-possession. A woman who is empowered by her originality, and by adorning herself in that which is truly original – whether she’s in the boardroom or the VIP room.

The inimitable Coco Chanel said it best: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

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Celeb Photographer Mathieu Bitton Discusses His ‘Darker Than Blue’ Exhibit at the Leica Gallery LA

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Photographer, art director, and producer Mathieu Bitton has been enthralled with art and music, and the overlapping of the two, since he was a kid growing up in Paris. An avid Prince fan, he eventually came to own one of the biggest collections of Prince memorabilia in the world. He also designed the cover art for Prince’s Ultimate Prince CD box set, and has provided art direction and design on dozens of other albums and essential collections—from Aretha Franklin’s Platinum and Gold Collection to Jane’s Addictions fascinating “A Cabinet of Curiosities.”

But his artistic eye doesn’t stop there; he’s also spent a lot of time behind the camera—shooting photographs and music videos for pal Lenny Kravitz and snapping midnight shots in Paris of pro skater Mark Gonzalez. In his latest project, Bitton shifts his lens from celebrity to everyday people, specifically African Americans throughout New York, Los Angeles, the Bahamas, and beyond.

In a moving exhibit for Leica Gallery in Los Angeles titled “Darker Than Blue,” Bitton tells “a story of a beautiful people who share a common struggle regardless of their location.”  The show’s name is a reference to a 1970 Curtis Mayfield lyric from the Civil Rights-themed, “We People Who Are Darker Than Blue.”

Bitton shared some insight with us on his new exhibit, pal Lenny Kravitz and Dadaism.

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How did this exhibit come about? Did you already have this collection of photographs or were they shot with this exhibit specifically in mind?

The show created itself. I knew I was creating a book or show after shooting about 10 of these images. I wasn’t sure Leica would want this as my first official show [Leica sponsored Bitton’s Lenny Kravitz Ascension shows in Vienna and Sofia in 2014 and 2015]. But they loved the images. I was already shooting more yesterday, and I look forward to shooting this theme throughout the world over the years and eventually having a massive book.

What story are you trying to tell with these photographs?

I am really just telling a story of a beautiful people who share a common struggle regardless of their location. But, each image has its own story and strength. Even though I have been shooting this theme for years, it seems more a propos with all the police brutality going on. Especially the cover piece “Prey Power,” which evokes the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s. As I stated in the exhibition book: This is what I see. This is what I imagine. This is what I breathe. This is the sum and substance of my life. As far back as I can remember, “black” was not just beautiful, it was the most beautiful. I was born in Paris, France, where in the 1950s jazz was much more appreciated than in its native United States, and African Americans could use the same sinks and restrooms as whites.

Did you shoot all of these on a Leica?

Yes. Mostly on the M Monochrom Typ 246.

Where were these photos taken?

The majority of the show is split between New York City (lots from Brooklyn) and The Bahamas (Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Nassau); but there are images from Memphis, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Inverness on the walls. In the book there are additional images from Paris, Venice and Florence as well.

You’ve done a lot of celebrity photography, so this exhibit is really different in the sense that it’s more candid shots of everyday people. Was it a refreshing change?

I think it’s refreshing in the sense that it’s more of a discovery. I’m not showing up at a recording studio or photo studio where I am expected to shoot an album cover or editorial. I’m not showing up at a concert to shoot and edit at the end of the show. This is all mystery. I never know what and whom I will capture. So that’s the most exciting part of it. There is a “hand portrait wall” in the show, which is where you’ll find the celebrities and legends in my show. Some of those were from sessions, but they were my personal “off shots,” if you will.

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Were there any specific challenges in creating this exhibit? Or any surprises?

The first thing was that I was on the road with Lenny Kravitz for nine weeks while I was trying to edit and print the show. That was very tough. I was not able to be at the photo lab daily to see what I would get. I did all silver gelatin fiber prints. Old school! That made me so proud. Funny enough, the surprises have come over the past few weeks, discovering details I never before noticed in photos like “Hello Sugar,” [the photo of] an elderly woman waving at me after I had interrupted her. She was speaking with a younger man who ran inside the house when he saw my camera. I apologized and she said: “Don’t be sorry. Hello! Take my picture please, sugar.” So I did. And about 5 days ago I noticed the guy is giving me two middle fingers in the window.

Lenny Kravitz comes up as an influence on your work, and I see that you two have had a strong working relationship for several years. How has he impacted your film and photography work specifically?

I’ve known Lenny for 30 years. We started working together exactly eight years ago. I was always shooting as a hobby and had started to shoot album covers for labels like Warner Bros., Razor & Tie, Rhino. But Lenny gave me the big push I needed. I started shooting everything for him after he realized he liked my pictures of him. He sort of kidnapped me and brought me on tour to shoot all the shows. I haven’t stopped doing that since.

On your bio, you site Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia and others as artistic influences when you were young. Do you still feel that way? Do you see any of their influence in your work today? In this project?

Oh yes. I have a Duchamp tattoo and a dada tattoo. Picabia is probably next. I do have a couple of drawings of his. dada is a state of mind, it’s in everything I do, almost like a religion. Its motto is ‘to be everything but whatever you already are’. People have said most of the images have a surreal quality, they even think some photos are drawings. I carry their work as an influence but I am not trying to do anything they did before. But then again, as Tristan Tzara said in his dada Manifesto: “dada does not mean anything.”